Riot's approach to Canon

First Riot Post
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kitae

Lead Designer

10-04-2012
4 of 6 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Engrailed View Post
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.
We're definitely more about broadening lore development than focusing. I realize all you are seeing right now is champion bio updates, but that is a step towards something bigger. Ultimately we want to get you more than just bios.

Yes player input will affect lore development but we're not going to decide lore by polls. The input will come through constructive and honest conversations with players in this forum and in other places. We encourage players posting constructive threads to discuss lore and we do read those.

In the end we communicate with players because we want to and because Riot supports us in doing so. We have no mandate that we have to do this, but our goal is to make lore that will delight players and I think this is the best way of doing it.


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kitae

Lead Designer

10-04-2012
5 of 6 Riot Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eledhan View Post
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'll meet you half way here. We don't want to retcon stuff, we try to avoid it, but we aren't going to be limited to a "sorry you updated Katarina's lore once that was your chance to get it right". If you see us updating a champion five times in one year call us out on it - we haven't done that. We don't want to do that.

League of legends has been around 3 years. Captain America has been around 71 years. We're not trying to make our universe as convoluted as Marvel or DC's is. They have had a long time to get there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HideousZipleback View Post
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.
When your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. At launch the only way we had of communicating lore was bios. We're working on new ways of communicating this greater context.


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Zerglinator

Senior Member

10-04-2012

kitae, I have to ask: could something be done to expand to lore tab under a champion's profile? Like including certain questions from the AMAs you do? When Soraka and Warwick's new lore was released on live, it seemed like NO ONE had read the AMA at all. It could also include stuff like the champ sneak peeks...maybe pls?


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Hideous Z

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitae View Post
When your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. At launch the only way we had of communicating lore was bios. We're working on new ways of communicating this greater context.
First of all, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us about this stuff - I have to believe you could be doing other things with your time, and so coming here and putting your plans out there for us fans is a big deal, and it means a lot.

That said, and I hate to be one of the "new lore delivery WHERe" folks, but we've been hearing the "we're working on new ways" line for a long time. We used to get a fairly good sized chunk of lore 2-3 times a month (with JoJ and Judgements). Now we get a snippet 1-2 a month (with bios; and the AMA's add a bit of flavor, to be fair).

Is there anything you can share with us at this point? I know you're playing this close to the vest with this stuff, but can you at least give us a status update? Are you any closer to unveiling new lore delivery methods now than you were a month ago? Six months ago? A year ago? (I have to believe you are, but as far as I know nothing has been said about it other than Soon).


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Amathris

Junior Member

10-04-2012

First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this. Communication about the overall direction of lore in League of legends has been sorely missed and is greatly appreciated. Now, on to the questions.

Are you going to try to find a new way to address the question of why new champions are joining the League of Legends? The last official word we have is that fans are expected to headcanon the reasons these champions join the League. Yes, we have backstory for the conflict between, say, Leona and Diana, or Kha'Zix and Rengar. What we don't have is context for why those rivalries are being expressed in the actual game we play.

On a related note, if it is now up to us to write our own headcanon for why champions are participating in the League, can you make a greater effort to create champions who can at least have an imaginably feasible reason for joining the League? Syndra, the mage whose core defining characteristic is that she will never again submit to the control of another, somehow decides to give total control of her body and unfettered access to her mind to a summoner. Kha'Zix, whose entire existence is explicitly for the purpose of killing and devouring the strong, somehow ends up in an environment where he cannot actually devour those he defeats (and according to his creator, he wasn't captured/imprisoned like Cho'gath). The new Warwick, who desperately needs to consume Soraka's heart before he loses himself utterly to madness, chooses to seek her out in a place where he will never be able to retrieve her heart when he defeats her. Not explicitly laying out why champions join the League in their bios is one thing, but if you want us to connect the dots ourselves, you have to at least meet us halfway and not write characters whose motivations seem to be fundamentally incompatible with being champions in the League of Legends.

That probably sounds harsher than I mean it to, and I am sympathetic to the difficulties the League as an entity presents for storytelling. The Institute of War exists to prevent big, sweeping conflicts. In fact, it exists to promote stasis. In lieu of large-scale military conflicts with huge consequences for life, land, and liberty of the characters we know, everything is played out in sterile proxy battles where no one is ever killed or permanently injured, and the most change we might expect to see as a result is the shifting of borders (ie: Noxus vs Ionia). Really, patriotism, personal glory, and imprisonment are just about the only compelling reasons someone could have to participate in the League as it stands. Revenge storylines have no teeth because of our meta-knowledge that Riot is never going to kill off a champion. That said, the current approach of trying to write around the League by pretending it doesn't exist doesn't seem like a good long-term strategy. If the lore is going to get more and more divorced from the gameplay, it's going to become less and less compelling ultimately.

Looking at the creative design AMAs, the most commonly asked questions are generally: "Why did this champion join the League?" and "How does this champion interact with other champions?". If you want your fans to have input on the direction of the lore, those are some questions we want to see answered. The League shouldn't be where a champion's story goes to die, it should be where their story goes to flourish.

If you take a look around the lore forums, there's a lot of frustration brewing, and I think the root of a fair bit of it is that we are pretty much getting less lore now than at any time in the history of League of Legends. League Judgments and the JoJ have been gone for a long time, and the champion release schedule has been relaxed from the previous pace of every two weeks, so we're getting less new champion lore per year as well. There are allegedly Big Things in the works, but "new sources of lore" is rapidly becoming the new "stealth rework". I know you can't give specific timelines, but are we going to see anything beyond more champion bios this year? Next year? The year after that?


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Arance

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitae View Post
We're definitely more about broadening lore development than focusing. I realize all you are seeing right now is champion bio updates, but that is a step towards something bigger. Ultimately we want to get you more than just bios.
I understand this, but keep in mind that you've been saying this for, I believe, quite literally a year now and we have no more details on it now than we did then. By all means keep working on whatever it is until you're satisfied, but you also have to remember people's frustration when they keep being told "We have all this cool stuff we're writing that we'll show you, someday...."


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Cerubois

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitae View Post
everything is canon.

we want you guys to determine what is canon, not us!
So does this mean Riven and Lux are officially a pairing? Because they should be. And you know it. And everyone knows it.


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Hideous Z

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amathris View Post
On a related note, if it is now up to us to write our own headcanon for why champions are participating in the League, can you make a greater effort to create champions who can at least have an imaginably feasible reason for joining the League? Syndra, the mage whose core defining characteristic is that she will never again submit to the control of another, somehow decides to give total control of her body and unfettered access to her mind to a summoner. Kha'Zix, whose entire existence is explicitly for the purpose of killing and devouring the strong, somehow ends up in an environment where he cannot actually devour those he defeats (and according to his creator, he wasn't captured/imprisoned like Cho'gath). The new Warwick, who desperately needs to consume Soraka's heart before he loses himself utterly to madness, chooses to seek her out in a place where he will never be able to retrieve her heart when he defeats her. Not explicitly laying out why champions join the League in their bios is one thing, but if you want us to connect the dots ourselves, you have to at least meet us halfway and not write characters whose motivations seem to be fundamentally incompatible with being champions in the League of Legends.

That probably sounds harsher than I mean it to, and I am sympathetic to the difficulties the League as an entity presents for storytelling. The Institute of War exists to prevent big, sweeping conflicts. In fact, it exists to promote stasis. In lieu of large-scale military conflicts with huge consequences for life, land, and liberty of the characters we know, everything is played out in sterile proxy battles where no one is ever killed or permanently injured, and the most change we might expect to see as a result is the shifting of borders (ie: Noxus vs Ionia). Really, patriotism, personal glory, and imprisonment are just about the only compelling reasons someone could have to participate in the League as it stands. Revenge storylines have no teeth because of our meta-knowledge that Riot is never going to kill off a champion. That said, the current approach of trying to write around the League by pretending it doesn't exist doesn't seem like a good long-term strategy. If the lore is going to get more and more divorced from the gameplay, it's going to become less and less compelling ultimately.

Looking at the creative design AMAs, the most commonly asked questions are generally: "Why did this champion join the League?" and "How does this champion interact with other champions?". If you want your fans to have input on the direction of the lore, those are some questions we want to see answered. The League shouldn't be where a champion's story goes to die, it should be where their story goes to flourish.

If you take a look around the lore forums, there's a lot of frustration brewing, and I think the root of a fair bit of it is that we are pretty much getting less lore now than at any time in the history of League of Legends. League Judgments and the JoJ have been gone for a long time, and the champion release schedule has been relaxed from the previous pace of every two weeks, so we're getting less new champion lore per year as well. There are allegedly Big Things in the works, but "new sources of lore" is rapidly becoming the new "stealth rework". I know you can't give specific timelines, but are we going to see anything beyond more champion bios this year? Next year? The year after that?
I cannot upvote this enough.


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DaRatmastah

Senior Member

10-04-2012

Kind of bummed that my question was the first one and went unanswered, I mean, I could understand if it was uncivil, but I just thought I was being challenging, not unpleasant :-\ Also, the issues that Amathris pointed out went unaddressed as well...


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Dorryza

Senior Member

10-04-2012

so, my question is:

At this point, what is determining Canon from Fanon (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Fanon)?