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Revised Udyr Lore
Surrender at 20: Revised Udyr Lore
While updated champion bios are the new hip thing, not everyone was pleased new Udyr's new lore. In response, Riot has actually revised the lore to remedy some of the issues summoners seem to be having with it.
Continue for the revised bio and more discussion.
Here is kitae's intial post, highlighting revisions made to the PBE version of the lore, making him standout more as a champion who fights for both Ionia and Freljord, and her thoughts on the new bio.
Recently on the PBE players got a sneak peak of Udyr's new bio and found some issues. I discussed those issues with players, and read almost 100 pages of comments. After reading through this, it was clear that we had missed the mark in Udyr’s bio in two key areas:
• It wasn’t clear he fought for both Ionian and the Freljord
• It wasn’t clear he played a role in the Noxian/Ionian conflict
I wanted to share the revisions we've made as well as our thought process behind Udyr's new bio. But first, let's take a look at Udyr's old bio.Quote:
The mystics of Ionia delve into the deepest mysteries of Valoran, pioneering the most inner depths of spirituality. Their adepts are some of the most devout proponents of enlightenment and harmony...but as is always the case, there are those who follow a very different path. Born in a grassy clearing under a red moon, Udyr has always been compelled by the primal drive within him. His will was not untempered, simply undomesticated. As a boy, he toiled on his father's farm, but he felt a much deeper connection with the mustangs that would graze in the distant fields than with the townsfolk who would visit. Oftentimes he was dragged into the house at night with a swat and a scolding when his parents would find him sleeping beneath the stars.
On the day of his sixteenth birthday, Udyr bade his family farewell and struck a path to the east, determined to shed the trappings of ''civilized'' society. Freed of the shackles of cultural expectations, Udyr tapped into a well of inner ferocity he hadn't known before. His feral senses roiled to the surface and he let them overcome him. It was at this point in his life that Udyr truly lost his humanity. Poachers and travelers who entered his territory did so at terrible risk, and rarely managed to leave it.
A monk on a long journey passed through his woods one day, and Udyr decided to scare him, leaping from a nearby brush. The monk casually turned and redirected Udyr to one side. Udyr, enraged, tried time and time again to best him, but the monk was unassailable. When Udyr was exhausted, the monk wordlessly beckoned him to follow, and together they walked in silence to the Hirana Monastery. The monks there took him in, and taught him to harness and control his animalistic fury...most of the time.
There was a lot we liked about Udyr’s bio. The basic structure of “wild man who learns to self-control from monks” is badass. But, the bio also has problems that made it difficult for Udyr to play a role in our world.
• He had no relationships with other League of Legends champions
• He had no clear allegiance to any major faction or movement
• He had no clear motivation, quest, or goal
While it's ok for champions to not hit all three of these points, these form a basic narrative structure that help us involve champions in bigger stories. In the case of Udyr, it felt like we’d just left this information out.
So, we took the story from his existing bio, and expanded it to provide those missing details. Including addressing player identified concerns, we wanted to:
• Spend more time exploring his wild-man origins, and in the process, reveal his connection to the Freljord.
• Establish an early conflict with a strong antagonist (Lissandra)
• Reveal Lee Sin as the monk who helped him
• Provide further details of his time at the Hirana monestary in Ionia
• Establish a clear connection to Ionia through his role in the Noxian/Ionian conflict
• End on a challenging and compelling new quest – pushing back the great darkness that is enveloping the Freljord
Here is a preview of the revised Bio, with additional details added that establish his connection to Ionia, and his role in the Noxian/Ionian conflict.Quote:
Udyr is more than a man; he is a vessel for the untamed power of four primal animal spirits. When tapping into the spirits’ bestial natures, Udyr can harness their unique strengths: the tiger grants him speed and ferocity, the turtle resilience, the bear might, and the phoenix its eternal flame. With their combined power, Udyr can turn back all those who would attempt to harm the natural order.
In the Freljord, there is a unique caste that lives outside the society of those savage lands. They are the custodians of the natural world: the Spirit Walkers. Once a generation, a child is born under a blood red moon, a child said to live between the two worlds of spirit and man. This child is brought to the Spirit Walker to continue the shamanic line. Udyr was such a child, and knew the howl of the tundra wolves even before he learned the language of his ancestors. Through the Spirit Walker, Udyr would one day learn the meaning of the spirits’ calls and tend to the balance of nature. The Spirit Walker often told Udyr he would be tested more than those who had come before him, for the spirits of the Freljord were growing ever more restless, though the reason remained clouded.
The answer arrived in the dead of winter, as Udyr and the Spirit Walker were descended upon by a fearsome figure known only through frightened whispers: the Ice Witch. Knowing the boy would fall easy prey to her vile magic, the Spirit Walker shielded the child from her assault at the cost of his own life. Wracked by grief, Udyr howled with fury, and he felt the Freljord itself howl with him. In that moment, the child embraced the spirits’ primal nature and became a beast himself. Coursing with their untamed power, Udyr’s angry roar shook the mountaintops and brought down a torrential avalanche. Once Udyr had finally clawed his way out of the frost, the Ice Witch was nowhere to be found.
For years, the tribes of the north learned to avoid the wildman and his domain. Then one day, Udyr caught the scent of a fearless trespasser. Determined to chase the intruder from his territory, he attacked, only to be deflected with ease. The wildman launched himself at the stranger again and again, only to be effortlessly cast aside each time. Exhausted and defeated, Udyr felt his animosity ebb and croaked a clumsy “who” to the stranger. Lee Sin had come seeking the Spirit Walker’s guidance and instead found a man who had also lost his way. The monk promised he would right Udyr’s path and guided him to a monastery said to be protected by four eternal spirits of great power and wisdom. There, Udyr would find harmony.
Lee Sin brought Udyr to a land that was a stark contrast to his birthplace. Survival was not the only law that governed the lives of Ionians or creatures of the land. For the first time, Udyr felt at peace with the spirits surrounding him and found comfort in human companionship. His time among the monks taught him to temper his instincts, while his meditations with the ancient temple spirits taught him wisdom. Through them both, Udyr learned to truly embrace his life as the next Spirit Walker.
Udyr owed much to the Ionians. It was a debt he was never asked to honor, but one he would ultimately repay many times over. When the armies of Noxus invaded, Udyr did not stand idle as the brutal soldiers oppressed the peaceful Ionians - he had not forgotten how to bare his teeth. Udyr leapt at their armies with all the ferocity of a cornered beast and gave the invaders good reason to fear the wilderness. From the trees, his claws tore the Noxians down in scores; on the river banks, he threw them back with the falling tides, and in the fields, he consumed them with searing wildfire. Only when the Noxians fled with their tails between their legs did Udyr quell his rage.
Peace returned to Ionia, but still Udyr felt something stirring him from his rest. The spirits of the Freljord called out to him, warning of an unnatural evil emerging from the ice. Udyr understood the true threat that the Ice Witch posed to his homeland: she was the herald of a greater darkness that would soon envelop the land. Armed with the potent spirits of the temple, Udyr returned to the Freljord, seeking to defend the natural world from all who would threaten its balance.
“Through me, nature’s will is done.” -- Udyr
I’d like to take a moment to thank those community members who helped identify issues with the Udyr’s bio on PBE.
For a long time LoL’s lore has been in a frozen state. Champions stories, like Udyr’s, are told and then abruptly end. That is something we want to change, and that is something that requires change. Kha’zix says “change is good” but it can also be difficult. We rely on honest feedback from players to help us identify when we miss the mark, and how, so we can address those concerns while still setting up our champions to play a role in future stories.
In the case of Udyr, his new bio is just the first step - we are already working on a new story which involves him as a key character."She then followed up by addressing a few more concerns.
When asked why there was no Monkey spirit to represent his Monkey's Agility ability, kitae responded:
"We discussed this one for some time but concluded there was no "monkey spirit". Note the difference in wording of his abilities "Monkey's Agility" vs "Turtle Stance".When questioned why the animal spirits manifested as normal animals and not things like an Arctic Wolf or something native to Freljord, kitae replied:
Each of his stances (tiger/turtle/bear/phoenix) corresponds to a specific, powerful, Ionian spirit that Udyr summons in battle. They are his bros."
"Ok we're getting into some deep lore here.
Born with the potential to become the Spirit Walker, Udyr had the innate capability to communicate with and channel spirits of all kinds. However, he never completed his training. If he had, he would be a very different kind of champion, channeling Freljord nature spirits in battle like his master did. Some of this power is hinted at in his bio, where in his untrained state he unleashes an avalanche.
When the Ice Witch killed his mentor, she thought she had ended the line of Spirit Walkers for there was no one left to teach Udyr how to use his abilities. This is one reason why she never returned to hunt down and kill Udyr.
When he went to Ionia and studied with the monks, he found their techniques for self control and mental mastery enabled him to use his spirit walker abilities. There in the temple, he formed a strong relationship with four primal Ionian nature spirits. The very cool thing about this is - this is not an Ionian capability. This is what makes Udyr a unique champion who combines the powers of a Freljord Spirit Walker, with Ionian martial arts training and the ability to summon and channel four Ionian nature spirits.
Still Udyr has much to learn and he still struggles to control his rage. One path he may walk in the future would be to return to Ionia, to fully embrace the teachings of the monks, and at that point he would evolve to become an even more potent spirit warrior."