When Riot revealed it was adding a champion into League of Legends who can travel through time, some important questions were left unanswered. Namely: how do you incorporate time travel into a real-time multiplayer game? Now we have an explanation and boy does this Ekko guy sound cool.
In a lengthy primer on Ekko published today on the League of Legends website, Riot went into detail about how the champion's special abilities -- the ones associated with the Q, W, E, and R keys -- will work. While some of Ekko's abilities seem like standard moves dressed up with a time-warp theme, others look like they're gonna be bonkers.
His passive, "Z-Drive Resonance," slows down enemies if Ekko hits them three times in a row. He also gets a speed boost if the target is a champion:
His ranged Q attack throws out what looks like some sort of high-tech steampunk boomerang. It looks an awful lot like Sivir's boomerang, which is also her Q ability. The main difference with Ekko's is that it slows enemies:
"Parallel Convergence," Ekko's W move, creates a large ethereal dome that -- you guess it -- slows down enemies caught inside of it. A neat twist is that the dome explodes if Ekko walks into it, granting him a shield and stunning his enemies inside in the process.
Then there's his E, "Phase Dive." It lets Ekko dart in a particular direction, then blink over to an enemy.
His ult (R) is where things get really crazy. Riot describes it as a time-reversing mechanic that reminds me of games like Prince of Persia, or even Braid:
Ekko rewinds time, briefly turning untargetable and invulnerable before reappearing wherever he was a few seconds ago. Once he reappears, Ekko recovers a portion of the health he lost over those few seconds while dealing tons of damage to all nearby enemies.
Rewinds time, huh? In the example provided in Riot's reveal, you can see Ekko starting out between two opponents:
Moving around them...
...before being dropped back where he started. Obviously, in real League games he'll probably do some more exciting stuff than just walking.
League of Legends fans have already started brainstorming about the implications of the new move. "Are they implying if you use your ult before your time clone disappears in lane, you can back, buy items within a few seconds and then ult, you'll be back in lane," one player wondered on a Reddit thread about the Ekko announcement.
"Yes," a Riot employee responded. "You can do that."
League developer Patrick Scarborough, meanwhile, explained in a Twitter exchange this afternoon that the "timeclone" that pops up for Ekko's ult follows him around the map "indefinitely." This means that all activating the ult does is send Ekko into his invulnerable phase for a seconds before dropping him back at his original location. In other words: activating the ult doesn't afford Ekko a time window. The time window is already there once he unlocks his ult at level 6.
Given that, I'm predicting that Ekko will allow League players to indulge in crazy, risky manoeuvres. Because they know they now have an opportunity make a quick getaway, so to speak. Later on in his Twitter conversation, for instance, Scarborough said it's possible to teleport to another lane, kill an enemy champion, then trigger Ekko's ult to zap back to his original lane.
The only thing is: you'd have to be able to pull that off in as little as three seconds. But this is League of Legends. Players already know that every millisecond counts.