Universe: Explore Runeterra

Posted on at 5:29 PM by Moobeat
UNIVERSE has launched! This new beta site serves as the definitive hub for LoL stories and story- related content such as bios, concept art, and more for the various champions and regions in Runeterra.
"Welcome to Universe, the definitive source for the world of League of Legends."
Continue reading for more information, including an overview, eight updated champion stories, and more!

Table of Contents


Overview

UNIVERSE is a new hub for information on the LoL world and champions, including new stories, concept art, an overview of regions and much more! Today's launch is the beta of UNIVERSE and the new page will continuously be updated with new content and features going forward!

Here's an introduction from the UNIVERSE about page:

"Welcome to Universe, the definitive source for the world of League of Legends. 
Here you’ll find a vast collection of art and artifacts, like bios chronicling the origins of your favorite champions and landscapes depicting the historic regions they hail from. It’s an evolving, multimedia archive, home to the living stories of Runeterra in all their forms. 
What you see now is just the beginning. 
As Universe expands, we can use your help making the site shine: click the feedback button below to share with us where it needs more work and what you’re yearning to see. We’ll be listening. 
Now, what are you waiting for?"

Similar to the recently launched NEXUS for editorial content, UNIVERSE can be accessed via the nav link at the top of the LoL homepage.

Hundreds of concept arts and more information are now available on UNIVERSE . Rather than porting them all over this article, continue reading for examples and details on what you will be able to find on the new page - regions, champions, stories, and more!

Regions Page Preview

The REGIONS page of UNIVERSE offers more on the various regions throughout Runeterra, including descriptions, concept art, and more! Each regional page also lists champions from that region. Some champions (ex. Aatrox and Bard) are classified as from Runeterra since they do not have a native region.

Click the emblems to jump to each region's page:
   
   
   

For example of what to expect, here's an overview of what you'll find on the ZAUN regional page.
"Zaun is a large, undercity district, lying in the deep canyons and valleys threading Piltover. What light reaches below is filtered through fumes leaking from the tangles of corroded pipework and reflected from the stained glass of its industrial architecture. Zaun and Piltover were once united, but are now separate, yet symbiotic societies. Though it exists in perpetual smogged twilight, Zaun thrives, its people vibrant and its culture rich. Piltover’s wealth has allowed Zaun to develop in tandem; a dark mirror of the city above. Many of the goods coming to Piltover find their way into Zaun’s black markets, and hextech inventors who find the restrictions placed upon them in the city above too restrictive often find their dangerous researches welcomed in Zaun. Unfettered development of volatile technologies and reckless industry has rendered whole swathes of Zaun polluted and dangerous. Streams of toxic runoff stagnate in the city’s lower reaches, but even here people find a way to exist and prosper."
Zaun Concept Art - full resolution available on page!
Champions of Zaun

Here is an additional gallery of example art from various regions:
 
 
 
 
  
Be sure to check out each regional page for more information!

Champion Page Preview

Each champion also has their own page on the Universe site, filled with information about each champion's region, related champions, and short form lore entry, similar to the champion pages on the League of Legends main site. You'll also find a varying collection of information on the champion, including but not limited to concept art, backgrounds, introductions, & stories, teaser pages, champion's login screen animations, related articles, and any additional videos or music associated with them.

Here's some examples from Braum's champion page:
Braum's Info
Braum's Champion Story
Braum Concept Art - large resolutions and more available on the page!
Featured Link and Featured Video - a related dev blog on Art of LoL and part of Braum''s launch teaser:
The Music of League of Legends and Braum Launch Microsite

The contents of each champion's page is unique to that particular champion and some have more than others or different types of content! There are also several articles still missing off the pages, look for more to be added in the future!

For example, Miss Fortune's page includes a variety of concept and exploration art, including Miss Fortune vs Gangplank and the Miss Fortune concept art.
 
If you head over to Yasuo's page you'll find his ROAD TO RUIN short story, a wealth of concept art, and more, including - "Yasuo in Action" & "Early Yasuo Concept" art.
 

New Champion Stories

With the launch of Universe, eight champions - Cassiopeia, Ekko, Ezreal, Fiddlesticks, Jax, Lee Sin, Rek'Sai, and Tristana - have received new stories! Check the links below to read them:


More stories will continue to be added to the UNIVERSE page! Several champions with references to old or retconned info also have minor tweaks to their lore, including ShacoNocturne, and several more.

Universe Reddit AMA


The Narrative, Universe, & World Building (formerly Foundations) teams also jumped on REDDIT to host an AMA to answer lore and universe related questions!

Here's Riot Astryx with an intro:
"Hey r/leagueoflegends
Today we launched Universe, a publishing platform and content hub that will serve as the definitive source for the fictional world of League of Legends: Runeterra. 
We’re the Narrative, Universe, & World Building (formerly known as Foundations) teams and we're here to talk about the stories you want to see, hear, and click through on Universe, along with your more obscure questions (what does Ivern think of the new jungle changes? What does “ootay” really mean?) 
Joining us is: 
Here we go!"
Here's a look at a few of the more interesting answers from the Q&A:

Universe Site

As for future updates to the Universe page, Hexadriven commented:
"One of the core ideas behind Universe is having a central hub where players can easily find info and art on all the champs, regions, and stories of Runeterra, so yes, this will definitely be a living website. 
What we have here is just a starting point--as the Runeterra continues to grow, change and reveal itself, so too will Universe! "
riotwhren added:
"I'll try to answer, though I'm an artist and not a writer... :) A lot of the work has actually been percolating and brewing for a while, and it takes a while to get the visuals honed in for each of the regions, and we are far from done. So all of this stuff has been in the works for a long, long time -- it's just that we are now finally getting it out to you guys. Hopefully, now that we do have a platform for everything, we can update it more easily, but there has always been a push behind the scenes to develop the world."
Du_couteau also added:
"Quote:
Hey, really loving all the new Shadow Isles stuff, especially since that place has pretty much been a giant question mark in Runeterra. All this new info has only created more mystery, though. 
Who are "the Seekers" and what does the Hall of Conjunction have to do with them? What is the Hall of Conjunction? 
Who are the Sentinels? 
The Lunatropic Demisphere and the Celestial Vault, is this perhaps linked to Mt. Targon's Celestial Aspects, in particular, Diana? What was inside the Celestial Vault? Who activated the Lunatropic Demisphere? 
Was all this new Shadow Isles stuff your creative team going crazy or is this a prelude to future champions that explain these additions to the lore?
Team going crazy ( for good reasons ) we're working pretty hard on making the Shadow Isles a more multi-faceted and mysterious place, that means exploring the tragedy that happened there, the history, what it used to look like, etc. 
Universe is designed to be a living platform for stories, art and world building content, as we finish exploring things internally, we might get to showcase some highlights on the website ! :)" 

When asked if they plan to integrate this site into the client somehow in the future RGCatzpaw commented:
"Quote:
Are there plans to integrate something like this new Universe page with the client? Perhaps something like linking to it from champion pages or an in-client tab to explore around.
The tl;dr is we definitely want to integrate Universe into the client and it's on our radar for future updates."

When asked about the most important inspiration while doing this project, RiotTigerLily noted:
"Quote:
What was your most important inspiration while doing this project ?
Players. Anyone who has a favorite champion and ever wanted to know more about them or explore the world further. Universe is for the curious, those who like to see how threads are woven together, the hunters of easter eggs and the connectors of dots. Your questions, imagination, and enthusiasm inspired this project. Thank you!!!"

General

When asked if they typically design lore to fit abilities, if abilities fit lore, or neither, FauxSchizzle noted:
"Quote:
Do you have to create the characters lore around their abilities or does the team that designs the champions have to design the champion around your lore? Or neither?
It's actually a bit of hand in hand. On Champion, we work very closely with the artists and the designer to inspire and enhance each other's work. Sometimes a designer will have an idea for a spell and narrative helps to make it thematically cohesive with the character as a whole."
Thermal_Kitten  added
"For both the Champion and Champion Update we use the DNA approach and bring Design (Gameplay Designer), Narrative (Narrative Writer, and Art (Concept Artist) together to talk that out. The game mechanics inspire personality and narrative inspires art and art inspires backstory and around and around."

When asked what the biggest limitation was from the old & now retconned lore that included Summoner's and the League of Legends as story concepts, Dinopawz commented
"Quote:
What was the biggest limitation that the old lore, with SR and Summoners gave the writers?
The biggest, to my mind, was that it limited any dramatic conflict from ever escalating. Any time anything got too dangerous, things got shifted to the League, so that move freed us up to really ramp up the stakes and not have to worry about an artificial cut-off to the escalating tension..."
Jaredan  added:
"It was mainly about the focus on the world as a vibrant, eclectic place. We wanted the world to grow and change due to a variety of influences that didn't begin from a central place of conflict, and were driven by the choices made by our Champions. Essentially, Riot as a whole wanted to move Runeterra in a different direction to open up more storytelling potential."

As for summoner's in general,  Jaredan  noted:
"Can't get into the details of what they are now today, but Summoners weren't scrapped."

When asked if we might see a map of Runeterra pop up, Ant_in_Oz shared:
"Quote:
Any chance of an interactive map of the universe within the website, i would love to see Riot's perspective of what the world looks like.
I love a good map. And yeah, we are definitely looking to make some..."
Jaredan  also added that Runeterra is "roughly comparative" to Earth in size:
"Quote:
How big is Runeterra compared to our world?
I believe it's roughly comparative."

As for if they plan to add a overview style timeline, Dinopawz commented:
"Quote:
Thank you so much! The site is incredible. Do you think someday it might include a timeline (in-universe chronology) of major events in Runeterra? I've always wanted to know how a lot of these "long long ago" events relate to each other.
Timelines are tricky things, but super useful too when they're done right. They force you to nail your colours to the mast as far as the history of the world goes, but can - if used improperly or put together too hastily - tie you in continuity knots. Beginning to develop a timeline is helping us go back and flesh out and add narrative weight to a lot of our 'long ago' stories and helps with figuring out how things are 'now'."

As for plans for Yordles, Dinopawz commented:
"Quote:
Anyways, my biggest question at the moment; what are you planning to do with yordles exactly? The new direction you seem to be taking is interesting, but I can't help but be a bit wary. Champions like Veigar and especially Trist are quite close to my heart (I saw the story for her btw, it's great!). My biggest concerns at the moment are the vague location and means of access to Bandle City, and the way that yordles can apparently be perceived in a lot of ways depending on the person looking at them. Where did these ideas come from, and what are you planning to do with them? Thank you! <3
Yordles are orbiting my head at the moment (in a narrative way, I've not suffered a head injury) and we have a lot of ideas on how to use them within our world in a way that allows us to use them in a variety of formats, from real, gritty GoT styles to whimsical, Saturday morning cartoons... However they shake out, it'll be in a way that's consistent with their current iteration, but which offers new opportunities for story and visuals."
Dinopawz added:
"Interesting and well thought-out takes on the Yordles, man! Rest assured, that whatever we do, we won't be taking away the Yordle's sense of agency or influence in the world. The wrinkle came when we felt they often couldn't be usefully used in many of our story efforts, as they kind of felt a little out of place in some stories, so we want to make sure they can fit in a variety of tones and story styles, which means taking a long look at whether we want Ewok-village style Yorldes or Fey Yorldles (or some mix of the two...). While there may be some mystery to who they are or what they look like, from mortal perspectives, they still have physical form in Runeterra and still interact with its people in meaningful ways."

When asked if the team would go so far as to kill and replace a a character, Jaredan  noted:
"Quote:
Would you be willing to kill a character and have them replaced in some way?
Absolutely, though that doesn't necessarily reflect an in-game change."

Champion Specific Questions

When asked if they plan to continue adding more stories, RiotRubinio commented:
"Quote:
Do you plan on updating lore for all champs at some point? I feel Janna's, for instance, is very generic / lackluster.
Pretty much. We want every champ in the game to have beautiful lush dank high quality lore" 

When asked about continuing Aatrox and more on the Darkin, Hexadriven teased:
"Quote:
Do you have any plans to flesh out Aatrox/the Darkin?
Yes......things are in the works... :J"
Dinopawz added:
"Totally looking to flesh these guys out...the grimdark of their lore appeals to me in a way that will be unsurprising to anyone that knows me..."

When asked about the relationship between Ivern and Daisy, FauxSchizzle shared:
"Quote:
What is the relationship between Ivern and Daisy? Did they just hang out while he was chilling in the forest and decided to help me kill Vaynes or....?
Ivern found Daisy wounded one day. He felt sorry for her in particular, so he plucked a stone from a river and worked his runic magic to craft her a new heart. When he gave it to her, she instantly started sprouting flowers. Ever since that day, she's been his most loyal friend."
FauxSchizzle added:
"Quote:
YAAASSS I love it!
Also whoever did all of Ivern's personality and his VOs and stuff is amazing. He is so happy and chipper he makes my day.
Thank you! I was the principle narrative writer on Ivern, but the team rallied to imbue every aspect of his personality in line. Daisy was really a team effort. Daniel, one of our talented artists, drew up a quick comic illustrating the backstory of Daisy. Chris, (Riot Skeezix) actually named her "Daisy", (the original pitch was "Betsy"), and Byran, our audio-czar made all of her sounds and gave her voice. Our animators made it possible for Daisy and Ivern to high-five and wave. 
Working as part of this gifted, collaborative team to make Ivern has been one of my professional highlights."
FauxSchizzle also commented briefly on Ivern's origins:
"Quote:
Ivern's page says his region is Runeterra but, wasn't he originally born in the Freljord? Or is "region" just the particular Champion's affiliation?
He is definitely affiliated with all of Runeterra. Originally, he was born in the Freljord, though, yes."

When asked about Jax's helmet and number of eyes, Dinopawz noted:
"Quote:
Can you please confirm that Jax is not a cyclops. 
If not, will we ever find out what Jax is? 
I had a bit of a scare on /r/JaxMains when I saw a post saying that Jax is a cyclops. There was some misinterpretation of the wiki around the term "Cyclopean city" meaning either referring to the inhabitants, or the architecture. I hate cyclopses. Can you please confirm that jax is not a cyclops.
Who knows what lurks beneath his mask...? But cyclopean - in this case - is not a reference to his deficit of eyes, but more a description of the scale of his city (denoting a type of ancient masonry made with massive irregular blocks)."

FauxSchizzle also answered a question on what Kindred might think of the concept of suicide:
"Quote:
What is Kindred's stance on suicide? Do they see it as a valid end of ones life or are they against it?
Kindred doesn't really have a moral stance on things we do in life. I'm sure Lamb would be disappointed and perplexed to see someone discard their life. She is the curious one, after all." 
As for more on Kindred,  FauxSchizzle noted:
"Quote:
Are Kindred in any way related to the Shadow Isles? Are they a god? Are there plans to flesh them out more beyond the "We are death deal with it" thing?
In regards to the Shadow Isles and Kindred, they are not related nor are they a god. I have a few more stories I would love to tell about Kindred, perhaps one day.\ 
I will tell you that while they are not from the Shadow Isles, they were welcome there once, but no longer feel welcome there any more due to its unnatural approach to death. They see it as toxic and an aberration."

Du_couteau also teased we might be seeing another Ryze story soon:
"Quote:
So apparently Ryze's got some connections to quite a few champions, and some I can understand without really needing to think too deeply, like Nasus, Malzahar and Brand. 
But then there's Trundle, Galio, Sona and Miss Fortune.
When the sod did Ryze meet them and what the sod happened?!
Maybe he will meet them in future stories ? 
;)"

When asked if the Seed Yasuo gives Taliyah is the same one his brother gave him,  Thermal_Kitten  confirmed:
"Quote:
THE MAPLE SEED YASUO GIVES TALIYAH. The one his brother gave him, before he died. 
Dude. DON'T LEAVE ME HANGING HERE. I need to knooooow.
Yes. It is the same one."
Thermal_Kitten  continued:
"Quote:
In The Bird and the Branch it mentions Taliyah seeing Yasuo near a shrine. 
"she saw a man in the shrine, and her breath caught. His wild, dark hair tangled in the wind as he sat, head bowed to his chest"
Is that scene the same as Yasuo's splash art? It even mentions the flags.
It's a similar shrine, but the one Taliyah sees him at first is made of stone."

Regions

When asked for a cool tidbit about Demacia, Dinopawz shared:
"Quote:
Can you tell me me something cool about Demacia?
Their armies are amongst the most elite, dangerous and well-trained in Valoran. Think of the 300 Spartans. But harder. And tougher. With magic weapons. And flying cavalry."

When asked about the rivalry between Demacia and NoxusRiotRubinio commented:
"Quote:
Is there sole reason why Demacia and Noxus are always at war with each other? Is it because of difference ideology or something?
Noxus is an incredibly powerful expansionist empire so they're often at war with a lot of different folks all at once. The battle between Noxus and Demacia is just one front -- but Demacians are tough so there hasn't been a decisive victory one way or the other."
RiotRubinio continued:
"Quote:
That's interesting and do you now how long these two been at war with each other? I assume many generations right?
Definitely. After all more than one Jarvan has been involved in this"
On Noxus, Dinopawz added:
"Quote:
Is noxus strategy to actually just run up at people and either kill them or die?Because that's what they do/did in game most of the time talon,darius,swain ecc
Noxus has a strategic mindset that looks wild and disorganised to outsiders, but their great strength is wedding such disparate elements into a cohesive whole. Many an enemy has been brought down by underestimating the alloyed strength of a Noxian army..." 
On the Noxus images from the page,  Dinopawz shared:
"Quote:
I love how the Immortal Bastion looks so "Not evil". Old Noxus looked like a Skull hill. It really gives it more of an ancient look, like its true value lies within. 
Also makes you wonder if Mordekaiser was really all that evil seeing that he created a large fortress that looks more like a city than anything else. 
On the topic of Mordekaiser, are we going to see him take back what is his any time in the future? Because Morde vs Noxus would be really frigging awesome.
That's great to hear, as we want to develop Noxus as a nation with layers of complexity to it; some levels that are simply it fighting to establish itself and survive, others which (from the point of view of non-Noxians) are truly evil. But we want them to be more than the 'evil faction', that they have more to them than that. 
I think Mordekaiser probably was pretty evi to begin with, but with every rebirth he lost part of his soul to the point where he had lost every scrap of humanity. And as to whether we'll see him do more and take back his old homeland... That would be AWESOME!"

When asked about the "Noxtorra" mentioned in the loading screen tip, riotwhren commented:
"Quote:
In the loading screen, there's a tip that says, "Noxians raise black stone arches called Noxtorra over areas they have conquered." Or something like that.. But Noxtorra have never been featured in any lore outside this tip, and googling it only results in that quote itself. What's the point of it, is what I have to ask?
http://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/region/noxus?mv=true 
It's a symbol of Noxian domination over the foreign territory. As you walk through the gates, you now know you're in Noxian territory. Rather than razing everything they conquer to the ground, which wouldn't benefit anyone, I imagine the Noxians are pretty happy showing that "this is now ours"."

As for if we'll get more non-champion related stories to explore these locations,  Hexadriven commented:
"Quote:
Will we get to see more "fluff" lore in the future not directly related to the pivotal characters themselves, but more the world they live in? E.g. how a market in Demacia would look like. Getting intimate with the gear and equipment of a Noxian footsoldier. The daily life of a servant in Shurima. The unique flora and fauna found in the forests protected by Ivern? 
Is there a potential for having up-and-coming creators and dedicated lore aficionados to add their own spins to the universe? Maybe in some sort of freerange open submission melting pot, or merely a "best of the community" submission style?
Seeing as some of these topics are things we discuss and explore regularly (after all, this is the world building team), it makes me happy to see potential interest. We've done--and are still doing--countless explorations on locales, cultures, customs, creatures, what daily life and regular people in Runeterra look like--I personally would be stoked to have more of it shared with players in the future. And see what players come up with in tandem!"

As for what the crazy places shown on the Shadow Isles page represent, Du_couteau noted:
"Quote:
Alright, first... I gotta say this, I am so happy that there's finally a picture of what the Void looks like. 
Now for my question! What are those places shown in the Shadow Isles? What is the story behind those "altar" looking places?
It's a collection of complex passageway, hidden puzzles leading to secret vaults of Arcane knowledge, buried deep in the Isles..."


When asked if they plan to expand Zaun's lore, Dinopawz shared:
"Quote:
is Zaun a place you all plan on expanding lore for in the future? also, how much of the lore from the journal of justice would be considered canon?
Zaun is one of the places that greatly interests me, so it's lore is ripe for exploration. I mean, just look at some of the awesome art for it... Be a shame if someone...got narrative on its ass..."


When asked if they plan to introduce another new large faction, Hexadriven commented:
"Quote:
Do you plan on introducing new big factions in runeterra or the factions that are currently known are the only one you plan working on? 
Also is there a official map of Runeterra? I would love to see how the whole continent looks like and where exactly are all the places located.
There's already so many factions in Runeterra that we're trying to connect and develop, that entire new ones probably won't be on the agenda any time soon."

When asked about how religion works in Runeterra, Dinopawz commented:
"Quote:
What about religion in Runeterra? Do the different factions have different religions? Is there even something like that in the League of Legends Lore? I allways thought about Demacia having huge cathedrals and a quite christian-like religion like the Humans from Warcraft worshiping the light. 
Have you shyed away from religion in the Lore in your World? The only real Champion who is conected to religion is Illaoi with her tentacle god.
I mean how cool would it be to have something like "The Pope of Demacia" as a Champion!
Yeah, religion is a subject we have had some long and very involved chats about, as it's not just as simple as saying these people worship this god, and these people worship that god etc. It begs questions of cosmology, their interactions, their reality, their powers, what created them (other gods, humans...). There's been some big discussions about it as it's - as you might imagine - an issue we want to do right and not run onto dangerous rocks."

Du_couteau group questions #1:
"Quote:
I have 2 questions for you lore nerds here. 
  1. How does the Economy of Runeterra work?
  2. What is life like for common people in Runeterra? Especially without the Institute of War after it was closed down? 
I mean, I know that this doesn't really matter in the context of champions or the History of Runeterra, but as someone that likes to get immersed in fantasy worlds, the "common people" do in fact matter. Also, my dungeon master hated me for making his job harder.
  1. Zaun and Bilgewater and especially Piltover are the most important trade points in Runeterra. Each region has it's own social structure, Bilgewater and Zaun may be on the more "free for all" side of business, while Piltover has a Clan structure and trade deals, Demacia is more of a self-sustaining isolationist economy, etc. ( Wich might make Demacian steel a very rare/expensive material for example). Economy and trade are linked to the regions and how they interact with the rest for the world.
  2. Same here, It's different for every region ! We're imagining life in Piltover to be similar to Renaissance in Florence for the common people, but on the verge of a "magical revolution". While Noxus would be more similar to a very martial society / Roman empire, Demacia is mostly farmers, medieval society structure.
The short description of each regions describe pretty much how society work there ;)"

Other

When asked about his favorite champion pairings, Jaredan  teased:
"Quote:
What are your favorite (not necessarily canonical) character pairings? :^)
Garen and Kat (I'm opening a can of worms there), Ashe and Trynd, and one I can't talk about yet. 
By the way, did I mention I have a post-grad in teasing?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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