A Maokai Lore Re-Rewrite...

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Ryugi Kazamaru

Senior Member

11-09-2013

I do not claim to be the best writer in the world, nor do I claim that I am the best person to pass judgement on our friends in the Lore Department. For a while, I've been a supporter of them trying to improve or update their universe, however, there comes a time when all those claims of "Even I can do better than that!" need to be answered with an attempt at proof.

I love League's lore. If not for the lore, I seriously would have stopped playing the game long ago. As some of you may know, Maokai was actually born from a Riot Roleplaying event on these forums. The community had a direct effect on birthing him into life. To cast that aside in the rewrite, I felt, was wrong.

I am saddened to admit that I could not think of a way to bring the original origin story to life in this re-rewrite, but I did honestly try. Failing that, however, I have tried to capture the spirit of old Maokai as best as I could, while still fusing him with the new direction in which Riot is attempting to take him.

I know not everyone will like it. Some of my friends may even hate what I've written as much as the original rewrite. However, I am passionate about this universe, and if what I have written can change even one mind at Riot, or pay homage to the true spirit of old Maokai without completely losing him...then I have done my job.

So, here it is. My attempt at rewriting Maokai's lore. Constructive criticism is welcome, as is discussion. For those I may offend with this endeavor, I'm sorry, but I honestly did write this in an attempt to fix what I saw as glaring problems in the original rewrite...

Quote:
To most, the Shadow Isles are a place of darkness and corruption, filled with undeath and sinister magics. However, this was not always the case, and no being alive or undead knows this better than Maokai. These secluded isles were once a place teeming with natural beauty, but no greater example of this paradise existed than the isles’ sacred forest, home to countless species and ancient, towering trees.

Of those trees, the oldest and longest lived was a massive, ancient oak. For centuries, the sorcerers of the isles performed great feats of magic, drawing energy from this tree and nature itself to all but eliminate the aging of their people. However, being almost ageless was not enough for the dying king of the Shadow Isles. In his quest for a cure to death, he commanded his sorcerers to breach the barrier between life and death, and allow him and his people to reach true immortality.

As the sorcerers drank deeply from the natural energy, vitality poured forth, draining the very essence of the land. People were warped into twisted shades, and the ancient forest withered, twisting the beauty of the isles into an abomination, a mix of both life and death. As the chaotic energies mixed and intermingled, the mighty oak at the center of the forest roared to life, sparked into consciousness by the corrupting forces of the arcane rituals, and the will of nature to survive.

The sorcerers recoiled in horror as the source of their power rebelled with terrible fury. They turned their magics onto the ancient tree, draining away his life force and corrupting his once pristine form. Even as they sought to silence him, the forest rose to challenge them. Saplings tore free of their roots and exploded with the power of nature itself, tearing through the ranks of the sorcerers, even as the very energy of their spells were turned on them by the great tree, rending them apart. However, though valiant, Maokai’s efforts were in vain. The Shadow Isles were corrupted, and forever changed…

For ages, pain, sorrow, and loss were the only companions Maokai knew. Though his body harbored the very spirit of the isles’ natural beauty at its core, he cursed his failure and existence. His life essence drew the undead to him, each one seeking to drain the last of the vitality from his once brilliant boughs. Knowing he could not keep it from them forever, Maokai hurled himself into the sea, leaving behind the only home he had ever known in an effort to protect the spark that remained inside him, and seek a way to restore that which had been undone and end his suffering.

When tales of a living tree surfaced near the shores of Demacia, the League was quick to make contact. The fierce resistance of Maokai to the summoners eventually gave way to reason. Under the expressed understanding that they assist in helping him find a way to restore the Shadow Isles to their former glory, Maokai joined the League of Legends. His sole purpose was clear: to grant him, and his home, peace once more, and free them from their eternal curse, even if it meant his own death...


“I will use this power, until they can once more be free.”
--Maokai


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KiteMeGood

Senior Member

11-09-2013

Too bad Kitae decides the IoW does not exist in her little vision of what league lore should be like


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PubME

Senior Member

11-09-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryugi Kazamaru View Post
I do not claim to be the best writer in the world, nor do I claim that I am the best person to pass judgement on our friends in the Lore Department. For a while, I've been a supporter of them trying to improve or update their universe, however, there comes a time when all those claims of "Even I can do better than that!" need to be answered with an attempt at proof.

I love League's lore. If not for the lore, I seriously would have stopped playing the game long ago. As some of you may know, Maokai was actually born from a Riot Roleplaying event on these forums. The community had a direct effect on birthing him into life. To cast that aside in the rewrite, I felt, was wrong.

I am saddened to admit that I could not think of a way to bring the original origin story to life in this re-rewrite, but I did honestly try. Failing that, however, I have tried to capture the spirit of old Maokai as best as I could, while still fusing him with the new direction in which Riot is attempting to take him.

I know not everyone will like it. Some of my friends may even hate what I've written as much as the original rewrite. However, I am passionate about this universe, and if what I have written can change even one mind at Riot, or pay homage to the true spirit of old Maokai without completely losing him...then I have done my job.

So, here it is. My attempt at rewriting Maokai's lore. Constructive criticism is welcome, as is discussion. For those I may offend with this endeavor, I'm sorry, but I honestly did write this in an attempt to fix what I saw as glaring problems in the original rewrite...
Not bad! Very interesting fusion between the original and new lore. And honestly, the Maokai quote at the end is powerful. If that's all you saw, you'd immediately wonder, "Who are they?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by KiteMeGood View Post
Too bad Kitae decides the IoW does not exist in her little vision of what league lore should be like
That's really not correct or productive...


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Ryugi Kazamaru

Senior Member

11-09-2013

Well, the guy has some small point, at least. Most new lore doesn't mention the League, or a reason for the champions joining the League. It typically mentions just their motivations for doing what it is they do.

Still, the last paragraph could be removed and my rewrite would still make sense.

Honestly, the only thing that I seem to have left out is that there was a long time before Maokai made landfall, since the Shadow Isles were probably not converted anytime recently.


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PubME

Senior Member

11-09-2013

There's an old post from early 2012 that says the lore team is moving away from the Institute of War, Journal of Justice, and the whole "reason for joining the League" portion of lore anyway.

They've admitted it's a dead end, and in a sense of storylines, it really does limit future possibilities.


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

11-09-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by PubME View Post
There's an old post from early 2012 that says the lore team is moving away from the Institute of War, Journal of Justice, and the whole "reason for joining the League" portion of lore anyway.

They've admitted it's a dead end, and in a sense of storylines, it really does limit future possibilities.
I like the lore rewrite, but I cannot disagree with this statement any stronger. I can make an essay as to how the IoW can be used, successfully, to create more stories.

And besides, it's not like they've advanced any further. By opening borders, you're supposed to be able to create a storyline, meanwhile LoL's story is still weak because it's being rewritten, convoluted and no one knows what's going on.

Before you disagree with me, let's do an exercise shall we?

How old is Riven?

Why does this matter?

How long did the Ionian-Noxian war last? How old was Riven during it? How old was Darius during it? At what time period is the Freljordian stuff happening? Why do we have the Ionian Boots if the IoW has been retconned since they're supposed to be, and still have the flavor text for now, the reward for Ionia's victory and reclaiming of their territories from Noxus?

What is the time frame that all of these events are set in? When did Maokai become a literal piece of driftwood, how long has he been traveling for, how long has he been searching for, when did Leona and Diana become enemies, are Noxus and Demacia still at war, is Swain still the leader of Noxus or did they retcon that as well?

The most definitive answer is this: Who knows.

So with the IoW, or without it, really, there's no structure, no flow to anything and thus a coherent story cannot be created when the foundations of a building are not set.

Just ask Singed, who is still Warwick's apprentice.


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Onegarion

Senior Member

11-09-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Viper View Post
I like the lore rewrite, but I cannot disagree with this statement any stronger. I can make an essay as to how the IoW can be used, successfully, to create more stories.

And besides, it's not like they've advanced any further. By opening borders, you're supposed to be able to create a storyline, meanwhile LoL's story is still weak because it's being rewritten, convoluted and no one knows what's going on.

Before you disagree with me, let's do an exercise shall we?

How old is Riven?

Why does this matter?

How long did the Ionian-Noxian war last? How old was Riven during it? How old was Darius during it? At what time period is the Freljordian stuff happening? Why do we have the Ionian Boots if the IoW has been retconned since they're supposed to be, and still have the flavor text for now, the reward for Ionia's victory and reclaiming of their territories from Noxus?

What is the time frame that all of these events are set in? When did Maokai become a literal piece of driftwood, how long has he been traveling for, how long has he been searching for, when did Leona and Diana become enemies, are Noxus and Demacia still at war, is Swain still the leader of Noxus or did they retcon that as well?

The most definitive answer is this: Who knows.

So with the IoW, or without it, really, there's no structure, no flow to anything and thus a coherent story cannot be created when the foundations of a building are not set.

Just ask Singed, who is still Warwick's apprentice.
The overall concept you describe here I think is why this forum is not that great. I myself am trying to find as much as I can about new and old lore, but when there are so many different things, some of which contradict themselves, it makes it hard to keep wanting to look for them. I know LoL is constantly growing and while I liked the JoJ there is a point where things change. Looking at Trundle's old lore the only thing I could see coming out of it was maybe another Champ (the one who cursed them) or some weird story to find a cure, but that would be stale and boring since that seemed to happen all the time.

I did see in another thread that it seems like everyone is starting to become the Main character. While this can get a little annoying I think things like that need to happen though since this is the League of Legends not the league of Average People. In saying that look at Maokai's old lore; he is a tree that became sentient and wants to be a tree again and all the while saving nature. Sounds like a better backstory for a secondary person who isn't a champion than a real champion. Maokai doesn't really have a reason to fight. Trundle never really had a reason to fight. It made them look more like slaves than actual Legends. They fought because the league promised them help in finding a solution of which may never come.

By changing their stories to make them actual Legends it opens the world up more to the little subtleties. You can talk about Trundle's home now that he is the king or Udyr's past (i'm not up to much about Udyr, but I know he was changed). We won't see much progression in this story until everyone's stories line up to be in the same time. You can't determine the Age of champions when things are changing. You can't determine the things that matter until everyone is on the same page. Until then we can't move on and we can't progress. We have to stay with broken lore Like sivir's that leaves so many possibilities and with the VU of Nasus could change so many things. It changes the scene of the world (since you can Presume that Casseopeia is not a serpent yet). It changes these timelines and they must be fixed before we can move on. While I like Maokai's old lore it doesn't do that in which I just described. The new lore (while I have issues in places) leaves it open to a much more extraordinary being and allows more things to occur after the timeline is mended.


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Methelod

Senior Member

11-11-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onegarion View Post
The overall concept you describe here I think is why this forum is not that great. I myself am trying to find as much as I can about new and old lore, but when there are so many different things, some of which contradict themselves, it makes it hard to keep wanting to look for them. I know LoL is constantly growing and while I liked the JoJ there is a point where things change. Looking at Trundle's old lore the only thing I could see coming out of it was maybe another Champ (the one who cursed them) or some weird story to find a cure, but that would be stale and boring since that seemed to happen all the time.
I'm going to have to disagree. Yea, out of his old lore by itself not many stories can be directly pulled from it, but what you COULD do is to end that story arc which they effectively did with his Judgement by him accepting his curse and position. But that isn't the end, use the character traits they gave him in that story and build from the character. He clearly has to interact with the world in some way, so a correct way to go about it would be to describe what he does, what his impact has been and open up more story arcs.

Trundle, to my understanding of his old lore could have picked a fight with one of the 'popular' champs, moved to a new society (Oh look, an explanation for the rework) and deal with the cultural differences, and various other things.

Quote:
I did see in another thread that it seems like everyone is starting to become the Main character. While this can get a little annoying I think things like that need to happen though since this is the League of Legends not the league of Average People. In saying that look at Maokai's old lore; he is a tree that became sentient and wants to be a tree again and all the while saving nature. Sounds like a better backstory for a secondary person who isn't a champion than a real champion. Maokai doesn't really have a reason to fight. Trundle never really had a reason to fight. It made them look more like slaves than actual Legends. They fought because the league promised them help in finding a solution of which may never come.
Trundle's judgement touches on this somewhat, he could find a cure but that would recurse his tribe. He didn't want too because they would die without it and he had already martyred himself once for them. As for Maokai's, you summed it up moderately well but remember, he's a living tree, who eats magic. While I'm a bit biased, one of the more interesting parts of his lore was the fact that he was spawn in a roleplaying event on Riot's forums. And I think they were treated like slaves... and that was a key part of the Leagues story. Going through the JoJ, and older lore in general there was a feeling that the League was also acting in it's own self-interest at points (Like Kalamanda).

Quote:
By changing their stories to make them actual Legends it opens the world up more to the little subtleties. You can talk about Trundle's home now that he is the king or Udyr's past (i'm not up to much about Udyr, but I know he was changed). We won't see much progression in this story until everyone's stories line up to be in the same time. You can't determine the Age of champions when things are changing. You can't determine the things that matter until everyone is on the same page. Until then we can't move on and we can't progress. We have to stay with broken lore Like sivir's that leaves so many possibilities and with the VU of Nasus could change so many things. It changes the scene of the world (since you can Presume that Casseopeia is not a serpent yet). It changes these timelines and they must be fixed before we can move on. While I like Maokai's old lore it doesn't do that in which I just described. The new lore (while I have issues in places) leaves it open to a much more extraordinary being and allows more things to occur after the timeline is mended.
I'm going to have to disagree with this. The stories that the Lore team has written are going to have a difficult time being closed, if at all. If you want storylines closed, you move them to Champions vs Non-champs, or anything like that. This isn't to say that every storyline has to be closed. Leona and Diana in my opinion is a great potential story, they hate each other but there is apparently a connection between them. They might end up forgiving each other, but the other natural end of that is one of them dying/killing the other. Will it ever happen? Probably not, but it does add fuel. I just find it rather pointless to change, mutate and destroy for the sake of improving the world while you could just add to the stories and lore.


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PubME

Senior Member

11-11-2013

^ For the post directly above me, didn't want to spam by quoting the whole thing and I don't have time to quote properly in segments. Sorry for that, but I wanted to respond, and it's mostly a general response.

It feels like your disagreements have more to do with resistance to change than a desire to keep the old lore.

Some stories are meant to end; some are meant never to end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methelod View Post
I just find it rather pointless to change, mutate and destroy for the sake of improving the world while you could just add to the stories and lore.
This final thought is what really caught my attention. I don't know what the Lore Team is working on, or how many people work on the team. As such, I can't say how big the lore project is in scope, but I have to assume that they're working on an entire universe.

If that's the case, each champion is one little fish in a giant ocean, they're all disconnected, and nothing is related in any way other than the Institute of War. My gut tells me all the lore changes are to bring the universe together so that the individual champions stand out as giant fish in a giant ocean.

Plus, I'm a little biased on this point because I like the new stories more than the old. Poeple dislike me for it, but I like Trundle's new lore more, for example.


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Methelod

Senior Member

11-11-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by PubME View Post
^ For the post directly above me, didn't want to spam by quoting the whole thing and I don't have time to quote properly in segments. Sorry for that, but I wanted to respond, and it's mostly a general response.

It feels like your disagreements have more to do with resistance to change than a desire to keep the old lore.

Some stories are meant to end; some are meant never to end.



This final thought is what really caught my attention. I don't know what the Lore Team is working on, or how many people work on the team. As such, I can't say how big the lore project is in scope, but I have to assume that they're working on an entire universe.

If that's the case, each champion is one little fish in a giant ocean, they're all disconnected, and nothing is related in any way other than the Institute of War. My gut tells me all the lore changes are to bring the universe together so that the individual champions stand out as giant fish in a giant ocean.

Plus, I'm a little biased on this point because I like the new stories more than the old. Poeple dislike me for it, but I like Trundle's new lore more, for example.
Well, no one should dislike another for simple opinion. But now that's out of the way, it's not a resistance to change. It's more that well, compared to before it seems that the world is hollow. I prefer characters growing and developing. It's not change that I dislike, it's silly change that I dislike. People who like characters often like their lore, and in half the changes, you could just advance the characters story to the new point.

For example, Trundle could have moved to Freljord as I said, and took over the troll tribes. Ta-dah! You have kept the character in tact, explained a rework and made a believable story. Udyr could have something similar (Although I still believe the move to Freljord was silly and makes no sense).

I want story progression, I want character development. I don't want mary and gary sues everywhere I look. Yes, I realize it is the League of Legends, that doesn't mean that the characters need to be flat outside of their abilities. Related to that, technically almost every well written story ends. It's just a matter of how it ends, some stories let the readers fill in the blanks but they point them in a direction usually, others are very firm about how it ends but they end. What we have now is the start of stories that cannot move at all because in their resolution characters would die and since champions cannot be removed, the story cannot be moved.

As for the lore team's scale, they weren't working on an entire universe, they are working on a continent and a disconnected set of Islands. They removed Lokfar (As a separate place from Freljord), they removed the Howling Marsh, and overall the world is getting smaller. While some champs are getting more connected, they tend to only be connected with champs of a similar city state. This does and doesn't make sense given the Institute, which should act as a unifying force to bring champs from different city states together in relationships they normally wouldn't have.


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