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I’ve been playing as Guardian pretty much exclusively. I play as a tank character in pretty much every MMO I’ve played. Esgrima doesn’t have tanks as it currently stands, as there is very little way for me to make my defense useful to the party unless the boss deigns to attack me. A Guardian should have some say in the way a battle unfolds. The way the skills are currently implemented, this is impossible. Many of the active skills are tantamount to useless or simply do not work. I’ll go over some of these below and some suggestions for each as well.
**Defend** Without any functioning means of keeping attacks focused on the Guardian, the 1 turn duration makes this skill a shot in the dark. Personally, I only find it useful in somewhere like WF where damage starts to actually become noticeable to a guardian. If aggro control were improved, this skill would begin to become more useful, but would be better if duration and cooldown were changed to 2 or 3 turns to allow another skill or potion to get cycled in.
**Stronghold** The healing, defense boost, and duration of this skill are all fine, but at 22 mana and a 14 turn CD it is a definite drain on an already mana-starved class. The cooldown makes the skill into an emergency only ability as it is unlikely, should you need it, that you’d survive long enough to be able to use it a second time. I’d like to see the mana costs reduced to ~18 and cooldown to somewhere around 10 turns. even with these changes, a Warrior would likely have healed himself 3-4 times passively before the Guardian was able to activate the skill a second time.
**War Shout** Now we come to the meat of it. This appears to be intended as the guardians form of aggro management – The #1 most important ability of a tank class. As it stands, I’m not entirely sure how this skill is even functioning at present as when I activate it the boss attacks the other person in the front line, triggers an AoE, or does nothing and times out. I think I may have seen the boss attack me, and me alone, once after using this skill and I believe that was only because the purple “aggro” message failed to appear. This skill is flat out broken and is probably the core reason Guardians are currently no more than a hulking curiosity.
I think perhaps the way the aggro is applied should be changed along with this skill. A _Taunt_ status effect could be applied like a debuff forcing those under it to only attack the one that applied it (perhaps a _Target Designation_ buff on Guardian) and disable the use of AoE skills (but not all, unlike Fear). If for some reason the Guardian were not targetable or if no Target Designator buff found (Guardian death) the Taunt debuff could be ignored. War Shout could then be treated as just an AoE debuff with a 25\>35\>50\>65\>90% chance of landing depending on skill level. This could also become very useful in PVP.
If this Taunt flag were to be implemented it could become a passive effect of all Guardian attacks, normal and skill. Percentage could be tracked via character sheet alongside critcal and block chance and increased via shield as block is. Taunt shield gems could be added to defensive focused bosses (Conqueror comes to mind) to force a choice between aggro and defense for the Guardian when gearing.
**Guardian Blow** This skill just flat out doesn’t work. It does less damage than the Hook which is considerably less mana and has a faster cooldown. I had assumed originally that it would reduce the enemies defense to a certain percentage and would therefor benefit the entire team. It does not, but I still think it should. Change it in to an Armor Break type skill and give the Guardian a roundabout DPS boost by making his teammates do more damage. This alone would make Guardians more welcome in groups now than their defensive abilities ever had.
**Beast Attack** Another one that just astounds me. This is the level 50 skill. It does less damage, costs more mana, and has a longer cooldown than the level 20 skill but adds +1 beast element, an element that makes it more likely to do less damage than more to most every boss at present. If it were an AoE it would be useful in clearing the minions to a boss. Or if it applied an attack debuff instead of the element it would complement the changed Guardian Blow. I don’t know, I don’t really get the purpose of this skill and would just like to see the cool ghost T-Rex head be useful…
Thanks for reading and please leave some feedback below, especially if you’re one of the other 3 or 4 Guardians I’ve seen.
Just some suggestions:
How about a passive skill that has a chance to draw aggro (a debuff on enemy forcing it to attack the guardian)?
Or a passive skill that has a chance to lower the enemy’s damage (debuff)?
Or an AOE buff that increases the team’s defense?
I think I might have to add **Last Hope** (+25% def when below half health) to the list of skills not working. There is no effect shown (like other buffs/debuffs) after dropping below half hps and I could not discern any decrease in damage, though testing is difficult. There was no change to damage received in PVP, but in PvE I’ll have to try fighting naked so enemies other than Tharlock and the Fire Lord can drop me below half health.