Hello, my shield brothers and sisters, I am Centurion. Some of you already know me as your Guardian columnist, but for anyone new to the game and this site, I’ll be reintroducing myself and the profession this week. While this may be the first edition of The Vanguard you’ve ever read, we do have an archive of past columns that cover the Guardian in great detail.
The Guardian is a Soldier class, meaning we get to wear the heaviest armor in the game. We excel at providing support and healing to ourselves and our allies, and we have an incredible amount of durability with various means of health regeneration and damage mitigation at our disposal. We’re so good at this, in fact, that ArenaNet has given us the smallest base health pool in the game just to compensate for it.
The game mechanic unique to the Guardian are our three Virtues.
- The Virtue of Courage blocks the next incoming attack with a boon called Aegis. Not only can Guardians gain this Aegis every 40 seconds as a passive ability, we can also share it with our nearby allies and block the next attack aimed at them.
- The Virtue of Justice applies the Burning condition to enemies on every 5th attack. This ability can also be shared with allies, burning their enemies on their next attack.
- The Virtue of Resolve provides the Guardian with passive health Regeneration. Upon activation, this virtue will heal the Guardian and his allies.
Aside from our Virtues, Guardians are renowned for our impressive arsenal of support abilities. If you’re a tactical player who wants more out of your experience than just seeing big damage numbers, and if you want a profession that’s easy to solo with, yet is almost indispensable in groups, then the Guardian may be the best profession for you.
The Guardian offers several means of removing conditions from ourselves and our allies. With the right trait, we can even boost the Toughness of our allies, making them more damage resistant just by being in our presence. We also have several means of providing them with Protection, which reduces all damage taken by a third. Most impressive of all, we have several ways to weave in these support mechanics seamlessly with our damage-dealing abilities. This is especially true for our symbols, magical inscriptions we place on the ground to damage our enemies and provide Regeneration, Retaliation and Swiftness to ourselves and our allies.
While we’re known for support, we can be deadly on offense. We may lack the raw offensive burst of some professions, but fighting a living enemy isn’t as easy as swinging at a target dummy. Guardians can survive where others would fall, and we can prolong almost any engagement into a war of attrition. When a Guardian holds an objective, the enemy seeks reinforcements.
With our mobility, condition removal and general hardiness, Guardians are exceptional battlefield commanders. If you want to impose your will in combat and control when and how a fight happens, the Guardian allows you to do that. Being effective at almost any range helps as well. He who controls the fight wins the fight, and the Guardian excels at doing just that.
The Guardian is supported by the ability to employ a devastating number of weapon options, all of which are outlined below.
- Hammer — This provides powerful close-range AoE attacks and abilities. It’s simple and brutal, delivering bone-crushing punishment while providing a respectable amount of battlefield control.
- Greatsword — This imbues allies with retaliation and controls foes with leaping attacks and blinds. An offensive weapon, its mix of power, movement and debilitation make it a vicious and effective choice, especially against multiple foes.
- Staff — This controls enemies with wards and AoE damage and supports allies with defensive spells. A fantastic support weapon, the staff is also an effective mid-range weapon against multiple foes.
- Mace — This is 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.
- Scepter — This is an 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 it’s effective up to a maximum range of 1,200 units.
- 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.
- Focus — This provides supportive spells for both offense and defense. The focus is probably our most defensive off-hand, offering means of blocking attacks and blinding enemies.
- Shield — A protective off-hand shield for local area of effect shielding, the shield features an area knockback as well as means of offering protection to allies.
- Torch — This scorches enemies while cleansing allies of conditions. The torch is the most offensive of our three off-hand options, and features burning attacks.
- Spear — Used for rapid, close-range damage, the spear is an exceptionally well-balanced weapon.
- Trident — This weapon provides magical, long-range support and healing. It’s the perfect complement to our spear.
The complete list of Guardian traits is extensive, and you should familiarize yourself with each of them. More importantly, you should understand the trait lines each one belongs to and the attributes they enhance.
- Zeal – Points spent in this line will increase your Power (damage output) and Expertise (condition duration). It also focuses on improving our symbols and spirit weapons.
- Radiance – Points spent in this line will increase your Precision (critical strike chance) and Malice (condition damage). It also focuses on improving signets, burning and blinding.
- Valor – Points spent in this line will increase your Toughness (damage reduction) and Prowess (critical strike damage). It also focuses on improving blocking and meditations.
- Honor – Points spent in this line will increase your Vitality (maximum health) and Compassion (healing). It also focuses on improving dodging, symbols and shouts.
- Virtues – Points spent in this line will increase your Concentration (boon duration) and Willpower (decreases recharge of Virtues). It also focuses on improving consecrations and virtues.
The Guardian is an exemplary profession that blends support, control and damage into a stalwart vanguard for the front lines. I encourage you to try one for yourself and see if it fits your play style. With our durability, self-healing and condition removals, the Guardian is a forgiving profession that you can pick up and play easily, making it ideal for new MMO players. If you have experience as either a tank or healer in other MMOs, then you may feel right at home with the Guardian as well. Veteran players will appreciate the Guardian’s ability to adapt to nearly any situation and role. Our ability to enhance a group, making it greater than the sum of its parts, is what places Guardians in high demand for both PvE and PvP.
I look forward to fighting alongside each of you when the game launches, and I encourage Guardians everywhere to share their exploits on our forums.