By Garrett Fuller
Recently Warhammer Online has announced the addition of the Orc Choppa and Dwarf Slayer into the class mix. With a game so heavily grounded in PvP adding new classes can be very difficult to keep the balance of the game. Being that the two classes were designed from the beginning of Warhammer, it will be interesting to see what they bring to the table now that the game is six months into its lifecycle as an MMOG.
Let us start with the Dwarf Slayer. Overall the Dwarf Slayer remains one of those characters that personify Warhammer from the beginning. Ever since making it on the cover of the Warhammer Fantasy Role Play book back in the 1980s, the Dwarf Slayer is a Games Workshop icon. Mythic has done a good job of keeping the topless dwarfs wielding huge weapons in check as far as design goes. Adding small bits of armor and keeping the look, Slayers offer players some fun design options. It is all about the Pighawks according to Paul Barnett. Stepping away from the look of Dwarf Slayers, lets talk about their effectiveness in game play. Essentially these characters are going to be the light tank DPS class. They are the damage dealers, the destruction machines able to jump into melee anywhere and be effective. My question is how effective will they be? Warhammer has gotten a reputation for being a ranged combat game in PvP. The knock back tools on most classes keep the melee out. Will Slayers be able to stay in the fight, without having to constantly run back into the fray? Tanks have some tools to hold targets in place, but it seems like there are way more abilities to keep the fighters away from casters and ranged opponents. Ranged classes all have the tools to make them effective in combat, tanks seem to be lacking slightly in tools that will keep them in the fight. Will the Slayer be different?
Moving on to the Choppa, the Orc counterpart to the Slayer, again we see another straight DPS class being added to the game. The Choppa can dish out massive attacks and literally has a skill that counter-attacks any hit it takes while simply running through combat. The Choppas are billed as the line breakers, the chaos causing Orc machines of death. Sounds great, right? But once again the question comes up, will the Choppas be able to get to their targets to cause the damage they want? The other issue with Choppas is that the more damage they dish out the weaker they get. This is an understandable design to balance the class that deals out full on DPS, hoping the character will survive long enough to finish their opponent with one massive critical attack, however, will you even be able to stay on your target long enough to swing for the kill? Players I have talked to in Warhammer agree that ranged rules the day, so the Choppa may suffer from the same set back as the Slayer in PvP.
When talking with Mythic at NY Comic Con it is clear that both classes are almost pure suicidal killers. The Slayers are suicidal after all, read the lore. How much fun will it be to constantly run into a line of casters or archers and get slaughtered? Many view it as blasphemy to compare WAR to World of Warcraft, however in this case it is necessary to point out the Death Knight class that was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard had done a great job giving the Death Knight tools to take on and take out casters in the game. With up to six anti-magic abilities at your disposal (depending on your spec) as well as a snare and Get over here! ability, Death Knights have no fear of running into a group of spell pushing softies. There is no doubt that the Slayer and Choppa will be given loads of DPS options, but will they also get the skills they need to stay in the fight and build up their damage? Come on Mythic, if Blizzard can do it so can you.
So until Call to Arms we will just have to wait and see what is coming with the Slayer and Choppa. My hope is that both classes give Warhammer a needed boost in the melee department. Overall the game that uses WAAAGH!!! as its calling card was in desperate need of another Orc class, it is about time the Orc fans have another option. As for the Slayer, aside from the Chaos lore, it is a true Warhammer original and hopefully a great addition to the online game. Mythic has built a nice cake called RvR in all of their games, lets hope that the Slayer and Choppa add some yummy icing of carnage to the battles in Warhammer Online.
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