Ever since Riot Games offered a small tease during the Summer Games Fest, Valorant players have had a genuine reason to believe that the new agent coming to the popular free-to-play shooter will be a robot. Not one to keep fans guessing, the company today unveiled KAY/O, a “machine of war” whose mechanics are all named for code terminology and borrow a little from other popular FPSes.
KAY/O is an initiator with three throwable abilities. The first is ZERO/point, a knife that when cast lodges into the first surface it hits and suppresses anyone within its blast radius. Think Revenant’s Silence from Apex Legends but with a blade instead of a device. Opponents caught within its area of effect will find themselves unable to select their own abilities and have to simply rely on gun skill. It can also deactivate weapons like Killjoy’s turret, which will be music to the ears of players who just want to “click heads.”
Next up is FLASH/drive. It comes in the form of a flash grenade, which can be charged to reduce ‘cook’ time. Right clicking will throw a charged flash that only needs one second to cook, whereas a left click will up that wait time to 1.6 seconds. KAY/O’s final non-ultimate ability is FRAG/ment, an “explosive fragment” that will stick to the ground and explode numerous times. It’s capable of almost entirely wiping out an opponent’s health if they’re caught at the centre of its blast, kind of like damage from Raze’s Cluster Grenade.
While Sage remains the only hero capable of bringing eliminated players back into battle, KAY/O’s ultimate ability looks set to change mid-to-late game skirmishes. NULL/cmd allows players to “instantly overload with polarized radianite energy” which gives KAY/O a combat stim, emits pulses that can suppress enemies and, most importantly, allows him to be downed rather than eliminated. But be mindful, that only happens while he’s in his overloaded state.
Similar to the revive mechanics in battle royale shooters like Fortnite and Warzone, teammates will be vulnerable to damage while they “stabilze” KAY/O’s core and eventually get the killer robot back to its feet. Like Sage mains, players willing to take evasive manoeuvres during battle could turn a 1v1 in their favor with a well-timed rescue.
KAY/O isn’t the only new addition coming to the Episode 3 Act I battlepass when it goes live on June 22nd. On top of the usual free and paid weapon skins, gun buddies, cards, sprays and titles, Riot is offering bonus XP to players who squad up with friends during the Valorant Year One Event between June 22nd and July 6th. Parties of two will see an 8 percent boost, while squads of three and four will see 12- and 16-percent bonuses respectively. If can you fill all five spots, the XP bonus rises to an impressive 20 percent.
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