Riot Games recently announced Lucian, a new champion for League of Legends, and his concept art confirms rumours that have been hanging around the game’s community for months: Runeterra’s first black champion is finally making an appearance.
Lucian looks like he’s going to be an evil-pursuing, relentless, vengeance-driven maniac, who happens to be black, and I could not care less about the reason for his pursuit, or his ethnicity in a game like League of Legends.
Oh Lucian is black? Cool. Now, look at the size of those guns!
League of Legends goes hand in hand with my lackadaisical nature in July. It’s one of those time-suck games that takes a long time to learn, and the matches are pretty lengthy too, so it fits in perfectly with my tons-of-time-to-kill lifestyle. And while I’m playing those matches, I rarely focus on the lore behind each champion on screen. Give me enough logic (if you can call it logic in a fictional battle arena video game) to make their gameplay mechanics make sense, and I’m happy.
Riot Games has bestowed each of its champions with a backstory that boast a fair bit of depth. There’s a couple warring city-states in there somewhere, a few assassins that apparently want each other dead for some reason or another, and hey – I’m positive that the attention to detail that has been observed certainly helps draw-in a lot of players more deeply, but I’m not one of them.
When I sit down to play League of Legends I’m not concerned about narrative, I’m concerned about mechanics. Zac is a gelatinous blob that hops around doing splash damage? OK! Blitzcrank is a big robot with a rocket-propelled arm that can snag unsuspecting enemies? Makes sense.
I tend to play attack-damage carries (ADC), and since the abilities – or “kit” – of these champions tend to be more similar to each other than those of some of the other, more diverse roles in the game, any time a new champion that I can add to my tactical repertoire is added, it always excites me, but not blindly because of their appearance. It excites me because each one bears a slightly new strategy that I can to try out.
I’m going to enjoy playing Lucian. But it’s going to be because he’s wielding two pistols, not because of the colour of his skin
Most ADCs rely on right-clicking enemies to attack them and deal damage, the differences in their kits and passive abilities only effectively alter the timing of when right-clicking them will do the most damage.
For example, Quinn’s passive ability causes Valor (her eagle companion) to periodically swoop down and mark targets that will take additional damage when attacked, as long as the mark is active. For her, initiating a fight from that mark is the best tactic. A champion like Draven on the other hand, might simply wait until he has two, damage-boosting spinning axes activated before he goes in for a kill.
In a spectrum of monsters, mechanized contraptions, various races and other made up species, it is cool that a humanoid black person has finally been added to the mix. Diversity is rarely a bad thing. But I can’t say that my enjoyment of this Fantasy Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game has ever been hindered by the absence of black champions amongst the Yordles and mythical beasts.
I’m going to play with Lucian when he comes out. And I’m going to enjoy it. But it’s going to be because he’s a dude wielding two pistols, not because of the colour of his skin.