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Hero Factory, Bionicle, and the Demise of the Complex Sets
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Warning, massive amounts of text ahead. This is an opinionated article. Read at your own discretion
About this creation
It has now been three years since the “death” of Bionicle. Three long years in which we have had to endure a whole cacophony of Hero Factory lines. We have shouted and screamed and begged and pleaded for the return of Bionicle, but alas it has not come. Many people attribute the demise of Bionicle to Hero Factory, though this is a wholly misguided assumption.

No, the demise of Bionicle is entirely our fault. “WHAT?!” I hear you cry. Well maybe I should clarify: Bionicle had an amazing and complex story with multiple layers of awesomeness. However, by 2008, it was almost impossible for anyone new to come into the story and understand what was going on. So kids did not buy the sets. It’s a simple as that people. Legend Reborn helped somewhat, but not enough. So, as it was no longer a commercially viable venture, Lego abandoned Bionicle. They axed it quite harshly; with a simplistic and rushed ending with one of the most childish Deus ex Machinas I've ever had the misfortune of seeing. I mean, Golden Armour? Come on.

Thus Hero Factory was rushed in, with its’ simplistic building system, and even more simplistic storyline. The sum total of the HF story is, Heroes are made to fight villains. That is it. No mystery, no intrigue, none of that stuff that made Bionicle great. But you have to understand, dear reader, that Hero Factory, especially the 2010 line, was, and to an extent still is, a test. With the declining sales of Bionicle, Lego had no idea what was going on. Was it the product, or the story that was hurting them? So they cancelled Bionicle and released Hero Factory. They dumbed down everything, and tried it out. Sadly, it was a hit.

A lack of story and cheesy character names are two things that are bound to entice five to ten year old kids who have had their attention spans decimated by simplistic video games, where the plot, at least to them, is just to hit stuff until money falls out. And so, ridiculously large and stupid weapons in hand, the Heroes swaggered out of the Hero Factory, ready to battle evil, look cheesy, and pose for the cameras. We know what has happened from there.

But this is indicative of the new direction Lego seems to be taking, and I for one don’t like it. Look at Ninjago, Chima, and Galaxy Squad. All of these are childish, simplistic themes with gimmicky sets that are simple to build, and that feature only the most minute story. I’m sorry Ninjago fanboys, but it just doesn't hold a candle to the story of Bionicle.

Even if you factor out story, after all, the original Space and Castle theme’s had no story apart from basic outlines and whatever the builder invented, the sets just aren't as good as those we used to see.
Compare this, an Orient Expedition Set from 2003:

To this Chima set form 2013:

Look at the complete difference in set styling, parts usage, and even the model itself.

Now, one might argue that the two are very different themes, and one would be correct, but both are “Lego-Own-Brand” themes. What I mean by that is that both Orient Expedition and Chima were thought up by TLC, they aren't licensed themes like Star Wars or Harry Potter or Indiana Jones, etc.
In my country, Australia, both of these sets are about $70. One is a large temple with a few figures that are simple but not overly so, and lots of good pieces.
The other is the ugliest excuse for a Mech I’ve ever seen, with ridiculously over-detailed figures and only a handful of actually useful parts.

Another case of this dumbed down building style is the new Iron Man and Super Heroes sets.
If we look at sets such as 76008, shown here:

We can clearly see that the set is little more than two Minifigures. The weird buggy is barely worth mentioning.
This brings me back to the point I made earlier about Bionicle’s possible return. Let us say, hypothetically, that in, perhaps two years’ time, Lego decides to bring back Bionicle. It would almost certainly use the HF building system, and I highly doubt that we would see a story even half as good as the original. No, we would likely have Toa with oversized guns as their weapons, stupidly cheesy names, and a level of swagger that would be simply intolerable.

Do we want this?

No, I believe that if Bionicle is to return, it should be in ten or fifteen years’ time. Let this generation have its’ Hero Factory, and then learn from their own mistakes.

If Bionicle were to return, I would like to see it run exactly the same way it was originally intended to, starting with the Toa Mata on the island of Mata Nui, attempting to awaken a mysterious Great Spirit.

So keep an eye out, in ten years’ time, for those old teaser animations to return. Who knows? Maybe we'll get our wish.



Comments

 I like it 
  January 17, 2014
PREACH IT!
 I like it 
  December 24, 2013
Interesting. I agree with much of what you said.
  November 16, 2013
While I disagree with you about Hero Factory's building system (hey, it's better than the inika builds that dominated for half of Bionicle's lifetime), you are spot on about Bionicle growing too unwieldy for itself. As a fan, I have to admit that Bionicle's story, while cliche-packed, basically functioned as a test for LEGO's current way of making storylines. Failing it means you get stuff like Legends of Chima, Ninjago doing slightly better (even more cliche-packed, but making an effort with the storybuilding.
 I like it 
  October 22, 2013
Look at this:http://mocpages.com/moc.php/372824 Is this what its come too?
  October 10, 2013
Commander CJ Potter I remember reading that on the way to a friends house and I felt like crying. He was my favorite character lego ever made.
 I like it 
  October 6, 2013
I never thought it through like that. Good Points. If Lego were to bring Bionicle back, I hope they bring the Sets back, or at least do a Bionicle-Based Lego Digital Designer (with all Bionicle (2001-2010) and Technic parts, with Hero Factory parts). They can leave the official story the same.
 I made it 
  September 29, 2013
Quoting [ Chro ] Controversial Lego-related post = massive page traffic
You bet. I should do this more often
  September 29, 2013
@Chro: I can relate. I made a blog about Ninjago 2014 images and it has 160 comments.
  September 29, 2013
Controversial Lego-related post = massive page traffic
 I made it 
  September 29, 2013
Quoting Crazy Awesome #1 Interesting article you've written here; I came out of my cave just to comment my own two cents here. Lego began to lose some of their creative edge in Bionicle as early as 2007—Inika torsos became mainstream, the storyline became somewhat dull and harder for those not familiar with the line, and the overall Bionicle theme became too complex for the Lego group to successfully market it to the younger, more profitable "next generation" of their buyers. It was painfully obvious in hindsight that the Lego group was doing everything they could to save the franchise, too; they still tried to market zamor spheres and squids as "collectibles" and they varied the torso construction in many different sets after 2008, and then they tried "restarting" the story with Legend Reborn to get more kids interested, but it was all to no avail. Lego was forced to scrap the theme that had kept builders so interested for so long because they had let it grow out of their control, and they needed something simpler that the children would buy into (literally) and therefore bring TLC a profit. We can be sure that TLC is not going to implement a complex story into Hero Factory, because that would be making the same mistake they made with Bionicle—if Bionicle is to ever return, I agree that will have to come later, when Lego decides that they have the marketing capability of such a storyline again. Until then, Bionicle fans—we wait.
Thanks for the comment. I've been letting things run their course here, but I'll pop up here and say that I hadn't actually considered that that's what they were doing with the Legend Reborn thing. Interesting. It's quite plausible. I think we all agree that Bionicle just became to big for its' own good. It's a little like trains: A niche market of vocal fans, and not much else.
  September 29, 2013
I have no opinion on bionicle and hero factory. Set complexity is something on which I disagree with you, at least in the comparison you showed.
 I like it 
  September 29, 2013
Interesting article you've written here; I came out of my cave just to comment my own two cents here. Lego began to lose some of their creative edge in Bionicle as early as 2007—Inika torsos became mainstream, the storyline became somewhat dull and harder for those not familiar with the line, and the overall Bionicle theme became too complex for the Lego group to successfully market it to the younger, more profitable "next generation" of their buyers. It was painfully obvious in hindsight that the Lego group was doing everything they could to save the franchise, too; they still tried to market zamor spheres and squids as "collectibles" and they varied the torso construction in many different sets after 2008, and then they tried "restarting" the story with Legend Reborn to get more kids interested, but it was all to no avail. Lego was forced to scrap the theme that had kept builders so interested for so long because they had let it grow out of their control, and they needed something simpler that the children would buy into (literally) and therefore bring TLC a profit. We can be sure that TLC is not going to implement a complex story into Hero Factory, because that would be making the same mistake they made with Bionicle—if Bionicle is to ever return, I agree that will have to come later, when Lego decides that they have the marketing capability of such a storyline again. Until then, Bionicle fans—we wait.
 I like it 
  September 28, 2013
Thanks for this thoughtful article, in which I learned a lot about a Lego theme I now appreciate more, thanks to you.
 I made it 
  September 26, 2013
Quoting The Journeyman Ranger Very nice "blog" Reap. You should do more of these.
You think so? Hmm, maybe I will
 I like it 
  September 26, 2013
Very nice "blog" Reap. You should do more of these.
  September 25, 2013
I agree, though I am a Millennium kid, I never really bought Into Bionicle, as I was more into different styles of building, but I was intruiged by it, if not slightly confused. Is there a place I can access the whole Cult following of Bionicle? I have one of the original sets, as a gift of my Aunt when I was a wee lad..I have NO use for it.. Similar to http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5269/5843321806_b9cc3c570d_o.jpg
 I like it 
  September 25, 2013
You present some very good arguments here. I agree that more recent themes seem to lack good stories. Bionicle was very complex and had a really good story-line, especially the original six Toa/Toa Nuva. Six strangers against nearly impossible odds to save the villagers and vanquish an enemy obviously far more powerful than them (considering he was the brother of the creator of the universe). There is something very compelling about that to me. There were also many good points made in the comments below, though I don't remember all the writers' names. How many of us *do* realize that being a hero means sacrifice and *not* big, overkill-ish weapons, enemies running scared after showing off your muscles, paparazzi and all that? Too many people seem bent on the whole 'Happily Ever After' bit. Anyway I could REALLY go off on a rant there (maybe I did =P). I honestly think that, for the most part, system sets have gotten more complex to a degree. LEGO seems to be focusing more on quantity rather than quality these days. This is why we have themes like Chima, Ninjago, Hero Factory, and soon to be the Simpsons. Honestly though, as much as I *think* I would like the return of Bionicle, I really don't want it to come back now. A re-release of the theme would never be as good as the original theme. Anyway that's my two cents. :)
  September 25, 2013
I agree. I mean, the iron man set feutures nothing from the actual movie
  September 25, 2013
i find it funny that not once did you mention technic, the literal mother of bionicle, and how it still stands strong.
  September 25, 2013
Well, I know what you mean about the decline of intelegence in the sets, but it's not really about people getting less intellegent; you have to remember that Lego makes toys for kids. They may be so good that they attract adults and teenagers, but in terms of marketing, kids are the main concern, the interest of others is just a bonus. Bionicle kind of grew too much for it to be a kid's theme anymore. I don't mean in complexity, although that's also a factor, I mean it became to intellegent, and too dark... Hero Factory, however bad as it may look to us, is more apropriate for kids. We are just too old to appreciate a toy line without a good story.. Also, I'm sorry for this, but I think we need to give up on this whole Bring Back Bionicle campaigns... the story was finished. Not in the best way, but it was still resolved. Bringing it back would not work in 5 years or 100 years. I'm sorry, I know I sound harsh, but that is just all there is to it. It's like forcing J.R.R. Tolkein to write a fourth Lord of the Rings book because the fans are upset that the story is over. It does get a little annoying after a while. One thing I do agree on though; following up on the Chima arguement, the idea of Mechs and guns and such in a under-developed society like the one in Chima seems a bit too much of a culture clash. I can see the quality drop with the two sets, although I personally wouldn't put up Gorzan's Gorrilla Striker to represent all the sets that were ever released from 2010 onwards. Overall, a good insight, but to be honest, the topic has been gone over by everyone too many times for me to actually appreciate the whole thing.
 I like it 
  September 25, 2013
Lego has been one of my first ever toys since the beginning. But Bionicle is the only one thing that I grew up mostly with. My first ever set was Turakh back in 2003 and Bionicle became part of my life since then. Looking back, the sets started from gears and functions to posing and oversized shooting weapons. Although not much of my friends have these sets but I still collect them till the day Bionicle died. But you are right Reap. Back at 2009, the sets have not been that successful anymore. I mean, I wanted to buy Mata Nui during the mid-year of 2009 and I could still see a row of Tahu Mistika on the shelf. But Bionicle used to be a great hit at the stores. Thanks to Bionicle, my childhood has been happy, even though the story is quite hard to understand. Then Hero Factory came. To be honest I hated HF but alas, I still got some of them for the new parts. The bone and socket joint is useful at some points but it's still not as great as how Bionicle was. I do hope that Bionicle will return. But my hopes aren't that high as even in here in Malaysia, HF has been a big hit in the stores...
 I like it 
  September 25, 2013
As a LEGO fan of 19 years, I can attest to the demise of the complex sets. I remember the first examples showing up in 1997 or 98 when part counts dropped like a stone, and the size of pieces increased significantly. Pieces became one trick ponies, that gave younger minds a tougher time reconfiguring them as they so chose. They backed down by 1999 for a year or two then got right back to dropping the part counts. The best sets I've ever had were the ones that made it easy to build a thousand and one things with no trouble. Parts that challenge the mind are fun, but not when used exclusively. And the ambiguity of the old-school castle sets has been lost to time. The mid-90's sets featured the kings forces and the forest guys. Nobody was officially the bad guys. As every rendition has been released, we've seen the decked-out kings knights become more then hero or the clear "good guy". I miss the ambiguity...
 I like it 
  September 25, 2013
here is the opinion of a guy who never had bionicles when he was young, it did nt exist then, I had lego bricks when the 1rst figs arrived, there where only city theme then, for me, it s like another toy completely to have tall figures, aside from the fact that you can build your own, its completely different from my lego experience, because I bought used lots, I have a few, I mostly use the parts for mechs mixed with system parts in minifigs stories, bionicles has to be meant for kids, as, it bears no interest at all for an adult to battle tall figurines without buildings or scenes, it reminds me the tall gi joes or barbies, it just takes too much imagination to make up the missing context, so...I guess most 'guys' who likes them will either move up to minifigs, or leave the lego scene completely, as, they ll lose interest radically, wondering how they ever found fun in there. as for my opinion in chima, it s not very versatile, the figs are so extreme, I can t find any other context to use them, they certainly don t fit any city I know...I have to sell, or trade them, the adventure figs where much more useful.
 I like it 
  September 25, 2013
Bionicle brought me to Lego, I loved the storyline and the figures that had functions and gears and that stuff. But after 2004 they stopped the gears and it became more and more about the posing and big flashing swords. But the storyline was still good and I stayed with it. When the storyline finally ended, i was, in a way, freed. Though i did not like the ending, i swallowed it and kept my old good memories of it. I went back to the basics and functionality. Now i build tanks, full of functionality, similarly to the old figures. The dont just sit there and look pretty, they also move, they have suspension, guns that move up AND down, it isnt just a bunch of flick missiles. It was good for Bionicle to end when it did, cause i needed to do something better, all that was keeping me there was the story. Anyway, thats my take on the whole thing, and since we're all sharing, i figured, why not?
Reaper .
 I like it 
Rajskil LoR
  September 24, 2013
Lego is trying to appeal to the kids who want something to play with, not the older ones and the TFOLs who want complex buildings and part spectrums for mocs. I honestly think Bionicle will never come back, but since it is basically gone, we might as well try and create our own "official cannon webseries" of sorts where we make the instructions and we write the storylines using HF, Bionicle, Technic, and System, and heck, if someone even still has them, bring back Knight's Kingdom parts and we could have the sets we like, the story we want, and be happy.
Reaper .
 I like it 
Rajskil LoR
  September 24, 2013
I only get herofactory for two reasons: 1) I don't have a paypal to bricklink bionicle 2) I need constraction... It's in my veins, I don't care if it is simple, I'll just triple the size to make it more fun. And about the 'official canon webseries' I was actually planning on making a post similar to yours except it'd be a calling of all moccers, writers, and fans, to come and help make a group where we could have lets say, some people, each make one or two of the Toa/protagonists, and then another few work on the villains, and they build to them to the storyline written by the writers, and then the moccers would release instructions or some building pics to make it easy. Or another idea would be a second HF series where much more complicated technic designs are used, and the community is more involved in the story.
Reaper .
Rajskil LoR
  September 24, 2013
Also, if it were to return, I think it should pick off where the old one left off, basically screwing the Stars line over with a better story
Reaper .
Rajskil LoR
  September 24, 2013
Kinda surprised nobody has really done it... Going to work on a nice long page of writing, some photo editing, and writing.....
Reaper .
Rajskil LoR
  September 24, 2013
I remember after my ditching of lego when Bionicle was originally cancelled I saw HF as an opportunity. A story that was good could possibly be in the making, so I invested. I got none back. They just repeat the same 'Upgrade, woo colors, woo, gimmicks' and I'm getting tired. I think Lego should have a Hero Factory Advanced branch for TFOLs and AFOLs
Reaper .
Rajskil LoR
  September 24, 2013
@Chro, I am a huge fan of Bionicle Autopsy! Also, I can't wait ten years honestly, in ten years I'll be in college or working at a zoo or aquarium, and my lego collection will have all been donated by then. Unless I stick around, but I doubt it. I will let go, but for now, I love legos, I don't really want bionicle to come back, it ended on a relatively high note (I honestly wished that Makuta won but whatevs, they wanted a good ending) Still, I think a fan-made line would be 10/10 amazing, and it would have the story they want, setting, it all. Wouldn't have to be bionicle, or hero factory. The HF Advanced series though... I'd buy out lego just to get that.
Reaper .
Rajskil LoR
  September 24, 2013
I remember when me and my friends would fight our Toa Nuva and Metru against my Rahkshi horde :3 Coolest days ever!
Reaper .
Rajskil LoR
  September 24, 2013
What if the fan-made line was hero-factory advanced? Not sure about it, but that could work, idk though.
  September 24, 2013
AAAH! SO TRUE! Y U SO Stupid lego? THINK before you make JIMI STRINGER? what the heck? Anyway,the only good thing about hero factory is some of the parts. I absolutely LOVE furno xls cape, and the new armor pieces to be used for custom limbs. Story line, like you said, is crap.
 I like it 
  September 24, 2013
This is so true and very well written. I was just thinking recently about how much times have changed, as well as the quality of the Themes themselves. Although I will say I enjoyed a couple of the smaller themes like for instance Mars Mission, they were nothing compared to the impact Bionicle's storyline has had on me. I was there when it started thrived and ended, and I have yet to see another story like this come from Lego. I would also like to point out how you attacked Hero Factory in such a well prepared manner. Using the same " Bad guy causes trouble good guy catches him everybody lives happily ever after." plot over and over. It's not how it works...I'm sure everybody remembers Toa Mahri Matoro who sacrificed himself to save Mata Nui. him and multiple other characters good or evil perished which brings reality into the story. Sure Stormer's mentor died but the story of him is so small it is barely worth mentioning. Bionicle's storyline interpreted that even Heroes can die not just be captured and escape. Though that has happened in Bionicle as well as hero Factory. In short Hero factory does not have the sense of honor Bionicle gave me as that was the main reason for me loving the series. And If it doesn't come back it could be for the better. Thanks for listening. Commander CJ Potter
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Chris Roach
Chris has the right idea. Lego makes products to sell, and to encourage creativity- after all, if their legitimate sets were as amazing as some MOCs are, would you really want to build something out of it with those parts instead of the set itself? :P
Quoting C West
Uh, no, Bionicle was way more popular than HF, as far as sales go. HF's been doing alright, but not spectacularly, probably on par with the final wave of Bionicle (which was indeed uncool, though the rest of it wasn't, IMO).
  September 24, 2013
you seemed to miss out on the recent good lego sets like horizon express, hippy wagon and other more skillfull builds. But alas you are correct, its TLGs job to SELL (to kids). That's why you get easy to build simple themes based on current popular franchises and why cuusoo is a farce. If they really wanted cool stuff they could hire any good builder from MOCpages or any fan with great MOCcing skills for that matter, which as we know they never do. They would have so many good builders to choose from, never mind great ones. That's why I just buy bricks and build my own creations, how else could you build what you really want! Maybe in the end that's the point. You can use your imagination, if you don't want to buy into all the franchise sets. Cheers!
 I like it 
  September 24, 2013
I understand what your saying but I'm sorry to say your wrong: LET ME EXPLAIN. Hero Factory is nothing compared to Bionicle, yes but Hero Factory Attracts more of a crowd and Bionicle didn't because the sets became uncool. Don't take this offensively, PLEASE, but look at all the mocs that people do using HF parts. Including Yourself. P.S. I really like your mocs so I'm going to add you as a Favorite Builder! :-)
  September 24, 2013
Advanced HF? That'd be good. @Chro: Link?
  September 24, 2013
Most of the Fantasy Era sets were really good with the exception of a few like the Troll Warship. They were absolutely loaded with functions AND useful parts like the cheese wedge, and castle sets have been about the same since then. I suspect that the other themes (Ninjago and space) have had similar improvements in the past seven years. Also, every now and then they throw out a truly marvelous set for both display, parts and playability. In regards to Castle, I'm thinking of the Kingdoms Joust, the giant chess set and whatever they have planned for the current theme. The modular street buildings also look useful, although they are a little bland for my taste. Finally, what do you have against licensed themes? Lego has a lot of flexibility even with its licensed themes. Aside from one or two stylistic details and the fleshy figs, themes like POTC and LOTR are essentially extra lines of pirate and castle sets. Indiana Jones also gave Lego some of its first semi-modern military sets. Even better, Lego can do more or less what it wants with Star Wars now that the license has been sold off. If we overlook the movies associated with these themes, they become the solution to all our complaints of a decaying System (ha ha, pun intended). It seems to me that, if they could find some sort of decent contract for robotic constraction figures, the entire Bionicle dilemna could be solved.
  September 24, 2013
Have you seen TTV's Bionicle Autopsy series?
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Rajskil LoR I remember after my ditching of lego when Bionicle was originally cancelled I saw HF as an opportunity. A story that was good could possibly be in the making, so I invested. I got none back. They just repeat the same 'Upgrade, woo colors, woo, gimmicks' and I'm getting tired. I think Lego should have a Hero Factory Advanced branch for TFOLs and AFOLs
You're full of good ideas. A more complex theme, both plot wise and set wise. While the cheesy heroes are off galavanting around the galaxy, this core of beings could actually get things done. Find out the hidden agenda of the villains, work out political crimes, etc.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Toa Infernum Good idea. @Reaper: The reason for so many SW set remakes is to allow a younger generation to have the main scenes and the reason for the Ep. II sets is because it was supposed to be re-released in 3d when the sets came out... You guys are being kind of hard on LEGO...
That explains it. Hard on them? Of course we're being hard on them. If a car company makes poor cars, the consumers are going to be hard on them. If a food company makes bad food, consumers will be hard on them. When Lego makes bad sets, I'm hard on them
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Toa Infernum Also the HF SYSTEM is very good, but it's the story that annoys me (and some of the characters). I also agree with Gilbert.
Yes, I don't mind the system of snap-on plates, but I'd like to see a little more bulk, a greater degree of variety, wider parts range, etc.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Gilbert Despathens The demise of complex sets? May I remind you that, between the Blacksmith's House and the Medieval Market Village which completely blew it out of the water (thanks to its newer, more detailed parts), the Castle theme was starved of sets that had any true finesse? Sets in general have also become larger and more parts-intensive, doing away with such useless materials as formed baseplates and adding ever-more delicious greebles. I won't argue that most HF sets are atrocious (despite the usefulness of smooth armor plating), but leave the rest of Lego out of it.
Yes, there were those two, but other than that, what product catalogues are you looking at?
  September 24, 2013
Also the HF SYSTEM is very good, but it's the story that annoys me (and some of the characters). I also agree with Gilbert.
  September 24, 2013
Good idea. @Reaper: The reason for so many SW set remakes is to allow a younger generation to have the main scenes and the reason for the Ep. II sets is because it was supposed to be re-released in 3d when the sets came out... You guys are being kind of hard on LEGO...
  September 24, 2013
The demise of complex sets? May I remind you that, between the Blacksmith's House and the Medieval Market Village which completely blew it out of the water (thanks to its newer, more detailed parts), the Castle theme was starved of sets that had any true finesse? Sets in general have also become larger and more parts-intensive, doing away with such useless materials as formed baseplates and adding ever-more delicious greebles. I won't argue that most HF sets are atrocious (despite the usefulness of smooth armor plating), but leave the rest of Lego out of it.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Rajskil LoR I only get herofactory for two reasons: 1) I don't have a paypal to bricklink bionicle 2) I need constraction... It's in my veins, I don't care if it is simple, I'll just triple the size to make it more fun. And about the 'official canon webseries' I was actually planning on making a post similar to yours except it'd be a calling of all moccers, writers, and fans, to come and help make a group where we could have lets say, some people, each make one or two of the Toa/protagonists, and then another few work on the villains, and they build to them to the storyline written by the writers, and then the moccers would release instructions or some building pics to make it easy. Or another idea would be a second HF series where much more complicated technic designs are used, and the community is more involved in the story.
That sounds like a brilliant idea. I'd love to participate
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Achintya Prasad BTW, I highly recommend you add this to the Debate Club. It seems to really spark some serious discussion.....
I'd love to. I shall do that, probably tomorrow, or in an hour.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Achintya Prasad Indeed. I'm sure this has been addressed below, but even so, LEGO is kinda scared right now. I mean, look at GTA V; 1,000,000,000 USD in just THREE DAYS :-0 By comparison, LEGO's revenue is like, 4 Billion for ALL of last year. That is just quarter of GTA's opening three days.....and holiday season hasn't started! I do have to say, the LEGO video games are kinda fun; they aren't really that violent, they aren't really easy, but, I dunno, they just have that good quality. If you ask me, the path LEGO needs is to focus on both groups: the "aging" TFOLs who really don't want to give up to, well, the crue*l world, and kids who just want to fly Iron Man around their bed rooms.....
That's exactly what needs to happen. Lego has always suffered when it has tried to focus on one group too much. There needs to be a TFOL aimed theme, and some kid-targeted ones.
  September 24, 2013
BTW, I highly recommend you add this to the Debate Club. It seems to really spark some serious discussion.....
  September 24, 2013
Indeed. I'm sure this has been addressed below, but even so, LEGO is kinda scared right now. I mean, look at GTA V; 1,000,000,000 USD in just THREE DAYS :-0 By comparison, LEGO's revenue is like, 4 Billion for ALL of last year. That is just quarter of GTA's opening three days.....and holiday season hasn't started! I do have to say, the LEGO video games are kinda fun; they aren't really that violent, they aren't really easy, but, I dunno, they just have that good quality. If you ask me, the path LEGO needs is to focus on both groups: the "aging" TFOLs who really don't want to give up to, well, the crue*l world, and kids who just want to fly Iron Man around their bed rooms.....
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting claw paradox I understand. When I saw lego's helicarrier and their sorry excuse for an F-35B JSF, I was aghast.
Precisely!
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Achintya Prasad Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap! An EXPERT analysis into LEGO! One thing that I do like that LEGO is doing, however, is that I feel that they are really putting the breaks on City. One problem with that series is that all they did was make like, three new, large parts, and then build a set around that. Then it was priced double the normal cost, because you have to pay for a new large part. I mean, what? Why design a new part? MAKE THE DANG GONE COCKPIT KIDS. But generally speaking, LEGO has really messed up lines like Indiana Jones, and the w*rst of the lot, Star Wars. Indy was killed very quickly, and, actually, the sets weren't too shabby. But they killed it too early, thanks to the mine cart set they made. Star Wars. Well. It was good at the beginning. Now, all they do is dig out a catalog from 5 years ago, point to a random LEGO set, and then "rebuild" it. It really needs to come to a close now. Personally, I want to see some more UCS things (like, for me, I was cheering when the 787 Dreamliner came out. THAT was genius), as they kinda define LEGO; ambitious, but genius. THAT is the lacking quality in today's sets.
Thanks Achintya! I actually have that 787, and it's a masterful set. Those massive cockpit parts are irritating me too, becasue it means that a set I might buy, whether for parts or for an internal mechanism, costs more than I'd happily pay for it. Star Wars, yes, you hit the nail on the head there. And they don't even revamp the sets well. I mean, why are we seeing all this Ep II stuff now? Did they dredge out their 2003/04 catalogues? It would be nice to see some new stuff, or good renditions of old sets. UCS A-Wings or accurate Star Destroyers. Or TLC could make UCS scale cars. That'd be a big market. They tried it, once, but it didn't work out. If they did it well, I think it could. Then there's the whole market of aircraft that they're missing out on. What we need is a theme like Model Team. Big yet affordable sets that were fun and challenging to build that created excellent, well detailed models you enjoyed having on display.
 I like it 
  September 24, 2013
I understand. When I saw lego's helicarrier and their sorry excuse for an F-35B JSF, I was aghast.
  September 24, 2013
Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap! An EXPERT analysis into LEGO! One thing that I do like that LEGO is doing, however, is that I feel that they are really putting the breaks on City. One problem with that series is that all they did was make like, three new, large parts, and then build a set around that. Then it was priced double the normal cost, because you have to pay for a new large part. I mean, what? Why design a new part? MAKE THE DANG GONE COCKPIT KIDS. But generally speaking, LEGO has really messed up lines like Indiana Jones, and the w*rst of the lot, Star Wars. Indy was killed very quickly, and, actually, the sets weren't too shabby. But they killed it too early, thanks to the mine cart set they made. Star Wars. Well. It was good at the beginning. Now, all they do is dig out a catalog from 5 years ago, point to a random LEGO set, and then "rebuild" it. It really needs to come to a close now. Personally, I want to see some more UCS things (like, for me, I was cheering when the 787 Dreamliner came out. THAT was genius), as they kinda define LEGO; ambitious, but genius. THAT is the lacking quality in today's sets.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Halhi 141 Looked through the entire instruction booklet of that set. Only mildly complex bit I could find was the boulder trap. And that was the only trap, not enough for a set that big. And what are you on to about galaxy squad? Fantastic set designs, original theme, fantastic color choices, superb detail, great functions... Is it because it's not classically styled? Because it's not from 2001ish?
No, I just think that they rely too much the separating function, don't have any decent spaceships, lack variety, and have really weird robot minifigs.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Rajskil LoR Lego is trying to appeal to the kids who want something to play with, not the older ones and the TFOLs who want complex buildings and part spectrums for mocs. I honestly think Bionicle will never come back, but since it is basically gone, we might as well try and create our own "official cannon webseries" of sorts where we make the instructions and we write the storylines using HF, Bionicle, Technic, and System, and heck, if someone even still has them, bring back Knight's Kingdom parts and we could have the sets we like, the story we want, and be happy.
And that tight there is a winning idea.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting [ Chro ] That Iron Man set is totally movie-accurate, obviously! Anyway, I disagree about the Gorilla Striker and the Orient Expedition temple thing- I see a big improvement from then to now. (And I won't even address any Bio vs. HF arguments.) But that's just me. :P
Totally accurate! Meh, possibly not the best example. Still, meh
  September 24, 2013
Looked through the entire instruction booklet of that set. Only mildly complex bit I could find was the boulder trap. And that was the only trap, not enough for a set that big. And what are you on to about galaxy squad? Fantastic set designs, original theme, fantastic color choices, superb detail, great functions... Is it because it's not classically styled? Because it's not from 2001ish?
  September 24, 2013
That Iron Man set is totally movie-accurate, obviously! Anyway, I disagree about the Gorilla Striker and the Orient Expedition temple thing- I see a big improvement from then to now. (And I won't even address any Bio vs. HF arguments.) But that's just me. :P
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Zam Himmaq So true. I do, however, submit that build difficulty has remained the same or even increased over the years. Of course, this is most likely due to the hundreds of new parts produced every year, mostly new minifig weapons. Come on! I have an entire weapons laboratory, and I'd be happy to suggest designs. But that's my opinion. (P.S. Have you addressed the inundation of the liscenced themes yet? Those drive me nuts. I miss the creative storylines too.)
True about build difficulty, but build complexity is a little different. The influx of licenses drives me mad too. I might write another little article about that later.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Toa Infernum That last comment is very true. Licensed sets get better and better, but not LEGO's own lines.
That's mostly my point about the simplification here. Not that I was alive at the time, but back in the 80's and 90's, when Lego had no licensed themes, there own lines got their full attention. I mean, just look at the Black Cat, and indeed the whole model team range.
  September 24, 2013
That last comment is very true. Licensed sets get better and better, but not LEGO's own lines.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Garrett A. I agree with you. Honestly the only reason I buy any new sets these days is because I need parts :| I kinda disagree about quality though, I think they've gotten better, like in the LOTR sets. The story though, I completely agree on.
The licenced sets are getting better, true, but I still think the own-brand sets are losing out
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Toa Infernum You're definitely right about the story being "dumbed down" for HF. I loved BIONICLE's story, but it was definitely complex. Being in the target group at the time (I still kinda am) I didn't care too much about the story, just the basics. I made up the rest. I really disagree about quality in the designs of ANY sets decreasing. Honestly they've increased incredibly. Just look at the LoTR sets. I actually really like that Chima set, cool color scheme, build, functions, and figs. They're detailed, but not absurdly. It's just the style the designers chose. If BIONICLE does come back they could do a search for the great beings thing, wasn't that Mata Nui's goal at the end? It could be cool, especially Great Beings themselves. :)
I think if Bionicle returns, we won't see a continuation of the old story. Either a reboot, or something wholly new.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting David Roberts I think that some of what you're expressing might just be that thing of growing older and looking back to the "good old days". Having said that, I totally agree that a background story isn't the biggest thing: it's the quality of the sets. When Classic Space started, I was 7. We never discovered why all of those smiling spacemen were very purposefully rushing about, doing things. That wasn't the point. The point was that the sets were well designed and fun to play with. I totally agree with you that the quality of what Lego designs appears to have fallen over the years. The licensed sets seem to be really poor value for money. Perhaps this is me being nostalgic too. For me the spirit of Lego still lives on in the Creator range. I enjoyed reading your article a lot. I don't know anything much about Bionicle but you obviously care about the quality of design and the quality of Lego's products and how that affects young people.
Indeed, the Creator range does have that heart within it. I think Space is a big victim of the modern era. I'm not even going to start on Galaxy Squad. Sure, some of this is nostalgia, but I think I have a valid point.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Halhi 141 Yeah, I think what you're describing is just nostalgia. I recently rebuilt a few old sets (classic town, western, and adventurers). All of them were overly simple, the adventurers set had hórrible looks, and they were only focused on adding a lot of blánd functions and large size. Whereas nowadays sets focus on quality of functions, detail, and styling. I'm not a Chima fan, but the sets actually do look very good, the styling is fantastic, it's pretty impressive how they can give vehicles some of the characteristics of animals. I also have to agree with some of the others that the Bionicle story was getting too complicated and the sets are more important than the story anyway. While I don't really like HF's simplicity, I have to admit that the set design is pretty good on most of them...
I guess I'm a bit of a dinosaur in this new age... Functions were the thing when I was a kid.
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting juan calle I agree story wise but parts and set wise is not that bad.
Probably not in many licenced sets now, but I think a lot of Lego's own themes have been suffereing from this
 I made it 
  September 24, 2013
Quoting Halhi 141 And to address the orient expedition set vs chima: perhaps orient expedition looks a bit better. But chima set is more complex, more interesting styling, better PU (not as many one-purpose specialized pieces), more functions, more small detail pieces...
I take it you never had that particular OE set. It was an intricate set, lots of nice little elements tucked away.
 I like it 
  September 24, 2013
So true. I do, however, submit that build difficulty has remained the same or even increased over the years. Of course, this is most likely due to the hundreds of new parts produced every year, mostly new minifig weapons. Come on! I have an entire weapons laboratory, and I'd be happy to suggest designs. But that's my opinion. (P.S. Have you addressed the inundation of the liscenced themes yet? Those drive me nuts. I miss the creative storylines too.)
 I like it 
  September 24, 2013
I completely agree. I love the original Bionicles much more than the newer ones.
  September 24, 2013
And to address the orient expedition set vs chima: perhaps orient expedition looks a bit better. But chima set is more complex, more interesting styling, better PU (not as many one-purpose specialized pieces), more functions, more small detail pieces...
 I like it 
  September 24, 2013
I agree story wise but parts and set wise is not that bad.
  September 24, 2013
Yeah, I think what you're describing is just nostalgia. I recently rebuilt a few old sets (classic town, western, and adventurers). All of them were overly simple, the adventurers set had hórrible looks, and they were only focused on adding a lot of blánd functions and large size. Whereas nowadays sets focus on quality of functions, detail, and styling. I'm not a Chima fan, but the sets actually do look very good, the styling is fantastic, it's pretty impressive how they can give vehicles some of the characteristics of animals. I also have to agree with some of the others that the Bionicle story was getting too complicated and the sets are more important than the story anyway. While I don't really like HF's simplicity, I have to admit that the set design is pretty good on most of them...
  September 24, 2013
I agree with you. Honestly the only reason I buy any new sets these days is because I need parts :| I kinda disagree about quality though, I think they've gotten better, like in the LOTR sets. The story though, I completely agree on.
 I like it 
  September 24, 2013
I think that some of what you're expressing might just be that thing of growing older and looking back to the "good old days". Having said that, I totally agree that a background story isn't the biggest thing: it's the quality of the sets. When Classic Space started, I was 7. We never discovered why all of those smiling spacemen were very purposefully rushing about, doing things. That wasn't the point. The point was that the sets were well designed and fun to play with. I totally agree with you that the quality of what Lego designs appears to have fallen over the years. The licensed sets seem to be really poor value for money. Perhaps this is me being nostalgic too. For me the spirit of Lego still lives on in the Creator range. I enjoyed reading your article a lot. I don't know anything much about Bionicle but you obviously care about the quality of design and the quality of Lego's products and how that affects young people.
  September 24, 2013
You're definitely right about the story being "dumbed down" for HF. I loved BIONICLE's story, but it was definitely complex. Being in the target group at the time (I still kinda am) I didn't care too much about the story, just the basics. I made up the rest. I really disagree about quality in the designs of ANY sets decreasing. Honestly they've increased incredibly. Just look at the LoTR sets. I actually really like that Chima set, cool color scheme, build, functions, and figs. They're detailed, but not absurdly. It's just the style the designers chose. If BIONICLE does come back they could do a search for the great beings thing, wasn't that Mata Nui's goal at the end? It could be cool, especially Great Beings themselves. :)
 I like it 
  September 24, 2013
Heck, I hope they don't bring back Bionicle. It wouldn't be because of them probably using HF design. It would be because it would ruin all of the incredible Self-Mocs and stories on MOCpages. If they make more Bionicle sets I hope they decide to start it off all over again or make them based off of SM's and there stories.
  September 24, 2013
If BIONICLE were to return like you wanted it to, it will have to be an alternate universe, or else an inexcusable cliche.
 
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