« I will protect you. Let them pass through ME first! »
The Guardian is a dedicated fighter who summons his virtues to smash his enemies and protect his allies. No matter what weapon they wield, with a shield or without it, a skillful Guardian is, above all, a master of war tactics, knowing when it’s appropriate to sacrifice one’s defenses to empower one’s allies to achieve victory. He’s the classic archetype of ‘the tank’, as we all know it.
Or is he?
The Guardian’s abilities draw more from the world of magic than that of matter, even though he belongs to the Soldier class. As demonstrated by the following descriptions, Guardians are in a position to empower offensively or defensively themselves or their allies (using buffs), but they can also heal! Typically, the three Virtues grant them on-going passive bonuses. However, Virtues may also be used as shouts (comparable to the Warriors’ shouts and signets in general), in which case the bonus is propagated to the group as a whole and it’s then called a boon. Alas, whenever a Guardian does that, the passive bonus given to him by that Virtue is rendered useless for a limited time, until it is “recharged”.
Please note that the cooldowns mentioned below are the ones that have been made public so far.
A Guardian’s virtues are the following:
- Virtue of Courage : (a) Passive Bonus : periodically (every 30 seconds), the Aegis skill is activated automatically, blocking the next attack (b) Boon : When used as a shout, this defensive property is propagated to the whole party. The cooldown time for this virtue is 60 seconds.
- Virtue of Justice : (a) Passive Bonus : Every 5th attack inflicts the burning condition to the enemy. (b) Boon : Every party member within a radius will inflict the burning condition on the next hit. Tip: When the next hit (either of the Guardian or of another party member) is going to inflict this condition, their skill bar is marked with a blue flame (hotkeys 1 to 5). The cooldown time is 20 seconds.
- Virtue of Resolve : (a) Passive Bonus : Grants health regeneration to the Guardian. (b) Boon : Removes any negative conditions from nearby allies and grants them rejuvenation. The cooldown time is 40 seconds.
Regarding Virtues, there are three rules worth remembering:
- The three Virtues do not share the same cooldown. If one is used as a shout, the other two are still available and their passive bonus is still applied.
- The benefits of the Virtues do not stack in terms of values, but only in terms of duration. This means that if there are two Guardians in the party and one of them activates a boon (say 10 seconds of +3 health regeneration), then 5 seconds later another Guardian does the same, the party doesn’t get +6 health regeneration (the sum of the benefits), but they get regeneration for an additional +3 seconds (remaining seconds are now 15 instead of 5).
- There are Traits that affect the behavior of the Virtues.
The Guardian has some Special Skill Types in common with the Warrior, like Shouts and Chains, but their effect on the group differ. What completely differentiates the Guardian, however, are the other three Special Skill Types: Spirit Weapons, Symbols and Wards. Specifically:
– Chains : This is a series of three skills that share a single slot in the skill bar. They allow the execution of a barrage of attacks against an enemy with just a single key press.
– Shouts : They have either beneficial effects (buffs) on allies or malevolent effects (de-buffs) on enemies.
– Spirit Weapons : These are temporary allies, much like the Ranger’s Nature Spirits or the Thief’s Environmental Weapons. They damage the enemy and, at the same time, are immune to attacks. They disappear after a certain amount of time and the Guardian can order them to perform a powerful final attack before they vanish.
– Symbols : As their name implies, these are mystical symbols carved on the ground by the Guardian, which remain active for a certain amount of time. While present, they inflict Area of Effect damage to the enemies or empower the Guardian’s allies, granting them some kind of boon. You can think of them as a cross between Shouts and Virtues.
– Wards : An invisible and physically impenetrable wall rises at a target area. The Guardian’s allies can move freely through it, but for enemies it’s a whole different story. There are two kinds of Wards, the first being those that prevent enemies from crossing them, while allowing ranged attacks through and the second being the Sanctuary, which renders the group untouchable by blocking all ranged attacks, including spells!
The Guardian wears heavy armor, following the Soldiers’ tradition, and has 12 weapon combinations at their disposal, with 2 additional combinations for aquatic use. Each weapon is optimal for specific situations, as shown by the skills it makes available:
- Hammer : Powerful AoE attacks and related skills.
- Greatsword : Crowd control through leaping attacks and binds, also granting the swiftness boon to allies.
- Staff : Crowd control through Wards and AoE damage, empowering allies with defensive spells.
- Mace : Allows the use of Chain Skills and other support abilities.
- Scepter : Allows use of offensive spells that bind and smite an opponent.
- Sword : For melee attacks, this is the best compromise between offensive and defensive skills.
- Focus : Support spells, relating both to offense and defense.
- Shield : A Guardian’s …left hand, used for protection against all kinds of attacks.
- Torch : Favors attacks that cause the burning condition to the enemy and cleansing skills for removing negative conditions from allies.
- Spear (aquatic) : Swift attacks for small distances.
- Trident (aquatic) : Magical attacks and support for long distances.
The Guardian’s identity, as of now:
|Normal & Elite Skills||What’s known thus far|
|Special Skills Types||Chains , Shouts , Spirit Weapons , Symbols , Wards|
|Traits||Zeal, Radiance, Valor, Honor, Virtues|
[2h] Hammer , Greatsword , Staff
[Main-hand] Mace , Scepter , Sword
[Off-hand] Focus , Shield , Torch
[Aquatic] Spear , Trident