The last post was a little long so I’m going to break this one up a bit. So basically there are two things in this post:
1) Me telling the joys and perks of starting as Chaos.
2) Me fawning over the Zealot. Again.
First off, a little confession: I’d seen the Chaos starting area before. And it wasn’t through an NDA leak. I attended Games Workshop’s GamesDay in Atlanta last year, and they had a booth set up with a half dozen machines running the beta. The crowd was sparse (probably why they didn’t come back this year, though I would have readily gone again), and so I got a solid 15 minutes of Chaos Magus playtime in the opening area.
Of course there were some things that were different. The Magus did not have his nifty flying disc at the time (that would come later), and if I remember right, I was able to purchase abilities from my character panel rather than from a merchant. In any case, I did enjoy the class and the atmosphere at the time.
But I do have a severe knock against them though. At the end of the day, they did a drawing for closed beta, and wonder of wonders, my brother got one of the slots! We were terribly excited, and I pestered him constantly about if he had gotten the email they had said would come with the download links, etc. That was April of ’07. Fast forward almost 17 months, and they still haven’t sent that email. That’s wrong on many, many levels.
Anyway, the starting area for Chaos is suitably creepy and lore based, though I was wishing there was a bit more to firing the Hellcannon. Again it strikes me that this area felt more complete at least in part because of the full deck of classes playing – tank, dps, and healer.
The choice to focus the Chaos forces as the hordes of Tzeentch seemed odd at first, but I think it was a good choice. It allows more detailed lore than just “chaos undivided” and makes more sense than the significantly less stable factions of Khorne (no quests, just kill?), Nurgle (everyone keeps dying!), or Slaanesh (make love, not war!).
Kudos also for including the beatmen of Chaos early on, and for the introduction of the other races in the first quest hub. If I had any knock for the Chaos starting area, it would again be the quest bottlenecks. The chests took too long to spawn, buildings too long to spawn fire bundles for burning, etc.
This was also the only place I came in first in a PQ, using the Zealot in an insane frenzy of healing and damage. And I got some hand armor, that was uber…and looked exactly like my un-uber hand armor. Gee, thanks.
I tried out, beyond the zealot, a level or two of marauder and chosen. I wish I had had more time with both, as I think they would have been fun. The Marauder in particular has a certain flair that makes up for the lack of innovation in the stance mechanic.
As I mentioned, my favorite class by far. First of all, the fluff: its hard to argue with the blue-eyed skull you wave around in your off hand. It starts off almost as a mocking item – something that demonstrates how unhinged you are and the fragile mental state the Norsicans exist in. But as the game goes on and you see yourself channeling energy and power through the skull – as well as interact with it through the idle emotes, its becomes a symbol of your wisdom and power. Zealots have a locust and wild honey, desert prophet feeling to them that is a nice touch.
Ability wise, its a nice mix. A solid DD and DoT mixed with an instand heal and a more powerful HOT. And your first “Mark” or ability granting buff. This one buffs your intelligence and strength and gives you a nice direct damage ability that has a 60s cooldown timer on it. Still, its a nice dps burst, especially when you place the mark on yourself.
Mostly though, I love it because it was an idea that I’ve been enamored with since my first days in EQOA. The Magician class there had the ability to create items – armor, a mage-only shield(!), weapons, all of which most people rolled their eyes at – because they were inferior to normal items, and for good reason – to prevent imbalance. But it could also create something that most everyone in my groups learned to love – damage stones. These bad boys were non-equip items that had three charges that cast the second most recent damage spell for the Magician class. For example, say you got a damage ability at 16 and again at 20 (there was a 4 level leap between abilities in the old days – remember? ::shudders::). The stone you could summon at 20 emulated the 16 spell and could be handed out to anyone. Tanks in particular relished the extra DPS that allowed them to hold even more aggro, and casters enjoyed having a fall back contribution when they needed to recharge their power.
Still it was annoying to have to hand out another round after each monster or two, and generally speaking, they didn’t get as much use as their coolness factor should have given them, because of the limitations in the design.
The Zealot/Rune Priest usable buff mechanic fixes that. Replace the charges with a cooldown timer, and the awkward mechanics are no longer a stumbling block.
Maybe its just me, and you don’t care much about this idea, and think its odd that I’m so excited about it. But for me, there is something extra exciting about being able to actively give support to group mates in a way other than healing! In a way that is customized and tailor-made for each player/class, given that the classes have access to a number of different types of these buffs – including some AOE ones!
In a game that does not seem to have speed buffs, has no SoW, I can easily see the Zealot/Rune Priest becoming the new class that gets bugged at the high traffic areas – “dd mark plz!” Because they are able to provide something that every class would like to have. If you are one of those junkies who grumbled mightily about how many times a session you had to cast SoW, but secretly loved being able to help out the players around you with it, then this may be the class for you.
BTW, she was a twisted sister indeed – not just hunched over (twisted), but but also fully sister as well – I played a female. Hormonal teens may prefer the Witch Elf in all her SI Swimsuit Issue glory, but the Zealot ain’t half bad herself. And lets face it, she has way more personality.
Watch out for that skull charm though – hopefully he’s not the jealous type…Bwahaha!