ArenaNet has announced their newest profession, the Guardian, which is also the first profession unique to Guild Wars 2 and is the second Soldier profession. The Guardian is a defender of virtue and appears to be a fighter devoting itself mostly to defense. These Guardians of Virtue may be the ones holding back the crowd when the fight gets rowdy, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of also leading the assault and smashing hammers with the best of them. This is the first profession “unique” to Guild Wars 2 and it appears to take a lot of popular Warrior builds and smash them together to make one awesome profession.
Guardians of Virtue
The Guardian profession follows three virtues: Justice, Courage, and Resolve. These virtues provide a passive buff to the Guardian, which is what their special unique skill is (like Adrenaline to Warriors or Elemental Attunement to Elementalists). The Justice virtue allows them to burn their enemies on the fifth strike, the Courage virtue allows them to block one attack every 30 seconds, and the Resolve virtue which gives them passive health regeneration (similar to Mending). The Guardian can consume these virtues to provide a similar benefit to neighboring allies. Below is the skill description for each of these virtues:
- Justice: Every fifth attack causes burning. Use this skill to make nearby allies' next attacks cause burning. (This disables your Justice for 30 seconds.)
- Courage: Every 30 seconds you are granted Aegis, blocking the next attack. Use this skill to apply Aegis to all nearby allies. (This disables your Courage for 120 seconds.)
- Resolve: You regenerate health. Use this skill to remove conditions and apply Regeneration to all nearby allies. (This disables your Resolve for 120 seconds.)
The most interesting one is Resolve which will be very powerful in group situations. Removing all conditions and giving regeneration to nearby allies is a powerful boon and may turn the tides of many battles, although the 120 second cooldown for self Resolve may make it difficult to choose when to use it or when to keep it going to save yourself.
The Guardian has a number of special skills unique to their profession. Some skills, like Spirit Weapon, look to be like a lot of fun and will make this standard defense aligned profession actually have some bite.
- Spirit Weapons: These are invulnerable weapons that the Guardian can summon for a limited time and use to attack the enemy. Like many skills, once they are used another ability replaces them allowing you to use their secondary ability to consume the weapon and achieve a powerful effect. The example given was “Hammer of Wisdom” which summons a hammer that can be consumed to knock down foes.
- Symbols: Symbols appear to be attack or defense skills that accomplish something (like attack the enemy) and then place a symbol on the ground that either helps allies or deals damage to their foes. “Symbol of Faith” will be a hammer attack that gives the Vigor boon to allies who are within the symbol while dealing damage to your enemy.
- Wards: Wards work somewhat different in Guild Wars 2 apparently. Instead of being like the Elementalist “Area Spells,” Wards are barriers that prevent forward movement of the enemy. So the Guardian can keep enemies from advancing forward on their allies and force them to move around the barrier. This can probably be combined with other profession abilities to force enemies to walk through certain things on the ground, like Symbols or Area Spells.
- Aegis: Making its return debut, Aegis can block the next attack on the Guardian every 30 seconds or it can be passed temporarily to nearby allies. Aegis is connected to the Courage Virtue, meaning that Guardians have self-Aegis permanently until they apply to their allies.
Virtues, Hammers, and Whammos
Many may dismiss the Guardian as a simple tank, but there is no doubt in my mind that defensive characters can’t be deadly. Whammos (Warrior/Monks) and W/E’s still have Warrior abilities and can slay almost anyone in battle, not to mention Paragons who have many similar abilities to the Guardian. It seems that ArenaNet has taken many of the popular defensive Warrior/Paragon builds and smashed them together into one, in my opinion, awesome profession. While there will without doubt be tons of Mending jokes, the Guardian seems to be a great PvE profession (with health regeneration you’ll probably almost never need to rest) and PvP profession with their defense, sharable Aegis, and Wards which can give a caster some distance from a melee character.
They also will probably pack a punch too since they get summonable weapons that can knockdown foes, they set enemies on fire without fear, and Symbols can be attacks which also provide a secondary ground targeted effect (which will probably extend to snares in addition to the symbol we already know about which buffs allies).
Overall the Guardian seems to be an interesting profession, especially for those who never want to stop the fight and want to sit in the thick of things. What are your thoughts? Do you think that the Guardian has what it takes to be the best or are Whammos way over done? Come to the Ten Ton Hammer community forums to share your thoughts.
Looking for more information on the Professions in Guild Wars 2? Visit our Guild Wars 2 Professions Portal for details and previews on each of the currently known profession in the game.
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