Legends of Runeterra heads to open beta on Friday (or tomorrow, if you meet certain restrictions (opens in new tab)), but Riot Games has gone ahead and dropped the patch notes for the new release a few days early. One of the biggest highlights, though, is that players who participate in the beta won't have to fear losing their cards, rank, or saved currencies. Once Legends of Runeterra is live, Riot won't be wiping player accounts for the full launch later this year.
You can check out the full patch notes here (opens in new tab). Aside from the usual round of balance adjustments to different cards, the most notable changes are the addition of ranked modes, social features, and economy changes.
If you've played in previous betas, the most notable difference will be ranked mode. Right away, Riot will kick off a competitive "Beta Season" where players can climb through the ranks in a special matchmaking queue. It works similarly to League of Legends, where wins earn you LP and at 100 LP you'll be bumped to the next division. What's fascinating, though, is that losses won't bust you down past your current division.
"One problem we’ve seen in card games is that you can feel like you’re locked into playing a proven meta deck if you want to climb, versus trying different strategies to get to the top," reads the open beta FAQ (opens in new tab). "We want you to be able to test different competitive decks without sacrificing progress. So when you reach a tier in Legends of Runeterra, you’ll hold that rank for the rest of the season—you’ve earned it."
The patch notes also cover changes to the in-game economy and how players will earn new cards. There's a separate post that covers these changes (opens in new tab) more in-depth, but the gist is that premium and non-premium currencies have been adjusted to offer similar buying power across different regions.
Other than that, there's not much to highlight. Social features will be enabled in the open beta so you can challenge your friends, and there's a host of changes to individual cards, graphics tweaks, and more.
All that said, though, I'm weirdly excited for this—and not just because I'm a League of Legends player. As someone turned off by Hearthstone's endless groping for my wallet, I'm intrigued by Runeterra's promise of a less punishing economy. I guess we'll know for sure when the open beta launches on January 24.