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Skaven in WAR – Rat a tat tat
We’ve been given four classes of rodentia to whet our critter lust with. I’ve now, after this extended holiday weekend, had the opportunity to experience each of the four. Read on for my thoughts on each of them and the whole Skaven experience.
Rat Ogre – Before getting a chance to play as any of the Skaven, I assumed this would be where I would want to spend most of my time on. I like walking up and hitting people in the face, and the thought of being Andre the Giant on the battlefield seemed like a promising career. Anybody want a peanut (made of Warpstone)?! Well, there are two problems with this class. Sure they can be enjoyable with a Pack Master at your side, but without one, you’ll get no heals, and on top of that, since you’re the biggest thing out there, you become an easy target. They become very valuable on keep sieges (especially since people are still getting used to planning around the necessity of a ram) but again, unless you have a Pack Master with you, it’s hard to last long at the door.
Pack Master – These guys flat out suck to play. I’ve spent a good deal of time on one, and it was never something I enjoyed. I really forced myself to keep playing it, hoping that something neat would happen. First off, the range for their buff and heals is horribly short. You practically need to be on top of a Rat Ogre to be effective, which, I understand the whole “pack” attitude they wanted the Skaven to convey, but there are things that should have been done outside of abilities to help this along (I’ll get to them after the classes). The problem with healing, other than limited range, is that you can only heal a Rat Ogre after building up charges from your buff. The buff has a timer on it, making it difficult to stack charges for a big heal before the Rat Ogre is dead. But this problem partly goes back to the limited range. Maybe if I could prod the Ogre with the buff from a greater distance, it wouldn’t be as difficult to have a charge built for when you need it.
The other issue with the class is that they have ZERO offensive abilities. Well, by that I mean no real damage output. It’s a bit of a shocker playing any sort of healer in WAR which doesn’t have decent damage output when every other healer in the game does.
Warlock Engineer – Finally, a fun class and you can tell its fun by the limited amount of time I’ve had to play one. These guys are a mix of utility and ranged DPS. They seemed to have picked out some abilities from other existing classes and given them to the Warlock Engineer. The few times I’ve played as one, I’ve found their DPS to be good, but I have a hard time lasting very long given, again, a limit to their abilities ranges. But, the good news is that if you die amongst a group of enemies, the AoE DoT you leave behind will give them something to remember you by. Well, that and how GODDAMN AWESOME YOU LOOK!!
Gutter Runner – By far, the most fun I’ve had playing in a long time. You get perma-stealth, and with that you get mount speed and the ability to see enemies on your radar. What could be better than that? Oh, maybe some great melee DPS and an AoE snaring DoT that makes me giggle every time I use it. But that’s not all! Act now, and you can also get a leap ability that removes any snares and lets you jump over keep walls! EVERYTHING MUST GO!
The Skaven have been a very neat addition to the landscape, and I’ve been very happy with their limited number implementation. But, the Rat Ogre and Pack Master (mostly the Pack Master) need attention. You can even tell that they are less enjoyed by the masses due to them being available to play most of the time, while the Gutter Runner and Warlock Engineer are always the first to go. Beyond that, and perhaps most importantly, Mythic needs to address how the players using Skaven interact with one another.
Two things need to change. First, and this was a point which was brought to my attention by Jason this weekend, they need to change the icons for your class when you become a Skaven. People in your warband still see you as regular old you. So if you’re a healer, people may be expecting to get heals from you, and won’t because you’ve changed your role. It makes you look bad.
Going along with that, the other thing that needs to change is an addition of a static Skaven warband. When you become a rat, it should tell your existing warband that you’re temporarily out of the party, and move you to a Skaven only WB. This would enable all of the Skaven on your side to move as a force and strategize more efficiently and in turn it would allow the Ogres and Pack Masters to stick together and benefit from each other. There is an emphasis of “The Pack” within the Skaven, I think these changes could be a huge stride towards seeing that in action.