Exclusive first hands-on with the debilitating dwarven mage of Wrath of Heroes

Lucas Sullivan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gO2hllULag

Being a heal-bot support class can be, in a word, underwhelming. What's the fun of healing your allies, when they're the ones who get all the kills and the glory? Personally, if I'm playing support, I want to contribute to the damage-dealing--not just passive make sure my teammates stay healthy (then somehow getting blamed if they die). Enter Gromki: the unassuming dwarf whose one rule is to make sure that your allies attacks hit way harder than they would without you. He's one of two new heroes added to Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes (alongside Aessa, who we previewed yesterday ), and we got the chance to take him for a spin with some exclusive hands-on. Check out the full analysis of Gromki's skillset, with BioWare's tips and gameplay footage to boot.

An enemy Gromki is like a bad cold: if you fail to nip him in the bud (a.ka. before he gets his Rune combos on you), you'll be crippled by his debuffs and completely vulnerable to attack. Having a pocket Gromki on your side seems like it'll be essential for teamfights; who's going to notice the dinky dwarf amongst a crowd of attackers, even if he's the one who's making you take so much damage? Like any good support class, your team's main damage dealers will love having you around, as you soften up targets for them to pulverize. And you can act as something of a spotter, debuffing targets to indicate to your team that the time is nigh to pounce on a specific opponent.

That demon skull, just like the Van Halen song, is inspiring me to jump.

BioWare Mythic breaks down Gromki

Gromki, the Dwarf Rune Priest, was conceived as a non-healing support Hero, but he's changed a lot over multiple iterations. While he still has no healing abilities, he's now moved into the role of a damage dealer with utility. Unlike other Heroes, his available debuffs don't have durations, and are instead limited to only affecting one target at a time. Our intent was to create a Hero that's almost a walking debuff, one that you dispel with damage. Gromki plays very differently than other Heroes—the key to using him effectively is to master the Shatter spell. This starts with choosing which targets to apply each of your runes too.

The most useful of these is your Grudge Rune , which should (almost) always be the first rune you use on a target. However, be careful when engaging anti-magic Heroes, as you'll want your Rune of Dismay on them first to ensure that Grudge Rune sticks. At first glance, Rune of Spite can appear to only have value if your enemy is making extensive use of healing Heroes, but don't be fooled. Many Heroes have the ability to heal themselves and Rune of Spite will be just as effective against those abilities.

I\'m like a lighthouse of electrical death! Just try and stop me!

PC Gamer's take

While I don't see myself playing Gromki a ton, I will definitely appreciate when a good one is on my team. One of the developers who teamed up with me during my play session was straight-up nasty as Gromki, racking up points like nobody's business while debuffing victim upon victim and leaving bodies in his wake. Comboing Rune of Spite with Grudge Rune means your target's death is everything short of guaranteed: less healing + increased damage taken = 0 life expectancy.

I also got a kick out of using his Empowered Runestaff spell: running around crazily as I waved a massive white beacon that was zapping enemies to death. Shatter was also an excellent finisher against targets who were fleeing for their lives with a smidgen of HP left. Gromki will appeal to players that want to support their teammates while still being somewhat intimidating to the enemy. Having this hero on your team can drastically turn the tide of a fight.

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