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Is Hero Factory becoming like Bionicle?


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#1 Online Waaja

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Posted Nov 08 2013 - 10:42 PM

Remember when Bionicle first started? The sets were almost all-new parts each year (toa mata/nuva vs toa metru vs toa hordika vs toa inika), then they started reusing the same parts over and over again, and things got boring. Then Bionicle ended.

 

Looking at Hero Factory, Wave 2 (trial of fire) was totally different from Wave 1 as they introduced the new building system. But looking at the sets coming after that (wave 3 up to brain attack), pieces used have remained largely the same, with some new pieces introduced each year (just like what they did with Bionicle post-Inika). I get they feeling that Hero Factory isn't being given as much attention as other lines (eg: Ninjago, and now Chima), and there isn't as much hype about Hero Factory now as there was in the past. What do you think? Is Hero Factory travelling down the same line as Bionicle? This is what I personally gathered, so don't go ranting about me living in a well or something... <_< :bah-sign:


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#2 Offline xccj

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 06:40 AM

If you live in a well, it's apparently one people throw Lego sets into, so that can't be all bad.  :P

 

I think this has more to do with a shift in the way Lego does things.  In Bionicle's hayday, Lego was experimentings too much with new mold and such, and it was getting too expensive.  It worked for Bionicle (only profitable line in 2003: Bionicle helped save Lego!) but it wasn't a sustainable practice.  From 2006 and out, Lego started reusing basic elements like the Inika build so that they could introduce fewer new molds, which were instead mostly restricted to things like masks and weapons.  IMO it did get a bit repetitive after a while, but if they had to create too many new molds for new body designs every year, it would've been too costly to continue a construction figure line like that.

 

Having already learned that lesson, Lego developed a really awesome body design for the 2.0 Heroes and they've been using it ever since.  There have been a few new molds every year, and luckily a good amount of recolored armor pieces, so the system is still versitile, even if it is getting old.  (And besides, the 1.0 Heroes were totally based on the Bionicle system.  The Heroes had some new molds, but the larger villians were mostly pre-existing parts in new colors.)

 

I won't say if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  Honestly, I thought the new system was getting repetitive with the 3.0 Heroes, but it's such a good system that I think it's worth having it for multiple waves.  Hope this helps explain some of the reasoning behind it, anyway.

 

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#3 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 07:06 AM

I'd say Hero Factory is following a similar downfall to Bionicle and is doomed to be discontinued in a year or two.


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Nov 09 2013 - 07:06 AM.

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#4 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 11:48 AM

Remember when Bionicle first started? The sets were almost all-new parts each year (toa mata/nuva vs toa metru vs toa hordika vs toa inika), then they started reusing the same parts over and over again, and things got boring. Then Bionicle ended. Looking at Hero Factory, Wave 2 (trial of fire) was totally different from Wave 1 as they introduced the new building system. But looking at the sets coming after that (wave 3 up to brain attack), pieces used have remained largely the same, with some new pieces introduced each year (just like what they did with Bionicle post-Inika). I get they feeling that Hero Factory isn't being given as much attention as other lines (eg: Ninjago, and now Chima), and there isn't as much hype about Hero Factory now as there was in the past. What do you think? Is Hero Factory travelling down the same line as Bionicle? This is what I personally gathered, so don't go ranting about me living in a well or something... <_< :bah-sign:

BIONICLE's inevitable end had nothing to do with the reuse of parts. If anything, reusing parts might have helped it stay alive longer than it might have otherwise, considering that it wouldn't be throwing away money on new molds that performed more or less the same function as ones that already existed. Being able to reuse older parts is an ideal to strive for, not a risk to avoid at all costs.And furthermore, there was NOT a considerable reduction in the number of new parts in BIONICLE anyhow. There were 40 new parts in 2001, 47 in 2002, 46 in 2003, 47 again in 2004, 45 in 2005 (65 if you count playset parts), 66 in 2006 (95 if you include playset parts), 56 in 2007 (66 if you count playset parts), 74 in 2008, and 56 in 2009. In other words, whether or not you count playset parts, the number of new parts per year between 2006 and 2009 was without exception higher than the number of parts per year before 2006. Only in 2010 did the number of new parts sink below 2001-2005 levels, and that's just because the theme as a whole was less than 1/8 the size it had been the previous year.When parts get reused, it's a measure of how useful they are to begin with. The Inika torso and build were reused so often in BIONICLE because they were the most versatile torso and build in the entire theme, whereas the Vahki and Toa Hordika torsos were abandoned fairly soon because they were lackluster, overly specialized designs. Similarly, the 2.0 Hero Factory parts that are frequently reused are amazingly versatile designs, hence why they get reused and many of the more specialized parts from 2010 do not.I think Hero Factory is doing absolutely the right thing. LEGO isn't about creating new parts willy-nilly, it's about achieving as much as possible with the same parts palette. So new parts should be added strictly as a matter of necessity, not just as the go-to means for creating variety.

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#5 Offline Sir Kohran

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 01:30 PM

I find it difficult to make a decision about this, because I'm a bit conflicted on Hero Factory sets in general. I do find their sleek and bright look far more appealing than the messy and mottled look of a lot of later Bionicle sets (particularly the '06-7 figures). However, the simplicity of the designs is off-putting - you just snap some chunky limbs, weapons and armour pieces onto a body and that's it. It's quite clearly a continuation of the trend that began in the mid-'00s with the introduction of the Rhotuka/Zamor launchers and the abandonment of gear functions - emphasis on poseability and playability, with as little construction as possible. This style may sell better but I don't personally like it very much.

 

I think it's established that Hero Factory isn't getting and never has gotten as much attention from Lego as Bionicle once did. This is likely due to the resurgence of System sets, which were the force behind Lego's return to success towards the end of the last decade whilst Bionicle's sales stagnated. Constraction figures just haven't sold as well as System sets for quite a while now. We can only wonder if the situation will ever reverse.


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#6 Offline Sykreos the Challenger

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 03:13 PM

[color=#006400;]What confuses me here is the fact that making new molds would be too expensive. LEGO is one of the biggest, richest toy companies in the world, so shouldn't they be able to afford it if they're careful enough?[/color]

 

[color=#006400;]I'd say if Hero Factory looks the same in 2014, it's safe to say it's the last year of Hero Factory. It's only a matter of time when we BZPers stop buying the sets due to how boring they would get and Hero Factory would lose at least half of its buyers. That'd really hurt the theme.[/color]


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#7 Offline Ghabulous Ghoti

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 08:16 PM

 

Remember when Bionicle first started? The sets were almost all-new parts each year (toa mata/nuva vs toa metru vs toa hordika vs toa inika), then they started reusing the same parts over and over again, and things got boring. Then Bionicle ended. Looking at Hero Factory, Wave 2 (trial of fire) was totally different from Wave 1 as they introduced the new building system. But looking at the sets coming after that (wave 3 up to brain attack), pieces used have remained largely the same, with some new pieces introduced each year (just like what they did with Bionicle post-Inika). I get they feeling that Hero Factory isn't being given as much attention as other lines (eg: Ninjago, and now Chima), and there isn't as much hype about Hero Factory now as there was in the past. What do you think? Is Hero Factory travelling down the same line as Bionicle? This is what I personally gathered, so don't go ranting about me living in a well or something... <_< :bah-sign:

BIONICLE's inevitable end had nothing to do with the reuse of parts. If anything, reusing parts might have helped it stay alive longer than it might have otherwise, considering that it wouldn't be throwing away money on new molds that performed more or less the same function as ones that already existed. Being able to reuse older parts is an ideal to strive for, not a risk to avoid at all costs.And furthermore, there was NOT a considerable reduction in the number of new parts in BIONICLE anyhow. There were 40 new parts in 2001, 47 in 2002, 46 in 2003, 47 again in 2004, 45 in 2005 (65 if you count playset parts), 66 in 2006 (95 if you include playset parts), 56 in 2007 (66 if you count playset parts), 74 in 2008, and 56 in 2009. In other words, whether or not you count playset parts, the number of new parts per year between 2006 and 2009 was without exception higher than the number of parts per year before 2006. Only in 2010 did the number of new parts sink below 2001-2005 levels, and that's just because the theme as a whole was less than 1/8 the size it had been the previous year.When parts get reused, it's a measure of how useful they are to begin with. The Inika torso and build were reused so often in BIONICLE because they were the most versatile torso and build in the entire theme, whereas the Vahki and Toa Hordika torsos were abandoned fairly soon because they were lackluster, overly specialized designs. Similarly, the 2.0 Hero Factory parts that are frequently reused are amazingly versatile designs, hence why they get reused and many of the more specialized parts from 2010 do not.I think Hero Factory is doing absolutely the right thing. LEGO isn't about creating new parts willy-nilly, it's about achieving as much as possible with the same parts palette. So new parts should be added strictly as a matter of necessity, not just as the go-to means for creating variety.

 

Out of curiosity, are you counting recolors as new parts? Because we got a LOT of recolors of molds with the Inika build design thing. Back in years like '02, all the Toa Nuva just had silver armor.


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#8 Offline Observedhalo

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 10:52 PM

I find it likely that Hero Factory will be discontinued in one or two years unless they can renew interest in the line. I am amused by the fact that Lego is turning Hero Factory into what is basically Pacific Rim, but I did enjoy Exoforce back in the day and like that they are retaining what has proven to be a very versatile building system. I mech idea could add some much needed variety in the line, and if the Beast are handled correctly could reintroduce a more complicated building system as opposed to what we've had recently. 


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#9 Online Waaja

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Posted Nov 10 2013 - 09:36 AM

 

 

Remember when Bionicle first started? The sets were almost all-new parts each year (toa mata/nuva vs toa metru vs toa hordika vs toa inika), then they started reusing the same parts over and over again, and things got boring. Then Bionicle ended. Looking at Hero Factory, Wave 2 (trial of fire) was totally different from Wave 1 as they introduced the new building system. But looking at the sets coming after that (wave 3 up to brain attack), pieces used have remained largely the same, with some new pieces introduced each year (just like what they did with Bionicle post-Inika). I get they feeling that Hero Factory isn't being given as much attention as other lines (eg: Ninjago, and now Chima), and there isn't as much hype about Hero Factory now as there was in the past. What do you think? Is Hero Factory travelling down the same line as Bionicle? This is what I personally gathered, so don't go ranting about me living in a well or something... <_< :bah-sign:

BIONICLE's inevitable end had nothing to do with the reuse of parts. If anything, reusing parts might have helped it stay alive longer than it might have otherwise, considering that it wouldn't be throwing away money on new molds that performed more or less the same function as ones that already existed. Being able to reuse older parts is an ideal to strive for, not a risk to avoid at all costs.And furthermore, there was NOT a considerable reduction in the number of new parts in BIONICLE anyhow. There were 40 new parts in 2001, 47 in 2002, 46 in 2003, 47 again in 2004, 45 in 2005 (65 if you count playset parts), 66 in 2006 (95 if you include playset parts), 56 in 2007 (66 if you count playset parts), 74 in 2008, and 56 in 2009. In other words, whether or not you count playset parts, the number of new parts per year between 2006 and 2009 was without exception higher than the number of parts per year before 2006. Only in 2010 did the number of new parts sink below 2001-2005 levels, and that's just because the theme as a whole was less than 1/8 the size it had been the previous year.When parts get reused, it's a measure of how useful they are to begin with. The Inika torso and build were reused so often in BIONICLE because they were the most versatile torso and build in the entire theme, whereas the Vahki and Toa Hordika torsos were abandoned fairly soon because they were lackluster, overly specialized designs. Similarly, the 2.0 Hero Factory parts that are frequently reused are amazingly versatile designs, hence why they get reused and many of the more specialized parts from 2010 do not.I think Hero Factory is doing absolutely the right thing. LEGO isn't about creating new parts willy-nilly, it's about achieving as much as possible with the same parts palette. So new parts should be added strictly as a matter of necessity, not just as the go-to means for creating variety.

 

Out of curiosity, are you counting recolors as new parts? Because we got a LOT of recolors of molds with the Inika build design thing. Back in years like '02, all the Toa Nuva just had silver armor.

 

I'm not counting recolours, but totally new parts. IMO, recolours are old parts, and no matter how you look at it, if Lego was to produce a set every year, only changing its colours, it'd be boring and I won't consider it 'new'.

 

On the part about Lego reusing parts, I do think it is on the consumer-builders' part to 'reuse' the parts (eg: for MOCing). Lego needs to come out with new parts to create more possibilities for such purposes; it is Lego, and not the consumer, who has the capacity to create new parts. Looking at it from a selling Point of view, consumers wouldn't want to buy a set they can easily recreate or closely recreate with the pieces they already have (we do look at the number of new parts when each new set comes out)...


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#10 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Nov 10 2013 - 04:47 PM

[color=#006400;]What confuses me here is the fact that making new molds would be too expensive. LEGO is one of the biggest, richest toy companies in the world, so shouldn't they be able to afford it if they're careful enough?[/color] [color=#006400;]I'd say if Hero Factory looks the same in 2014, it's safe to say it's the last year of Hero Factory. It's only a matter of time when we BZPers stop buying the sets due to how boring they would get and Hero Factory would lose at least half of its buyers. That'd really hurt the theme.[/color]

I'm sorry, was that a joke? Because it's hilarious how you can think BZPers make up even close to half of Hero Factory's audience, especially considering the percentage of BZPers who like Hero Factory is smaller than the percentage who liked Bionicle in its heyday, the number of active BZPers is lower than it was in Bionicle's heyday, and GregF constantly reminded us back then that BZPower made up a tiny minority of Bionicle's overall audience. What do you think that means for Hero Factory?The sad thing is that if Hero Factory does look considerably different next year (and I have... suspicions it will), you'll probably go on thinking that that was the saving grace of the theme, when I seriously doubt the continued use of the tried-and-true torso design of 2011 onwards has caused the theme any harm in the long run.


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#11 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Nov 10 2013 - 07:18 PM

I find it difficult to make a decision about this, because I'm a bit conflicted on Hero Factory sets in general. I do find their sleek and bright look far more appealing than the messy and mottled look of a lot of later Bionicle sets (particularly the '06-7 figures). However, the simplicity of the designs is off-putting - you just snap some chunky limbs, weapons and armour pieces onto a body and that's it. It's quite clearly a continuation of the trend that began in the mid-'00s with the introduction of the Rhotuka/Zamor launchers and the abandonment of gear functions - emphasis on poseability and playability, with as little construction as possible. This style may sell better but I don't personally like it very much. I think it's established that Hero Factory isn't getting and never has gotten as much attention from Lego as Bionicle once did. This is likely due to the resurgence of System sets, which were the force behind Lego's return to success towards the end of the last decade whilst Bionicle's sales stagnated. Constraction figures just haven't sold as well as System sets for quite a while now. We can only wonder if the situation will ever reverse.

I'd disagree on the point "as little construction as possible". The construction is just simplified to a form that makes more sense for action figures. And I think, as a result, the new building system encourages MOCing, because there's not so much of a learning curve to figuring out how to design good-looking figures.Furthermore, a lot of Hero Factory sets have just as much complexity or more than similarly-priced BIONICLE sets. If you were to arrange BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets priced at $13 or $12.99 (a price point that's stayed more or less consistent since 2007) from "most pieces" to "fewest pieces", your list would look like this. It's a pretty balanced spread of BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets from top to bottom. Considering inflation and the lower numbers of pins and axles in Hero Factory sets, you'd expect far fewer parts in the typical set at this price point, but that is not the case.You can argue that piece count and complexity are not the same thing, and you'd be right. But while Hero Factory sets lose complexity in some respects, they gain it in others. For instance, Hero Factory has no specialized gearbox elements and no giant multi-piece launchers. Hero Factory armor is almost always added separately from the skeleton, whereas BIONICLE had plenty of skeleton parts that had built-in armor detail, like the various lower arm/lower leg pieces or various torso pieces. 

[color=#006400;]What confuses me here is the fact that making new molds would be too expensive. LEGO is one of the biggest, richest toy companies in the world, so shouldn't they be able to afford it if they're careful enough?[/color]

The LEGO Group has a lot of money, but they can't go throwing it away on molds they're going to use for just a few sets. Part of the reason LEGO is so profitable is because the brand is based on the idea of reusing the same parts for lots of different things.LEGO Cuusoo is an example of a product line where there is no budget for new molds, because the sets are not produced in large enough batches to pay for the cost of a new mold. A LEGO mold can cost around $100,000 if not more, and can cut into profits even more since producing a new mold means taking another potentially more versatile part off the production floor. Since a typical LEGO Cuusoo set's first batch can be as low as 10,000 units, that means a single new mold in a LEGO Cuusoo set could add as much as $10 to the production cost of each set.The more times you can use a mold, the more profitable that mold becomes. And ideally, you want to be able to use a mold until it wears out, at which point you would have to replace it anyway.

[color=#006400;]I'd say if Hero Factory looks the same in 2014, it's safe to say it's the last year of Hero Factory. It's only a matter of time when we BZPers stop buying the sets due to how boring they would get and Hero Factory would lose at least half of its buyers. That'd really hurt the theme.[/color]

As my brother pointed out, you're forgetting how tiny BZPower is in terms of actual purchasing power (or simply kidding yourself).I think it's kind of ironic to read BIONICLE fan complaints about Hero Factory saying the sets all look the same, considering that's what a lot of AFOLs have been saying about BIONICLE since it began. You'd think BIONICLE fans, of all people, would be above that kind of shortsighted ignorance.

Out of curiosity, are you counting recolors as new parts? Because we got a LOT of recolors of molds with the Inika build design thing. Back in years like '02, all the Toa Nuva just had silver armor.

I wasn't counting recolors in my post either. Recolors are not quite the same because they do not cost nearly as much as new molds (all you have to do is clean out the old molds and set them up to use a different color of dye) and, from a MOCist's perspective, they don't change your building opportunities quite as radically as a part with an entirely different geometry. 

I'm not counting recolours, but totally new parts. IMO, recolours are old parts, and no matter how you look at it, if Lego was to produce a set every year, only changing its colours, it'd be boring and I won't consider it 'new'. On the part about Lego reusing parts, I do think it is on the consumer-builders' part to 'reuse' the parts (eg: for MOCing). Lego needs to come out with new parts to create more possibilities for such purposes; it is Lego, and not the consumer, who has the capacity to create new parts. Looking at it from a selling Point of view, consumers wouldn't want to buy a set they can easily recreate or closely recreate with the pieces they already have (we do look at the number of new parts when each new set comes out)...

A lot of AFOL and TFOL MOCists do look at how many new parts a set has, but the LEGO Group gets most of their money from kids, and they are more often concerned with the set as a whole. To them, it might not make as big a difference what parts are new, because chances are a lot of parts are still new to them even if they've been in sets for over a decade. Even AFOL set reviews often misidentify a part as new if it's not from a theme the builder in question has ever had any interest in.Also, a lot of brands like Mega Bloks do create a lot of new molds for new sets (like windscreens and other curved parts in their Halo sets), and you see the quality of the molds go down as a result. After all, if they, the manufacturers, aren't planning to reuse the parts in future products, then what difference does it make to them if the part is useful for much of anything besides its intended purpose? Again, the average buyer isn't a MOCist who's going to be thinking about these kind of things — it's a kid or gift-giving parent who is more preoccupied with the shape and features of the overall product.And as I mentioned, there's also the business case angle. The LEGO Group can only make so many new parts a year, and the budget each theme gets for new parts is based largely on need. Hero Factory has not had as many new parts per wave as BIONICLE in quite a while, and a big part of this is that with the new building system, it does not need as many new parts. Using the same armor and beams in different configurations can go a long way, just as the same LEGO System or Technic bricks in different configurations can create an entirely different model.

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#12 Offline Sykreos the Challenger

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Posted Nov 10 2013 - 09:34 PM

[color=#006400;]What confuses me here is the fact that making new molds would be too expensive. LEGO is one of the biggest, richest toy companies in the world, so shouldn't they be able to afford it if they're careful enough?[/color] [color=#006400;]I'd say if Hero Factory looks the same in 2014, it's safe to say it's the last year of Hero Factory. It's only a matter of time when we BZPers stop buying the sets due to how boring they would get and Hero Factory would lose at least half of its buyers. That'd really hurt the theme.[/color]

I'm sorry, was that a joke? Because it's hilarious how you can think BZPers make up even close to half of Hero Factory's audience, especially considering the percentage of BZPers who like Hero Factory is smaller than the percentage who liked Bionicle in its heyday, the number of active BZPers is lower than it was in Bionicle's heyday, and GregF constantly reminded us back then that BZPower made up a tiny minority of Bionicle's overall audience. What do you think that means for Hero Factory?The sad thing is that if Hero Factory does look considerably different next year (and I have... suspicions it will), you'll probably go on thinking that that was the saving grace of the theme, when I seriously doubt the continued use of the tried-and-true torso design of 2011 onwards has caused the theme any harm in the long run.
This was only a theory. I was just hypothesizing what could happen if some of BZPower lost interest in Hero Factory. I realize what I said wrong now and I'm sorry I offended you.

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#13 Offline Sir Kohran

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Posted Nov 12 2013 - 06:37 AM

Furthermore, a lot of Hero Factory sets have just as much complexity or more than similarly-priced BIONICLE sets. If you were to arrange BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets priced at $13 or $12.99 (a price point that's stayed more or less consistent since 2007) from "most pieces" to "fewest pieces", your list would look like this. It's a pretty balanced spread of BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets from top to bottom. Considering inflation and the lower numbers of pins and axles in Hero Factory sets, you'd expect far fewer parts in the typical set at this price point, but that is not the case.

 

I didn't say that Hero Factory sets have fewer pieces. I think that the roughly equal number of pieces is largely attributable to Hero Factory sets being quite a bit bigger than most Bionicle ones (a lot of large pieces versus some large pieces and some small pieces). Though I'd add that all but one of the Bionicle sets on your list are from '08 or later, when the 'simplicity principle' was firmly established, meaning the comparison is a little faulty.

 

A LEGO mold can cost around $100,000 if not more,

 

Where did you learn this from? Why does it cost that much? Merely from interest.


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#14 Online Waaja

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Posted Nov 12 2013 - 10:42 AM

 

Furthermore, a lot of Hero Factory sets have just as much complexity or more than similarly-priced BIONICLE sets. If you were to arrange BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets priced at $13 or $12.99 (a price point that's stayed more or less consistent since 2007) from "most pieces" to "fewest pieces", your list would look like this. It's a pretty balanced spread of BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets from top to bottom. Considering inflation and the lower numbers of pins and axles in Hero Factory sets, you'd expect far fewer parts in the typical set at this price point, but that is not the case.

 

I didn't say that Hero Factory sets have fewer pieces. I think that the roughly equal number of pieces is largely attributable to Hero Factory sets being quite a bit bigger than most Bionicle ones (a lot of large pieces versus some large pieces and some small pieces). Though I'd add that all but one of the Bionicle sets on your list are from '08 or later, when the 'simplicity principle' was firmly established, meaning the comparison is a little faulty.

Er, I do believe that Hero Factory sets are smaller and more expensive than Bionicle sets (though this can be attributed to inflation >:(): A comparison with a $25.90 Toa Nuparu (from 2008) with Breakout Rocka or even Breez which costs about $27.90 in my Country can show that sets not only are smaller, they cost more and are more simplistc to fix. Another comparison: 2003 Toa Nuva ($13.90) vs 2010 Furno 1.0 ($17.90). Seriously?! Bionicle clearly wins the piece count here, and size is roughly about the same, or the toa are slightly taller. Inflation does lots of unwanted stuff D:


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#15 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Nov 12 2013 - 02:33 PM

Furthermore, a lot of Hero Factory sets have just as much complexity or more than similarly-priced BIONICLE sets. If you were to arrange BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets priced at $13 or $12.99 (a price point that's stayed more or less consistent since 2007) from "most pieces" to "fewest pieces", your list would look like this. It's a pretty balanced spread of BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets from top to bottom. Considering inflation and the lower numbers of pins and axles in Hero Factory sets, you'd expect far fewer parts in the typical set at this price point, but that is not the case.

 I didn't say that Hero Factory sets have fewer pieces. I think that the roughly equal number of pieces is largely attributable to Hero Factory sets being quite a bit bigger than most Bionicle ones (a lot of large pieces versus some large pieces and some small pieces). Though I'd add that all but one of the Bionicle sets on your list are from '08 or later, when the 'simplicity principle' was firmly established, meaning the comparison is a little faulty.

The reason the sets are all from '08 or later is because I did not adjust for price changes — before 2008, a canister set was just $10 instead of $13. The spread is still pretty even when I include all sets between $9.99 and $15. Furthermore, I find it a bit silly that you think 2008 sets were excessively simplified when only one pre-2008 canister set (Toa Mahri Kongu) had more parts than Mistika Toa Tahu.Most Hero Factory sets are not considerably bigger than similarly-priced BIONICLE sets either. A medium-sized Hero Factory set is considerably smaller than a post-2006 BIONICLE canister set — about the same height as a Toa Metru, in fact. Since 2011, small Hero Factory sets have been almost identical in height to a Toa Mata or Toa Nuva. 

A LEGO mold can cost around $100,000 if not more,

 Where did you learn this from? Why does it cost that much? Merely from interest.

According to Mark Stafford, a LEGO designer, in this post, an estimate of $2,000,000 for 20 new LEGO molds is "seriously underestimating mold costs at the precision required for LEGO elements." In other words, a LEGO mold typically costs upwards of 100,000.The reasons are precision (the more precise you want the tooling on a steel mold, the pricier it is) and longevity (molds have to be designed for the long term, meaning the steel used has to have long-term endurance). Molds can also cost more depending on their complexity — a simple two-section mold that is required to make 2x4 LEGO bricks, Toa Mata legs, or Hero Factory torso beams is much cheaper than a mold for a Toa Metru or Toa Mata torso/gearbox, which needs at least five sections to mold all the details.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Nov 12 2013 - 02:34 PM.

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#16 Offline Kung Fu Pyro

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Posted Nov 15 2013 - 08:44 PM

It was starting to get repetitive, but then Giant Mecha VS. Giant Monsters happen. As someone who loved Pacific Rim, I am super hyped for the new sets. So, no, I don't think it's becoming like Bionicle, not quite yet anyways.


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#17 Online Waaja

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Posted Nov 16 2013 - 08:24 AM

It was starting to get repetitive, but then Giant Mecha VS. Giant Monsters happen. As someone who loved Pacific Rim, I am super hyped for the new sets. So, no, I don't think it's becoming like Bionicle, not quite yet anyways.

Hmm, lets see how this year goes...But looking at it, it's taking a new direction. I wonder if it's going to be this way for the rest of HF, or if its just a one-off. I suspect its the latter though...HF may very well return to regular fiigures in winter next year.

 

Then again, same blocky-armour pieces to put on the skeleton before adding an additional piece for specialization. I'm wondering why Lego hasn't decided to design more pieces with specific designs on them (like the engine piece in HF 2.0)?


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#18 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Nov 16 2013 - 09:50 AM

It was starting to get repetitive, but then Giant Mecha VS. Giant Monsters happen. As someone who loved Pacific Rim, I am super hyped for the new sets. So, no, I don't think it's becoming like Bionicle, not quite yet anyways.

Hmm, lets see how this year goes...But looking at it, it's taking a new direction. I wonder if it's going to be this way for the rest of HF, or if its just a one-off. I suspect its the latter though...HF may very well return to regular fiigures in winter next year. Then again, same blocky-armour pieces to put on the skeleton before adding an additional piece for specialization. I'm wondering why Lego hasn't decided to design more pieces with specific designs on them (like the engine piece in HF 2.0)?

Parts with very specific designs are more difficult to reuse. By keeping the same basic range of parts in production and using more specialized parts only for occasional details, TLG ensures the textures and motifs in each set remain largely stylistically consistent.In BIONICLE, almost every part specific to that theme went very heavy on the detail, which was nice in some respects (I loved analyzing the details, myself), but it made MOCing a little bit of a challenge sometimes unless you ignored the textures entirely and concerned yourself only with the shapes of the parts. For instance, there were almost no parts with the same texture as the armor pieces on Kalmah, Strakk, and Vastus. These parts were designed with these particular sets in mind, but not a whole lot of attention was put into ensuring that they'd be able to be used as widely in the future as earlier shell designs.Thankfully, there were a handful of common details that helped tie things together — the "framework" texture that defined the Toa Mata torso, Toa Metru torso, and Vahki legs, for instance, or the isometric dot pattern that defined a lot of parts released from 2006 to 2008. Hero Factory also has this to an extent — in addition to the smooth look of the standard shells, there is also a more plated look on several parts like 92222, 92223, 98571, and 11281. Even this look is kept largely consistent for the sake of greater compatibility of parts.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Nov 16 2013 - 09:56 AM.

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#19 Online Gatanui

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Posted Nov 16 2013 - 11:17 AM

[color=#990000;]Hero Factory is quite different to BIONICLE in the way it is being approached by LEGO, seeing how it's been planned more as a niche theme from the start, so it's never been really travelling down, apart from the first one or two half years which got more promotion than the rest as it was the theme's first year. Rather it's been consistently kept at a lower level than BIONICLE as far as media presence, promotions and probably also sales go. However, the change of direction next year might give it a considerable boost, at least big enough to raise awareness of it outside the constraction camp and introducing it to fans of system themes (though definitely not big enough to surpass the big sellers).[color=#000080;]-Gata Posted Image[/color][/color]
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#20 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 09 2013 - 11:16 AM

Sorry I'm late to the party, but this is something I've wanted to say for a while.

 

In the end, as happened with the Inika build, it gets to a point where I feel like I've already built this figure 30 times. No matter how many new shoulderpads were designed to dress them up with, the figures just started to get old, after a while.

 

Looking back at the early years, with each line like the Rahkshi and Toa Metru, yeah, figures like that were clones of each other, but at least they were a new kind of figure. It just became a simple matter of picking your favorite color.

 

When the Inika were first released, fans thought they were AMAZING. We loved the Inika because, well... they were a new kind of figure, at the time. That made them interesting. In 2007, the Barraki were really cool because, while they weren't a new set of clones as we'd seen in past years, they were interesting because of how much they mixed things up. The Toa Mahri were... okay, but not as innovative as the Barraki.

 

2008, like the year before it, had a really strong start. The Makuta were unique, like the Barraki, AND, they were, to an extent, NEW. The three Toa we got in that line... they weren't that new, but they were still pretty cool. The Mistika line was kind fo a step down. Takanuva was a great set, but the Makuta were decent at best, and the Toa were just... hard to look at. This is where it began to feel like they'd run out of ideas.

 

In 2009, things got better. The sets were more colorful and had a stronger identity to them. There were low points, like Vastus and Tarix, but there were also more creative builds such as Skrall and Kiina. What made most of the characters stand apart from each other, more than anything else, though... was their shoulderpads. That's pretty sad.

 

As for Hero Factory, I've completely skipped over the Brain Attack line. Didn't get a single figure this year. HOWEVER, I DO have my sights on Furno's mech next year.

 

You know why? Because it's NEW! ...kinda

 

I think Hero Factory's new building system is great... but I would like to see something new, or at least a new torso build and some new armor plating. There's a lot that can be done with this line, and I don't think they're really making the most of it.

 

Again, though... as taxing as it may be for the Lego Company to make truly new figures, it's such a thrill to have a brand new kind of figure that you didn't already build last year. Can anyone be blamed for wanting that?


Edited by NickonAquaMagna, Dec 09 2013 - 11:17 AM.

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#21 Offline Sykreos the Challenger

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Posted Dec 09 2013 - 11:46 AM

Sorry I'm late to the party, but this is something I've wanted to say for a while.

 

In the end, as happened with the Inika build, it gets to a point where I feel like I've already built this figure 30 times. No matter how many new shoulderpads were designed to dress them up with, the figures just started to get old, after a while.

 

Looking back at the early years, with each line like the Rahkshi and Toa Metru, yeah, figures like that were clones of each other, but at least they were a new kind of figure. It just became a simple matter of picking your favorite color.

 

When the Inika were first released, fans thought they were AMAZING. We loved the Inika because, well... they were a new kind of figure, at the time. That made them interesting. In 2007, the Barraki were really cool because, while they weren't a new set of clones as we'd seen in past years, they were interesting because of how much they mixed things up. The Toa Mahri were... okay, but not as innovative as the Barraki.

 

2008, like the year before it, had a really strong start. The Makuta were unique, like the Barraki, AND, they were, to an extent, NEW. The three Toa we got in that line... they weren't that new, but they were still pretty cool. The Mistika line was kind fo a step down. Takanuva was a great set, but the Makuta were decent at best, and the Toa were just... hard to look at. This is where it began to feel like they'd run out of ideas.

 

In 2009, things got better. The sets were more colorful and had a stronger identity to them. There were low points, like Vastus and Tarix, but there were also more creative builds such as Skrall and Kiina. What made most of the characters stand apart from each other, more than anything else, though... was their shoulderpads. That's pretty sad.

 

As for Hero Factory, I've completely skipped over the Brain Attack line. Didn't get a single figure this year. HOWEVER, I DO have my sights on Furno's mech next year.

 

You know why? Because it's NEW! ...kinda

 

I think Hero Factory's new building system is great... but I would like to see something new, or at least a new torso build and some new armor plating. There's a lot that can be done with this line, and I don't think they're really making the most of it.

 

Again, though... as taxing as it may be for the Lego Company to make truly new figures, it's such a thrill to have a brand new kind of figure that you didn't already build last year. Can anyone be blamed for wanting that?

Hey, you have a strong point there. I guess what you said was one key reason as to why the theme was shut down. I liked the "picking your favorite color" part; it made sense since it was an easy way to pick a favorite out of all the clones. But yet, BIONICLE repeated itself too much, with the colors and the builds. Hero Factory is now doomed to repeat history, but I like the new turn they're taking in 2014. But most of 2014's line is recycled parts, after all.

 

So to conclude, I get what you're saying. It's nice to get clones in small doses, and then you moved on to something else the next year. I guess the creators did run out of ideas. :(


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#22 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 09 2013 - 12:19 PM

The thing I take issue with a lot of Inika torso complaints is that for some people, if seemed that the only thing that would seem "new" were sets made from new pieces. That's not how LEGO is supposed to work. New pieces are fine, but not when they're being used for variety alone. For this reason, I actually greatly disliked the Phantoka Makuta torso. It was NEW, but it was also big and clunky -- basically an Inika torso that was drastically inferior when it came to versatility. Other than its one intended function, the launching of Tridax Pods, it did not create a lot of new building opportunities. In contrast, the builds I really admire are ones that instead use existing parts in creative new ways, like the custom torso designs of Furno Jet Machine from Hero Factory or Strakk and Kiina from BIONICLE.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Dec 09 2013 - 12:22 PM.

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#23 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 09 2013 - 12:27 PM

The thing I take issue with a lot of Inika torso complaints is that for some people, if seemed that the only thing that would seem "new" were sets made from new pieces. That's not how LEGO is supposed to work. New pieces are fine, but not when they're being used for variety alone. For this reason, I actually greatly disliked the Phantoka Makuta torso. It was NEW, but it was also big and clunky -- basically an Inika torso that was drastically inferior when it came to versatility. Other than its one intended function, the launching of Tridax Pods, it did not create a lot of new building opportunities. In contrast, the builds I really admire are ones that instead use existing parts in creative new ways, like the custom torso designs of Furno Jet Machine from Hero Factory or Strakk and Kiina from BIONICLE.

It just gets kinda tiresome to go through the motions of attatching a hip piece to a backbone piece, slappting a chestplate over it and calling it a day... you know?


Edited by NickonAquaMagna, Dec 09 2013 - 12:28 PM.

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#24 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 09 2013 - 02:30 PM

The thing I take issue with a lot of Inika torso complaints is that for some people, if seemed that the only thing that would seem "new" were sets made from new pieces. That's not how LEGO is supposed to work. New pieces are fine, but not when they're being used for variety alone. For this reason, I actually greatly disliked the Phantoka Makuta torso. It was NEW, but it was also big and clunky -- basically an Inika torso that was drastically inferior when it came to versatility. Other than its one intended function, the launching of Tridax Pods, it did not create a lot of new building opportunities. In contrast, the builds I really admire are ones that instead use existing parts in creative new ways, like the custom torso designs of Furno Jet Machine from Hero Factory or Strakk and Kiina from BIONICLE.

It just gets kinda tiresome to go through the motions of attatching a hip piece to a backbone piece, slappting a chestplate over it and calling it a day... you know?

I dunno, I never got bored with it. Plus there were plenty of sets that mixed things up a lot even without introducing any new torso pieces, like Mantax, Toa Mahri Matoro, Vorox, Gorast, Strakk, Gresh, or Skrall (and that's just counting ones that actually used the Inika upper torso beam — Ehlek, Takadox, Pridak, Phantoka Toa Pohatu, and Kiina all had unique torso constructions that didn't use it OR any specialized new molds).

Of course, another thing these sets have in common is that they each changed things up with a very specific purpose in mind — changing the posture, or attaching things to the shoulders, or attaching things to the back. In other words, things that could not have been done without any kind of modifications. And this is generally what I like to see. I have little interest in "variety for variety's sake" or "complexity for complexity's sake" when the standard build is already superb at what it sets out to do (that is, building figures with tall upright posture, which seems to be what people generally prefer considering how much whining and caterwauling there was about sets like Toa Mahri Kongu and Toa Mahri Matoro). One of the testaments to the quality of the Inika torso's design is that it was simple and efficient to be used with a standard build if you wanted to build a standard sort of figure, or it could be used in a more complex build for a figure that needed to be more complex for one reason or another.

The Inika build is often perceived as some kind of plague that wouldn't go away, but I think of it differently: as the one BIONICLE canister set design that was good enough in terms of quality and versatility to be kept around for more than three years. Then again, it was only used in BIONICLE sets for four years, so it didn't outlast the Toa Mata torso by very long at all. The major difference was that there were more humanoid characters between 2006 and 2009 than there were in any other four-year stretch. If the Bohrok and Bohrok-Kal were meant to be understood as individual characters with personalities instead of mindless interchangeable drones, perhaps they might have used some variation on the Toa Mata build.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Dec 09 2013 - 02:33 PM.

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#25 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 09 2013 - 02:39 PM

Like I've said, the Barraki and some of the other figures were great. I just don't think there was enough of that.

 

Maybe you didn't feel the same way, but I was always excited when there was a new line with new figures to build. The thing about lego in general is, well, there's just more that you can do with the lego bricks. It's very rare that you see two traditional lego sets that look alike. Unfortunately, Bionicle was never that versatile. I think a better word for the Inika torso would be... "basic". Streamlined, easy to use. Efficient in that way. But I don't need as many Inika backbones as I've got laying around.


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#26 Online Waaja

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Posted Jan 03 2014 - 10:56 PM

Boy, am I surprised to see this thread still surviving, haha.

 

If you'd look at it from another angle, HF is also reusing the same 'basic' skeleton torso, though with variations of it, and lately, it seems like they are reusing the 'Hulk' build (I don't know, I didn't buy a lot of HF sets lately) quite a bit, even more so now with the Mechs of 2014. Though it is quite a turn in direction, I'd hope to get more variety in parts besides the usual shells, limbs (that can't connect to each other in a circle, at least the ones I have), weapons and feet. They'd been reusing the same 3.0 paw piece; I think it'd be great if they could design a more streamlined version of it?

 

Of course, designers may not have that much time on their hands...I don't know :ahhh: :alien:


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#27 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jan 04 2014 - 09:56 AM

Boy, am I surprised to see this thread still surviving, haha.

 

If you'd look at it from another angle, HF is also reusing the same 'basic' skeleton torso, though with variations of it, and lately, it seems like they are reusing the 'Hulk' build (I don't know, I didn't buy a lot of HF sets lately) quite a bit, even more so now with the Mechs of 2014. Though it is quite a turn in direction, I'd hope to get more variety in parts besides the usual shells, limbs (that can't connect to each other in a circle, at least the ones I have), weapons and feet. They'd been reusing the same 3.0 paw piece; I think it'd be great if they could design a more streamlined version of it?

 

Of course, designers may not have that much time on their hands...I don't know :ahhh: :alien:

No sets besides Hulk and arguably Stormer XL use the same sort of build as the Hulk set. Even Gorzan, who reuses the Hulk's chest armor, does so with a different build underneath. None of this year's mechs use a build anywhere close to Hulk's. In fact, this year's mech sets have some of the greatest diversity in skeleton construction in years, although most of them do still use a typical torso beam as the core of the build. If you want to get an idea of the way this year and last year's sets mixed up the construction of torsos, all of the instructions are available on Lego.com. I'd recommend looking at ones like Bruizer, Frost Beast, Dragon Bolt, Furno Jet Machine, or Evo XL Machine to get an idea of the kind of diversity available in modern sets.

There's no more streamlined version of the 3.0 paw piece, but this year introduced two extremely versatile foot pieces for the "kaiju". They look just as good with or without toes, and can connect to each other to form a larger foot.


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#28 Offline Octodad

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Posted Jan 04 2014 - 03:20 PM

The Inika build is often perceived as some kind of plague that wouldn't go away, but I think of it differently: as the one BIONICLE canister set design that was good enough in terms of quality and versatility to be kept around for more than three years. Then again, it was only used in BIONICLE sets for four years, so it didn't outlast the Toa Mata torso by very long at all. The major difference was that there were more humanoid characters between 2006 and 2009 than there were in any other four-year stretch. If the Bohrok and Bohrok-Kal were meant to be understood as individual characters with personalities instead of mindless interchangeable drones, perhaps they might have used some variation on the Toa Mata build.

 

 

The problem is, there's no personality to the same build time and time again. There's practically no difference between Ackar and Inika Hahli, and that's annoying. The problem with the Inika build is PRECISELY that it let LEGO just reuse essentially the same build with little to no variety. I'd have been fine if they had a few different torso pieces they cycled through, but post-2006 was overwhelmingly Inika with a splash of Piraka and a pinch of variety.

 

It wasn't what I would call "versatile"; it had one function, and that function was "torso". Now, arguably, previous torso pieces had much the same function, but the thing is, we never had one of those in primary use for more than 2 years. The most versatile it ever got was sets like Strakk or Skrall or Mantax, where the main difference was the change of position between the hip and the torso. What the Inika torso did was make every set start to look the same, even the Titans.

 

Hero Factory does slightly better in that respect; sure, wave after wave was starting to look similar, but at least the ability to produce new armor molds helped. Inika torsos got one new armor piece I can remember after the initial two; the Hero Factory torsos at least have several unique ways to armor them.

 

As for the topic at hand, I'd say Hero Factory actually continued a trend after Bionicle: simplicity. Connector and axle pins are a rare sight (which is arguably a blessing considering LEGO's apparent plan to produce them in brighter colors each year) and almost everything is snap-together, with few extra connection points available.


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#29 Online Gatanui

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Posted Jan 04 2014 - 03:32 PM

As for the topic at hand, I'd say Hero Factory actually continued a trend after Bionicle: simplicity. Connector and axle pins are a rare sight (which is arguably a blessing considering LEGO's apparent plan to produce them in brighter colors each year) and almost everything is snap-together, with few extra connection points available.

This is pretty off-topic, but all LEGO did regarding bright connectors is use red for axle and blue for axle/pin pieces, and that was years ago. I'm not sure how you are getting the notion that LEGO is making more bright connectors every year.

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Edited by Gatanui, Jan 04 2014 - 03:32 PM.

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#30 Offline Octodad

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Posted Jan 04 2014 - 03:48 PM

 

As for the topic at hand, I'd say Hero Factory actually continued a trend after Bionicle: simplicity. Connector and axle pins are a rare sight (which is arguably a blessing considering LEGO's apparent plan to produce them in brighter colors each year) and almost everything is snap-together, with few extra connection points available.

This is pretty off-topic, but all LEGO did regarding bright connectors is use red for axle and blue for axle/pin pieces, and that was years ago. I'm not sure how you are getting the notion that LEGO is making more bright connectors every year.

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It was an exaggeration. Some might call it "humor". Also, I'm pretty sure the tan 3-stud non-friction pins are recent. Also, blue three-stud friction connectors, but those were in the past, as well.


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#31 Online Gatanui

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Posted Jan 04 2014 - 04:05 PM

As for the topic at hand, I'd say Hero Factory actually continued a trend after Bionicle: simplicity. Connector and axle pins are a rare sight (which is arguably a blessing considering LEGO's apparent plan to produce them in brighter colors each year) and almost everything is snap-together, with few extra connection points available.

This is pretty off-topic, but all LEGO did regarding bright connectors is use red for axle and blue for axle/pin pieces, and that was years ago. I'm not sure how you are getting the notion that LEGO is making more bright connectors every year.

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It was an exaggeration. Some might call it "humor". Also, I'm pretty sure the tan 3-stud non-friction pins are recent. Also, blue three-stud friction connectors, but those were in the past, as well.

You are right, I forgot about those. Tan is a pretty discreet colour in my opinion, though, so I never had a problem with those.

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#32 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jan 04 2014 - 04:13 PM

Set and part wise, I'm not sure that it's going Bionicle's way. I don't think its becoming simpler over time; I think it is becoming more complex. While 2.0 to 3.0 was a reduction in complexity, Breakout sets contained more variety and complexity, from Stringer's music motifs to Evo's cannon arm to Furno's jetpack to Speeda's bike. Brain Attack included new heads, new torso designs, and of course the brains. And this new mecha thing is even more new, complex, and different than previous waves. It's becoming more unique and original over time.  

 

Storywise, I would say there is a slight tip towards Bionicle scale complexity with a hint of mystery, but we just haven't gotten there yet, and I doubt we will. 


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#33 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 04 2014 - 05:19 PM

The Inika build is often perceived as some kind of plague that wouldn't go away, but I think of it differently: as the one BIONICLE canister set design that was good enough in terms of quality and versatility to be kept around for more than three years. Then again, it was only used in BIONICLE sets for four years, so it didn't outlast the Toa Mata torso by very long at all. The major difference was that there were more humanoid characters between 2006 and 2009 than there were in any other four-year stretch. If the Bohrok and Bohrok-Kal were meant to be understood as individual characters with personalities instead of mindless interchangeable drones, perhaps they might have used some variation on the Toa Mata build.

 
The problem is, there's no personality to the same build time and time again. There's practically no difference between Ackar and Inika Hahli, and that's annoying. The problem with the Inika build is PRECISELY that it let LEGO just reuse essentially the same build with little to no variety. I'd have been fine if they had a few different torso pieces they cycled through, but post-2006 was overwhelmingly Inika with a splash of Piraka and a pinch of variety.
 
It wasn't what I would call "versatile"; it had one function, and that function was "torso". Now, arguably, previous torso pieces had much the same function, but the thing is, we never had one of those in primary use for more than 2 years. The most versatile it ever got was sets like Strakk or Skrall or Mantax, where the main difference was the change of position between the hip and the torso. What the Inika torso did was make every set start to look the same, even the Titans.


But it could be USED for titans, something that other torso pieces generally couldn't. It could be used for things like Strakk and Skrall and Mantax. But when you say the most versatile it ever got was those sets, you forget two other sets: Gadunka and Karzahni.

I agree it was frequently used more or less the same way, but it performed that function and performed it better, and with more variety, than previous torsos had. Sets that used it with standard Inika builds were generally ones for which those builds were more than sufficient — they drew their uniqueness from other parts of the model, like Ackar's shoulders and ankles. So what was it that people wanted to see change?

They didn't want a better torso design, because there were rarely any concrete suggestions for just what was wrong with the Inika torso. The closest were complaints about it being too wide or too thin for canister sets — things people didn't bat an eye at with the near identically proportioned Toa Metru build, and instead frequently championed the Toa Metru and Toa Hagah as everything that a Toa should be.

They didn't want a new torso design, obviously, because they got those several times (Phantoka Makuta, Toa Mahri Kongu, Kiina, most of the Barraki) and were never satisfied. There was not much celebration of the new torsos introduced in Hero Factory, either, but perhaps people were too busy weeping over the loss of the precious pins and axles that they probably owned in even more excessive surplus than Inika torsos.

What people apparently wanted was for a very good torso design, arguably the best of its kind, to go away. And that's not how LEGO is supposed to work. Normally, the entire point of LEGO is to do things with an existing parts palette — new parts are introduced to correct flaws in existing parts or to fill niches that current parts do not adequately fill. Normally, LEGO fans lament when a long-standing part or color goes away, sometimes even if a functionally-superior alternative still exists. But no, the Toa Inika torso had been used TOO long, apparently. It HAD to go, and a lot of fans would accept no less.
 

Hero Factory does slightly better in that respect; sure, wave after wave was starting to look similar, but at least the ability to produce new armor molds helped. Inika torsos got one new armor piece I can remember after the initial two; the Hero Factory torsos at least have several unique ways to armor them.


Well, the Inika torso could be armored in "several unique ways" too. It had more than enough connection points and there existed plenty of parts that could take advantage of them. And several sets DID armor it differently. Not counting sets that used an entirely different skeleton construction, there was Barraki Carapar, Toa Mahri Jaller, Toa Mahri Matoro, Hydraxon, Phantoka Toa Onua, Takanuva, Tuma, Tarix, Mata Nui, Rotor, Rockoh T3, Gorast, Vorox, and Vastus (the last four of which used the same Inika torso piece but as chest armor rather than as back armor). MOCs offered even more potential for diversity because they weren't limited to parts currently in production, opening up parts like the Metru Nui Matoran torso, Toa Hordika torso, and countless others.

In the post-2011 Hero Factory building system, I don't know if you've noticed, but all the dedicated torso shells have been functionally unique. The torso shell used for the 2.0 sets is the most generic, and as such the one that has lasted the longest. The torso shell used for the Breakout sets can be printed, and has two additional connection points on the waist. The Brain Attack torso shell has four additional connection points around the chest. And of course there are plenty of ways to armor the torso without a dedicated torso shell. These parts were introduced to perform tasks the previous torso shell could not perform on its own. They weren't just a source of superficial variety, which seems to be what a lot of BIONICLE fans learned to mistake for innovation.
 

As for the topic at hand, I'd say Hero Factory actually continued a trend after Bionicle: simplicity. Connector and axle pins are a rare sight (which is arguably a blessing considering LEGO's apparent plan to produce them in brighter colors each year) and almost everything is snap-together, with few extra connection points available.

I wouldn't confuse snap-together builds with simplicity. They make building easier, it's true, but that complexity is made up elsewhere in the builds, such as with more complex weaponry and more detailed armor constructions. Today's mid-size Hero Factory are more complex than BIONICLE canister sets ever were, and all have higher piece counts to show it. The smallest is 44018 Furno Jet Machine, with 79 pieces. The closest BIONICLE canister set was Toa Mahri Kongu, with 74 pieces, and that was of course inflated by fifteen pins and axles and sixteen Cordak mini-rockets.

In the same vein, BIONICLE sets were becoming more complex even in post-2006 sets. Not only were clone sets eradicated from all canister set series, but the sets typically boasted higher piece counts than sets like Toa Metru, Vahki, Toa Hordika, and Visorak, even if you subtracted some of the extraneous bits like Cordak ammo (there were a few exceptions, of course, like Krika, a set which I felt was celebrated more than it deserved to be). So while a lot of things like pins, axles, and gears have been reduced in their application over time, the overall complexity of mid-size sets remained the same as or became greater than in the first five years of BIONICLE.

There are fewer extra connection points on some Hero Factory figures, but I don't entirely see how that has to do with complexity. After all, there is plenty of room to do creative things with the existing connection points. Some MOCists even think certain kinds of unused connection points are a flaw in a MOC or set, something that I don't entirely agree with.

On a side note, something I discovered recently is that some small Hero Factory sets like last year's Bulk and Evo figures have higher piece counts than the Toa Metru. In 2014 dollars, the Toa Metru would actually be slightly more expensive.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Jan 04 2014 - 05:22 PM.

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#34 Online Waaja

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 05:35 AM

 

 

The Inika build is often perceived as some kind of plague that wouldn't go away, but I think of it differently: as the one BIONICLE canister set design that was good enough in terms of quality and versatility to be kept around for more than three years. Then again, it was only used in BIONICLE sets for four years, so it didn't outlast the Toa Mata torso by very long at all. The major difference was that there were more humanoid characters between 2006 and 2009 than there were in any other four-year stretch. If the Bohrok and Bohrok-Kal were meant to be understood as individual characters with personalities instead of mindless interchangeable drones, perhaps they might have used some variation on the Toa Mata build.

 
The problem is, there's no personality to the same build time and time again. There's practically no difference between Ackar and Inika Hahli, and that's annoying. The problem with the Inika build is PRECISELY that it let LEGO just reuse essentially the same build with little to no variety. I'd have been fine if they had a few different torso pieces they cycled through, but post-2006 was overwhelmingly Inika with a splash of Piraka and a pinch of variety.
 
It wasn't what I would call "versatile"; it had one function, and that function was "torso". Now, arguably, previous torso pieces had much the same function, but the thing is, we never had one of those in primary use for more than 2 years. The most versatile it ever got was sets like Strakk or Skrall or Mantax, where the main difference was the change of position between the hip and the torso. What the Inika torso did was make every set start to look the same, even the Titans.

 


But it could be USED for titans, something that other torso pieces generally couldn't. It could be used for things like Strakk and Skrall and Mantax. But when you say the most versatile it ever got was those sets, you forget two other sets: Gadunka and Karzahni.

I agree it was frequently used more or less the same way, but it performed that function and performed it better, and with more variety, than previous torsos had. Sets that used it with standard Inika builds were generally ones for which those builds were more than sufficient — they drew their uniqueness from other parts of the model, like Ackar's shoulders and ankles. So what was it that people wanted to see change?

They didn't want a better torso design, because there were rarely any concrete suggestions for just what was wrong with the Inika torso. The closest were complaints about it being too wide or too thin for canister sets — things people didn't bat an eye at with the near identically proportioned Toa Metru build, and instead frequently championed the Toa Metru and Toa Hagah as everything that a Toa should be.

They didn't want a new torso design, obviously, because they got those several times (Phantoka Makuta, Toa Mahri Kongu, Kiina, most of the Barraki) and were never satisfied. There was not much celebration of the new torsos introduced in Hero Factory, either, but perhaps people were too busy weeping over the loss of the precious pins and axles that they probably owned in even more excessive surplus than Inika torsos.

What people apparently wanted was for a very good torso design, arguably the best of its kind, to go away. And that's not how LEGO is supposed to work. Normally, the entire point of LEGO is to do things with an existing parts palette — new parts are introduced to correct flaws in existing parts or to fill niches that current parts do not adequately fill. Normally, LEGO fans lament when a long-standing part or color goes away, sometimes even if a functionally-superior alternative still exists. But no, the Toa Inika torso had been used TOO long, apparently. It HAD to go, and a lot of fans would accept no less.
 

Hero Factory does slightly better in that respect; sure, wave after wave was starting to look similar, but at least the ability to produce new armor molds helped. Inika torsos got one new armor piece I can remember after the initial two; the Hero Factory torsos at least have several unique ways to armor them.


Well, the Inika torso could be armored in "several unique ways" too. It had more than enough connection points and there existed plenty of parts that could take advantage of them. And several sets DID armor it differently. Not counting sets that used an entirely different skeleton construction, there was Barraki Carapar, Toa Mahri Jaller, Toa Mahri Matoro, Hydraxon, Phantoka Toa Onua, Takanuva, Tuma, Tarix, Mata Nui, Rotor, Rockoh T3, Gorast, Vorox, and Vastus (the last four of which used the same Inika torso piece but as chest armor rather than as back armor). MOCs offered even more potential for diversity because they weren't limited to parts currently in production, opening up parts like the Metru Nui Matoran torso, Toa Hordika torso, and countless others.

In the post-2011 Hero Factory building system, I don't know if you've noticed, but all the dedicated torso shells have been functionally unique. The torso shell used for the 2.0 sets is the most generic, and as such the one that has lasted the longest. The torso shell used for the Breakout sets can be printed, and has two additional connection points on the waist. The Brain Attack torso shell has four additional connection points around the chest. And of course there are plenty of ways to armor the torso without a dedicated torso shell. These parts were introduced to perform tasks the previous torso shell could not perform on its own. They weren't just a source of superficial variety, which seems to be what a lot of BIONICLE fans learned to mistake for innovation.
 

As for the topic at hand, I'd say Hero Factory actually continued a trend after Bionicle: simplicity. Connector and axle pins are a rare sight (which is arguably a blessing considering LEGO's apparent plan to produce them in brighter colors each year) and almost everything is snap-together, with few extra connection points available.

I wouldn't confuse snap-together builds with simplicity. They make building easier, it's true, but that complexity is made up elsewhere in the builds, such as with more complex weaponry and more detailed armor constructions. Today's mid-size Hero Factory are more complex than BIONICLE canister sets ever were, and all have higher piece counts to show it. The smallest is 44018 Furno Jet Machine, with 79 pieces. The closest BIONICLE canister set was Toa Mahri Kongu, with 74 pieces, and that was of course inflated by fifteen pins and axles and sixteen Cordak mini-rockets.

In the same vein, BIONICLE sets were becoming more complex even in post-2006 sets. Not only were clone sets eradicated from all canister set series, but the sets typically boasted higher piece counts than sets like Toa Metru, Vahki, Toa Hordika, and Visorak, even if you subtracted some of the extraneous bits like Cordak ammo (there were a few exceptions, of course, like Krika, a set which I felt was celebrated more than it deserved to be). So while a lot of things like pins, axles, and gears have been reduced in their application over time, the overall complexity of mid-size sets remained the same as or became greater than in the first five years of BIONICLE.

There are fewer extra connection points on some Hero Factory figures, but I don't entirely see how that has to do with complexity. After all, there is plenty of room to do creative things with the existing connection points. Some MOCists even think certain kinds of unused connection points are a flaw in a MOC or set, something that I don't entirely agree with.

On a side note, something I discovered recently is that some small Hero Factory sets like last year's Bulk and Evo figures have higher piece counts than the Toa Metru. In 2014 dollars, the Toa Metru would actually be slightly more expensive.

 

Personally,  I guess I'm one of those who actually look forward to new torso designs, and I mean really new, not those created from existing parts (eg: Kiina, Barraki,etc). I was glad when they had sets like the Phantoka Makuta and Mahri Kongu. The Toa Metru torso, though repeated throughout the toa sets of that line, was a design never seen before (ie: totally new); actually, the Toa Metru was a radical change from the Mata/Nuva with new legs, new head, new limbs, new armour, new gray connection thingie (sorry I dont now what it's called :P), and even the notion of freely acticulating legs.The same can be said for the Inika.

 

And about your last statement, plastic quality (details, textures), and the newness of parts  may be partly why the Toa Metru could be more expensive than Bulk and Evo; and don't forget the change from plastic canisters to zip-lock packages. And inflation too, that plays a really big part; lego would most probably change the plastic quality, etc in view of it. In terms of complexity though, I'd say the Toa Metru are more complex than Bulk and Evo...


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#35 Offline Toa Zaz

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 08:36 AM

Well, in terms of a lack of innovation and a stagnant design for sets which signaled the end for Bionicle, I would say that Hero Factory has kind of gotten into a rut with the 2.0 system. And also, based of the Invasion from Below videos the 2014 summer wave looks very, very unexciting and has almost no new parts or anything like that. But, I would counter the comparison to the Inika by saying

 

1. The 2.0 system is much more versatile, creative, interesting, and overall superior to the Inika builds.

  • More complex designs
  • More ability for customization (which Lego unfortunately hasn't reached its full potential with)
  • Aside from the empty backs and annoyingly large feet, pretty much human proportions. My biggest problem with the Inika were the long arms and wide, flat torsos.

2. The Invasion from Below wave marks some significant innovation by Lego to include mini-figures and make the scale of the action larger.

 

However, the new Hero Factory sets also have some of the problems of Bionicle in its late years

 

1. Getting more expensive. I think ten dollars for the equivalent of an impulse set, and one as puny and pitifully devoid of substance (even feet) as Evo Walker is totally unreasonable.

 

2. Story is dissatisfying. For Bionicle it was too convoluted and the 2008-2010 story wasn't as interesting as before (who really liked Bara Magna?) For Hero Factory Lego has basically given up on any story at all and is just cranking out the laziest premises ever.


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#36 Online Waaja

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 09:42 AM

Well, in terms of a lack of innovation and a stagnant design for sets which signaled the end for Bionicle, I would say that Hero Factory has kind of gotten into a rut with the 2.0 system. And also, based of the Invasion from Below videos the 2014 summer wave looks very, very unexciting and has almost no new parts or anything like that. But, I would counter the comparison to the Inika by saying

 

1. The 2.0 system is much more versatile, creative, interesting, and overall superior to the Inika builds.

  • More complex designs
  • More ability for customization (which Lego unfortunately hasn't reached its full potential with)
  • Aside from the empty backs and annoyingly large feet, pretty much human proportions. My biggest problem with the Inika were the long arms and wide, flat torsos.

2. The Invasion from Below wave marks some significant innovation by Lego to include mini-figures and make the scale of the action larger.

 

However, the new Hero Factory sets also have some of the problems of Bionicle in its late years

 

1. Getting more expensive. I think ten dollars for the equivalent of an impulse set, and one as puny and pitifully devoid of substance (even feet) as Evo Walker is totally unreasonable.

 

2. Story is dissatisfying. For Bionicle it was too convoluted and the 2008-2010 story wasn't as interesting as before (who really liked Bara Magna?) For Hero Factory Lego has basically given up on any story at all and is just cranking out the laziest premises ever.

More expensive? Kind of natural I'd figure, seeing how they have included more parts, and a more complex (i'll admit it haha) build. Story-wise yes, HF is meh (if not for the open ending they have left us in Breakout...), Bionicle on the other hand had quite a nice turn in Bara Magna, and I quite like where it was going in terms of progress (post-Stars saga), but I guess it is too complex for younger audiences. Hopefully, HF does provide some kind of connection to the Breakout line soon, giving us some (but not too much, since that'd be not too good) complexity in terms of storyline.

 

But I quite like the artwork. Nice turn in HF style :D


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#37 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 10:14 AM

2. Story is dissatisfying. For Bionicle it was too convoluted and the 2008-2010 story wasn't as interesting as before (who really liked Bara Magna?) For Hero Factory Lego has basically given up on any story at all and is just cranking out the laziest premises ever.

 

Actually, I really liked Bara Magna, at least for the first six months. It was an entirely new area, a new world, with lots of potential. Almost all of that potential was, of course, entirely squandered, but in the beginning it was very refreshing and exciting. :P


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#38 Offline KZN02

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 02:56 PM

I wonder if there was a similar discussion between Throwbots/Slizers, Roboriders and BIONICLE?


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#39 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 04:58 PM

I wonder if there was a similar discussion between Throwbots/Slizers, Roboriders and BIONICLE?

Not really, because Throwbots/Slizer and Roboriders didn't last long enough for any kind of trends to even be perceived. The topic title is phrased a bit poorly — the concern is not that Hero Factory is becoming more BIONICLE-like in its design, which I'm sure would actually be perceived as a good thing by many BIONICLE fans, but rather that it's going down the same path that BIONICLE (allegedly) followed in the post-Inika years. In other words, the same basic parts palette being utilized each year rather than retiring still-useful parts and replacing them with new parts to provide a superficial sense of variety.

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#40 Offline ToaJaller77

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Posted Jan 05 2014 - 10:03 PM

I'd say Hero Factory is following a similar downfall to Bionicle and is doomed to be discontinued in a year or two.

I'd say you're a fanboy. <_<

 

As crazy as It sounds, I PREFER HF OVER BIONICLE.


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