Paladins developer Hi-Rez Studios is removing the controversial loot box system introduced in the game’s Cards Unbound update, the studio announced today.
“We know this system has angered many of our most loyal fans and become a point of continuous contention in the Paladins community (and even inside of Hi-Rez),” Chris Larson, who was recently appointed executive producer of Paladins, said in the studio’s latest update. “Your voice has been heard loud and clear. Our team will be working over the next major release cycle to remove Cards Unbound from the game.”
Originally revealed in November 2017, Cards Unbound added power levels to Paladins’ cards and gave players with higher-level cards a demonstrable advantage over players with low-level cards in the popular quickplay mode. It also simplified the card system of competitive mode, angering many players.
As we reported in a recent inside report, these changes were also divisive among Paladins’ designers. An anonymous source within Hi-Rez told IGN that Cards Unbound was mandated by studio higher-ups and pushed through against the will of most, if not all, of the Paladins development team, and called the update a “pay-to-win” change.
In a follow-up interview, Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris confirmed there is truth to this source’s claims and, contrary to today’s announcement, also said the studio is confident in Cards Unbound. You can read our full report here.
The new card system seeks to address these and other complaints.
Our team will be working over the next major release cycle to remove Cards Unbound from the game.
“We will be replacing it with a new system that I believe the community will be really excited about, including the reintroduction of the deck building point system, and a method for obtaining cards that will be way less grindy,” Larson continued. “We also want to unify the competitive and casual experiences so that we use the same system for both.”
The key points of the newly proposed system are the removal of Paladins’ loot box-like card chests, and the reinstatement of the 15-point deck building system previously used in competitive mode. All Champion cards will also be free under this new system, and Legendary cards will become Talents which do not have tiered power levels.
Hi-Rez plans to bring this new system to Paladins test servers as early as next week. You can read the full list of proposed changes here.
Major alterations are also coming to Paladins: Battlegrounds, the newly released battle royale mode. Tomorrow, Friday, February 23, the alpha version of Paladins: Battlegrounds will be pulled from the Paladins client. Hi-Rez says it will make “a number of aggressive changes” to the game in the following weeks and then re-release the mode in a separate game client.
“The mode will have the current map and some of the elements from Paladins as well as some significant changes,” Larson explained, “but it will be re-launched as a new game. We expect it to be free-to-play, with monetization around skins and visuals.”
Larson also outlined the studio’s 2018 development roadmap, highlighting player feedback and improved art quality as focal points.
Austin Wood is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.