@Riot'sLoreWriters: Please do not write such heavy-handed exposition

  • While the sneak peek of the new champion is interesting, the way in which her backstory is written is incredibly heavy-handed and out of place. Giving her a lost love/family member/friend is an acceptable cliche, but going out of her way to waste paper and ink to wax on about the tragedy and circumstances of her loss and be sentimental about events that are far in the past is too obvious; it's a needless recap of things solely for the audience that could have been presented more subtly and in a less patronizing manner. I doubt that this piece of data is necessary as a part of her journal; I expect it to be such a part of obvious backstory that it will be included in her bio from the start.

    Additionally, the theme that IronStylus is presenting of "Demacia must change, traditions break down blah blah" is not an original theme by any means. I do not mean that it is a bad theme; merely that saying that "people who cling to tradition will have to adjust" and all that is trite if written alone as the core of a modern story and that I sincerely hope that you have found a way to make it interesting or otherwise engaging.

    I really enjoyed the JoJ's writing, but I've been pretty disappointed with the writing of the new lore thus far, honestly, so I fully expect this small critique to fall of deaf ears. I honestly just want the lore to not be a patronizing mess of "plot for the sake of plot."

    EDIT: And I made a mistake in the title. Damn it.
  • Hey guys, thanks for the feedback.

    While I do agree that the writing on page four could have possibly been handled in a more subtle manner that matched the methodology of the rest of the piece, I'll defend my position to include the context of her brother's death. You're right, something like this could have simply been included in her text bio (and it actually is), but one of the goals for Quinn's journal was to convey as much about her character as possible to players, and that includes players who may never read a text bio at all. In addition, the piece already has several subtleties to the main plot, as mentioned before. Honestly, during the writing process, I was a bit concerned that readers might have a hard time following it in a few places (this has actually proven somewhat true). I deliberately chose to be heavy-handed with some detail to avoid too much of that problem.

    Could I have done it the other way around? Heavy-handed with plot details, light touch on deeper character motivation? Probably. Should I have omitted the information about Caleb's death and its impact on Quinn? Personally, I don't believe so. Heavy-handed as I might have been with it, I'm glad that players are very clearly aware of what Quinn's brother meant to her. Hopefully, the majority can see how it informs the rest of her character overall.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. I'll keep all of this in mind for the next piece I tackle.
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    Originally Posted by Alex3omg View Post
    I agree that the brother thing was kind of off.

    It could have been conveyed differently, like maybe an image of his simple grave, maybe with her crying near it, although then we wouldn't be sure who he was it adds some depth to her story and mystery. Who was this 'caleb' and why does she care that he died? Well maybe he was her bf or friend or whatever, that part isn't as important- she lost someone, that's the point. As for her commoner background you could have had a letter from garen or jarvan saying something like, "you're pretty good for a peasant" (though perhaps phrased in a more tactfully condescending way)
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    Like I said, it was a conscious choice to be more deliberate and obvious about a lot of this. The goal wasn't to lay out a bunch of inconclusive and mysterious threads for the character (both Ironstylus and I felt like this would be confusing and frustrating to a lot of players who are really just looking for a character preview, not a puzzle), it was to present as much information as possible about her in a compelling way. I'd hoped people would be on roughly the same page about her at the end of the journal and come out of it with more forward-looking questions rather than trying to discern the secrets of her backstory. I wanted people to know who Caleb was--there was already the running mystery of who "Val" was, after all, so I chose not to confuse the plot further.

    Again, though, some of these are really cool ideas--a letter from Garen or Jarvan might've been an interesting addition to the piece as well. Hm! :)

    Also, for the record, I'm perfectly willing to partake in a constructive conversation here provided it remains constructive.
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    Originally Posted by Alex3omg View Post
    I appreciate that you're so openminded and allow these discussions- and I hope you know all of my criticism is out of love for the game, and wanting it to be beast as ****.

    So, will these pages be shown to the rest of the players? Will they let you put it in game? (and you know, you could always revise it before then if you did want to adjust the caleb part.)

    Are you allowed to talk about different mediums you might use to convey the lore? It seems like there are so many options, have you guys actually talked about things like full comic stories, or animated shorts, or 'cutscenes' or just short stories- to show current plots and old backstory type things? The JoJ was great but I do agree it had trouble showing things that are long past and more personal stories. It had a different narrative, as did the Judgements and the little bios but actually posting just some short story (in whatever format) would tell us something.

    Personally I'd prefer something visual, but really a 'chapter' that's just prose would be amazing. My favourite league story is RenektonBot's Jayce Judgement, so that's definitely acceptable. (and I consider it canon, of course.)
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    In terms of alternate lore mediums, I can't say much more that we've already said, honestly, and for that I apologize. There are a ton of options, certainly, but a lot of them require a great deal of development and IP construction up front. Before I became a part of the game industry, I would've never guessed the amount of time, manpower, effort and resources it takes to fully develop a cohesive and engaging IP. At Riot, it's been a massive cross-team effort for a long time now, and it's coming along--all we can do is continue to ask for your patience and promise that our tom men are on it. Top men! I've met them myself!

    The JoJ had a lot of issues, many of which were sadly invisible to you guys (a lot of stuff like resource management, time investment and localization time played a part). As the one who wrote most of the last third of the JoJ, however, I cannot stress enough how much better the story of the JoJ would have been if we had been allowed to tell it through a better medium. Nitty-gritty development-language stuff aside, that's really what Riot wants to bring you guys: more awesome, more accessible and more engaging stories.

    Coming back from that tangent, I'd love to find a place for Quinn's journal to live in the client, but it's tough to find a home for a one-time project like this (that isn't to say that we won't do more like it, just that if we do future stuff, it might take a different form depending on the champion). Don't rule it out entirely, but it's not a priority at the moment.
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    Originally Posted by swan2swan View Post
    The letter-writing of Quinn is something much more direct and to the point; but when she talks about her brother, it goes on a little more. This shows her attachment and the value she put upon him. She seems to me to be someone who is very concerned with doing the job correctly--filing the reports, taking notes, working it out, and not letting anything fool her.

    And I cannot wait to play her.
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    I tried to show that she's very direct and to-the-point, methodical and all business when interacting with people (thus the rather short-handed nature of the pages concerning Jarvan and Garen), but she can be very introspective and thoughtful on her own (concerning her brother, out in the wilderness with Valor, etc). I'm glad that came across for you!
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    Originally Posted by Eserine View Post
    GIven such aforestated misunderstandings of grammatical rules, do you feel that you and the other members of the lore team have the capacity to relate to the portion of players who are disappointed in seeing a massive potential in the lore for this game to become something really unique and special (artistically or politically), only to have those hopes dashed as you and your colleagues continue to develop the IP in another direction stylistically, aiming for a different segment of the public?

    Before joining Riot did you ever personally interact with an imaginary world or IP you hoped might become awesome only to inexplicably watch it crumble to dust before your eyes, to the extent that it no longer became remotely enjoyable, even as an object of disdain, pity, or ridicule between you and your likewise-involved acquaintances? How do you feel that this experience shaped your artistic development?

    Thanks for answering players on the forums! It means a lot.
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    I might just be an artist and therefore not know much about words, but even an amateur such as myself knows that your condescension is beyond them.

    Edit! Bad spelling, told you I was terrible at this!
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    Originally Posted by Vacus View Post
    Not sure if intentional or just tired.


    I'm a big fan of the counter-trolling paradigm and that guy sure seems like someone who would freak out over a spelling mistake. On the other hand, I like IS being tired because that means he was working hard making awesome stuff for us
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    Man, I even spell checked that 'n stuff! Oh well, Shen'edited.