Time is running out, my shield brothers and sisters, and the launch of Guild Wars 2 is one week closer! My sacred charge is to prepare you for your first days in Tyria. We’ve already covered utility skills in depth, discussing heals & consecrations, meditations, shouts & signets, and spirit weapons & elite skills in three consecutive weeks. Now it’s time to look at our arsenal.
Last week we looked over our two-handed weapons, and today we’ll conclude with a review of our main hand and off-hand weaponry. I’ll give you a basic rundown of each ability, and tell you my personal insight on how they work in battle.
MAIN HAND WEAPONS
Mace — A support weapon with attacks that heal and protect the Guardian and her allies.
The mace is, without question, our best one-handed support option. It’s fantastic for soloing as well, as you can’t go wrong with the periodic healing it provides. I love the fact that it’s still doing damage while healing and supporting.
|Faithful Strike||NONE||Hit your foe with a strike and heal nearby allies.|
|Symbol of Faith||8||Smash a mystic symbol onto the ground that damages foes and regenerates allies.|
|Protector’s Strike||15||Surround yourself and nearby allies with a shield. Damage enemies that strike protected allies. Grant protection to yourself and nearby allies if you are not struck.|
1. Faithful Strike is the third and final strike in a three-part attack chain. The first two, True Strike and Pure Strike, each hit progressively harder, with the final hit smashing enemies and healing allies and the Guardian. This is important to note, because it’s one of the easiest and most spammable group/self heals we have at our disposal. Only the Staff’s Orb of Light comes close to being as effective on land, and it requires detonation in order to heal.
2. Symbol of Faith’s damage won’t deter anyone from crossing it, but the regeneration it provides is the star attraction. The regeneration only lasts for a single tick, but it’s enough to complement the direct healing from Faithful Strike.
3. Protector’s Strike proves that the only thing better than healing damage is preventing it in the first place. No other profession can provide the protection boon as reliably to himself and his allies as the Guardian. This ability only provides 3 seconds of it, but it’s enough to turn the tide in a crucial situation. Use it wisely.
Scepter — Offensive spellcasting weapon to bind and smite a single enemy.
The scepter is our lone long-range combat weapon. It mixes single-target damage, AoE damage and a bit of control and is effective up to maximum range of 1200 units.
|Orb of Wrath||NONE||Fire a slow-moving orb at your foe.|
|Smite||6||Strike foes in the target area repeatedly.|
|Chains of Light||20||Immobilize and inflict Vulnerability upon your foe with ethereal chains.|
1. Orb of Wrath is our only spammable long-range ability, and it’s far slower than similar abilities of other professions. The damage is decent, and its rapid-fire nature certainly helps settle the argument. While it’s useful for situations when you need a ranged alternative, it still reminds me of a child’s bubble wand. As silly as it is to use, it has to be even worse to die at the hands of one.
2. Smite is our only ranged AoE tied to a weapon. It summons the spirit of Manny Pacquiao to kidney punch anyone entering his reach with a swarm of spectral fists. The best part about this ability is you can place it 1200 units away. The second-best aspect is that it is fire and forget, and has a duration long enough that you can drop it, swap weapons and then do another AoE right on top of it. Whirling Wrath is a perfect example.
3. Chains of Light is my favorite ability on the weapon! It combines two my my favorite conditions – vulnerability and immobilization. It’s a fantastic way to stop a fleeing enemy or a charging one, and even if it only lasts for two seconds, you can still be very tactical with it.
Sword — A melee weapon with a good balance of offense and defense.
The sword offers us means of closing gaps, blinding enemies and blocking ranged attacks.
|Sword Wave||NONE||Send out a cone attack, striking up to three enemies.|
|Flashing Blade||10||Teleport to your target, striking them and blinding nearby foes.|
|Zealot’s Defense||15||Block ranged attacks while casting magical projectiles.|
1. Sword Wave is the third and final strike in a three-part attack chain. The first two, True Strike and Pure Strike, each hit progressively harder. The final hit, Sword Wave, will provide us with a bit of AoE damage. Other weapons handle this by hitting everything in their swing arc. Sword Wave is more like a thrust, so the AoE component was added as a magical effect.
2. Flashing Blade is a fantastic gap closer, instantly teleporting you to your target 600 units away. Upon arrival, you’ll blind up to 5 enemies for 3 seconds, making their next attack miss. Because it is a teleport, you avoid any negative AoEs that may be between you and your target. The only downside is that you need a target in order to use the ability. It won’t allow you to travel forward the way leaps will.
3. Zealot’s Defense blocks incoming ranged attacks while hitting your enemy with three burst attacks over its 3-second cast. You’re immobile during this cast time, so it’s not something you want to use on the run. Typically it’s best held in reserve for its defensive capabilities. If you plan on using it for offense, try to save it for opponents who are themselves immobilized, knocked down or otherwise unable to escape the full cast time.
Focus — Provides supportive spells for both offense and defense.
The focus is probably our most defensive off-hand, which may seem odd considering we also have a shield.
|Ray of Judgment||25||Pass a ray over foes and allies. Foes are damaged and blinded. Allies gain regeneration and cure one condition.|
|Shield of Wrath||45||Create a shield to block the next three attacks. If the shield is not destroyed, it explodes and damages nearby foes.|
1. Ray of Judgment has a 1200-unit range, but the 25-second cooldown keeps it from being a true long-range threat. The upside is that the ability will bounce between three targets, friend and foe alike and including the Guardian. It does respectable damage, and the ability to blind multiple opponents is great. The regeneration and condition removal for allies makes it a viable ability in almost any situation. I’ve found it very useful in duels or 1v2 scenarios where I can blind and damage my opponent(s) and then bounce the ray back to myself for regen and to remove a condition.
2. Shield of Wrath is a perfect complement to the Ray, blocking the next three incoming attacks. I’m honestly not sure why this isn’t a Shield ability, but I’m happy to have it any way I can get it. For solo defensive play, the focus has no equal among off-hands.
Shield — A protective off-hand for local area-of effect shielding.
If the focus is our defensive option, then the shield is all about support. If those roles seem backwards to you, you’re in good company.
|Shield of Judgment||30||Create a shielding wave in front of you that damages foes and gives protection to yourself and up to five allies.|
|Shield of Absorption||40||Create a dome around you that pushes foes back and absorbs projectiles.|
1. Shield of Judgment provides protection to the Guardian and her allies while blasting enemies with a frontal cone of magical energy. The range of the ability is 600 units, making it a good mid-range option. If you’re in group play, you can’t go wrong equipping a shield, and the value of the protection boon can’t be understated.
2. Shield of Absorption is a great control ability, knocking back any nearby enemies and absorbing projectile attacks. It would be better if it reflected those projectiles instead, but I may be a bit biased. The knockback is the real star of the show here, and it’s a great way to protect someone who is resurrecting a downed ally, or keeping people from finishing him off.
Torch — Scorches enemies while cleansing conditions off of allies.
The torch is the most offensive of our three off-hand options, and features burning attacks.
|Cleansing Flame||15||Breathe magical flames that damage foes and cure conditions on allies.|
|Zealot’s Flame||20||Set yourself alight, periodically burning up to three nearby foes.|
1. Cleansing Flame is another great dual-purpose ability, supporting allies with condition removal while damaging enemies. It can be used while moving, and looks amazing. I’m not sure if the damage it does is worth using it only as an offensive solution, as it seems a bit low, but it’s great in group play.
2. Zealot’s Flame is a two-part attack. The first part sets you on fire and will burn up to three nearby enemies periodically for its 10-second duration. The followup ability, Zealot’s Fire, will allow you to project the fire at a single enemy up to 1200 units away. While the damage of Zealot’s Fire is significant, the trade-off is that it also increases the recharge time on Zealot’s Flame by 50%. It’s an interesting risk vs reward ability, and I appreciate its flexibility.
This concludes our look at the Guardian’s arsenal. After launch, we’ll look at our weapons more in depth, along with the traits that enhance them. In the meantime, leave your comments or stop by the Guardian forums and let me know if I missed any of the ways our weaponry can be put to use. I’m always appreciative of your feedback!
Next week I’ll be taking everything we’ve talked about over the past months and boiling it down into an introductory summary as part of our launch week extravaganza! This will be perfect for those new to the Guardian, and give you a chance to catch up on anything you may have missed.