They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dis-

I guess I’m just an old DPSer at heart. After being a Blaster (ranged DPS) in City of Heroes and a Rogue (melee DPS) in World of Warcraft, I tried branching out with classes like a Captain (melee Buff/Healer/Tank/DPS/Pet/Coffee Maker/Floor Wax) in Lord of the Rings Online and a Conqueror (melee Tank(ish)/DPS/Buff/Egg Slicer) in Age of Conan, but they didn’t really click. Maybe they were too radical a departure; much as you should make the transition from accountancy to lion taming via easy steps, starting with, say, insurance, I did rather enjoy the Tempest of Set in Age of Conan, nominally a “Priest” class but really a lightning-packing ball of electrical death with a couple of heals you might like to use, if you remember them. I’ve also been enjoying playing a couple of Corruptors in City of Villains, Kinetics and Radiation, packing the same main attacks as a Blaster but with a variety of buffs, debuffs and heals as a secondary powerset instead of “yet more attacks just in case all those other attacks weren’t attack-y enough”.

“In times of trouble, go with what you know”, though, as tanks would randomly say in Scorched Earth (a really nifty old artillery-type game), so for Warhammer Online I decided to head back to the comfy old sofa of DF^HPS. Ranged or melee, though? With the RvR-centric nature of Warhammer, I thought about how similar situations worked in WoW. Back in day, after they introduced “honour” and rewards for PvP kills, but before battlegrounds, if you weren’t on a PvP server and wanted to boost your rank you’d head for Tarren Mill. There the Massed Pipes & Drums of Her Majesty’s Royal Alliance would line up in the vague area of a horde of the, er, Horde, and both sides would glare menacingly at each other, lofting an occasional arrow or spell at anyone foolish enough to step a bit too close, until a melee class snapped and went charging over the top, to be inevitably mown down by the machine gun of the Harrow fullback (or the combined spells, arrows and bullets of the other side). Stay far enough away, though, and you were safe as houses (or the titular elephant). As a stealthily sneaky type, the opportunity would occasionally present itself to creep around and pick off an incautious loner, but after one or two of those everybody would bunch up, making surprise attacks an exercise in insta-death (for the attacker, not their intended victim). If you got bored of the standoff, and could persuade one of your own mages or priests to wander around on their own like Penelope Pitstop shouting “hey-ulp, hey-ulp, poor l’il ol’ me is lost”, then when a Horde Rogue, unable to resist such a temptingly cloth-armoured morsel, attacked from stealth for an easy kill, you could turn the tables by leaping out and stunning them in a cunning reverse-gank. Course you had to be careful in case there was a second stealthed enemy Rogue waiting to pull off the double-reverse-gank, unless you in turn were accompanied by a Druid friend for the double-reverse-gank with cat-druid twist, though they in turn might have had an extra Druid… Anyway, generally it wasn’t a whole heap o’ fun for melee. Battlegrounds and small group action were much better; if the 40-a-side Alterac Valley battleground bogged down into a massed PvP ruck somewhere in the middle it would all go a bit Tarren Mill, but that seldom happened as the two sides rushed past each other for the NPC bosses. Having looked around at some of the Warhammer details massed general PvP looked a distinct possibility, which was a strong contributory factor in choosing a ranged DPS class, and setting fire to stuff is always good so Bright Wizard was a natural choice.

It’s still early days, but the choice has been vindicated so far. I’ve been doing fairly well in scenarios, not getting obliterated quite as quickly as I feared (though, in common with most Bright Wizards I suspect, occasional self-detonations don’t help on that score), and last night I got involved in my first major world RvR rumble. After a splendid bit of Corrupting with the League of Evil in CoV, I just popped in to WAR for ten minutes to fill the last smidgen of a chapter’s influence bar to claim a wizard’s staff (with a knob on the end), and after reporting back to the Rally Master I had a quick look at the map and noticed a couple of quest objectives in the vicinity, so while I was there… One was the usual “go scout this World RvR objective”, which in previous zones I’d fulfilled by legging it to the general vicinity of the objective hoping to avoid other players, regardless of who was controlling it, and running away again (particularly quickly if it was a bit red). Getting closer to this one, though, a terrifying wall of red players suddenly hove into view, and facing off against them, a similar sized group of Order. Looked like we’d gotten bored of Destruction usually holding the Ostland keeps, and saddled us up a posse. Signing up with an open warband, I took my place in the battle lines, and found Tarren Mill-esque fights work much better with a range of flaming doom to fling. With somewhere from 50-100 players involved lag started playing a part too, never cripplingly bad, but it would certainly have added to the frustrations of a melee class. Me, I just went with “if in doubt, mash ‘target closest’ then ‘fireball’ a lot”. Weight of numbers drove Destruction back, we claimed the objective, I got a good chunk of a renown rank and the quest done, not a bad night’s work!

3 thoughts on “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dis-

  1. Aaron

    Yup, ranged DPS is my favourite class too. I played a Blaster in CoH, a Hunter in LOTRO, and an Elementalist in Guild Wars. The only exception was Conan where I couldn’t resist the combos and fatalities of the melee class.
    The ever present threat of self immolation presents Bright Wizards with a challenge of resource management rather than just sitting at the back, spamming the fireball key.

  2. Timothy

    “In times of trouble, go with what you know.” That saying has been knocking around in my head for days but I couldn’t remember where it was from. Thank you for reminding me that it came from the venerable Scorched Earth!

    Oddly enough, I’m also raid DPS in Warcraft…

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