WARNING: I originally wanted to write this and post it two weeks ago, but due to my studies and lack of free time, I could't, so here we are now.
Also, keep in mind that this is my opinion on the Riot's new Lore direction. This is my personal opinion on this matter. If you like the direction, fine, good for you. I'll try my best to explain why I don't like the new direction. If you're a player who isn't interested in League's Lore, this blog isn't for you.
With all that written, let's start this. I.Hate.This.New.Direction.
Two weeks ago, Riot announce that they are entirely rewoking lore, in order for new ideas and new places to discover. They also said the the old story was limiting their options to write new stories and the "League itself was ultimately restricting the potential narrative development of the game’s defining characters". Um no. It really wasn't. Kalamanda was a place for new storyline, new Field of Justice(oh, I'm sorry, new map) and a new champion. And it was successful. The old lore wasn't limiting, you can make stories about what's going on, but no, they just chose the easy route, the lazy route to retcon everything, leaving thousands questions and plotlines unanswered. Every other compedent writter would continue the story, and wrapping it up, well, for the League storyline. Also, the retcon came out of nowhere.
Why it won't work
Let's say that, for some reason, the retcon was needed. Let's say that the old lore was too massive to complete it fully. If you want to retcon to succeed, you better have new lore ready for new audience. What we got, it isn't. We got nothing to work with. New lore states that the League, Institute of War, Summoners and Fields of Justice never existed. With that came the backlash of new set of questions, and trust me, there are a lot. And when I asked this myself, I wrote those questions down, review them, and realised:
Oh, dear Mata Nui , the DOTA 2 all over again.
Let me be clear: I don't like DOTA 2 from lore aspect, the game itself is great. But I couldn't go in with heroes being one-note characters and lore being complicated. But, in fairness to DOTA 2, the lore ins't the important part, the gameplay is. When the League started, back in 2009, it had a decent lore in which the player was a big part of the game. In next years, we had Journal of Justice, which expanded the lore on a great scale, answered questions and giving us why to stay tuned for new stories.
New lore doesn't have that. Sure we had cinematics, but we never had a end to storyline yet. The Freljord saga didn't end, and now we have the Shurima saga, which mode lasted for 5-6 days, we don't really find out what happend, and reduced another two champions to pure villainy. Yay ...
Limits of old lore
Believe or not, there is a limit. I found, and here it is:
Yup, that island was the limit... No, it wasn't. Also, I don't know if island Valoran is canon anymore.
On the grand scheme of things there isn't a limit. Just because the characters are champions, it isn't excuse to see them being limited. Being a champion, from what I can gather, it's their part time job. They represent the factions or land or themselves for some cause.They are not Summoner's puppets. They still operate outdoors. I read a lot that the League was too overpow- it wasn't. No it wasn't. The Summoners(we) aren't all-powerful, we just maintain and help champions to ensure victory for the greater good. Also most the summoners come from City-states. Nearly every element or a match is explained:
- Who controls the minion;
- What are minions;
- Why do champions have to relearn their skills;
- What is Nexus;
- Why we haven't erased Jayce from the League;
And the list goes on. All the have answers because we wanted to know how League funcions in-game. We have directly influences the story. The Ionia versus Noxus: Rematch is the perfect example of this.
Let's be clear here: while some, well, not many...few old background stories were not good, they were still expanded before Season 3(example: Mordekaiser's second background story). And most old background lore overshadows the new ones by a mile.Yeah, I have problems with it, ever since Heimerdinger's relaunch, his new backstory is the only thing that bothers me. Considering if the old lore in no longer cannon, it really sets things apart for a storytelling. Same goes with Braum and Vel'Koz, althought Vel'Koz has most of the problems. But now, we have the least written lores in new lores of now Shurima's champions.
First new Storyline: Shurima
Note on gameplay: I was severely dissapointed on how this mode was even more limiting than Dominion. This mode hugely favors Assassins and AD-bruisers. If you pict a pure carry, support and tank, be ready to be crushed. The map is gutted just to fight in jungle with less vision and only two buyable vision items. The relics could've been visually different. The Ancient Ascended is very dissapointing, mostly because you can win this fight without killing him all the way.
Side-note: Riot, if you want to give some new voice quotes, you should redo them all. This is baffling, since every time i play Xerath, I hear three voices: the original, the second voice, and the recently new one for the mode. I know that it's the same actor, but atleast you can update all the quotes. Same goes for Renekton who has two different voices.
With this out of the road, let's write about lore. Oh boy...
You know what I'll write, the reducing neutral character(s) to be evil villains. Cassiopeia was reduced to power-hungry one-note villain, previously she was a semi-tragic spy character in search for her father. The worst case got Xerath, who betrays Azir, got Ascended, which initiated the whole Fall of Shurima, and he did it for power. Astounding!
First of all, why his Ascension was the one caused the Fall? He wasn't worthy? Ok, but don't know nothing about him anymore, hell Azir didn't do anything when he was rulling that was note-worthy, etherway same thing was going to happend. Why Xerath? Just why pick him to be villainized? He became traitorous for the sake for making another character to look good. This is the forth character to be subjugated to this, first was Viktor, Trundle, and now Cassiopeia and Xerath. And of course, Sivir needs to be special, because we don't want to play ordinary people... Great, Riot is taking notes for DC's New 52... Also:
- Why are Skarner and Rammus dragged in this?
- How come Nasus thinks his brother can't be saved? He has an infinity to revert his condicion, I'm sure it can be done.
- Why did the story stopped?
- Why does Jayce exist?
Those details, no matter how little they are, and more, hold back this story to be interesting. I do like that they did a good job making something new, but it really sucks that two characters had to be one-note villains, more depressing that it ain't first time doing it. I'm pretty sure that Ascension will be back, since it is story-driven. Wait...
Riot stance of separeting story from game
Yeah, this is ludacris. Despite them saying that the story/lore is never going to be influencing the gameplay, you had a mode which has arisen from a storyline. So, by that logic:
- Battle for Freljord is removed;
- The Hunt is On is removed;
- Canon skins should be removed;
- Most maps should be removed;
And the list goes on. This is so stupid, that I couldn't believed it. In this time we have more and more games that are very story-drived, and story is valued and it is rewarding. I know, that in MOBA games, you can't end the game, but most of them are story-driven. SMITE has the best lore concept of Gods fighting each other in an arena, and they also have additional lore besides their mythologies(Note: I haven't played SMITE, I just know the concept).
Basicly the lore isn't in the game. Only champion's backgrounds are on their tabs, but the overall lore isn't there. And this is the worst crime that Riot made, making lore teared apart from a game. Most players don't even care about in-game's story, despite making cinematics or comics that are made just for preview for new champions. Why have a lore if lore isn't in the game?
I'll try to have a cool head and give a new lore a try, but boy it has a rocky start, with degrating characters to be pure white and black instead of customised grey. What the hell did Riot do past 18 months? I mean, the lore part Riot, they really think that retcon is the best thing to do. What's worst, and what hurts me the most, that they removed us, the Summoners, from the game. So, who are we in Runeterra?