In this Ruined King: A League of Legends Story & Turn-Based RPG article, we’re going to talk about the Champions involved, combat mechanics, and overall features of the new turn-based RPG developed by Airship Syndicate and published by Riot Forge. Ruined King came out as a huge surprise on November 16, 2021 because after the initial release was moved from early 2021, no updates were provided thereafter. The game is available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
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Ruined King: A League of Legends Story & Turn-Based RPG
- Name: Ruined King: A League of Legends Story
- Platform: PC (Steam, GOG, Epic Games Store), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
- Developer: Airship Syndicate
- Publisher: Riot Forge
- Release Date: 16 November 2021
- Genre: Turn-Based RPG
What is Ruined King: A League of Legends Story?
Ruined King is a narrative, Turn-based RPG that is considered as an expansion of the League of Legends universe alongside the release of Hextech Mayhem on the same day and the Arcane Netflix Series earlier this month. Unlike League, Ruined King is a singleplayer game where you control a party consisting of three Champions.
You may have also noticed that the game was made by Airship Syndicate, who also developed Battle Chasers: Nightwar and Darksiders Genesis, both of which were really good. What’s immediately obvious with all of them is how remarkable their visual styles are with Ruined King being the most polished and beautiful among the three. It’s not as dark and gritty as one would expect given the situations that the Champions find themselves in. As a matter of fact, the environment is more vibrant than you would expect. Furthermore, the textures and landscapes have similarities with the visuals of League whereas the cinematics and some dialogue scenes resemble comic books.
When it comes to combat, Ruined King and Battle Chasers are turn-based compared to the action hack-n-slash nature of Darksiders. The interesting part about this recent iteration is your strategic approach to each encounter because of the Instant and Lane Abilities you use. Your decisions about which to activate first are primarily influenced by the buffs and debuffs that your enemies have.
Ruined King features six League Champions with distinct roles as well as abilities that can be upgraded and remapped whenever you want while choosing the best perks to change your playstyle. You’re also able to enchant gear on the go in order to permanently buff your characters beforehand and to improve your chances of winning in fights.
Overview and Setting
Ruined King is set in Runeterra, specifically in the pirate city of Bilgewater. The story takes place a few years after the Burning Tides with Gangplank seemingly out of the picture thanks to the bravery of Miss Fortune who has fought against him. The biggest threat to the nation right now is the re-emergence of the Black Mist from the ill-fated Shadow Isles. This corrupts souls to turn them into abominations. The goal is to investigate the reasons behind its return as well as to do everything in your power to finally put an end to it.
To make matters more interesting, every Champion you play is neatly introduced one by one. This leads to better character development as you gradually learn who they are, their backgrounds, and motivations. You’ll also come across other Champions when you progress further into the narrative. Even if you’re not familiar with League or you have no knowledge of the incidents that have happened before, you’ll be able to seamlessly understand what’s going on due to the story’s decent pacing. In spite of this however, the choices you make won’t change the course of the plot, nor your relationships and interactions with everybody else.
Ruined King is aesthetically pleasing right from the very beginning. It uses the same technique as its predecessors when new characters are being introduced or when allies are talking with each other. Because of the landscapes and level design, you’ll feel a sense of nostalgia for Battle Chasers as well as League when you’re exploring multiple areas of the city. Furthermore, audio doesn’t fall short since the music and sound wonderfully blend with the visuals of the game. You’ll be listening to harrowing and dynamic soundtracks while traversing abandoned houses, dungeons and even in combat, respectively. As a result, every encounter is a unique experience in itself.
Combat is particularly exciting because you hear the sharp and strong effects of your abilities and weapons upon attacking enemies. Lastly, the voice acting for every Champion is equally impressive, which goes to show the amount of work that has been put in to create realistic heroes.
Ruined King doesn’t have a character customization feature or a selection to cycle among different Champions at the start. Instead, you’ll meet them individually as you progress in main quests. You’ll then have the option to upgrade their skills the moment they level up.
Like in Battle Chasers, you’ll be exploring hub-based areas depending on the regions you have to discover. There are puzzles to solve, loot such as gold and materials to collect, and lore entries to read in order to gain special perks. These perks correspond to better survivability and power in combat as you improve the Champions’ capabilities.
Champions and Party Composition
Ruined King allows you to play a total of six Champions, namely Miss Fortune, Illaoi, Braum, Yasuo, Ahri and Pyke. Each of them fulfills traditional RPG roles while some are better hybrids than others. For instance, Yasuo is a fully-fledged Melee Damage Dealer who moves quickly and strikes with deadly precision using his sword. What makes him stand out is he has the highest chance to inflict Critical Hits. On the other hand, Illaoi and Braum specialize in protecting allies by healing them and providing shields, respectively. They also have the ability to deal damage although it’s not as powerful as Yasuo’s.
In the party, you’re only allowed to bring three Champions so you have to choose wisely based on their strengths and weaknesses that determine how well they synergize with one another. Regardless of who the active ones are, everyone will level up together. You can switch characters at Rest Points.
The game’s combat is known for its Lane Initiative System, which involves the clever use of Instant, Lane and Ultimate Abilities. This is quite similar to Darkest Dungeon’s encounters where you need to respond to enemy buffs and debuffs accordingly to identify the best abilities to activate at a given time. However, what’s different between the two is that Ruined King relies much less on RNG and focuses more on tactical methods to succeed.
At the center of your screen, you have the Initiative Bar, which determines who goes first in every encounter. Some abilities such as Yasuo’s Gathering Storm lets you push back enemies to delay their turn. Additionally, this bar provides you with Hazard, Boon and Wildcard information in the form of a rectangle that you need to be aware of at the start of combat. Hazards are penalties like Poison Mist while Boons are temporary buffs to grant healing and extra damage. Meanwhile, Wildcards can either be a Hazard or Boon. Note that the Initiative Bar is accessible to both your party and the enemy’s as long as your portraits touch its boundaries.
This is where the creative and tactical aspect of the game comes in as you need to balance the utilization of Instant, Lane and Ultimate Abilities. Instant Abilities are those that are immediately executed. They’re your go-to skills to temporarily restore a portion of your Mana via Overcharge. Conversely, Lane Abilities require cast times and consumes a lot of Mana so you can’t keep using them. Between the two, they are more powerful than Instant Abilities.
With Lane Abilities, you’re able to switch lanes to reduce your cast time or to strengthen your skills even more. For example, you can maximize the potency of Illaoi’s healing capability by scrolling down to the Power Lane. If you scroll up to the Speed Lane, you’ll hasten the process by reducing its cast time at the cost of lesser HP restored. Your strategy will depend on the Hazard or Boon you wish to avoid and receive, as well as the sudden need to cast the ability. When you’re starting out, inspecting the buffs and debuffs of your enemies is very important to determine the skills you’ll be using.
Next, you have Ultimate Abilities, which are the most powerful among the three. For your party, you only have one Ultimate Meter that recharges every time you activate an ability. It’s usually best to leave this to Champions who are core damage dealers like Yasuo to finish off targets as soon as possible. And finally, you can initiate fights with Dungeon Abilities in order to debuff or inflict extra damage against them prior to the start of an encounter.
Although the encounters in Ruined King are exciting, they can be tedious at times if you don’t set the combat speed to 2x due to the character’s animations. I do wish that in future patches, we will be able to entirely skip their Ultimate Ability animation as this unnecessarily lengthens the confrontation. It would also be nice to steer clear of minor encounters altogether if the Difficulty Setting you’ve chosen isn’t Story Mode in order to save time.
Abilities and Runes
Every time you level up, you gain points that allow you to upgrade Instant, Lane and Passive Abilities. The higher your level is, the more upgrades you unlock. What makes this system flexible is you can opt to withdraw the points you’ve initially invested without an additional requirement or cost. As such, you’re able to experiment with different builds quite easily.
When you reach Level 8, you’ll unlock Rune Shards, which grant special perks to further customize your playstyle. Each Champion has two classes to choose from. For instance, with Illaoi, she can invest shards into mastering perks to become a Kraken Priestess, Guardian or a mixture of both. The only advantage of concentrating on certain perks per playstyle is you receive small but permanent bonuses.
In Illaoi’s case, if you were to allocate three shards into the Kraken Priestess Class, her Attack Power Mastery increases by a certain percentage. Similar to Abilities, you’ll be able to undo your decision without expending additional shards if you intend to switch over to the other Class in the future. You can also gain more Rune Shards by collecting lore that’s scattered across regions. Not only do you gain access to extra perks but you’ll also know more about the game’s stories. Upon collecting lore, you gain tomes, which are turned into shards.
Exploration, Rest Points and Equipment
As with any RPG, exploring the map has its benefits such as obtaining gold, unique gear, lore and recipes to improve equipment. Although it’s not mandatory, it’s better to complete side quests by purchasing Rumors or talking to random NPCs at lower levels in order to efficiently level up your Champions.
Moreover, you’ll encounter Rest Points that not only lets you have conversations with another ally but it also allows you to fully replenish your HP and Mana while granting buffs when you eat a meal. This is essential since both of these are persistent after combat unless you level up or approach a Rest Point. However, it’s worth remembering that taking a rest brings enemies back to life.
Overall, Ruined King’s exploration isn’t as smooth due to clunky character controls, which can take a while to get used to, and the lack of fast travel points. Interacting with highlighted objects doesn’t always register because of its placement in the area so you end up repeatedly clicking them or just moving on altogether. Additionally, I do hope that there are more avenues to fast travel from one hub to the next rather than limiting this feature to Regional Maps via the Gondola Network.
In terms of other in-game activities, you can go fishing in order to sell the fish in Bilgewater for Black Marks. This is a special type of currency that lets you buy chests containing rare materials and gear from vendors like the one in Baron’s Rest. Furthermore, you’ll discover recipes that allow you to enchant Weapons and Armor for buffs as well as infusing them to permanently raise their rarity and stats. Overflowing ingredients is necessary as it improves your chances of successfully upgrading your gear. You don’t need a crafting bench to do them as they are readily available in the Menu.
Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is a tactical, turn-based RPG where party composition and the synergies between Abilities are of prime importance to become victorious in combat. Simply alternating from Instant to Lane Abilities without considering the enemy’s stats, buffs and debuffs will make it harder for you to progress in quests especially at higher Difficulty Modes.
Although player choice doesn’t matter and repeatedly exploring area maps due to the lack of fast travel points can be problematic at times, Ruined King has a deep and captivating storyline and character development on top of pleasing aesthetics and engaging combat. It’s also worth mentioning that throughout my playthrough, the only bug I encountered was crashes associated with quitting the game.
If you’re looking for a story-driven, turn-based RPG with strategic combat and class customizations even if you’re new to the League universe like myself, then you’ll want to get your hands on Ruined King. It’s already available now and costs 29.99 USD. You can use the link below to support the channel!
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