We're back with another Creative Design AMA, and this time we'll be talking about Zed, the Master of Shadows. For the next 24 hours, I'll be answering questions about Zed's lore and the creative efforts and goals behind his character.
If you haven't seen it yet, here's Zed's bio:
Zed is the first ninja in 200 years to unlock the ancient, forbidden ways. He defied his clan and master, casting off the balance and discipline that had shackled him all his life. Zed now offers power to those who embrace knowledge of the shadows, and slays those who cling to ignorance.
An orphan, Zed was taken in and trained by a great ninja master. Only one other student appeared to be Zed's equal - the master's son, Shen. It seemed Zed could never win the favor of the master, as every match between the rivals ended in a draw. Frustrated and jealous, he sought an advantage. The young ninja ventured into a sealed part of the clan's temple, where he found an ornate, foreboding box. Sensing the dark knowledge within, Zed knew he should not open it, but he peered inside nonetheless. In an instant, shadows touched his mind, revealing techniques that had long been hidden. Now armed with a secret edge, he challenged Shen, and this time he defeated the master's son. He expected praise and recognition in his moment of victory, but somehow the master knew Zed had used forbidden ways, and banished him.
Humiliated, the young ninja wandered for years. His bitterness turned to ambition, and he began to train others in the style of the shadows. As his power grew, so did his circle of followers, but he knew that without the box, his technique would never be perfect. One day, Zed looked at his followers and saw that his students were now an army. He led them back to the temple to claim his prize. At the gates, he was surprised to find the old master waiting, receiving Zed and his disciples as if they were welcome guests. The old man laid his sword at Zed's feet, declaring that he had failed Zed as his master. By banishing his former student, the master had doomed Zed to the shadows, instead of leading him to the balanced path. The old man implored Zed to enter the temple, destroy the box, and lead his followers to balance. The dark ninja followed the master inside. Moments later, the assembled ninjas heard Zed cry out in pain. Mysteriously, he emerged unscathed, and threw the severed head of the master at Shen's feet. Screaming in rage, Zed commanded his followers to slaughter the master's students and seize the box.
That day, the old ninja order fell. Though many students died, some escaped thanks to Shen's heroic efforts. Now the temple is a dark training ground for the Order of the Shadow. Zed rules as the Order's master, and his edict is simple: perfect one's technique, and kill all ninjas who refuse to embrace the shadows.
''Balance is a lie - we are the true ninjas.''
What makes the ability to create shadow clones of yourself, and by extension, the box, so "forbidden"?
Just seems like another tool, like teleportation, or stealth, both of which the other ninjas have no problems using.
What caused Zed to cry out in pain after following his old master into the temple?
What does Zed think of Yordles?
Does Zed know anything about Hiten Style, Zelos, Irelia, or anything in that regard?
What does Zed think of Syndra, and vice-versa?
Does Zed get annoyed by Talon being called "The Blade's Shadow"? And does Talon dislike Zed for ripping off his style?
What does Karma think of Zed, and what does Zed think of Karma?
Is Zed interested at all in the SHADOW Isles?
And finally, does could Zed and Nocturne have a potential partnership of darkness?
-I don't think Zed has had much interaction with the Hiten Style or its practitioners at this point. He might have caught wind of its existence in his travels through Ionia, but to Zed, all techniques that are not his techniques are negligible until they stand in his way.
-Ohh, this is an interesting one. Though their paths have been different, Zed and Syndra have similar goals. Both believe the 'balance' that has maintained Ionia for so long must crumble for Ionia's people to come into their own and realize their full potential. Syndra might take interest in Zed's power, and given the right circumstances, an alliance between the two could "tip the scales" in Ionia all the more.
-Talon's not one to concern himself with Ionian affairs unless he's given a target and, so far, there's no reason for Zed to be on his list. That said, I think their styles are pretty different--you don't see Talon making shadow images of himself, and if you mean from a visual standpoint, well, there's plenty of "arm-mounted blades" to go around.
-Karma sees Zed as a dangerous force of chaos in Ionia and believes he must be stopped. For Zed, Karma is just another perpetrator of "balance" that stands in his way.
-Haha, no, Zed has no interest in the Shadow Isles right now. He has a lot more to be concerned with than legends and rumors of the undead horrors there. : )
-Zed and Nocturne, hm? That could be very interesting!
When does Zed's story take place in relation to Shen joining the league?
Will the other three ninjas have a story rework?
Does Zed's story hint at a possible second ninja triumvirate?
We have a LOT of awesome ideas on how to add more to the stories of the three ninjas now that Zed has hit the scene. I can't promise an immediate rework of their bios, but the story of the Kinkou is one we definitely want to develop. There's so much to explore here!
As for the third question, the triumvirate is a relationship of balance and trust. Zed prefers to stand above his fellows--none shall be his equal.
Is the current design goal to always introduce champions that have enemies (lorewise) either in the league or with planned champions?
for once will you guys just tell who the voice actor for Zed is please. rumor is it's Steve Blum
Quote:Was Zed evil before being banished, or would there have been a way to make him realize his powers are no good? Was Zed evil only because of being alone and warped by darkness, or because he was enveloped in darkness from after the box's opening?
From my personal standpoint, there's a lot to be said for the way that Shen's father treated Zed. Perhaps if the master had been more forgiving, or if he'd noticed Zed trying to gain his favor and responded, Zed might have chosen a different path.
Do the Kinkou consider Zed beyond redemption and a personal enemy to balance that they find repugnant, or do they look at him as a small part of a greater issue that must be taken apart slowly, rather than at once?
What does Zed think of Diana? Both of them have had hardships with getting others to accept a newfound revelation.
Edit: Of course, their stories aren't entirely similar. Diana's worship of the moon was never shown as inherently evil, while Zed's shadow powers were always forbidden knowledge.
How does Zed feel about Varus? How does Varus feel about Zed? When is Skribbles gonna give me that pic of Varus' Tatt?
I'll be sure to bother Skribbles about that picture of Varus' tatt. Skribbles is such a flake, man.
When is he going to be released?
Somebody (not necessarily Runaan) please explain why Zed cried out in pain but the other dude died.
I am not so steeped in lore that I Understand what is going on here.
What does the Order of Shadow stand for? If balance is a lie to them, what is their truth? I know the Kinkou stand for balance and equilibrium, but don't shadows represent a type of balance as well in a way (i.e. shadows as a distorted reflection of the self, representing our darker/repressed side)?
Are Zed et al. really diametrically opposed to Shen and his colleagues? Do they have a greater agenda that gives their training a purpose?
Does the box relate to anything we know about already in game?
Does Zed have any lieutenants worthy enough to join the Fields of Justice on their own?
No, the box is a new element, we haven't discussed it before.
I touched on this lightly before, but Zed remains the leader and most powerful among the Order of Shadows, and this is intentional. He wants to remain the master of his students. None shall be his equal.
I have to ask since it isn't spelled out, was the Kinkou Order the ninja order destroyed in Zed's lore or were they different organizations? Now that Zed is in possession of the dark arts box, did he enter the league after learning all its contents or is he still training? Were the contents of the box once part of the order's teachings or were they secrets taken from enemies?
Zed is always training--he is a master of his technique, but that doesn't mean he cannot become more powerful. Perhaps there are other dark techniques out there, too, that Ionia hid away...
Good questions about the contents of the box, but whether or not the Kinkou ever taught the dark techniques or if they were used by the order's enemies is something we'd like to leave to speculation for now. :)
Quote:What was actually in the box so that it was "forbidden" while still being easily taught to any others to-be ninjas... I feel this one is a little bit weak, how can there be other shadowers when they haven't interacted with the box.
Part of the reason it was sealed away by Ionia was that it is trainable. Once it's unleashed, it has the potential to spread like wildfire--and someone wanted to keep it under control...
I got a couple questions about him.
1.Why did he join the League?
2.Does his allegiance lie with Ionia?
3. Shen's bio says " Shen is one of these shadow warriors..." What is the difference between his shadow ways and Zed's?
2. He's from Ionia, Zed's allegiance lies with Zed!
3. This is one of the things we'd like to smooth out in Shen's bio once we revise it. By "shadow warriors," Shen's bio really just means "ninjas," but now that Zed's in the mix it's a fairly misleading detail. : )
Is Zed's shadow sentient? If so, is that why the art of shadows is forbidden?
Would he ally himself with either Syndra or Diana? All three champs have similar situations in their backstories and might get along.
Syndra perhaps. They both have similar goals for upheaval in Ionia; they both reject the concept of balance and restraint. Diana, likely not.
how does zed effect akali and kennen?
Food for thought: Akali's passive is "twin disciplines," her title "the Fist of Shadow" ... hmmmm. : )
Zed's name, when i looked it up, means "Justice of God". Looking at his backstory, it seems in some ways his intent was to deliver his own form of "Justice" against his master for banishing him in his youth and never really giving him the praise he desired. Was the name "Zed" and it's meaning intentionally picked for him or did you guys pick that name because it sounded unique and different?
I got two questions :3
#1: What does he think of Master Yi and Wukong, and the Wuju Style in general.
#2: If the shadow arts weren't forbidden in the first place, and Zed was actually respected for training hard and honing his skill to where he could finally beat Shen in a straight up duel, could he had been replacing him in the Kinkou 3 with Akali and Kennen?
2. Perhaps, but I think something Zed fails to recognize is that being a member of the Kinkou requires more than physical skills alone.
Quote:is there any (hidden) relation/passive with vayne and zed, because vayne says something like: only shadows are to be feared?
Do his shadows have shadows?
Is there a interaction with Leona?
Good question--I'll have to look at him in-game!
I'd like to know this too. That and the recent champs after Zyra don't have an explanation as to why this champion or that champion joined the League. Are you guys going to change all of the Lores so that they don't say why they joined or will you guys later explain the reasons to the recent champions?Quote: The story is great; I love the character. But, why did he join the league? Doesn't seem to make sense.
What does Zed think of the Void, and what would he think of someone who innately opposes his being - Lux?
So there's obviously a big question in Zed's bio - what happened in the temple? Do you have/can you tell us about any plans to reveal this to summoners? What about other 'hanging questions' in the league, such as Varus' transformation, Nautilus' background, Diana/Leona's lesbian romance? (utterly serious about that last one.)
Why did you choose 'shadows' to be a counterpart to the Ionian Ninja idea of balance? (relatedly, will Zed have the "Ninjas work better alone" hidden passive?)
Similarly, you seem to have gone with a fair number of relation/rivalry lores recently - Kha'Zix/Rengar, Draven/Daruis, Jayce/Viktor, Diana/Leona - What's your thinking behind this decision?
When are we going to learn more about the nifty new Lore things you folks are cooking up?
It's fairly simple, on a spectrum of light and darkness, where balance is the middle ground, shadows seemed an understandable representation of the far end of that scale.
We feel that connections between champions, be they friendship or rivalry or somewhere in between, add to the depth and "big picture" of the League of Legends universe. We develop them where we can--they're fun for players (especially in game--who doesn't like killing their champion's lore rival?), and we get a lot of mileage out of them. Plus, they leave open the potential for so many future stories!
And for the last question... as soon as we're able to talk about them. These things take a lot of time!
How does Zed stack in terms of physical strength / mental strength when compared to other champions?
Does he seek to fight the triumvirate or assassinate them or prove that his way is the best?
For the second question, Zed will prove his superiority in any way he can.
Has anyone embraced the knowledge of the shadows from Zed? Has he taken on a favorite student(apprentice, successor)?
Is Shen's father going to used more?
Is Shen's lore going to be changed?
We will eventually do an update to Shen's lore to encompass more of his story with Zed, but we don't have an exact time frame of when this will happen.
Let's see... dark techniques that were hidden away long ago, resurrected by a vengeful individual who challenged the strictures and stance of an established organization. Sounds like Zed has an awful lot in common with Diana. What would these two think of each other?
These dark techniques are assumed to be corrupting (with no proof) and the Solari apparently saw no benefit in living in balance with a Moon-worshipping society; might there be a link here?
Will Zed be raising an army against the balance, or at least his own faction of ninja's who oppose balance as Shen, Kennen, and Akali maintain it?
What is Zed's reasons for joining the league, instead of just killing the other ninjas beyond politics?
Mentioned before: he likely joins the League to pursue Shen, Akali, and Kennen. He could also be seeking more hidden knowledge or clues to lead him to forbidden power.
Has the skin Bladestorm Zed any relationship to his lore? Is it pre-shadow box Zed uniform? and if it is Shall we wait for a Shen "matching" skin?
One last thing, Great job i am looking forward to see him in action.
Thank you, the team is really proud of our badass shadow ninja--I really hope you enjoy him too! : )
As were Zed and Shen friends outside of their rivalry? What does Zed think of the other two of the Kinkou Trio?
Finally, if Zed and Shen were equally strong before Zed learned the forbidden arts, does that mean that Zed is stronger than Shen is right now? If not, what did Shen have to do to catch up to his former rival?
Zed thinks Akali is a powerful ninja whose talent is wasted with the Kinkou, and he thinks Kennen is a disgrace.
Finally, Shen has come into his own as the Eye of Twilight. For the moment, he and Zed are likely evenly matched.
This is probably a little too much speculation, but Zed ordered his followers to kill the other ninjas. Was Zed just sitting around doing nothing while Shen saved a few of his clanmates? Because according to the lore, Zed had surpassed Shen in power, and if he had fought him head on, then none of them would have escaped alive, while the shadow ninjas slew everyone, and while Zed deals with Shen, unless Shen had grown stronger by following the path of balance through and true.
Hey everyone, this will be the last post answering questions in this AMA. I've combed through the rest of the pages and pulled out what I thought were the most interesting questions as well as some I hadn't already answered. Thank you all for participating, I hope you got some interesting info out of this! : ) Some of your speculation makes me very happy.
1 - Does Zen have ANY regret, no matter how small of his past actions? He seemed to be in agony after killing his master and also seemed very frustrated with how events turned out. (especially through that mysterious cry of pain in the room)
Which came first, Zed's concept (Shadow Ninja) or his mechanics (creating a clone that mimics spellcasts)?
Has he had any run-ins with Kennen or Akali?
If what was contained within the box was so dangerous to the balance, why did the Kinkou not destroy every trace of it within the 200 years that they possessed it?
Destroying the box outright wouldn't fit with this philosophy--instead, previous masters acknowledged but suppressed the knowledge contained within.
And as for the action of banishment itself... Was Shen's father the previous Eye of Twilight? The Eye is supposed to remain completely emotionless in order to make decisions based solely on cold logic. If Shen's father was the previous Eye and one of his students acquired knowledge that he believed would ultimately be a threat to the balance, shouldn't he have had Zed executed on the spot once he found out rather than showing him mercy by letting him live?
Shen's father was indeed the previous Eye of Twilight, yes. Perhaps he made a mistake? After all, the Eye of Twilight is still just one fallible man.
Did he don his awesome mask before or after the incident with the master upon his return, or did he always go around wearing it? What I'm trying to say is, is there a motivation for him hiding his face or does he just do it because he's a (flippin') ninja?
Did Zed find it painful* having to kill his former master? I mean, almost all of his actions where to gain his approval, similar to what happens in a family when one brother overshadows the other, and thus, the other brother feels neglected and looks for a way to attract his parents attention.
And on a more serious note, this box, it is powerful just because it gives power. Can we expect more powerful items to appear within the lore?
adding on to this, if Zed is Akali's twin, which you certainly make it sound like, what does Akali think should be done with him, Kennen too
Is this mysterious "box" intended to be a sort of Pandora allusion? That's the kind of vibe I get from it, and it seems to resonate pretty oddly with Zed, suggesting a sort of punishment for his inability to restrain himself (of course I ask in purely ideological terms- I'd like to believe that Zed had some internal conflict when betraying everything he knew).
Could you tell us if shen became the eye of twilight before this or on that day that his master could have been "tortured" and killed (I only say this because tortured could mean anything really in physical pain. Zed could have cut off his head real slow or something of that nature or wounded him before)
Were there any other "forbidden techniques" that the Kinkou may have sealed away besides the shadow technique?
Did Zed actually manage to find the box in the temple after his return and attack?
Is Shen's father truly dead? Or he an Zed have some deeper,evil connection?
How does Zed see Ryze? Ryze is keeping knowledge from people in that scroll.
Can we beat Zed in game if we turn shadows off?
Zed's Recall Animation? What are those dark symbols? what is that 'gate' he opens to recall or escape when hes been dealt lethal damage? TEEL MEE
So an honest question this time, how do the Kinkou work?
In my mind there were very specific roles that the three main members played.
Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
The Eye of Twilight, the Heart of Tempest, and the Fist of Shadows.
It made sense since Shen is the stoic one, Kennen is the more energetic (literally) one who has a different perspective on life and Akali is one of the most well trained and physically powerful women in the League (Cutting the dangling chain with a karate chop).
Is this sort of thinking incorrect when I think of the three?
How does Shen, as the Eye of Twilight who judges without prejudice, think about Zed and how his father was killed?