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Lord of the Rings Online => Guardian => Topic started by: Tharak on June 20, 2009, 05:36:25 PM



Title: Guardian Build for Group/Raid Tanking
Post by: Tharak on June 20, 2009, 05:36:25 PM
Posted this in the SiN forums, thought it could do some good here too, for any up-and-coming guards, to give an idea what you could shoot for.  :)

Objective

Before I get down into the weeds here, I'll take a moment to give an overview of the role a Guardian plays in endgame, and my general strategy towards filling that role competently and efficiently.

In any combat, the Guardian mainly serves two functions - primarily, to take all the hits, so no other class has to. Secondarily, to control certain aspects (mostly mob position/facing) of the fight to allow the rest of the group to perform their roles to the best of  their abilities. Any good Guardian will accomplish the first role consistently and the second role to some extent, but a great Guardian will be able to maintain the situational awareness to accomplish the second role with precision and finesse.

Concerning the primary role, I have found there to be two strong philosophies for tanking. One involves having simply huge amounts of morale and armor, focusing stats and virtues towards vitality and morale bonuses. The other is focused on taking less damage though mitigation bonuses and avoidances. Obviously, as a tank, you want to have both high morale and high mitigations/avoidances, but there's always some tradeoff. Personally, I prefer to emphasize my avoidances and mitigations rather than just pumping Morale, mainly because the less damage you take per hit, the less the healer has to work to keep you topped off.

Stats

Unquestionably, the most important stat for a mitigation build is Might. Might does several important things for you - increasing your common damage mitigation, increasing your block by a great amount and your parry by a little, and increasing your weapon and shield damage (which helps a bit with getting and keeping aggro, and every bit helps). Might is followed closely by Vitality, which increases your non-common mitigations and your maximum morale. After that, Agility to up your parry and evade ratings. I don't care at all about Will or Fate. Guardians have enough ways to regain power in fights that it really is never a concern for me.

Also pay some attention to other bonuses on gear. If a piece of gear looks good for might/vitality/agility, also look at the extras! I care most about -Incoming Melee damage, +Max Morale, and +Block or +Parry bonuses.

A word about -Incoming Damage: You can get this in 3 flavors Melee, Ranged, and Tactical. Nearly all of the damage you will take as a guard is going to be Melee or Ranged. Very rare is the boss that deals flat out tactical damage to you, so most of the incoming tactical is going to be DoTs, which are really best taken care of with a cure potion. Your heavy shield is going to provide you with -10% Incoming Ranged damage, so the one you need to get the most of is Melee.

A word about in combat morale/power regen (ICMR/ICPR): I don't care at all about these. Not one single bit. It takes a huge effort to getting these numbers up, and you'll have to sacrifice important stats to get a high fate. In a boss fight, you won't get any advantage from regens, as your incoming damage is all spike damage - big, slow hits. As for power regen, Guards have a multitude of ways to keep their power levels up, don't even worry about it.

A word about Disease/Fear/Poison/Wound resistances: I don't believe in these. For one, I've played with a resist build, and didn't find a noticeable positive effect on survivablilty. If anything, the sacrifices I made to pump my resistances made it harder to do my job effectively. For two, many creatures that give these effects can also apply -resist effects, lowering your resistances to negligible levels anyway. And for three, the vast majority of these effects are completely ignoreable. I don't care about -stat poisons that go away in 30 seconds, or -resist effects, or minor bleeds. The ones I care about are the big DoTs that come from bosses, and I always carry around plenty of cure potions to deal with these.

Virtues

Discipline (for Might and -Incoming Melee), Determination (for agility and max morale), Innocence (for -Incoming Melee), and Loyalty (for Vitality and Armour).

Those 4 are the important ones, the ones I have equipped at all times. The fifth slot I use for a few different ones, Valour (for Max Morale and Might), Tolerance (for -Tactical Damage and Agility), or Fidelity (for Shadow Defense, Vitality, and Max Power)
Most of the time I have Tolerance slotted here.

Class/Legendary Traits

Fighter of Shadow:
I like to trait 5 of these for the capstone legendary that increases Take to Heart

 - Guardian's Ward: Obvious in this build, adds common damage mitigation to Guardian's Ward (and helps keep those repair bills down)
 - Defensive Expertise: Adds quite a bit to Block and Armour ratings, both really good to have!
 - Controlled Breathing: I love this trait, it increases Morale gain from Take a Breath, and now it gives you power too. Takes a little bit more pressure off the healer, and keeps you from eating away at the Power potions.
 - Threatening Presence: Must Have! Increases threat generation from shield skills, because without a hefty amount of threat, what are you?
 - Deflected Blows: Returns power whenever you block an attack, and increases the amount you mitigate with a partial block. It's only an OK trait, and I only put in in for the 5-trait legendary. You might prefer Brave Heart, which lowers Warrior's Heart's cooldown, and Warriors Heart will open your reactive skill chains whenever you use it.

Defender of the Free:
I make sure to put 2 in this line for the increased threat generation bonus.

 - Grim Challenge: lowers Challenge's cooldown by 15 seconds.
 - Reactive Block: Damages attackers whenever you block their attacks

A word about these traits...
Reactive Block is usually a worthless trait, returning only 5-7 damage when you block. There is a legendary item legacy that increases the damage returned, and I have it at a 1300% increase. Now, my block returns around 70-80 damage... not too shabby! This helps me bigtime to keep aggro on ranged and melee mobs. Don't slot this if you don't have that legacy, though!
Grim Challenge is a personal preference thing. I like to pop challenge often, and I usually start a fight with one to get aggro for those precious initial 10 seconds.

I always have Reactive Block slotted (except for special cases where reflecting damage is really bad), but sometimes I switch Grim Challenge for:
 - Stoic: increases your non-common mitigations, and adds Vitality
or
 - Quick of Foot: Because a faster Stamp skill is way awesome.

Legendaries:

I love Heart of Fire, the capstone to the Fighter of Shadow trait line. You unlock this from completing Book 2.6.6. It cuts the cooldown for Take to Heart in half, lowers its morale cost to a negligible amount, and lowers your chances of receiving a critical hit. I use Take to Heart pretty much whenever it's available, so I never have problems with power, despite my very low Will and Fate scores (Will at 160ish and Fate is a hair over 100 FYI)

My other two spots are To the King and Shield Smash. I can't give these up... Shield Smash pulls a very nice amount of aggro, and I love the ability to pop Fellowship Maneuvers (even if it does happen pretty rarely)
If I needed to, I could drop To The King for Challenge the Darkness, but I've found that I hardly ever have to use it, and I never really find myself wishing I had it.

Group Play

I'm using Block stance in group play, and usually throw protection up on the Mini.

General Combat:
For most fights, I kick it off with a Challenge. Usually within a second or two I've blocked an attack, and I bust off Litany of Defiance and Shield Taunt to get pretty firm aggro on the group. Sometimes (very often) I have to switch to whatever random target the hunter picked and focus on them, otherwise the hunter will pull aggro as soon as Challenge wears off. I cycle through my shield skills and Guardian's Ward, pepper in a little Fray the Edge and Catch a Breath from time time. I use shield Taunt as often as I can when fighting a group, and reapply Litany whenever its up. Take to Heart when I hit 3/4 power, and whenever cooldown is up until the end of the fight. The parry chain is pretty much ignored until most of the way through the combat, when I feel like I have really set aggro, I weave it in with my Block chain. I DO use the initial parry response skill, as it's a very fast attack, and it is very easy to insert right before or after any other action. Mob dies, I stick with who the Hunter (or Clip, one of the few Champs I have aggro problems with) is targeting and continue until combat's over. If I'm having problems with aggro, I use Challenge and Fray the Edge more frequently through the fight, pop Guard's Ward a little less often, and skip parry chain skills entirely.

Position:
You've got aggro, so you are the one that has to control where mobs are standing and which way they're facing. There are a couple things to pay attention to, here are some common ones:
-Is the hunter far enough away to use bow autoattacks?
-Is there room for the Burglar to get behind the mob?
-Are you far enough away from any other groups of mobs or patrol routes?
-Are you far enough away from any environmental hazards like fire, a dread area, etc.?
-Are you fighting close enough to the Captain's banner for everyone in the group to gain it's benefit?
-Does the mob have AOE damage or effects that require special position/facing?

There can also be many special situations that require careful positioning for efficient combat. It's up to you to notice them and figure out where you need to be. Don't be afraid to run around a little!

Other combat:

Obviously, not all your fights are going to be straightforward and simple.
Dealing with archers, I like to pull them into melee combat by moving out of line of sight for a moment. It doesn't always work out, though, so I try to hold aggro with a frequent Fray the Edge, or just plain charge in (if it won't result in disaster)
Dealing with Moria Trolls, you have to throw frequent stuns to prevent tthem from building up their Momentum buff. This might require you to hop from mob to mob... the tab key is your friend here!
Kiting. I hate kiting... but sometimes you just have to do it. Aggro is much harder to keep when you can't stand and fight, you just gotta keep popping Challenge, throwing those Fray the Edge, and hopefully when you do get hit you block it and you can pop off Litany and Shield Taunt.



So that's all the important stuff I can think of. Of course I welcome your questions and feedback!

Tharak