I played League of Legends at least two or three times before actually getting hooked on it. I can’t pinpoint the time period exactly, but I’m fairly certain that it was during Season 2. I remember coming back in Season 3 with two lessons learned: I liked the shotgun guy (Graves) and hated that weird monster with all the arms (Cho’Gath). Not much has changed in either of those cases.
When I started learning the game for real, I ended up playing a bunch of Blitzcrank mid. This was during a time when the meta had just formed at the highest levels, and the lessons hadn’t quite made their way down to the beginners yet.
I picked the coolest looking champion — because a rolling golem gathers no rust, obviously — and went where nobody else wanted to go. I didn’t find the Q particularly useful — hard to make use of a skill shot when you can’t even CS — but otherwise had a great time. It didn’t take long for me to learn that this wasn’t exactly the ideal role for Blitz.
As a result, I made my way top lane the following week, picking up the first champion that I ever really fell in love with: Volibear. Now before we go too far into this, I am fully aware that Voli is a bad champion. Not one of the worst, but certainly not good. Not good from a teammate perspective, or from a design one. But, I love him nonetheless. He was the first champion that I ever truly had fun on, the first champion that I ever did well on and Runewars Volibear was the first skin I ever bought, leading me down a long road full of turned out pockets and countless Riot Points.
I know that a rework will be coming for Volibear sooner rather than later, taking my precious boy and turning him into something useful. I would love to see Volibear be an awesome champion that everyone enjoys, but it is easy to say that now and then frown when the rework is eventually announced. While I would like to think that I am willing to welcome and accept the changes, a part of me is afraid for my furry friend. I don’t want to lose the bear that I have now, even if he is terrible.
For all of us that love a bad champion, this feeling is inevitable. We know Urgot is next on the rework docket, with Evelynn following closely behind. You and I might sit here and think “thank god, both of those champions are horrible,” but there are people that genuinely love them.
Whether it stems from a place of nostalgia, like my love of Volibear, or just a general enjoyment of that character’s gameplay/look/fantasy/whatever, there will be plenty of people who will be sad to see them go.
So how do we prepare ourselves to say goodbye forever?
In short, we don’t. When Riot decides to rework a champion, their past iteration is gone forever. There is no way to go back and replay old kits. Maybe someday they will release a game mode that reverts the game to Season 2, but that would be fairly limited.
It is important to remember though that when we lose a champion that we love to a rework, we are getting a newer version of them instead. It can be hard to have foresight on this, but more people will play Urgot in the first week of his rework than have played him in the past year. Urgot mains may be sad to see something they love go, but surely this new iteration will A) bring a newer, healthier champion to the game and B) allow even more people to fall in love with him.
We will always have our memories. No matter how much Volibear changes in the coming years, I will never forget the first game that I had zero deaths in with him. Watching a champion get reworked is like watching your child, niece or nephew grow up. They will never be the same, but if done right, they will become a productive member of society.
I was always destined to like Volibear. He makes lots of puns and he is, of course, a bear. I like bears. Bears are round, fluffy and the only thing they like more than eating is sleeping; just like me. My alma mater has a bear as their mascot. I even named this column after two of my favorite things: bears and Shakespeare. But to me, Voli is more than just a bear, he is a stupid champion with one of the worst ultimate abilities in the game and he means the world to me.
Someday, Volibear is going to change. I can’t help that and I can’t stop it. So I am going to play him and hold him while I can, creating new memories to have after his rework. When Volibear eventually has major changes, I hope you all will see him as the beautiful bear that I do.