[GW2] Guardian Profession

After a long duration of profession release silence, ArenaNet has overcome the half-way point hump to release the guardian profession. This new profession at first glance is a spell-casting melee fighter with a huge amount of battlefield control. This second, and last, soldier profession will turn a lot of heads, especially for those already considering a warrior main.

The guardian is the first brand new Guild Wars 2 profession, but it definitely owes most of its existence to past Guild Wars professions. For a Guild Wars player, a good way to describe the guardian might be to call it a warrior steak with a side of monk potato and a small helping of ritualist carrots all covered in paragon gravy. Unlike the monk the guardian’s job is not to make red bars go up, and unlike the paragon the guardian will not have any physical ranged attack. Still the guardian owes a debt to the three Guild Wars professions that will likely not return for Guild Wars 2 launch.

The first thing to note are the guardian’s special skill types. It received spirit weapons from the ritualist piece of pie. The spirit weapons are unattackable “pets” that fight by the guardian’s side for a short time, but they can be used up for a giant effect. If the guardian wants, he can have three spirit weapons floating around him at a time at the cost of three utility skill slots. Offensive guardians will likely make good use of these to augment damaging capabilities.

The other special skill types relate more to the guardian’s significant battlefield presence. Symbols can be placed on the ground to provide momentary effects to a group of allies or enemies, and wards can be placed to completely stop an enemy from moving across the ward. There will be line wards and circular wards to encircle a group of allies, or even enemies. I can’t but help think about Protoss tactics in Starcraft 2 involving carefully placed force fields that split enemy forces. I think scalpel-like placement of wards is going to be huge in GvG. I am starting to worry with the amount of ground effects… things might get very confusing in a battlefield filled with guardian wards, necromancer wells, elementalist spells, warrior banners, and who knows what else (gunner turrets, perhaps).

To round out the guardian, the guardian will have three special virtue abilities. Justice makes every fifth attack a burning one. Courage grants the Aegis boon every 30 seconds (blocking perhaps 7% of all attacks according to the Jon Peters interview at Onlinewelten), and finally Resolve lets the guardian constantly regenerate health. The catch is that the guardian can give up the passive virtue effect for 30-120 seconds in order to give the effect to nearby players. Honestly, I think this is where skilled guardians are going to rule. When I played a paragon in Guild Wars, I could spam group effects in a steady stream. A guardian can’t do that with virtue abilities and will have to have incredible battlefield awareness to know when to pop Courage or Justice to help the group.

Going back to the Protoss analogy, I think that guardians are about control. The right time to act is going to become an absolute mantra for all guardian players. They are going to be more difficult to use to full potential than the warrior, but I think that once players get used to fighting in a less direct way, guardians will shine. While they aren’t monks, I think plenty of guardians will save the day.

There was one last thing I wanted to discuss. In the EuroGamer interview, ArenaNet said that the guardian plays a similar support role to the necromancer. I think this is the key to understanding the guardian’s effect on group dynamics. It’s all about fluidity. With a guardian, a group might want to focus on staying close together but also bring fewer defensive skills. With a necromancer, a group might need a few more defensive skills but will have an easier time taking down condition-laden enemies while hiding behind minion meatshields. The most important thing is that in a group, players are not islands. Each incoming group member will have an effect on each other group member’s decisions. So, while I think the monk paradigm is dead, I do think that the guardian might have more of an effect on group composition and planning than a warrior.

–Ravious
the sea takes the rest

42 thoughts on “[GW2] Guardian Profession”

  1. Wonderful post! I agree with your thoughts about the way that the guardian playstyle will reward more skilled players, control, and the wonderfulwonderfulwonderful group-dynamics options. And basically everything in this article.

  2. I’m quite keen on the Guardian – although I’ll be rolling a primarily ranged class as my starter (hoping for a gunner style class),

    I like the idea of seeing a struggling player near death and running up and producing a wall to protect them.

  3. Good stuff. Love the food analogy. Here’s to hoping it’ll brew up into a wonderful Guardian stew greater than the sum of its components.

  4. The components of the stew are already fantastic, so something greater than that will be absolutely mind-blowing.

  5. So what are your thoughts on how “requires” the guardian will be? I don’t think Aegis and wards are enough to land us in “GLF 1 Guardian” territory, but I think it will be tempting for people – for example, I can see Aegis becoming “required” to beat a boss with a big AoE attack that tends to wipe out parties. Required here, of course just means “it’s easier, and I don’t want any risk that I won’t get my loot in the shortest time possible”.

    It’s interesting how little healing seems to play a part for the guardian. That much is certainly promising. Wards seem powerful, but given that you can just shoot through them, they’re definitely situational. Even Wall of Reflection isn’t unique – an alert ranger with whirling defense could achieve something similar.

    So really, in terms of unique forms of support, the guardian brings Aegis and a few other shielding effects. Seems pretty smart on ANet’s part.

    1. Depends on the group, but I think little to none. I think that the community will come up with some farm builds that require 1 guardian walling off 4 eles or something, but that shouldn’t affect most GW2 players.

      In GvG though, I can definitely see guardians contributing to a build of the month. Have to see how good their battlefield control is.

      Wish we got a few guardian elites out of this too.

      1. We got one from the guru IRC Q&A
        “[JonPeters] Yes, Guardians have elite skills. Here is one I can tell you about. It is called Sanctuary. It cretes a bubble around the guardian that keeps enemies from entering it. While it exists allies can enter the bubble to regenerate health, but cannot use skills inside of it.”

    2. Sisyphean is right. Anet was very thoughtful coming up with the guardians skills with these “fails”, this will turn combat very exciting.

  6. Very nice summary of the information we have so far, and I’ll have to agree with your conclusions. I think that after a short time, random PuGs will prefer Warriors over Guardians, as the benefits a Warrior brings seem easier to grasp than the utility given by a Guardian. (Cases of banners giving continuous buffs vs. poorly timed or placed wards/virtues etc)

    The only thing I would note is that your description of the Courage Virtue is worded a bit oddly – someone might think it has 7% chance of blocking every 30 secs…

    1. It’s a reference to one of the Q&As, where Jon Peters (IIRC) said that given attacks come in every 3 or 4 seconds, Virtue works out to blocking about 7% of attacks.

      The issue is that this doesn’t account for situations where you’re fighting multiple enemies, where Virtue becomes much weaker.

      I’m not a fan of the Virtue mechanism in general, honestly. It seems too random. In contrast I really like the burning being applied on every 5th attack – that should be very rewarding for a skilled player.

      Dunno, I’m afraid there will be a lot of PvP matches where someone wins because their Virtue pops up at just the right moment to block a huge killing blow. It’s not gonna be fun to be on the losing side in that situation…

      1. I know where the 7% reference comes from, I was simply saying the way Courage is worded here is a little odd, since the Aegis boon is never explained.

        While I agree to some extent with your feeling about Courage, I think it might encourage Guardians to avoid attacks to save up their shield… also, if you’re attacking a Guardian, it seems obvious to expect the Virtues and act accordingly. For example, waiting until after you proc a shield to use your big killing blow.

  7. As to battlefield confusion, I agree that visually parsing the action on the battlefield will be very challenging, essential to good play, and makes it essential ANet meet their goal of keeping a player’s eyes on the action, not their skill bar. Luckily standard PvP will be 5v5, so it should be doable in that most crucial situation. For massive Wv3 and dynamic events like Shatterer, hopefully you will be able to have a camera perspective that allows you to focus on the relevant affects near you. Player density could be an interesting issue when, say, a well-organized guild has a group of 20+ players tightly packed chaining strong AoE defensive skills. Will opposing forces AoE offense be able to make that a non-viable strategy, or not?

  8. Oddly, those are the first class videos that have done nothing for me. Considering that I felt this class was closest to the type of class I prefer based on the description, I’m kind of bummed out.

    1. A lot of people are saying that, unfortunately. I think we’ve been too spoiled by actual gameplay vids instead of orchestrated skill vids.

      1. Good point. I think the fact that all the guardians and allies shown are just sort of the same pretty humans we always see doesn’t help – not to mention that all the monsters are pretty passe at this point. :) I was really hoping for at least a Norn… but man, we didn’t even get a Charr video, did we?

        I noticed that one of the screenshots seems to have featured a dead Dredge. Pity we didn’t get to see a video of that poor fellow getting walloped!

  9. Its not brand new, its a combination of GW1 professions, spirit weapons for example comes from ritualists weapon spells.

  10. now its stated that a Guardian does not have the staying power to be head to head in mellee and play as “tank”. (martin from arenanet have posted that)
    I think thats important because it will have a harder time play as a control class then.
    And without that it looked nearly to strong as master of both support and control at the same time.
    And not having the staing power of a warrior, will make it feel alot different to play.
    A little like the difference between a barbarian and a paladin in diablo 2

  11. “melee fighter” – the videos show moderate-range, but nonetheless ranged, magical attacks. These seem to be the primary attacks used in several videos, combined with more powerful ranged or melee attacks.

  12. Wow great info there. Thanks for taking the time to put this up :D

    Love your way of explaining things. Mmmm monk potato and paragon gravy. Amazing how you got a lot of this information so fast considering the profession was released today. Speedy researcher I guess. Well I’ll be keeping an eye on your upcoming posts.

    Thanks again, Evan.

  13. Hello Ravious, first comment here for me ^_^

    You got exactly the same feelings I had for the Guardian…I too recognise a strong comparison with the Paragon (which i play ^^) and I too think that it will affect the party playstyle in a different yet deep way.

    I have a question: do you think that the health rigen passive bonus will really be everlasting if NOT activated? That does sound a little meaningless question, but being health the most important part of staying alive…it just sounds like a huge bonus to me!!!

  14. Only thing that disappoints me is the lack of duel-welding (maces). I expected a lot more offhand weapons, seeing how the Guardian is a support-oriented fighter.

  15. Hehe I saw your link and such on the Guild Wars 2 Guardian Link round up page on Guildwars2.com

    They even use your food analogy. That is the greatest. :D

  16. First thing that came to mind when I read this was:
    “Oh jeez, how will I take one of these down on my ranger.”

    1. Not knowing any more of the skills than anybody else lots of conditions and kiting. Plus a stealth pet might help.

      I would guess that the guardian will not have the condition removing power of the monk.

      1. Actually, the Guardian does have the ability to remove conditions from what I read about one of the virtues and an elite skill they have. Though I doubt someone would use it often unless they were with allies around that needed it as well.

        1. As I read it, Resolve only applies to allies. I definitely think that the Guardian will have some condition removing powers for itself, but I think/hope that if a Guardian is being hammered by conditions it won’t be able to keep up like a Monk could.

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