Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer
×

Guardian Tanking and Rotation


Craxim's Avatar


Craxim
01.07.2012 , 11:00 AM | #1
Introduction: Level 50 Jedi Guardian. EV: 8man 5/5N 5/5HM 5/5NM, 16man 5/5N 5/5HM 4/5NM. KP: 8man 5/5N, 5/5HM, 5/5NM 16man 5/5N 4/5HM.

Ok, now that credentials are out of the way, we can get started. I am going to do my best to keep this up to date, and it will be about what we know and don't know on Guardian's ability to effectively hold AoE threat, and the various priorities in the rotation that you should use while tanking. Will update with more topics and information as much as possible. Logically, this is only about the Defense spec and the tanking role, not the entire AC as a whole.

It's no secret that this is a hard AC role to play effectively. While debatable, the most common opinion is that it is also under-powered in comparison to the other tanking classes.

Lastly, I would like to preface by saying this thread is about PvE, and that any information or experience with the AC based on PvP would be unreliable at best.


AoE

Threat

I will start with AoE threat as it is what is giving Guardian tanks the most problems. I have no magic "this is how you do it" answers, and after reading through all about AoE threat, it will probably just confirm what you already know. But we'll talk about it to do just that, and to help anyone who was not aware.

For those of us who came from WoW, threat is no longer as easy as Thunderclapping off cooldown, or Consecration, or DnD, etc. This is very much so back to the days where not every class had an easy to use, reliable AoE ability. If you have DPS that are both skilled and geared, they most likely will pull off of you. This is for a few reasons...

1. They have no way to view their own threat generation or levels to moderate it.
2. It is believed that the unit of threat generated per 1 point of damage is not as high as it needs to be. Clearly, the 50% boost isn't enough.
3. Most DPS are not used to threat being a problem. They give the tank no time to get Aggro, and when the do, they blow all cooldowns and steal it within seconds.

The challenge at holding aggro on 3+ mobs while multiple DPS are using strong AoE attacks is insane. And that is only if they are all melee. The rest of this section will focus on the assumption that all the mobs being tanked are melee, even though a vast majority are ranged. The only way to effectively tanked ranged mobs is LOS, which is not always possible. Even when it is, most DPS would rather just let the healer deal with mobs running around everywhere, and you don't have the time needed to LOS things effectively. It is near impossible to tank groups of ranged mobs, especially when they are extremely separated. Having DPS single target, while making sure you've attacked each mob at least once to prevent healer aggro is the only way, but DPS can and will pull threat on mobs they are not attacking if they are good enough or geared enough.

There are the obvious things, like Force Sweep off cooldown, trying to hit all the enemies being tanked with Cyclone Slash, using Combat Focus to allow for more Cyclone Slashes before needing to Sundering Strike for Focus, using our AoE taunt when necessary, etc. But having personally seen a DPS pull aggro from mob B while single target DPSing mob A, while at the same time, I am hitting Mobs A, B, and C with constant Cyclone Slashes and Force Sweep on cooldown, it is become very apparent that the balance is off. A DPS should not be able to pull a mob that he wasn't attacking, at all, from the tank who was. One could argue different things, but either the actual threat algorithm needs to be refined to better balanced, or our AoE abilities need to simply do more damage. A last resort would be adding new AoE abilities or changing certain ones to have certain AoE effectiveness. But the fact of the matter is that Troopers can hold single target threat just as good as a Guardian, yet hold AoE threat 15x better. It hurts the AC and the role as a whole.

The few things you can do to try to help this...

1. Making sure you have positioned yourself correctly so your Force Sweep and Cyclone Slash hit as many things as possible.
2. Have your DPS hold off for a few seconds to give you time to get some threat.
3. Using CC's to reduce how many mobs you have to worry about.
4. Using your AoE taunt to hold threat during very strong attacks, such as the Trooper's mortars, the Sage's earthquake, or the Smuggler's (to quote a guildmate) "fiery explosion thingy".

Rotation

Generic theoretical AoE tanking scenario (assumed melee only, ranged were already close at pull, or effective LOS has been achieved for the most part):

It is important to centralize all focus generation abilities while AoEing. It is also important to try to hold DPS to let the tank get aggro.

1. Saber Throw a target to the outside, or a ranged mob that you won't be able to hit with AoE, then Force Leap into your decided "main target". The initial leap will stun for 2 seconds if you have the proper talent.
2. Force Stasis a mob close to the target you leaped to. (Prioritize a target who can be stunned, then any target who wouldn't be in Cyclone Slash range, since you have a 10m range on it. If there are none, then choose a target closest to your main target) Your talents should remove the channel, and this will also generate focus. You have now generated 9 focus for free.
3. Then Hilt Strike a mob right next to your main target. This will stun it, assuming it can be stunned (and if there is a mob that can be stunned, it should be used on said mob, prioritizing closest to your original target first, and not the target you used Force Stasis on) and "generate a high amount of threat". (I personally feel that statement on the tooltip is debatable but I digress.) It should cost a measly 1 focus.
4. You should still Sundering Strike off CD as much as possible, and throwing Guardian Slash on the same mob you used Sundering Strike on first should guarantee your threat on it. You should Sundering Strike the same target every or every other time. If every other, than it should rotate between the same two.

So now you should have stunned 2 out of the gate (which allows the time to single target Sundering Strike and Guardian Slash) doing heavy damaged/heavy threat, and one with 5 stacks of armor piercing on it. That /should/ make it a lot easier to hold threat. The stuns prevent immediate action, and starts the cooldown on abilities that should have high priority in your rotation. You generated 11 focus and spent 5, leaving you with plenty of focus. The DPS should jump in now. This is now the time to..

1. Force Sweep. It's a 12 second cooldown with talents and does good damage, stuns normal enemies, and should be used off cooldown with high priority.
2. Combat Focus. The entire time since pull, you have been generating 1 focus per 3 seconds. That could be up 3 at this point, and depending on if you had any stacks of Courage, your Force Sweep might not cost as much or be free. You don't want to waste any of this focus, if you have more than 6, Cyclone Slash until you have 6 or less.
3. Cyclone Slash. As much as possible. Every second spent not dealing damage to an enemy is decreasing the time until it pulls away. If Guardian Slash is coming off cooldown soon, don't go below the focus needed to use it.
4. If you have Cyclone Slashed your focus away, Sundering Strike. If that is on cooldown, Strike. If Guardian Slash is coming off cooldown, use it as soon as possible on a mob you didn't use it on before. Preferably the mob you have hit the least, or a mob that already has 2 stacks or armor piercing on it.

If at any point in time you have lost threat, click or tab target to that mob and single target taunt as fast as you can. If two or more have pulled, AoE taunt. If a mob has pulled and your taunts are on cooldown, your DPS /should/ switch to it instantly to try to burn it while you try to get threat on it with Hilt Strike, Guardian Slash, or any big damage abilities you have. If DPS do not, and continue to single target or AoE the rest of the pack, then you have to stay there to have a chance at keeping threat. The only answer then is to taunt it as soon as you can and switch to using your single target abilities in your AoE rotation on it to try to keep that threat.

As far as the ranged mobs you can't tank go, your DPS should focus them first above all. This allows you even more time to get threat on what you can tank, and it helps eliminate damage that would most likely go to the party or raid early in the fight. Understandably, not every pull is that long, and not every pull can fit into those guidelines. But that is what they are, priority guidelines.


Single Target

Threat

Single Target threat is much easier to hold, and as long as you are utilizing global cooldowns effectively, it shouldn't be a problem. With 2 taunts, and Guard, any threat problems should be easy to handle. If a target pulls off of you, single target taunt it back. If it pulls off again, AoE taunt. If it is still somehow a problem, just taunt off cooldown if you need to. (Taunting off cooldown does not mean taunting every time it is up, it means taunting the second it comes up if it is not attacking you.)

Rotation

This is pretty close to how it should go, if your target dies mid rotation, just pickup where you left off right when you switch to your new target.

Starting combat..

1. Saber Throw. Unless you know you are going to use it for an extremely specific purpose during the fight, this is really the only time to use it.
2. Force Leap. Obvious. The second the GCD is off from Saber Throw, hop on in and get it on like Donkey Kong.
3. Hilt Strike. High threat, high damage which also is high threat, and stun (depending on target). Use off cooldown, no-brainer.
4. Force Stasis. Damage, stun (depending on the target), focus regen. Again, use off cooldown, no-brainer.
5. Opportune Strike. If you can, requires a slow or immobilized target, high damage. Hilt Strike, if the stun goes off, should proc this.
6. Pommel Strike. Same thing, use if you can. High damage, which is high threat.

Moving on to normal rotation...

1. Riposte. Off the GCD, high damage, procs a damage reduction buff, 1 focus. Use everytime possible.
2. Sundering Strike. Your main focus regen ability, should generate 2 focus still, 4.5 sec cooldown. To use your damaging abilities you need focus, obviously, don't waste a GCD using focus instead generating it if possible. If talented right, you can stack 2 stacks of armor piercing at once. Use off cooldown.
3. Guardian Slash. High damage, stacks armor reduction, does even more damage when all 5 stacks are already applied. A HUGE part of our damage done and threat generated, use off cooldown. Make sure you have enough focus to use it off cooldown as the cooldown is approaching its end. If this means Striking instead of Slashing, or skipping Blade Storm, etc, do so.
4. Blade Storm. 12 second cooldown, high damage, decent range for an attack for a melee class, procs a damage reduction cooldown. Most times mid-fight costs 1 focus. Use off cooldown.
5. Slash. A focus dump, when all the above are on cooldown, and you have focus, dump on Slash.
6. Strike. A free, no cooldown focus regen ability. A last resort, only to be used when you have no focus to use on anything else.

An ability not listed, but still important, is Dispatch. It is HUGE damage, and on long boss fights where you get multiple uses out of it, it is amazing. The catch, only usable on enemies at or below 20% health. Still, when they are, use off cooldown. When usable, it is number 1 priority.





Will continue to update content and format to make it as cohesive, understandable, and comprehensive to the AC and role as possible.

(Note: All constructive criticism or corrections are encouraged, it would help the community alot more if trolling was kept out or to a minimum.)
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin

Dudetastique's Avatar


Dudetastique
01.07.2012 , 01:35 PM | #2
Thanks for taking the time for this mate. I have only recently hit the level 50 so I cant really put a decent judgement on the info. But what you wrote all make sense at first glance.

Someone should definitly sticky this post.

Craxim's Avatar


Craxim
01.07.2012 , 08:06 PM | #3
Well if you find anything to debate or theorycraft, hit up a comment so the rest can see. Appreciate the support, thanks.
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin

DaveyboyW's Avatar


DaveyboyW
01.07.2012 , 09:52 PM | #4
This is really interesting, thanks for posting it.

I spread my points between Defence and Vigilance, the logic being that I can get overhead slash (with talents) every 9 seconds and get force sweep without spending focus (and with a reduced cooldown.) I think that overhead slash every 9 seconds should outdamage guardian slash.

Also, I couldn't pass up on Protector - the endurance boost and damage reduction for both you and your ally when using guardian leap just seemed....shiny

From defence I actually only went up to tier 4 (to get the reduced cooldown on challenging call.)

This way I can try to use force leap and guardian leap to manage the battlefield with free force sweeps every 12 seconds and overhead slash every 9 seconds as the primary threat builders.

I haven't done enough grouping (i'm an error 9000 vicitm ...) to prove the theory either way though. From the descriptions, I think the only thing I really miss is being able to use force stasis without channeling.

Other than that, I was a little underwhelmed by the higher tier Guardian skills - Especially Guardian strike in comparison to Overhead slash every 9 secs. Part of the reason for that is that going through the vigilence tree means that Sundering Strike builds 2 focus, so it becomes my main focus builder, negating the implicit benefit of Guardian Slash adding several ranks fo it.

Your post certainly makes me wonder whether I should respec again though....!

LordMantequillas's Avatar


LordMantequillas
01.07.2012 , 10:28 PM | #5
A somewhat unrelated question: How many skill point slots do you have empty now you are level 50? Are they all filled?

Vashnira's Avatar


Vashnira
01.07.2012 , 11:10 PM | #6
great work thanks
You mistake me, you assume I am mortal...

Craxim's Avatar


Craxim
01.07.2012 , 11:46 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by DaveyboyW View Post
This is really interesting, thanks for posting it.

I spread my points between Defence and Vigilance, the logic being that I can get overhead slash (with talents) every 9 seconds and get force sweep without spending focus (and with a reduced cooldown.) I think that overhead slash every 9 seconds should outdamage guardian slash.

Also, I couldn't pass up on Protector - the endurance boost and damage reduction for both you and your ally when using guardian leap just seemed....shiny

From defence I actually only went up to tier 4 (to get the reduced cooldown on challenging call.)

This way I can try to use force leap and guardian leap to manage the battlefield with free force sweeps every 12 seconds and overhead slash every 9 seconds as the primary threat builders.

I haven't done enough grouping (i'm an error 9000 vicitm ...) to prove the theory either way though. From the descriptions, I think the only thing I really miss is being able to use force stasis without channeling.

Other than that, I was a little underwhelmed by the higher tier Guardian skills - Especially Guardian strike in comparison to Overhead slash every 9 secs. Part of the reason for that is that going through the vigilence tree means that Sundering Strike builds 2 focus, so it becomes my main focus builder, negating the implicit benefit of Guardian Slash adding several ranks fo it.

Your post certainly makes me wonder whether I should respec again though....!
You do make a good point, the tier Defense talents right below Guardian Slash are really pathetic, the only really good one is the increase from 1 focus every 6 seconds to every 3 seconds in Soresu Form. Guardian Slash hits harder once the target has all 5 stacks on it, and during a long boss fight, it will add up over time. Guardian Leap is useful for the damage reduction it gives, but it should steal their threat as well, simply reducing the damage taken isn't enough in my opinion.

As far as my personal spec goes, I am currently using this, which is 36/5/0. I feel the only debatable talent in it is Force Clap, but 2 seconds can be all it takes to kill a mob that pulls off you near death, and a quick Force Leap could prevent too much havoc from being unleashed.

In the end, the passive defensive bonuses you get in Defense are necessary, and you still get good damage increases on some key abilities. Guardian Leap needs to be buffed, and 4% damage reduction on only 2 specific kinds of damage + 5 seconds on one of the worst tanking cooldowns in an MMO to date does not belong near the end of the tree.
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin

DaveyboyW's Avatar


DaveyboyW
01.08.2012 , 05:32 AM | #8
Thanks for posting your build - I think I'll respec and give it a try :-)

Edit - actually, the only thing I did different was used the two points you had to improve Enure into the T1 talent to give 99% chance of a free blade storm after force leap.

This is purely from a player skill perspective - I don't want to complicate things by looking to see if the icon showed up or not. I just want to force leap then blade storm (with it's shiny damage absorobtion) as a matter of habit.

Craxim's Avatar


Craxim
01.08.2012 , 10:07 AM | #9
Yeah the Enure talent and the Enure ability aren't all that good, but the 4% can sometimes prevent you from getting hit too hard by a stacking dot or anything. I personally wasn't much a fan of Momentum, since by the time I get to Blade Storm in my rotation I've usually have 3 stacks of Courage so it only costs 1 focus, but that's just a minor play style difference that isn't too right or wrong either way you go.
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin

Murkyone's Avatar


Murkyone
01.08.2012 , 02:52 PM | #10
Excellent post that will definitely benefit up and coming JG's.

I've leveled my Guardian to 47 and actually made my first alt yesterday, just to give myself a fresh perspective on it when I resume play with it.

I've tanked everything up to Red Reaper. I gotta say I REALLY like the idea of having DPS beat down the ranged that I can't really reach, while I try to build up threat on the meat and potatoes of the pull. I usually try to see the entire group, cc whatever my group can (Strong mobs and higher), and ask DPS to kill off the standards while I grab the elite's and strong's that aren't cc'd.

The biggest pain that I have, is that DPS tends to really not pay attention and have to jump in immediately and that a lot of groups have no patience in setting up a pull. Typical stereotypical DPS mentality is that they can solo whatever mob they jump on, quickly, so they tend to follow their own path.

Another issue I have is JG damage mitigation. For me, if I don't get off that free shield for using Blade Storm, I get torn up if I have a few mobs on me. I can't post my stats currently, as I am at work, but I am decently geared and modded.

One thing I've noticed, and maybe some of you can verify this, when tab targeting, I tend to tab and then immediately follow up with another threat building ability and most times, if I hit the ability too quickly after tab targeting, it tends to make that ability hit the target, that I just tabbed off of, even though my marker shows that I have the new mob targeted.

I also find that depending on CC locations, I have to be very careful with where I force Sweep or Cyclone Slash. I have enough issues with DPS breaking CC's, that I then have to clean up.

So I will resume leveling my JG this evening and see if I can get some decent groups together that know what they're doing.

Thanks again for the tips. And is it just me or should Sundering Throw be in the Def tree?