Runeterra Path of Champions Review

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Arcane was on the way, and as is Riot tradition, they were about to market the hell out of it, and with leaks of Fortnite and PUBG doing collabs with the upcoming Netflix show, I knew Runeterra was in for a massive treat as well.

So come 10am that Friday morning, I set my slightly steaming tea down and waited to be let into the google meeting room – pretty excited to ask all my difficult questions to the devs (which you can read below).

After entering the meeting room, we were quickly welcomed by the host and introduced to the three devs: Shawn Main, Mel Li and Xian Li. We were briefed on what was about to happen and to maintain utmost secrecy for what was about to be shown until the news came out officially.

The big reveal at hand was Path of Champions, a PVE Roguelike game mode which allowed players to explore the lore of Runeterra and craft their own playthrough with different relics and upgrades to their adventure deck and champions for future runs. Similar to the Lab of Legends game mode currently existing in the game, with a few upgrades (and sidegrades).

Path of Champions was announced as a permanent singleplayer game mode and will feature up to 15 champions and three regions, with more to come in the future. There will also be a unique Arcane inspired story mode starring Jinx as she rampages throughout Piltover and Zaun, featuring comic book style cutscenes and voiceovers to tell the tale. Just as a note, I have been assured that there are no Arcane spoilers in the campaign, it is set in a separate universe.

During the short playtest, we were only given a chance to play in the P&Z Jinx campaign, and here are my quick thoughts, drawing close comparisons with the current Lab of Legends mode.

– You get unique and thematically accurate starter cards instead of the weird duds you got in lab of legends. (This might not be the case for non-story champions)

– The unique cards were well statted and were quite powerful even without upgrades.

– The path was way more linear than in Lab of Legends. There were few to no branching paths like one would see in similar games like Slay the Spire.

– In the Jinx storymode, you get to choose how the story ends by making decisions at critical points.

– Gameplay was pretty easy for my first playthrough, almost too easy.

– You get to upgrade your champion after a run to alter gameplay for future tries

– Cut scenes were well done and had good VA.

After the playtest, we got a QnA session with the devs. Most of the room asked mostly polite questions or stayed silent, so I took the opportunity to drop some tough and fun questions for the devs. Here are some that I think would be interesting for you guys:

Q: Is the mode going to be this easy with super OP turn one combos just crushing everything?

A: While they have made mild balances to prevent them from occurring too often, they feel that discovering OP combos are part of the fun. They also promised that some of the bosses and encounters can get very challenging, especially with the right mutations on the run.

Q: Can you use the champions in adventures not in their origin? (e.g. Jinx in Ionia’s story)

A: Yes you can, but certain adventures will have cutscenes and unique voicework for the Arcane launch.

Q: Who is the most op boss? And who is the most fun according to the devs

A: (Xian Li answered this) Viktor is the strongest and most challenging boss. But Gangplank has the most unique mechanic that she’s excited to see players try to overcome.

Q: Will the adventure encourage multiple playthroughs, or is this a one-time complete deal? Will there be implementations of speedrun leaderboards where only the fastest runners get an exclusive reward to flex?

A: The campaign will feature champion upgrades and items on top of difficulty modifiers and mutations to encourage multiple playthroughs. As of now, no leaderboard idea is in the works, but they will have a unique speedrun badge for people that clear the missions fast. 

Finally, to wrap up the presentation, we were given an exclusive first look at Jayce,  the new champion coming to Arcane and the PZ faction. His kit features good stats and an inherent synergy with the newly buffed Lux while serving as a mini Karma, giving more options for deck builders looking to pair Lux with PZ.

Personally, as an avid player of lab of legends, more of the same content is always going to be a big yes for me. OP combos may ruin the fun for the part of me that strives for a challenge, but it’s not enough to stamp out the little kid in me, giddy with power as I destroy the AI boss for the fifth time in a row on turn 1. 

So yes, I’m looking forward to the Path of Champions expansion.

Path of Champions goes live on Nov 10.

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