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Hero Factory = lame!


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#41 Online Aanchir

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Posted Apr 01 2014 - 02:31 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.

Wouldn't the set designs themselves be a hook? After all, that's what the storyline has always been based around. And generally, that's how a toy line operates. The story is meant to supplement the fun inherent to the sets by giving the characters powers, personalities, goals, and backgrounds.

I might be speaking from a different perspective than a number of hardcore BIONICLE fans. The storyline and mythology of BIONICLE was not what got me into the theme. It intrigued me, but for me my interest in BIONICLE was a direct progression from my interest in Throwbots, Roboriders, and other Technic sets I had collected before. As a general rule, the quality and functionality of the toy should be a toy's primary selling point.

The story just supplements the play experience by letting kids experience the toy on a more profound level. Thanks to the storyline for themes like BIONICLE and Hero Factory, Lewa isn't just a green robot with a swinging axe, he's a thrill-seeking joker with air powers, a youthful naivete and a strong sense of adventure. Preston Stormer isn't just a white robot with ice weapons and motifs, he's a veteran of countless missions and a leader with a strong sense of responsibility for his teammates.

Most importantly, both of those characters are construction toys that can be disassembled and reassembled into creations of your choosing, and the story supplements that aspect of play by providing a context for your creations to inhabit. The creative nature of this sort of play means that you have to take extreme care with the depth of the storyline. You don't want the adventure you craft for the official characters to get in the way of the characters and adventures that fans create. An overly detailed storyline can become a sort of spider's web reaching out to entangle any stories that aren't expertly crafted to fit in.

I think Hero Factory does a bit better at this than BIONICLE did, though both franchises did a satisfactory job of it. In Hero Factory, you can create your own hero with any powers and appearance you can dream of, and send them on missions either with the main characters or with other characters you create.

In BIONICLE, some factors in the storyline could present creative roadblocks for fans. There is only one Mask of Light, meaning that you can't give a character that mask power unless you come up with a reason why they can have it and where they got it. The Toa Inika didn't go on any new adventures in new locations in between finding the Mask of Life and becoming Toa Mahri, so any new adventures you write for them have to take place on Voya Nui without exception. The island of Mata Nui had only six Toa and only six villages, so if you want to create a Toa with lightning powers, you have to come up with a place outside of Mata Nui where they came from, and they can't interact with the Toa Mata in any meaningful way in between official missions and adventures unless you want to totally rewrite the events of the official story.

Overall, I think the LEGO Group learned some important lessons from their experience with BIONICLE, and it helped them to shape Hero Factory's storyline in certain ways. This doesn't mean that BIONICLE was not a good storyline, just that the LEGO Group didn't have as much experience crafting their own storylines to draw from, and this resulted in some limitations that perhaps ought to have been avoided. And then again, perhaps not. They are different types of story, after all, and perhaps the type of storyline BIONICLE set out to tell made certain limitations inevitable. I think we can all agree that BIONICLE's sacrifices in creative freedom definitely didn't ruin the fun of the sets or the excitement of the story. They just resulted in a unique set of challenges for creators and fans alike.

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#42 Offline Toa of Geek

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Posted Apr 03 2014 - 05:46 PM

I think with Hero Factory they're trying not to develop the plot too deeply like they did with Bionicle. This allows new fans to pick up on the story without feeling left behind. I think that is one reason Bionicle got discontinued; it got too complicated for new fans. While Hero Factory's simplistic storyline will deter older Bionicle fans, it will attract younger fans and new Lego fans. I personally don't see myself getting into the storyline, but the sets are great, with the new building system and all.


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#43 Offline Matoro Lives

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Posted Apr 27 2014 - 11:32 PM

To be honest, quality themes kinda stopped being produced once bionicle ended. Ninjago, Chima, and Hero Factory (meh) are incredibly popular, but they really can't be compared to themes like knights kingdom (either series), rock raiders, exo-force, alpha team, or some of the classic cowboy, pirates, and space sets. To be honest, even the themes I didn't really like from the bionicle era (i.e. Mars mission, agents, vikings, and power miners) would be preferable to the themes lego has going right now. The only themes I really follow now are the licensed ones, and even those sets just seem to be getting worse. I thinks its because lego made a shift in general set design back in 2009. All the sets started having improved detail work done on them making the sets look cleaner, but the size of the sets shrunk and the prices rose to compensate for more detail pieces and more new molds. Call me nostalgic, but I preferred lego before they went on a detailing/inflation frenzy. Hero Factory is just a reflection of lego's new spin on the entire system, and frankly I'm not impressed. Gone is the originality and flair that the previous decades sets possessed. Gone is the clever stories and quality character development that previous themes with stories possessed. I consider myself lucky to have been able to experience some quality lego sets, and I pity those who will never know the joys of the previous decades sets. It is rare to find a set now that possesses the qualities that many older sets did, and it saddens me to see how far lego has fallen in just a few short years time.
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#44 Offline ~Shockwave~

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Posted Apr 28 2014 - 12:28 AM

To be honest, quality themes kinda stopped being produced once bionicle ended. Ninjago, Chima, and Hero Factory (meh) are incredibly popular, but they really can't be compared to themes like knights kingdom (either series), rock raiders, exo-force, alpha team, or some of the classic cowboy, pirates, and space sets. To be honest, even the themes I didn't really like from the bionicle era (i.e. Mars mission, agents, vikings, and power miners) would be preferable to the themes lego has going right now. The only themes I really follow now are the licensed ones, and even those sets just seem to be getting worse. I thinks its because lego made a shift in general set design back in 2009. All the sets started having improved detail work done on them making the sets look cleaner, but the size of the sets shrunk and the prices rose to compensate for more detail pieces and more new molds. Call me nostalgic, but I preferred lego before they went on a detailing/inflation frenzy. Hero Factory is just a reflection of lego's new spin on the entire system, and frankly I'm not impressed. Gone is the originality and flair that the previous decades sets possessed. Gone is the clever stories and quality character development that previous themes with stories possessed. I consider myself lucky to have been able to experience some quality lego sets, and I pity those who will never know the joys of the previous decades sets. It is rare to find a set now that possesses the qualities that many older sets did, and it saddens me to see how far lego has fallen in just a few short years time.

 

Oh boy. I'm going to say you've fallen ill with a bad case of nostalgia. Something TF fans suffer from and call GEEWUN. (The beliefe that nothing will ever match what G1 was. Even though we have Animated.)

 

See, the HF sets have more pieces (I do believe) Than the original toa, and have some really nice designs and pose-ability And it's not really a "Spin" on anything. It's designs are much different than anything Lego has done before. And to say that Lego has no originality or flair is harsh and not really true. We've already discussed several times over that Bionicle isn't really known for quality characters on this site. And honestly, it's been so long that I can't refute that statement much.

 

What "qualities" are you referring to exactly? Really, I say there's been little more than improvement in general set design. Maybe it's moved in a differant direction, but I can't say that's a bad thing. Besides, there are some fantastic designs in newer sets. To name a few:

 

Iron man 3's boat set has actual working flick missiles.

Hero factory has a new Ball joint based design that simply caters to a differant style of building. Not lack thereof.

 

Hm. I thought I had more. But I guess I haven't bought many either. But not for lack of quality.


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#45 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Apr 28 2014 - 07:00 AM

To be honest, quality themes kinda stopped being produced once bionicle ended. Ninjago, Chima, and Hero Factory (meh) are incredibly popular, but they really can't be compared to themes like knights kingdom (either series), rock raiders, exo-force, alpha team, or some of the classic cowboy, pirates, and space sets. To be honest, even the themes I didn't really like from the bionicle era (i.e. Mars mission, agents, vikings, and power miners) would be preferable to the themes lego has going right now. The only themes I really follow now are the licensed ones, and even those sets just seem to be getting worse. I thinks its because lego made a shift in general set design back in 2009. All the sets started having improved detail work done on them making the sets look cleaner, but the size of the sets shrunk and the prices rose to compensate for more detail pieces and more new molds. Call me nostalgic, but I preferred lego before they went on a detailing/inflation frenzy. Hero Factory is just a reflection of lego's new spin on the entire system, and frankly I'm not impressed. Gone is the originality and flair that the previous decades sets possessed. Gone is the clever stories and quality character development that previous themes with stories possessed. I consider myself lucky to have been able to experience some quality lego sets, and I pity those who will never know the joys of the previous decades sets. It is rare to find a set now that possesses the qualities that many older sets did, and it saddens me to see how far lego has fallen in just a few short years time.

Yeah, maybe you should take off your rose-colored glasses. Liking Bionicle less than HF? That makes sense, especially if you liked Bionicle for its epic science-fantasy storyline. But if you think that Knights; Kingdom (either series) is a better theme than Ninjago or Chima, let alone Rock Raiders, I can't imagine you've put any sets from either together recently.

Rock Raiders was an ambitious theme, that much can be said for it. It was developed with a video-game tie-in from the get-go, and had an amazingly unique design aesthetic. That said, AFOLs have a word for the Rock Raiders set designs, and that word is "juniorized". It's a word that gets thrown at all sorts of sets (some less deservingly than others) but it's pretty apt when referring to Rock Raiders. The theme featured many giant, specialized parts that made up the core of set designs. A large, cumbersome cockpit with a large, cumbersome rollcage. A huge chrome drill with one connection point and no easy means to power it. A huge chassis that pretty much dictated the shape and size of anything you used it on. It's telling that many of the largest Rock Raiders sets cost almost 20 cents per piece, twice the general rule-of-thumb for determining whether a set is a good value. While many disliked its color scheme, Power Miners was a marked improvement over Rock Raiders, with the specialized parts in that theme being much more versatile and functional, and the models being highly complex with magnificent Technic functionality. And that's not even mentioning Ninjago or Chima, which far from having two-piece cockpits generally opt for more dramatic brick-built shaping more akin to the Creator theme.

Knights' Kingdom I was not quite as bad but failed to match the Castle themes before or after it in complexity. Knights' Kingdom II, which at least offered a unique fantasy aesthetic, was not much better in that respect. While the theme had plenty of interesting functionality, the builds were still fairly simple, making heavy use of BURPs (Big Ugly Rock Plates) and even 4+ parts. And storywise, Knights' Kingdom II played it far too safe, being notable for being a theme about knights where the heroes and villains shot lightning from their swords specifically because they were not allowed to hit each other. Chima does much more with its science-fantasy aesthetic and animal motifs.

Alpha Team was a decent theme for its time, but it, too, relied a lot on bulky parts and repetitive functions. I loved it when it was around—but when 2008's Agents theme came around, I realized it was so much better (with more interesting characters AND better sets), and Ninjago has inherited many of the best aspects of that theme's set designs.

As for your complaints about today's sets and story, I think you're making a lot of assumptions about modern themes. Modern sets aren't significantly smaller than the sets of old—the Lion Chi Temple from Chima is easily on par with the castles of Knights' Kingdom or the base from Rock Raiders, and it does so without relying on a raised baseplate to artificially inflate the size of the set. And most people think detail is a good thing—especially when it's done with new molds that are actually useful, rather than chunky oversized parts like those of Rock Raiders. Perhaps if you bought a modern set and actually took the time to build it and compare it to your beloved classic themes, you'd realize that the new themes aren't all flash and little substance. And perhaps try watching some of the Ninjago TV show sometime—I think you'll find it to be more complex and original, and with more compelling characters, than generic stories like those of Alpha Team, Knights' Kingdom, or Rock Raiders.


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#46 Offline Pohatu: Master of Stone

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Posted Apr 28 2014 - 07:01 AM

I love the new Hero Factory pieces, but I couldn't care less about the actual set. I think they should release giant plastic containers filled with Hero Factory pieces from the new wave alongside each new wave, and they could come in a "Heroes" bin and a "Villains" bin. (A IFB bin might contain two or three cockpit and minifigures, lots of leg/arm pieces, Hero-colored armor, battle machine tools, and several body pieces if it were the "Heroes" bin.)


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#47 Online Aanchir

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Posted Apr 28 2014 - 04:17 PM

I love the new Hero Factory pieces, but I couldn't care less about the actual set. I think they should release giant plastic containers filled with Hero Factory pieces from the new wave alongside each new wave, and they could come in a "Heroes" bin and a "Villains" bin. (A IFB bin might contain two or three cockpit and minifigures, lots of leg/arm pieces, Hero-colored armor, battle machine tools, and several body pieces if it were the "Heroes" bin.)

On one hand, I'd LOVE if it were that easy to obtain bulk Hero Factory parts like that. On the other hand, I wouldn't want that to take the place of the existing sets. Whether or not you like the sets, they teach some useful building techniques. I'd never have considered building a torso skeleton like the one on Furno Jet Machine before that set was revealed, even though all the parts you need to build a skeleton like that have existed since summer 2011!

In any case, I don't think the bulk parts buckets from BIONICLE were all that profitable for the LEGO Group. They seemed like more of a means of getting rid of overstock from previous waves of sets than anything else, and presumably the fact that they stopped doing that in 2006 means that they found a way to stop overproducing parts that they would then have to sell at ridiculously low prices to get rid of. So I don't think there's much chance of them doing that for Hero Factory. Still, maybe if we're lucky the LEGO Group can find some more effective way to design and market constraction parts packs.

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#48 Offline fishers64

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Posted Apr 28 2014 - 07:45 PM

I love the new Hero Factory pieces, but I couldn't care less about the actual set. I think they should release giant plastic containers filled with Hero Factory pieces from the new wave alongside each new wave, and they could come in a "Heroes" bin and a "Villains" bin. (A IFB bin might contain two or three cockpit and minifigures, lots of leg/arm pieces, Hero-colored armor, battle machine tools, and several body pieces if it were the "Heroes" bin.)

I would heart one of these much. I'd buy ten. 

 

Still, Lego is trying to sell the sets, not the CCBS. That's why they took nearly all the CCBS parts off of Pick-A-Brick - otherwise I'd raid the place just for torsos and double sockets. 

 

It's clear that constraction parts are not as commonplace as the common brick enough to be sold in bulk. They're supposed to be specialized to their sets, even though the parts are so generic now that they could be sold in bulk like the bricks.


Edited by fishers64, Apr 28 2014 - 07:48 PM.

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#49 Online Aanchir

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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 10:44 AM

I love the new Hero Factory pieces, but I couldn't care less about the actual set. I think they should release giant plastic containers filled with Hero Factory pieces from the new wave alongside each new wave, and they could come in a "Heroes" bin and a "Villains" bin. (A IFB bin might contain two or three cockpit and minifigures, lots of leg/arm pieces, Hero-colored armor, battle machine tools, and several body pieces if it were the "Heroes" bin.)

I would heart one of these much. I'd buy ten. 
 
Still, Lego is trying to sell the sets, not the CCBS. That's why they took nearly all the CCBS parts off of Pick-A-Brick - otherwise I'd raid the place just for torsos and double sockets. 
 
It's clear that constraction parts are not as commonplace as the common brick enough to be sold in bulk. They're supposed to be specialized to their sets, even though the parts are so generic now that they could be sold in bulk like the bricks.

Well, I'm afraid the CCBS parts might have been taken off Pick-A-Brick not because the LEGO Group doesn't want to sell the building system but because they're too niche for a lot of the main Pick-A-Brick buyers. It's similar to why we don't see CCBS on in-store Pick-A-Brick walls like we did very briefly in April 2011. I asked Kevin Hinkle at Brickfair whether there might ever be another promotion like that and he explained that typical buyers couldn't figure out how to use them. So it probably makes more business sense for both types of Pick-A-Brick to focus entirely on basic bricks or on specialized bricks with more obvious functions (doors, windows, plants, wheels, etc).

This isn't a problem Hero Factory alone faces, either. The constraction category in general occupies a bit of an odd space in the LEGO portfolio. It's Technic-based, but it is a lot more decorative and less function-driven than the Technic theme, particularly the current Technic lineup. And Technic itself is a bit of a niche category to begin with — it's not nearly as popular in the United States as it is in Germany, which is part of the reason it's not as widely available here as it is there, or as widely promoted at Toy Fair in New York as it is at Toy Fair in Nuremberg. Honestly, it's quite impressive that the CCBS got as much of a turn in the spotlight as it did, considering that BIONICLE never had any considerable presence in Pick-A-Brick or LEGO Factory/Design byME. When most people think LEGO, they think minifigures and basic bricks, and I don't know if any constraction theme will ever be able to really overcome that perception, though Hero Factory has taken some meaningful strides towards that by not distancing itself from the LEGO brand the way BIONICLE often did.

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#50 Offline Shadow Destroyer

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 10:36 PM

While Hero Factory doesn't pull me in, (at all) I wouldn't go out and bash it by calling it lame. Sure, the story might be too simple, and the writing isn't the best, but I'm just happy that LEGO is still releasing constraction sets for those of us who are interested in them.


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#51 Offline Smitty

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Posted May 01 2014 - 12:55 PM

No i did not read through this entire hate/ rebuttal topic, but if we're going to bash on Hero Factory I will say after getting in to it a few years ago, (the 3.0 line) I found the builds to be fun but with as many heroes as they put out each year it got tedious, and boring. Even with Toxic who ever and the shark guy, it just felt like the same thing over and over…


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#52 Offline Lyichir

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Posted May 01 2014 - 09:15 PM

No i did not read through this entire hate/ rebuttal topic, but if we're going to bash on Hero Factory I will say after getting in to it a few years ago, (the 3.0 line) I found the builds to be fun but with as many heroes as they put out each year it got tedious, and boring. Even with Toxic who ever and the shark guy, it just felt like the same thing over and over…

I'd encourage you to give some of this year's models a shot. Thanks to the transition to mechs instead of plain heroes, the "canister-sized" sets show a great deal more diversity than years past when the sets were expected to have a basic humanoid build. That, and you might be better served by some of the larger, more technic-intensive, less humanoid sets like Evo XL Machine or Dragon Bolt.


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#53 Offline Smitty

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Posted May 02 2014 - 06:02 AM

 

No i did not read through this entire hate/ rebuttal topic, but if we're going to bash on Hero Factory I will say after getting in to it a few years ago, (the 3.0 line) I found the builds to be fun but with as many heroes as they put out each year it got tedious, and boring. Even with Toxic who ever and the shark guy, it just felt like the same thing over and over…

I'd encourage you to give some of this year's models a shot. Thanks to the transition to mechs instead of plain heroes, the "canister-sized" sets show a great deal more diversity than years past when the sets were expected to have a basic humanoid build. That, and you might be better served by some of the larger, more technic-intensive, less humanoid sets like Evo XL Machine or Dragon Bolt.

 

I'm sure you're right, but I'll pass in favor of Ninjago. I just find I like "System" style building more.


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