First Impressions – White Lion

August 31, 2008

Many people say that no lion will respect a person with the name of “Underpants”, but they haven’t met me. Or my mentally defective lion.

Hi, thanks for joining me. Today, we dive into the final Order class, and the final (thank ZEUS!) High Elf visitation with the White Lion. For the uninformed, the White Lion is a guy who thought, “Hey, I’m gonna make me a career out of killing big cats!” Which, frankly, I’m all for. Syp no likee the cats. But then, around Big Cat Kill #224, something went skewy, and the guy decides that he wants to adopt one of the little cubs who he just orphaned by hewing its mother in twain. So little cub begins a lifelong adventure of conflicted interests, and you end up with a very disturbed relationship. It’s kind of like if Skeletor finally won and killed He-Man and all of the He-Friends, but at the last minute had a change of heart and adopted Orko to be his faithful bodyguard. Any sane person would put good money on Orko planting a blade between Skeletor’s shoulders within a week, but oh well.

So here we go – the first of the two “true” pet classes in WAR that I’ve played, and the only HE career I’ve even partially anticipated. I guess I kind of thought this class was a pointed joke aimed at World of Warcraft’s hunter class, what with the whole Elf/cat combo plaguing the entire landscape. It’s as if players couldn’t even fathom a different race for hunter, or a different pet than a dumb cat, and an ugly stereotype was born. The White Lion takes a dig even further, by essentially making this a melee hunter class – which was universally scorned in WoW.

Yeah. While most pet classes consist of pure cowardace – sending in your pet to be horribly maimed while you plink away with arrows and munch on Triscuits – the WL mixes it up by demanding you get up into the fray with your pet as much as possible. This is made due in part by a grant from the Giant Axe Corporation, which you swing all willy-nilly while your cat flinches more in fear from your poor handling skills than the enemy’s bite.

Honestly? I found it refreshing. It’s always great fun to have a pet, and by the time you hit rank 3 or 4, the lion starts pulling his weight in DPS. But at the same time you get to smack the bad guys with a giant two-handed axe, which makes you feel like you’re in a buddy-buddy relationship with your pet, not just one of extreme dominance and cruelty.

Okay – where to start? With Underpants, my goal was to see how far I could advance in quests, levels and gear within the span of an afternoon. I think I did pretty well, zipping along without reading any quest text (saving that for release, thank you very much), and achieving rank 5 ½ along with 40 Tome unlocks within a couple hours. I also got my very first trophy (via a quest), some “Scab Red Dye” to pretty up my armor, a green amulet with resistances and toughness on it, and my very first bag of PQ loot. More on the last thing later.

Underpants had a couple melee attacks at the start. There’s an axe toss which I ended up not using, ever – it ended up being a lot easier to run up to an enemy, start whacking away at him, and having my lion automatically attack with me. Speaking of which, your lion (I couldn’t figure out how to rename him, and he was more brown than white, but such is life) has three settings – passive, aggressive, defensive – and on defensive, he’ll end up attacking whatever attacks you, or the current target you’re attacking, even to the point where if you switch targets in combat, he’ll switch with you. You can also use a few hotkey shortcuts to send your pet in and pull him back (left shift + C to attack, for example), but again, it was just easier most of the time to attack myself and expect Catty to follow my lead.

I also had my power axe swing, which was nice, but I really enjoyed a couple of later skills that gave my pet all sorts of new DPS abilities, along with another skill that allowed the both of us to attack simultaneously for a good chunk of damage. Looking down the skill list, there are other “pet training” abilities, so I’m guessing it’s up to you to pick which training skill to equip your pet with for different situations.

Other than questing, what did we do? We did a scenario, in which Destruction steamrolled over us mercilessly. This may have been because their team consisted entirely of Sorceresses and Witch Elves, or maybe because I suck, personally.

Catty and Underpants spent a lot of time running through the first PQ, because I was bound and determined to win PQ loot before the day was through. It was tough, though – no matter how much I felt I participated, my contribution score was terribly low each time, and I got 6th, 7th and 8th place for my first three goes. I had a theory one or two of the other guys were like level 20 and doing far more damage than I ever could, but I don’t know. It didn’t seem very fair, somehow. I came back later and mopped up stage 3 of the quest with a pair of guys, finally winning a roll! Because there were only three of us! And I got third place! My life is horrible! I got some no-bonuses gloves out of the deal, yay me.

There was a fun quest we did that involved entering the basement of a tower, which felt a bit dungeony/lairish. We fought our way down (level 4 vs. level 2s was no sweat) and had to activate four runes in a room within a short time frame of each other in order to make our quest objects visible. That was neat. I also unlocked the 100 Dark Elves killed, so I think I got a bit of my elf angst out today. Ahh.

Quick notes:

  • I’m not sure, exactly, where the killing spree bonus thing kicks in. I kept an eye out for it on Underpants and it never popped up. Is this a PQ only thing? I’m not sure.
  • If you don’t have time to check out the new Tome unlocks when they happen, then just open the Tome at your leisure and click on the “new entries” line at the table of contents. It lays all the recent entries you haven’t read out for you, which is nice when you have a moment to breathe.
  • If people tell you that WAR’s combat is slower than WoW’s, feel free to unleash spittle in their face region. It never, ever feels slow past level 1 or so, and the fact that you regenerate action points really, really fast means little to no downtime. Suck on that, mana users!


  1. Syp:

    the killing spree activates only when you kill a mob that’s higher rank than you. So if you’re R2 and kill a R3, it begins. As long as you kill *another* mob that’s higher rank than you while the killing spree is active, the timer will reset (though it gets shorter and shorter with each kill, so after four kills or so you’ve got to be really fast at it).

  2. I am pretty sure (99%) that killing sprees are not PQ related, the first time I noticed it I was just killing random mobs to get that last bit before level. Which of course led to my own personal solo “game” of how long can I keep the spree going. For me, however, I couldnt get past spree level 4 for more then a few seconds.

  3. How responsive is the pet pathing at this point? I know in preview weekend the lion had a significant delay with any commands you gave it.

  4. Good to know on the killing sprees, thanks!

    As for pet pathing, it was just fine before the preview weekend patch, and I’m sure they’ll have fixed it by now. I really wouldn’t worry about it.

  5. […] First Impressions – White Lion […]

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