First Impressions – Squig HerderSeptember 3, 2008
Ever since I started really paying attention to WAR, the Squig Herder has stuck out as a “must play” career to me. Sure, that’s partially because of all the press that the SH (and Greenskins) got early on – plus, the SH is a fairly unique-looking class for the genre – but also because I’m a pet class freak, and the opportunity to wield a variety of squigs under my command was too good to pass up.
As my last foray into the Greenskin newbie zone (after a two-week break from writing these impressions due to a shift in beta focus and personal trips), I whipped up Frenchtoast the Squig Herder (hey, guess what I had for breakfast that day!) and chewed through as many quests as possible in the one-hour time limit that was set before the servers came down for maintenance.
The Squig Herder as close to your traditional pet-tank, ranged-damage pet class as you’re to find in WAR, but it doesn’t fit as neatly into the stereotype as you might think. For one thing, neither the SH or the squig itself is very powerful – you have to use both in unison to do any decent damage. Also, the SH (like the Shadow Warrior) has an option for combat damage – at range with big bow shots, on the move with smaller blow shots, or point-blank with a stabbity-stabbity spear. It is a shame that (as of this writing), the mastery trees for this class seem a bit dull all around – I was kind of hoping for a path purely devoted to squig buffage and damage, but that’s kind of spread between the three.
Anyway, we came for the squigs, and the squigs we got! Mythic’s artists did an excellent job with Mr. Squig – the detail on these balls of fury, teeth and claws is astounding, right down to the big fat tongue that lolls out like a puppy dog (with teeth) (and claws). I was a bit disappointed that some of the animations for the class, like the squig being summoned or arrows flying, were missing, and also that I couldn’t rename any of the squigs I controlled. Mythic’s stated that the SH is more of a disposable pet class (more on that later), so I guess names weren’t in the cards.
Frenchtoast went through the various beginning quests – dwarfs in barrels, gunking up a statue, collecting mushrooms in a cave – and quickly got a cool green drop that, when repaired, gave me a “Worked Twanga” bow, which was better than the crappy bow I started with. I enjoyed the little details of the Greenskin starting zone, like the skeletons of dwarfs on X crucifixes, or the still-alive dwarf being slowly lowered into a boiling pot for dinner. Yum!
The fun really started when I got a quest I hadn’t taken before, to use a catapult to assault the dwarf fortress. I thought it was going to be another one of the siege weapon tutorial quests, but that notion was quickly banished as the catapult launched… me! WHEEEE! Look at me, Peter, I’m flying!
So, remember how I spent all that time with Chopparip (the Black Orc) trying to get up to this out of the way path, finally getting there, and discovering how it led up to the top of the dwarf fortress/dam? And that I was all thrilled thinking “ooh! I found a secret area!”? Yeah, it’s not that secret. Or hard to get to, once you accept the catapult quest. Silly Syp, secrets are for kids!
On top of the dam, I accepted another quest, this one to find unconscious dwarfs (there were ever so many lying around), stuff them in a barrel, and kick them off the dam. Hee! I did so, and as I completed the quest, it “clicked” in my head – these are the same dwarfs-in-barrels that I opened for an earlier quest. In effect, I was sort of setting up the quest for later questers! Shut up, I know not really, but it’s still cool!
For that quest I got a trophy, which was a decorated… SPOON… that I tied to my belt. Spoons! How awesome is this game?
Unlike the dwarf-in-a-barrel, however, I discovered that leaping down into the water was a quick trip to deathville, population: me.
With my time running out, I spent a few minutes digesting the trainable skills, with a close eye for future squigs. Mythic was right about the “disposable” part of this career – there are several skills that you can use to kill your squig in exchange for area damage or health regen (for example). The quick-and-dirty squig list that I wrote down included these bad boys:
- Basic Squig (rank 1) – Not great damage, but has a built-in taunt, making him a natural tank.
- Horned Squig (rank 8 ) – Does more damage and gives you an armor buff.
- Gas Squig (rank 9) – Attacks from range (forget what buff he gives you).
- Spiked Squig (rank 10) – Attacks from range, gives you a nice bonus to crit.
- Battle Squig (rank 20) – AKA “Squig Armor”, this is the big squig that swallows you up and lets you control him (effectively becoming a new character with different skills).
- Every time you finish a quest in the playing field, you’ll hear a distinct audio cue to let you know you’re done.
- Also, if I haven’t mentioned this yet, if you mouse over your quest “to do” log on the right hand side of the screen, it’ll give you a quick popup with more detailed information as to the quest, so you don’t have to open the big quest log again.
- Characters in WAR start out with pretty beefy amounts of health, in the 400-600 range, and I know at level 31 some of my characters were 4000-6000 health (wounds) already.