What really stood out for me were how the numbers had changed since the last time they did a career poll. One of the big differences between this career poll and the last one is that a lot of the people playing have now had a chance to play either closed beta or the preview weekend. So more of the choices are now based on having actually tried the class.
On the Order side, the classes which were originally the most popular were the Warrior Priest (For SIgmar! Bollocks!) and the White Lion (Grawwwrrr!!). But in this poll, both of them have been completely overtaken by a stubborn little beardy/braidy outsider with a honking big axe (or shield). (NB. White Lion unpopularity is likely due to pet pathing issues which have been acknowledged and should be resolved by launch.)
Meet the Ironbreaker, small but perfectly formed avatar of teh awesome! I played one up to about level 9 in closed beta so I’m not the expert by any means, but it was terrific fun and I’m definitely planning on picking one up as an alt.
Probably more similar to the WoW warrior than any of the other tanks in the game, the Ironbreaker’s abilities depend not only on Action Points but also on Grudges, and she gets more Grudges every time either she or her Oathfriend take more damage. Some abilities also give more Grudge. The Oathfriend is a cool mechanic by which you pick out one of your party to be your Oathfriend. Some of the Ironbreaker abilities grant a buff to both Ironbreaker and her Oathfriend and you can switch your Oathfriend around in combat if you need to (ie. to whoever is currently getting hit, to grab more Grudge). Some of the Ironbreaker abilities do more damage depending on how much Grudge you have. Not all of them actually use up Grudge to do so.
This means that once an Ironbreaker builds up 100 Grudge, she can put out some major hurt, especially if specced to do so. I didn’t play one with a level 31 template but my guildies who did were very happy with the class.
Like every tank in Warhammer, the Ironbreaker also gets the ability to guard someone in their group and take half of their damage. Guard can also be swapped round in combat and is a great way to keep your favourite healer (read: the one who actually heals you) out of harm’s way.
I did locate a shield and try tanking some low level public quests with my gal and she was a rocking little tank. I had no trouble grabbing aggro or keeping it and was happily poking the toenails of big monstery things and yelling dwarfy taunts at them while the rest of the group killed them. (As an aside, one of the funniest things I have seen in game is my husband playing a tank because he actually does yell at the monsters when he hits taunt, so I keep hearing comments like ‘Oi! Titface!’ coming from across the room.)
I’m still not sure how PQ contribution is calculated but I had no trouble topping the list as a tank when I’d been tanking everything for the whole 3 phases so I think there’s a fairly heavy bias towards tanking.
I played her a bit in Scenarios and also found that a lot of fun. Tanks in this game are made for people who have a talent for being in the way. I did pretty well by spotting where Destruction was charging towards our squishies and wandering into the way. Collision detection is very fun for tanks. And having tried one, I’m not surprised that they are all so popular in the polls.