New Warhammer Online Classes Examined

IGN, GameSpy, and Ten Ton Hammer have all conjured up new articles concerning Warhammer Online's new Orc Choppa and Dwarf Slayer classes. First, a bit from IGN:
The first thing to know about the Slayer, from a game design perspective, is that he fills in that missing melee DPS role among the dwarf careers. By adding this final missing melee class to the Order side, Mythic hopes to correct an imbalance in melee DPS characters in RVR. In terms of overall balance, the Slayer is somewhere between the solo DPS careers of the Witch Hunter and Witch Elf and the crowd-focused DPS careers of the White Lion and the Marauder. The Slayer is actually built with a variety of skills that let them move between solo and crowd situations more easily.

Most of the careers in Warhammer Online involve a unique gameplay mechanic, and the Slayer is no exception. In this case, the Slayer builds up a special Rage meter while in combat. There's a small dial just above the hotbar that shows the Slayer's Rage level. It starts building up the instant a Slayer enters combat. Once it reaches the Furious level, the Slayer will gain a slight bonus to all attacks, and can even trade in the Rage to launch special finishing attacks that do large amounts of damage all at once. At that point, the Rage meter will begin filling up again.

Then a snip from GameSpy:
As with the rest of the classes in Warhammer Online, the Choppa is built around a combat-driven mechanic that is used to both fuel special powers and impart special bonuses to the player. This is partly to encourage players to get in and mix it up with opponents, an understandable dynamic in a game built around a PvP core. Mostly though it's a way to mix up the classic turn-based/cooldown MMO combat system and make it feel less stately and more dynamic.

In the Choppa's case, this mechanic is called "Berserk," and is a running meter that slowly fills up as the player fights. When the meter is about 50% full, the Choppa is considered "furious," and it imparts a significant bonus to the damage output of the Orc and fuels low-level special abilities. Should the Berserk meter get all the way up into the red zone, however, the Orc is now considered "fully berserk," and gets a significant damage bonus along with an equally impressive debuff to defense.

And, finally, TTH:
The Choppa can dish out massive attacks and literally has a skill that counter-attacks any hit it takes while simply running through combat. The Choppas are billed as the line breakers, the chaos causing Orc machines of death. Sounds great, right? But once again the question comes up, will the Choppas be able to get to their targets to cause the damage they want? The other issue with Choppas is that the more damage they dish out the weaker they get. This is an understandable design to balance the class that deals out full on DPS, hoping the character will survive long enough to finish their opponent with one massive critical attack, however, will you even be able to stay on your target long enough to swing for the kill? Players I have talked to in Warhammer agree that ranged rules the day, so the Choppa may suffer from the same set back as the Slayer in PvP.