The European PTR is up (and you can access it by running warpatch.exe, a file that you will find in your Warhammer directory), so naturally I jumped on and created a Slayer.
[Note: Thanks Earandur for pointing out that I missed a step in describing how to access the EU PTR -- if testpatch.exe is there, use that. If not, use warpatch.exe.]
So just me, and every other person on the Order side! As far as looks go, everyone knows what Slayers look like and you have a decent range of mohawks and tattoos to choose from. Red hair is not optional (neither are beer bellies), but you’ll just have to guess at which of them are the natural redheads :)
My first impressions are good. It’s a class that does exactly what it says on the tin. You run up to things and hit them hard and hopefully they die before you do. Job done. And then you go to the pub.
I was too busy taking pictures of my tatts to have any screenshots of the mechanics, so I’ll just describe them instead.
There’s a speedometer-style graphic above your hotkeys. As you hit things, the meter clocks up. When you stop hitting things, it ticks down again. When the meter rises above a third of the bar, the bar changes colour (your status changes to ‘Furious’). When it rises above two-thirds, it changes colour again (your status changes to ‘Berserk’).
When you are furious or berserk, some abilities deal more damage and cause you to be more vulnerable. Both the damage and the vulnerability are greater when berserk than when furious.
So you dial up the meter by hitting things, and become more of a glass cannon (glass axe?) as time goes on.
The Slayer also has a set of standard melee style debuffs, there’s a snare and a heal debuff. The talent trees are divided between AE damage, short fast blows, and longer fights (which includes more DoTs and debuffs).
I’ve no idea why they do this because everyone will pick the tree that gives the best burst damage. This is a PvP game after all. Just sayin’
Balance on the PTR
Haha, oh how I laughed. Well, balance may or may not be screwed but everyone on the PTR is playing either a Slayer or a Choppa so we really have very little idea how balance will work out when other classes are around also. All the chat on the PTR channels was about how powerful the new classes seem. But there aren’t any of the classes around that would show up their weaknesses (tanks to stop them mullering the back ranks, anything with crowd control to stop them in their tracks, ranged dps to nuke them when they’re weak).
However, they do kill things fast.
Much has been said on forums about the balance between Choppas vs Slayers. But you have to remember that Choppa vs Slayer is the only fight in town on the PTR. So while I personally would prefer my melee to have an anti-heal debuff than an armour debuff, it’s not useful when fighting Choppas. This debate will probably continue happily unabated until the heat death of the universe.
I think that the people who have been waiting for the new melee classes will be very happy with what they’re getting. They hit things hard, kill things fast, and look great. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life …
But what we don’t know is what happens when there really are tanks and healers around. What happens to them in keep raids (stand around getting bored with the rest of the melee?)? Will they be neutered by CC in tier 4?
Also, I haven’t covered Choppas, but Keen has spent some time playing one and posts his thoughts on the class here.