PC Gamer

Big things are happening in the world of Doom, Bethesda's demon-bothering FPS reboot, beginning with a double-XP weekend and a major free update, both of which are set to go live on July 29.

The update will add a pair of new multiplayer modes a one-flag CTF mode called Exodus and an objective-based capture-and-hold mode called Sector and make some big changes to the SnapMap editor, including customizable weapon wheel functionality, the addition of the Mancubus as a playable demon, and a laundry list of improvements to the Community HUB, editor and logic capabilities.

After that, on August 5, Bethesda will roll out Unto the Evil, Doom's first premium multiplayer DLC release. The bundle will include three new multiplayer maps, a new player-controlled demon called the Harvester, the UAC EMG Pistol, the Kinetic Mine, new hack modules, and new armor sets, patterns, colors, and taunts. It will also incorporate a new feature called PartyPlay, which will enable players who don't own the package to access the new multiplayer maps as long as they're partied up with someone who does.

If a DLC map comes up as part of the rotation, you and your party can play just as you have with the game's original multiplayers maps, Bethesda explained. Conversely, if you have purchased the premium DLC pack, anyone in your party can play any of the maps from the DLC as long as they re with you.

Unto the Evil is included with the Doom season pass and will sell separately for $14.99/ 11.99.

PC Gamer

Last September, I went to the Firaxis offices when they were in the fairly late stages of polishing XCOM 2. I met Jake Solomon there and showed him what XCOM: Enemy Unknown modding looked like. He wondered aloud if I had closets full of chains and leather.

John Lumpkin, otherwise known as JohnnyLump, is the co-creator of XCOM: Enemy Unknown s ultra-difficult Long War a mod that adds a slew of surplus stats, extra weapons, more campaign missions, more challenges, more squad members and, inevitably, more death to the original game. To those those uninitiated, Jake Solomon Enemy Unknown s creative director once described Firaxis official top-selling reimagining of Julian Gollop s 1994 turn-based classic as a 20-hour tutorial for Long War, which gives a sense of how comprehensive Lumpkin and partner Rachel Norman s hobbyist modification is.

Lumpkin tells me that he in fact doesn t keep a cupboard-full of S&M accessories at home not that there s anything wrong with that but that Solomon s tongue-in-cheek reference points to how inaccessible Enemy Unknown is to would-be modders. First you re required to essentially hack into the game s files to make it read INI files, Lumpkin says. Then you need to review the game s code, translate it into hexadecimal, before making changes to functions and classes so as to ensure your alterations don t crash the game. Lumpkin pauses, as if suddenly aware of how confusing this might sound to those unfamiliar with programming jargon.

It s strange, he says. I had 12 hours of computer science in college, my training was primarily as a journalist, but it gets to the point where you know the scene in The Matrix where Neo is looking at the code falling? You get to that point where you can start reading the code and you can see the Unreal script that it makes. It s a weird place for your head to get to but it can get there.

Getting there saw Lumpkin sinking two to three hours a day into his pet project as a distraction from studying at grad school media studies with a side of political science and international relations back in 2012. He d often have to force himself to pursue his dissertation, and admits partner Norman, when away from her job working in the US defence industry, almost certainly spent more time on the coding side of things as the project s engineer.

Although inspired by UFO: Enemy Unknown (XCOM: UFO Defense in the US) at 43 and 42 respectively, both Lumpkin and Norman are self-proclaimed veterans of the old days the idea for Long War was born from the simple fact that Lumpkin had finished the 2012 remake, wanted more, but couldn t find anything user-made in the game s small but growing community. He took matters into his own hands and, with the help of Norman, began to push the envelope on what was possible.

It kind of grew organically but as we figured out how to do something like how to add new weapons or how to have aliens upgrade themselves, we d add these new capabilities and release a new version, says Lumpkin. The Enemy Unknown campaign was 35 or 40 missions and I had a great time playing it and then it was over. I wanted more of the feel of warfare in terms of these great victories but also reversals that you have to address.

If you think of American sports we have NFL football here, where it s a 16-game season and every game is a big deal that have huge effects on your season. I wanted to switch that to make it a bit more like baseball, which has 160-odd games in a season and is much more about performance over the long term and statistics. I always thought of what we did to XCOM a little like that Enemy Unknown was the football season and we made it more like the baseball season with ups and downs and variety of challenges.

Before long, the ever-burgeoning Enemy Unknown community began to take notice of Long War. A healthy body of brave players had started playing, offering feedback and in essence became Lumpkin and Norman s QA team. Beta versions received tens of thousands of Nexus downloads courtesy of its barrel-load of new stuff, and it was discussed favourably by the games press. One of my real pleasures from all of this was going on Reddit or the Nexus feedback and watching people debate strategy in a real productive way, adds Lumpkin. There was nothing toxic about it, these were people having these really interesting discussions and it was so fun to read.

About mid-way through development, Jake Solomon started tweeting about his enjoyment of Long War. Julian Gollop praised the unofficial expansion during presentations. Eventually, first contact was made with Firaxis by way of its community manager Kevin Schultz. One of the things players wanted was soldiers not to sound like they re from Iowa, says Lumpkin, before explaining Jonathan Emmett, the mod s sound editor, had just figured out how to implement new voice packs.

They had enlisted volunteer voice actors from the UK, Australia, and the US, and had turned character Peter Van Doorn who appears briefly in Enemy Unknown with a great gung-ho delivery of his lines into a soldier that could be added to the game. Schultz reached out and said: hey, we ve got some leftover lines from that voice actor, do you want them? We said, you bet, and were able to make a custom voice pack for this particular character.

By early 2015, the Long War team had grown to a small core group of four, as well as four senior contributors, and, behind the scenes, Firaxis had begun work on XCOM 2 a direct follow-up to 2012 s Enemy Unknown that would make modding a priority by boasting day one mods and Steam Workshop support from launch. It was looking for help in this area, therefore publisher 2K reached out to Lumpkin, put him and his team under NDA and asked that they take the helm of three day one mods.

While working towards Long War 1.0, Lumpkin had also begun flirting with the idea of creating his own game Terra Invicta: another alien invasion-inspired game on a strategic level, that he planned to crowdfund down the line. He was, however, delighted to receive official recognition. What s more, this was immediate paying work. It was a chance to see all the procedures and processes involved in how a game is made, and to learn about proper QA and all of the different roles. In short: this was the Long War team s education.

In August 2015, Long War Studios was formed, it brought on an artist adding art to Enemy Unknown was very difficult, Lumpkin recalls and set about crafting the agreed XCOM 2 day one mods, while working on Long War s final release in the background. The latter launched its version 1.0 last December, while Long War s first batch of XCOM 2 mods went live on launch day; with a second and third lot releasing in April and July too.

We had this big list of ideas and had a bit of a back and forth with them, explains Lumpkin when I ask if Long War s creative freedom was sacrificed in this new, non-hobbyist setup. We asked what they wanted and they suggested the kind of things they were after for these day one mods. We threw some specifics at them and they thought it sounded great. If there was any freedom sacrificed on the creative side it was more to do with things like deadlines than it was us being told what to do.

They wanted to show off these modding tools, and we were conscious of that therefore came up with things that showed off different kinds of things you could do within the time frame that we had. There s an approval process, of course and a bit of further back and forth.

To this day, there are still but a few hundred mods available for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, not to mention no Steam Workshop support. XCOM 2 s Steam Workshop, however, boasts 1,994 at the time of writing testament to how more accessible this game is to prospective modders of all levels. Long War Studios still plans to pursue Terra Invicta down the line, something which seems a certainty now off the back of the Long War mod s reception, and what the team has learned from its work on XCOM 2.

I therefore ask Lumpkin if we can expect a Long War 2 mod for XCOM 2 at any point in the future.

We certainly know how we d do it, he says before pausing. And that s probably the most I can say right now.

PC Gamer

Time travel to the cyberpunk world of 2029 with PC Gamer UK issue 295, courtesy of this month s cover star Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Andy donned his own mechanically augmented power suit (I understand he stores it alongside his collection of onesies) and joined Adam Jensen for the first seven hours of his latest venture.

Elsewhere inside, the PC Gamer team gathers the 100 greatest PC games of all time. This is of course undisputed and naturally your personal favourite is ranked 101. Sorry about that.

Join us for massive previews of the likes of Witcher card em up Gwent and martial arts action role-player Absolver, among many others, and come see our comprehensive head-to-head supertest of the best gaming keyboards available today.

Issue 295 is on shelves now, available at My Favourite Magazines, and digitally through Google Play, the App Store and Zinio.

Then again, why not let us do the work by subscribing? Save up to 25% on the cover price, have each issue delivered to your door and treat yourself to our lovely exclusive subscriber covers. Like this un:

This month:

  • Andy plays the first seven hours of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
  • The PC Gamer team reveals the 100 greatest PC games of all time.
  • Massive previews of Gwent, Absolver and more.
  • Samuel explores the new horror of Resident Evil 7.
  • Phil takes a hell march back to Red Alert 2.
  • We put gaming keyboards head-to-head in supertest.
  • And much more!
PC Gamer

After acquiring the Darksiders franchise following THQ s collapse in 2013, Nordic Games released a remastered version of its second series entry last year. The rather awkwardly titled Deathfinitive Edition was just the start we were told back then, and now an overhaul of the 2010 original is heading our way in October.

It s called Darksiders Warmastered Edition and brings with it a host of improvements, such as: reworked rendering, including better shadows; enhanced texture resolutions; smoother performance - 60FPS in moment-to-moment gameplay ; and 4K support for PC.

We think War s journey is still a great game that deserves to be [remastered] to be an overall better experience, a Nordic Games spokesperson told us via email. Also for us, remasters are a way to familiarise with a franchise that could lead to

I guess by trailing off, Nordic might be pointing to Darksiders 3 as was sort-of hinted at in the past. In any event, here s the official blurb on what Darksiders Warmastered Edition is all about:

Deceived by the forces of evil into prematurely bringing about the end of the world, War the first Horseman of the Apocalypse stands accused of breaking the sacred law by inciting a war between Heaven and Hell. In the slaughter that ensued, the demonic forces defeated the heavenly hosts and laid claim to the Earth.

Brought before the sacred Charred Council, War is indicted for his crimes and stripped of his powers. Dishonored and facing his own death, War is given the opportunity to return to Earth to search for the truth and punish those responsible.

Hunted by a vengeful group of Angels, War must take on the forces of Hell, forge uneasy alliances with the very demons he hunts, and journey across the ravaged remains of the Earth on his quest for vengeance and vindication.

Darksiders Warmastered Edition is due to launch October 25 for 14.99/$19.99/ 19.99.

PC Gamer

Poor Faceless Void. VR requirements include a powerful PC, a spacious play area, and a face with eyes.

Hot on the heels of the latest batch of Immortal cosmetics and the news that this year's International prize pool is now the largest esports pot of all time, Valve have updated the International 2016 Battlepass with all-new features: including the crazy Dota 2 VR spectator mode they teased back in March.

That's right: if you can't make it to Seattle, you've still got a chance to experience the International in person - if you own a Vive. As initially teased, the Dota VR Hub allows you to watch games on a big virtual screen while surrounded by life-size characters, a huge minimaps, and all of the gold and experience graphs you could want. It goes deeper, however: click the minimap and you can teleport onto the field of battle itself to watch the action from the ground. You can even bring friends in with you, and wear a variety of Dota-themed virtual hats.

Redditor scarecrowman175 has a detailed gallery of VR shots which you can find here.

Let's be honest: this is mad. But it's also incredible, and completely unlike any other esports spectator system ever devised. And it's also eerily similar to a feature I described in a joke article in March last year. YOU'RE WELCOME, I GUESS.

Check back during the group stages for a more involved hands-on with the Dota 2 VR Hub.

This update also adds the now-traditional event prediction minigame as well as a new take on player cards. If you've been playing Dota 2 for a couple of years, you'll remember that the compendium started life as a sticker book: you'd try to collect all of the year's players before the event ended. It was fun but throwaway, and nobody really missed it when Valve moved on from the idea.

This new implementation is much more exciting. Everybody who owns a Battle Pass will earn 15 player card packs right away, and each player can be earned in standard, silver and gold rarities. You then use these cards to assemble fantasy draft rosters for each day of the event, earning Battle Pass points based on the performance of your chosen players. Silver and gold cards come with additional, randomly-assigned multipliers: see above for an example. If OG carry n0tail stacks camps and farms a lot, I'll get bonus points. Hooray!

The International is now less than a week away. Merry Dota Christmas, everybody!

PC Gamer

Twenty one hours into my Total War: Warhammer campaign, my Dwarfen hero Dorin Brightaxe was making a multi-turn trek across the southern badlands of Greenskin territory. He d been doing a lot of trudging lately. A couple of turns ago I sent him to assassinate an Orc hero the Book of Grudges demanded retribution, obviously but now I had to drag him back to our capitol Karaz-a-Karak, hammer unbloodied. It had to be done because a pair of Greenskin agents were camped at Karaz-a-Karak, sabotaging its buildings turn after turn, grinding my economy to a halt. At this point, my fun had mostly ground to a halt too.

This isn t the first time agents have soured a Total War campaign for me. In fact, it s happened in every campaign I ve played since picking up the series with Shogun 2 in 2011. On a Total War campaign map, your units are either leaders (Lords in Warhammer, generals in most previous games) who shepherd armies, or agents, who offer more specialized functions. They can spread religion or influence in a region, increase the populace s happiness or production or technology research rate. They can also, more critically, assassinate other agents and leaders, sabotage cities, and inflict casualties on armies. Playing against a campaign map covered with AI enemies all but guarantees that eventually you ll spend a chunk of every turn dealing with a neverending stream of agents. Which is done by countering them with your own agents. And so on ad infinitum. It s an ouroboros of strategic mundanity.

Total War: Warhammer has more fun with its units than any previous game in the series (I m still psyched about flamethrower Dwarfs with beard armor), and Creative Assembly did a great job making every race significantly distinct. Greenskins need to build up a Waaagh!! through incessant fighting; Dwarfs have to fulfill grudges to keep the populace happy; Vampire Counts spread corruption and raise the dead to quickly build huge armies. Lords gain experience from completing RPG-esque quests and earn special equipment, a first for Total War. But in other ways, the basic elements of the series are still there under the fantasy skin, mostly unchanged, and they re starting to feel pretty stagnant. Politics and agents are the worst of them.

Warhammer s fantasy makeover can t conceal Total War s tired, overly simple diplomacy system, which doesn t provide much nuance in terms of how you deal with other factions. You can establish a trade agreement (but only with a clear path to their capital), make non-aggression pacts, and offer money to sweeten the pot. This system hasn t really evolved much since Empire: Total War in 2009 and feels like a huge missed opportunity for Total War to become a more balanced 4X game.

The dated diplomacy system is a weakness, but it s at least functional. It doesn t make me want to stop playing I just settle for bloodthirsty conquest most of the time. But the outdated agent system is an annoying, clunky obstacle to fun once I really dig into a campaign. In Total War: Warhammer, Creative Assembly tried to make agents more interesting by allowing them to participate in battle. They re no longer just strategic pawns to be moved around the campaign map, but powerful warriors who can turn the tide of battles and equip the same powerful weapons and items as lords. Sounds great! But it doesn t quite work out in practice.

Get used to seeing these pop-ups a whole lot in a Total War campaign.

Using agents (or heroes, as they re called in Warhammer) in battle really is fun I love sending my Dwarf Runesmith into the fray to buff infantry units with runic magic. But once I get far enough into a campaign to expand my territory and have a few enemies, their agents start to pour into my territory, and only counter-agent actions can stop them from sabotaging my cities and armies. While the agent action to damage a building is relatively inexpensive, say 600 gold, repairing those buildings can cost double or triple that. And if they re quarries or other buildings that generate income, suddenly you re making less money and getting slapped in the face with high repair costs. Ignoring them isn t really an option.

With the Dwarfs, that means pulling my Thanes, who are best at assassinations, out of battle and sending them far across the map to deal with pests. The Dwarfs Book of Grudges also means regularly having to hunt down enemy agents with an assassin; ignoring the grudge leaves it on the ledger, and as the ledger fills the people get testy.

Even without that wrinkle, playing with agents in general just isn t much fun. Defeating enemy leaders in battle is satisfying, but killing them off on the campaign map with a lucky diceroll? Convenient, but not fulfilling, and it feels really unfair when it happens to you. Even when agent actions go your way, they quickly grow tedious. In Shogun 2 and Rome 2, it s not too hard to convert enemy agents to your faction, which does give me a momentary rush of screw you glee.

Except the AI will just make more, and keep sending them, and I ll keep converting them, well past the supposed agent recruitment cap. Having 20 agents sounds like a good thing, but in the end you re still dealing with a mechanic that isn t fun, and you have 20 extra units to micromanage every single turn, multiplying the mundane busywork.

Typical agent spam in Rome 2, via Total War forum poster Quigleyer.

I m hardly the only one with this complaint. Threads like Agents are still the least fun part about Total War are easy to find in Total War communities, though of course agents have their fans, too. More damning, a search for agents in the Total War Steam Workshop returns many mods that limit agent numbers, reduce the AI s agent spam, or disable them altogether.

Right now agents feel like a legacy system Creative Assembly used to shore up the lacking interactivity of Total War units. Leaders do nothing outside of battle you place them in a settlement to give it passive bonuses or use them to march across the map, and little else. The developers wanted subterfuge and religious conversion and assassination, all vital to the history of war, but never did anything more interesting with those ideas than units that pass or fail on a die roll.

Total War: Warhammer s quest system and item rewards, though simple, hint at a possible future. I can imagine the series evolving to give agents narrative events to accomplish instead of stock pass/fail options, more bearing on diplomacy and trade and other systems. Or maybe they re better off as dedicated battle units. If Creative Assembly doesn t give agents a complete rework for its next game, I d rather dedicate my heroes to battle, where they can send a dozen Greenskins flying with a single hammer swing.

It s time for Total War to either give each of the 4Xs their due (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate), or ditch the stale strategy elements and go all-in on extermination.

PC Gamer

I was a little iffy on The Final Station, the end-of-the-world horror story about driving a train across Russia to rescue survivors from glowing-eyed shadow-zombies, when I previewed it last month. I very much like the concept, but what I saw of the actual gameplay didn't really work for me, in particular the linear level designs and inability to make any meaningful choices as I explored. But previews are not reviews, and pre-release games are not finished, and so I continue to hold out hope that it will achieve (or at least come close to) its potential when it goes into full release on August 30.

The Final Station is made up of five chapters, broken up by visits to inhabited stations that provide access to gear and upgrades, and also fill out the story. The difficulty of the game comes from its station design you never see what s behind a locked door and are always running low on supplies, publisher tinyBuild said in the launch date announcement. If you use up that last medkit on yourself, odds are one of your survivors will die due to injuries. If they die on your train (during travels between stations), you can loot them for a small reward. However, if you get them to their destination they will give you a much more tangible reward. (Maybe an upgrade for your gun?)

I hope it works out. It feels like there's a very intriguing, very Russian story hidden away in there, and it will be a shame if it ends up buried under sub-par gameplay. More information about The Final Station can be found on Steam or at tinybuild.com.

PC Gamer

I m traveling through the galaxy in a spaceship with a pig, a couple of aliens, and two heavily armed mercenary penguins. I myself am a robot named Robot Baratheon and I m playing F r Elise on an electric guitar I stole from a massive library I found at the bottom of an ocean as we travel to a forest planet to find cotton so I can craft a teddy bear to give to an actual bear.

None of the above is particularly unusual in Starbound, the 2D space-based exploration and crafting sandbox from developer Chucklefish. What begins as a quest to save the universe from an ancient evil quickly devolves into a fun and charming rabbit hole of tasks and to-do lists, some official but many more personal. Yes, you need to upgrade your armor so you can defeat a quest boss who bombards you from a flying saucer, but if you tire of digging for titanium ore you can instead spend hours carefully decorating your starship with furniture and wall-hangings you stole from a bipedal alien frog s swamp-house. It s up to you how to spend your time, and Starbound is very easy to spend lots of time in.

Dig it

Like Minecraft or Terraria, the pixelated sandbox of Starbound involves plenty of mining, gathering of resources, inventory management, buying, selling, farming, stealing, and crafting. There s a massive and sprawling universe out there filled with planets to visit: some green and leafy, some arid and sandy, some mostly covered in ocean, some radioactive, swimming in lava, or covered in ice. There s plenty to discover: colonies of friendly aliens living on the surface, forgotten civilizations hidden underground, flying pirate ships, indestructible ghosts, even tiny neighborhoods of gnomes guarded by patrolling robots. Not every planet is interesting, but enough of them are to make exploration worthwhile and fun, and occasionally surprising.

As you travel, explore, and gather, you begin to upgrade just about everything in the game. Craft better armor, improve your mining tool s range and power, unlock new tech that allows you to double-jump or turn yourself into a spiked rolling ball, and create protective suit modules that let you visit planets cloaked in radiation and deadly temperatures, which give you access to new resources you can use to build and upgrade even more. Even your crafting tables themselves can be upgraded to allow you access to newer and better gear. Very little of this progression is explained in-game, so if it s your first time playing you ll probably be visiting wikis and forums as regularly as you visit new planets.

There s a main storyline that will send you hunting through the galaxy, searching for hidden civilizations and ancient relics, and battling through some visually interesting levels and difficult, powerful bosses. Side quests are mostly of the forgettable, radiant variety: fetch me this, deliver me that, craft me X amount of Y, find my idiot friend who has the ability to teleport yet somehow can t escape from a shallow puddle of water without your help but they re typically easy and result in winning the favor of NPCs who can be recruited as your crew. As your crew grows, you can begin expanding your starter ship, though unlike the houses you can craft from scratch, most of the customization of your ship is limited to cosmetic decorations.

Starbound has three modes: casual (dying is barely an inconvenience), survival (you drop items upon death and need to eat), and permadeath. There s also co-op, so you can play alongside friends either on a dedicated server or simply by joining their game through your Steam list. I tried a bit with Tyler through Steam. It was good fun, it worked very well, and I hope to play more.

Hacky slash

There s a pleasing variety of weapons including swords, axes, guns, grenade launchers, darts, bows, rocket launchers, and bombs. Some weapons even have special powers, such as my current favorite, a two-handed broadsword which has a blink explosion ability. If an enemy gets in my face, I blip away leaving only a big boom in my place. It s an adorable yet deadly finishing move.

Thing is, with the exception of boss fights in quest missions, there just aren't many interesting things to do with these neat weapons, and combat is both the most common activity and the weakest element in Starbound. Most planets are crowded with alien creatures, and while exploring and mining you constantly come into contact with them and nearly all of them attack on sight. While most aren t hard to handle, you still have to stop what you re doing and deal with them in a very simple and repetitive hack-and-slash (or point-and-shoot) fashion. Combat is rarely much fun or even challenging, it s just a series of tiresome interruptions, especially if you actually have some specific goals in mind and aren t just aimlessly exploring.

Though the combat is lacking, and I d wish for more ship customization options and fewer wiki trips, Starbound is otherwise a great pleasure, full of verve and laden with seemingly endless diversions and self-directed projects that you can lose yourself in for hours or days at a time.

PC Gamer

Square Enix and Legendary Digital Studios have announced plans to create a new live-action digital series based on Dontnod's award-winning episodic adventure Life is Strange. The project is being developed in conjunction with DJ2 Entertainment, which recently completed production on the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog flick.

It's not known how closely the series will cleave to the game, although it sounds like it won't stray very far. Life Is Strange follows the story of photography enthusiast Max Caulfield, a high-school senior who discovers she can rewind time while saving her best friend Chloe Price, the announcement says. The pair soon find themselves investigating the mysterious disappearance of fellow student Rachel Amber, which uncovers a dark side to life in Arcadia Bay.

Life is Strange is one of those rare properties that combines incredibly developed characters and storylines with deeply engaging gameplay. It lends itself perfectly to live-action imaginings, Legendary Digital Studios SVP Greg Siegel said.

We re proud and excited to be working alongside Legendary to realize a new version of Arcadia Bay and Blackwell Academy complete with our rich cast of realistic, believable characters and memorable events, Square Enix VP Jon Brooke added.

There's no word on casting the announcement is really just a this is happening kind of thing which makes this a perfect time to kick around ideas about who'd be best in various roles. And in case you'd forgotten, or just overlooked the matter for some reason, the first episode of Life is Strange is free, now and forever (or at least until somebody at Square Enix changes their mind) so there's no reason not to give it a look if you're curious what it's all about. We've got a few things to say about it ourselves, including a review, thoughts about its ending (spoilers!), and some ruminations on how Life is Strange channels Twin Peaks.

PC Gamer

He s the first Noxian Yordle, one of a rare batch of tag team champions, and the one and only champion to have a censored swear word in the game. He s a personality like none other you ve seen in League of Legends, and his kit s pretty neat too: say hello to Kled, the Contemptuous Canker, and the game s newest champion. Riot have been hyping Kled up for weeks through a viral campaign of posters, where the Noxian folk hero looked for his cowardly mount, Skaarl. Now they ve been reunited, and it feels so good. Here s a look at Kled, and how he represents a new frontier for League s champion design.

 Just the basics

PASSIVE: Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard

When mounted, Skaarl takes Kled s damage, and flees when his health bar depletes. Skaarl can benefit from bonus health as a stat, but Kled can t. When Skaarl flees, Kled is dismounted, and must regain Courage with his modified solo abilities until he convinces Skaarl to return.

Q: Beartrap on a Rope/Pocket Pistol

When mounted, Kled throws a beartrap that deals damage and hooks a champion or large monster, nuking minions on the way. When he grabs a champ, he slows them and pulls the enemy closer to him. When Kled s on his own, he has a ranged pistol that restores Courage.

W: Violent Tendencies

Kled s basic attacks work him into a frenzy, gaining attack speed for four attacks (or four seconds). The fourth hit deals bonus damage and a percentage of the target s maximum health. Kled is always violent, with or without Skaarl. (She s the pacifist!)

Now, here s where things get interesting: Kled s kit is linked to Skaarl to an unprecedented degree. Whereas there s been locked abilities before, like Kalista s W and R, and Yasuo s R, Kled permanently loses half of his kit if he doesn t have Skaarl with him.

E: Jousting

This causes damage to enemies in Kled s path, grants him movement speed if he collides, and he can reactivate to dash back. While Ahri throws a projectile, Kled and Skaarl are the projectile.


Kled charges towards a location, and, like Sivir s ult, leaves a trail of movement-boosting speed in his wake. He gains a shield and rams his targets for maximum damage. This could potentially be a massive game changer in competitive Sivir s ult is notorious as an ability that lets you group and win .

 The nitty gritty

Realistically, we don t know how Kled is going to play out yet, but we do know that he has been designed to be a top. This especially makes sense with the lane swap changes. Kled might struggle against a Caitlyn and Janna in the top lane, but he can go toe to toe with a Gnar or a Renekton (in theory!) Combine this with his health percentage damage, and Kled might carve out a secondary carry niche on top lane.

That being said, all of his safety is tied into Skaarl if he loses his mount, he loses all his extra bonus health, and all of his mobility. He just becomes a wild little dude with nothing to lose at that point, firing off projectiles and stabbing and hoping for the best. It s possible he might end up in the jungle, but if he loses Skaarl, he can only get Courage back from lane minions, and not jungle monsters.

There s also the possibility that Kled could end up as a wildcard kind of support. After all, he has a hook and snare with a slow attached, a serious speed boost and self shield on his ult, and base percentage damages. Of course, many of those utilities could work really well on a jungler as well a speed boost charge, a CC ability, and a steroid to dish out damage. Kled has a few places to end up, and while top s the intended destination, it could go a lot of ways after all, Vi was originally meant to be up top, but she rapidly found her home in the jungle, and there s days of PBE tweaking yet to come.

 Creatively crazy

Kled is a real one of a kind when it comes to personality I mentioned the bleeped line earlier, and that s only one of the cusses in Kled s arsenal. He drops essentially everything but the f-bomb, and if you listen to his voice on YouTube, it s about twenty minutes of wild screaming about everything from Kled s stolen ranks to how great Noxus is to how terrible yordles are to gibberish. and then wild, evocative threats ripped straight out of the Borderlands series.

Kled is a champion who is going to come across wildly different in game, as the YouTube that has been ripped is just all of his lines in order. In game, Kled has lines both mounted and unmounted, in response to champion jokes and after sniping certain champions down across the field. It s a more organic, fun way to display a champion s personality, and holy hell does Kled have a lot of personality to show off.

While Riot has been working overtime to come up with compelling characters who say a lot about the world around them, Kled is a change of pace. This isn t to say that he s badly designed, but he s shallow. Jhin is another psychotic killer, but he s a man of secrets behind a mask crafted by the Ionian government. Jhin is hunted by one faction while serving another while looking for a way to serve the dark urges that rule his mind. He s addicted to violence and the beauty of death.

Kled, meanwhile, is a little guy hopped up on drugs and brain badgers riding a giant lizard and stabbing people and stealing their military titles. Say hello to the League of Legends, Kled. You, and your trusty mount, will be honoured for years. Let s lift a goblet of mushroom juice to the occasion.


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