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PVE guardian tank spec/gear/rotation ?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
PVE guardian tank spec/gear/rotation ?

Kalrenan's Avatar


Kalrenan
11.13.2012 , 03:32 PM | #11
Thank you all for the responses, and I apologize for using alkhattabi's thread. I think I'll go full defense, then. So far guardian is been a hell of a ride.

Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
11.13.2012 , 05:33 PM | #12
Quote: Originally Posted by LadyTributary View Post
It's probably easier, in fact, because it was designed for tanking and includes some high threat generation moves. In general, hybrid specs can be made to work, but they frequently require more care.
Hybrid tank specs for Shadows and VGs would never be recommended for PvE progression; they lose too much survivability for whatever else they might gain. The only hybrid spec I ever see recommended for Shadows is exclusively for PvP, and I don't ever really see hybrid specs for VGs recommended.

Guardians, however, are different. A substantial number of top raiding Guardians roll as the Vigilance hybrid (18/23/0) specifically because, unlike the other hybrids, the Guardian tank hybrid actually manages better threat generation, damage, and survivability compared to full Defense: the damage and threat come from the combination of Overhead Slash (generates more threat per hit and is on a shorter CD) and Vigilance's Blade Storm buffs (additional DoT coupled with lower CD); the survivability increases are due to sacrificing 4% shield chance (when the class has the lowest Shield and Absorb of all the tanks, this means that Guardians care even less about it than the other tanks do) and 4% I/E DR for 4% total DR and a 9 second CD on Blade Storm (which means more Blade Barrier). The only "problem" with the spec is that it is *much* more difficult to play thanks to the incredibly tight resource management: it actually *requires* the use of Combat Focus with regularity, not just for emergencies.

The reason for this, overall, is due to some very strange design decisions concerning Guardians. The Defense tree focuses less on augmenting survivability and threat generation (which is what the other 2 tank trees focus on entirely) and more on overcoming the absurd negative effects of Soresu Form, which are functionally unique amongst the tank stances: Combat Technique's "negative effect" is 5% less melee bonus damage (which translates to something like 2.5% less damage overall on attacks that comprise roughly 10-20% of your total damage and threat for a total "nerf" of .25-.5% of total damage and threat) and Ion Cell has no negative effect. Soresu Form, on the other hand, reduces your resource generation by roughly 1/3rd (the fact that it provides you with 1 Focus every 6 seconds when you're hit by an attack is redundant because all of the stances get that with no negative effect to "counteract" it). Rather than being able to focus their tanking tree on actually tanking effectively by increasing threat generation and survivability, Guardians are forced to devote almost half of their major talents to overcoming the fact that they're saddled with the only stance that has a substantial negative effect (Momentum, Lunge, Victory Rush, Stasis Mastery, Courage, and Cyclonic Sweeps, with the possible inclusion of Hilt Strike since it's not a spectacular attack and is only really useful as a high threat attack when you're out of or low on Focus) and, of the survivability talents that remain, only 2 are outside of the "hybrid" range (tier 3/4), and pretty much everyone in the top 3 tiers of the tree is mediocre at best (Guardian Slash is either too expensive, too long of a CD, or too weak to really be particularly useful, especially when compared to what the other 2 tanks get with their 31 pt; Cyclonic Sweeps is, mechanically, weaker than either One With the Force or Shield Cycler based on the other classes' resource generation without them; Hilt Strike is on too long of a CD to be especially useful; Inner Peace would be a decent talent except that the hybrid talent it competes with blows it out of the water). In short, pretty much all of the most useful stuff for Guard tanks is in the first few tiers and nothing at the top stands out enough to be "must have", unlike for Shadows and VGs (any Shadow tank without Slow Time, Harnessed Shadows, Stasis, Force Pull, or Bombardment is pretty much crippling themselves and Storm, Ion Screen, and Energy Blast are all incredibly useful to VG tanks, not to mention getting 6% Shield chance from the Shield Chance talent as opposed to just 4%, especially on a class that gets substantially more out of Shield and Absorb due to higher native values from the spec).

Honestly, the Guardian shows the most obvious flaws in its design compared to what the "standard" design of the game has been shown to be. Shadow and VG tanks both adhere to a very crisp and well defined style of play and design. Shadows are tanks that grew out of a DPS spec and are demonstrative of such a design (a lot of proc watching and attacks that increase survivability with a cohesive attack priority that revolves around a central set of mechanics). VGs are tanks that were designed from the ground up, to be passive and simple, with little complexity beyond ammo management, which shows insofar as they can tank effectively by just smashing their attacks on CD most of the time with a large number of well spread out passive survivability talents. Guardians are effective but behave more as a patchwork jury-rigging based on after-the-fact changes to the original design to make them competitive/sensible/effective. Rather than designing them with a style of play and cohesive mechanical system, it's apparent that Guardians were designed with the idea of "tank" without considering what *kind* of tank they were supposed to be or *how* that tank was supposed to play. Really, they could use a large-scale overhaul to their entire design (remove the resource reduction for Soresu Form or include some of the resource generation talents as baseline; spread out the survivability through the entire tree; make Hilt Strike and Guardian Slash more effective tanking attacks, potentially by switching Guardian Slash's place in the tree with Hilt Strike and tying Blade Barrier to it rather than Blade Storm coupled with a damage increase, possibly tied to dealing damage based on number of Sunder stacks on the target, and a CD reduction; remove Hilt Strike from the GCD, reduce the stun duration, and reduce the GCD or simply make it an improved version of Riposte that stuns the target for a shorter duration). All of the changes should reinforce a central design concept (in my mind, that concept would be a barrier based reciprocal tank: Blade Barrier and Riposte would be the defining attributes of their playstyle that are present across multiple abilities rather than only being present in 1-2 talents, similar to how Stockstrike and Ion Pulse are relied upon for VGs and HS+TkT and Kinetic Ward are for Shadows).

Since it's known that the FP&Ops lead dev plays a Defense Guardian as his main, I wonder what the general developer thoughts of the Guardian, specifically Defense but also potentially Vigilance, are? Do they see a problem with the largely patchwerk and chaotic design of Guardians or the lopsided value of the tiers within the tree, especially since there were a lot of design decisions made quite a number of months ago that let it be known that the developers really weren't fond of the idea that a hybrid could be almost universally better a pure spec?
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grallmate's Avatar


grallmate
11.13.2012 , 08:11 PM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by LadyTributary View Post
What he probably means that threat from damage is not as good, but that's not how tanking is generally done in SWTOR. You generate threat by doing your high threat moves, then taunting. Most threat generation is done via taunts. Taunting when you already have threat only increases your threat. High threat moves have a threat multiplier and do not rely solely on damage. If your taunts are constantly on cooldown, you are unlikely to lose threat.

Many main tanks are full defensive, and it certainly makes sense when doing difficult content. It's probably easier, in fact, because it was designed for tanking and includes some high threat generation moves. In general, hybrid specs can be made to work, but they frequently require more care.
Actually threat generation in SWTOR isn't built around taunting. Taunting just provides a 30% boost to current threat. As such it provides a way to build threat and once sufficient threat is on a boss it makes everything else largely irrelevant. This is why most people only care about the first 20-30 seconds of a fight.

The difference between Hybrid and Full Defence Build at Campaign level is about 150 DPS and about 100 TPS (threat per second). Combined with the higher survivability from Commanding Awe and reduced CD on Blade Barrier, the Hybrid really comes out ahead. However, the learning curve of the Hybrid is much steeper. You need to learn not only how to tank, but how to manage your much sparser resources. However the payoff is worth it.
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OlosBC's Avatar


OlosBC
11.14.2012 , 10:29 AM | #14
This is all making me want to try tanking on my guardian just to see what its like. Its pretty well easy mode on the ptech, curious how different it is on guard/jugg.
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grallmate's Avatar


grallmate
11.14.2012 , 04:36 PM | #15
It's a heck of a lot of fun to tank as a Guardian. Leaping all over the place, a whole slew of abilities to use (and abuse), a really fun resource management system. However its a lot tougher than a VG. Especially when you get to AoE tanking. I seriously recommend looking at TankingTOR for some Guardian AoE tanking/strategy videos.
The Kae-Sare Legacy - The Harbinger
<Vindication> <Retribution>

Gralleh Grall'eh Khyar
Gralleh's Guide to Guardian Tanking [UPDATED for 2.0]