First Impressions – Marauder

September 5, 2008

Out of all of the six/seven races in Warhammer Online, I gotta say I’m taking a bright shine to Chaos the best. I don’t know what it is – their gruff, Nordic ways, their overdependence on axes and daggers, or just that they take a typical “human” race and go to town with evil-osity.

Hootinanny (“chock full of hoot with just a pinch of nanny”) the Marauder came to life angry at me, the world, and his severe skin condition. Right out of the gate he could “mutate” his left arm (Marauders are lefties, go lefties!) into a claw form that also gave buffs to weapon skill and initiative. Later on, he got a blade form at level 3 (buff to strength and initiative) and finally club form at level 7 (buff to toughness). Each of these three forms is meant to be more effective against certain types of enemies, but since your mastery path makes you really, really good at just one of the mutations, I can’t see people switching all willy-nilly in PvP combat trying to get an advantage. They’d likely end up dead by not doing anything productive at all.

I didn’t feel like questing, and happily, Hootinanny agreed. I stumbled through the countryside and slaughtered a few dozen guards in the nearby town, although they had crap drops – no loot or money. He killed fast enough to trigger the killing spree bonus, and I got it up to stage 4 (20% xp bonus) with little sweat. I think, although I did not confirm this, that you could eschew the mutation forms altogether and make the Marauder a dual-wielding maniac. That’ll be an interesting choice.

A bit further than that, and I found the PQ, which was shut down due to a bug that rendered the stage 3 boss frozen. Oh well, no problem – my scenario queue lit up, and I was in!

Hootinanny did two rounds in the Nordenwatch scenario, and although he had his level 1 crap armor and very few skills, I like to think he held his own. That is, between all of the brutal slaying of my innocent little mutated form. I don’t know what people were complaining about with population balance, there always seems to be way more Order folk in scenarios than Destruction. (I’m fairly sure the computer uses NPC fighters to round out the teams, but I could never tell who was and who wasn’t computer controlled.)

I got a new buff I’d never seen before – “City Buff Rank 4”, which I took to mean that the Inevitable City hit rank 4 and gave out a buff to all of Destruction. It was a nice buff, +8% xp, influence, renown and gold, but wore off or went away the first time I died.

The scenarios were fun, and I changed my approach a bit. Instead of navigating with a combination of WASD and the mouse for movement, I relied completely on the mouse, keeping my fingers on the hotkey number buttons for attacks. I think that helped a bit with giving me better and faster response time for attacks. Still, it was a lopsided fight, both times. We had mostly melee and no healers, and they had tons of ranged dps (casters mostly) and a handful of healers to keep the odds in their favor.

I don’t know how it is later on in the game and in bigger RvR situations, but I’m finding out that long-range casters simply dominate the PvP field against melee fighters. By the time you close the gap to them, they’ve shaved off huge chunks of your health and they’re still piling on the dps as you try to compensate. It’s not even much of a fair fight, and I’ve come to loathe both Bright Wizards and Sorcerers for this death-from-far-far-away fighting style. Maybe skills later on help you close the gap, interrupt spell casting and whatnot… but as for level 4s trying to make their way in a scenario, good luck!

After getting my hat handed to me a couple times, I rounded out my time with Hootinanny by trying out new skills. Unfortunately this meant me digging into pockets that were empty of change – I literally had no funds to buy even basic skills with, due to my reliance on PvP and fighting a NPC enemy mob that had no drops. I can see people making this same mistake – so don’t forget to grind a bit of cash (or do cash-rewarding quests) at the start, if nothing else than letting you fund your skills as you rank up!

Quick note:

  • The respawn rate in WAR is really decent, but sometimes it’s too fast, and the game has no compunctions against spawning mobs right on top of your head. I feel it needs to be tweaked down, and perhaps even given an adjustment where no new mobs will spawn if you’ve been standing in that area for a little bit.


  1. so you plan on rolling on Chrace, Destruction side with Keen and Snafzg?

  2. If its any help i use the keys around WASD for bindings, E,R,Q,F and so on. Then you get the best of both worlds you can run around using the mouse and keyboard and still hit your skills easily ^^

    Also, not sure if you can do this in war, you can make those combos into even more using the shift + “other button” approach making even more bindings ^^

  3. Interesting that the video shows a marauder mutating his *right* arm.

  4. They definitely do not use computer controlled players in scenarios.

  5. […] Flea, he has a nice first impression of the Zealot. For Zantosa (hai Zan!), check out his first impression of the Marauder and […]

  6. I hate to nitpick you, so I’ll just call what I’m going to do ‘helping’.

    The different mutations aren’t really for different mob or player types. One is for debuffing and doing damage over time, one is for high single target dps, one is for area effect damage. The mastery trees are the same.

    You probably will switch a lot, actually, because you’ll need to be in a certain stance/mutation to silence, then you’ll switch to AoE, then maybe to single target for a tough enemy, just as an example. Your spec will focus you, a bit but honestly most builds in WAR are split over 2 trees anyway.

    Marauder is a good class, but not the easiest to play.

    Good melee-centric groups beat caster-centric groups on average, at least in scenarios. Chosen and Marauders with healing support will certainly NOT be dead by the time they close ranks on their casters, then the casters aren’t casting any more.

    That’s why I find Destruction wins more Nordenwatch scenarios than Khaine’s Embrace – the class matchup is just better.

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