You've rolled a fighter, and you're all ready to go toe to toe with the meanest, baddest mobs in Norrath. But what do you need to know about being a fighter before you get started?
I believe one of the biggest myths regarding fighters in EQ2, or any MMO gaming for that matter, is that they should be able to do stellar damage. No. Let me say it again. No. Fighters are meant to TAKE damage, to be the unstoppable force between whatever means to hurt you, and your group of friends that you are trying to protect. It is true that some fighters are able to do some impressive damage, however, this is not, and should never be the focus of a fighter. If you are looking to be the DPS, please go scout or mage!!
Generally, a fighter will find themselves as the leader of groups, so it is important to have the mentality of being the caretaker and general go-to guy (or gal). You won't always need to know your way around everything, but it helps to keep up on where your people want to be and how to get there.
As with all classes, there are 3 sub-types of fighters:
Crusader: The faithful believers and mighty fighters. These fighters use a combination of spells and combat arts to restore or destroy life as they see fit. Because of their unique take on melee, they aren't viewed as being as hardy as the warriors, but make no mistake, a good crusader can hold their own in combat. Many who choose to play these classes do so for the variation of flavor and versatility. A good Paladin can be a asset in groups for their healing abilities as well as their combat, and the Shadow Knight has the benefits of life taps and disease to maim their enemies when they aren't running a sword through them.
Warrior: These are the concrete walls of the fighters. Impressive in the amount of attacks that they can take and still stay standing, some speculate that the warrior classes make the best main tanks in a group or raid. The warriors are all about straight melee, and gain their strength in large or duel weaponry. Arm one of these fellows with a shield, and the safest place in Norrath will be standing behind him! The Berserkers are able to maintain a good damage output along with a very nice defense. Stack your achievement points right, and the Berserker can be a jack of all trades. The Guardian is just as the name suggest, protector of all, and while this class isn't as flashy as the Berserker, Guardians have long been a favorite of solid tank players.
Brawlers: Near and dear to my heart, these fighters make their way through a battle, not by being able to take the hits, but by avoiding the hits altogether. Stacked with high avoidance, and a good output of damage, this class not only can hold their own as a tank, but with a switch of stance, can also make a great DPS player. There is much speculation on which brawler class fairs better in combat, but experience tells me, its all about how you play the game. Monks take hold of their enemies by using focus and courage, where as the Bruisers are all about raw vicious, force. Because of this difference, Bruiser tend to out damage their good counterparts, but many still enjoy a Monk's healing spirit in battle.
What to Know
I cannot stress how important it is to know your class, no matter what class you choose to play! I find a lot of times when players complain about what their class cannot do, it is because they have not fully explored what their class CAN do. Embrace those spell and combat arts lists, get to know them intimately.
First and foremost, for a fighter, it is all about your taunts and stances. Defensive stances are for defending your group mates, so use it if you are tanking! A huge complaint of the priests of Norrath is a stubborn main tank who is afraid to drop their damage output for the sake of defense. Defensive stance is meant to keep you alive, and to make life a bit easier on your healer, so please USE IT. Offensive stance is great for when you are solo or if you are playing back up tank or DPS fill in, in a group. Anytime you are not relying on a healer, you can use offensive (or if you have it, neutral stances).
Taunts while in group are invaluable. Know what you have, and make sure it is upgraded. As fighters, we get a wide range of taunts and hate gaining abilities, depending on what kind of fighter you are. Don't be afraid to "teach" your group on how to play underneath your rule. There is no shame in asking some of the bigger damage dealers to hold off while you establish your place at the top of the hate list! They will be far happier to make it through a tough battle without getting the attention of the mobs.
Remember to keep a solid eye on who is getting hit and by what. It is inevitable, especially when working with classes that are heavy with AoEs, that you might lose the attention of a mob or two to your friends. When this happens, you'll need to cycle through your targets and taunt the offender off. A good way of keeping this from happening, if you find it happening a lot, is to cycle through and taunt each individual mob in an encounter at least once. If that isn't helping enough and your losing your mobs to AoEers, then simply ask that they not AoE.
Above all else, enjoy your class. I see complaint after complaint about how much people hate the class that they play, and I find nothing more discouraging. Gaming is your funtime!! Don't waste it on something that you do not truly enjoy. Playing a fighter is not for everyone, so if you find yourself more aggravated than excited about your character, then switch it on up.
Thank you for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer guide to fighters. We are not done with this yet, so keep an eye out for future updates and additions. And if you have any requests or additions, please feel free to e-mail them to me!
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