Why Varus's new lore was doomed to fail.

Honest, just felt like making this because it's still being discussed among people. However, rather than just retread the same topics (Blah blah gay blah blah old lore), I instead want to chart the timeline of how this happened and why Varus's new lore never really had a chance. This isn't to berate or bash anyone that likes the new lore. Rather, it's to point out the expectations and how it ultimately led to the major pains a lot of players feel with Varus's lore change. With that said, we have to start at the beginning: ##The Prelude: Who Varus was and His Origin. To start, we have to dive all the way back to Varus's inception. Varus was made around mid-Season 2 and was the first League champion to receive the new system of skins, with Riot giving Varus only one release skin. Varus also serves special mention because he was a design and collaboration with the artists at [Penny Arcade.](http://riot-web-static.s3.amazonaws.com/images/news/April_2012/2012_04_06_varus_teaser/Varus.jpg) While in hindsight it doesn't seem like a big deal, this was one of the major signs that League was growing bigger. A major webcomic team, perhaps the most major, was willing to sit down and work with Riot for a teaser. I'd argue that this might have even introduced new people to league from Penny-Arcade. Varus's original story, if you didn't know, was simple but effective: A brilliant Ionian archer during the Ionia-Noxus war, Varus had to defend the Pit of Pallas from the invaders. While Varus succeeded, his goal was a phyrric victory; His home had been destroyed and his loved ones, including his wife and child, were slain by Noxus. Forsaking everything and realizing there was nothing gained in his victory, Varus gave himself to the corruption to hunt down and slay Noxians in retribution. The corruption would one day kill him but, until then, he would slay any who stood in his way. Of course, while some would argue it's generic, it was a story that resonated with people. A father and husband who had lost everything going on a crusade of vengeance because there was nothing left to fight for. Of course, Varus was also had people wondering about him in massive speculation threads. The flames only grew hotter when Aatrox was released and the idea of the Darkin being weapons came out. After all, Varus was the only champion in league who had an organic and "corrupting" weapon. With lore reworks coming, Varus seemed prime to be inducted into the darkin fold. People questioned about how Varus could be changed and how his darkin weapon could work with his story. That's when, about two weeks ago, Varus's new lore snipping appeared. ##The Beginning: Varus's Teaser on the PBE On the PBE, a handful of champions all had lore updates. Some were like Aatrox, just adding to his background and expanding on his darkin origin. Some were like Nautilus, who had radical changes but shrouded them in mystery. Then we get Varus... >One of the ancient race of darkin, Varus was a deadly killer who loved to torment his foes, driving them almost to insanity before delivering the killing arrow. He was imprisoned at the end of the Darkin War, but escaped centuries later in the remade flesh of two Ionian hunters—they had unwittingly released him, cursed to bear the bow containing his bound essence. Varus now seeks out those who trapped him in order to enact his brutal vengeance, but the mortals' souls within him still resist every step of the way. Naturally, [people flipped out.](https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/7evdst/the_new_varus_lore_is_completely_unacceptable/?st=jaq6ulj8&sh=bc9ecea5) But why was Varus so strongly detested rather than, say, Nautilus. Not to say Nautilus didn't have detractors but the outcry for Varus was far louder. This goes back to the prelude: Varus was a character people sympathized with and saw as a dark, tragic anti-hero. This also wasn't a lore change to the degree of, say, Galio or Urgot who had changes made but retained aspects of who they were such as Galio being unable to protect those, the idea of Durand and Galio being an enchanted golem who protected Demacia. This is where we get to [Riot's response from DyQuill:](https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/7evdst/the_new_varus_lore_is_completely_unacceptable/dq7zgpr/?st=jaq7houf&sh=eb53754b) > This is pretty close to the full narrative - but there's a few more twists (and a ton more context) that's missing from the bio pasted by OP. Honestly - it sucks that this is the first encounter you all are having with the new narrative. I hope it doesn't ultimately color your impression of it, but I get how jarring this is. Let me know if I can help answer anything in the meantime, tho. I made a thread about this before but you can understand that the only reassurance here is "just wait and see". Sure, you can't get into too much spoilers, but it did nothing to ease people's concerns. It made people **FEAR** for Varus, not be excited that he was getting expanded. I think [this comment](https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/7evdst/the_new_varus_lore_is_completely_unacceptable/dqdjvf3/?st=jaq7kndl&sh=9ce31b38) is also quite fascinating: >Can't speak to how Trundle was handled (before my time at Riot), but regardless - that's not about to happen here, and you can hold us to it. For those who weren't here for Trundle, Trundle was originally an ugly, disgusting troll who diseased and debuffed opponents with sickness. Yet his story didn't go anywhere and Trundle ended up being in limbo, without a clear goal other than "just live". That's when he was retconned/changed to be an ice torll from the freljord. Sure, Varus wasn't as major, but it was definitely a painpoint for people. Then we get to the BIG REVEAL. ##The Release: Varus's Comic and Video are Published. W e w lads. So as it'll come up, let's just address the elephant in the room: Yes, Varus is technically gay. Yes, some people chose to read this as diversity-baiting and garnering sympathy/praise from LGBT groups for representation. That's not the important part about this but it's one factor which has upset people. It pales in comparison, however, to what has become of Varus. Whereas Riot was insistent that this was a small teaser, implying that fans of Varus's original lore would be happy, this didn't retain much: * Ionian temple attacked by Noxus * ~~Varus~~ Two Archers give themselves to the "corruption" * Varus is reborn and hunts down Noxians. As you can see, pretty much nothing has been retained from Varus's original lore. Only the most basic of story-beats had been retained. The additional irony is that Varus's old lore could be implemented, but we'll get to that in the next section. The response, of course, has been heavily mixed: Some people praise the new lore and greatly enjoy the video and comic. Others detest it and hate the direction Riot went with Varus. Rather than try to pick a side, I want to move past that and focus on where Varus is now and the "damage" this did to players. ##The Backlash: Varusmaggeddon 2017 Now let's dive into the complaints while avoiding the LGBT baiting, because the more interesting fact is old Varus's lore compared to his new one: First and foremost, Varus's old lore was not in a state of disrepair. Trundle's old lore was radically changed but you could justify it that Riot wrote themselves into a corner, with any new challenges to Trundle appearing as a deus ex machina to keep Trundle active. Varus didn't have this problem. Varus had ways and possible story avenues to explore, with or without the darkin. For example: * Meeting the Noxian Commander who ordered the attack on Pallas. * Varus's weakening grip on his own body and the darkin slowly overtaking him (unlike Kayn who actively wrestles for control.) * Varus coming to terms with his loss and finding acceptance. * etc. Hell, you could even close off Varus's old storyline and say that the original Varus finally died, giving into corruption and becoming the next darkin. A tragic end, for sure, but one that could give sorrowful closure to Varus fans who likely understood that Varus was a doomed hero, a character who was not going to find a happy ending. The key point is that you _could_ work with the new lore. Instead, Riot took a cleaver and cut out every aspect of the old lore, then used paint to color it like Varus. The second issue is that Varus's character is nothing like the old one. Old Varus was a bitter, scarred man who had lost everything and wished for retribution. Varus knew he was damned and was going to punish as many perpetrators he could. Varus was a candle, burning brightly that would one day sink into darkness. New Varus pines for vengeance...sort of. The two people inhabiting Varus's mind instead wrestle control from the darkin to force his murderous rampage to be slowed and halted. Sure, there's more hope for a happier ending to the story...but that's not what Varus was about. This is the biggest misstep in the story and why I feel Varus players are so upset: Varus's character arc went from a tragic figure who fell down the mountain and accepted his fate to a character who had fallen but was still going to climb the mountain. There's an air of hope surrounding Varus's character arc that he can find peace and maybe redemption, something completely absent from old Varus. And let's be clear that this has nothing to do with being gay or straight. If you changed Varus's wife to a husband, the story would roughly be the same and the backlash wouldn't be nearly as severe. It's a combination of that as well as the immense story changes that have brought about the ire of many Varus fans. And let's remember: Varus fans are old. Varus fans are people who could have played him since Season 2. This would be like telling Caitlyn fans that her old arc doesn't need closure. ##The Future: "Varus'd" When something cataclysmic happens to a League character, their name often becomes synonymous with the flaw or the pain that happened. To be "Olaf'd" is to have Riot so utterly crush your kit that you're relegated to Z tier from the S-to-A tier you sat at. To be "Evelynn'd" is to be kept in a state of disrepair because Riot has no idea what to do with you. To be "Renekton'd" is to be shown stronger in your preview spotlight than you are on release, albeit this doesn't happen anymore. In my mind, players are going to think of this as being "Varus'd". To have major aspects of your original lore replaced and overwritten with someone that the lore team might consider stronger (and hell, may very well be) but at the cost of everything the original character had, was or could be. While sentiments of the lore team had been on the rise thanks to the decent-to-great lore being delivered with the city-updates such as Zaun, Piltover and Bilgewater? This has set the dial back by miles due to the backlash, dislike and worry that I've not really seen since Riot announced the original retcon of League. _THAT_ took years to overcome and people are still upset with how it was handled. The lore team now has a dark cloud hanging over them. A massive, black splotch on their record that people will always point to. It's because of this that the uphill battle will be even harder to make. Players who used to trust the lore team will now question what they think when they say "just wait and see" while players who didn't/don't now have fresh ammo to use in arguments: The act of being Varus'd. ##TL;DR (But I recommend you read the whole thing.) ####Varus was an old character who had a workable story. Riot's team opted to throw Varus's story away even though they could have easily tweaked it to fit the new lore. Because of this, players are going to be more distrustful of them "Pulling a Varus" when it comes to character reworks. Varus's new lore was doomed to fail from the beginning because it isn't the Varus people know. Feel free to provide thoughts and comments.
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