Among the League of Legends community, it has become somewhat of a popular complaint / joke that the lore or story of League of Legends has more or less gone down the shitter. Riot has opted to remove the concept of the summoners, the old backstory involving the Rune Wars, and the creating of the actual “League of Legends” and the Summoner’s Rift, which were supposed to be some sort of conflict resolution measure to prevent another Rune Wars.
These changes have made it so that several League of Legends champions now have backstories that no longer make any sense as well as led to Riot simply stripping some champions of any meaningful backstories period.
So what I’ve decided to do was to give Riot a hand and tell everybody how to fix the League of Legends lore. I’ll even break it into easy-to-follow steps.
Step 1: Get the “League” Out of the Legends
So the first step, of course, is to remove that whole pesky League of Legends thing…
Wait, Riot’s already doing that. Oops, I forgot. Anyway, let’s go into why we should remove the League.
In the beginning, the whole point of the “League of Legends” (story-wise, of course) was to create a forum for rivalling nations to settle their differences in ways that would not result in the complete decimation of the entire planet. The Rune Wars almost did just that, and we don’t want that to happen again. It’s a creative way to resolve otherwise violent conflicts, and it does create a somewhat interesting incentive for League of Legends players to care about the story, but this backstory limits the game in two ways.
First, this lore creates a necessity for each and every character in League of Legends to have some sort of motive for actually joining the League. While this presents a neat challenge for the lore writers, it sort of stifles the ability to create variation in their characters. There’s no real reason for anarchists like Jinx and Ekko to willingly join and actively fight in the League, but their chaotic natures make them more fun to actually play.
Second, by the nature of League of Legends’s actual gameplay, the old lore actually makes no sense. Since you’re not forced to pick an all Demacian team or an all Shadow Isle team, you end up with teams like Darius top, Jarvan IV jungle, Veigar mid, Caitlyn adc, and Morgana support. I can’t think of any possible conflict that could make Darius and J4 decide to be best friends for 40 minutes. Essentially, the old lore directly contradicts the gameplay, and that’s just wrong.
Step 2: Develop the World
By happy coincidence, Riot is starting to follow this step as well. With the Rune Wars, the Summoner’s Rift, and the League of Legends out of the way, we can now focus on actually developing our new lore. This means doing fun things like making new characters and generating world events such as the war in the Freljord, the rise of Shurima, and the events surrounding Bilgewater.
By building from scratch, Riot can let players experience the war between Demacia and Noxus. We can watch the Void spill out into the world. We can play with the rivalry between Zaun and Piltover. Slowly but surely, Valoran can feel more like a living, breathing place instead of some faraway breeding ground for champions.
Step 3: Put the “Legends” back into the… the Legends
Building the world slowly over time gives us a new resource to play with: time.
Does it necessarily make sense that some champions are lugging around massive swords, axes, and doors while others are using highly-advanced weaponry like sniper rifles, magic hammers, and lampposts? Of course not. Why the hell would a master tactician like Swain resort to raising disgusting zombies like Sion and Urgot when he can just equip his soldiers with guns?
There is a common theory floating around that Braum himself is a centuries’ old legend whose stories were told to baby Ashe. How, then, can the two of them fight on the same battlefield together?
Pictured above: a true legend
By making the champions actual legends, we start to lose the need to fit each of them into specific place in time. We can start making wielders of super-futuristic spatula technology and still have room for wielders of ancient, long-forgotten magics.
But if all of the champions are legends, then that must mean they’re all dead, right? Isn’t that how legends work?
Well, yes, actually.
Step 4: Put the “League” back into the Legends
By now, you’re all probably thinking I’m crazy, which is good, because I probably am.
Anyway, now that we have established a world, fleshed it out with awesome and unique characters, and taken the need for one specific place in time out of the equation, we can recreate the old “League of Legends” that we had in the old lore – or at least something similar to it.
Think about it this way: in the old lore, we, the players, were called “summoners.” Now why the hell would the old League of Legends need a bunch of people to summon already-voluntary champions into the Fields of Justice? Couldn’t they just walk in and fight on their own?
Well, not if they are already dead.
With my new lore, all of the champions like Garen, Ryze, and Annie no longer exist, but what does exist is our knowledge of them. What remains are their legends.
Now those, we might be able to actually summon or, at the very least, recreate.
The Baron Nashor in the Summoner’s Rift already exists as a significantly shittier summoned version of the “real” Baron of legend. It stands to reason that summoning each champion is like summoning the fake Baron.
Now we can really start summoning legends.
You’re welcome, Riot.