, 09:30 AM
The Vanguard/Bounty Hunter
Most Favorite Feature: Being effective outside of melee range
Least Favorite Feature: No escape mechanic
Vanguards shine ... during predictable damage output and trash pulls
Vanguards fall ... if they're allowed to run low on ammo
Vanguards will ideally fight ... slow hitting high damage bosses, anything with elemental damage, or anything ranged
The Vanguard really feels more like a soldier in playstyle. He can take a beating and not blink - with heavy passive damage reduction there isn't a lot to watch out for. Health spikes very infrequently and damage is more sustained and evened out over time. The moves aren't flashy, but they get the job done - the majority of his arsenal stems from the business end of a rifle.
Troopers use a full to empty resource model. They begin with a full stock of "ammo" and each skill costs a set amount. Ammo regens at variable speed depending on how much ammo is left, so using more ammo actually causes you to have less resource avaliable. Common practice is to keep ammo above the "high" regen point and only use as fast as it regenerates. Certain skills will help regen ammo faster or generate a set amount letting you dip down lower -> then boost it back up to the optimal level.
I was dissappointed that the trooper was not a "Ranged" tank even though he carries a gun. You still have to get right up in the face of everything and slap them with the butt of your rifle to get the necessary effect. He is definately more ranged than the other tanks, having multiple (instant) 10m skills and a selection of 30m skills, but holding aggro at any meaningful range is still not possible.
Vanguards in PvE
I find that it's much easier to collect a trash group of mobs and have them focus on me for the whole duration than it is on any other tank. Being able to open with a high damage attack (with a knockdown) and follow up with a second high powered AOE usually assures that I can hold on to threat in the short term. With the changes in 1.3 I can now also charge in and drop two elemental AOEs without having to worry about what it does to my ammo.
For many boss fights the Mobility offered by a Trooper is second to none and invaluable. Being able to position yourself wherever you want and still be 100% effective is something that no other tanking class can claim. Similarly with trash pulls it is less onerous to collect all the ranged mobs and make sure they're pointing in the right direction - grouping them up is made simple by the use of a pull, but even so - grouping is unnecessary when you can stand in one spot and still hit them all.
Single target threat can be a challenge at the start of fights due to the lack of high threat skills and because of the ammo regen mechanic. Once you get threat though it is easy to stay ahead of DPS and continue building.
In practice a Vanguard will be more effective in a mobile environment and is easy to play while on the run. I find the ammo management takes most of my focus while trying to keep active buffs up and make sure I'm in the proper position. It does make positioning easier and I'm rarely stuck in a bad place. There are times when I wish for more active defense in moments that my health dips - so I do rely on my healers to be more active as well.
Vanguards in PvP
I still have a hard time playing a Vanguard in PvP because they really don't have a defined roll. Yes you can guard and taunt, but you aren't made to be right in the middle of a group of melee characters either. Make extensive use of AOE damage and always watch for healers - being ranged you should be standing back and more easily be able to spot and target them.
When focused by melee players Vanguards have a huge edge in damage just coming from their close in AOE attacks. They have the ability to gap close with other ranged classes either by pulling them or charging to them - depending on the situation. They have a built in (talented) snare with their regular attacks which makes it far easier to kite than on any other class.
In practice Vanguards need space to be effective in PvP, which makes guarding targets more difficult than it would otherwise be. With a full complement of elemental (armor ignoring) attacks even the tanking specs are somewhat threatening to all types of classes.
Overall troopers are very straight forward, they are focused on what they are doing and don't have much to worry about on the periphery of an encounter. They don't come with added utility, but their durability is second to none.