The Problems with Lore

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Mysnomer

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Senior Member

04-06-2013

I think League is missing a strong motivator. Like, during the Kalamanda incident, it was clear that there were sinister forces within the League, driving events. As League is now, we see a bunch of machinations of champions, but they're all champions, which means they can't do anything. You need 1) a champion who is aware of the information we get from biographies who may work to influence events 2) to bring back the summoners and assorted staff of the League as influential plot characters.

btw, having sinister elements in the League was a really cool idea, and went a long way to explaining why so many dangerous creatures were being collected by the summoners. It's a fair bit more interesting than some of the current dreck...

PS: You can only ape Lovecraft so much before "elder gods" becomes as dated as its subject matter :\


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Gixia

Senior Member

04-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitae View Post
First let me say, thank you for a well thought out articulate post. You obviously put a lot of thought into it.

So your two major concerns seem to be.
  • Conflicts are set up but are never resolved
  • Players don't advance the story while they play the game

Resolving Conflict

I'll agree we haven't resolved many conflicts. I'd say we're in the stage of story telling where we are more revealing our characters and our world, and the conflicts within. Look at Freljord for example - we're just now revealing the full nature of the Freljord.

This is an exciting period in our storytelling. For example, I recently saw a thread asking for more information on the Shadow Isles. There is still a lot of mystery in this faction to be revealed.

But longer term I agree we need to both explore and resolve conflict. Let me use Soraka vs Warwick as an example.

Exploring their conflict would involve telling stories involving them both they help us better understand them as characters. This could include a more detailed exploration of their origin, or stories in which Warwick attempts to hunt Soraka as examples. Most comic book stories are of this sort (two characters are in conflict, and an encounter occurs involving but not resolving that conflict).

But resolving conflict is important as well. There are numerous ways we could resolve their conflict without killing Soraka:
  • Warwick could find another form of cure (what if Soraka used her powers to cure him?)
  • Warwick could dramatially slow his decent into bestiality
  • Warwick could kill Soraka, but she could then be reborn via the power of the stars
I'm not saying we're going to do any of those, but these are examples.

The bigger question is - how will we tell all these stories? We've experimented in the past with Judgements, the JoJ, and now Quinn's journals. These are all valid storytelling medium, but we need something bigger to explore the stories of Runeterra.

So how will you tell stories?

We're still working on that but we are considering all avenues. This includes novels, comic books, video. We're still in the very early stage, but we want to bring stories to players in mediums beyond bios and forum posts with images.

But what about advancing the storyline through playing League of Legends?

So we actually do this a little. I'll give Kha'zix and Rengar's quest as an example. When that quest activates, and a player wins the quest, they are in a sense resolving their conflict. Not in a permanent way. Not in an IP affecting way. But to the players in the game at that moment it is a story-significant moment.

Similarly if Twisted Fate and Graves face off, it becomes a story significant event. The difference is we don't support that in game right now, but we'd like to do more support for these kinds of events in the future, without compromising the core multiplayer experience.

BUT I am not trying to overstate the significance here. This isn't the same level of player-involved story exploration and momentum you can achieve in a single player RPG. So what is the solution?

Well one solution would be producing a single player RPG set in the League of Legends universe that allows for deeper story exploration. This is not a teaser, but this is possible, and it's something I'd like to see happen.

So in conclusion ....

We are looking to advance the story of League of Legends. We're considering many options, including traditional story telling mediums, and other games.

The stories of Runeterra are being introduced through the League of Legends, but they will be fully explored outside of the game.

We're going to continue to work hard to bring you stories within League of Legends through bios, faction events, and careful in-game story integration like the specters in Twisted Treeline.

And we will continue to build a foundation on which we can tell great stories. This includes establishing compelling characters with strong motivations, relationships, and conflict that set up the potential for future storytelling.
I want to thank you Kitae for responding to my post. Admittedly, when I saw you had responded, I was a bit worried, as I've gotten responses from you that gave off the impression that my concerns had been misunderstood/misread, but thankfully that was not the case this time, as you did address my issues (most of them at least).

If I can say a few more things. One small correction, my concern is not with conflicts that aren't resolved, but rather with conflicts that feel like they can not be resolved. Though your response to the point still stands, with enough effort and thought, even these seemingly unresolvable conflicts can have resolutions found by looking beyond the obvious and outside the box. Which leads me back to the one issue that didn't get a response...

I understand that Riot employees are still discussing the best way to handle this, as other reds have stated in different threads, but I do feel there are better solutions to problems in older champions' backstories then simply retconning them away. And though Trundle/Anivia/Volibear are the latest to go through this, I'm not just talking about them, but rather every champion who's had their origins changed. Hell, not even just champions, but even the geography itself. To this day, I don't feel that saying Twisted Treeline is a location on the Shadow Isles is a greater solution than simply retiring Twisted Treeline entirely (lorewise it could've been undergoing environmental efforts to repair the longstanding magical damage) and giving the new Shadow Isles location a brand new name. I mean, it's already a completely different in every possible way to begin with. I strongly feel that giving an old name to a new completely unrelated character/location/item/whatever does a disservice to both. And I believe there are always better alternatives than rewriting history.

And I mean, honestly, if history absolutely MUST be rewritten, can't we at least get a story out of doing so? Something logical to explain the suddenly immersion-breaking holes that have formed in the reality you've created? You even have a time-travelling champion, and several champion skins with time-travelling themes.




And, lastly, it really would be nice if we as players/summoners could have some motivation again. Surely you're tired of being asked why champions join the league, but I can assure you that people are just as tired of asking the question. I'm not even asking for throwaway lines like we used to get. I understand those are done, and there's only so many of them you can do anyways. But, maybe, at least let's have champions lores who aren't directly incompatible with the game? Champions like Elise who's stories completely fall apart when you even try to think about why they're being summoned in-game, or champions like Syndra that leave you wondering why they'd permit themselves to be used instead of just turning against a summoners for daring to try and control them? You guys have actually been much, much better about this lately, but the issue still crops up from time to time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SoresuMakashi View Post
I'd also like to suggest a fourth, idealistic solution. What if the game evolves as lore does? You brought up the point that WW will never be able to kill Soraka without ruining the game, thus rendering the story stagnate once you look past the superficialities. Kitae countered by saying that Soraka doesn't necessarily have to die to bring the arc to a close. While you're right in saying that there would be massive community uproar about the removal of any champion from the game, this might be lessened if the champions don't die, but simply evolve. Where aesthetics, kits, and animations progressively (no retcons) change to represent shifting personalities and relationships between champions. Lore progresses, and the game progresses with it. While this sounds good in theory, I do, however, note that this is a farfetched solution. Looking at the negativity that the community has towards large gameplay changes (see: Karma/Trundle reworks), it may be extremely difficult to convince them to accept a constantly changing game, especially when you consider that most of them don't actually care about lore. I'm not even sure that they can be convinced. I'm just saying that it would be easier than convincing them about the need to entirely remove a champion.
This is something I considered, but dismissed as even remotely possible for 2 reasons.

1. As you mentioned, community outrage. The community will outrage when change happens no matter what. Sometimes the rage will be justified (Trundle, retcon of previous lore and complete removal of prior characterization makes this just scream bad idea). Sometimes it will not (Sejuani, who's mostly just the same as she was before but with what is essentially a new free armoured skin). And sometimes it'll be a bit of half and half (Karma, who is supposed to be advancement of the lore, which would be a valid change, but the feel of the lore progressing was not conveyed properly and makes her feel like more of a retcon than she actually is). No matter what though, people will rage, and something like this would amplify all the fuss a thousand fold.

2. This would essentially require regular character reworks, often for champions who don't actually need it. That's a MASSIVE amount of extra work, and nowhere near sustainable. Just look at the speed of character reworks happening now. We're getting 3 back to back so it feels fast, but otherwise they've been coming pretty slowly. It would also require lore that moves at a faster pace, and honestly, it's pretty glacial right now.

Quote:
Edit: Clarifying above idea with Trundle example. Trundle keeps his old lore, wandering to the numbing cold of the freljord to stop the pain and decay of his body. There, he meets a new troll tribe who is accepting of him. He stays, having finally found a place for himself. Then his new lore continues as currently planned (becomes the leader of the Tribe, meets the Ice Witch etc.). His abilities (and other elements of the game, IF appropriate) change to an ice-inspired theme, and there, lore has progressed with the game supporting it.
Lots of people have had similar ideas to this, and even before Trundle's new lore was actually revealed, this was probably the most common assumption as to what was going to happen, which made it that much more disappointing when things didn't go in this direction, and is debatably the primary cause of all the current outrage about him. Though personally, I'd tweak it a bit so that the Ice Witch either removes entirely, or causes the curse to become dormant somehow, explaining his new non-diseased appearance (and making her come off as less stupid to so blindly trust him by giving her some leverage over him, possibly the ability to cause the curse to return?). I'd also have the new troll tribe not fully accept him, but change his quest from one to simply get a fancy weapon to become their leader, to being a quest specifically for their acceptance, by proving to them how great he is by getting a fancy weapon AND getting rid of his curse at the same time.

The point is, old Trundle lore was fully compatible with the new one, but it required some work to connect it, and we didn't get that. So it feels like we're not getting 100% effort here, which leaves a bad taste in people's mouths.


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Wendek

Senior Member

04-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitae View Post
Wall o' text
I'd love a LoL-themed RPG so much. As long as I get to play champs from most factions, that is (yes I still hate the Demacian/Noxian line and will forever). Me wants to play as Morgana or Zyra. :'(


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Righteous Cause

Junior Member

04-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoresuMakashi View Post
Great post OP.

I'd also like to suggest a fourth, idealistic solution. What if the game evolves as lore does? You brought up the point that WW will never be able to kill Soraka without ruining the game, thus rendering the story stagnate once you look past the superficialities. Kitae countered by saying that Soraka doesn't necessarily have to die to bring the arc to a close. While you're right in saying that there would be massive community uproar about the removal of any champion from the game, this might be lessened if the champions don't die, but simply evolve. Where aesthetics, kits, and animations progressively (no retcons) change to represent shifting personalities and relationships between champions. Lore progresses, and the game progresses with it. While this sounds good in theory, I do, however, note that this is a farfetched solution. Looking at the negativity that the community has towards large gameplay changes (see: Karma/Trundle reworks), it may be extremely difficult to convince them to accept a constantly changing game, especially when you consider that most of them don't actually care about lore. I'm not even sure that they can be convinced. I'm just saying that it would be easier than convincing them about the need to entirely remove a champion.
If what Kitae said about the story being told outside the playable game becomes the standard, I see no reason this couldn't work. Think of any fighting game where you can play as a character or the EX version of that character (Patroklos or α Patroklos from Soul Calibur, for example). If the multiplayer games we play in LOL aren't canon or important to the story anymore, I see no reason that when a character evolves in the story, we couldn't have a new kit and theme for the champ to choose from in addition to the old one. Just food for thought.


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woopyfrood

Senior Member

04-06-2013

@kitae

Even if it takes some slightly contrived interaction with other champions, I want Trundle: Chapter 2, not an entirely different story about the Troll King.

Trundle's main goal is to seek acceptance. That's why he chooses to stay in the League, because the sense of cooperating with a summoner is the best "cure" he has yet found. The pain of being shunned was greater than the pain of his plague.

Couldn't that desire lead him down many paths? What if Viktor promises him augments that could relieve the pain and give him a place in the Cult of the Machine? What if Singed takes him under his wing so he can research the weaponized uses of his plague, allying him with Noxus? What if Jarvan recruited him because Jarvan is a cool dude like that?

All of these would continue his story, leave them open ended, and lead to VU's that would keep his essential character and his thematic mesh with his abilities.


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Kuwalda

Senior Member

04-06-2013

Completely agreed. I have written about the direction Riot is going with lore in other threads so not going to repeat myself, but if after a whole year they are still at the early stages of experimenting, I wonder how long will it actually take to do something complete.


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Tolfor

Senior Member

04-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitae View Post
[a long, well-thought-out response]
Kitae, I want to pop into this thread for a second just to thank you for making that post. I have long been a pretty staunch critic of your lore philosophies, but I was pleased to see that you're actually thinking about this sort of thing. My only complaint is that I feel Riot should have been done with the world-building/introduction phase long ago, but you weren't in charge then, so I guess better late than never.


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ElevenOfClubs

Senior Member

04-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWGrulz View Post
It may seem kind of obvious, but i see a lot of potential in this through skins.
Bring out new skins that work to track a characters progression, or story development. ....
How awesome would a fallen Warwick skin be?

Warwick has failed to achieve the divine heart in time and is now nothing more than a ravaging beast, only through the magic of summoning able to be kept pointed at the enemy team.

I think this might need to be a legendary...


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ElevenOfClubs

Senior Member

04-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by woopyfrood View Post
@kitae

Even if it takes some slightly contrived interaction with other champions, I want Trundle: Chapter 2, not an entirely different story about the Troll King.

Trundle's main goal is to seek acceptance. That's why he chooses to stay in the League, because the sense of cooperating with a summoner is the best "cure" he has yet found. The pain of being shunned was greater than the pain of his plague.

Couldn't that desire lead him down many paths? What if Viktor promises him augments that could relieve the pain and give him a place in the Cult of the Machine? What if Singed takes him under his wing so he can research the weaponized uses of his plague, allying him with Noxus? What if Jarvan recruited him because Jarvan is a cool dude like that?

All of these would continue his story, leave them open ended, and lead to VU's that would keep his essential character and his thematic mesh with his abilities.
After reading Trundle's Judgment, I wanted his new lore to be the story of how he used the influence and resources of being a league champion to go forth and TAKE the acceptance, the prestige, and the honored position he's always wanted.

I wanted the new lore to be about Trundle the runt who chose to be Trundle the Ice King.

Granted, I do really like the new Trundle lore, I just think that it could be a very interesting and compelling story as an evolution from what was.


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Levik

Senior Member

04-06-2013

I really enjoy this thread so I just want to thank most everyone who has posted here for keeping it well thought and calm; I just want a thread where I can discuss lore! And thank you kitae for the thoughtful response.

Thanks aside, reading this thread has changed my views on the lore reworks slightly, but I really like all of the views here. I will admit that changing the lore so drastically was a bit of a mistake, but the lore of Runeterra needs a change. I believe that Riot is taking their lore more seriously than they have in the beginning and that is why we are seeing these reworks.

Removing Disjointed Worlds
Humor me for a moment: Think about the champions that were first released, they came from strange other worlds and were basically forced into this one. The Void is the only "world" I can see this working with because it has such possibilities for future interaction, but the worlds were Anivia, Morgana, Kayle, Nasus, and Renekton came from seem disjointed from Runeterra and the champions just didn't seem to have any reason to be here other than the fact they they were pulled out of their worlds. There doesn't seem to be any reason for this because Valoran itself has the possibility for strong champions so why did the summoners have to look in other worlds? I am 100% okay with reworking the lore of champions that came from these disjointed worlds as long as it works. I really like what they did with Anivia because now she has something at stake in the world since it is her true home. I hope I am making sense.

Regional Lore Progression
Another reason I think Riot is taking their lore more seriously is the fact that they are defining sides. Everything with the Shadow Isles put them on the world as more than just a spooky island filled with undead. It was a serious jump forward in the Shadow Isles lore and I am actually happy that they placed Karthus there (although I believe this one could have progressed Karthus' plot to the Shadow Isles, but I am happy nonetheless). His old lore had no place in the world, no connections, no real reason to join the League other than "for his own reasons". True, this left the world open to those with imagination, but it takes away from those who really just want to immerse themselves in the world that was created by Riot as is. I will admit that current champions seem to have no real reason for joining the League now either, but they are now on a side and Riot can give all of the champions a reason for joining the League simply by giving their side a reason for being more active in Valoran. Look at the Freljord changes (yes lots of people are upset about Trundle, but humor me), all of the Freljord champions have a definite place in the world and the stage has been set for significant lore progress for Freljord as a whole; regional lore progression. Maybe not so much the individual champions themselves, but, as Gixia has stated, character based stories will not work in a large multiplayer world like League of Legends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWGrulz View Post
It may seem kind of obvious, but i see a lot of potential in this through skins.
Bring out new skins that work to track a characters progression, or story development. (They could even become the new default skin, and the old default skin becomes one you can buy?)
I really like this idea. It would not require a rework for all champions who are affected by regional lore progression, just a change in skin. Just look at the Blackfrost Anivia skin! If the Ice Witch takes over Freljord Anivia specifically has a huge margin for plot progression, actually this is possible regardless of who wins Freljord because now she is directly tied to Valoran! Now look at Noxus, Swain has control of the city-state and the Du Couteau family wants their power back. The progression of Noxus' plot will directly affect Swain's party and the Du Couteau party (Crimson Elite). I am very optimistic about the lore shifting to regional progression because that is what the League is all about - settling disputes in Valoran.

Trundle
Ah, Trundle. Personally, I like the changes to Trundle's lore because it gives him a place in the world, a reason for his abilities, and a true reason to join the League. I understand that Trundle could have been given a place in the world by progressing his plot! I may have preferred that, but I do not believe that Trundle had enough of a reason to join the League in the first place (do not down vote me because of this, I am open for debate!). Trundle's lore states that he joined the League to "find a cure" for his condition which seems strange to me: why would someone join a gladiator style judicial system when they are simply seeking a cure for a disease? I can understand traveling to the Institute of War to seek help from the most powerful mages in all of Valoran, the summoners, but why would he join the League to do this? I assume there are plenty of summoners who dabble in the healing arts, Trundle could have discovered everything in his Judgement with a visit to one of these summoners. Now you may say, "but Trundle joined the League because he didn't want to be alone!" and I would say that Trundle had did not have the desire to meddle in the affairs of Valoran (as stated in his lore "They [trolls] are creatures relegated to the murky recesses of the world, hidden away from most intelligent beings") nor any reason to test and see if being summoned would cause him to no longer feel alone. Now Trundle has reason to join the League because he is part of a specific region and he has the ability to change the face of Freljord through the coming conflict.

Conclusion
I believe the direction Riot is going with their lore is promising, but it is still in the early stages! Blizzard takes 10+ years to release a game, give Riot some more time to get it right and enjoy the segments of lore they give us now. Finally, I believe that champion plot progression would be very good, this thread has convinced me of that, but not until the base lore is properly taken care of.

Disagree with me? Fine, I would love to discuss it! My views are always open to change.

- Levik


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