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Massively goes to WAR: An overview of Ranged DPS careers for Destruction

Michael Zenke

Let's face it: DPS classes just have more fun. Tanks have to always worry about being between the squishies and the pointy things. Healers have to make sure their fellows are standing upright. All DPS classes have to do is be pointed in the right direction and relatively sober. That fun factor is even more true than the norm in Warhammer Online, as the Destruction races offer up some gloriously sadistic ways to squick the other side.

There are three ranged DPS classes on the Destruction side, and with only their two melee counterparts to rely on they'll be taking up a lot of the damage-dealing slack once the game goes live. Players who choose these classes are going to have a heck of a lot of fun variously shooting, exploding, and damning the souls of their opponents. That's just how DPS players like it, too. Join us for a walk on the dark side with the Squig Herder, the Dark Elf Sorceress, and the Chaos Magus.
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Squig Herder

Given how evocative and mindlessly fun the Greenskin faction is, it's hard to pick a favorite class from among the three available. They're all so beautiful in their own way, with violence and misbehaving the order of the day. The Squig Herder, though, offers something neither the Goblin Shaman or the Black Orc can: a friendly pet that you can take home to the kids.

Okay, so the pet is basically a meatball with legs and a mouth full of thousands of teeth, but it's still a pet. And if other MMOs have taught us anything, it's that pet classes are just about the most fun you can have in an online world. Squig Herder mechanics are built entirely around the utility of their pet, combining their mastery paths and pet roles into one delicious overall class purpose. Mastery-path specific pets perfectly compliment the way that their goblin masters want to play the game, essentially. Goblins looking to do long-ranged combat will have a pet squig that defends them like a traditional tank. Toe-to-toe gobbos, instead, have a squig that can deal out its own lethal ranged damage.

Squig Herders share their mechanics, somewhat, with the game's other pet class: the White Lion. That class has mastery paths focusing primarily on the role of the pet. Instead, the Squig Herder's mastery paths dictates what the gobbo himself is best at. The pet's role falls behind, like any good NPC assistant should. As a result the feel of playing a Herder can best be described as a "rolling vortex of knives, arrows, and teeth." Pet classes are great at giving players the opportunity to really go nuts on bringing down critter after critter, and with your trusty squigy at your side there's lots of fun to be had.

Squig Herder Mastery Paths:
  • The Path of Big Shootin': A path focused on long-range bow combat.
  • The Path of Stabbin': A path focused on toe-to-toe combat.
  • The Path of Quick Shootin: A path focused on short-range and moving bow combat.

Straightforward explosions may be the domain of the Bright Wizards of Order, but for a bit of subtlety you'll want to work with the mostly female ranks of the Dark Elf Sorceresses. They know that not everything can be solved by a burst of flame and smoke. Sometimes you need to corrupt a creature's guts from within and *then* make them explode.

Sorceress mastery paths are pretty much what you'd expect. They allow you to tweak what kind of damage you do in different directions, whether you want a lot of 'spike' immediate damage, damage over time, or the ability to drop damage on a bunch of enemies at once. Their core mechanic is essentially identical to that overzealous pyromaniac, the aforementioned Bright Wizard. Slinging spells as a Sorceress taps into the depths of Dark Magic, and the more spells she slings the more feedback builds up. Building up all those energies makes you hit harder and crit more often, but it's a dangerous game. Once you're above a certain level of Dark, every spell cast is a roll of the dice.

Despite the many similarities between the two classes, playing a Sorceress feels fundamentally different than the Bright Wizard. The constant explosions and smell of napalm is very much missing from the Sorceress experience. What you're left with then, is a lot of spells that 'feel' dark and cold. Unlike the Bright Wizard's personality (which can best be described as a surly cannon), the Sorceress genuinely seems to be messing with powerful and unknowable forces. Think more "Cthonic horror" than high fantasy fireball slinging and you'll get the idea.

Sorceress Mastery Paths:
  • The Path of Agony: A path focused on immediate damage.
  • The Path of Calamity: A path focused on longer-duration effects.
  • The Path of Destruction: A path focused on wider-area effects.

No. The answer is no. No, the Magus can never get off of his floating disc. No, never. No, not even to go to the bathroom. There are special higher-than-normal urinals in the men's bathroom at Chaos HQ to accommodate the fact that they hover. He's on that thing all the time, and as a result the Magus is a very different animal from every other caster in the game.

The Magus differentiates from other more 'brute force' spellcasters by giving substantial form to his dark powers. Where the Sorceress and Zealot merely draw on unknowable and unnamable things, the Magus gives them bodies and sends them out to do his bidding. His gameplay doppelganger is the Dwarven Engineer, but the living, breathing, oozing nature of the Magus' 'turrets' makes for gameplay with a wholly different tone. Instead of utilitarian mechanisms dispensing death at the whim of a toolmaker, the player takes on the guise of a dark magician barely holding horrible powers in check. Within his summoning circle the deamons are bound and must 'behave', but one slip and the result could be ... terrifying.

The Magus is fun in a number of ways, but just riding around on that disc is a huge plus. Check out our quickie video below of the skateboarding, daemon-summoning Chaos Magus.

Chaos Magus Mastery Paths:
  • The Path of Havoc: A path focused on damage from afar.
  • The Path of Changing: A path focused on faster casting, shorter range damage.
  • The Path of Daemonology: A path focused on deamons and close combat.

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