Crusaders. Warriors whose fervent belief in a creed or person gives them abilities more than that of your average warrior class. The ability to cast high damage spells and wards, the ability to heal, and the ability to summon extra worldly aid. In essence, the ability to carry on the fight in order to champion their cause.
Crusaders are a mix of the tank class and a caster class and make excellent tanks. With the ability to cast priest or mage like spells and yet still have the high mitigation and resistance common to all fighters, they can act as back up healers or DPS while still managing the aggro needed to protect the rest of your group.
Crusaders. In the battle of Good vs. Evil, there is no more dedicated a warrior. Choose between championing the `cause of good, with healing and divine damage, as a Paladin or forwarding the cause of evil, by decay/disease damage and Life Taps, as a Shadow Knight. There is a definite divide in the types of abilities you receive from the two classes, but more than a few similarities on how theyre played as well.
Crusaders. Soloing machines that can heal, do DPS, and tank. Veritably a one man army. They are group assets that can either act as a main tank/off tank or even add that extra touch of extra DPS or healing. One of the only areas a Crusader lacks is in the lack of direct taunts available to him or her. In the case of Shadow Knights, many abilities have a Hate over Time proc built in, most notably the shield bash line. Certain abilities can offset this issue, either from class abilities or gained AP abilities, but they will never have access to as many taunts as a Berserker or Guardian. This doesn'tt mean you cant tank as well as those classes, just that a different strategy will be needed.
Paladins: For Great Justice!!
Paladins have the benefit of cleric like heals, shaman like wards, and divine damage spells, in addition to the standard fighter fare of attacks. This ability to not only heal yourself directly, but ward off damage coming at you will allow you to go the distance in a fight. Make sure that you cast your ward either before or immediately after your first attack. Damage not taken is better than damage mitigated any day. Be generous with spells that allow you to stun an opponent, such as your kicks, shield line, and even some of your divine spells have a chance to stun as well. You real benefit stems from your Sacrament and Prayer spell lines. This gives you two direct heals that can heal for a decent amount.
Youll have access to an offensive stance that will increase your Intelligence for better spell DPS and a defensive stance that will increase your wisdom, resistance, and defensive skills. With your ability to heal and ward, you can afford to go with your offensive stance while soloing for that extra bit of DPS, but if you dont mind the fight lasting longer, defensive stance is the way to go.
Your APs will best aid you when dumped into the Crusade: Intelligence line at 4/4/4/8 which will boost your chance at crit heals. After that, jump over to the Paladin specialty APs and work on the Wrath and Heal lines. Some VERY cool end powers there.
In my opinion, this is where a Paladin shines at the higher levels. With abilities like Amends which transfers some of the hate gained from a specific player (overzealous casters, anyone?) and Consecrate which is an AoE divine damage spell, holding aggro as a main tank is a cinch! Dont want to be Main Tank? No problem, with your ability to heal and ward (and at higher levels, rez!) you make a great back up healer and off tank.
Shadow Knights: Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Shadow Knights are quite possibly the BEST solo class in the game. With the ability to heal, debuff, do high amounts of spell damage, and summon a skeletal minion, youre nothing short of a Necro-Fighter. Your bread and butter spells are your Blessing line. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. This ward not only Life Taps your foes, but some of the damage it does heals you! This makes burning down a mob a ton faster. Always use this either before or immediately after attacking. It eats up a lot of power and its not a Paladin heal spell though, so watch yourself. Youll also want to run with a shield when youre solo as well. With the shield bash line youll have two great stuns that you can alternate to keep the opponent on the ground for most of the fight. Use your Life Tap spells often. These are not only high damage spells, but theyll heal you a bit as well. Summon your Skeletal warrior for a little extra help with DPS.
Like the Paladin, you have an offensive and defensive stance. Unlike the Paladin, you have no direct healing spells. Your main healing spell (the Blessing line which gives you the Life Tap ward) requires you to get hit. That being the case upgrade and live on your defensive stance. Itll increase your Wisdom, defenses, and resistance so you can weather the shots youll be taking.
Youll need to drop your APs into your Crusader: Intelligence line 4/4/8, first (you can go higher in the first number for more intelligence which will boost the damage for your spells) and theres no exception. Why? Intelligence 4/4/8 gives you a 68% chance to do critical spell damage on ALL of your spells! Whats more, this number directly affects your Blessing line. When your Life Tap ward scores a critical hit, the healing part of that spell ALSO scores a critical heal. This is crucial when you get into your higher levels for staying alive. When youve done that, immediately jump over to the Shadow Knight specific APs and start down the Hate line. The end power there (Siphon Hate) helps to make up for the lack of direct taunts by giving you 3% of everyone in your parties hate. A must have for any Shadow Knight serious about tanking.
Shadow Knights can main tank extremely effectively, and dont let anyone tell you differently! They have a bad reputation, but with spells like Death March which is guaranteed to turn all hate to you and buffs like Siphon Hate from the AP line, you can grab and maintain aggro for an entire fight. By putting up your Life Tap shield before pulling, you can grab some immediate aggro while you go through your direct taunt spells. That helps out a lot. Cant get over the stigma of Shadow Knights cant tank well.? No problem, you have some limited healing using the Life Tap shield on the main tank, while going into offensive stance and tossing off spells left and right helping out as back up DPS.
Crusaders. Powerful, effective, and just darned fun to play.
Many thanks to Brokain of Kithicor for his thoughts on playing a crusader! If you have any questions or additons to this, please let me know!
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