I bought this game dead set on being the toughest, tankiest Dwarft there's ever been, so I was convinced I won't even touch another class until I'm fully maxed-out as Ironbreaker.
But frustration with the way my teams don't care to play in a way that make Ironbreakers shine has led to me making a post on this subreddit that shone some light on my misconceptions about the game and prompted me to give Slayer an extensive test drive.
And boy, oh boy, is that an unfair contest.
Basically, my findings boil down to a simple fact that somehow eluded me until now: with temporary health being a thing, damage reduction is meaningless if it comes with subpar killing power.
Once you realize that Gromril Armor is not the best shit since sliced bread, because every class that gets temorary health on kill can come out of a fight on full health despite getting hit, it gets ridiculous how much better Slayer is than Ironbreaker.
The damage output and mobility are such crucial aspects of this game that the disparity in that regard between those two classes is straight-up silly. With the "Oblivious to Pain" talent, the Slayer can be every bit as fearless charging into the enemy as Ironbreaker, except the difference is that 1) he can actually charge and 2) that results in the enemy being quickly dead.
I'm still not very good at this game, but I can already see that the way Slayer avoids damage and contributes to the team scales better with player skill and difficulty. Using 6 shields of stamina on blocking and pushing as Ironbreaker can save your ass, but it's never something you want to position yourself to be doing. It's just that compared to Slayer, you don't really have ways to position yourself. Likewise, your panic button "Get Out of Jail" card ult, while powerful, is something that's most useful at the end of a series of bad choices.
I can concede that in good hands, Ironbreaker's defense can be impenetrable and it's easier to make do without a health potion, but it's much easier as Slayer to swing the tide of battle in a way that will save all your team from having to use health potions.
Also, while the lack of access to ranged weapons seems like a big detriment, it's actually just a more radical implementation of the "saving the ammo for your team" perk that drakefire weapons have. The increased melee versatility for a character who has all the means to be a dedicated melee specialist may be actually a bonus. Plus, I love having the excuse not to bother with ranged, cause if was good at and enjoyed shooting, I'd have 15 other games to choose from and I welcome the lack of guilt stemming from FFing the shit out of my team.
Anyway, I may be missing something, but barring some very niche uses, the one advantage that Ironbreaker has over Slayer seems to be being way more idiot-proof and letting you get away with playing badly and that's not actually a good thing.
But wait! I have an idea how to make Ironbreaker better:
Give him satchel charges.
Make the bomb slot permanently occupied by a cooldown-based explosive that will allow Ironbreaker to consistently project bursts of damage over distance the same way Slayer does with his leap without taking away from the "standing your ground" ethos. It will also save the bomb pick ups for the team, emphasizing the "low maintanance" aspect of the class.
I'm looking forward to your comments and discussion.
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