The Hammerer Hammered?

In an interview Mark Jacobs gave to Eurogamer last week, he said that one of Warhammer’s four cut classes would not be coming back. Now that we know that the Knight of the Blazing Sun and Blackguard are coming back, it seems either the Orc Choppa or the Dwarf Hammerer is getting axed and will be replaced with something else. The obvious and logical suggestion is that the Hammerer is losing out in favor of the Slayer.

This is where I confess that I have never been a big fan of the Slayers. Orange-mohawked Dwarfs seemed incredibly silly and tacky to me back in the old days of the Warhammer miniatures game. Now, for whatever reason, they don’t seem as abrasive, so I expect that I will have no objection whatever to them as long as the class is designed correctly.

What does that amount to? Well, it seems to me that Order lacks a pure melee DPS class; the White Lion has a lot of mojo tied up in a pet and the Witch hunter is a ranged/melee hybrid to a certain extent. There is no equivalent on the Order side to the Destruction Witch Elf or Marauder, both of which are pure melee right in your face. Order feels the lack, I think, and there is no dual-wield specialist on that faction either – the Slayer would fill both roles.

At the same time, I think Destruction lacks hybrid classes, generally, and certainly a hybrid ranged/melee DPS class like the Witch Hunter or Shadow Warrior. I will be a bit mad if the next Greenskin class isn’t an Orc of some kind, but I would like to see something with some flexibility in this regard – Destruction has an abundance of melee DPS already.

Both issues point out a flaw in WAR’s class design – Destruction classes tend to be more ‘pure’ representatives of their archetypes, while Order has more hybrids. There are exceptions in both cases, of course, but this probably makes some Order classes more difficult to play than various examples on the Destruction side. A player of a Shadow Warrior, for example, needs to be able to flip between stances efficiently, changing from mobility to melee to ranged. It’s an awesome and very effective class when played well, but the fact is that there will be plenty of suboptimal players, and those well-intentioned folks will be more effective playing a more straightforward class.

WAR’s classes, judged individually, are superbly designed – every one of them has a unique flavor and look, and is fun to play. But the classes need to be balanced between the factions as well, not just by power level, where I think they are balanced fairly well, but by the degree of challenge required to play them. The fussiest classes in the game – the Shadow Warrior, Witch Hunter and Warrior Priest – are all Order, and that’s a noticeable problem. The only comparable equivalent on the Destruction side is the Disciple of Khaine, who is the Warrior Priest’s opposing number, and plays very similarly. This may not be a significant factor in realm balance in the long term or even right now, but I think it’s noticable enough to have been felt.

2 responses to “The Hammerer Hammered?

  1. I think it will boil down to the “cool factor” of the Slayers if this is indeed the case. Destruction, by nature of the IP, is far cooler than Order, and let’s face it… PvP players are in it for the coolness/Destruction.

    Those like myself who have an unabashed love for the good guys and the underdogs love the Order, but on Averheim we seem to be better off in general than many servers.

    One way to help this balance? People do love berserker dwarves. The Slayer is popular in WH lore, especially in terms of Gotrek Gurnisson.

    My only worry is how will they convey the class’ lust for death? Maybe make them get stronger the closer they are to death? I doubt they’ll do away with the death-penalty or buff them when they die, as that’d be cheap. But the notion of a melee class that gets stronger and stronger the closer they are to death could be both cool problematic.

    For instance, would Slayers then hate to be healed? Would they become EVEN LOWER priority for heals than other DPS classes? Or maybe they’d be HARDER to kill the more damage they take, and this could be part of their mechanic?

    I’m intrigued, as you can see, as it’s the class I’ve wanted to play for months now but I assumed it was never coming.

  2. Totally agree the amount of ppl who play a warrior priest as a tank and do not heal is frigtening..i rolled one and she currently stands at lvl 9 and i heal with the odd bit of dps..but ppl play it as a tank and it isnt lol…order do need an out and out tank…