Narrative Woes Or; Riot’s making the Next Sword Art Online

I’ve commented on Lore in the past, primarily on Bilgewater to look at how Riot’s Narrative Department has a LOT of missed opportunities. From the weak dialogue to Olaf being taken STRAIGHT out of a TVtropes page (google “Plucky Comic Relief” for more information), it doesn’t look good from a critic’s perspective. Then they headed to Targon with a Hitler Quote fiasco from Leona and generally relegating the cast to a one-dimensional plane (a ‘morality spectrum’ is still a line and therefore forms 1-D characters).

Bloodlines made things even worse when it comes to continuity as no one knows what either side is fighting for (look in the text and Nasus says even HE does not have any idea what Azir fights for). This, from a drama perspective, ruins the chance of emotional involvement. Xerath uses generic desert thugs and Nasus gets his ass whipped by Xerath which would have totally not been the case if Nasus hadn’t used his ult for a couple of comparative kids (which is only good as an excuse if you consider Nasus to be an arrogant prick who made up a false history to make sure the royal family would live on). Taliyah also completely ruins any further drama by saving everyone with her rock power from the most powerful mage in Shurima. It’s very safe to say that she’s a Mary Sue.

Then we had the Zaun update. I actually like the idea of Zaun being the depths of Piltover, the idea of invention turned into a capitalistic cult, ever striving for the concept that is Progress. Progress Day, for example, is alright, even if the protagonist is a little flat and god forbid anyone try to explain anything sciencey. It’s a highlight of the rework, although it doesn’t do enough by itself. Especially when you consider that it really is the highlight. The backstories work albeit it’s rather back and forth. Warwick’s is a bait and switch with a “Monster Morality Check”. This might have actually been interesting, if any supporting cast members didn’t become mindless drones in the face of the protagonist. It was then simply left there, a static status quo with nothing really going on for what is probably going to stay there for a whole 3-4 months before something interesting happens (although I personally feel like Urgot’s release lore will be focusing more around Noxus than Zaun). Also Viktor sells drugs to children to remove their empathy (morally ambiguity is REALLY HARD).

The Demacian and Vastayan lore came out quite close together, and were just as if not even worse off. TBSkyen has done a really great job breaking this stuff down if you have the time. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its good parts, but the bad heavily outweighs the good.

For example, what’s the point of Shyvana’s character arc? It starts off with being about her trying to become her own person, trying to run away from her mother and her identity as a half-dragon. By the end though, it turns out that she admires DEMACIA because of their “unity of purpose”. Instead of actually dealing with becoming herself, she serves under Jarvan 4 because he’s more understanding than her pissed off Mom.

I believe there is a retort to this though, in “that’s the point, they’ll get around to solving it eventually!” If that’s the case, then how interested in Justice League are you after the sloppy Superman releases? (MAARRTHHAAA!) A story should always have a hook about the specific story you’re trying to tell, not make a Roundabout meme every time. Even then I highly doubt Riot have the skill to pull off what Araki-sensei does.

Not to mention that this in her BIOGRAPHY, not their short stories. Instead of having this passive shit, we should be there and experiencing the action first-hand, although I highly doubt Narrative’s competency at writing action after they released the mediocre Marvel knock-offs that were Burning Tides and Shadows and Fortune. Despite this, every single piece has featured action as if it’s the only feasible way for the audience of twenty year olds to tell their parents that they got through their reading quota for the day.

That’s not how to engage an audience, and when the community regularly censors anyone who speaks out on the topic through sheer force of downvotes there’s no way that anyone can criticize any aspect without it turning into an incredibly divisive series on par with the somehow living Sword Art Online fanbase. We’ve already gone through two years worth of semen in the gap left by the retcon, and I really don’t feel like I want to be Asuna during the Fairy Dance Arc.

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