Dreaming the Slayer

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder since February and seeing how I’m probably not going to finish it, I decided to go ahead and publish it. Originally I was going to post it once I dinged renown rank 80 on my Slayer, because I wanted to add screenshots of my character’s journey from his infancy to the final rank. That never happened (my Slayer only got to RR78 before I quit), but I still think the post is decent.

Keep in mind that I haven’t done much editing besides spell checking and deleting the unfinished parts. Also, it’s an unfinished piece (even the last screenshot of Sovereign and RR75 hammers is missing), so don’t judge it too harshly.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I had a dream. That dream was an unstoppable killing machine that is a decently geared Slayer. Or so I thought. That dream has long since been realised, although not in a way I suspected and it turned out to be an easy and fleeting thing to achieve.

Ever wondered how it feels like to play a Slayer? Or why they seem so deadly yet at times harmless? Want to know why I think they’re an epitome of a melee damage class? Read on.

The dream

Do you know the feeling of seeing a Slayer charge into the enemy ranks, appearing to be twice as tall, all screaming, flailing madly and with a blood-crazed look in his eyes? The feeling of watching the same enraged embodiment of fury lay waste to the enemy lines and soon begin to drive all of the enemy force, bar the most stout of tanks, before him, like sheep before the wolf. I know that feeling. It is victory.

That’s how allies feel. The Slayer himself, on the other hand, is most likely in a state of battle frenzy. Driven by adrenaline, hatred or pure bloodlust, the Slayer will be completely focused. Oblivious to anything but his weapons and the objects of his rage. His fury only seething when the last of the enemy is either dead or out of reach, sense gripping him just in time to avoid being killed by the guards.

The Slayer’s enemies will be afraid for their lives and frustrated by their futile attempts at retaliation. You see, even if you are to kill him or render him incapable of fighting, there won’t be any respite from his anger. The opposite, you will make him angrier and deadlier. You need to understand that he is never taken by despair and knows no pain, for no feeling can coexist with rage. Rage that enables the Slayer to be relentless, unforgiving and unstoppable.

The reality

The above can be made reality, and frequently is. You may have seen it or even experienced it. But what the above descriptions fails to mention is the tank standing beside the Slayer, guarding him, keeping him from harm and assisting him, and the healers standing behind the Slayer, healing his wounds and making sure he is swiftly back on his feet should he fall.

You see, support makes or breaks a Slayer. Never has there been a class more reliant on his allies, but never has there been a class more potent with solid support. A Slayer alone has many strengths but just as many weaknesses, his weak points counter-acting his strong ones.

  • Great damage – but no ability to bypass armour.
  • Superb damage enhancing mechanic – but with a drawback of halved survivability.
  • Tons of damaging abilities – but poor action point management.

Add a guard, an armour debuff, an AP battery, healing and support dps, and you’ve got yourself a demon.

It took me a while to realise. You don’t need amazing gear to perform heart-stopping charges. You don’t need a hundred people charging with you to drive the enemy before you. All you need is a good group. A good Slayer isn’t just a good player. He is a good team-player.

The feelings

All of the feelings described in the first section do, in some way, manifest on the battlefield. And I don’t mean the virtual battlefield on the screen, but the mental one inside the player’s heads. A good player controlling a Slayer will be insanely focused, have adrenaline coursing through his veins, see and smell only blood when in the zone. The description might be exaggerated, but the feelings are still genuine*.

*I realise that I might be especially susceptible to those, since I get easily immersed into gameplay. But from what I’ve seen these feeling manifest in almost all good Slayer players, varying in form and intensity, but always present. They are most likely incurred by the type of gameplay the Slayer career requires in order to make for a succesful character. I dare say that a player not giving in to those feelings or going against the gameplay suggested by them, makes for a poor Slayer.

The pain

The biggest pain the Slayer can suffer is frustration resulting from being in a bad team. A team that doesn’t understand your career or your role, can’t play the game as good as you can, or is a victim of numerous other issues a team could be facing (poor communication or unbalanced setup being one of them). This will either result in the Slayer dying without achieving anything, or him having to alter the way he plays into a more subdued style that does not fit the class at all.

If you see a Slayer in a bad team know that he has it the roughest and forgive him any bad behaviour as a result of frustration. Chances are he is a perfectly well-mannered being when not on his wit’s end.


4 thoughts on “Dreaming the Slayer

  1. I played a Slayer from the day they released (several months after launch for those who weren’t there) until I hit RR 83 or 84 and unsubbed a few months ago. Support is essential for a Slayer to survive a direct assault on the enemy lines, you definitely got that right. Slayer players must have very high situational awareness in order to survive any encounter, because if someone gets the drop on you while you’re out solo roaming you can definitely get killed with a Slayers low armor, at any Renown Rank. But if you’re hitting the sweet spot of decent support in a large fight, or getting the drop on another player (or even a small group of players) with a decent solo spec, you can have a lot of fun spilling the enemy’s guts onto the battlefield.

    By far my favorite spec was Troll-Slayer up to Rune of Absorption for survivability and the incoming healing debuff (Deep Wounds) and Rampage (almost completely undefendable attacks for 10 or 20 seconds depending on when you dumped Rage, so very sweet), and Skaven-Slayer to Shattered Limbs. When you add the Defensive Sov 6 and 7 piece armor procs and the Shattered Limbs AoE cooldown increase on enemies, it was just brutal. Putting on DPS Sov with this build was also totally viable in PvE, or in a situation where you had lots of heals. Good times above RR 80. Blaq you might want to grind a bit more if you can get the Sov gears. ;)

    As far as pure melee DPS goes, the Slayer is one of the best classes I’ve played in any MMO. Balls out murder-fest when everything is hitting just right, or a quick and painful death when you get more than two or three enemies focusing you. They’re not really a glass cannon, so much as an obsidian sword: sharper than a razor at the honed edges, but a tad brittle if struck on the side.

    • Well, Slayer can be quite durable and still dish out damage rivaling to that of other careers. Renown speccing for some parry you can get over 25% parry with DW and the high weapon skill slayers have. Then slotting the armor racial along with having decent gear and an armor pot can net you over 50% armor mitigation when dropping rage. Slayers really rock the stuff in Eternal Citadel, where the only thing that can kill you are Sorcs, which have a short date of expiry in that scenario anyway.

      I can’t quite agree on awareness as a Slayer. Surely every career needs to be aware of their surroundings (and be able to predict outcomes of fights) when running solo, unless they want to die a lot. It’s not just a Slayer thing. And in a group you really aren’t the one that needs to initiate and gets the first CC in or similar so I feel like awareness isn’t really a factor. Sure, it helps if you can be focusing down a target and keep an eye out for any healer that wanders too close so you SL, but it’s not really a must for a Slayer.

      I’m curious to why you’d run RoA with defensive Sov? ID spec is much, much better with def Sov because both the damage and survivability are higher (since ID procs the Sov bonus more consistently because you can get autoattacks in, while with RoA you can’t). Sure the proc rate got an internal CD later on, but by then it was already getting nerfed into the ground enough to not warrant using it.

      • Parry was worthwhile until they nerfed Riposte. And yeah WS was always a must, moreso than STR really. I never said situational awareness was JUST a Slayer thing or even any more important than for any other class, but on the front lines with a fuse up your arse it’s pretty important.

        Plus I wasn’t always running with a group, so I frequently WOULD be the one in the back lines catching Destro with their pants down on the cap and throwing a couple of hammers into their plans. Only when it was suicide on the front lines mind you. 80% of the time I was probing the front for weaknesses (if Order’s group was decent I never came off the line in many SCs, because I could crush anything in front of me), but when Destro would push hard I’d probe the flanks after the next respawn, help a score or spoil a Destro cap if I could and move back to the front. I was highly mobile, highly survivable, and highly unpredictable. A good combo for MDPS.

        As for climbing any higher into the Skaven tree: I ran ID for awhile and found it boring and nearly useless as a spec in PvE, where single target DPS can be a lot more useful usually. I didn’t use RoA for DPS (so the missing AAs for 6 seconds were irrelevant), I used it for survivability. I ran RoA and SL because I solo roamed a lot or bounced from group to group or scenario to scenario. It was more fun to be a spoiler in the back lines, to help with caps and objectives, so RoA for survivability and flexibility fit my playstyle more. And it’s durable; With SL and RoA you could kill a old OP DoK, even if they outgeared you a bit. ID is too group and situation dependent, hence: boring.

      • Parry is still worthwhile even without Riposte because it makes you much more survivable. Stacking it is almost never a waste because of your naturally high parry, especially if you’re planning on playing solo or roaming (1v1 other melee dps are the most of your worries).

        Even if you weren’t talking specifically about Slayer when emphasizing awareness the only reason I said something is because I don’t think awareness should be emphasized when talking about Slayers, as it’s something every melee dps needs to succeed. I feel like emphasizing awareness is something you’d do when talking about tanks and healers, as they depend on it much more.

        Maybe you found ID boring but it’s a fact that it’s the highest dps spect, both single target and AoE. And I wasn’t talking about running ID over RoA, I was talking about running ID over RoA WHILE wearing defensive Sovereign. The pillage (or whatever it is) bonus procs off ID which makes for a huge damage disparity (ID does quite a lot more dmg, but even more so with the proc) and because of the lifesteal of the bonus the spec doesn’t trail far behind RoA in survivability (plus it can’t be interrupted).

        But that’s only an argument for the pre-nerf def Sov. Now I agree, RoA is better of roaming or solo play, both with Sov or without. But you’ll never convince me that you can do more dps in PvE in a non-ID spec.

        Being group dependant is boring only to some people, for other it creates a dynamic where they feel unstoppable with good support. ;)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s