Greetings, Citizens of the Internet!
Everyone rages when Rito Gaemz changes lore. It's new, hence it must suck. I have spoken about this false vision already in an earlier blogpost and defended this practice.
Yes, I did. I still would defend it. But I'm only willing to defend it when it actually helps defining a character. Which, as I feel, makes the lore behind Gragas not worthy of being defended.
Why, you ask? And why do I care just yet, you ask? Good, fine questions, young lads, young ladies, old people, I will answer these on the road. So just bear with me, alright?
How did Gragas change with the new lore?
Easy: In the old lore, he was a man of great endurance. He lived south from Noxus on the foothills of the Great Barrier, known for being one of the roughest places to live at. He also was a skillful brewer while being a part-time hermit, a testimony for his love towards alcoholic beverage that likely expands beyond "drink dat sh*t!". Of course, he would go into Noxian taverns and be involved into many a barbrawl, possibly starting these, too, but that is partly because of him poisoning himself with the raw magic in his drinks, thanks to a nearby Nexus.
It says a lot about a man with a passion, a passion so strong that even endangering himself (both by living in the foothills and by drinking beverage that's poisoned by raw magic) can't stop him from wanting to achieve perfection in his brewing skills.
New lore, on the other hand... He's not a master brewer. He's naturally grumpy and prone to barbrawling. He decided to make the best drink ever on a whim and found the answer in Freljord, where he headbutted someone for the sake of diplomacy (which is, btw, pretty much the only cool part about his new lore for me) and decided to stay to make the ultimate drink. With True Ice being part of his recipe since it keeps his drinks at perfect temperature.
It says a lot about a man without perspective, without a long-term goal in life, who just wants to get really drunk because the brewing industry can't deliver.
I can see why Rito Gaemz want to make him Freljordan. Lately they don't care for the lesser, unknown lands and places, like Fyrone Flats or Bubbling Bog. Which sucks, but, well, can't have everything when your game is based on the MacGuffing of an Excuse Plot. Great Barrier is just one of those places that aren't well discovered.
That's okay. I can live with that. But why can't he stay being an artisan of alcoholic beverage? Why can't the lore just say "He knows how to brew stuff and he moved to Freljord because he hopes to increase his skillpoints in Brewing Stuff there thanks to the discovery of True Ice."
Why did Rito Gaemz feel that Gragas would profit from being a brawling, burping, bumrushing, headbutting, whim-decision-driven dumbnut instead of staying a passionate lover of alcoholic beverage and skillful brewer in search of improving his mastery?
I care about that because I once defended the way how Rito handled lore. Because not everything can be really bad. That's what I thought, at least. But for Gragas... He's one of my AP mains in TT (even before he was officially OP there). I like his attitude, being a jerk, but still with a noticeable heart of gold. And he uses barrels as a weapon that explodes on command, something only possible with magic. Old lore had pretty much everything and everything was good in some way. The new lore... just makes me feel sad for that grumpy lardball, being reduced to a man of "fist-into-your-face" and on the search of getting wasted, having no real goal in life beyond that. He's on the quest for Hyperbeer and that's it. Old Lore-Gragas wasn't much about Hyperbeer, but it was about perfecting the art of brewing alcoholic beverage. He might have discovered Hyperbeer, but he would have continued to refine the Hyperbeer and make everything else Hyper. And after that, he would continue his passion. Not because it smashes him (he does appreciate a fine drop), but because it's a style of life, where only doing it to get smashed would degrade his art...
That was my opinion about the new Gragas, still relevant for me even after that much time after the Freljord Event. See you on the Fields of Justice...