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 Guardian F.A.Q

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Lady Seshafir
Commandant
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Number of posts : 111
Location : West Jordan, Utah
Toon : Seshafir (Tempest of Set), Enyla (Ranger)
Registration date : 2008-08-07

PostSubject: Guardian F.A.Q   Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:29 am

((Lifted lovingly from the Official Forums, but slightly modified))

F.A.Q

Should I use Polearm or Sword and Shield?This is going to be a long debated topic and it's not likely that my short answer here is going to stop people from asking or debating the merits of both. Polearm and Sword and Shield both offer good benefits and drawbacks. If you want to be a main tank then stop reading now, go sword and shield, and continue on your way. While polearm has great survivability and you can off tank, tank trash or tank low level mobs as polearm sword and shield just offers much better threat production (counter attacks, bleeds) and more defense (the shield).

For everyone else it's a tough choice. Both have good offerings and it's really not as clearly cut about damage as you'd think.

Shield/Sword:
-Offers more reliable Defense, polearms need guard up to boost their survivability.
-Offers a multitude of bleeds and counter attacks that are great for taking on higher level monsters
-Offers more group utility
-Good spike damage with overreach and bloody vengeance
-Relies on group to build vengeance counter to deal high damage
-Offers more cc abilities

Polearm:
-Larger range makes positioning easier and is a great advantage in PvP versus other melee classes.
-Good damage right out of the gate with white hits and flashing arc
-Good burst damage from skewer and impale
-Can stand behind other melee and still hit target
-Good survivability while guard is up + bonuses to evasion from feats
-Less downside to high damaging combos. Flashing arc is spammable and polearm guardians don't rely as much on vengeance or can build it themselves
-Broken combos limit versatility (disable and riposte).

Honestly, if tanking isn't a concern for you, the choice should come down to which feats you want not what weapon you want to wield. Both specs when specced right can have good survivability and/or good damage. So it really comes down to what you want to be able to do. The only major concern is do you want the extra range or extra survivability of a shield.

What is vengeance?
Vengeance is a stacking buff that has a chance to be generated when your teammates are hit. It stacks up to 10 times and provides movement and damage bonuses. Vengeance also affects the damage and cool down of the bloody vengeance feat. Additionally at the higher stacks of vengeance the guardian gains a small (3m) aura that reduces the damage of nearby enemies.

What is wrath?
Wrath is a stacking buff that has a chance to be generated when you are hit in combat. Each stack provides a 1% damage increase.

Why doesn't Slam knock back monsters?
Slam is intended as a starting ability for low levels and does not scale up. Without scaling the level of knock back from the slam ability is quickly outpaced and the effect is rendered useless. You have to make do with shield slam and stagger for your knock back purposes.

What choice should I make from the destiny quests?
When you do your level 30, level 50 and beyond destiny quests you are given 3 options. One is for attack, one for hit points, and one for hp regen. Each choice gives you a very minor boost in the area you want and which option to take is open for debate. Try not to fret too much about your choice however as you can always overcome the small differences in choices through gear.
Health Option Gives ~40-60 additional hp.
Attack Option Gives +1 attack rating.
Health Regen Gives an unknown amount of health regen believed to work both in and out of combat.

Do stunning charge, impale, and charge share a cool down?
Yes, sort of. When you use Impale or Charge you will receive the normal cool down on all other charges. When you use Stunning Charge you will only receive a 30 second cool down on charge/impale.

Does Storm blade affect all weapons or just polearms and what does it do?
Storm blade affects all weapons. When you melee with a weapon you won't deal additional damage on each hit but you'll occasionally proc a secondary 'storm blade' hit. If you setup a combat chat log you can see the effect. The attack is generally about 75% of the main hit you'd do with a decent sword at the same level. It appears to proc around 20-30% of the time when maxed.

What do Defense Rating and Heroic Defense rating do?
It's not fully known but the following is believed. Defense Rating is compared to the attacker's Attack rating to determine how much damage a melee swing does. When there is a level difference this calculation is skewed in favor of the higher level. Heroic Defense rating comes into play here. It is believe that heroic defense will help a player's defense rating against higher level monsters. There was also talk a while ago about heroic defense rating possibly increasing the defense rating cap.

How much of an effect do the improvements to frenzy stance make?
Maxed out Improved Frenzy stance will increase the damage of the frenzy stance by 10%. Guarded Frenzy will reduce the immunity penalty by 10% for each point. Maxed out frenzy stance provides a guardian +60% damage -70% immunities.

How much regeneration does Lifesaver, Toughness, Recovery Give at level 80?
Recovery gives around 173 regen at 80 (need confirmation but it should be accurate). Lifesaver and toughness seem to give about 1/3rd of the regen that recovery does for any given level.

How much damage does counterstrike and anticipation do at level 80?
A very small amount that scales with level. I don't have any hard numbers but 13/6 respectively at level 45 is what I've heard. So I'd expect these talents to do about 5-20% damage of a normal melee swing for any level.

Where should I spend my skill points?
This depends on your focus and server type. Regardless of setup you will at some point need climbing to reach otherwise inaccessible points so plan ahead for that. Other than climbing, if you are on a PvP server, having enough in hiding to hide in broad daylight (about 300-400 points) is a great investment. Endurance and Run speed also provide small, but noticeable, boosts and are a potential area to place points for both faster traveling and PvP effectiveness. Keep in mind that the Run speed does not work in combat however. The resting skills (bandaging, recovery, fast recovery, etc.) are also very important. In addition to providing much less downtime, these skills can be useful for PvP when you can duck out of combat and recovery a few big ticks of health and stamina before jumping back in.

Then there's threat. This one to me is an all or nothing. If you are going heavy PvE then max it out. The more threat you generate the better. If you aren't then leave it at 0. If you're doing a 'hybrid' PvP/PvE build or spec I'd still recommend getting this as high as you can. Take this over endurance, run speed or, if you really have to, hiding. It can be tough to hold aggro in PvE so every little bit really helps.

Does plexus strike restore a flat amount of stamina or does it depend on the number of things I hit with it?
Plexus strike will give you additional stamina per target hit by the combo.

Controlling your Guardian

Target-facing
By default Age of Conan will cause you to automatically face your target when you make a melee swing. Turn this off. Right now. With this on you will be unable to easily position mobs or fight other players. Having this on is a very big handicap to your potential. In the interface options under the basic tab there is a 'Targetting' section. In this seciond the option 'target-autofacing' is the one you want to turn off (uncheck).

Hotkey and Keyboard control setup
I fully intend to expand on this section and offer some basic tips and advice later. However don't expect me to list off a bunch of different fully fleshed out control schemes that will magically make you a better player. The most important thing about your hotkeys and keyboard control scheme is that it has to work for you. If you don't feel comfortable with your layout (after giving it an honest try) then you have to go with something else regardless of if someone is trying to tell you it's the 'best' setup.

Tactics

Weapon swapping
Weapon swapping (Shift+R by default) is a very effective tactic and should be second nature to every guardian. By weapon swapping you can quickly switch to an alternate weapon type to execute a combo or ability then switch back. Most common uses are swapping to execute a 2nd knockback, or stacking counterstrike and guard (sorry the guard defensive bonus doesn't stay when you swap to sword and shield!).

There are many less used, but by no means less effective, applications though. One is swapping from pole arm to sword + shield to make use of the overreach combo. If you look at the feat trees you'll notice that there's not much that boosts the damage of overreach specifically. The only featss boosting overreach's damage are the generic + sword melee talent and a feat boosting the critical chance. The reason for this is simple, overreach already does great damage. It also hits left which can be very helpful when your opponent is guarding heavy right. Don't be afraid to make use of it even if you are a polearm guardian. Another great combo to make use of is plexus strike. The stamina gained from using this combo is well worth making the short swap over to sword/shield.

Finally one last important use of weapon swapping is to avoid ranged melee damage when you cannot strike back (knocked down, being kited, rooted and being hit from behind). There's no reason to be taking extra damage when you aren't giving any back. In these situations you should swap to your sword and shield to mitigate some extra damage.

Keep in mind that when swapping, regardless of the reason, you will lose any guarding bonuses gained from the guard combo. It's going to be up to you to decide when this is acceptable or not.

Positioning and Spacing
Positioning and Spacing are two of the most important things for a guardian in PvP and PvE.

Positioning is the act of dragging monsters around until they are in a favorable position. Your goal with positioning is to attempt to move the monsters into a clump where you can hit them all. The easiest way to accomplish this is to back up as you take swings. Also do not be mindful of ranged mobs that cannot be moved around easily. You should be trying to melee next to these mobs so that you can hit them and any other melee mobs at the same time. Knockdown will also mess with your positioning and you should be careful of that as well. When you use a knockdown you may need to strafe around a target to be able to keep hitting multiple targets. When positioning also keep in mind that you should be swinging at the 'mid point' between all of the monsters you are fighting. To do this you will need to have autofacing disabled (and every guardian should have it disabled). By swinging at the mid point you can be sure to hit all of the monsters.

Spacing can be considered the PvP counterpoint to Positioning. Since melee weapons in AoC have different ranges, spacing is a very important factor in PvP effectiveness. Spacing is the art of distancing yourself properly from your opponent to maximize your damage. If you are using a 1 hand + shield this is really going to just be 'get as close as possible'. However if you are using a polearm it's much more involved. Since your polearm has a longer range than other melee weapons you need to be try and keep a proper distance between you and your opponent such that you can hit him but he is unable to fight back. The easiest way to do that is through use of strafing and the backwards dodge (careful of the stamina cost here). So keep in mind that even though you may be a melee class sometimes keeping a little distance between you and your opponent can be very important.

Stance Dancing/Timing
Another important tactic the guardian should use is stance dancing and timing. This is the act of rapidly changing your stances to gain the most benefit of each one while minimizing their penalties. A good example of making use of this would be to swap to defensive stance when knocked down then back to no-stance once your character finishes getting up. Guardians have 3 types of 'stances' (stances, maneuvers, and stratagems) so I'm sure I could write pages upon pages of when to swap each one. However to keep the guide short and relevant I'm just going to touch quickly upon the uses of frenzy stance timing.

A good use of frenzy stance is completing a combo up to the very last swing then swapping into frenzy stance and doing the final swing. This will mean that for the majority of the time you are not in frenzy stance taking additional damage but as you execute the finishing moves (which make up the majority of your damage) you'll deal a lot more damage because you're in frenzy. Once you finish the combo you can quickly swap back to no stance or defensive stance to keep from taking too much additional damage. Using this tactic in PvP can be a great way to tackle some of the harder classes in 1v1 as otherwise you'll either die too fast from being in frenzy or not deal enough damage to kill them.

Active Dodge/Momentum canceling
Another useful tactic. Typically when you active dodge or momentum (double tap any strafe or forward/back direction) you will lunge in a particular direction. Sometimes this may not be desirable as the lunge can mess with your positioning and it takes time for the animation to play. If you active dodge in a direction the immediately active shield (default X button) you will gain the active dodge buff but not lunge out of position. This makes it much easier to get off a stunning attack on an opponent without wasting time lunging forward.
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