Riot's approach to Canon

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Engrailed

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Senior Member

10-04-2012

Hello kitae,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing some of your thoughts and Riot's general stance on what constitutes canon. One question I have is about how this stance affects Riot's current direction with developing the lore in LoL. Are there plans to develop a broader narrative set in the LoL universe which incorporates new and old champions (somewhat like what the JoJ was attempting to do)? Or will the lore be more focused on champion introductions and subsequent interactions with existing champions?

If you are planning on doing a broad narrative, and we the audience determines what is canon, does that mean that we ourselves might have a say in how the world of Valoran evolves? And will that interaction always be reactive (we react to the lore you publish) or is there space for it to be proactive as well (we tell you how we want characters to interact, and you make it happen).

Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and discussing some new concepts for how we interact with Riot. Looking forward to hearing more about this.


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Eledhan

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Story-writing is not good if the reader is confused about what they are reading...

Example...I started asking questions about The Avengers to some of my comic book reading friends, and they kept asking me "Which Avengers?". I'm like...um...the only ones? Come to find out, there are multiple Avengers "universes" in which the same characters show up in different versions of similar settings...it's all very confusing. Eventually, I decided to just follow along with the plot of the movies over the last few years, and it turned out that worked just fine, since they are all very cohesive (even if the actors used are not 100% consistent).

As Larcent has pointed out, I think that we, as Players, could stomach ONE change per champion/setting/storyline/event and then that is the final say. Once something has been "updated", that needs to be the final update.

I like to think of The Forgotten Realms as a great example of this...Overall, the basic world structure, major events, etc. are all handled by the company that manages the Forgotten Realms lore. But the individual stories (such as the Legend of Drizzt) has largely remained consistent, yet fills in gaps in the story of the world. Sure, there will be times where something needs to be changed to remain consistent, but the change per item should only be ONE, and afterward, it should remain that way.

This means that people just getting into the lore can actually find proper information on the background of, say, WW and Raka...and won't be confused too much by finding out-dated lore if it's only one other version. I think where you run into problems is the possibility of finding more than one old version of any given story, OR the fear of a story you already know getting some crazy change to it in the future.


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Hideous Z

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Yeah, I'm not really a fan of this approach, though I'll withhold final judgement for now. It seems like the lore is losing the sense of place, the sense of world. The character bios are so myopic and focused on the individual they lose the sense of these characters being part of a bigger world, and therefore lose a lot of their context. I have a hard time with no longer addressing why they enter the League - to me, that just serves to further the dissonance between the game and the lore. Now these characters really haven't joined the League from a lore standpoint, and it almost becomes a Smash Bros. effect where we just want to put all these cool people in a room and let them fight.

Axing the JoJ and the Judgments and changing the Bios might all be solid decisions, but I've been finding myself less and less interested in the lore (and I'm a huge lore junkie...it was what drew me into this game in the first place). So...I guess I wish Riot would treat the established lore with a little more reverence and seek to build their world up as a real place, not just focus on the characters exclusively to the harm of the world at large.


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Lovely Pants

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Thanks for taking the time to illustrate your notions clearly. I'll say that off the bat, and also that I am very disheartened by what I'm hearing so far.

The comic book philosophy on building narrative and characters is the most frustrating thing in the world to me. While I enjoy reading comics from time to time, the medium frustrates me endlessly and I soon abandon any extended relationship with it because of how inconsistent characters are and how little value is placed on the events which a character experiences and any development they go through.

Nothing matters in comic books anymore. Whether through retconning in order to turn everything back to the status quo or making it so all the development that has happened over a character's career are invalidated by ignoring previous plots, all the dramatic tension has been completely sucked out of the medium. I recommend watching this both because its hilarious and it also pretty accurately captures the wide-spread apathy comic companies have created in their readers.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PlwDbSYicM. Also, Batman died not too long ago. I don't even remember when. Last year? Year before? I literally did not care because I knew there was no permanence to the event. The comic book industry is not a reliable model for having people still care about your characters. Personality and drive changes from series to series as you have every writer trying to pull of his personal version of the character. I would posit that the only reason most people still care about Batman as a character is that the animated series created such a memorable and strong foundation for the character that still resonates in popular consciousness, and that he had such strong defining character traits to begin with.

How do you expect anyone to feel investment in a character if they have no defining characteristics? I suppose if all you care about is the short term, you can get away with that. I don't think the Riot lore department is that shallow from any discussion I've seen them in, but there's a certain point where people just stop caring if there isn't any character foundation to work with there.

I'm kind of dancing back and forth now, but I'm just trying to pull out some points of interest before I get to my main plea.

I don't actually personally care that you've decided to retcon some characters. Some I think are for the better. What I believe you have done right in most cases is keep the core identifiable features about a character.

What I dislike is the idea that the audience should have a major hand in shaping the characters at this stage. Whatever you actually mean and to what extreme by "we want you guys to determine what is canon" it rubs me the wrong way. The problem is, even at this late point in the League of Legends lore most characters still don't have anything besides the most basic foundations of background or personality. You need at least some small amount of well-developed feeling and purpose of a character existing for people to latch onto it and make something special out of it. I'm not saying an audience feedback approach doesn't work, but I do think it only works if you quickly capitalize on major strains to integrate into the design. This doesn't happen, and the League community is nowhere near as unified with their ideas about a character to sustain these interesting characteristics on their own.

What do you think is the reason for the existence of professional writers? I don't want to be rude, but there has been so little to show from the lore department recently that I would almost rather assign each character to a fanfic writer and have them churn out whatever ridiculous story they can imagine for an ordeal the character went through so I can at least point at it and say, "There! There's a concrete bit of character development that you can connect to! There's a character that has a purpose in this world."

As it is, I don't play this game much anymore. I still enjoy the gameplay, but that only keeps me around for so long. Most new champions don't excite me because I don't expect to learn more about them than the ungenerous blurb of background they get released with.

If I had to consolidate my frustrations into a central question it would be this: "Do you really think your characters are strong enough to stand on their own if you won't give them direct support?"

I hope I've made myself coherent here. I've run out of time to clarify my concerns and arguments at the moment or make sure I'm not making too extreme judgments. Thanks again for checking in with us, at the very least. As critical as I sound, I wouldn't have bothered with the discussion if I didn't think you cared about how things turned out.


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Evelynn Butt

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Senior Member

10-04-2012

I don't mean to be rude, but if "bad lore" turns you away from playing a MOBA, I don't think you're really the core audience of a MOBA.


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Doctor Swole

Member

10-04-2012

lmao this is why noone respects LoL lore. i just read a whole post making a GIANT EXCUSE for why you keep changing your lore.


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Fomorian27

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Senior Member

10-04-2012

I completely understand the need to change old lore because some of it doesn't make much sense. Nothing in Warwick's gameplay and appearance shows that he is actually an alchemist. And it doesn't make sense that Singed, who is the archetypal mad chemist, only plays second fiddle to warwick. It was perplexing to me to find out he was just an apprentice to warwick. Didn't make a whole lot of sense.

I have no attachment to the old lore just because it happens to be old. Nor to I miss the quality of it. The problem is that some of the new lore isn't much better than the old. There are some contradictions, big and small, that occur in the new lore, the most obvious one being warwick cutting soraka but still not having any blood for his potion. It was good that riot acknowledged their mistake and changed the lore to make singed's potion require soraka's heart rather than her blood, but a mistake like that you'd think they'd catch on the first readthrough, rather than having fans point it out.


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Lovely Pants

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pterodactyl Man View Post
I don't mean to be rude, but if "bad lore" turns you away from playing a MOBA, I don't think you're really the core audience of a MOBA.
Obviously. If the only reason people played games was for the gameplay, if Riot wasn't interested in attracting as many people as possible to their game to enjoy it for whatever reason, and if developers weren't trying to make something more than just a stagnant piece of gameplay this statement would have some relevance in this discussion.


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kitae

Lead Designer

10-04-2012
2 of 6 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larcent View Post
So if this world-building requires some changes to make things work or to make characters have stronger ties to it, that's a good thing. But there has to be a point where you say "No, this is where we're going. Changes to the character will take place as he or she moves forward, not from constant fiddling about where he or she has been."

Take your cues from the new refund program. You have X tokens to go back on what you've done. Use them wisely.
I agree with you. You wouldn't expect DC to say "hey guys, actually we decided Batman is a member of the green lantern corp!" and you wouldn't expect marvel to say "hey Aunt May is now a herald of galactus". The goal is not to periodically ask champions to put on different lore hats, it's to find the best version of a champion while supporting lore development and keeping the world feeling modern.

Spider Man #1 was awesome but I'm glad Marvel has continued to evolve Spider Man. When you look at who he is now, the best parts of his original debut are still there. That's what we try to do. Most of the time, that is not going to involve retcon.

On an unrelated note here are two random images
http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__..._9_Variant.jpg

http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/1...-may_super.jpg


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kitae

Lead Designer

10-04-2012
3 of 6 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subalternate01 View Post

My question is when are you going to give us enough cannon to help organize the community to influence it through actual game play?

I feel it would be awesome if lore team had some influence over a monthly/quarterly champ rotation to help determine champion story lines through normal or ranked game play. I.E. Ashe vs Sej story line could be determined by win/loss ratio vs. champion popularity. Ashe has a higher win ratio but Sej is more popular let the story reflect that Sej has had some success beating Ashe but at grave costs to her army. Or something like that. you write it, we shape/influence it.
The idea of lore-matches where players can help decide the course of events by playing games online has come up before and we like the idea. We're just trying looking for the right time and the right lore.

So good idea...definitely something we are interested in.


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