Riot Games’ Collectible Card Game – Legends of Runeterra – doesn’t seem to have a lot mentions in the gaming community, which makes it seem like the game isn’t gaining the popularity that it needs to be relevant. With so many Riot Games titles releasing in the past years, can it be that this game has flopped badly despite being one of the company’s main titles? Is Legends of Runeterra dead after only a few years of being out?
The Creation of Legends of Runeterra
Legends of Runeterra was a project announced by Riot Games during their 10th Anniversary after they planned to release multiple titles belonging to different genres that were popular during that time. Games like Valorant, the Riot Games MMO, Teamfight Tactics, and Legends of Runeterra were only some of the projects they planned to release some time in the future, which became the games we grew to love today.
Legends of Runeterra was a smash hit when it first came out because it was a card game that introduced a unique system without taking away from the core identity of the CCG genre. It received praise for having a fairly balanced and diverse meta and a beautiful gameplay mechanics that card games yearned for in other CCG titles without the game being highly pay-to-win because everybody had the chance to earn their own cards.
The initial release is always filled with deceiving reviews. It may seem like the game is going to stay when hundreds of thousands of players initially join during the first few weeks, but as the hype dies down, the playerbase shrinks by more than 50% and eventually reach a point where only true fans of the genre stay to either play the game more since they enjoy it and/or start climbing the competitive ladder to reach the top of the rankings.
After only a few months, the playerbase in Legends of Runeterra dropped significantly. People asked “Is Legends of Runeterra dead?” without the game even reaching its first year. Despite the enormous drop in players, the game actually thrived and reached the a constant player count that was enough for Riot Games to keep it running. Eventually, Riot Games decided to hold esports events for Legends of Runeterra, inviting the best players in the world to compete for a relatively huge prize pool.
The Year 2022: Is Legends of Runeterra Dead?
Is Legends of Runeterra dead yet? Regardless of the number of times players ask this question, a game doesn’t die until the player count goes below the minimum count that companies need to meet in order to profit from the players who are spending money to continue. In LoR’s case, the number of players is still well above the recommended count, so the risk of the game dying anytime soon isn’t something that’s an immediate threat.
However, that doesn’t mean that Riot Games doesn’t notice the decline in popularity that the game has been experiencing. This is why they have been promoting Legends of Runeterra in other ways that will ensure that there is a steady surge of new players. To understand why isn’t Legends of Runeterra dead, we need to take a look at the reasons the company has been keeping the game relevant the past few years.
1. Heavy Emphasis on Lore Building
Riot Games has made Legends of Runeterra the primary source of League of Legends lore updates, with small stories and descriptions that contribute to world-building in the current universe. Many small but relevant key pieces such as the relationships that the characters have and some important minor characters that aren’t in the game make Legends of Runeterra the hotspot for lore enthusiasts to gather juicy information. With Riot Forge games entering the scene, this game only gets more exposure.
Many people join the game solely for this reason. Collecting cards, watching interactions, and waiting for new updates give people all the reason to continue playing the game and those who have discovered the beauty of the League of Legends universe start flocking to LoR just to discover pieces of information that isn’t available in the official lore sites. As new sets get introduced, more information gets released which people look forward to regularly.
2. LoR Esports Scene
The esports scene is a huge factor in the popularity of games. For instance, League of Legends has the largest esports events in the gaming world, giving it so much prominence since these events don’t only get shared in social media, it also attracts the attention of large media companies that expose the game to a larger audience. This piques the interest of potential players by making them curious why so many people are attending these events.
While Legends of Runeterra hasn’t held any official physical tournaments post-pandemic, they have been regularly streaming large events on Twitch. The prize pool isn’t as big as MOBA game esports but it’s enough to motivate players to start climbing the ladder and eventually get invited to these tournaments. Even though the viewership in these events are low today, it’ll eventually grow into something larger when physical events are reintroduced to the world.
Will Riot Games remove Legends of Runeterra?
Riot Games may remove Legends of Runeterra if the title isn’t performing well. However, the game has retained a large playerbase for the company to keep it active for now. In addition, League of Legends and Valorant have received large number of players, which is enough to fund the operations of Legends of Runeterra even if it performs poorly when it comes to sales.
Is Legends of Runeterra dying?
Is Legends of Runeterra dead? No. It’s nowhere near dying because the game has a consistent number of players actively playing and spending money. While the game has seen a large decrease in the number of its players, it’s not enough to consider the game anywhere near the “dead” status. It’s unlikely that this game will die anytime soon, unless League of Legends and Riot Games, in general, start underperforming in relevance.