Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Updated Q&A--Unveiling the White Lion Class

Raise a lion cub from cuddly ball of fur to deadly ball of fury.

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Amid the death and destruction that will befall the high elf land of Ulthuan when Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning releases later this year, there is a little bit of love. Hailing from the land of Chrace, the newly revealed white lion class will raise a war lion from a baby cub to a valiant beast of war. Players will be able to name their pet, choose distinctive fur patterns, and train it in the art of battle. Eventually, the war lion will grow into a loyal companion on the battlefield, elf's best friend. We sat down with Adam Gershowitz, associate art director and lead of combat and careers on Warhammer Online, to get the skinny on the new white lion class.

Elder war lions will be adorned in ornate armor. They will also eat you.

GameSpot: We are proud to unveil the new white lion class, which joins the swordmaster and the archmage as classes of high elf. Give us an overview of these beast-masters from the north.

Adam Gershowitz: In short, the white lions of Chrace are more savage than their southern cousins, striking out with great axe and claw to rend through their opponents. They fill the role of the melee damage-per-second (DPS) or "brawler" career for the high elves. Their most unique feature is the war lion that accompanies them. While capable fighters on their own, the white lion really shines when working together with his feline companion.

In WAR, we've chosen to delve deeper into the lore of the white lions of Chrace, working with Games Workshop to fill out the backstory and history of these noble hunters from the north. The most notable part of the backstory is the concept of the war lion and how certain courageous and skilled white lion warriors train these beasts to be powerful and loyal companions.

GS: It sounds like training your personal war lion allows for an even greater level of customization. What are the different ways to approach raising your lion? Will they become sad without enough tender loving care, like the puppies in Nintendogs?

AG: The war lion is meant to be a long-term companion unlike the disposable (yet lovable) squigs the squig herder gets. As such, we wanted to give players more options on their pet since they will only get one. These options are fairly simple but significant and include naming your pet and choosing distinctive fur patterns and markings when you first receive your lion. This allows for different white lion players to have semiunique war lions to accompany them. These distinctive markings stay with your war lion for the life of your character and dictate what your fully grown war lion will look like. Yes, I said fully grown; and yes, you get the war lion as an adolescent, and it grows as the player grows.

GS: We've talked a lot recently about the different paths of mastery available to each class. What additional skills will the white lion master have access to?

AG: The white lion, like all careers, has three paths of mastery available to it. The path of the hunter, the path of the axeman, and path of the guardian. Each of these emphasizes a particular aspect of play style for both the master and the pet.

The path of the hunter focuses on equality between elf and war lion; both stride into battle side-by-side, lashing out in powerful combination attacks that can hit multiple opponents at once.

The path of the axeman focuses the offensive role onto the player, while the war lion takes a more defensive role. This line focuses on large, single-target damage, causing the player to rely on his or her war lion or group mates to distract opponents so that the player can make a flank attack.

The path of guardian focuses on helping defend your war lion or group by disabling and reducing your opponents combat abilities and reducing the threat generated by your allies. This allows your war lion or group to take a more offensive role, striking harder with less fear of retribution.

GS: It sounds like the white lion is a cross between the members of The Gray Company in Lord of the Rings...and Siegfried and Roy. What was your inspiration for the new class?

AG: Choosing the final high elf career was one of the most difficult choices in development. The high elf lore is filled with so many awesome and iconic regiments; we were literally on the fence for months. What finally put us over the edge was a shipment of miniatures and the new Army Book from Games Workshop in June of 2007. Immediately, we were presented with two completely and utterly awesome concepts that outshone everything else. These were the dragon mages who rode ancient dragons into battle and the powerful white lion chariots drawn by noble but savage war lions of Chrace. Long story short, we had some issues with 40-foot tall, three-ton dragon pets. (They tend to want to eat and sleep a lot.) So we opted instead for the equally cool but much more compact ball of fur and fury. With the help of the folks over at Games Workshop HQ, we fleshed out the bond between hunter and war lion, and thus, the white lions of WAR were born.

GS: Tell us a bit about the white lion's homeland Chrace and how it fits into the universe of WAR.

AG: Chrace is the northernmost of the high elf kingdoms; it has a bleak natural beauty with high mountain peaks and thick forests. The population consists primarily of elves that prefer more natural surroundings and a less hectic, less urban lifestyle. Elves of Chrace are hardier and more independent than most of their southern kin, and when they march to war, they do so wearing armor overlaid with thick skins and wielding stout woodsman axes. Due to its location, Chrace is constantly under threat from dark elf raiding parties and is frequently the first defense against invasion from the seas. In the Age of Reckoning, Chrace has been besieged because the dark elves have landed many black arks in the nearby Blighted Isle.

GS: We like how powerful characters will grow and change as their age and skill increase, like how powerful orcs develop surging pecs and biceps after crushing armies of dwarfs. How will the white lions change as they level up throughout the game?

AG: A white lion's visual growth and power is determined less by the player and more by its war lion. Obviously, the player will gain access to cooler and cooler armor and weapons, but you know how badass they really are when you see their war lion.

War lions start out as younglings, and as the player grows in power, so does his or her pet. A war lion will move through four stages of growth; each having a different appearance that stays true to its distinctive markings that were chosen in its infancy. These stages are youngling, adolescent, mature, and elder. An elder war lion, for example, is the most physically imposing and is adorned in armor, while a youngling hasn't even grown a mane yet!

GS: What are the best ways to utilize the white lion? And, if you're a dark elf, what's the best way to counter a man-eating feline besides enchanting it with a pile of catnip?

AG: The war lion is a very flexible pet; since players have access to all of the "training" strategies, they can choose how their lion behaves on the fly. However, each of the pet behaviors is designed to complement a player's mastery. So players who have chosen a specific play style will generally have a pet that's stronger at complementing that play style.

Fighting against a white lion is all about observing its strategy. You need to identify what type of play style it is using and take out the bigger of the two threats first. There are some obvious indications [as] to who is going to put the hurt on you first. Generally, it's the one trying to circle around you to get an exposed flank!

GS: It seems the white lion is a bit more down-to-earth than his snooty high-elf brethren. How do the white lions fit in the high elf hierarchy?

The hunters of Chrace serve as the personal guard of the Phoenix King.

AG: While the hunters of Chrace are more aloof from society than most high elves, they still serve with great distinction as the personal guard of the Phoenix King. During the civil war between high elf and dark elf, King Caledor the First was beset upon by a troupe of dark elf assassins just moments after he learned he was elected to ascend to the throne. If it was not for the timely intervention from a party of Chracian hunters, the Phoenix King would have been lost and Malekith would rule all of Ulthuan. Since that day, the Phoenix King has never been without an escort of white lion troops.

GS: High elves seem like the most powerful magic users in the game. What manner of sorcery do the white lions bring to the fight, considering they are so attuned to the natural world?

AG: The white lions of Chrace are the least magical of the high elf careers. They tend not to have any overt magical powers. Instead, their innate magic revolves around their bond with their war lion. The link between master and pet goes deep, allowing them to sense each other and react with unnerving coordination and speed.

GS: Finally, what type of player do you think will enjoy using white lion the most?

AG: The white lion is a very attractive career for the player that desires a strong solo experience but also prefers to get in the thick of melee combat. It's one of those careers that is very "new player" friendly but has a lot of depth and takes a good bit of strategy to master.

GS: Thanks for the time.

Discussion

66 comments
Oz_Pvt_Parts
Oz_Pvt_Parts

If Dwarven Slayers are in, then I will cry with happiness.... until a lion chops me into mincemeat.

mfungh
mfungh

I'll get the Marauder! ;)

WarWolf95
WarWolf95

Have fun with your white lions! I personally am more of a Chaos guy, but still, I'm going to enjoy crushing your puny lions' skulls in. Muahahaha!

digthis
digthis

I have been waiting for this game forever it seems. I played WoW for about 6 mos. and have been playing DAOC for roughly 4 years. Two months ago I cancelled both DAOC accounts in preparation for WAR. Originally I loved the dwarfs, then I loved the archer class, but to own a savage white beast is the ultimate thrill. Bring on the WAR!!!!!!!

durge666
durge666

I can't wait for this. This will completely take WoW and Age of Conan's Spotlights. This game will kick ass!! ALL HAIL WAR!!

Inquisitorium
Inquisitorium

''Games like this never come out on time it says Q4 2008 , but i think it will most likely be Q1 2009 . I think im going to change from wow to this , because wow has became too booring and i get feeling of deja-vu every day , if some things dont get changed in wow i think Warhammer will take over the place of best and most playable MMORPG. '' Warhammer Online is anounce about 2 years. I think they will not miss the Q4.

Perfect47
Perfect47

Yea, they had me at "lion pet".. This must be one of the more awesome classes in WAR. But im just blown away by the crafting, feels like the Oblivion alchemy system but in an MMO scale. And with the "chance of something really awesome happening" crafting wont be a boring grind anymore. I miss the old crafting days of Star wars Galaxies. Now that was MAD..

puppeteering
puppeteering

Games like this never come out on time it says Q4 2008 , but i think it will most likely be Q1 2009 . I think im going to change from wow to this , because wow has became too booring and i get feeling of deja-vu every day , if some things dont get changed in wow i think Warhammer will take over the place of best and most playable MMORPG .

yearofshorty
yearofshorty

Kooken58, the thing with MMO's as you should know is that they ADD content. I hate to use WoW as an example but, it's the only MMO that i've played for a long period of time. It was extremely glitchy, they patched it, only had 2 endgame instances. I like what AoC and Warhammer are doing with the healing classes though..either you don't have to select a friendly to heal or you can have a friendly and a enemy selected at the same time.

Kooken58
Kooken58

Most will just get Bored of AoC. Its a niche game just face it, people want something to do over the summer, hearing alot of players already that are not going to Sub after the first month and Even more who are going to quit this fall. Seems like there is very little endgame in AoC as well, And the stuff that is there is very buggy. My friend and I though are going for a Bright wizard, White lion combo as we level up so watch out for us :D

trausen
trausen

sorry, AoC has stolen my heart :(

Bakutakamine
Bakutakamine

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Vasot
Vasot

Except Age of Conan most other MMO i have played are just boring cr*p to me... I am not a big fan of MMO :( I prefer games like Oblivion and Real RPG games And not online bad Imitations of RPG...

iamsthedogfood
iamsthedogfood

Mega-Tom: What sort of noobz? gaming noobz? rpg noobz? not all games are for everyone and some are willing to pay more for games with extras such as periphals (Wii games), cool licenses (comic book and movie games), or crap loads of content and community play (mmorpgs). As a table top RPGer I enjoy group play and online is the most convenient way to game together. I didn't realize Warhammer had such an in-depth storyline. It's been many moons since I've played the table top version. This game sounds pretty cool.

Mega-Tom
Mega-Tom

Is this another pay monthly game? I hate them kinda games. MMORPG iz 4 noobz :)

surdanis
surdanis

too bad u can't ride 'em

zunit88
zunit88

This game is getting cooler and cooler...but i think am sticking to the squig herder

Diernes
Diernes

Hunter class form wow? more like beastlord class from everquest... anyway Im looking out for this game, it should be better than wow by a longshot, actually even DAOC is better than wow

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

they had me at growing white lion pet. had me at alot of places actually.

EvilTerminator9
EvilTerminator9

This game does look like its going to be a fun MMO. I love WoW, but its terrible how blizz does not really capitalize on the fact that they have millions of players. Most endgame content is all in small groups, with large battles only appearing in places like AV. Im hoping this game shapes up to be a more RPG-ish planetside, which was fantastic until the idiots at SOE killed it

leke
leke

This game will come out bundled with Duke Nukem Forever.

KratosAurion7
KratosAurion7

Well this game is seriously starting to look fun.

Noclippin
Noclippin

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mtnj356
mtnj356

Actually DAoC was full of pet classes, if the idea came from anything im sure it would be there own game that was out before WoW.

OminousX
OminousX

This isn't really a hunter class from WoW, you may have a pet, but that's about it. This isn't a ranged class, it's melee.

Kooken58
Kooken58

Yea Collectors Edition comes with a Open Beta key. Open Beta i believe is around a month before the release of the game, but not entirely sure. I sure hope i get into beta this summer :D

Lord-Viru
Lord-Viru

If I play one career in Order this will be it, me and my mighty war lion would own.

Dawn_oF_Doom
Dawn_oF_Doom

it would have been great if they could have made the dragon mages, i would have liked to ride a badass dragon and make dark elf, orc, and chaos stew. But since that option is obsolete i can live with having a big bad pussycat next to me, keeping me company and sharpening it's claws in a dark elf head.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Do they braid the lions hair while it's asleep or how do they manage to do that? It looks cool with the armor, I hope the lion thinks that as well.

shenron43
shenron43

seems pretty cool, gonna keep my eye on this one.

graavigala
graavigala

damn... i wasnt going to get this game but after seeing/reading of this class i want to try it :D

IDarkNight
IDarkNight

I was playing the beta and WAR don't have the weapons for fight with WoW and AoC.

BikerPunk
BikerPunk

i am liking the looks of this class. ooOoo i thought i had my choice figured out, time to re-evaluate!!! eventho reports are saying its a "WoW Clone - but pimped up" i am truely looking forward to playing this game. The RvR PvP is looking amazing, and the classes are looking fantastic. Glad i am doing a PC upgrade so i can take this game in at its fullest!

Antinate
Antinate

Well it's good that Mythic's smart and delays the game so that it's more complete, but God, I so badly want to play it. ;P

senses_fail187
senses_fail187

doesn't the limited edition come with a beta key?

Ryanzbane
Ryanzbane

Attempt to present material like Paul has....FAILED! Other then the annoying dude talking about the class, the class itself looks interesting. Should be fun killing them.

curcica
curcica

doesnt look that great starting to look like WoW so ill pass

novadragon
novadragon

@snokdruid & IXIWhistIXI Actually the pelts they wear are typically from dangerous wild lions that encroach upon the elves (usually having killed one or two). The war lions are usually the cubs of said lions. Instead of just leaving the helpless cubs to die they train them.

Santhin
Santhin

Bah, give me a good axe'n shield anyday, prissy elves can keep their little kitties.

spOOoOOn
spOOoOOn

Damn... This actually makes me reconsider going chaos. Well done mythic :P

fsgclan
fsgclan

@ snokdruid @ IXIWhistIXI Watch the video: the fur is from their 'rite of passage' where they have to kill an adult specimen, and then take their cup and raise it.

Lycen
Lycen

Wanna play this game already!!

snokdruid
snokdruid

@ IXIWhistIXI The lion pelt would of been from his past companion that would of past away while protecting him.

theCandle
theCandle

Well it's getting harder now to choose a side, i was all about destruction but the Empire has my attention a bit, now this and i'm rethinking how this would be a great class to play. I'll be destruction though for sure, but i'm an altoholic so here goes one more.

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

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Lympago
Lympago

It's funny how this class focuses on his lovely lion pet, and at the same time wears a white lion hide on himself (which means he slaughtered a white lion for this).