Now that the full game is out and running, I've been running around the Old World enough now to, imo, competantly comment on WAR. At least in it's early stages.
I'm now Rank (level) 15, Renown rank (RR) 13 so far on my main career (class), a Chosen. What is a Chosen you (didn't) ask? Read on.
To put it simply, Chosen are unholy frontline warriors. Kinda like Paladins, but in reverse on the morality scale. Where pallies fight for the light and to protect those weakest, Chosen crush the weak and serve Dark Gods (in this case Tzeench). While these two classes are at polar opposites of one another in terms of morality, they share some simple game mechanics together. I'll get back to this in a minute.
First, lets talk about the careers in the game. Think of these as WoW's classes. Unlike WoW where you can have a warrior be any race besides BE's, each career can only be played by 1 specific race. Bright Wizards (think pure fire mages) can only be empire humans. Shamans can only be gobbos. To complement this, each piece of visual gear that you wear (excluding weapons) has a visual look for your career. The goal of this is so you can visually recognize what is coming at you from a distance without clicking on the individual. You can easily tell a Squig Herder and a Shaman (both Goblins) apart based on appearance, as well as any other race/career. Additionally, to keep things fair, while each side has an 10 individual careers, each one is mirrored by another career on the opposite side. For example, a Black Ork (tank, uses a combo system for moves) is mirrored by the Elven Swordmaster (Elf, uses similar combo system for moves). While each career has a mirror, there is generally enough differences to make each unique. For example, a Squig herder is ranged DPS with a pet, and a White Lion is a melee DPS with pet.
The unfortunate thing about this is that, while different careers look distinctly different, players of the same career look largely the same. It also doesn't help that equipment within a given tier all basically look the same, with only gradual improvements as you get more powerful. To combat this, you can go to any merchant and dye your armor with a primary/secondary coat. You don't have to have your entire armor set match a scheme, you can go for a rainbow look if you want. There is also trophies you can wear to decorate yourself, but those have come far and few in between so far for me and are generally pretty small.
Getting on with my Chosen, here is a pick of what he looks like currently. IMO, pretty bad ass for someone who is an equivalent to lv 25-30 in WoW.
So, the Chosen. Simply put, he makes me think of WoW's Paladin class, except unholy. Chosen are a part of the destruction side, worshiping the Raven God, Tzeench. They are one of the two tank like classes the forces of destruction have. They wear heavy armor only. They can also equip a sword and shield or go with a 2 hander like I have above. They have a number of abilities that further assist in tanking and DPS, most often both. What reminds me of paladins is that the Chosen have auras. However, their auras not only benefit himself and his allies, but it also effects enemies. For example, Chosen has a buff that increases it's toughness level (think armor, but just reduces incoming DPS by a flat amount in addition to armor) by X amount. At the same time, any allies within range will receive the same buff. Any enemies within range will actually be debuffed by the same X amount of toughness, making it easier to DPS them. You don't see enemies loosing X amount of Armor in WoW should the Devotion Aura is up.
Playing as a Chosen is a lot like playing a tank. I have given up the two hander you see in the pic to a 1 hander + shield approach, even in PvP. You see, Mythic went to some trouble to ensure that people who enjoy playing the role of a tank have a place in PvP, and in my opinion they hit the nail on the head. One aspect of this is implementing collision detection in any PvP environment. That's right, you cannot just run through your enemies to get at the squishies. You have to go around them, and when you have someone actively getting in your way, purposefully using snaring abilities to slow your progress, it makes you feel good to be a tank. A Chosen also has the ability simply called Guard. All it does is place a buff on you and a friendly player, allowing them to split 50% of their damage to you, while you split nothing to them. Top it off with your not-insignificant-dps, and you can imagine this further emphasis that there is a place in PvP for tanks.
Lastly, lets not forget one of a tanks classic traits. Survivability. Unbuffed, in between my armor (currently reducing 42.7% physical damage), mitigation (27.2% between block, parry and evade(dodge), Toughness rating (-35% of all incoming DPS), and resistances (roughly 15% reduction to all magical damage), I can take a pounding. When buffed and actively twisting (more on that in a second), I increase my resistances to about 30 I have successfully warded off 4 melee classes charging for our flag carrier for a 1 minutes or so, despite being constantly beat on. Their damage was all under 100 per strike, I have about 3.8K health in RvR, and my shield will completely absorb all the damage on a successfull block. I also used a Moral Ability that increases my block percentage to 100% for 10 seconds, making me virtually immune to them. Plenty of time to pop a potion that has a HoT for roughly 1/3rd my health. After I reached 1/3 health the second time, both armies clashed at our location and with the help of a healer, I waded through the battlefield like an impenetrable tank.
Ok, last 2 things before you get bored to death. First, Chosen can "twist" their auras. When you switch to a different aura, it doesn't just shut off and the other one comes on like a Pally. Instead, the old aura lingers for 12 seconds, at the same time the second aura is applied immediately, giving you the benefit of 2 auras for 12 seconds. Combine the resist aura plus toughness aura together while I basically just stand there and take it, means I'm gonna take it for quite some time.
And for Moral abilities, think super powers. As you fight in battle (PvE or PvP), you gain moral. When you gain enough for the first tier, you get to use your t1 moral ability. You can save it and continue fighting and get your T2 ability and so on. Using any moral ability, regardless of tier, drains all of your morall and places a cooldown on all moral abilities, currently set to 1 min. Also, if your out of combat for any more than 3 seconds, you start loosing moral at a very rapid rate. I estimate you could lose a full 100% bar in about 10 seconds. Shield Wall is my T2 ability fyi (currently don't have any higher yet).
Case Study: Guild Mergers
5 weeks ago