WAR: So, You Want To Be a Slayer...
It never hurts to help!
Here in a few weeks, Warhammer Online will introduce two new classes and there are few who aren't excited about what's coming. Last week, Mythic reopened their Public Test Server so that we, the players, could put these classes to the test (and to limit players' heads exploding due to excessive eagerness. Simple Business 101, exploding your customer's head is bad for sales) and you couldn't fall over without landing on a Slayer or a Choppa. What if you weren't on the Public Test Server though and didn't get a chance to run around half naked or colored some shade of green? How do you know that you'll want to play one of these classes? Well, in the words of an old cartoon fave of mine, "It never hurts to help!" and we're going to start helping you by taking a look at the Slayer.
I'm... too sexy for my shirt...
If you like Melee DPS, mohawks, and running around half dressed with your gut sticking out, then the Slayer is tailor made for you. Since the first appearance of the Dwarf Slayer waaaaaay back when, the Slayer has pretty much been the poster boy for Warhammer Dwarfs, if not Warhammer alone. The distinct look of these little carnival freaks makes them instantly recognizable and luckily for the fans of the tabletop, Mythic works closely with Games Workshop to keep that look. When you create your character, you're given a large assortment of mohawks to choose from, all red of course (you can go bald, but please, what kind of Slayer goes totally bald?). You'll also have a wide assortment of body tattoos, some more extensive than others, but all are large and all over the body, including the scalp (once again the choice of no tattoo is available, but once again, what kind of Slayer hasn't marked up his bod?).
When you define and name your Slayer, you'll log in wearing nothing but pajama bottoms and holding two axes... and you'll notice you've been hitting the ho-ho's just a bit hard. Most Slayers have a title, like Troll Slayer, or Dragon Slayer, based on their accomplishments. You apparently start off as the Donut Slayer, having attacked pastry shops near and far in an attempt to die in glorious battle against artery clogging lard and his partner, heart attack. Oddly enough, this is just a by product of the Dwarf model, and with no armor to cover it up, your gut is pretty obvious. You'll start working it off almost immediately though, as your combat is fast and furious.
You're a Slayer, and your focus is dying in the glory of combat so regular old PvE ain't gonna cut it, mainly because you can take just about anything less than hero class in WAR, mano a mano. It's a good idea to start RvR from the get go and get into some scenarios, because this is where you shine. Slayers in combat are like wound up little buzzsaws you let loose on you sisters Barbies. They do stupid amounts of damage and leave a wake of carnage in their passing. If you get a group of Slayers together, and you're all running around tossing out AoE attacks, your enemies might as well pack it up and go home because they're about to take turns smoking the pain pipe.
Hey, is that a donut over there?
The Slayer abilities may be changed due to this just being on the test server, but here's what you can look forward to as of now. At level 1, you'll have a hard time controlling your rage, but your level 2 ability, "Precarious Assault" allows you to exhaust your pent up rage and then you can start playing with keeping things between 25-75% so you suffer no armor penalties. At level 4 and 6 you get your first AoE attacks, and you'll be spamming those especially if in a group of Slayers, and at level 7 you get your first positional attack and that makes you an angry little monkey. As has been stated before, your ability to "control" your rage defines your damage and survivability. Keeping it higher but not maxed seems to deliver the best damage potential (50%-75%), but some would argue that maxing it out is the way to go. You'll get a few abilities in the first tier that are fueled by rage, so it won't be too hard to keep controlled. Now let's talk survivability.
If you are a true Slayer, then you've shamed yourself and you're looking for redemption through an honorable death in combat. It's important that you understand and embrace this concept...
...because you're gonna die enough to make Gotrek a happy camper. As a matter of fact, it's possible you'll tie your group Bright Wizard in the category of deaths. Go into scenarios knowing this and loving your Slayer for being the little suicidal lemming that he is. When faced with overwhelming numbers in Nordenwatch, lead your group over the bridge to the Fortress, and show them how to fight on the flag in the face of death! In Khaine's Embrace, race through the tunnel and storm Death's Charge, screw hanging out in the cave!
Someone call for a Slayer?
Finally, kudos to Mythic and Games Workshop for not selling out just to get the Slayer in game. A great job was done in preserving the overall "feel" of the Slayer. From the red mohawks held in place with pig grease, to the distinct lack of chest armor, the Slayer is still the Slayer. Even the random spoutings of the Slayer bring you right into the psychology of the class. The first time you hear him say "Free Me!" or "Bring me DEATH!", you'll appreciate the pain your little character is going through every time he revives, and you'll laugh when he hits that snotling and cries, "The SHAME!".
All in all, the Slayer so far is pretty well done with a ton of damage potential and the "feel" of the class preserved from tabletop. We'll have to see what sort of improvements they make from testing but in a few weeks, expect to be swarmed by a sea of red mohawks because these guys are going to be popular.
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