Second Knight

October 8, 2008

In a way, I guess I have to thank Mythic for yanking four classes from the game back in July, because it’s given us something to endlessly speculate upon until we hear something official. We do know that four careers will be re-introduced to the game, and that they’ll fill the roles that were left void (two tanks, two melee dpsers). What we don’t know is whether or not the four careers will be the cut Knight of the Blazing Sun (KOBS), Hammerer, Choppa and Black Guard — or whether Mythic is taking their core mechanics and working them into a new career entirely.

We’ve speculated on the demand for and popularity of the possibility of the Dwarf Slayer to replace the Hammerer as the melee DPSer of that race. I think there’s a good chance that the Choppa and Black Guard will return as is, just retooled, because the Choppa was incredibly popular (which seems to go against it not playing well from Mythic’s end) and the Black Guard definitely offers a sinister-looking tank that Dark Elf players have been salivating after.

That leaves the Knight of the Blazing Sun as our fourth career to examine as a possibility for replacement. Yes, I think we can agree that Order desperately needs a human tank in the mix to bolster the tank population that’s been hurting from tank-players who aren’t drawn to the squat (yet powerful) Ironbreaker or the blade-hugging (yet deadly) Swordmaster. But several are concerned about the KOBS returning as we last saw them — high-falootin’ knights with feathers springing out of their helmets like a peacock. Because nothing strikes fear harder or faster in the hearts of Destruction than feathers. (Then again, if they actually ended up looking like this… I might reconsider.)

Okay, it does seem to be a bit unfair to pick on the feathers, since this brings us a pretty unique look for tanks, kind of a Spanish conquistador thing. But the career as a whole didn’t hit the “oh WOW” factor back in beta, which makes me wonder — what if we’re going to see a different knight entirely?

What someone clued me in to last week was that the Empire actually has four types of major knightly orders, of which the Knights of the Blazing Sun is just one, and one of the smaller orders at that. You also have:

  • Knights Panther – a major order of knights who are quite fanatical in not allowing any servant of Chaos to live. Their look, according to Wikipedia: “the Knights still trim their clothes and crests with whatever exotic spotted or striped fur they can obtain. Their shields carry the emblem of their order, the fabled spotted panther of Araby.”
  • Knights of the White Wolf – the other major order, they fight with calvary warhammers and follow the god of winter, wolves and war.
  • The Reiksguard – the bodyguards and personal regiment of Emperor Franz, they probably fit best in with your average mental image of a pristine, armored medieval knight.

Not to mention that there’s at least a dozen other minor knightly orders of the Empire, all waiting for their turn to bash a few good heads in.

So the question is, why did Mythic pick the Knights of the Blazing Sun in the first place, and if they’re not going to be coming back, which of the other knightly orders might they choose?

My gut, expansive and wise that it is, was instantly attracted to the White Wolves. Perhaps it’s because I read too much George R.R. Martin, but I’d wager that the theme of that order would resonate with more MMO players than the yellow/orange/feathery KOBS would. The fact that they mostly fight with warhammers might be a stroke against them (as that might seem too similar to Warrior Priests), but… yeah, I can see people liking the concept.

What say you, Mr. Internet? If not the KOBS, who should step up to take their place?



  1. It’s a great point about Knights of the White Wolf. They could certainly give a different flavor and would be another “cool” looking class that might attract people like the Chosen and Black orc. They could look much more mean and gritty than the other knightly orders.

  2. I agree with you on all counts. The two Destruction classes can come back as planned. Choppa will be very popular and the Black Guard was my original class of choice, they look very menacing.

    I also agree with your assessment of Orders two missing careers. The Slayer would be hugely popular and give a huge boost to Order numbers. Hell, I hate dorfs and would even considering rolling up one, just because they are awesome. The first Warhammer Fantasy role-playing book, from way, way back, had a Slayer on the cover, and it always stood out.

    Also agree about the Empire knights. Order of the Blazing Sun always came off to me as the wrong choice. They don’t look like knights, they look like some fancy pants fairy boys. Not exactly striking fear, or going to help bolster Orders numbers. They need an Empire tank that looks awesome and looks like a knight. No damn bright colored feathers on them.

  3. Yeah Ulric Knights FTW!

    Making Ulric Knights, and Slayer would contribute a bit for overall realm balance TBH. I mean a fierce and strength knight and a maniacal killer. If that’s not cool then you won’t play order anytime 😛

  4. If you look at the Warhammer fingures….all of the knight classes (major ones) have feathered helms, I think some of the Knights Panther have panther fur flowing from theirs sometimes, but usually still Feathers.

    Given the devotion by the Knights Panther…I’d say they should have been the choice rather than the KOBS.

  5. I would kind of like to see them introduce Greatswords – though they may be a little too close to the Elven Swordmasters.

  6. I’d have to go with the Knights Panther. Their fanatical opposition to Chaos makes them a good fit for the EvC pairing.

  7. I’m gonna need more alt slots.

  8. The Knights of the White Wolf are templars of Ulric – they guard the temples and holy places. While they would undoubtedly march to war, the friction between the Ulric worshippers and Sigmarites is high at the best of times. Still, they look cool.

    The Reiksguard are interesting, but as you already pointed out, they are the personal bodyguard of the Emperor. It wouldn’t make much sense to see them runing around on their own while there’s a war going on.

    Which leads me to the Knights Panther. I find this group to be the most compelling. They have a cool look, with pelts, furs, and skins adorning their heavy armor. As a bonus, they are crusaders again Chaos. I think the Kights Panther would be the most compelling choice of the three.

  9. A slight tangent, and perhaps I’m in the minority, but I would be disappointed if Hammerers and Knights of the Blazing Sun didn’t return as-is.

    I was initially skeptical about the look of the Knights, to be sure. However, having finally seen them in-game (and let’s face it, they’re all over the place), I think they look fantastic. They start out as simple enough looking infantrymen with a plain breastplate, and transform over time into ornate, spectacular looking knights, covered with sun iconography and looking every inch the solid tank you’d want on your side.

    I don’t see Mythic tossing out all those art assets and starting over from scratch with new, panther or wolf themed armors.

    As for slayers, I simply can not understand why anyone would want these as the fourth playable dwarf class. And my problem isn’t “Oh, boo hoo, they don’t work because they’re pledged to die and you can’t die in an MMO”. My thematic problem is that they’re supposed to be rare. These aren’t representatives of the dwarf race, these are aberrations in dwarf society, so when you see one you should immediately be struck by the sight. Given that most people’s memorably introduction to dwarfs won’t be the horribly written Grudgebearer, but will instead be the very well written Gotrek series, it is not difficult to see the population of dwarfs suddenly becoming 90% red crested morons demanding that Mythic add Grimnir’s axe as a loot drop. And, there’s the problem of equipment. Slayers pretty much wear pants, and that’s it. Sure, you might be able to say runic tattoos could be added to equipment slots as other armor, but how do you then explain how they change when you swap gear? And with that kind of effort in mind, you’re looking at at least another year just to design the art assets for the equipment, not to mention statting it. And then there’s the class mechanics.

    No, I’d say if you want to see an Empire tank and a Dwarf DPS class, particularly if you want to see them before the first boxed expansion, it would be best to keep your eyes on the KotBS and Hammerer.

  10. I suppose I’m the only tool who actually likes the Knights of the Blazing Sun. I find something comically endearing (in that unique Warhammer way) about having tanks who look like fruity conquistadors who bludgeoned a peacock and incorporated it’s feathers into their armor. Kind of reminds me of Michael Palin in “Holy Grail.”

    That said, I already rolled a Swordmaster which much to my chagrin, I’m liking a heck of a lot, so when the new “old” classes are reintroduced, I probably wouldn’t be rolling another tank anyways.

  11. The fanaticism of the Knights Panther would fit right in with the WH and the WP.

    As for the George R.R. Martin comparison, I see the Orders Black Guard as a closer match to the guardians of the northern wall than the Knights of the White Wolf resembling house Stark.

  12. From a canonical standpoint the KotBS make sense – they are a young order with not much history trying to become something bigger. There may be some thematic conflict since they are Templars of Myrmidia.

    As for the Slayer, Bregel hits the nail on the head – they are supposed to be rare. They are dishonored in the the eyes of Dwarvenkind. Gotrek isn’t some magnificently proud Dwarven hero – he’s an absolute failure who has taken an oath to die in battle and can’t seem to pull it off (dwarves are incapable of suicide and giving anything but their best in battle).

  13. How about Knights of Morr or Order of the Sacred Scythe? Both have a very intimidating look that might attract some new players to the Order side.



  14. Please keep in mind the mirroring of classes for balance reasons. The only class set we are missing is the Hammerer/Choppa.

    The KoBS is the mirror to the Chosen, thus his mechanics are already in the game.
    The Black Guard is the mirror of the Ironbreaker, so his mechanics are in place as well.

    There is no reason these two classes should take an extreme length of time to be put in. The majority of their functionality and skills are already set. They just need to be renamed and new icons with a very few unique skills tossed in.

    I think the Slayer fits with the Warhammer feel. Perhaps the sheer number of them wouldn’t fit with WAR lore. But then again, this is a time of non-stop, world wide war. It seems plausible that there might be more shamed dwarfs around who take up the slayer oath.

    Forget the whole “can’t die” breaking the lore. Because that would hold true for any of the other classes as well.
    They are sworn to go all out in battle and regain their honor. The idea fits a light armor, melee dps class.
    Just picture a team of dwarfs fighting. Rune Priests in the rear with Engineers. Ironbreakers up front holding the lines. Those crazy Slayers charging fervently past them all, into the fray, most likely being cut down in short order but taking others with them.

    Also, Order could use a few more “bad boys” on their side to draw in players. The Hammerer just doesn’t have the oomph needed to make it popular or stand out like the Slayer would.

    On to the KoBS appearance issue. I’m currently reading through the WAR novel released alongside the game. I’m not going to speak on the quality of the book, but rather the way it portrays the KoBS class.
    The main KoBS character, Karl, is a handsome young knight with brilliant armor. They do not put heavy emphasis on his helmet having any plumage. In fact, I’m not even sure if they mention it at all.
    The class is not about the helmet, and it would be easy to remove the plumage or offer several helms for players to choose from.

    The bright, radiant colors depicting the sun on their armor/shield is the attention getter for me. The whole “sun” theme fits perfectly with their class mechanic auras (Chosen’s mirror).
    Think of how the sun radiates light, heat, comfort and hope. The knight himself gives off the same on the battlfield with his auras and actions at the front of the fight.

    To change this to any other type of knight does not feel right. Why would I want a Knight of the Wolf/Panther giving off auras and urging me to push onward?

    Ok, better wrap this up before I make it longer than the original entry…oops

  15. I actually looted a helm that is wearable by either an Ironbreaker or KOTBS on my Iron breaker. The damn thing sits above my head by 3 feet. It looks pretty awesome tho.

  16. The only problem I have with the choppa coming back is its name, as a long time Orc table top player, a choppa is weapon a better name for the choppa would be Savage Orc, just a thought. Also I agree that slayer would be a better choice for the dwarven dps as well.

  17. Personally, I feel the Reiksguard would be the best Knightly order to implement. First of all, they’re far more tied to the Empire and Sigmar than the KotBS, Knights Panther or Templars of Ulric (The KotBS being more Tilean/Estalian and following Myrmidia, the Knights Panther being more Arabian in flavor and the Templars of Ulric follow… Ulric). Just with the KotBS, they are known for being great battlefield tacticians so they can keep that aoe buff mechanic in. They look, well, much more like the “classic” knight in shining armor, hell, that’s what they ARE, and it will help people who aren’t well versed in Warhammer lore gravitate towards Order. Finally, and most importantly, THE REIKSGUARD IS THE ONLY KNIGHTLY ORDER KNOWN FOR FIGHTING OFF THEIR HORSES. Since there’s no mounted combat in the game, I feel that the Reiksguard is the only logical choice.

    Also, the Blackguard are Malekith’s personal guard, the White Lions are the Phoenix King’s personal guard, and the Hammerers (if they were put in the game instead of being replaced with Slayers) are the High King’s personal guard. So, the Reiksguard being the emperor’s personal guard is not really a limiting factor.

  18. Great writeup as always Syp. You’ve done the leg work, now let me tell you WHY the KoTBS.

    Knights of the White Wolf – worship Ulric, not Sigmar. They want Sigmar to be the big dog, so these guys are out.

    Grand order of the Reiksguard – probably one of the best choices, while they are used to form the core of the emperor thats not the sole job. Biggest drawback to them, they are devoted to emperor and always wear his plumage. Players hate being told they have to have that colour, it doesn’t match the rest of the dolls outfit.

    Knights Panther – Granted these guys would probably fit just about the best, they are everything we think of when we think knights. But that brings up the IP issue. Remember, they had to fight to put in some of the mechanics that they have now, because the biggest IP hurdle was “NOT Dark Age of Camelot”. Go look at one of the figures/artwork on the GW page and tell me you don’t look at these guys and say Arthurian Knights. Second, they are one of the few that have a modelled item on the helmet. This is normally a Bretonian feature, and could take away from further expansions.

    So really, it was try and manipulate Reiksguard, or go with KotBS, which has the most developmental wiggle room.

  19. Please please pleeeeese no fruity KoBS. We already have the swordmaster for the people who want a ballerina-tank. We need something tough and tankish and intimidating. Slayer makes no sense to me for the dwarfs. They’re naked, how would you ever get gear?

  20. Could use a similar aproach as to what they do for the marrauder over on destruction side, Not the mutations, but the general look.

  21. Refactoring the KotBS as Knights of the White Wolf would work perfectly to bring some badly needed cool factor to the Empire. Slayers are full of win as well, but the dwarves already have lots of cool with Ironbreakers. Definitely do slayers instead of hammerers but the big buck tooth gap to fill is the missing human cool tank to go up against the Chosen. It also has great potential to be used in an Order oriented “marketing campaign” Lets face it, destruction is just cool, very very cool and Order was left wanting by comparison. Take a look a the several graphics and the first trailer that depict a Chaos chosen kicking the ass of a warrior priest. Not exactly a fair fight with a heavily armored warrior coming down on a robed priest like a ton of bricks.

    But, what if, at that final moment for that priest, the hammer of an Ulric Knight were to come out of no where to knock that Chosen back. And there, standing over the almost broken body of a priest of Sigmar, is an Ulric Knight. The Sigmarites and the Ulricites may not eye to eye. Ulric has little respect for Sigmar and Sigmar is not about to ask Ulric for help. But the Empire is in a desperate situation. They are on the edge of loosing this war for good. The world is slipping into darkness. Civilization and the Empire that Sigmar founded is crumbling. In order to save itself, the Empire has to dig deeper into the past, into a time before the Empire. Sigmar needs the help of the older, more angry and more dangerous god, Ulric. A god of wolves, battle and winter but also a god of courage and strength, a strength that is needed now more than ever.

    I think it would work. I think it would bring a lot of cool factor to the Order side. I suppose I could settle for the Reiksguard if they could leave out or at least toned down the fruity looking high plum helmets but that might be hard to do IP wise. War, however, is serious business and feathers just don’t set enough of a serious tone, IMO. What I want is a serious, gritty, strong warrior type. Someone who is less knight and more warrior.

  22. Jedi Knights. Definitely Jedi Knights. 🙂

  23. @Bjorn: you are exactly right. See below for my take on it.

    How about Grudgebringer infantry as a loladin-equivalent class? Morale, damage and speed auras for the group (having a professional solider at your side just might make you a better solider too), great defense from being a merc with a will to live, class bonus to looting (of course)… stuff like that.
    Great plus on the lore/world/story cohesion side? They are not heroes, just regular humans with a job to do – and their job happens to be WAR. How cool is that?

    @ everyone else:
    Enough with the slayers already! I can see “the” slayer appearing as an NPC, but not much else. Also, from a game balance pov, the slayer class makes no sense – there already is a clothie melee dps class on the Order side. What we need is a true oftank. Hammerers qualify. Huge hammers and a compulsion to swing them also rank pretty high on the cool scale if you ask me.

  24. […] Warhammer blog is usually full of good articles and write ups on WAR, and this writeup on Dwarf Slayers and the Knight of The Blazing Sun really is worth the read for the speculative. Post a comment | Trackback […]

  25. Greetings,

    I’m not a follower of the Warhammer universe and therefore know nothing about the lore, Online is my first foray into this universe.
    The idea behind Online was to make a game that was supposed to be based on RvR/PvP.
    IMHO the most important factor in RvR is balance. Balance between classes, and balance between sides. Giving everyone a level playing field to start out with ensures an equal chance of winning.
    I’ve started to notice that my server (phoenix throne) has an over abundance of destruction players. To the point where we don’t even own a keep. We take one or two at peek periods then by the next day they are all back in destruction hands. They have even managed to take the second last area in dwarf lands before they can push into the dwarf capitol.
    Why the imbalance? Easy, what I like to call LCF or “Look Cool Factor”. I would say that for the most part the destruction classes look cool. Not a big fan of goblins, myself. As for Order, man could you have made them any fruitier looking? I now have 7 order alts and besides my Ironbreaker, I don’t like the look of any of them. Mind you I don’t play computer games for the graphics or the LCF of my sprites.
    However there are a lot of people who do. This is one of the factors that has led to this Realm imbalance.
    All that being said if they do decide to bring Fruitcake of the Burning Sun back in, it will do little to fix the imbalance and the game will become a one sided timed event to see how long it takes for destruction to take our capitol city.
    Order needs some kickass looking characters so that we can attract the people who need to have pretty/menacing/LCF toons.
    So lore be damned give me characters that are going to balance the game.
    Is it true that they only release updates for Order in the table top game every 2 years and Destruction every 6 months due to it’s popularity? Did someone at the development table not see this coming?

    Sorry for the rant, just a bit miffed.

  26. I was sad when they cut the Black Guard, but as I was thinking about it and I think Corsair would be an amazing class to play with. The fact that they all have to gain a Sea Serpert Cloak just leaves them drenching with awesomeness.

  27. I don’t think they will switch to a different knight order. The Blazing Sun knights were already used in the book GW published extra for the launch of Warhammer online.
    An order with a wolf theme would be very appealing to many people, but as long as the human tank looks menacing and heavily armored, I don’t care which order it is. But the pictures I saw from the beta didn’t look very promising (at least to me). And the knight was never a class many people played during beta. Maybe Mythic took the knight out of the release to revamp the class and also the look to make it more attractive.
    Also a hammerer would imho not attract as many people as a slayer. The slayers should be rare, that is true, but witch hunters are also rare, hunt alone and are not a common sight on the battlefield.

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