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Gnar's Lore OR How Riot decided to un-lore

SirAston August 1, 2014 User blog:SirAston

Greetings, Citizens of the Internet!

In case you are unable to read a title or read at all, this topic is about Gnar. Not about my experiences with him on PBE (don't have access) or ranting about his gameplay (I'll leave that to the vocal minority that always screams OP at ability previews). No, I'm talking about the recent shift of style Riot has done with new champion lore. And how Gnar became the pinnacle of "backstory doesn't matter anymore in lore" for now.

The Tower Of Babel

I think I don't need to adress the fact that Riot becoming a huge empire of video gaming needed some sacrifices, which are in this case meaningful lore. The Judgements are long dead, the Journal has been scrapped for quite some time now and the more and more uninspired and not-too-well-thought-through lore of recent months (which I adressed in my blog post about Gragas' Lore). That's completely understandable even if it's sad, though. There's a lot that goes on with LoL that needs constant attention. New champions are just the tip of the iceberg, there are also fixes, skins, balancing, doing services for customers, preparing for seasonal events (those preparations can take months). Heck, just keeping the servers stable is a tough job that requires hundreds of workers around the globe. When a company becomes so utterly huge, then you can't have a high priority for stuff that DOESN'T need maintenance, like lore (what a surprise).

Riot acknowledged that even without mentioning it, as we can see with the new style of narrative introduced with Vel'Koz Just a Scientist.

Cut the knot, great Alex!

Vel'Koz introduced the style of PoV-narrative for the lore in LoL. And it was AWESOME! I am serious, reading the lore the first time, I felt like I could understand what's going on with Vel'Koz, as if I had glimpsed into the Void without shattering my mind. Then Braum Super Braum from the Super Braum Bros. came along and gave us a similar, yet different narrative. It was not overarching as the narrative from thy champions of yore, yet used a mixture of direct speech for the story with a neutral narrative for the atmosphere. That, too, was AWESOME! I am serious here, too. It was like getting told a fairy tale about a courageous man who is capable of making the impossible possible by lateral thinking.

Murica can make us blind

Then, Gnar Finally a new yordle got introduced, with the background story delivered from the eyes (pardon, the eye) of Rengar Rengar. The lore, again, was AWESOME.

"Why are these recent lores so awesome?", my inner SirAston asked to me. I pounded. I thought about it.

Then, I answered to a question that was hidden within the question that I got told. "It is not the awesomeness that makes good lore. It is about informing about why someone should get excited about background information that makes good lore." My inner SirAston was not pleased with this answer, though.

"We have entered Michael Bay-territory. Lore is bound to get devalued to being awesome instead of being informative. Braum managed to deliver some meaningful input about Braum, but Gnar failed there."

The fear gripped me. When my lips began to move again, the air around me vibrated only slighty, as if I was too weak to speak properly. "The Age of Un-Lore has begun."

... See how much space I wasted for something I could have said with a single sentence or two? That's what happens when you put the dramatic over the informative in something that's supposed to be informative. I seriously like the new direction because Vel'Koz and Braum showed that they could still tell us about an individual. But Gnar's lore didn't tell us anything new that his ability kit wouldn't already show. The opportunity to give us a glimpse at prehistoric Valoran from a Yordle's eyes was wasted to remind us that our resident Killer Kitten was awesome. Ironically, seeing how Valoran was before greater civilizations began would have been more awesome.

I can accept that lore doesn't state any reasons for joining the League anymore. But I won't accept Gnar's style of lore. We want information, not special effects.

See you on the Fields of Justice!

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