As many of you know the Legends of Quna update arrived last week and along with it many exciting new cosmetics—but were you aware that there is a deeper story to many of them? The Lunar New Year is an important holiday in many Asian cultures and in honour of them the Battlerite developers have incorporated some amazing real-life inspired designs into their newest event.
Ruh Kaan: Lunar Beast
Chinese legend holds it that the Lunar New Year actually originated with a conflict between a legendary beast called the Nian and a group of villagers. This creature is the inspiration for Ruh Kaan’s newest outfit.
The Nian was said to be a large and ferocious creature, depicted as having the body of a bull, the head of a lion, and a horn—all present in Lunar Beast. The story goes that the beast spent most of its life hunting in the mountains, but towards the end of winter when its food sources were scarce, it would come down and terrorize the village. Eating their crops, livestock, and even children, the locals knew they needed to find a way to scare it off. The villagers eventually found out that the Nian was afraid of three things in particular: the colour red, fire, and noise. So when the winter was nearing its end once again and the Lunar New Year was approaching, locals did all they could to deter the Nian from terrorizing them. They hanged red lanterns along the streets, and red fortune scrolls in their windows and doorways. They even wore red costumes, used firecrackers, and banged their drums in the streets. The Nian ending up not returning and the villagers had come out on top. Believing the creature might come back if they ever stopped, the locals made it a yearly tradition. People continued the annual celebrations and they eventually became tradition.
This is how the annual Lunar New Year festivals are said to have continued to this very day—believed to have begun approximately 3,400 years ago. The only difference today is the much larger scale. Nowadays celebrations include extravagant fireworks, huge parades, delicious food, and wonderful music. There is even a special dance performed every Lunar New Year to commemorate the legend of the Nian: the Lion Dance. All of this is done in celebration of a new start, and hopes for good fortune in the coming year. Here is an interesting fact: the Chinese term for celebrating the New Year is “Guo Nian” which translates to “overcoming Nian.” This is exactly what the villagers did in the now-immortalized legend. But this year’s festival couldn’t keep Ruh Kaan away.
Lucie: Teeth of the Dragon
The most intriguing part of Lucie’s new cosmetics in the upcoming Legends of Quna update is her weapon. It resembles that of an ancient Chinese weapon: the “Zhuge” crossbow, or the repeating crossbow. This weapon has a deep history, and is one of the longest used mechanical weapons of all time.
The repeating crossbow was first conceived around 400 BCE, though it wasn’t as effective or powerful until approximately 200 CE when the infamous military strategist Zhuge Liang modified it to his own design (hence the name Zhuge crossbow). Since then, the weapon has remained largely untouched save for increasing the magazine capacity from 10 arrows and upsizing it into a large siege version of a repeating crossbow used for wars.
This incredible invention functions much like a normal crossbow, except on top is a magazine that normally holds a large number of arrows. A lever is attached to this magazine, and pulling it up brings an arrow to the bowstring, while bringing it all the way down fires the arrow. The simple motion of pulling the lever up and down allows for the user to shoot up to 20 powerful arrows in about 15 seconds. The fast firing speed came at a cost to accuracy, so this weapon was ideal in war conditions when groups of enemies were close together. Unfortunately Lucie won’t be able to shoot that fast, but interestingly enough the arrowheads would typically be poisoned before heading into a battle so even the smallest wounds could be deadly. Now that Lucie would enjoy.
Alysia: Royal Sculptor
Alysia’s new Royal Sculptor outfit, while more nuanced than the others, also has quite a bit of history behind it. She is wearing a qipao. A simple one-piece dress with an important cultural meaning for Chinese women.
The qipao was first introduced in China during the 1920’s. Where the design came from exactly is unclear, but it seems to have been influenced by many factors. The real importance of this piece of clothing comes some years after the end of China’s final dynasty, the Qing dynasty. This is when China became a Republic, and Chinese society was fundamentally shifting. Females were demanding equal rights, and in protest began cutting their hair (as long hair was seen as too oriental and oppressive) and wearing lighter, more liberating clothing like the qipao. Gender equality quickly gained supporters all around China. The qipao was seen as a symbol of protest and change, regardless of one’s wealth or age. A simple piece of clothing was integral to women’s rights in China almost one hundred years ago, and has continued to be popular even in this day and age. It has been referenced in countless areas of pop culture—like as many of you now know Alysia’s new skin.
Sirius: God of Wealth
Another treat Stunlock Studios has given us this update is in the form of Sirius’ new skin, God of Wealth. He, well, quite literally resembles the Chinese god of wealth: Caishen.
The story behind Caishen is quite unique, though. Depending on who you ask, you could get multiple answers as to his true identity. Some subscribe to the belief that Caishen is 9 different entities who all represent different areas of China. There is Xiao Sheng of Eastern China, Cao Bao of West, Yao Shao Si of North, Chen Jiu Gong of the South, Han Xin Yi of South-East China, Liu Hai of South-West, Shen Wanshan of North-East, Tao Zhugong of North-West, and finally Zhao Gong Ming of Central China. Each of them are gods of different attributes we’d associate with wealth—such as gambling, gold, profitability, or luck. As a whole, they are considered by some to be Caishen. Though others believe that Caishen is a single entity: Cai Bo Xing Jun, the common god of wealth. He is believed to encompass all that the other gods do but in one deity as opposed to nine. This is also the the god that most resembles Sirius’ new skin. Regardless of which representation of Caishen is correct, Caishen is very important to Lunar New Year festivals. Worshipping him is believed to bring fortune and luck, which may very well be needed in the arena.
Raigon: Golden Warlord
While Raigon’s new skin does does not stay true to the depictions of its respective story—for good reason, trust me—it most definitely references the ancient Chinese legend of Xingtian.
The story goes that Xingtian was a loyal follower of Yandi, the Flame Emperor. Over some time a conflict was brewing between Yandi and Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor. A war was waged, and Yandi eventually lost and died at the hands of the Yellow Emperor. Xingtian fought on: he managed to make his way to Huangdi and challenged him to a duel. An epic fight commenced, but after some time Huangdi caught Xingtian off-guard and decapitated him. It was said that Xingtian’s head rolled down the mountain the two were fighting on, and was engulfed by it after the Yellow Emperor struck the mountain open with his sword. Some time passed from the duel and instead of Xingtian’s body rotting away, it began regenerating. His nipples were said to have turned into eyes, and a mouth grew where his navel once was. Xingtian raised his weapons once again and was said to continue fighting on. With his new head now essentially part of his torso, it was impossible for him to be beheaded again. While not the case with Raigon, it is certainly an interesting legend nonetheless.
Bonus: Golden Guardian
The adorable new dog mount has a very interesting story too! Considering this Lunar New Year is the year of the dog, it’s more than fitting. The peculiar dog mount you can now see in-game hopping around is actually a Chow Chow. Or as it is nicknamed in Northern China, the puffy-lion dog.
The Chow Chow is of the few ancient dog breeds left in the world today. In fact, some researchers believe that Chow Chows were one of the first breeds ever to evolve from wolves. Thought to be brought over by the Mongolians, Chow Chows were first documented in China around 200 BCE—but fossil records show they could have been in the area for at least couple million years more. When domesticated, they were bred for many different uses. Chow Chows were primarily used for guarding boats and homes, pulling sleds and carts, hunting wolves and pheasant, herding livestock, and in some rare cases even for consumption. Two of the Chow Chow’s key characteristics are their fluffy manes and their dark blue tongues, both making an appearance in Battlerite. Overall described as well tempered dogs who are just as strong as they are cute, the Golden Guardian would be a fine addition to your Battlerite mount collection.
This concludes our article into the new Legends of Quna cosmetics. There are many more subtle references you can spot if you look close enough, like Destiny’s new weapon which references dragon turtles, hybrid creatures of legend which represent courage and determination; Alysia and Jumong’s new weapons that are carved into phoenixes, legendary birds of fire that are said to be both graceful and virtuous; or Blossom’s new weapon which resembles that of a spade used by Shaolin Monks in ancient China. All of these are just glimpses at the amazing attention to detail we can look forward to in the future of Battlerite, so be sure to stay tuned.