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Guild Wars 2 Guardian Q&A with Isaiah Cartwright

Updated Tue, May 31, 2011 by Xerin

Ten Ton Hammer recently caught up with Isaiah Cartwright (Izzy), Lead Systems Designer at ArenaNet, and discussed the newest profession revealed for Guild Wars 2, the Guardian. The Guardian is the second soldier profession that uses Virtues which work to protect the Guardian and their allies. We had some questions to ask about this intriguing new profession and have them here available in our latest Guild Wars 2 interview.

Ten Ton Hammer: Will the guardian's Virtues function somewhat like a combat stance, similar to how Elementalists can switch between Attunements? Or will these be slotted skills? For example, Resolve sounds like a fairly powerful skill that would make sense in the guardian's healing slot.

Isaiah Cartwright:  Guardian virtues are their own thing; they function more like signets than anything else, giving you a passive ability as well as an activate ability that extends a passive ability to you and all your allies at the cost of disabling your passive ability for a period of time.

TTH: Along with Wards, Spirit Weapons and Virtues, what sets the Guardian apart from the Warrior as a melee class? Or, what would be my primary reason for choosing to play one over the other?

Izzy:  The pacing and play style of warriors and guardians are very different.  Warriors start off a battle and get stronger over time; as their adrenaline increases they use powerful burst skills to deal massive damage. Warriors rely on their high health and armor to keep them alive long enough for their adrenaline to build up and their burst skills to become a factor in the fight. They’re more straightforward fighters who get in front and try to outlast their enemies.

Guardians start off all fights at full power.  They have a diversity of tools for different situations and foes.  For example, Virtue of Courage gives you Aegis, a boon which periodically blocks an attack, making you highly resistant to a powerful, slow-hitting foe like an ettin. Virtue of Resolve gives you passive regeneration, which helps take the pressure off when dealing with a hoard of smaller foes. The guardian has significantly lower health than a warrior and relays on his virtues and skills to make up the difference. A well-timed activation of Virtue of Courage can give you back-to-back Aegis, allowing you to block two hits.  If this was done to, say, a warrior who was trying to finish you off with a fully-charged eviscerate, you can buy yourself the extra time needed to kill him instead. So warriors are all about brute force damage and grow more powerful as the battle goes on, while a guardian relies on careful timing and using all his tools to survive.

The Guardian is all about careful timing vs. brute force damage.



TTH: How viable would you say the Guardian will be when playing solo? The unique profession skills will clearly give them high survivability, but they also seem like they'll shine even more so in group situations.

Izzy:  Guardians are just as good solo as they are in a group.  Their virtues, which can be used on a group, can also be used to double-up on an effect, allowing you to get two blocks in a row. Effects like back-to-back triggers of burning or a longer powerful regeneration can be really effective while playing solo. The world of Guild Wars 2 is a living, breathing world where you often find yourself fighting alongside not just players but NPCs as well.  The guardian’s virtues are excellent at supporting anyone in a fight so even when soloing they are incredibly useful. A guardian can also slot weapon skills, and use Virtue of Justice to boost the damage of the summoned weapons. All these things combined make the guardian just as formidable solo as in a group.

TTH: As more of a hybrid between a melee combatant and a magic using profession, what types of armors will Guardians typically use? Are they strictly a heavy armor profession, or can they benefit from other armor types as well?

Izzy:  The guardian is a Soldier type and is restricted to heavy armor.

TTH: Can you give our readers any insights into how Traits might factor into the Guardian's general playstyle? For example, would it be possible to equip a Scepter and use different traits to make the Guardian more of a ranged profession?

Izzy:  Like all GW2 professions, the guardian can trait the skills on his weapons, but a guardian can also specialize his virtues, making them recharge faster or adding extra boons on them such as Might. You can also increase the effectiveness of your passive abilities making your Virtue of Justice or Courage trigger more often.

The scepter is the primary ranged weapon of the guardian. He can send out slow moving orbs that deal high amounts of damage when they hit, and he can channel chains of light, trapping his target in place much like the elementalist’s downed skill Grasping Earth. You can trait chains of light to provide Vulnerability, allowing you to hold someone in place for a short period of time while your orbs of light catch up and hit them, or while your allies finish your foe off.

There you have it! What do you think about the Guardian? Come on over to the Ten Ton Hammer community forums and share your thoughts with the crowd.

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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