Archive for Leauge of Legends

Elaboration ’bout Overwatch cohesiveness

So what is it about this whole “cohesive world” thing that I get so excited about with Overwatch? To answer that I need to explain why I consider Overwatch to be a cohesive world whilst I scoff at the mere notion of calling LOL or DOTA2 cohesive worlds.

What makes my glue cohesive?

DOTA2 is a world filled with heroes from many walks of life, it is a magical world reminiscent of a high fantasy landscape. There are wizards and warriors and spiders and maniacs with dendrophobia. DOTA2, or just DOTA, is a mod of Warcraft 3, which is why DOTAs’ heroes looks like they could have been Blizzard made. Someone thought of a cool mod/custom map to make and poof, we had DOTA. It did get some cohesiveness just from the fact that the assets used to build it had a innate cohesiveness with each other. But it is mostly a “superficial” cohesiveness. It is true that some heroes have connections with each other outside the one you create in-game during a match, but often it is very loose. Also, regarding the fact that the heroes comes from many walks of life, it is a mess. We have a Greek god, manifestations of high concepts/cosmic energies, a spider that want everyone to leave her kids alone, wizards, warriors etc. etc. It is a big mish-mash of colors and ideas. Here is where I say that we see that the glue isn’t strong enough, everyone is so different and their narrative power levels are super unbalanced. Also, no one seems to have a reason for fighting in during the match, why would they fight for either the Radiant or the Dire? (To be fair, this last complaint is overly nitpicky, since the game would suffer if you could only use some heroes with either team or if some heroes couldn’t be used in the same team. Gameplay should in these kinds of games always come first)

So I picked out 3 reasons why I think DOTA2’s glue isn’t as sticky as it should be.

  1. The games world wasn’t thought out from the beginning and is just a throw together.
  2. The “lore”, the info about the heroes, isn’t connected, some of it is but most isn’t.
  3. How can the more humble heroes stand up against literal gods? The power differences aren’t explained.

LOL also suffer from these points, although in a lesser extent. LOL’s world isn’t in the same way a party mix, since the world the fighting takes place in is thought out. The story of LOL, if I don’t remember wrong, is that lords in a kingdom is struggling for control off the throne, which is done by summoning champions from different worlds to fight and represent them in a alternate dimension. This little bit of story gives a “logical” explanation to why the heroes are so different, and why they are fighting. Thought to be honest, I think this is a lazy way to explain everything and it feels more like an excuse than a actual reason, but it works, which they should get some credit for.

The power differences still aren’t explained though.

Sticky, gluey Overwatch.

Overwatch doesn’t have these problems, since their lore is cohesive from the get go (and it is better and more interesting than LOL’s lore). The world of Overwatch is our own but a alternate version of it. In the Overwatch world, technology has come a long way, so long a way that it almost destroyed mankind. Mankind created self supplying factories that started spewing out death robots. This is called the Omnic crisis, and it is very important for the Overwatch universe, since it explains everything! (Not everything but many of the things)

To fight of the machine onslaught humanity created counter measures, and people from all walks of life had to take up the fight against the machines, or else they would perish. This explains why we have a former professional athlete running around with a lazor spewing gun, this explains why we have two psychotic killers equipped weapons made of scraps. Because they were just like everyone else in this world effected by the Omnic crisis.

Why do the heroes have such awesome, superhuman abilities, because it is only technology, just the very advanced sort.

How can they fight on an even playing field, because no one is a god, they are all just humans (except Zenyatta and Bastion) and they have been fighting the same kind of things. And they are all connected due to the fact that they are all earthlings, and they have all experienced the Omnic crisis.

What does this world consistency mean?

The good thing about a consistent/cohesive (maybe I should have used consistent instead of cohesive) is that if done right, nothing in it will feel out of place. Overwatch have a talking gorilla that have lived on the moon, but it doesn’t feel out of place nor random, it feels like something that truly belongs to this world (will get to that in another post). What it also means is that the game and the world can evolve alongside each other. When a new hero is introduced in Overwatch, we will learn more about this world and this characters relation to the other heroes. When a new hero is introduced in LOL, we learn about that hero.

I am not saying that LOL or DOTA2 are bad games because their worlds aren’t as consistent as Overwatch’s , because both of are wonderful games and they can do things story wise/narratively that Overwatch can’t, but as I wrote in the last post, I want to see what Blizzard will do with this.

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Narrativity: LOL (leauge of legends) Ekko

I had planned to write this quite a while back, when this was a more recent event/news.

But I will do it now instead, since I now have the time to do it. So LOL released a new character called Ekko and had a trailer accompanying him (there was also a comic (which I think came later(at least I read it much later))). The trailer was very cool and all… but when it was done I just wondered “why?”. Let me explain myself, I am all for doing promotion for new characters in a game, heck, I love all the trailers that accompanied every new SSB4 character (SSB4 = Super Smash Brothers for Wii U/3DS).

But what strikes me as odd, is the amount of work to get a narrativ in to the trailer. It is a beautiful, excellent trailer and it tickles my interest. But it doesn’t make me want to play LoL, I want to finde out more about Ekko and his world (which is part of the LoL world i guess). Because that trailer presents a rich narrative for that character in just under 2:30 minutes while at the same time showing of game mechanics (at least I think it does, I don’t play LoL so I don’t know for sure if the trailer is representative of the character in-game). It creates questions, whose glasses/goggles are we shown in the beginning? What are the paintings on the wall? Why does Ekko want to protect the wall?

This are great foundations for a story and it hooks you in. Just during the trailer, we get to see Ekko go from cool and calm about this whole time rewinding stuff. Saying that people constantly wish for more time. Time to fix things in their lives since they wasted away the one they were given, not fix things, whilest he only need a few seconds to fix all his problems. But as we see during the trailer he gets beat up and needs to rewind time again and again to beat his foe. But what we also see during this pummeling of Ekko is that even though he has this god like ability, he can’t escape his past. He can move back in time, but the things that happens to his body is still felt, he is still hurt. So even though he could theoratically undo any mistakes, he will still feel the consequences of the ones he made. Which is then clearly shown at the end of the trailer when the wall is destroyed and the owner of the destroyed goggles are revaled (okey, they do show it before hand but this is the moment when you are supposed to realise it as a first time viewer). That no matter how much he tries to undo all of his mistakes, new ones will emerge. He beates the bad guy, but he memory wall is destroyed. He saves the memory wall but his friend is still dead. Ekko is a “typical” tragic hero. Even though he has the potential to save everyone he will never be able to do it, because ironically enough, there isn’t enough time. Which is shown in the comic and hinted at in the trailer.

So why this long rambling about a trailer for a game I don’t play? Because it saddens me. This is one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a very long time. I love it. It sparks my imagination, it reels me in to this characters destiny and tale. But I will never get to see the end of Ekko’s tale, because he is in a MOBA. So the trailer is, and it hurts me depply to say this, a waste of resources. Why go to this lenght with creating a narrative when none of it will be in the actual game? Why not do a trailer more like those used to introduce the SSB4 fighters? With those we only get a narrative that is contained with in the trailer. Whilst the trailer for Ekko shows a narrative that stretches far beyonde the trailer. The SSB4 trailers is a full meal in and of itself. The Ekko trailer is a full-course dinner where you are only treated the first course and get a glimpse of the second.

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