Monday, July 28, 2008

The Warlord Revisited

I know I had some doubts about the Warlord class and now that I’ve had a look at the class in play (thanks to the newest addition to our group), I should in all fairness provide an update. Here it is.

Right off the bat I’ve gotta say that the class is very good at what it’s designed for. It’s powers are centered around moving allies into the right spots to control a battlefield (or dungeon room or whatever) and the class does that very well. Played properly I think a Warlord could force even the most disfunctional group of players into acting like a well oiled fighting machine.

At the same time, in it’s purest “build” (I hate that term!) the Warlord doesn’t do a lot of damage. It strikes me as a true “leader” (yuck!) in that it’s contribution isn’t in damage dice but in hidden, or subtle adds. Once you factor in all the hits that would have been misses, and the extra sneak attack damage etc… the Warlord does pull it’s weight.

On the other hand, I still don’t see why it’s powers couldn’t have been split into the paladin and cleric classes. Tried and true classes that can easily fit the “leader role” (cringe). If nothing else, rolling the Warlord’s powers into those classes would have given players extra “builds” (fuck, I hate myself right now) for their clerics and paladins.

Plus, there were rounds where our warlord used his power to give our paladin an extra attack on an enemy. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the design goals to give every player something cool to do on every turn? Hence the healing surges and second winds to free up of the cleric from casting cure spells every other round. Yet, the warlord on two separate rounds did, for all intents and purposes, nothing. Weird.

Most damning of all, in my mind at least, is that the Warlord’s roots clearly show. It’s a Mini through and through. If you need any evidence to prove that 4e is nothing but D&D Minis with some roleplaying elements thrown over top, look no further. I present Exhibit A. The Warlord. Case closed.

That aside, the warlord is overall an interesting class with some nice powers. Does it have a place in 4e? Sure. Does it deserve it’s spot in the PHB? Not in my opinion. Will I ever play one? Nope. Not my cup of tea.

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