Another warhammer class overview

Actually in Warhammer it’s “career”, but I’m writing for the non-Warhammer players.  I just finished writing what I’ve learned of the three healer classes.  As I noted among them, the Warrior Priest interests me the most of the three.  But I’ve got a couple of other specific careers that draw my attention, and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned there.

In this case I’m not going to compare the pairing of analog other than noting it exists.  In this case, we’re talking Swordmaster/Black Orc.  Tanks.

Tanks have always appealed, and while I rarely spoke of it I had a tank at a decent level in WoW.  I spent waaay too much time being Real Good with the healer to really learn my warrior, but it was a great deal of fun.  It would have been just about as popular from what I saw back then – though there is slightly more call for healers.  (In WoW, especially PVE, it’s hard to stack tanks to any useful effect.)

So anyway, the Swordmaster.  There are two types of tank on each side.  Clumsily, I’d describe one as an offensive tank and the other as defensive.  That’s terribly wrong, though.  What I’m trying to describe is the respective mechanism.  The Ironbreaker and Chosen tanks are basically rocks.  Their abilities (attacks, etc) are essentially available all the time.  Oh, there’s a bit of difference: the chosen run with auras that debuff and harm foes (AoE); the Ironbreakers get to use grudges (think rage from being hit) as more “oomph” to the actual attack they use, but they’re still pretty much all available all the time.

The Black Orc and Swordmaster are dancers – chain walkers.  They’ve got a set of acts that when done allow a second tier which if done allow a third tier which clears the chain to make them start over.  (They still have several single-shot actions like guard and challenge.  I’m talking of their main actions here.)  For some reason, this mechanism interests me more than the other.  Again, my personal preference is staying order here, but there’s enough overlap with the analog that Black Orc players can get a little use.

One of the reasons the tank appeals here is that Mythic has thought about how to answer the simple question: what use is a tank in PVP?  (To be fair other games have done that too.  WoW really warped the class – all classes – by making PVE so dominant, even to the extent of unbalancing PVP to make high-level PVE raids “play right”.)  Just as in WoW PVE, the role of the tank is simple: to be the team’s shield.  The ideal tank receives all the damage.  So, how do you make a player – who can choose to do otherwise – beat on you instead?  Well…

I’ve elsewhere mentioned collision detection.  Basically, for three seconds an opposing player cannot run through you.  There’s a bit of a tricky game here – if contact is lost and regained, the collision clock starts over.  This means tanks don’t just stand but intead make slight shifts left, right, back and forth.  Done perfectly the collision keeps going and going and going… done wrong, the other player scoots through the hole created when you went left and she went the other way.  Oops.  Now what, chief?

Taunts and challenges, CC, knockdowns and knockbacks… Not really damage, just keeping the attacker tied up and unable to dish damage.  Oh – taunts and challenges work in PVP in WAR.  Taunts mean that the attacker takes 30% more damage from you until either the time is up (15 seconds) or the attacker hits you three times.  (btw – 15 second cooldown means potentially no down time.)  Challenge?  The player(s – it’s an aoe) you’ve debuffed to 30% less damage to anybody besides you until 15 seconds or three hits on you are made.  There’s guard – you pick the friend you are guarding, and all damage they take is shared 50/50 with you.  (I REALLY wish this had been in WoW, though it would have thrown more than a few things off in Arena.)  The taunt, challenge, and guard are common to all the tanks.  And all the tanks have the CC, knockdowns, knockbacks, interrupts…  And they have damage.  Lots of damage, though they can be (and should be) outdone by the pure DPS classes.

Oh – the inevitable controversy.  The tank can two-hand or sword and shield.  (No dual wielding.)  Unsurprisingly the forums are full of “experts” telling people they have to S&B to “really” tank.  Ummm, no.  In fact, all four careers have a move or two that can only be done if they’re using 2H weapons.  The real answer is use the weapon for the situation – PVE or PVP, holding a keep vs being an offensive tank, your personal playstyle, etc.  Just as with healers, I do not believe anyone has been playing the post-beta (which had One More Patch at the last minute – and another shortly after) long enough to Know All.  Some have found a way to be Good, but… no One Way, not yet.

The battle dance of the High Elf Swordmaster appeals, so it’s another I’m considering for my main.

~ by Kirk on September 25, 2008.

2 Responses to “Another warhammer class overview”

  1. I am currently playing a Black Orc and he rocks. I can take mobs 4-5 levels higher than me with no problem. a Black Orcs “Aura” or “battle stance” has a chance to heal him for 300 or more. it is almost like I am a healer myself. every class in WAR can chain pull their level or a bit higher. most classes I have played can take on 2-3 mobs at once with no problem.
    Black Orc is very fun almost like a Fury Warrior with the toughness or protection spec

  2. Learning the dance is tricky – it’s fun, but I’m still having bursts of button mashing and frustration when I lose track of the stage I’m at. Partly it’s because you have to land an attack before you can step up the chain and the chances of failing are very different in PvP and PvE.

    As for the shield – it does, rather, rock. I’ve been using a shield in Rank 1 PvP. Unless you have a pocket healer, using the 2h makes survival more difficult. Carry a shield, otoh, and you can take an enormous beating. Using the collision detector and abilities like hold the line (10 seconds of 40-50% block and parry, and an extra 15% for everybody behind you) you can hold huge numbers of people. Not indefinitely, but long enough to disrupt reinforcements or let your folks get close.

    Probably the best thing about the tanks in general is that this kind of tactical play – blocking off reinforcements, body checking people going for healers – actually works. I’ve been very impressed with the RvR on all 3 of the characters I’ve tried – and having seen a few obvious beta testers rip through nubs like they’re not there, this is by no means a shallow game.

    Antyway, enjoy it if you try it. Many of the details are superficially (and distractingly) similar to WoW, but the core mechanics make it, I think, a very different beast. A lot of skills are transferable, but I’m still constantly having to remind myself that this is not WoW. Give it a go, but give it some time. I’m having fun with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: