Hey! You know, I was just thinking about art. The fancy stuff, y’know? All of the fancy art in the world seems to be split into periods. Paintings are split into periods, music is mostly split in to periods, literature is split into periods - but you want to know what I’ve never heard people split into periods? MOCcing styles. And it would be so easy to do! So I think I will. Or, at least, I’ll organize a basic set of periods. We can add more specifics later. You all can give your input on my little timeline, and if I agree with you, I’ll edit the post. Here we go!
1999 - 2005: The Early Canon Contest Era
The early days. Characterized by very little online sharing, with the easiest method of seeing other people’s creations being through official means, like Lego magazines and the Lego website. Name comes from the early Canon Contests, which produced the most well-known MOCs of the period. Building style characterized by using purely Technic pieces, and often trying to emulate official sets (or at least their general vibe).
2006 - 2011: The Biotube/Mocpages Era
The golden days (in my opinion). I was born during it! Towards the beginning, of course, but I was still very much born within the period. Characterized by the overuse of the Inika torso, and often a strong adherence to canon when MOCcing. Greebling was also a popular technique. The period also marked the rise of the Biotube/Mocpages community, allowing people a far less limited ability to see other MOCs, and enabling the more rapidly spread of specific NPUs, building techniques, and basic character concepts (for example, the basic Rahkshi-esque Self-MOC popularized by BioRockDude’s Detox). Usage of System parts was far more common.
2012 - 2014: The CCBS Era
Good times, though also the rise of one of the most dreaded things in MOCcing - clashing textures. Before the advent of CCBS, all parts had a generally similar look, with little pistons and other tech-y embellishments. CCBS introduced far smoother parts with a slightly more organic look, which, when used improperly with G1 parts, can look quite bad. However, CCBS, when in the hands of good builders, was known to have very good potential, especially when used with tire pieces. At the time the community was still strong, and our favorite Biotubers were still uploading. System parts were getting real common in MOCs.
2015 - 2017: The Revival Era
The true golden age, but also the end of the community as it was. G2 reinvigorated folks to the concept of Bionicle, and brought many skilled builders to the community for the first time, but once it ended, so too did the community, in a way. Of course, we still remain, but we are a shell of what we once were. Without an original Lego Constraction IP going, there was nothing to bring people in. People still found Bionicles at yard sales and got into the community from there (me), but beyond folks like that, things slowed down substantially. It didn’t help that all the Biotubers had grown out of their teens by now and gotten actual lives, and as a result stopped posting. It was a sad time. The general MOCcing style didn’t change too much beyond the introduction of G2 parts and the general moving further from canon of builds, a lot just happened community-wise.
2018 - Today: The Post-Bionicle Era
Characterized by MOCs that lean more heavily on system pieces, but still incorporate enough Bionicle/CCBS parts to be considered Bionicle MOCs. Likely won’t ever end unless G3 happens, and even then, G3 will probably be made from System parts, so things will go off in a whole new direction. Things haven’t changed much from the late Revival area, everything remains stagnant in the community. There was the promotional Tahu and Takua released, though, so I can’t really complain that we’re likely nearing the end.
Well, there it is. Like I said, tell me your thoughts in the comments. I wish to hear them.