"The Maelstrom is strange and baffling - and yet, oddly alluring."- Echs Ray
|Enemies||Nexus Force, Pirates, Ninjas|
The Maelstrom is the dark menace spreading chaos and destruction throughout the LEGO Universe.
The Maelstrom was created long ago by Baron Typhonus. After creating the Spider Boss to demonstrate the power of Imagination without rules, the chaotic spider turned on him and dragged him into the Imagination Nexus. Their combined chaotic ideals corrupted the Imagination Nexus, mutating it into a powerful Maelstrom. The Maelstrom proceeded to destroy the Venture Koi and fired lightning at the remaining explorers, successfully smashing Duke Exeter. Doctor Overbuild attempted to contain the Maelstrom, but as a result the Maelstrom shattered Planet Crux into countless smaller worlds.
Now a massive black hole where Planet Crux once existed, the Maelstrom spread across the LEGO Universe, seeking to destroy all Imagination and leave chaos in its wake. Baron Typhonus was transformed into the Darkitect, the mastermind behind the Maelstrom's actions. The Maelstrom corrupted many unfortunate denizens of the LEGO Universe into the Darkitect's minions, the Stromlings. The Nexus Force was founded to protect the last source of Pure Imagination from the destructive powers of the Maelstrom. The Paradox faction in particular was created to study the Maelstrom.
The Maelstrom was first unveiled in the "Answer the Call" LEGO Universe trailer, in which Stromlings have taken over Zorillo Plaza. To aid the Stromling army, a Maelstrom vortex opens above the plaza and releases several Grumpy Darklings and a Maelstrom Dragon. During the Battle of Nimbus Station based upon this trailer, the Maelstrom has taken over Nimbus Station and blocks off most of the planet chunk with Maelstrom Fog.
The Maelstrom's menace led to the mission of the Pods to deliver the LEGO Universe's plea of help to the Blue Planet. However, while passing through the rift between the two universes, MMW4 was unrelentingly pursued by the Maelstrom's energies. The paths of Pods 6 and 7 were altered to avoid the dark menace, although JFR6 was disturbed by the possibility of the Maelstrom passing through the rip. The Maelstrom also appears to have corrupted AJR7 or altered his Mission Log.
More details about the Maelstrom were slowly unveiled in the Great Minifig Mission. In Mission 3 and Mission 11, players must complete slider puzzles before the Maelstrom catches up to them. Mission 10 details the Maelstrom's creation, while Mission 12 discusses the origins of the Maelstrom's Stromlings.
The Maelstrom sensed Imagination leaking from Engine 2 of the Venture Explorer as the starship was passing over the Maelstrom black hole. It responded by blasting the Venture Explorer with a bolt of lightning, which damaged the spaceship and causes it to become slowly sucked into the vortex. After all the Minifigures aboard are evacuated, the Maelstrom takes over the Venture Explorer.
On Avant Gardens, the once-peaceful planet chunk became corrupted by Maelstrom energies unleashed by an explosion at Paradox Research Facility caused by the Spider Queen. Although the Sentinels have managed to contain the Maelstrom energies and prevent them from spreading to the Monument, the area around the Research Facility has become a battlefield occupied by the Stromlings. While the Spider Queen inhabited the Maelstrom Mine, she was protected by a heavy layer of Maelstrom Fog. After the Spider Queen escaped to Block Yard, the Launch Area becomes blanketed with Maelstrom Fog that can only be cleared by smashing the Spider Queen.
All Property worlds have been taken over by the Maelstrom and occupied by Stromlings spawned by a Maelstrom Generator. The Maelstrom energies contain the planet chunks' Imagination into large Imagination Orbs. Players must free the Imagination Orbs to cleanse the Properties from Maelstrom, after which they can rent the Property from the local Property Guard.
The Maelstrom gained a foothold in Gnarled Forest after greedy Pirates attempted to stockpile Maelstrom Crystals, thinking that they were valuable treasure. The Maelstrom Trench contains so many of these Pirates' Maelstrom Treasure Chests that it has not only corrupted the planet chunk's inhabitants, but the Maelstrom is actually seeping into the land itself, as Renee Tombcrusher once noted.
In Forbidden Valley, the Maelstrom possesses Dark Ronin and has taken over the ancient temples and tombs of Cavalry Hill. Paradox studies the Maelstrom energies in the Paradox Refinery, but their Maelstrom experiments unintentionally unleashed Maelstrom Dragons which now preside in Maelstrom Valley.
Maelstrom concentrations are at their highest at Crux Prime, which is literally surrounded by a sea of Maelstrom energies. In such high concentration, rather than corrupting and infecting denizens into Stromlings, the Maelstrom can spawn infinite numbers of Stromling Invaders. However, following the completion of Nexus Tower, the Maelstrom's occupation of Crux Prime has significantly weakened, causing fewer Stromling Invaders to spawn.
The Darkitect's only known ally, Lord Garmadon, uses the Maelstrom to strengthen his Skulkin armies. The skeletons mine for Maelstrom Ore in the Maelstrom Quarry and fashion it into weapons and armor, which the Skulkins use in the siege on the Ninjago Monastery.
The Maelstrom energy takes on the form of a purple fog-like substance. These chaotic energies are used as the tools of destruction by many Maelstrom beings, from the Darkitect blasting players with Maelstrom energy to Stromling Admirals firing Maelstrom from their cannons. Paradox also utilizes the Maelstrom energy, and many abilities of the Space Marauder and Sorcerer specialty kits are Maelstrom-based.
The Maelstrom is most frequently depicted as a black hole or a massive vortex of chaotic and destructive energies. This black hole is capable of unleashing bolts of lightning-like energy. Usually, a pair of eyes most likely belonging to the Darkitect appear in the center of the Maelstrom vortex. As seen in the "Answer the Call" trailer, smaller vortexes can open and unleash Stromlings.
Maelstrom-Infected Bricks are a common manifestation of Maelstrom. These 2x4 LEGO Bricks have been corrupted by the Maelstrom and are frequently dropped by smashed Stromlings. Paradox uses these bricks for study, and will offer players five Faction Tokens in exchange for twenty-five Maelstrom-Infected Bricks by using a Maelstrom Exchange Device. Maelstrom-Infected Bricks are also used for other purposes, such as creating Maelstrom Spiders, building Maelstrom Turrets, and powering Brick Fury.
Maelstrom Goo is a substance apparently excreted from Maelstrom Spiders, as much of it can be found in the wake of the Spider Queen's path through the Avant Gardens battlefield. Wisp Lee can use ten samples of Maelstrom Goo to create a Maelstrom Cube, with which a pile of bricks can be animated into a Dark Spiderling.
Maelstrom Fog is a dangerous gaseous substance which Minifigures cannot endure. In Avant Gardens Survival and the Battle of Nimbus Station, Maelstrom Fog blocks the entrances and exits to the instance, trapping players and forcing them to fight the enemies. While the Spider Queen occupied the Maelstrom Mine, the inner caverns were filled with Maelstrom Fog that players could not pass. When the Spider Queen fled to Block Yard, Maelstrom Fog manifests over the Launch Area in the form of a giant storm cloud.
Maelstrom Crystal is a crystalline manifestation of Maelstrom. The Pirates of Gnarled Forest made the mistake of stockpiling crates of Maelstrom Crystals, thinking that these crystals are valuable. However, the Kraken reacted to the high concentration of Maelstrom Crystals by throwing the Black Seas Barracuda into a tree, and when the crates were brought inland, they began seeping Maelstrom energy into the land itself. Maelstrom Crystals also appear to be very volatile, exploding in a shockwave of Maelstrom energy when players try to smash the crates. Nuckal excavated a Maelstrom Crystal in the Maelstrom Quarry, so Neido sends players to steal the crystal and bring it to Echs Ray for study.
Maelstrom Ore is another form of Maelstrom that is mined in quarries. Early Nexus Force Plaques stated that Maelstrom Ore was the manifestation of Maelstrom formerly mined by Paradox in the Maelstrom Mine. High concentrations of Maelstrom Ore in the Maelstrom Quarry caused the Skulkins to set up a mining establishment in the area, and Skeleton Miners are put to the job of excavating this substance. Maelstrom Ore is then fashioned by the Skulkins into armor and weapons, used by the Skulkin forces attacking the Ninjago Monastery, but the Maelstrom energies can be cleansed from the weapons using a Chaos Cleaner Machine.
Maelstrom Poisoning is a deadly effect caused by Maelstrom energies. When a player is poisoned by the Maelstrom, they are surrounded by dark energies and gradually lose Life and Armor. Skeleton Mad Scientists harness the power of the Maelstrom and fire Maelstrom Poisoning upon players. Chopov, Krazi, Bonezai, and Frakjaw also practice Maelstrom Spinjitzu which causes Maelstrom Poisoning on contact. If players attempt to hold weapons crafted from Maelstrom Ore, they receive Maelstrom Poisoning. The only known cure for Maelstrom Poisoning is the roots of Imaginite Herbs.
Early concepts for LEGO Universe focused on the city theme; ideas that evolved into Nexus City. According to concept artist Jerry Meyer, "City scenarios in which some sort of chaotic event would happen caused by some disruptive energy was the first line of thought", and the term Maelstrom didn't come along until later. Early concept art shows large squid-like creatures crash landing in Nexus City.
As development continued, the plan was for player property to be part of the main zones. The design team was concerned about zones starting out large and empty, so content designer Chris Floyd came up with the Maelstrom, originally envisioned as a wall that encircled the zones, which moved back to open up more property as more players entered a zone and worked together completing gameplay challenges. Chris then started trying to think of a big baddie for the game, and came up with the Prisoner (named the Darkitect in the final game), who was one with the Maelstrom and could pop out at any time or spawn Darklings to make life more difficult. The backstory was then created to fit these game mechanics.
At the time, Crux was a round planet, with an infinite well/font of plastic at the north pole (the Nexus), and a curtain of infinite Imagination at the south pole (the Nimbus). The explorers who found Crux were the founders of the factions, but not the present day leaders, and there were eight explorers instead of four. One of them, Maestro (Baron Typhonus in the final game), corrupted the Nimbus into the Maelstrom, and became the Prisoner.
Later, Crux's design shifted to that of a flat plane, which the Maelstrom formed underneath. This later changed again to the exploded cubic planet idea seen in the final game.
For much of development, the Maelstrom's primary method of attacking was to launch Maelstrom Shards at them, an idea that presumably evolved from the squid attacks in early concept art. These would infect the area they crashed into upon landing, and spawn Darklings until smashed by players. The Vanguard Outpost was partially destroyed by one such Maelstrom shard, and the Robot Mowers of Nimbus Park were corrupted after a Maelstrom meteor crashed into the gardens. This method of attack from the Maelstrom was largely dropped in the released game, and while Maelstrom shards make an appearance in the Battle of Nimbus Station, they do not spawn Stromlings, and can simply be smashed by players for power-ups. However, an animatic for the Kingdoms World shows a similar concept may have been a story element in that world, had development continued.
While there is no way to pass through Maelstrom Fog in the released game, it was strongly suggested by in-game text and Kirsten Quasar's dialogue that a Maelstrom Gas Mask would have been released, allowing players to pass through Maelstrom Fog and enter the innermost caverns of the Maelstrom Mine.
- The word "maelstrom" refers to a very powerful whirlpool, which is reflected by the Maelstrom's vortex-like appearance.