Archive for MOBA

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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Dota rant thingy

So a friend showed me this: http://i.imgur.com/xOH6lrj.gifv

I think this gear piece exists in the game (though I am not 100% sure) and it makes me… dissapointed. Showing cleavage in games or other media is not a necessarily a problem or something that bothers. But why this dissapoints me is because I am sure this piece of gear (and maybe the whole set) is just made for titilage (is that a real word?). Luna wears a full body spandex normaly, so that she gets a sleek form. Yes, that spandex showes of some of her curves, but I would not say they enhance them nor do they put a focus on them. In fact, it is hard to see much of luna, except her faboulus hair, shield and her proud mount Nova. You do see her face in the HUD when you click her but other than that you never see her body during a match.

So why even create gear to make her more sexual? You will not be abel to see it, unless you zoom in. Why make a character that is not sexy, sexy? It feels like that diminishes Luna from the proud and capabel warrior to some randome “cookie-cutter-femal-fantasy-warrior-used-for-advertisment-character”. And if someone really thinks Luna needs a sexy-set, can they not at least make it look uniqe instead of makeing her look like just another sexy-fantasy-warrior.

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Another thing about Tannhäuser and MOBAs

Lately I have been playing a lot of Dota 2 and also discussing MOBAs in general. Even though I love Dota 2 with its colorful heroes and fun gameplay I do find it lacking in some aspects. Which I think many MOBAs are lacking in, which is “world building/lore consistency”.

To be honest, I do not think MOBAs need a strong “world”, what they need is characters that are easy to understand and fun to play. But the reason that I have been thinking about this is because I and some friends are intrested in how to present narrative and worlds. Which you can do through the characters. In Dota 2, which is the MOBA I am most familiar with, the world created through the characters lore is nonsensical and a patch work. Almost every hero’s lore is only about themselvs and a completely new place which we have never heard of, which is never mentioned again later. The quality and amount of lore is also very uneven with some being very good and interseting while some is just bad.

So the world is very dodgy and we do not get a sense of what might exist outside of the “arena”. But what they do well is fleshing out the heros personality. Though some of them are very one dimensional, they are still very easy to recognize and most are a little humorous. What is also interesting is how some of the characters have special responses when they face certain heroes or have them as allies. This creates a conection between some characters and hints that there might exist something outside the “arena” it helps with creating a world and also makes the characters more interesting.

In Tannhäuser, which has at least a few similarities with MOBAs, the world building is top notch, in my opinion. So why is it good, well to begin with, we get a sense of what the world is like just be the premise of the game. WW1 never ended, it is still going. Each major faction has turned to alternative sources for power to finaly shift the balance in their favor and win the war. Just by the premise we know that the world is our world, earth. In almost every characters lore you get information about the world, the characters relationship with other characters. We even get information about characters that you cannot play which are only part of the lore. The lore is consistent. Dota 2 have lore that creates relationships, for example Bristelback’s lore, it says he has a beff with the character Tusk. But it has one problem, it does not actually state it is Tusk he has a beef with. And in Tusk’s lore, even though a similiar event is mentioned as the one in Bristelback’s, Tusk’s lore does not mention or even hint about Bristelback. So in theory, their lore could be disconected.

What Tannhäuser also does well is that the characters feel cohesive. The factions in the game differ a bit, but within each faction the characters feel like the steem from the same place, and no faction is so widly different from the other that they feel alien when compared. In Dota 2, though it is some kind of fantasy world, there are characters that feel like oddballs. Venomancer, a man turned into a super poison thingy-majingy from exposur to extremly deadly poison. To me, that sounds like a comic book villain, not something that belongs in a battle between “good” and “evil”. Most characters does not even have a reason to be in the fight, just by reading the lore.

As I said in the beginning. MOBAs do not need lore, world building or fleshed out characters, since MOBAs are not about that. But if it wants to have it, it needs to be built with that in thought from the beginning and be cohesive and consequent.

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