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Malissant
06.29.2012 , 09:30 AM | #5
The Guardian/Juggernaut

Most Favorite Feature: Melee combat with a lightsaber
Least Favorite Feature: Lack of damage output

Guardians shine ... during single target encounters
Guardians fall ... dealing with knockbacks, snares and roots

Guardians will ideally fight ... high speed, high to moderate damage bosses, or anything melee

The Guardian has the epic Star Wars Jedi feel. Leaping into the middle of combat and laying about himself with the force and with a lightsaber (more heavy reliance on the saber). High passive damage reduction let him soak a ton of damage with active mitigation waiting to back him up during intense periods. Some moves are flashing, but mostly have to do with swinging or spinning the lightsaber in a certain pattern. Some of the animations are clunky and take longer than necessary, but overall combat flows very smoothly.

Guardians use an empty to full resource. They begin with no "focus" and gradually build it up over time by using certain resource building attacks. In practice this means that they have to spend some time building resource before they can spend it - this prevents them from frontloading a ton of damage at the start of a fight, but over a long fight gives them less problems than other classes that run out more readily - a Guardian will never run out of resource and have to "wait" for it to regenerate, even regenerating resource does damage.

The Guardian was my first character and still has a special place in my heart for that reason alone. He is purely a melee tank, outside of melee range his options are severly limited. Guardians have some of the most effective active defensive cooldowns and Blade Barrier (an absorb shield) to help with mitigation.


Guardians in PvE

Not having to rest or regen focus during fights leads my Guardian to charge more blindly and more quickly into mobs to preserve the focus built up from the last fight. This can be a good or bad thing depending on how the rest of the group feels about it. For trash I tend to focus on the most important targets and let the others roam free (or mostly free) due to the lack of AOE threat generation. This has changed a bit in 1.3, but I still find that maintaining the threat after initially building it up is exceedingly difficult.

For boss fights I enjoy the Guardian the most. I never had a problem getting and maintaining threat on a single target, working in a proper starting rotation just takes some practice and a bit of forethought. After the initial rotation you should have no issues continuing forward.

The lack of mobility on some boss fights can be problematic, especially when you're forced to a point that you can't maintain melee range and aren't able to attack for short (or long) periods. I also find the lack of ability to position mobs where you want them to be an issue. I didn't really notice until I started playing other tanks that could more easily position mobs, or pull a single mob out of the way of others.

In practice a Guardian is more effective in a static environment that doesn't involve a lot of re-positioning. The only caveat is dual boss fights that involve a "switching" mechanic. Due to their leap they are the most effective at boss swapping during critical phases. They are also the most effective for Boss mechanics that have high spike damage due to their excellent cooldowns.


Guardians in PvP

Out of all the tank classes the Guardian is my favorite to play in PvP because of his role in the battle. My guardian is a pure bodyguard - without someone else to protect he is (at best) half as effective.

Guardians should always have an eye on a guarded target and use their utility (read lots of stuns, snares and other CC) to protect that target. Leaping into a mass of enemies to use an AOE taunt and do some damage before leaping back to your guarded target can keep enemies off balance and not sure who they were attacking or who to attack next. Often they will spend time running around following you while you leap. Making effective use of leaping to close gaps (or open them) is a staple for Guardians in PvP.

When focused Guardians are able to make use of defensive cooldowns to weather huge spikes in damage over a surprisingly long period of time. Guarding nodes solo in a Warzone is least risky with Guardian because they can usually live long enough for help to arrive.

Guardians do the last amount of damage, so killing people can become a challenge. Picking appropriate targets (targets with little or no armor) will help, but they will be spending a long time in a battle of attrition no matter their intended target.

In practice I find my Guardian to be the active. I'm constantly target swapping to make the most out of my utility and am always on the move - jumping one way or another to get right into the thick of the heaviest action. If unable to pair up with a healer a Guardian is most effective guarding a location (solo or with a partner).

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Overall Guardians take the most practice to be effective and seem to require the most use of skills to be optimal. In PvP they are the most team oriented of the tanks, and in PvE the most focused for difficult boss fights. Their added utility takes some skill to use effectively, but when done well can make a huge difference in almost any encounted.
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