Howdy boards, It's me, the nerd whose introductions have gradually become more self deprecating with each post!
Today I'm here to talk about the Void, in particular the potential of the Voidborn and how the current direction of the Void seems to be greatly reducing the possibility to make them compelling.
#The State of The Void
As most SA&S regulars know, Riot has done very little with the Void as of late.
We've seen bits and pieces. But _the only Void-related entities we've seen that have any agency_ are the ineffable **Watchers**.
Aside from that, we have **Vel'Koz, **who acts as the literal limbs of the Watchers and devours information ravenously.
At least he has some claims to fame, being potentially the first of his kind and a repository of information: he's a got a mind unshackled from from all restrictions.
What's canon and what isn't for **Rek'Sai** is up in the air right now. She digs holes in the desert and behaves like an animal and that's cool for her. I don't know how much of everything else about her hasn't been caught up in the retcon tsunami.
**Kassadin **interacts with Voidtouched (or potentially Voidborn) in his story, which is cool but they're clearly creatures who are less than animal.
**Kai'Sa's **story and her parasite do the same. Completely mindless, without agency, without purpose. Voidborn are shown as entities designed to be used.
They're all different in appearance.
What seems to make the cast of Champion Voidborn special is simply that _they are alive whilst others like them have died_. Not a particularly compelling fantasy for somebody who wants to play them.
And then there's pretty much nothing. Some cool images of Voidborn but no development.
#Concerns About Direction
**Are the champion Voidborn going to be reduced to the roles of some of the more prominent units in the Tyranid swarm?** Simply heavier or more specialized creatures with little identity of their own, merely the limbs of a higher power? **Not characters in their own right but instead representatives of the threat of the Void?**
Because as each new piece of Void lore trickles down, that direction feels increasingly prominent.
Don't get me wrong, for some (or most!) Voidborn, especially the nameless legion who populate the hidden places around Runeterra, I'm certain it's very fitting. **Most Voidborn don't need to be special. They aren't champions, nor are they characters people have grown attached to.
In an RTS, the Zerg/Tyranid player fantasy makes sense. You, in effect, are the hivemind acting upon a legion of mindless followers. But in a MOBA? I don't see people fantasizing about being a zergling who exists to follow the orders of a higher power which sees them as disposable.
But the genie is out of the bottle for the others. They're champions. This means that there is an obligation to make them compelling characters in their own right, even if they are monsters.
#What Could be Done?
I know that Riot has struggled to make their monster champions compelling in the past, but that doesn't make it impossible.
Take this quote by Ishiro Honda
> _"Monsters are tragic beings. They are born too tall, too strong, too heavy. They are not evil by choice. That is their tragedy. They do not attack people because they want to, but because of their size and strength, mankind has no other choice but to defend himself. After several stories such as this, people end up having a kind of affection for the monsters. They end up caring about them."_
This is from the man who was behind one of the most long-lived and culturally relevant monsters in modern history (Godzilla). Even in the more recent Japenese film, Shin Godzilla, featuring a monster so hideous and incomprehensible to us that it is likened to an evil god, provides character to their monster in subtle ways.
Take for example Shin Godzilla's theme, _Who Will Know: _
> _If I die in this world who will know something of me
I am lost, no-one knows, there's no trace of my yearning
(But I must carry on, nothing worse can befall
I am lost, no-one knows, there's no trace of my yearning
(All my fears, all my tears, tell my heart there's a hole)
I wear a void
(As long as breath comes from my mouth)
Not even hope
(I may yet stand the slightest chance)
A downward slope
(A shaft of light is all I need)
Is all I see
(To cease the darkness killing me)_
**it is not evil, but by nature its existence is antithetical to our own.** _The majority of Voidborn are likely in a similar position, but are so mindless that it doesn't affect them at all. They aren't even aware of their own struggles to survive._
**But the Voidborn champions should be. **That should be what sets them apart, rather than their role as "slightly older/larger/stranger than the others."
#My Thoughts on the Matter
Cho'Gath, Kog'Maw, and Kha'Zix all have minds and personalities in their current renditions and the absolute radio silence we've had on them and their place in the world is cause for increasing concern among their fans.
Next to **nothing about these champions can be considered canon** anymore. _Cho'Gath and Kog'Maw's bios both contain information that directly contradicts the current state of the Void._ Kha'Zix is defined exclusively by his relationship to Rengar.
Voidborn Champions do not need to be creatures we can fully comprehend. We don't need to take away what makes them alien, or the hunger that drives them. We don't need to take away the fact that they are monstrous.
But the question to explore should be "what happens when a Voidborn starts to become self aware? If it begins to comprehend the horror of its own existence? Unloved by its own creators, without a sense of kinship to others like itself, isolated from all indigenous Runeterran life as an alien entity whose needs directly contradict the needs of the world? How do they survive in an environment that from their perspective is nothing but hostile? How does that influence their minds?
-Vel'Koz has embraced his identity as an outsider, committing himself to study this world until his masters can end it. He is a true servant of the watchers.
-Rek'Sai attempts to tame it, to populate it with her own kind.
##**What of the others? **
-Does Kha'Zix insist on adapting in order to be the apex and become impossible to excise?
-Does Cho'Gath loathe the world he can't be a part of and that is why he wishes to consume it and become the last surviving life? Because it is the only way his existence will no longer be constantly under threat?
-Kog'Maw likely doesn't understand his status yet, but what will happen when his curiosity gradually leads him to that conclusion? Or will his interactions with malzahar allow him to form an entirely new Voidborn identity?
There is so much depth to these characters. So much colorful identity that can be hinted at beneath the warped carapace and gnashing teeth.
But the current direction I see the Void headed is threatening to take away their identities and replace them with nothing. The focus on keeping them eldritch and incomprehensible, on keeping the Watchers as the main agents of anything the Void does, diminishes it rather than making it unique.
The Void occupies an interesting space all its own, partially due to the lack of specificity. Keeping it impossible to understand (particularly the aspects of it that are born and act in Runeterra) won't improve it, but will instead reduce it to a poor-man's Lovecraft.
And if it becomes yet another faceless swarm it will degenerate into yet another common trope and sacrifice a lot of what made the Void something beautiful and chaotic (as Malphite describes them).
But that's my rant. It's been simmering in my head for a while. Maybe my concerns are unfounded (I sincerely hope that they are!!)
#**But what do you guys think? Where do you see the Void going, and what promise can you see in these champions that the current lore has left far, far behind?**