That’s a pic of the Slayer I’ve been leveling. Even though he is still in T2, he is a handsome little Tasmanian devil. I haven’t really had much time to play him with exams and all that, but once things get back to normal I look forward to leveling the fat Mohawk Ball of Doom™. And while I dread arriving in T4 too soon, I think I’ll manage to get him to a decent RR for him to become more than cannon fodder without too much frustration. What I wanted to write about was how surprised I was at the complexity of the career. Like most people who have’t had any previous experience in leveling a Choppa/Slayer, I just assumed that it’s really easy. I was wrong.
I don’t know how things change in T4 (I heard that Choppas are quite easy with spammable high damage Can’t Stop Da Chop), but T1 and especially T2 as a solo player is a tough nut to crack for a player that wants the most out of his career. For example, in T1 stacking armor talismans and dropping rage before going Berserk and getting killed was a good strategy. I could solo kill healers even when Furious and dropping rage enabled me to get nice finishers with 75% more damage without risking receiving extra damage. When I arrived in T2 though things changed. I was expecting my damage and survivability to drop, as is the way with any career, but I was perplexed at just how tough some targets were and at how easily I got killed. I expected tanks to be tough, but some healers were just impossible to kill on my own. Not to mention RDPS with them getting root 6 levels before melee gets root break/immunity.
I naturally looked for ways to up my damage. This meant that I was staying Berserk and not dropping my rage when trying to kill someone. That led to me dropping dead as soon as someone farted in my general direction. So I had to adapt, as doubtless all Slayers that want to stay effective do. I was constantly aware of my rage and only launching full on attacks when I knew I had a chance. I stayed Berserk when I didn’t have anyone hitting me or a heal or two, but otherwise dropping rage immediately and high-tailing it out of there if necessary. It was an arduous learning process, definitely needed, but came as a complete surprise to me, since I was confident that I had the career figured out in T1. Especially because in my experience the way a career plays doesn’t change much through the tiers with the exception of T4.
Another problem was itemisation. I like to retain some survivability with any career I play, be it a healer or a dps. Here I was at a loss. I figured stacking armor was not viable since I would essentially be spending most of my time with it halved. My resists were abysmal anyway, so I haven’t bothered with them either. Initiative wasn’t looking like a good option either, I only bothered getting my chance to be crit to 15%, since my initiative plunges if I use a very much needed weaponskill group-wide buff. I thought about toughness, but when I got my Wild Gambit tactic (increases strength and weaponskill by 50 or so and decreases toughness by 50) that lost its appeal too.
Then I saw people recommending Takin’ Chances tactic from the Skavenslayer tree (I get heal tics for 80 when Furious and 140 when Berserk every 4 sec). I was skeptical, since I really wasn’t using the abilities that tree was buffing and what can a small heal like that change anyway? Plus I didn’t fancy losing Wild Gambit’s killing power boost. Now I’m glad I tried it. I just stay in Berserk most of the time to take full advantage of the tactic and have a constant 50% damage boost. The healing provided along with an odd potion or two keep me going for long enough to kill my target, which is needless to say fast with that damage boost, or counter any DoTs ticking on me. It’s great because as long as I’m in combat I’ll be getting healed and if I’m not in combat, I’ll be getting healed anyway. This enables me to counter healers dropping DoTs while detaunting me tactic for long enough for them to run out of steam, efficiently deploy kiting and delaying tactics and just plain old mean tricks like hiding in a bush/behind a tree/in a keep to get a few heal ticks before launching a counter-attack. It’s a great tactic and will probably stay with me till I ding 40.
So while I was slowly leveling up in RvR I felt like my killing power and actual damage output became high enough to be an asset to my realm, rather than a hinderance. No more was my health drained away in a split second, or healers laughing in my face while having detaunt up. Now when I play I find myself capable of killing two players at the same time and multiple in chain pulls. Granted, it can still be frustrating at times, since Slayers are a career that heavily relies on good gear and a good team. But I think everything will be easier from this point on.
In conclusion, I now realise that Slayers are one of the harder careers to play solo in lower tiers. It probably gets easier later with Rune of Absorption and other survivability tools. But any Slayer that want’s to play his career to the fullest outside of a pre-made group needs to go through this learning process. That doesn’t mean I object to people calling Slayers, who run around with Power Through spamming Spellbreaker in an organised group, ez-moders.