Loader is a very mobile, very powerful melee character in Risk of Rain 2. She is mainly used for doing burst damage (does all of the damage in short “bursts” of time.) Loader utilizes a grapple which can be used for very high mobility around the map as well as grappling to strong enemies, such as bosses and elites, to avoid taking damage, and dealing damage bit by bit. The Loader has some similarity to Mercenary, as they are both melee characters that are extremely mobile, a useful trait in clearing stages as fast as possible. Another important trait is that they are also very tanky: being able to absorb damage from groups of enemies, then using her abilities to deal immense damage to quickly kill enemies in large amounts and recover simultaneously.
Passive: Scrap Barrier
Loader is immune to fall damage so you will not have to worry when swinging around the map. When Loader strikes an enemy with Loader’s gauntlets, it grants a temporary barrier. The barrier gain is 5% of the max barrier.
Primary ability: Knuckleboom
Loader’s primary attack, Knuckleboom is a melee attack that does 320% damage to nearby enemies within Loader’s range. Her primary will gain a barrier, worth 5% of the max barrier of her max HP, due to her passive ability.
Secondary ability: Grapple Fist
Loader’s main secondary attack fires a gauntlet forward, pulling you towards an enemy or solid object. It will deal no damage, unlike her alternate secondary ability, Spiked Fist. There is a 5 second cooldown, but that can easily be neglected with Backup Magazines or Purity.
ALT Secondary ability: Spiked Fist
Loader’s alternate secondary, Spiked Fist, is unlocked by achieving the “Loader: Swing By” challenge, which is achieved by reaching the Celestial Portal within 25 minutes or less. It is the same as her main Grapple Fist, but there is a twist, it stuns the enemy and immediately deals 320% damage to the enemy it is attached to. “Light enemies” that are weaker, such as Lemurians, Lesser Wisps and Beetles will be pulled towards you, but “heavy enemies” that are stronger such as (early on) Elite enemies, bosses, Greater Wisps and Elder Lemurians, you will grapple towards. Being pulled to an enemy will NOT do damage but pulling an enemy towards you will deal damage and stun them if not killed.
Utility: Charged Gauntlet
Loader’s utility, Charged Gauntlet, will charge up a punch that will hit from 600%-2700% damage, it doesn’t do great AOE damage, but it will pierce through enemies and does more damage the faster you are moving with it. Nothing too special, but it is a very powerful ability among other characters.
ALT Utility: Thunder Gauntlet
Loader’s alternate utility, Thunder Gauntlet, is similar to the Charged Gauntlet, but instead of piercing, it does high AOE damage. It immediately does 2100% damage, but shocks enemies in a cone shape to deal 1000% damage. Just like the Charged Gauntlet it will do more damage the faster you go. You unlock the ability by achieving the “Loader: Earthshatter” challenge, which is achieved by landing a Charged Gauntlet hit on an enemy at 300mph or more. Note that for both utilities, you cannot hold the charge, meaning once your ability is charged all the way it will automatically release.
Special ability: M551 Pylon
Loader’s special ability, the M551 Pylon is a less powerful part of her kit but can be very helpful early on for killing aerial enemies like Lesser Wisps, that are a bit of a job early on. The pylon will float in the air that will zap up to 6 enemies for 100% damage. It counts as a solid object so, you can grapple to it. The ability has an internal cap of three that can be active at a time. Spawning more than three will have the oldest one placed removed when the new one is placed.
ALT Special ability: Thunderslam
Loader’s alternate special ability, Thunderslam is a simple but powerful attack. Slam your fists on the ground, dealing 2000% damage on impact, and will stun all enemies affected. It is unlocked from achieving “Loader: The Thunderdome” challenge, which is achieved by killing three other Loaders in the Bulwark’s Ambry. The blast radius is around 15m. This is an extremely powerful attack that will destroy any enemy in its radius, and with certain items, can insta-kill bosses.
Recommended items to use with Loader:
Focus Crystal: Since Loader is a close range character, stacking as many Focus Crystals is mandatory as it increases damage by 20% to enemies in a 13m distance each stack.
Razorwire: Since you will be up in the enemies faces trying to kill them, there is without a doubt a chance you will get hit by the enemy, Razorwire will shoot a burst of razors dealing damage to up to 5 enemies at a time. Stacking up these is also very helpful, as the target value will increase by +2 each stack and its radius increases by +10m, so you can get back at enemies if they are swarming at you up close.
AtG Missile Mk.1: This is an essential item for all characters, as it is an extremely powerful item that has a 10% chance to fire a missile dealing 300% damage that increases by 300% each stack! Every bit of damage counts.
Kjaro’s band: This is another very powerful item. Hits that deal over 400% damage also blast enemies with a runic flame tornado that deals 300% damage and +300% per stack. Since Loader’s alternate special ability and utility do over 400% damage, it will activate on those attacks, but keep it mind, it has a 10 second cooldown.
Runald’s band: This is the counterpart to Kjaro’s band, so it will activate at the same cause as Kjaro’s band. Hits over 400% damage blast enemies with a runic ice blast, slowing enemies by 80% for 3s, if they’re alive, of course. It will also deal 250% damage, and an extra 250% per stack. It also has a 10 second cooldown.
Hardlight Afterburner: This item adds an additional 2 utility charges, and reduces cooldown by 33%. This is extremely helpful as it lets you use your utility a ton more, for mobility and damage towards enemies. This item is extremely helpful for defeating bosses due to the more utility charges, so you can spam them and deal insane damage to bosses, killing them in mere seconds.
Backup Magazine: This isn’t necessary for a good run, but is highly recommended for that extra bit of mobility.
Ukulele: This is another optional item but it exceeds in crowd control when there is a lot of enemies in a swarm, as it has a 25% chance to fire chain lightning for 80% damage.
Your special and utility are very powerful so keep that in mind to use them as much as you can!
Use your primary ability to pick off weak enemies, and use your other abilities on groups or strong enemies to do massive damage.
When you reach The Moon, you can skip charging up the pillars by grappling up the main tower, but you will need at few Backup Magazines and (optional) a Hardlight Afterburner. Start by using your utility to gain momentum, then use your grapple and get your way up the tower. Try to aim in the direction you use your grapple to increase speed and distance.
A lot of people would say that loading cargo is a dull job. The Loader could not disagree more. Other jobs don’t supply their employees with a fully articulate titanium exoskeleton capable of lifting 250 tons. Other jobs don’t allow their employees to meet the crews of countless starships from across the galaxy. Other jobs don’t let you use your exoskeleton for your own entertainment, much less outfit it with custom-built grappling hooks powered by a winch capable of hauling up to 100 tons. Other jobs don’t involve being approached by a legend among the UES work force, and asked to embark on a classified mission to the Uncharted Territories. Other jobs don’t involve fighting exotic and strange alien creatures, and exploring mystical ruins on another planet. A lot of people would say that loading cargo is a dull job. The Loader could not disagree more.
Loader is a very special character, packing both damage and mobility through a fairly unique traversal ability. She is a very viable choice for any run, and I personally really enjoy using Loader as fun and easy to use as well, even more so depending on the equipment picked up through the run. Using the grapple to fly around the map at mach speed or destroying enemies with the powerful attacks is a total blast to use, and I recommend using her once unlocked if at least to get a feel. Overall, Loader is a perfect combo of power, mobility and strength. So for your next run, bring out Loader and give her a try.