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The Rat Pack: Playable Skaven In WO 1.4.0

Love rats? Patch 1.4.0 hits the now free-to-play-for-the-first-10-levels Warhammer Online this Thursday, and will bring all kinds of tasty additions. You can read about them here, but to summarise: revamped Realm vs. Realm combat, 4 new playable Skaven classes, a new Skaven dungeon for levels 65+, and two new pay-for Realm vs. Realm packs, one for endgame players that also accelerates character progression and another containing pets, dyes, mounts and haircuts. Details on those new classes follows. Squeak!

I had a pet rat as a kid, but he went wrong and we had to release him in a forest. There's a lesson in that. If something in your life goes wrong, take it to a forest and leave it there. Never fails.

So, above we have the Warlock Engineer. Here's how he shakes down:

The Warlock Engineer is a support unit best suited to a stationary battle area. They have an array of support equipment they can deploy to the field, while at the same time using their stores of Warp-Energy to hurl lightning, globes of burning death, and even modified doomrockets.

* Stored Warp-Energy – The Warlock Engineer carries massive amounts of Warp-Energy with him wherever he goes. This can pose a problem to those on the battlefield. Should the Warlock Engineer die, all that Warp-Energy becomes unstable and explodes, damaging those around him.
* Ignited Warp-Energy – Should you be so unlucky as to be near a Warlock Engineer when he dies, the resulting explosion will leave you covered with a film of burning, corrosive Warp-Energy. It causes mild damage to you as it burns away at your flesh, and can only be removed through the help of special healing; it does not dissipate on its own.
* Warp-Lightning – A beam of crackling energy, fired from the Warlock Engineer, and leaving his victim suffering from a mild shock which causes damage over time.
* Residual Charge – As the Warlock Engineer fires off Warp-Lightning, a small charge is left behind. This will slowly fade, but can be built up over multiple uses of Warp-Lightning. This built up residual charge can be harnessed and hurled out as a Death Globe.
* Death Globe – Condensing his Residual Charges, the Warlock Engineer forms a Death Globe and hurls it at a ground targeted location. The area around the impact becomes covered in bubbling warpfluid, causing ongoing damage to anyone in the area of effect.
* Warpfire Thrower – a constant stream of warpfire jets from the Warlock Engineer for as long as he concentrates and can maintain AP.
* Repair – Able to heal and re-enable siege engines, and remove any sabotage.
* Doomrocket – Fires off a projectile at a target’s location. On impact it explodes, causing damage and knocking down anyone near the impact location. The kickback on these rockets also causes the Warlock Engineer to fall down momentarily.
* Warp-Energy Condenser – A deployable device. Allies within the area of effect have their Magic Power and Healing Power augmented.
* Warp-Energy Accumulator – A deployable device. Allies within the area of effect have their AP regen rate increased.

Then there's the Packmaster. He's really interesting, because it's a class solely designed to take care of another class:

The Packmaster supports a Rat Ogre as best he can. By just being nearby, the Packmaster’s influence increases the effectiveness of his Rat Ogre. The Packmaster’s attacks can be used on both enemy and ally, having different effects on both. Being skilled and powerful leaders and organizers, the Packmaster is able to exert his influence to nearby allies for a short time, helping to increase their effectiveness as well. It’s that same power of pack manipulation that also allows the Packmaster to summon forth rat minions for short bursts of combat.

* Verminous Valour – The very presence of a Packmaster is enough to bring a measure of control to the warped mind of a Rat Ogre. While in close proximity, the Packmaster grants an Armor, Damage, Block, Perry, and Dodge buff to the Rat Ogre.
* Thwap! – A basic attack that damages an enemy, and enrages an ally. When Thwap! is used on an ally, the next attack they make (not including auto-attack) receives a major buff.
* Overconfidence – As the Packmaster Thwap's! enemies and allies, he becomes increasingly overconfidant in his own abilities. This can be channeled, and used to execute a Thwap!Thwap!!Thwap!!! attack.
* Thwap! Thwap!! Thwap!!! – This ability gathers all the built up overconfidence into one massive attack. This attack applies a DoT to enemies, and a HoT on allies. This HoT is the only way Rat Ogres are able to be healed.
* Scurry Away! – When the going gets rough, the Packmaster gets to scurrying. When activated, this dispels any snares or roots on the Packmaster, grants a quick speed buff, and then leaps him to the nearest friendly Rat Ogre for protection.
* Strength in Numbers – Gathering his allies close to him, the Packmaster is able to, for a short time at least, exert his packleader influence over them. This applies an Armor, Damage, Block, Perry, and Dodge buff to those allies nearby.
* Rats of War – Tapping into the minds of nearby vermin, the Packmaster orders a few to attack his chosen enemy. Obedient to the call of a Packmaster, the rats erupt from the ground, and begin to gnaw at the enemy. Each hit, while insignificant in damage, creates a Festering Wound.
* Festering Wound – Each of these wounds cause you to do less damage, and reduces the effectiveness of your healing. Thses are fast healing wounds, but their effects are also cumulative, which could potentially leave you worthless on the battlefield for a short time.
* Mantrap – A nasty trap, slowing the target to a near crawl.

Next, we've got the Packmaster's Rat Ogre:

The Rat Ogre is a creature of singular purpose: Create as much confusion and disruption in the enemy as possible. Whether he is charging through enemy lines to create passage for his allies, or he is using his powerful fists to assist in destroying a Keep’s Door, his impact is sure to be felt. He can usually be seen in close proximity to a Packmaster, as the Rat Ogre is unable to heal his own wounds and requires the Packmater’s aid to heal.

* Frenzy – The Rat Ogre is incapable of regenerating his hit points, and is unable to be cared for by anyone other than a Packmaster.
* Claw – A basic attack, renting his target with his brutal claws.
* Warped Rage – As the Rat Ogre attacks with his Claws, his warp-twisted rage begins to build. This rage can be used to fuel a Savage Assault.
* Savage Assault – Using his build up Warped Rage, the Rat Ogre executes a Savage Assault. This attack hits only once, but does scaling damage depending on how much rage was available to power it.
* Roar – A powerful roar let loose by a Rat Ogre leaves those around him In Shock, a brief stagger, applied to those in close proximity to a Rat Ogre when he Roars.
* Charge – For 10 seconds, a Rat Ogre focuses his resolve, and rushes at the enemy, knocking back anyone standing in his way.
* Hurl – Able to pick up group or Warband members, and hurl them up and over walls. When not near a keep, the height of this hurl is not as high.
* Bash – With his rock-like fists, the Rat Ogre is able to assist rams in taking down a keep door. When pounding on a door, shockwaves travel up, and cause any still functioning oil to become Unstable.. When Oil becomes Unstable, the next time it is used it will spill out a little of its oil around it causing damage to those close by. It still functions normally.

And finally, the Gutter Runner:

The Gutter Runner is an espionage unit who is at home alone in the shadows. He has some direct damage abilities, but most of his skills are suited to getting away from a fight and taking out defenses. The major asset to the armies controlling this unit is his ability to relay enemy troop movements back to his allies, and the skill with which he disables engines of war.

* Spy – When under the effects of Gutter Run, detectible enemy troop locations will be broadcasted to nearby allies.
* Sweeping Blade – A basic attack, slicing your enemy with your dagger.
* Lingering Spite – As you attack your enemy, you build spite against them. This can be channeled into a flurry of Spin Slash attacks.
* Spin Slash – With your daggers at the ready, you spin around in a flurry of attacks fueled by the spite you’ve built up against your enemy. This results in a number of attacks equal to how much spite you’ve accumulated.
* Leap – You can use this to jump great heights and distances. When near a keep, this is even higher, to allow the scaling of defensive walls.
* Snare Net – A bundle of barbed netting hurled at a targeted location. When it hits, the netting expands to catch anyone in the area. The resulting tangled mess disables those caught in it. Attempting to wiggle out of the netting causes damage.
* Gutter Run – Toggled stealth, with a speed boost. While this is active, the Gutter Runner’s Spy ability is activated automatically.
* Sabotage – The Gutter Runner can sabotage an enemy war engine. The next time the engine is used, it will detonate the trap, causing damage to those near it as well as disabling the engine. The Gutter Runner is able to remotely detonate a placed trap, as long as he is in range of it, and may only have one such trap active at a time.

Anyone out there still playing Warhammer Online? How is it these days?

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Quintin Smith avatar

Quintin Smith

Former Staff Writer

Quinns was one of the first writers to join Rock Paper Shotgun after its founding in 2007, and he stayed with the site until 2011 (though he carried on writing freelance articles well beyond that). These days, you can find him talking about tabletop board games over on Shut Up And Sit Down, or doing proper grown-up journalism with the folks at People Make Games.