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Hero Factory = lame!


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#1 Offline nocturn701

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 07:12 AM

Does anyone know how lame hero factory is, well I do. I mean take a look at the story behind it: We are robots who fight evil, oh no new and more powerful evil has come, let's make ourselves bigger but not much more powerful to fight the evil! We got him, oh no more evil, hey this time let's have an animal theme. Even though hero factory is Lego I still find it to be a total Bionicle revamp (and a bad one at that). So I will not purposely go out and buy a Hero factory. I've gotten some as gifts but that was before I had this opinion of hero factory!


Edited by nocturn701, Jan 22 2014 - 07:14 AM.

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#2 Offline Sumiki

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 10:55 AM

I don't really consider it a BIONICLE knock-off - its story is much more simplistic and the building style, aside from its first wave, is much different - but I'm not the world's biggest Hero Factory fan. I thought that the story had some potential for a gritty makeover, which is one of my many little projects going on at the moment, but other than research to base that story off of, I have no opinions one way or the other.


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#3 Offline Makaru

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 11:03 AM

Gonna boot this over to Lego Discussion since this isn't about sets.


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#4 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 11:11 AM

Does anyone know how lame hero factory is, well I do. I mean take a look at the story behind it: We are robots who fight evil, oh no new and more powerful evil has come, let's make ourselves bigger but not much more powerful to fight the evil! We got him, oh no more evil, hey this time let's have an animal theme. Even though hero factory is Lego I still find it to be a total Bionicle knock- off. So I will not purposely go out and buy a Hero factory. I've gotten some as gifts but that was before I had this opinion of hero factory!


It seems like you're too used to Bionicle to recognize the merits of different kinds of stories.

Bionicle was, for the most part, an epic. Every story fed directly into the next one, and they all worked toward the final showdown between Makuta and Mata Nui. That was awesome.

But Hero Factory, for the most part, is a sci-fi police procedural. As such, each story is largely independent of others. This allows fans to jump on at any point, and also makes it easier for them to tell their own unconnected stories with characters of their own devising. It's certainly a different kind of storytelling, but is it worse? Oftentimes, yes, but that's not because of the story it's telling so much as the way the story is told (the Hero Factory TV episodes have a nasty habit of ignoring previous plotlines and character development).

As far as being a "Bionicle knock-off", it's not, at least, not any more than Bionicle was a Slizers/Throwbots knock-off. Occasionally they use similar sci-fi tropes, but in the story and especially in the sets, Hero Factory is very much its own thing. Speaking of story and sets, this topic has little to do with the sets from first appearance, so if it's going to go on it should probably be moved to the "Lego Discussion" forum, where discussion of the stories of non-Bionicle Lego themes belongs. (EDIT: Ninja'd by Makaru)


Edited by Lyichir, Jan 21 2014 - 11:12 AM.

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#5 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 11:24 AM

Yeah, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the style of story Hero Factory sets out to tell. BIONICLE told one kind of story, Hero Factory tells another kind. The story isn't worse just because each year tells a brand-new story with brand-new villains, or because the heroes get upgraded with mission-specific gear as standard operating procedure rather than through random deus ex machina transformations. It's just different. And if BIONICLE stunted your imagination enough that you can't appreciate any other types of storytelling, then maybe that's one way Hero Factory's simpler, pro-imagination story is actually better.

I buy and play with my Hero Factory sets frequently. Even ignoring the story, it's got a better building system for my particular building style, and it's just plain fun. And the loose, lighthearted story provides an excellent framework for creating my own characters.

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#6 Offline ShadowWolfHount

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 11:30 AM

Mostly when you said it's a Bionicle knock-off, it sound like your saying that the story are the same when they are not. Anyways the Hero Factory did have a story at the start with the 1.0 and with the 4.0 but the story died with Brain Attack and IFB, plus i mainly think that Hero Factory was not made to have a big story and be just like a Sandbox, that you can make your own story and characters.


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#7 Offline Trijhak

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 12:25 PM

I really don't see how Hero Factory can be considered a knock-off of BIONICLE in any way, shape, or form. For one, it is made by the same company that produced BIONICLE. How does a company make a knock off of its own products? Secondly, with the exception of its introductory wave, it uses a different system, one that is a lot more focused on the ball joint than the system BIONICLE used, which was more integrated with technic. Lastly, it's a much more episodic story and BIONICLE definitely did not have an episodic story, which, to be honest, made BIONICLE much harder to follow than your typical LEGO theme if you were into the story. In fact, in terms of its story, HF is much more like the standard LEGO theme.


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#8 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 03:32 PM

It's not a Bionicle knock-off. If it was, it would be cool and awesome and I would totally follow it because Bionicle is awesome and any good knock-off of it has class. 

 

Hero Factory is lame because it is NOT a Bionicle knock-off. I like the HF building system, and will proudly don my traitor hat there, but the story just isn't there. No mystery, very little character development, what little character development there is subverted by the next episode, no sense of continuity whatsoever...*yawn*. Just like every other Lego theme except that one named Ninjago and that one that died called Bionicle. 

 

But still...cool sets. :P I still think that Bionicle was more adventurous in that regard (Bohrok, Gadunka, Vastus, flying stuff, I neglect details) but whatever. I'm not going to stomp on Lego's innovation, because it is brilliant, but they can build on that innovation and make adventurous things once again, and they aren't doing it as much as I would like. 


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#9 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Jan 21 2014 - 05:23 PM

Hero Factory is lame because it is NOT a Bionicle knock-off.

Exactly.

 

Now, I wouldn't condone boycotting it per se. If it honestly doesn't appeal to you, that's fine, but if you already bought sets because you like the sets, and continue to like the sets (and have funds, space, time, interest, etc. for them), then there's nothing wrong with it. The story is also better than 90% of what's out there, at least for the age range, and deserves kudos for that.

 

It reminds me of what the descriptions of LEGO toyline story-worlds used to be like. Bionicle was just so many thousands of miles above those, it was like lightning striking twice in the first year -- adding story, PLUS making that story very serious, mysterious, etc. But LEGO used to have simple, straightforward "excuses to have a toy" ideas that I as a kid loved, like that Ice Planet thing. There was no comparable depth to Bionicle in that, but that never made me not want it (and it isn't just because it didn't actually have a story beyond descriptions giving you the idea of what the story might have been like).

 

But compared to Bionicle, yes, it's kinda lame. And hey, if that's where you want to draw the line in the sand in terms of what you'll monetarily support, more power to you. I haven't actually bought any HF at all myself, though that's more because I don't have any more room and haven't had time. I might buy some eventually, if it sticks around long enough and after I convert my current MOCs to LDD forms, clearing up shelf space. Setwise I like the innovations they've done a lot, and I think that's worth rewarding.


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#10 Offline nocturn701

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 07:01 AM

 

Does anyone know how lame hero factory is, well I do. I mean take a look at the story behind it: We are robots who fight evil, oh no new and more powerful evil has come, let's make ourselves bigger but not much more powerful to fight the evil! We got him, oh no more evil, hey this time let's have an animal theme. Even though hero factory is Lego I still find it to be a total Bionicle knock- off. So I will not purposely go out and buy a Hero factory. I've gotten some as gifts but that was before I had this opinion of hero factory!


It seems like you're too used to Bionicle to recognize the merits of different kinds of stories.

Bionicle was, for the most part, an epic. Every story fed directly into the next one, and they all worked toward the final showdown between Makuta and Mata Nui. That was awesome.

But Hero Factory, for the most part, is a sci-fi police procedural. As such, each story is largely independent of others. This allows fans to jump on at any point, and also makes it easier for them to tell their own unconnected stories with characters of their own devising. It's certainly a different kind of storytelling, but is it worse? Oftentimes, yes, but that's not because of the story it's telling so much as the way the story is told (the Hero Factory TV episodes have a nasty habit of ignoring previous plotlines and character development).

As far as being a "Bionicle knock-off", it's not, at least, not any more than Bionicle was a Slizers/Throwbots knock-off. Occasionally they use similar sci-fi tropes, but in the story and especially in the sets, Hero Factory is very much its own thing. Speaking of story and sets, this topic has little to do with the sets from first appearance, so if it's going to go on it should probably be moved to the "Lego Discussion" forum, where discussion of the stories of non-Bionicle Lego themes belongs. (EDIT: Ninja'd by Makaru)

 

Well, let's see when you said hero factory is easy to get onto and Bionicle wasn't I can prove you wrong. I started on the Bionicle series In 2008 and now I am like a semi scholar at Bionicle. So there! Also you can come up with way more fan made Bionicle sories, I mean so far I wrote 12 Bionicle shorts, and with Bionicle's extended story line there are so many different tales that you can ad onto, write what happened before that or tweak it here and there to make your own story!


Edited by nocturn701, Jan 22 2014 - 07:06 AM.

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#11 Offline Sir Kohran

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 08:59 AM

Well, let's see when you said hero factory is easy to get onto and Bionicle wasn't I can prove you wrong. I started on the Bionicle series In 2008 and now I am like a semi scholar at Bionicle. So there!

 

Yeah, a line that takes five years of learning to understand is so easy to follow. :P

 

Really though, from somewhere around the mid-00s, for many people, Bionicle became extremely difficult to follow. There was a huge number of characters, many of whom appeared and vanished abruptly, no permanent hero or group to identify with, many locations that were introduced but rarely explored, and a huge timeline to keep track of with events being added both to the past and future. The situation was compounded by most of this content being isolated in books that were of limited and temporary availability. It was arguably this complexity factor that led to the line's end.

 

I don't follow Hero Factory closely enough to say for sure whether Lego have totally moved away from this, but the introduction of animated episodes does seem to be a move towards accessible story.


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#12 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 02:20 PM

Well, let's see when you said hero factory is easy to get onto and Bionicle wasn't I can prove you wrong.

Bionicle was actually hard to get into by design; it was stated many times that they wanted it to take work to understand. They did a good job of making that work enjoyable, at least for those with the right tastes for that, but it's still not "easy" compared to HF. Actually if you have the right taste, to enjoy that work, then psychologically it may feel easier, whereas if HF just plain doesn't appeal to you, even though it's objectively simpler, it may feel like you have to work harder to retain an interest in it; this might be what you're talking about, but it wasn't what the term meant in the quote you were replying to (so would be an equivocation fallacy). Since most younger kids apparently enjoy the HF style better, it is just easier across the board for them.

 

Doesn't mean I like that, and I hope we'll get a Bionicle return or Bionice equivalent, but we should use clear logic in how we think about it. :)

 

I started on the Bionicle series In 2008 and now I am like a semi scholar at Bionicle. So there!

This assumes that you're typical, but LEGO's own research showed that 2008 and years around there were not bringing in a lot of new fans. The logicspeak for this mistake is Hasty Generalization Fallacy; showing one individual's traits or experiences doesn't prove that's how it is for everybody or even a majority.
 

Also you can come up with way more fan made Bionicle sories, I mean so far I wrote 12 Bionicle shorts, and with Bionicle's extended story line there are so many different tales that you can ad onto, write what happened before that or tweak it here and there to make your own story!

I would agree with this IF you mean that for people with tastes like ours, we find it much easier to make Bionicle fanfiction. I have almost no interest in making HF fanfics, but I've made and am making tons of Bionicle fanfics. However, this is subjective and due to interest in it, quality of the story. Technically there's more room for more fanfics in the HF universe, as they established that there's tons of planets known to that culture. But by the same token, not having a good sense of what they are like can make it feel more limited. :shrugs:

 

(Okay, Bionicle brought in the basic idea of alien planets too but they're almost entirely unestablished, and not easily accessible to the main characters.)


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#13 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 04:08 PM

Also you can come up with way more fan made Bionicle sories, I mean so far I wrote 12 Bionicle shorts, and with Bionicle's extended story line there are so many different tales that you can ad onto, write what happened before that or tweak it here and there to make your own story!

I would agree with this IF you mean that for people with tastes like ours, we find it much easier to make Bionicle fanfiction. I have almost no interest in making HF fanfics, but I've made and am making tons of Bionicle fanfics. However, this is subjective and due to interest in it, quality of the story. Technically there's more room for more fanfics in the HF universe, as they established that there's tons of planets known to that culture. But by the same token, not having a good sense of what they are like can make it feel more limited. :shrugs:
 
(Okay, Bionicle brought in the basic idea of alien planets too but they're almost entirely unestablished, and not easily accessible to the main characters.)

Even ignoring the advantages of the Hero Factory universe for storytelling as far as locations are concerned, there are other major advantages that encourage fans to express themselves creatively through MOCing and storytelling

For one thing, since it's not a single overarching saga but rather a number of largely disconnected missions, it's easy to create a mission of your own for Alpha 1 Team that takes place before, after, or between other missions. These missions can be every bit as important as the missions described in the official story, since while many Hero Factory missions are important, a successful mission means maintaining a peaceful and positive status quo, not radically changing the status quo the way the Toa Mahri and Toa Nuva's quests did. And you can easily create new character designs for the heroes of Alpha 1 Team to equip them for that mission without contradicting other stories, since the Hero Factory has an established system of refitting and upgrading heroes for each and every mission, rather than transformations being presented as something rare and magical. So while your "Breez 3.0" MOC may not be canon, it also does not contradict the official Hero Factory story in any meaningful way — there's no reason to think Breez didn't get refitted for any missions between "Ordeal of Fire" and "Breakout".

Also, why limit yourself to the main characters? BIONICLE and Hero Factory began in very different ways: BIONICLE, in its early years, placed pretty concrete numbers on things, even in the tagline "Six heroes, one destiny". The idea of a Seventh Toa after the Toa Mata, and the idea of entire teams of Toa before the Toa Mata, were both major surprises not only to the characters within the story but also to the story's audience. You could create other Toa with other elements, and even other Matoran tribes, if you wanted to — but officially, their stories would never have a chance to intersect with the adventures of BIONICLE's official characters until at least 2006 when the Matoran had an opportunity to leave the isolated island of Mata Nui and return to the larger Matoran Universe. This didn't PREVENT creative character design and storytelling, but it did discourage it.

Hero Factory, in contrast, started out with the idea that there were hundreds if not thousands of hero teams. And while Alpha 1 Team has a reputation for being the best and brightest, every team has pretty much unlimited opportunities to go on important missions and save entire worlds, as a matter of standard Hero Factory policy. Again, this is not necessarily designed to promote "fan fiction" in the traditional sense, but rather to encourage fans to build their own characters and create stories for them. There are no hard and fast rules about what powers a hero can have or what colors or pieces must correspond to those powers. They don't even have to be similar in size to other heroes. The only rule about what Hero Factory heroes can look like is that they have to have a Hero Core, just as a Toa has to have a mask. Other than that, the sky's the limit!

In this sense, I think Hero Factory is better than BIONICLE in terms of encouraging fans to create unique characters and creatures. With some other LEGO themes like Ninjago and Legends of Chima, this is not as big an issue because the toy's emphasis is not on character creation. The minifigure characters in Ninjago are mere accessories, and the creative aspect of play comes from building unique brick-built structures, vehicles, and creatures for those characters to interact with. But constraction themes aren't like that. Their emphasis has always been on creating imaginative characters. So the storyline for these kind of themes should promote, not discourage, that kind of creativity.

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#14 Offline Wazdakka

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 06:38 PM

 

Does anyone know how lame hero factory is, well I do. I mean take a look at the story behind it: We are robots who fight evil, oh no new and more powerful evil has come, let's make ourselves bigger but not much more powerful to fight the evil! We got him, oh no more evil, hey this time let's have an animal theme. Even though hero factory is Lego I still find it to be a total Bionicle knock- off. So I will not purposely go out and buy a Hero factory. I've gotten some as gifts but that was before I had this opinion of hero factory!


It seems like you're too used to Bionicle to recognize the merits of different kinds of stories.

Bionicle was, for the most part, an epic. Every story fed directly into the next one, and they all worked toward the final showdown between Makuta and Mata Nui. That was awesome.

But Hero Factory, for the most part, is a sci-fi police procedural. As such, each story is largely independent of others. This allows fans to jump on at any point, and also makes it easier for them to tell their own unconnected stories with characters of their own devising. It's certainly a different kind of storytelling, but is it worse? Oftentimes, yes, but that's not because of the story it's telling so much as the way the story is told (the Hero Factory TV episodes have a nasty habit of ignoring previous plotlines and character development).

As far as being a "Bionicle knock-off", it's not, at least, not any more than Bionicle was a Slizers/Throwbots knock-off. Occasionally they use similar sci-fi tropes, but in the story and especially in the sets, Hero Factory is very much its own thing. Speaking of story and sets, this topic has little to do with the sets from first appearance, so if it's going to go on it should probably be moved to the "Lego Discussion" forum, where discussion of the stories of non-Bionicle Lego themes belongs. (EDIT: Ninja'd by Makaru)

 

 

It'd be okay if each procedural was good, but let's face it - the Hero Factory TV episodes were nothing special at all. I hope I don't need to go in-depth with the shallow plotlines, non-existent character development, and horrendously cheesy fighting. I don't think it is so much a knock-off as a poorly made replacement (which does sound similar to knock-off) for an aging product that actually did require replacement, as Bionicle was not raking in nearly as much dough near when it finished as it had in its early years. 


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#15 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 07:24 PM

It'd be okay if each procedural was good, but let's face it - the Hero Factory TV episodes were nothing special at all. I hope I don't need to go in-depth with the shallow plotlines, non-existent character development, and horrendously cheesy fighting. I don't think it is so much a knock-off as a poorly made replacement (which does sound similar to knock-off) for an aging product that actually did require replacement, as Bionicle was not raking in nearly as much dough near when it finished as it had in its early years.

See, THESE are valid criticisms (though there is SOME character development — not as much as I'd like, but I appreciate what's there). The original post made it sound like Hero Factory's fundamental premise was inherently flawed and doomed it to be inferior. As I see it, Hero Factory has some major potential, and some of the media — such as Greg Farshtey's chapter books and the Hero Factory FM podcast from 2010 — take full advantage of that potential. But its core media, the TV series has a poor track record.

At its best moments the TV specials are enjoyable, lighthearted fun, but they rarely rise above mediocre, and some of the jokes are truly groanworthy (Savage Planet was the worst offender in this regard). Brain Attack is probably the worst of the episodes from my perspective, followed by Savage Planet. I did greatly enjoy Ordeal of Fire and The Enemy Within, though, and the latest episode exceeded my expectations given how poorly it was received by the community. But it still feels like a bit of a "guilty pleasure" for me, and few are the times when I'd be comfortable recommending it to other people.

The BIONICLE books and movies had a much better track record. I still don't recommend them to a lot of people because it's a LOT to get into (it's harder to get the same enjoyment from just dipping your toe in as with, say, Ninjago). But I can still say without reservations that the books and movies were high-quality storytelling.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Jan 22 2014 - 07:26 PM.

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#16 Offline ToaJaller77

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 07:55 PM

Does anyone know how lame hero factory is, well I do. I mean take a look at the story behind it: We are robots who fight evil, oh no new and more powerful evil has come, let's make ourselves bigger but not much more powerful to fight the evil! We got him, oh no more evil, hey this time let's have an animal theme. Even though hero factory is Lego I still find it to be a total Bionicle revamp (and a bad one at that). So I will not purposely go out and buy a Hero factory. I've gotten some as gifts but that was before I had this opinion of hero factory!

 

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.......................You need to leave this website and never return.

 

It's been four years and people still do this. FOUR YEARS.


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#17 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 08:10 PM

As I see it, Hero Factory has some major potential, and some of the media — such as Greg Farshtey's chapter books and the Hero Factory FM podcast from 2010 — take full advantage of that potential. But its core media, the TV series has a poor track record.

I've heard this objection so many times that I picked up Collision Course from my local library. It was okay, with a fair amount of decent storytelling and plot twists and even a little mystery. (It's Greg - what do you expect. :)

 

It kinda felt like a Star Trek ripoff, though. It seems that my original impression that HF was a "mix of Bionicle and Star Trek" holds up. At it's finest, HF is elemental robot Star Trek. (Which is okay - I like Star Trek. :P) And there's nothing wrong with that. The problem is that the TV Series doesn't even achieve that level 64.2% of the time.   And that's the BEST that it can do...when the best you can do is mimic ST TOS, your storyline horizons aren't exactly unlimited. 

 

Also, information doesn't stop imagination, it feeds it. Imagination is what allows you to overcome the limits imposed by information, and information opens you more possibilities to feed your imagination. They are complimentary.

HF's information is so limited - I don't even know if a planet full of purple monsters with a penchant for harvesting C4 and a love of bright yellow flowers is possible in that universe. Even if it is, I have no idea how their goals might conflict with or affect the Hero Factory, or even where they came from. It's totally possible to divorce that concept from the entirety of HF and make an entirely new story out of it that is completely unrelated. As a writer, I have that option, and I have to decide eventually, and usually it has to happen before I even start writing. 

 

Working with infinity sucks. 

 

HF doesn't limit infinity enough. 


Edited by fishers64, Jan 22 2014 - 08:11 PM.

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#18 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 08:38 PM

Also, information doesn't stop imagination, it feeds it. Imagination is what allows you to overcome the limits imposed by information, and information opens you more possibilities to feed your imagination. They are complimentary.
HF's information is so limited - I don't even know if a planet full of purple monsters with a penchant for harvesting C4 and a love of bright yellow flowers is possible in that universe. Even if it is, I have no idea how their goals might conflict with or affect the Hero Factory, or even where they came from. It's totally possible to divorce that concept from the entirety of HF and make an entirely new story out of it that is completely unrelated. As a writer, I have that option, and I have to decide eventually, and usually it has to happen before I even start writing. 

Working with infinity sucks. 
 
HF doesn't limit infinity enough. 

But the thing is, not all information is equal. As far as creative building is concerned, it's better to leave options open with a lack of information than to close them with a surfeit of it. The early years of BIONICLE were fantastic when it came to encouraging kids to make up their own Rahi. But Matoran were all more or less identical, and there was only room for six tribes on the island of Mata Nui. You basically had to create an entirely separate island with no major contact with the main story if you wanted to create a new Matoran who wasn't from a known tribe.

If there's nothing saying there CAN'T be purple monsters that harvest C4 and love yellow flowers, then nobody can tell you you're wrong if you build or write about one. But if the established world, its characters, and its races are established to be finite, then they CAN, and for kids, that kind of negative feedback can push them to limit themselves creatively.

I agree, having NO constraints can be daunting. But the rigidity and depth of the BIONICLE story imposed excessive constraints. You can't write an epic storyline that takes place in between two story arcs if there's established to be no passage of time between those story arcs. You can't fit your Hyper Toa Metru into the official story if it's established that the Toa Metru never had an opportunity to transform into such forms. You can't create a Toa who's supposedly the best friend or romantic interest of an official character if the story does not allow for the existence of such a character.

My twin brother tried to tell a story about the Matoran of the Chronicler's Company becoming Toa to help the Toa Inika with their quest. He never finished this story in part because he kept having to change his plans when the official story kept contradicting the possibility of the story he wanted to tell. You can create an alternate universe and tell whatever story you want to tell, but the official story shouldn't force you to sever ties with the "main" universe and maintain only a tenuous connection just because you're worried about contradictions.

I think your post exemplifies this problem. You shouldn't feel like you constantly have to ask what you CAN do as a builder or writer. And I hope BIONICLE's frequent rules about what CAN'T be done aren't what led you to think that you need some kind of approval from on high for truly original ideas.

For the record, I embraced the challenge of trying to work within BIONICLE's constraints back in the day. But here's the thing — I don't have anything to show for it. Most of my MOCs back then were incredibly shoddy because I limited myself greatly with regard to anatomy and scale depending on what race I was trying to depict. I was never able to create even the semblance of story around any of my truly original creations because it was just too difficult to find a niche in the existing story where they could fit.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Jan 22 2014 - 08:40 PM.

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#19 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 09:18 PM

My twin brother tried to tell a story about the Matoran of the Chronicler's Company becoming Toa to help the Toa Inika with their quest. He never finished this story in part because he kept having to change his plans when the official story kept contradicting the possibility of the story he wanted to tell. You can create an alternate universe and tell whatever story you want to tell, but the official story shouldn't force you to sever ties with the "main" universe and maintain only a tenuous connection just because you're worried about contradictions.


I think your post exemplifies this problem. You shouldn't feel like you constantly have to ask what you CAN do as a builder or writer. And I hope BIONICLE's frequent rules about what CAN'T be done aren't what led you to think that you need some kind of approval from on high for truly original ideas.

I don't think that I need some approval from on high for truly original ideas. I have gone off and developed my ideas on my own without associating it with anything in terms of fanfiction or building (it's just easier for me to relate to the writer's frame :shrugs:). 

 

But I'll switch frames. I built a MoC of HF parts (techinically a combo of HF and Chima parts, but whatever). I didn't feel a need to fit him into the story of HF. It would almost be better if I took one of the concepts that I'm developing independently, much like the purple monsters I just mentioned. I would have to strain to fit it in there - insert some cliche plot point or other to involve HF somehow with the concept. It would be easier to just do something else. That idea has too much potential to waste on a universe like that. 

 

Bionicle, by contrast, brings about ideas on it's own. I can sit down and talk about Bionicle with people and new possibilities and ideas will start popping. The ideas generated, frequently enough, wouldn't work outside the Bionicle universe, and even if they did, they wouldn't be as cool, innovative, or interesting.

 

By contrast, any ideas that come out of HF, if any, are so generic that I could throw the fact that it's HF completely to the curb, and throwing that fact to the curb would probably actually improve the idea and it's execution in a story.

* * *

For some reason the whole "contradictions" thing never really bothered me. I guess I'm just weird like that. (I started writing Bionicle FF after it ended though, so that might have something to do with it, I guess.) 


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#20 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 22 2014 - 10:07 PM

My twin brother tried to tell a story about the Matoran of the Chronicler's Company becoming Toa to help the Toa Inika with their quest. He never finished this story in part because he kept having to change his plans when the official story kept contradicting the possibility of the story he wanted to tell. You can create an alternate universe and tell whatever story you want to tell, but the official story shouldn't force you to sever ties with the "main" universe and maintain only a tenuous connection just because you're worried about contradictions.

I think your post exemplifies this problem. You shouldn't feel like you constantly have to ask what you CAN do as a builder or writer. And I hope BIONICLE's frequent rules about what CAN'T be done aren't what led you to think that you need some kind of approval from on high for truly original ideas.

I don't think that I need some approval from on high for truly original ideas. I have gone off and developed my ideas on my own without associating it with anything in terms of fanfiction or building (it's just easier for me to relate to the writer's frame :shrugs:). 
 
But I'll switch frames. I built a MoC of HF parts (techinically a combo of HF and Chima parts, but whatever). I didn't feel a need to fit him into the story of HF. It would almost be better if I took one of the concepts that I'm developing independently, much like the purple monsters I just mentioned. I would have to strain to fit it in there - insert some cliche plot point or other to involve HF somehow with the concept. It would be easier to just do something else. That idea has too much potential to waste on a universe like that. 
 
Bionicle, by contrast, brings about ideas on it's own. I can sit down and talk about Bionicle with people and new possibilities and ideas will start popping. The ideas generated, frequently enough, wouldn't work outside the Bionicle universe, and even if they did, they wouldn't be as cool, innovative, or interesting.
 
By contrast, any ideas that come out of HF, if any, are so generic that I could throw the fact that it's HF completely to the curb, and throwing that fact to the curb would probably actually improve the idea and it's execution in a story.
* * *
For some reason the whole "contradictions" thing never really bothered me. I guess I'm just weird like that. (I started writing Bionicle FF after it ended though, so that might have something to do with it, I guess.) 

It could indeed. By the time BIONICLE ended, I had more or less given up on BIONICLE fan fiction. My BIONICLE fan fiction is mostly regrettable stories in which pretty much nothing happens, because I wanted to write stories involving the official characters but didn't want to contradict the official story. They were pathetic little character spots — a story where Takanuva tries to cope with Jaller's death prior to his resurrection, a story where Nokama tells Nuju about her feelings for Matau, which crushes Nuju since he had feelings for Nokama.

I tried writing other stories, of course. One was a story involving the creation of the Matoran Universe, starring Artakha and Karzahni. That one was down the tubes as soon as the true nature of the Matoran Universe was revealed to be entirely incompatible with this story, and far better than anything I had written.

My last short story, titled "The Way of the World", is the only one I'm actually still proud of. It was written for a story-writing contest in 2009. The objective was to write a piece about the Core War. This was my proudest story by far. It involved a battle between the Ice Tribe, Fire Tribe, and Sand Tribe armies that explored the philosophy of each tribe and how each was utterly convinced that the course of the war would turn in their favor. Do you know what happened to that short story? It didn't stand a chance in the contest, in part because story details revealed after I finished writing completely contradicted key elements of the story as I had written it. I poured my heart into that story and it never stood a chance. I don't know if anyone else even remembers it.

I haven't written another fanfic ever since. I have absolutely no confidence in my ability to tell a story in which something meaningful actually happens. At best, I come up with a little snippet of story about my MOCs. I give them names, powers, signature weapons, and brief personalities. Just the kind of bio you'd see for a BIONICLE or Hero Factory character on the website.

Sometimes I set them explicitly in the Hero Factory universe, and sometimes I don't. It really depends on whether the MOC seems like it suits the universe (like Brimstone, Poison Dart, Cyril Starlight, Koboldon, or Caitlyn Gauss XL) or if it stands better on its own as an original creation (like Bogwaddle, Kit Martello, or the Geiger Tiger). But I certainly don't think putting a MOC in the Hero Factory universe diminishes its story potential, because I know that I never plan to go any farther with any of those stories. Sometimes a brief snippet is all you need, and sometimes it's the best you can offer anyway.

As you say, "working with infinity sucks", and so it feels better to have an open story framework for your MOCs to inhabit than to craft a story with no framework whatsoever to work from. My MOCs almost never emerge from the Hero Factory story framework. They come out of the LEGO pieces and whatever potential I find in them. But once the build is really coming together, it is easy to fit them into the story framework without having to contradict anything or re-imagine them to follow a bunch of rules and mandates. And that gives them a bit more life. Caitlyn Gauss XL isn't just an arbitrary 12-inch female figure, she's a Hero Factory hero with magnetism powers and motifs. Poison Dart isn't just a weird alien or monster, she's a female space villain with a poison gun (as you can see, coming up with names for Hero Factory characters is also remarkably fun and easy — their meanings are more or less obvious and they don't have to sound strange and foreign to fit in).

If you don't think the universe rules in the BIONICLE story are serious business to a lot of fans, just look at that topic that recently popped up in S&T where people were asking why Toa Inika Hahli has lightning colors instead of water colors, or why Toa Mahri Hahli has plantlife colors instead of water colors. Never mind that Hahli still follows the water colors flawlessly by using blue as her primary color — the fact that those secondary colors have set-in-stone meanings stifles people's imaginations and prevents them from understanding the idea of a blue-and-green or blue-and-white Toa of Water. If I made a BIONICLE MOC that didn't follow these color rules (for instance, a purple and green and red Toa of Plantlife, or a black and gray Toa of Stone), I'd probably get a similar amount of grief, because it didn't follow the rules the official story had laid out. I'd have to come up with some sort of elaborate reasons why these characters were different from what the official story says, like how fans demanded an explanation when the colors for Stone characters changed instead of just accepting that there are a lot more gray and yellow and orange stones in real life than there is green air.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Jan 22 2014 - 10:10 PM.

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#21 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Jan 23 2014 - 11:37 AM

Aanchir... it's called having a narrative.

 

If fanfiction is difficult because of how the actual, official story cuts into it... than just make something more distinct, something far removed enough that it doesn't interfere, like... well, like what I'm doing. It's not hard to come up with a new world with its own races an' whatnot. Heck, just look at Chima. That line has AMAZING potential for good stories, but it's hopelessly bogged down by bad writing..... eh.... oh well.

 

I don't want to sound dismissive, and I'm sorry that all of your old efforts to add something to Bionicle were fruitless. I've been there, too. I've tried many times throughout my youth to make similar things, but ended up going nowhere because... well, the Bionicle we had was already so good, so complete, that there was nothing I COULD add to it to make it better.

 

However... that's what I think was it's strength. Having wiggle room is nice, but there's nothing wrong with having a solid, coherent narrative, something they came close to having with the Breakout line, but... yeah.


Edited by NickonAquaMagna, Jan 23 2014 - 11:45 AM.

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#22 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jan 23 2014 - 01:30 PM

Aanchir... it's called having a narrative.

If fanfiction is difficult because of how the actual, official story cuts into it... than just make something more distinct, something far removed enough that it doesn't interfere, like... well, like what I'm doing. It's not hard to come up with a new world with its own races an' whatnot. Heck, just look at Chima. That line has AMAZING potential for good stories, but it's hopelessly bogged down by bad writing..... eh.... oh well.

I don't want to sound dismissive, and I'm sorry that all of your old efforts to add something to Bionicle were fruitless. I've been there, too. I've tried many times throughout my youth to make similar things, but ended up going nowhere because... well, the Bionicle we had was already so good, so complete, that there was nothing I COULD add to it to make it better.

However... that's what I think was it's strength. Having wiggle room is nice, but there's nothing wrong with having a solid, coherent narrative, something they came close to having with the Breakout line, but... yeah.


I appreciate having a cohesive, fully-developed narrative as much as anyone. But do those make as good Lego themes as Hero Factory? There I'm not so sure.

With Bionicle, I was mainly inspired to build characters mentioned in the story who didn't appear as sets. To fill in the gaps in the story. Which was okay, but it got dull trying to build the same characters as everyone else, and trying to recreate something that wasn't necessarily described in a way that was conducive to the building system was frustrating. You could ignore the story and create a MOC far removed from it, but in that case what was the story good for, once you stopped reading and started building? It often felt more like a hindrance than a help.

With Hero Factory, I'm inspired more than ever before to create my own characters. I don't feel limited by the rules of the story. I don't feel compelled to build the same characters as everyone else. And I'm more inspired to build than ever before. That I feel is more in the spirit of other Lego themes: the story is merely a jumping-off point. It's there if you need it, but it doesn't get in the way if you want to do your own thing.

I love deep stories. More specifically, I love reading them, watching them, even playing them, in the case of video games. But a good Lego theme needs to deliver more than that. It needs to inspire you to build. And since the end of Bionicle I've found that the themes that do that best don't rely on rules and limits to build their universe. Rather, they create a basic framework in which to tell whatever stories you want.

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#23 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Jan 23 2014 - 01:35 PM

I appreciate having a cohesive, fully-developed narrative as much as anyone. But do those make as good Lego themes as Hero Factory? There I'm not so sure.

I'm not sure there's a clear objective answer; maybe HF's storyline is actually as good or better to its target fans. But what I was going to say in response to some points others raised before, and goes to this too, is there was just something very different about when a new story would come out. With Bionicle I was eager to find out what happens next.

 

With HF, it's just sort of openness to it, awareness that the next story is out there, and it's on some to-do list in the back of my mind, if I ever have time, check out the next one. Yanno? I think that has a lot to do with the overall narrative being talked about here. Ninjago has such an overarching clear theme too and likewise I'm eager to get the next stories ASAP.


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#24 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 23 2014 - 02:07 PM

Aanchir... it's called having a narrative.
 
If fanfiction is difficult because of how the actual, official story cuts into it... than just make something more distinct, something far removed enough that it doesn't interfere, like... well, like what I'm doing. It's not hard to come up with a new world with its own races an' whatnot. Heck, just look at Chima. That line has AMAZING potential for good stories, but it's hopelessly bogged down by bad writing..... eh.... oh well.
 
I don't want to sound dismissive, and I'm sorry that all of your old efforts to add something to Bionicle were fruitless. I've been there, too. I've tried many times throughout my youth to make similar things, but ended up going nowhere because... well, the Bionicle we had was already so good, so complete, that there was nothing I COULD add to it to make it better.
 
However... that's what I think was it's strength. Having wiggle room is nice, but there's nothing wrong with having a solid, coherent narrative, something they came close to having with the Breakout line, but... yeah.

I definitely agree that BIONICLE had an amazingly strong story. The story, on its own, was a work of art that set ambitious goals for itself and, in most cases, met and surpassed those goals. It gave life and personality to the toys and crafted a breathtakingly elegant universe for them to inhabit. I am not under any illusions that the official Hero Factory storyline will ever have the epic tone and scale of the BIONICLE story, or that it can ever hope to offer more in entertainment value than simple, lighthearted amusement.

I'm just saying that Hero Factory's story seems to better suit the franchise's main function as a toy for creative building. BIONICLE may have left a few doors open, but Hero Factory actively holds doors open for fans to insert their own characters and creations. The entire way the story and website were set up starting in 2010 was geared towards encouraging fans to create their own characters and missions, and while some of the channels for that expression like Hero Recon Team or the Call Center ticker have been shut down, the foundations it laid at the beginning — a factory that assigns countless robotic heroes to countless missions across the universe, and refits or upgrades each hero for each mission according to the obstacles they are likely to encounter — are still as strong and open to creativity as ever.

I do notice that BIONICLE tried to shift a bit more in this direction partway through its run. It had building contests like the Toa Building Contest, which gave us the first official Toa not from one of the traditional six Matoran tribes, the Rahi Building Contest, and the Dark Hunter Building Contest. So it's not like BIONICLE was failing entirely at encouraging kids to fill the universe with their original creations. They wanted kids to be creating original characters and stories, not just limiting themselves to the official characters and stories.

But I can't say BIONICLE was ever as effective at encouraging complete creative freedom as Hero Factory was. Contests to get fan creations and ideas approved in the story have the unfortunate side effect of implying to non-winners that their ideas weren't good enough for the official story. The "Ask Greg" gave BIONICLE an unprecedented level of communication between fans and creators, but it also tended to fill in gaps by establishing in no uncertain terms what was or wasn't possible within the BIONICLE universe, even when the official story might never need to cover some of that territory and it could have just as easily been left open to fans' imaginations.

And as you say, the story felt a lot stronger and more complete than what most fans could dream of adding to it. Somewhere in my house there may still be designs for "Turaga Nuva" and the like from back in 2002, which I abandoned with good reason. When you have a machine that runs at nearly peak efficiency, pretty much any additional gears and pulleys you add in between the ones that are already permanently in place are already are going to feel a bit like a waste of space and energy, if they don't disrupt the machine's function entirely.

With that said, your Nova Orbis story is doing a fantastic job filling in the space BIONICLE did leave completely open to fans — the space after the official story ended. And it's doing it with the same sense of life and energy and magic and mystery that made the official BIONICLE story so special. I only wish I had the kind of creative energy and inspiration to create a world as deep and vast! Doing this kind of thing while the theme was alive, of course, would be a lot more difficult, because as my brother and I discovered multiple times, it's hard to tell a story that can be convincingly placed in the gaps the story leaves open if the story is still growing and changing enough to fill those gaps in with contradictory information at any time.

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#25 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jan 23 2014 - 04:59 PM

My last short story, titled "The Way of the World", is the only one I'm actually still proud of. It was written for a story-writing contest in 2009. The objective was to write a piece about the Core War. This was my proudest story by far. It involved a battle between the Ice Tribe, Fire Tribe, and Sand Tribe armies that explored the philosophy of each tribe and how each was utterly convinced that the course of the war would turn in their favor. Do you know what happened to that short story? It didn't stand a chance in the contest, in part because story details revealed after I finished writing completely contradicted key elements of the story as I had written it. I poured my heart into that story and it never stood a chance. I don't know if anyone else even remembers it.

I haven't written another fanfic ever since. I have absolutely no confidence in my ability to tell a story in which something meaningful actually happens. At best, I come up with a little snippet of story about my MOCs. I give them names, powers, signature weapons, and brief personalities. Just the kind of bio you'd see for a BIONICLE or Hero Factory character on the website.

There's nothing wrong with any of this, although I wouldn't mind reading your story with an open mind :) - I never got the chance.  I like such new possibilities, even if contradictions exist. I'm sorry that Bionicle took away your joy when writing. :( Perhaps, now that the official story is over, the risk of contradictions is low, and you could try again? :shrugs:

But I don't fault you. Not everyone is cut out to be a writer, and there's no point in beating your head against a brick wall trying to do something you can't.
 

As you say, "working with infinity sucks", and so it feels better to have an open story framework for your MOCs to inhabit than to craft a story with no framework whatsoever to work from. My MOCs almost never emerge from the Hero Factory story framework. They come out of the LEGO pieces and whatever potential I find in them. But once the build is really coming together, it is easy to fit them into the story framework without having to contradict anything or re-imagine them to follow a bunch of rules and mandates. And that gives them a bit more life. Caitlyn Gauss XL isn't just an arbitrary 12-inch female figure, she's a Hero Factory hero with magnetism powers and motifs. Poison Dart isn't just a weird alien or monster, she's a female space villain with a poison gun (as you can see, coming up with names for Hero Factory characters is also remarkably fun and easy — their meanings are more or less obvious and they don't have to sound strange and foreign to fit in).

This I do not understand - why anyone would feel a need to have a story framework or that something is better if it fits into a story framework. I can understand why having a story framework would lend meaning to whatever creation you just made, but why does it have to fit in that story framework? Why did you interpret Bionicle such that everything Bionicle you made/ told stories of/drew, etc had to mesh with the official story? 

 

A creation that I build or write up doesn't have to fit in anything, unless its for a contest or something. It's mine - I can do what ever I want with it, I made it. Frankly, I've seen my share of alternate fanfiction that outright contradicts the official story - in fact, I wrote a few myself as a new member here, and some of my devious plans for future fanfiction stretch the bounds of possibility in canon. I don't check every minuscule detail of my work against the official story every time I want to write something - otherwise I would never stop searching the Greg dialogues. 

 

MoCing is an even broader category. Mostly I just build whatever, and then decide what story, if any, it will be in, and what role he/she/it will have. I usually have about 2-4 original stories or fanfiction type things in the back of my mind at any given moment, and so I just decide whether this thing I've built will improve one of those in terms of ideas, if so which one, how it can fit, etc. 

 

But again, I am a writer, so that's probably altering my perspective so I can't see this clearly. 

 

 

I appreciate having a cohesive, fully-developed narrative as much as anyone. But do those make as good Lego themes as Hero Factory? There I'm not so sure.

I'm not sure there's a clear objective answer; maybe HF's storyline is actually as good or better to its target fans. But what I was going to say in response to some points others raised before, and goes to this too, is there was just something very different about when a new story would come out. With Bionicle I was eager to find out what happens next.

 

With HF, it's just sort of openness to it, awareness that the next story is out there, and it's on some to-do list in the back of my mind, if I ever have time, check out the next one. Yanno? I think that has a lot to do with the overall narrative being talked about here. Ninjago has such an overarching clear theme too and likewise I'm eager to get the next stories ASAP.

 

FTR I experience this as well: from late 2006 on Bionicle.com was my homepage for the Internet and I would check it every day for updates and if there was something new, I would go for it immediately. (Bioniclestory.com was my second stop. I was a little OCD.)

 

Now, these days, I come here first, and I rarely check HF's website at all. BZP posts the news story, and I just go to the forum and think that maybe I'll get to whatever it is later. If you guys talk about it enough I eventually decide I want to know what's up so I can have my own analysis and all that.

 

Ninjago is about in the middle. Once I got started I plowed on through the episodes because I wanted to know what happened, but this new stuff is a bit on the disconnected side, so its starting to edge toward the "procrastination" list. It seems that I take forever to get into anything lol, and I'm always catching up, and when I do catch up everything goes downhill fast. :P

 

That aside, its probably true that overall story arcs are more engaging and less...lame. 

 

* * *

General Point (this is not directed at anyone): 

 

Somehow, I think this all boils down to a difference in preference, but what's confusing me is what preference? Maybe a "preference group"? 

 

This argument for limited story (IMO) seems to bite around and eat its own tail. For example, if you have a simple story, then everyone can build their own stuff and make their own story. But if their own story is what is keeping them engaged, why bother with an official story in the first place? You'll only contradict what they invented and make them mad, or you'll just be throwing money into a story that they ignore.   

 

On the other hand, you can have people who want storytelling to be done well. They are not going to bother with your shallow, limited story. They will move on the Ninjago or the Bionicle or something else that's keeping that part of them engaged. 

What's the point of having a story if it's not done well? The people that invent their own story will chuck whatever story you invent to the curb because there's is better, and the people who want a decent story will chuck whatever story you invent to the curb because it is shallow, unengaging, and not worth the time of day. (Unless they have friends who want to discuss it because they are bored after their Bionicle ended and they have nothing better to do!) In my mind, there is no excuse for poor quality work. And that's what HF's story is: poor quality work. The only reason those sets are selling is because they are innovative, they are amazing, and they provide more flexibility in Mocing than ever before. The story, I'll bet you dollars to donuts, has little to do with it.

 

To invent a story with HF, as you claim HF "allows", I have to pull in outside ideas not directly inside to HF. The story does not make possibilities of itself. I can combine several Bionicle ideas in a new way, and new ideas will flow naturally from that recombination. I recombine HF elements and little happens. To tell a story of quality, I have to introduce outside ideas, because HF is not a quality, engaging story to begin with. To bring HF up to the level of quality I expect from myself as a writer, I have to introduce something new. And because the story is sooo lame, why should I even bother thinking up ideas to improve the story when I have 2-4 other much more promising concepts in mind to work on which are 200% more fun? Why should I even bother thinking up a story in the HF universe when the official story people aren't even going to put effort into it? If it's not worth effort from them, why is it worth my time and effort? 

 

Now, realistically, people don't neatly fall in those two groups at the top - they overlap. But even if those two things are in the same person - the view of Lego as tool to express your creativity and viewing Lego (and related storylines thereof) as a source of ideas -  they both kinda go unmet at once. Which kinda, you know, is lame. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame. 


Edited by fishers64, Jan 23 2014 - 07:06 PM.

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#26 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 23 2014 - 07:28 PM

This I do not understand - why anyone would feel a need to have a story framework or that something is better if it fits into a story framework. I can understand why having a story framework would lend meaning to whatever creation you just made, but why does it have to fit in that story framework? Why did you interpret Bionicle such that everything Bionicle you made/ told stories of/drew, etc had to mesh with the official story? 

A creation that I build or write up doesn't have to fit in anything, unless its for a contest or something. It's mine - I can do what ever I want with it, I made it. Frankly, I've seen my share of alternate fanfiction that outright contradicts the official story - in fact, I wrote a few myself as a new member here, and some of my devious plans for future fanfiction stretch the bounds of possibility in canon. I don't check every minuscule detail of my work against the official story every time I want to write something - otherwise I would never stop searching the Greg dialogues.


I didn't force all my BIONICLE MOCs to fit the universe, really. Some of my BIONICLE MOCs did not have identities within any BIONICLE universe real or imagined at all. But generally, those that didn't exist within some established universe barely had any identity whatsoever. My weird frog-person was just a weird frog-person. My black and gold Toa was just a black and gold Toa with no element and no personality.

Alternate universe fan-fiction never strongly appealed to me (at least as a subject for ME to write about) because it was rare that I had any ideas superior to the official storyline. As I mentioned, my Artakha and Karzahni storyline was completely contrary to the official nature of the Matoran Universe. If it were better than the official nature of the Matoran Universe, I'd probably have kept writing it that way, but I had a deep and profound admiration for the elegance of the official storyline. I had THOUGHT my explanation for how the Matoran Universe was structured was poetic, but to borrow an analogy from my last post, it didn't fit the machine as perfectly. The gears around it had already been screwed into place, and the gear that completed that part of the machine and made it run more smoothly than it ever had in the past was that the Matoran Universe was the robot body of the Great Spirit. A simple planet made up of domes and caverns would have been an absolute waste of all the hints that had been dropped from the very beginning to foreshadow the big reveal. Why write an alternate universe that does away with the elegance of the genuine article?

Even my human BIONICLE art tended to maintain the armor styles of the official sets to a fault. Sometimes I'd slightly redraw the armor for greater stylistic consistency but it still was based directly on the official sets, not based on realistic human armor from any place or time.

And when I did create a MOC or story that was supposed to exist within the official storyline but conflict with it in any way, the inevitable feedback was some form of the phrase "this is wrong". It's true, no franchise can completely prevent fans from getting negative feedback for their creations. But BIONICLE, in a sense, cultivated a strict sense of what was possible and what was not, and in doing so, cultivated that sort of feedback. A Lariska MOC that is not blue and green will always, always be criticized for that — never mind that the character was reasonably easy to visualize well before there was any specificity about her colors. But the BIONICLE franchise cultivated a fanbase that could not function without specific rules and meanings about the most irrelevant things — whether they be the mask powers of incidental characters who were not even able to use mask powers, the colors of a character who had appeared in visual media, or specific (yet, for the most part, arbitrary) meanings and origins for Mata Nui place names that had managed just fine without explicit meanings and origins for over half a decade.
 

MoCing is an even broader category. Mostly I just build whatever, and then decide what story, if any, it will be in, and what role he/she/it will have. I usually have about 2-4 original stories or fanfiction type things in the back of my mind at any given moment, and so I just decide whether this thing I've built will improve one of those in terms of ideas, if so which one, how it can fit, etc.


You are perfectly correct that MOCs don't have to have a story when you're building them. But the reason LEGO themes have stories in the first place is to encourage creative play, building, and storytelling. It's supposed to enrich every aspect of owning the toys. If the potential for fans to create their own stories didn't matter at all, then TLG could pretty much get out of the storytelling business entirely. After all, the most successful LEGO theme for nearly a decade has been LEGO City, which has no rigid storyline or continuity and a grand total of one named character in the toys (Chase McCain). Why tell kids a story if kids are going to build and play with the toys with the same passion and creativity with or without one?
 

General Point (this is not directed at anyone): 
 
Somehow, I think this all boils down to a difference in preference, but what's confusing me is what preference? Maybe a "preference group"? 
 
This argument for limited story (IMO) seems to bite around and eat its own tail. For example, if you have a simple story, then everyone can build their own stuff and make their own story. But if their own story is what is keeping them engaged, why bother with an official story in the first place? You'll only contradict what they invented and make them mad, or you'll just be throwing money into a story that they ignore.


No, an official story is the framework within which people build their own stories. If you leave that framework open, people can tell all kinds of stories. If you fill that framework in with elaborate and painstaking detail and leave only small gaps, you have placed enormous limitations on the ability for kids to build within that framework. It's fine to decorate a house before you sell it to new buyers. In fact, it's admirable. But if you bolt every bit of furniture or decoration to the walls or floor so that the new owners have to work around it in their own decorating, or tear down the house and build their own on the same land, you are not doing your buyers a service. Not all of Hero Factory's furniture is as pretty as BIONICLE's. Some of it is downright tacky. But there is plenty of open floor space, and of the furniture that is there, very little of it is bolted to the floor.
 

On the other hand, you can have people who want storytelling to be done well. They are not going to bother with your shallow, limited story. They will move on the Ninjago or the Bionicle or something else that's keeping that part of them engaged.


Hard fact here: People are going to move on to other things no matter what kind of story you tell them. That's the reality of the toy industry. "Lifelong fans" of any toy brand are generally outliers, and as Greg Farshtey and others never hesitated to remind us on BZPower, this was just as true of BIONICLE as of any other theme.

Maybe some adults who used to be Transformers fans will go to see the Transformers movie, but most of them will not buy the toys. The best you can hope for is that they bring their kids to the movie and that they become Transformers fans. But then, for that to work the franchise has to bring in new fans consistently enough for a long enough time for it to still be around when the original fans HAVE kids of the right age. You don't do that by focusing your marketing money on frivolous efforts to keep old fans on board well beyond the toys' intended age range.
 

What's the point of having a story if it's not done well? The people that invent their own story will chuck whatever story you invent to the curb because there's is better, and the people who want a decent story will chuck whatever story you invent to the curb because it is shallow, unengaging, and not worth the time of day. (Unless they have friends who want to discuss it because they are bored after their Bionicle ended and they have nothing better to do!) In my mind, there is no excuse for poor quality work. And that's what HF's story is: poor quality work. The only reason those sets are selling is because they are innovative, they are amazing, and they provide more flexibility in Mocing than ever before. The story, I'll bet you dollars to donuts, has little to do with it.


Here's the thing though. Not ALL of the Hero Factory story is bad. The foundations of the story, the blurbs that show up in the catalogs and on the website, are perfectly good quality. They aren't epic, but they don't have to be. Not every good story is an epic.

Hero Factory's core media, the TV series, is rather shoddy. I wish it was better. But as we have seen, it doesn't really have to be. The foundation of the story is the foundation of the toy sales, and the media is just to supplement that. Any small way that the media helps flesh out the story makes a difference, even if all it does is lend movement, personalities, voices, and eye candy to the figures kids are going to see on store shelves. As long as kids like the idea of a factory that builds robot heroes, as long as kids like the idea of a fire-themed hero named Furno or giant monsters coming from underground, the media is just to help them visualize those things as more than plastic toys on a shelf.
 

To invent a story with HF, as you claim HF "allows", I have to pull in outside ideas not directly inside to HF. The story does not make possibilities of itself. I can combine several Bionicle ideas in a new way, and new ideas will flow naturally from that recombination. I recombine HF elements and little happens. To tell a story of quality, I have to introduce outside ideas, because HF is not a quality, engaging story to begin with. To bring HF up to the level of quality I expect from myself as a writer, I have to introduce something new. And because the story is sooo lame, why should I even bother thinking up ideas to improve the story when I have 2-4 other much more promising concepts in mind to work on which are 200% more fun? Why should I even bother thinking up a story in the HF universe when the official story people aren't even going to put effort into it? If it's not worth effort from them, why is it worth my time and effort?


I don't know what you expect me to do. I can't make you like the Hero Factory storyline and I never intend to do so. You seem to be convinced that the Hero Factory storyline cannot inspire original stories. I know from experience that you are wrong, and I'm pretty certain most of the Hero Factory creations by the theme's core audience are heroes, villains, and creatures to inhabit that theme's universe. Some of them will have elaborate stories, some will just have names, powers, and personalities. Either way, kids are expressing themselves creatively and rarely, if ever, will the official media or the fans be able to tell them that their stories are wrong or can't happen.
 

Now, realistically, people don't neatly fall in those two groups at the top - they overlap. But even if those two things are in the same person - the view of Lego as tool to express your creativity and viewing Lego (and related storylines thereof) as a source of ideas -  they both kinda go unmet at once. Which kinda, you know, is lame. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.


Why do you think both go unmet? The Hero Factory storyline does inspire ideas, and does provide kids with tools to express those ideas. It tells kids that there is a universe of robot heroes and villains built from pieces just like the ones you see in these sets, and that hundreds of those heroes perform important missions throughout the galaxy every day. The supporting media is mainly just to help kids better visualize the sorts of characters and adventures that are possible in this universe. But it doesn't force kids to create things outside that framework or inside tiny gaps in that framework to reconcile their stories with the stories they see in books or on TV. You can create as many new heroes as you want, but you don't have to create a new factory for them to come from because there's a finite amount of heroes in the old factory who already appear as sets. A lot different from BIONICLE, where creating a new type of Matoran in 2001-2003 basically meant creating a new island for them to inhabit and never letting them interact with the heroes of Mata Nui at risk of contradicting the story that had come before or the story that might come later.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Jan 23 2014 - 07:32 PM.

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#27 Online Toa Zaz

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Posted Jan 23 2014 - 09:35 PM

I think any of the few positive qualities of Hero Factory (story, the sets are good. Definitely a lot more solidly consistent that Bionicle was, although I really don't like the look of the summer IfB wave) were totally thrown out of the window by 

 

a. their awful habit of ending on a cliffhanger and then never going back to that ever again as if it never happened

 

b. their reduction of the yearly story to "some mindless creature things invade the city, the heroes fight them. That's it."

 

c. throwing everything that they had ever established and replacing it with the unrecognizable garbage that constituted the recent episode, which made the cheesy, campy, kiddy-oriented previous episodes seem utterly enjoyable in comparison.

 

Bionicle, most of the time (not all of it), but mostly they seemed to be genuinely trying to come up with a creative, interesting, dramatic, engaging story. And even when they really weren't (the first couple years prior to Mask of Light), the setup, characters, and world-building was infinitely superior to Hero Factory. Now they're not even trying. I mean, at first it seemed like they were interested in some sort of story (albeit stupid, unoriginal, overly simplistic and boring), but by Brain Attack they were just sleep-walking. They barely even really marketed it or anything, either. With Bionicle we got books (not really near the end), canon comics, online games and videos, and a couple of movies. And, aside from the games, they all had to do with the story. Now, they don't even tell you when the episode is going to air on TV, because Lego doesn't care about Hero Factory at all.

 

Hopefully the new constraction figure line will be better.


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#28 Offline Sir Kohran

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Posted Jan 24 2014 - 06:21 AM

With Bionicle we got books (not really near the end), canon comics, online games and videos, and a couple of movies. And, aside from the games, they all had to do with the story. Now, they don't even tell you when the episode is going to air on TV, because Lego doesn't care about Hero Factory at all.

 

It's no great secret that Hero Factory isn't on the same scale as Bionicle was and isn't getting the same media pushes, probably because the System lines are now selling much better and there's less need for the constraction side to be very successful.

 

Hopefully the new constraction figure line will be better.

 

Is one actually on the way or are you just speculating?
 


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#29 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jan 24 2014 - 09:33 AM

 

With Bionicle we got books (not really near the end), canon comics, online games and videos, and a couple of movies. And, aside from the games, they all had to do with the story. Now, they don't even tell you when the episode is going to air on TV, because Lego doesn't care about Hero Factory at all.

 

It's no great secret that Hero Factory isn't on the same scale as Bionicle was and isn't getting the same media pushes, probably because the System lines are now selling much better and there's less need for the constraction side to be very successful.

 

 

 

Hopefully the new constraction figure line will be better.

 

Is one actually on the way or are you just speculating?
 

 

There is one on the way, according to Asger Johansen, a concept designer for Lego. We don't know yet whether it'll be replacing Hero Factory or running alongside it like the Mixels or Ultrabuild figures.

I also wanted to point out that Hero Factory also had books; rather good ones, in fact. But like the Bionicle books near the end, they weren't successful enough to keep going. And unlike the Bionicle books (especially those in the years 2006 to 2008), they aren't the primary story medium and tell stories largely unconnected to the disappointing TV episodes. Still, the books are a good testament to the potential Hero Factory has for storytelling, and the merit the core story elements have. So far my favorite is Secret Mission #2: Legion of Darkness, which is about the origins of the Hero Factory and Alpha One team, but the others are good too, and explore many types of adventures.


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#30 Offline Sir Kohran

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Posted Jan 24 2014 - 01:01 PM

There is one on the way, according to Asger Johansen, a concept designer for Lego. We don't know yet whether it'll be replacing Hero Factory or running alongside it like the Mixels or Ultrabuild figures.

 

When was this announced? Surely it should've been news on the home page. Do we know any details at all, like when it might be released?


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#31 Offline Nujanii: Kanohi Master

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Posted Jan 24 2014 - 02:14 PM

Bionicle was actually hard to get into 
by design; it was stated many times that they wanted it to take work to understand. They did a good job of making that work enjoyable, at least for those with the right tastes for that, but it's still not "easy" compared to HF.

Could someone provide us with some quotes on this?


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And also, incidently, why people shouldn't be acting like Bionicle's "dead" -- it's still continuing in story form unlike just about any other line and has a very strong chance of coming back some day, so it's wisest for people to remain interested in LEGO, showing their support for HF, etc. The best way, as we've shown long ago, for Bionicle to come back, is for us to be on here showing support for HF and Bionicle at the same time, accepting both, knowing that one day HF too will lose the "new factor" and eventually Bionicle will be ready to come back.

If you should be doing your homework right now, copy and paste this into your signature.
 

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#32 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Jan 24 2014 - 05:31 PM

Could someone provide us with some quotes on this?

You can undoubtedly find a few in fishers' Greg archives if you really want to search for it. :) I thought it was common knowledge, but that's how that kind of thing goes.


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#33 Offline Great Being Velika

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Posted Feb 19 2014 - 10:16 PM

Does anyone know how lame hero factory is, well I do. I mean take a look at the story behind it: We are robots who fight evil, oh no new and more powerful evil has come, let's make ourselves bigger but not much more powerful to fight the evil! We got him, oh no more evil, hey this time let's have an animal theme. Even though hero factory is Lego I still find it to be a total Bionicle revamp (and a bad one at that). So I will not purposely go out and buy a Hero factory. I've gotten some as gifts but that was before I had this opinion of hero factory!

The thing with your point of view is that you consider HF to be a revamp of bionicle. After it ended, Bionicle sort of split into two directions: HF and Ninjago. I'm starting to think that people see HF as a "knockoff" of Bionicle because the figures visual apparance resembles that of Bionicle. What HF bashers don't seem to understand is that HF is not a reincarnation of Bionicle; it's completely different. It was made for younger kids so that they would have buildible action figures without having to know a very complex story to go with it. I've noticed that the lack of a deep backstory (and therefore a lack of character depth) can not keep people as emotionally attached to the theme and those people therefore will criticize it more. Another reason is the nostalgia associated with Bionicle. You most likely started with Bionicle when you were a little kid, so therefore are able to look back and reminisce about Bionicle. Since HF is a new theme, it does not have the same nostalgia as Bionicle. Just think that in a fer years once HF is discontinued, the kids who were obsessed over it when they were, say, five will hold HF in the same high regard as Bionicle. Just my two cents on the whole issue. Good day.

 

 

P.S. It's been four years. Most have accepted the fact that Bionicle has been discontinued.

 

 

 

 

Edit: Qualifier in the P.S. removed due to having been reported.

-Wind-


Edited by -Windrider-, Mar 17 2014 - 01:16 PM.

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#34 Offline Azani

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Posted Mar 16 2014 - 08:49 PM

P.S. It's been four years. Most have accepted the fact that Bionicle has been discontinued.


I'm a bit offended by this; Nocturn701, as well as myself, don't especially like Hero Factory, but both of us state perfectly reasonable opinions that aren't insulting or being insensitive to anyone else. There's nothing immature about our thoughts. It's entirely reasonable for a person to dislike Hero Factory and refrain from buying the stes; there's nothing immature about that, and in fact, since Hero Factory is a toyline marketed to 7-10 year olds, it's understandable that it may not appeal to older persons. Even though Bionicle was aimed at the same age range, it appealed to many older fans as well due to it's mature and complex storyline.

Nocturn701 never mentioned that he or she was annoyed by Bionicle's cancellation, and he or she expresses a completely reasonable opinion. Sure, the post could have been worded a bit better, but there's nothing wrong with it.

 

 

 

 

Edit: Above edit duplicated in the quote.

-Wind-


Edited by -Windrider-, Mar 17 2014 - 01:15 PM.

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I can also be found under the username Azani on SolisMagna.com and the BioMediaProject forums. Check out SolisMagna.com, as it is exactly what we need to maintain interest in Bionicle. Also, I highly recommend [url=http://www.bzpower.com/board/topic/11507-bionicle-nova-orbis-new-world/Nova Orbis, an awesome comic series by NickonAquaMagna.

Check out the script for Mysterious Island, an adaption/reboot of the 2001 Bionicle story which I am writing. It's also a musical.

 
Bionicle is returning in 2015!

#35 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Mar 17 2014 - 01:27 PM

 

P.S. It's been four years. Most mature people have accepted the fact that Bionicle has been discontinued.


I'm a bit offended by this; Nocturn701, as well as myself, don't especially like Hero Factory, but both of us state perfectly reasonable opinions that aren't insulting or being insensitive to anyone else. There's nothing immature about our thoughts. It's entirely reasonable for a person to dislike Hero Factory and refrain from buying the stes; there's nothing immature about that, and in fact, since Hero Factory is a toyline marketed to 7-10 year olds, it's understandable that it may not appeal to older persons. Even though Bionicle was aimed at the same age range, it appealed to many older fans as well due to it's mature and complex storyline.

Nocturn701 never mentioned that he or she was annoyed by Bionicle's cancellation, and he or she expresses a completely reasonable opinion. Sure, the post could have been worded a bit better, but there's nothing wrong with it.

 

 
While his post was a little curt, let's remember what the original post said...
 

Does anyone know how lame hero factory is, well I do. I mean take a look at the story behind it: We are robots who fight evil, oh no new and more powerful evil has come, let's make ourselves bigger but not much more powerful to fight the evil! We got him, oh no more evil, hey this time let's have an animal theme. Even though hero factory is Lego I still find it to be a total Bionicle revamp (and a bad one at that). So I will not purposely go out and buy a Hero factory. I've gotten some as gifts but that was before I had this opinion of hero factory!

 
That's not much less offensive, is it? It opens with a rhetorical question that implies Hero Factory's "lameness" is a truth known only to him, rather than a personal opinion. It goes on to misrepresent the Hero Factory story to an awful degree (ironically, you could just as easily make Bionicle sound "lame" by ignoring everything except the character upgrades and new villains). And it isn't a new idea—Hero Factory fans like us have had to deal with disgruntled Bionicle fans slandering Hero Factory just for not being Bionicle since it first debuted, and a lot of us are understandably tired of it. And while Nocturn701 never explicitly compared the theme to Bionicle (except for the odd word choice calling HF a "Bionicle revamp"), the comparison was heavily implied.

Now, a lot of people in this topic (including yourself) have, to their credit, explored the pros and cons of Hero Factory compared to Bionicle in a more mature and nuanced fashion, identifying concrete ways in which Bionicle's story surpassed Hero Factory's barebones narrative, and even ways in which Hero Factory's paltry story offers some benefits over Bionicle's epic saga. But let's not pretend that the topic was started as anything other than a whiny hate-thread, or that the original poster is due more respect for starting it in that fashion.


Edited by Lyichir, Mar 17 2014 - 01:29 PM.

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#36 Offline Regicidal Kaiser Manducus

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Posted Mar 21 2014 - 03:30 PM

People are still actually upset by this? Wow.

 

 

Hero Factory is a line meant for kids. You're not going to throw in something dark into the line and have the kids be ok with it.


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#37 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Mar 21 2014 - 03:55 PM

People are still actually upset by this? Wow.
 
 
Hero Factory is a line meant for kids. You're not going to throw in something dark into the line and have the kids be ok with it.


Well, there has been some dark stuff in the HF storyline. Core Hunter, one of the 2012 villains, was basically a serial killer who targets heroes, and none of the story material concerning him really tried to be subtle about that. Fire Lord and his gang from 2011 were basically drug addicts. The Savage Planet storyline even had the destruction of a planet at stake.

I think equating darkness with quality storytelling is a mistake anyhow. Plenty of great stories are still extremely lighthearted. Even BIONICLE was not exceptionally dark and gritty in some of its story media. Hero Factory has definite flaws but excessively lighthearted storytelling is not one of them.

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#38 Offline Paleo

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Posted Mar 27 2014 - 06:41 PM

@nocturn701
An anecdote about your ability to follow the Bionicle story doesn't prove anything wrong. Complex stories that require research to understand the story (i.e. Federation of Fear, which required extensive knowledge of prior years and the fates of various characters) would be particularly difficult to begin reading for some, and if I hadn't been following the story so closely, I would have been terribly confused. And I did get confused, and if not for BS01 I would have likely become horribly lost.

Hero Factory is a story designed to offer some backstory to characters marketed with a conflict of good vs. evil. Side novels offer character development to those who wish to read them. In this way, Hero Factory can appeal to those interested in the toys alone, or to those interested in the toys and an accompanying story. Being different than Bionicle's setup does not make it bad. It's a model to appeal to younger audiences, which does not include a number of Bionicle fans due to the fact that they have grown. The inexorable march of time and the development of the human brain could very likely create a bias toward the familiar.

Edited by Paleo, Mar 27 2014 - 06:44 PM.

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#39 Offline Regicidal Kaiser Manducus

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Posted Mar 27 2014 - 07:59 PM

 

People are still actually upset by this? Wow.
 
 
Hero Factory is a line meant for kids. You're not going to throw in something dark into the line and have the kids be ok with it.


Well, there has been some dark stuff in the HF storyline. Core Hunter, one of the 2012 villains, was basically a serial killer who targets heroes, and none of the story material concerning him really tried to be subtle about that. Fire Lord and his gang from 2011 were basically drug addicts. The Savage Planet storyline even had the destruction of a planet at stake.

I think equating darkness with quality storytelling is a mistake anyhow. Plenty of great stories are still extremely lighthearted. Even BIONICLE was not exceptionally dark and gritty in some of its story media. Hero Factory has definite flaws but excessively lighthearted storytelling is not one of them.

 

 

Well they had it in a kids friendly (wrong choice of word) matter. It's not like they made it direct and straight forward. Or at least that's how I remembered it.


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#40 Offline KittehWubbins

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Posted Mar 28 2014 - 10:11 PM

Lets not forget that Bionicle wasn't the most elaborate thing when it first came out too. Sure, Hero Factory has been out for 4 years, but that is because Lego is trying something new, by making it possible for anyone to jump in at anytime. And yes, Bionicle was elaborate from the beginning, but was it really that much?

 

Put this into perspective:

 

Evil guy (Makuta) infects a bunch of animals (Rahi) and terrorizes peacful villagers (Tohunga/Matoran + Turaga) so the hero (Takua) needs to summon more heroes (the Toa) to fight the animals (Rahi) in order to save the villagers (Tohunga/Matoran + Turaga) and ultamatley leading to defeating the all powerful evil guy (Makuta). This is where Lego took the great chance to build off the story, and it worked.

 

Same situation with Hero Factory: (I don't know everything about it but I will try my best)

Oh no! There are a bunch of villians (Equivalent to the Rahi(ish))! We need heros (Equivilant to Takua summoning the Toa)! Heroes get there and defeat the villians and capture them. In which next season they escape again. (Rinse and repeat, soon enough the storyline will get stronger.

 

And many other things Lego has adopted into Hero Factory has been the Toa Hordika/Savage Planet or the Bohrok Swarms/Attack from Below etc.etc.

 

I too hated Hero Factroy when it came out. Weak storyline, poor character development, and poor projection of any story whatsoever. Then I realized that Bionicle was not too different, the thing that made it special was they spent time building characters and devloping story. Lego was walking on a razor edge with Bionicle though, because anything that has a very built storyline usually gets people hooked. On the other side of the sword, we have people who find a hard time jumping into the storyline and just buy the constraction toys if they look cool enough.

 

In the end, Hero Factory and Bionicle arent too different. Lego is just taking much more time for story development and slacking on the peices for Hero Factory.

 

I will likely not purchase any Hero Factory because I don't feel the need to, it doesn't have me hooked. Which is the fault in Hero Factory, it has no hook. That is why most people hate it now.


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I am building Alphonse Elric from FMA!! Please PM me some tips, I really want to make it good.





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