Well, what is better than an actual warlord? Very little. But what is a warlord? A guy with on-and-off 60% bonus damage who can cast cydstepp at will. That's it, that's all the class is, pretty much. And it's arguably the strongest class in the game (in terms of power/simplicity ratios go at least). The fact that players are reacting in this way to the discovery that "you can make everyone a warlord" is great - this means that the, now obviously temporary, ban on that concept worked! Back then there were concerns that taking that ability out will hurt the chances of completing certain dungeons with 3 classess, there were people who thought they were wronged by it. The fact that people are saying "meh, it's scummy, who needs it?" brings great joy and relief to me
EDIT: Also, the fact that someone said - but wait, "why not play the actual warlord" is AWESOME! <3 Wald0! Back when cydstepp was nerfed there was some of "Meh, now only warlord works, did anyone try whether he's any good?". In popular immagination, restrictionless cydstepp was taken for granted, and so was scumming. So the way of looking at was that warlord needed buffs because other people (well, the rogue mainly) were better with "his" glyph O.O I'm simplifying, of course, but not by too much. Now you can say "Prepped up Warlord is way above the curve" and the vets will generally agree, and the newbies who've discovered him will be aware that there is stuff they wouldn't know how to handle without him. Back then he was just the guy who started with cydstepp, a lot of other stuff was undiscovered/unbuffed/not there, and he was beating vicious and gettin people monster classess. The cydstepp rogue was "obviously" stronger, so warlord was "decent". Except if you don't take restrictionless cydstep for granted, and you don't think features should be measured with scumming involved, "decent" is an insult to the Warlord. Heck, even after the nerf it still took some folks some time to lay off the cydstep Rogue - the devs made it not be castable unless at full health, and people would find ways to reduce their health to 1 with a Rogue just to be able to do it. Scumming and all. And they had warlord sitting there all that time, exactly the same broken goof as he is now. And the rogue works with anything. And does lvl1 boss kills. With no cydstepp.
Ok, so, that out of the way, about the current incarnation, the Warling, which is indeed powerful:
Now, if you think about it, the way I discovered that the devs have put the build back in was simply sticking a Cydstep on a halfling. No cauldron! No EM. A halfling with enough health and a bit of resists simply spends the DP, drinks 2 potions, casts cydstepp, takes one hit, takes another hit, repeats. You have potions to blow. Any halfling is a potential warlord!
Now, the actual Warlord is being played with EM, which makes sense because you can cast a number of cydstepps regardless of you'r mana pool, so you don't care which race you are. So a Halfling who runs into EM and a cydstepp has the option of warlording it on the fly. A halfling with Naga Cauldron + RBS + EM who scums up a cydstep IS a warlord on top of anything else he is. What makes him different (apart from not starting with cydstepp)?
1) He has to spend a few preps on it so warlord beats him there since the warlord can prep more sinergy. However, if the warlord is prepping EM anyway, and the RBS is a fine prep on a warlord, it's only the Naga Cauldron. But even warlords like the Naga Cauldron - before this I could only really make him and the priest/monk work with it, and he likes it because it boosts his mana potions. So not that much different.
2) Warlord has his +60% damage. Ok, cool, but the Warling rogue has his stable 40% damage, first strike (if/when you ditch the RBS), built in dodge on a "string of free hits" character (very sinergistic). Transmuter has LEMISI to scout/scum, plenty of CP and spirit sword damage (and doesn't care for his own mana at the end spike because EM always gives you enough to cydstepp). Crusader has 3 altars to desecrate and/or get benefits from before he turns to EM for mana, can bring in patches with impunity, and can esily keep his +60% if he manages his popcorn right. I've herd that the one of the reasons the berserker has his mana penalty is that it prevents him from abusing cydstep, but he only need to regen 2 tiles to be able to cast it. The paladin can't match the damage, but he can get more greenblood/clearance and since he's got resists he can drink 2 potions and tank a hit before cydstepping, as well as prepp a damage item instead of the cauldron (and he can also easily prep patches). The priest has sinergy with the cauldron regardless of cydstep, he can also match the damage on one boss with pepper in place of the cauldron because he works as a semi-warlord anyway or he can perp Codex-EM or a damage item and still be able to go warlord if he runs into a cydstepp.
Whether it's more powerful or not, some of it isn't, some of it actually is, but it doesn't really matter, what matters is it's there. It's also flexible. It's something you can do with halflings on the fly to a degree. How many strats are there for halflings compared to any other race? Or for Naga Cauldron? Or cydstep compared to other glyphs? Ever since the cydstep nerf people would occasionaly bemoan the fact that only warlords could use it (abuse it IMO, it's a good glyph regarless and I've used it to great effect even with berserkers befor the buffback)? Halflings were only ever really popular when the trisword was busted and when it was nerfed you could hear "but what are halflings gonna do?" And as for Naga Cauldron, look at Avatars first reply
Heck, I feel like I could start up a new profile, bumrush GT to open up PQI and flaming dungeons and be glad every time I see the halfling come up instead of wondering what exactly to do with them apart from just potion spiking a boss mindlessly. Not that that isn't fun and that you can't easily just work a cydstep into it.
Anywho, sorry about the long post, I hope noone minds. I'll shut up about it now and be silently glad about it, and you got a bit of history, you got a bit of strategy, and all in all all is nice, I hope ^^ EDIT: And I'll surely add the cydstepp sinergy bit to the halfling entry on the wiki, it's rather a good bit of info to be aware of on any halfling run.