League of Legends developer Riot Games revealed the next playable character for their PC and Mac MOBA today. Bard the Wandering Caretaker is the most mobile support Champion ever seen in the game.
Bard isn't supposed to just sit in one lane the whole match. By venturing throughout the map, he can find ancient chimes that give him a burst of movement speed, mana and experience. These chimes also attract meeps, A.I. spirits that attack Bard's targets. These meeps disappear after attacking so Bard needs to keep finding more chimes to remain effective in battle.
He's able to make his teammates more mobile as well. He can place Caretaker's Shrines that speed up and heal any allies that walk across it. With Magical Journey, he can create portals to allow one-way passage through walls. If he finds himself in a team fight, he can use Cosmic Binding to slow and stun foes.
His Ultimate, Tempered Fate, places all friendly and hostile units in an area under stasis. They won't be able to move but they also can't take damage. There are several ways that Bard can use this ability to help his team.
"If the enemy team’s tower diving a stranded ally, casting the ability over them grants them a few precious seconds of invulnerability while Bard’s team comes to the rescue," Riot explains. "The ability has offensive uses, too, like freezing a lone enemy while Bard’s team closes in for the kill, or freezing an enemy turret while Bard and his allies get to work on diving their suddenly unprotected targets."
Tempered Fate is also useful for disrupting the enemy's attempt at slaying a dragon. Bard can freeze both the opposing team and dragons to give his team enough time to arrive and disrupt the kill.
LoL's developers note that Bard is a good companion for Caitlyn, who can maintain a lane all by her lonesome while Bard wanders off. Bard is also great for boosting Udyr's mobility and helping Amumu set up his Ultimate.
Riot says they've been meaning to make a roaming support character for awhile. They decided to finally create one once they found a fitting character appearance."
"One of the champion concept artists had drawn up a really compelling character. He was strange and otherworldly looking, so we started figuring out how we could join these two pieces - roaming support and this character - together. After trying out a few different mechanical hooks (he was, at one stage, a pretty bardy Bard, with a musical theme and an instrument that was more central to his abilities), we ended up with a cosmic character, a caretaker who existed to protect relics and places scattered around the world."
In addition to a new character, League of Legends is also receiving a major patch. Patch 5.4 will rebalance several characters including Kalista and Janna. It also adds a new camera mode and a DJ skin for Sona. You can find the full patch notes here.