Breakdown Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Breakdown RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network First Ever Photos Revealed for the Xbox: Project Scorpio Developer Kit & Hardware Break Down Thu, 13 Apr 2017 05:09:21 -0400 Dan Roemer

The Xbox One originally released in late 2013 and is now seeing its first major upgrade, similar to the PlayStation 4 Pro system released last year, known for now as “Project Scorpio” -- Gamasutra were able to get a first look and photos of the system's brand-new developer kit. Today I'll be breaking down all the juicy details and highlights from their coverage, starting things off with the actual specs of the development kit and retail models.

Notably the developer kits have a bit more juice under the hood outside of the CPU, featuring a GPU with 44 CUs (Compute Units) @1172 MHz (Megahertz) with a clock speed of 6.6 TFLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second) with 24GB GDDR5 RAM, a 1TB hard drive with an additional 1TB solid state hard drive and an optical disc drive with 4K UHD Blu-Ray support.

The retail model will have a GPU at 40 CUs @1172 MHz with a clock speed of 6.0 TFLOPS, with 12GB GDDR5 RAM, 1TB hard drive and will also have the 4K UHD Blu-Ray support and optical disc drive.

Comparing this to the Xbox One, Xbox One S, and even the PlayStation 4 Pro -- it's a huge upgrade in terms of raw power on the GPU side of things.

For perspective PlayStation Pro's GPU runs with 36 CUs @911MHz at a clock speed of roughly 4.12 TFLOPS. The Project Scorpio will also be boasting almost 50% more memory with its 12GB GDDR5 RAM @326GB/s compared to the PlayStation 4 Pro's 8GB GDDR5 RAM @218GB/s.

Project Scorpio will also incorporate DX12 support, speaking with Gamasutra, Kevin Gammill (Microsoft’s group program manager for Xbox Core Platform) -- had this to say,

“It's the first time I'm aware of us ever doing something like this,” Gammill said. “We actually pulled some of the DX12 run time components directly into the hardware. So basically, these high-frequency DX12 draw calls you'd normally call [to output a frame, for example] which would take up a lot of GPU and CPU cycles, now that that's baked into the system itself, it makes the system significantly more efficient.”

Developer feedback was also given on the previous hardware's 8GB DDR3 ESRAM and was replaced entirely with 12GB GDDR5 RAM -- speaking to Gamasutra,

“This was feedback we got from developers, that targeting ESRAM was harder, so we wanted to not make that an additional challenge,” he said. “The other thing we heard is that they wanted more headroom for their titles, so we moved from 5 gigs of RAM to 8.”

Xbox, Project Scorpio

Microsoft will be shipping out developer kits of the Project Scorpio in the coming weeks, they'll also be able to replicate both Xbox One and Xbox One S developer kits. The kit will feature a real-time clock and battery back up, an OLED screen with navigation buttons on the front of the box and five programmable buttons. (So for example if you're working with a Project Scorpio developer kit, you'll be able to set up the OLED screen to display useful information such as frame rate, GPU or CPU usage, etc.)

They'll feature the same ports as the retail Project Scorpio, but with have three additional front-facing USB ports, an extra NIC (network interface card), and will also sport vents on the back and sides as opposed to the top, this way developers can conveniently stack multiple developer kits without having to worry about overheating issues.

Xbox, Project Scorpio, Stacked

Speaking to Gamasutra:

“I kid you not, I go to first-party studios, I go to third-party studios, and they have dev kits stacked. But they basically built blocks, or used Legos, as a gap so they could vent. Well now you can stack these 10 high.”

In closing with Gamasutra -- Gammill had this to say:

“I want the best version of the games people want to play to be running on our platforms,” said Gammill, by way of explaining why Scorpio exists. “We didn't have that until we came up with Scorpio. So Project Scorpio fills that gap.”


Project Scorpio is set to release this holiday season, will you be picking one up? Let us know in the comments below and for everything Xbox related, stay tuned to GameSkinny.

New Overwatch Character, Orisa, Delivers Mechanical Death Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:34:24 -0400 Dan Roemer

Today Overwatch rolled out its new patch, alongside the new hero Orisa. Falling into the tank category of heroes, she brings mechanical death with her in the form of four new abilities and her primary weapon the Fusion Driver -- but notably won't be available for competitive play for one week following the launch.

How Orisa Delivers Mechanical Death on the Battlefield

The Fusion Driver itself has an extremely high rate of fire, and an ammo capacity of 150 bullets before needing to be reloaded. While overall it doesn't deal much damage, it's fine considering Orisa's primary role as a tank, thus being built around becoming the focus of enemies and taking damage. To help aid in this she can throw a device down and deploy a protective barrier on the fly, which can take a decent amount of damage before being broken, useful for defending your fellow team mates in choke points on the map itself.

She can also use an ability known as “Fortify” -- which allows her to take less damage, as well as being unable to be stopped. Say for example Roadhog tries to hook you or you're caught in the vicinity of Mei's blizzard ultimate, none of this will affect Orisa while Fortify is enabled, perfect for trying to stay on a point during the last few potential round winning seconds.

Orisa also has an ability known as “HALT!” -- which is the secondary fire for the Fusion Driver, allowing her to shoot a “graviton charge.” If you detonate it close enough to enemies, it will pull them towards to it, perfect for syncing up someone's ultimate if you have good team coordination.

Speaking of which, Orisa's ultimate is known as the SUPERCHARGER -- which makes Orisa deploy a device that increases damage output of your fellow team mates within range, once again perfect for deploying if you're defending a point on those last critical few seconds of a round or even potentially rushing it.

Be sure to also check out the video below to see all the different skins available for Orisa in Overwatch.

With all that said, are you excited to get your hands on Orisa? Do you want to play her in competitive? Let me know in the comments below.

Breakdown: The Obscure Gem Everyone Should Play Thu, 10 Nov 2016 04:08:49 -0500 MrDanielPrice

Breakdown. You probably haven’t heard of it and I’m not surprised.

Breakdown was a first-person action adventure game released back in 2004 for Microsoft’s original Xbox. Developed and published by Namco in Japan and North America and published by Electronic Arts in Europe, it’s an extremely obscure title that, according to sales estimates provided by VGCharts, was an abysmal commercial failure -- only selling around 12,000 units globally. Ouch!

Despite poor sales, Breakdown is probably one of the most innovative first-person shooters ever devised. (It even inspired the critically acclaimed gameplay of Mirror’s Edge.) It’s more than a decade old, but surpasses current video games in some aspects that, surprisingly, haven’t been replicated since.

The Story

The game’s story is excellent and engaging, if not a little cliché. We play as Derrick Cole, a guy who wakes up in a science facility with no memory of who he is or why he’s there. We go through the most immersive tutorial section I’ve ever played in a game ever—we learn how to look around, move, shoot and how to throw punches and kicks, all with a perfectly good reason to do so, being that we were just in a coma

After being given a sedative, a bunch of soldiers storm into the room and try to kill us. We’re narrowly saved by a woman named Alex. We’ve never met before, but she sure knows us.

I won’t spoil the story, but know that it involves taking down a lot of military soldiers and getting into more than a few fist fights with alien warriors called the T’lan, who are equipped with impenetrable energy shields that only Derrick can break through. This is where the hand-to-hand portion of the game’s combat system comes into play.

As the story progresses, you’ll meet a few more characters and it will get more complex and a lot less cliché than you might expect.

The Gameplay

While this game is something I believe everyone should play—hence the title of this piece—it’s far from perfect. Shooting is much like you’d expect in any other first-person shooter, except that you can’t free aim at all. You use the A button to lock onto your target and pull the trigger. It works, but it’s a flawed mechanic that results in little marksmanship needed from the player, a lot of frustration—especially on the hardest difficulty setting and in later portions of the campaign—and taking lots of lead to the face. The latter aspect is made worse by the inability to regenerate health.

The hand-to-hand combat fares much better, and it’s immediately obvious why locking onto a target was chosen as opposed to free aiming. However, while the first-person fist fights are one of the game’s highlights. And in my books, it’s part of the reason Breakdown is such a unique and innovative game, things start to break down—no pun intended—when you’re faced with more than one T’lan warrior at a time.

Due to only being able to attack one target at a time and the narrow field of view offered by the immersive first-person perspective, it’s an absolute pain to take down two T’lan at a time. While your partner Alex will aggro one of them in the times when you’re not separated from her, there are still plenty of occasions where you’re expected to take on more than one threat at a time on your own.

These situations highlight the glaring flaw in the game’s lock-on mechanic, making you feel less like a badass supersoldier and more like an amateur boxer -- taking hits from behind and at the side as you desperately try to knock one guy on his ass and give yourself enough time to turn around and swing a few punches at the second guy before his buddy gets back up on his feet.

The combat system is unique, immersive and engaging, yet results in too many frustrating moments that shine a light on the messy, ugly face of its terribly flawed design.

Eating, Drinking and World Interaction

Another aspect of the game that stands out—and one that isn’t flawed by any means—is how health recovery and world interaction is handled. That is the pinnacle of what this title has to offer in regards to pure immersion; it’s also the most prominent element of the overall experience that I remembered from originally playing the game when I was younger.

When picking up weapons and collecting ammunition, most games simply have you aim at the object, press a button and POOF!, -- it disappears from where it was and is magically in your hand. And you only have to walk over ammunition to pick it up.

This isn’t the case in Breakdown, however. When you pick up weapons and ammo, you actually pick them up. Derrick will reach down, pick up the weapon, inspect it for a second or two, and then it’s added to your arsenal. Ammunition is handled in a similar fashion, with Derrick picking up sole magazines, looking at them for a moment and then tucking them away in his combat vest.

Here’s the kicker, though, and one of the little touches that makes this game so damned immersive, when you kill a soldier and he drops a gun you already own, Derrick will pick it up, eject the magazine, then drop the gun and just take the ammo -- exactly as you’d expect someone to do in real-life.

One of the downsides about the weapons is that there’s very few of them. If you include the frag grenade, there are only five weapons you’ll use in total, almost half of which you’ll pick up within the first hour of play time. The most peculiar thing about Breakdown’s arsenal— thought I’m not even sure it can be called that—is that its pistol acts very much as the equivalent to other games’ sniper weapons; it does more damage per bullet and is more accurate than the submachine gun.

This game has many things it can be faulted for, but world interaction is not one of them. It doesn’t stop with weapons and ammo, though. Every other action is performed the same realistic way, and with excellent animations for each. You heal by picking up burgers or ration bars and eating them. You can use vending machines to dispense cans of carbonated goodness to drink, too. All this is animated meticulously -- down to inserting a coin, pressing the button, and picking up the can from the dispensing tray.

You’ll open doors, swipe key cards, press lift buttons, absorb alien energy orbs, climb ladders, and do some light parkouring in this game. All are fully animated from an engaging first-person perspective, accompanied with superb and realistic sound bites. Looking down, you’ll see you’re an actual human being with feet, rather than a camera holding a gun.

It’s the closest thing to real world interaction any video game has ever come, prior to virtual reality gear hitting the market. In fact, a remaster or remake of this game would be a perfect way to show off what VR gaming has to offer.

The World

The environments you’ll adventure through largely consist of grey hallways. In Breakdown's defense, this does make sense given the context and the location. However, this samey feeling will be alleviated with some outdoor sections and a spattering of interior designs that mix things up a bit.

Again, I’m keeping this vague, so as to not to spoil the experience for those who haven’t played it yet.

The Audio

The music in Breakdown is another strong point. Fast, thumping beats will attack your ears while you’re in the midst of action -- whether you’re shooting soldiers or kicking some T’lan ass. During the quiet parts, you’ll sometimes be treated to some slow, creepy music that keeps you on edge and wondering whether there’ll be something or someone out to kill you around the corner.

The voice acting is also good, considering the game’s age, which adds to a solid audio experience all-round.

Go Hard or Go Home

If you don’t like it hard, then this game isn’t for you. I played it on the highest difficulty possible and it was a challenging experience -- though this may partially be due to the flaws in its design. I’ve no doubt fans of games such as Dark Souls and XCOM will be right at home here.

My Final Thoughts

Breakdown is probably the most memorable gaming experience I’ve ever had. Despite all the things this game does wrong, the idea behind it and the vision the development team clearly had for this project is well intact. It’s a great game that, in spite of its flaws, is one of the most unique, immersive, engrossing and engaging experiences gaming has to offer.

The real shame here is that the game hasn’t seen a reboot, remake, remaster, or any new installments in the series. That’s not so surprising considering the low sales figures, but I think this gem of a game should see some new treatment. This is not an experience that should be left to rot, forever living in the nether of obscure games no one has heard of.

Breakdown deserves to be played by anyone who has a serious appreciation for video games. It shouldn’t be left relegated to the dusty shelves of used game shops and cheap eBay listings. Play it, tell people about it, criticize it, do whatever you want with it. Just get the word out, whether it’s good or bad, and tear away the veil of obscurity shrouding an innovative title that deserves some serious attention.

A Close Look at the Nintendo Switch Trailer & What It Tells Us Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:24:26 -0400 David Fisher

So we all know that the Nintendo NX is now called the Nintendo Switch, and that it's without a doubt a portable console/home console hybrid. But does the Switch's 3-minute preview give us more information than it lets on? In this article we'll be taking the Switch's preview apart to find out just how much Nintendo might have in store for us come March 2017!

Note: these images aren't in any particular order. With that said, let's begin, shall we?

For a while now we've had rumors of the NX/Switch being a console/handheld hybrid. But what exactly does the Switch's dock do? While it doesn't look like much, we do know that it is responsible for outputting an HD signal to the TV.

On the left of the dock we can see what appears to be an HDMI Out plug, as well as what looks to be Nintendo's proprietary power plug. Conversely, the video with the woman playing a Super Mario title would suggest otherwise as two wires can be seen coming out of the back of the Switch. While it might be a stretch, the ports do look uncannily similar to the Nintendo Gamecube's memory slots.

There does not appear to be any power buttons on the dock itself, so we can assume that the dock is activated by an active pad being inserted or by the controllers. Also, if you watch the trailer closely, you might notice that the Switch's main console doesn't actually run at 60 FPS. It has a lack of smoothness in frames suggesting the pad will run at 30 FPS, whereas the Nintendo Switch Dock runs the games at a smoother frame rate of 60 FPS. This might be done to save battery life, and also suggests that the dock rather improves the frame rate via hybrid GPU or simply clocks up the console when running on A/C power.

We also know based off of the video that there is a new Super Mario title in the works for the Switch. From the looks of it, the new Mario title will be taking place in a colorful world unlike any we have seen before -- as such, it is highly unlikely that it is a remaster or remake. Mario does not have any extra gear on him either, and he does make a spin-jump suggesting that if anything it might be another Galaxy sequel. However, the presence of Delfinos in the video might hint toward a Super Mario Sunshine sequel.

Perhaps a hybrid of the two games is in the works?

In the above image we can see the Switch's console component being used outdoors. Aside from the obvious fact that the console is being used nowhere near the dock -- thus meaning the console does not need the dock to play HD games -- we can also note that it has built in speakers on the bottom. We also know that the Switch has a headphone jack for the use of other sound devices.

As mentioned before, the game does not run at 60 FPS when showing the NBA title or other games. However, we should note that unlike the Wii U there has been no alluding to touch screen capabilities or a stylus dock. This might mean that the Nintendo Switch will not have touch screen capabilities at all, or that they will be limited to finger-sensitive interactions.

On the Switch's back end we can see a number of features. From left to right we first see that there will be two shoulder buttons on the Switch's removable controllers. There is also a slot for GameCards which look similar to (if not thicker than) 3DS cartridges -- which I totally called back in May. Next we have a standard headphone jack, and then what appears to be a heat vent. 

The vent is an interesting feature, as it suggests that the Nintendo Switch requires a heat exhaust to function properly. This supports the earlier theory that the Switch will likely clock up its graphics processor while in the Switch Dock. It also reaffirms that the Switch is a console in of itself, and that it will likely output at the very least a high resolution image at all times.

In this image we can see two Nintendo Switch consoles being used side-by-side. Each player has one controller in hand, and they are both playing the same game. While it might not be safe to assume that Download Play is an option, local off-TV multiplayer is certainly within the cards. Each player is capable of playing the game on screen with only one controller, suggesting that developers might take advantage of this for simpler multiplayer titles.

We can also see the Switch's desk frame-like stand holding it upright while everyone surrounds the device. This will undoubtedly increase the utility of the Switch console outside the confines of the home.

Here we can see the two Joy-Con controllers as they appear without the console. Each Joy-Con has a total of six buttons (face buttons and two rear buttons) as well as an analog stick. Each seems to have a start-like button as well (see the square on the Joy-Con [L]) and their own separate battery life.

From the video alone it is difficult to understand how the controllers will be charged or powered, but we can assume that they are charged while docked inside the Switch's console portion. What developers will do with the Joy-Con's various forms will be interesting no doubt.

Next we have what appears to be a car-dock attachment for the Switch's console portion. If this comes standard with the Nintendo Switch, then it will surely help the console attract sales from families who travel or those with younger children, especially with the simple design of the Joy-Con controllers.

We can also note that the game on screen is a Mario Kart title. However, the track is Yoshi's Circuit from the Gamecube title Double Dash. Considering that King Boo is in the image, and the players are holding two items each, could we be getting our first looks at a Double Dash!! remake? At worst we're seeing the possibility of the Nintendo Switch being compatible with more Nintendo Gamecube era games.

Next up we have the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. The Switch's Pro Controller looks much like a Nintendo Gamecube Controller, with one analog stick being placed at the bottom. Once again we see the same face buttons, a familiar D-pad, two trigger buttons, and four unknown buttons on the center. We can assume Start and Select are two of the buttons, and one is the home button. Could we then assume the fourth is a share button -- similar to the PS4's -- with which Nintendo players will finally see the console giant enter the modern age?

Only time will tell...

Here again we see the Nintendo Switch from the back. There isn't much else to say about it other than the fact that we get a better look at the frame-stand, as well as what appears to be, at the center, room for the Switch to connect to its dock.

Also, Nintendo Switch confirmed to not spontaneously burst into flames while on airplanes like some other handheld devices...

Here we get the official name for the Joy-Con dock, the Joy-Con Grip. This is in essence a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, except it uses the Joy-Con controllers instead of being a standalone device. There does not appear to be any circuitry in the grip itself, further supporting my theory that the Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con controllers will have to be charged inside the actual console.

This is, of course, unless I'm wrong and the lack of lighting is hiding some sort of port for a USB cable or other Nintendo cable to be linked.

In this image we see four eSports players huddled around the Nintendo Switch while playing Splatoon. This image once again confirms that the Switch will have local wireless play. The fact that eSports players are the ones playing the console further suggests that Nintendo is looking into possibly getting into the eSports scene.

If this is true, then Nintendo is quite possibly looking into finally entering the hardcore sphere with the Nintendo Switch, while simultaneously not abandoning its family-oriented side.

Last but not least, we have the Nintendo Switch being taken out of its dock. What's interesting is that the Switch was not shut down or even paused before being removed from the dock. This means that the Switch will be able to seamlessly go between TV and handheld modes.

Having this functionality will be great for people who are on the go as they will not have to worry about saving, turning off, or otherwise going through a process to pick up their game before leaving home.

That's all for now!

From the trailer this is all the good stuff we managed to find out on our own, but maybe you found something we missed out on? If so, leave your findings in the comments section below, and tell us what you think about Nintendo's upcoming console!

Red Dead Redemption 2 Trailer Breakdown: What Does It Tell Us? Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:59:03 -0400 Adam Morris

Early this morning we got our first look at Rockstar's sequel to 2010's Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2. The trailer showed off brand new gameplay footage running on next gen consoles -- and even though it was short, there's a lot to dig into and unpack. So let's get started.

The trailer begins with a large and utterly gorgeous Wild West landscape, plus era appropriate music. Many different landscapes are shown off, and some even appear to be from previous areas of the original Red Dead, such as Tall Trees and the Great Praries. Familiar wildlife such as small Buffalo is shown, and of course horses are very prevalent throughout.

The areas it looks like you will be traversing are much more vertical and varied than previous games, and tall mountains are shown in a few shots. Towards the end, we hear an unknown character speaking, possibly one of the seven characters in the promo art.

All of the footage appears to be in engine and includes some of the best graphic fidelity of any game released on next-gen consoles thus far. Unfortunately, no character, plot, or mechanic details were included in this teaser. We do, however, see a very brief shot of the seven characters in the promo art riding off into the sunset. Fan theories are sure to ensue. 

With the trailer released, it is safe to safe to say that Rockstar will be quiet for a while, or at least until we receive a new trailer. 

For more on Red Dead Redemption 2 stay on GameSkinny for all your wild west needs.

Bard, the Wandering Caretaker: In-Depth Ability Analysis Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:19:40 -0500 Ryan Mayle

Riot has just revealed League of Legend's next champion which totally wasn't designed by Hayao Miyazaki. Bard, the Wandering Caretaker, a new support with a new style of roam-focused play.

This style of support being one that allows you to leave your AD carry and roam the jungle. However, are his abilities really capable of being able to change the meta of supports always being glued to the hips of AD carry? Let's break down each of Bard's new abilities and decide.

Passive: Traveler's Call

Bard's passive comes is a special two-parter.

Ancient Chimes

Bard's presence causes sacred chimes to appear on the Fields of Justice. Collecting a chime grants Bard a brief burst of movement speed, experience, and mana.

This ability is what gives Bard his ability to roam. Without this nothing would be possible and he would be stuck in lane or quickly fall behind. However, the video posted by Riot leaves out some vital information as to whether or not you will constantly be able to see the location of the chimes. If so, this ability will be easy to strategize as to when you can leave lane to collect some chimes. It will be possible to leave your partner to collect chimes and gain some movement speed all while not missing out on lane experience as you will have your own source from the chimes.


Bard's presence attracts small spirits known as meeps to his side. Whenever Bard attacks, a meep throws itself at his target, dealing extra damage before disappearing back to the spirit world. As Bard collects more chimes, the meeps that follow him grow in both number and power.

This ability looks to gives Bard a little more burst damage, without being too outlandish for having two passives. Also when a Meep is launched to a character it is then able to arc out and hit multiple targets on the other side of the target. This probably won't come into play until late game lane pushing, but it is nice to have regardless.

Q: Cosmic Binding

Bard fires out a burst of spirit energy in a line, damaging and slowing the first enemy struck. After Cosmic Binding hits an enemy, the burst of energy continues through, searching for secondary targets. If it hits a wall, it stuns the initial target; if it hits a second enemy, it stuns both targets.

This is Bards crowd control ability, every support needs one. Your positioning will differentiate how this spell interacts with your opponents. This skill shot ability will always provide a slow on a target, but if you are able to line up two enemies it will give you the opportunity to stun them both. Also, if there is only one enemy and you shoot through that enemy champion towards a wall, it will stun that champion. I don't see Riot giving this ability too short of a cooldown, but I would expect to be able to use this ability two to three times during a team engagement.

I don't see Riot giving this ability too short of a cooldown, but I would expect to be able to use this ability two to three times during a team engagement.

W: Caretaker's Shrine

Bard conjures a health pack that gains power for a few seconds. Allied champions who walk over the pack gain health and a brief burst of movement speed, while enemies can stand on the pack for a moment to destroy it.

This ability gives Bard the ability to help his teammates without actually being in the same lane. After placed on the ground, the shrine takes 10 seconds to become active and you can have two out at a time. From the video, it appears at level 18 the shrines will heal as soon as touched for about 300 health (depending on items, which is unknown in the video). If a champion is able to hit two shrines back to back, that is a very sizable chunk of healing that you can setup in case you are about to be attacked under your own turret. The one drawback with this ability is that it cannot be used reactively to give a teammate a boost of health and speed as it takes time for the shrine to become active, and if an enemy champion walks over it, it's gone.

The one drawback with this ability is that it cannot be used reactively to give a teammate a boost of health and speed as it takes time for the shrine to become active, and if an enemy champion walks over it, it's gone.

E: Magical Journey

Bard conjures a portal on a target wall. The portal tunnels through to the far end of the wall, granting one-way passage to all champions, friend and foe, who enter it.

This is the playmaker of Bard's toolset. When this ability is released you will see YouTube montages of it. It basically makes a one-way trip through most walls for you, your allies, and any enemies who decide to follow. This ability can be a great way to get your teammates out of a bad fight, or possibly used to set up traps. If you cast it in a decent spot, while being followed it isn't out of the realm of possibilities to convince a low health enemy into following you through your portal right into a turret. Another way this ability could be used would be to bait an enemy team into a trap. You could have multiple members of the enemy team follow you through a wall directly into the rest of your team that is waiting for them. I look forward to

Another way this ability could be used would be to bait an enemy team into a trap. You could have multiple members of the enemy team follow you through a wall directly into the rest of your team that is waiting for them. I look forward to seeing the creative uses that people find to utilize this new mechanic.

R: Tempered Fate

After a brief delay, Bard places all units in a targeted area - friend or foe, including champions, minions, monsters and turrets - in stasis. Frozen units are immune to all damage until the effect wears off.

This ability works almost identically to Zhonya's Hourglass, but instead of only affecting yourself, you cast a ring, which turns everything in the ring into a frozen stasis that is immune to all damage for a short period. This ability isn't only able to be cast on champions, but will also work on monsters such as the Dragon and even Towers.

This ability will have a plethora of opportunities to shine. You can use this as an ability to escape from a fight, save a fragile AP or AD carry, or freeze a tower in order to continue the pressure on the enemy team.

Final Thoughts

After looking at each new ability Bard, the Wandering Caretaker has I have to conclude that this support will have a very high probability of being a top-tier support. Cooldowns, speed buffs, and healing numbers can be changed, but it will be the mechanics that will make this support shine (think about how many times Thresh has had his numbers adjusted but still remained incredibly strong because of his mechanics).

Bard will bring the ability to have huge presence in both middle and bottom lane due to his roaming passive. If middle or bottom lane is struggling, he can periodically give them healing shrines to support them, while staying in another lane. Then when team fights begin, Bard can move his entire team great distances by guiding his friends through walls instead of having to walk around them. In the end, I can only see Bard as being a champion that is always banned in ranked games or will control the flow of battle. They have this champion set up to be nothing less than a success.