Updated Mon, Nov 08, 2010 by gunky
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The Champion is a one-man goon squad when it comes to soloing. The strategy, from character creation to endgame, remains unwaveringly simple: charge in, engage, hit everything until it dies. Champions pay about as much attention to frivolous buffs and meticulously-planned crowd-control as a cannonball fired into a brick wall. You want subtlety? Roll a Lore-master.
Champions play in a style similar to soloing Guardians, only faster. Mobs get coralled into an easily-managed group and then hammered down en masse until the Champion is the last man standing. The Champion is a blunt instrument of destruction, and his strategies are straight-forward.
Soloing with a Champion tends to be a bit quicker than with other classes who must fight mobs one at a time or in small clusters. The Champion can round up a number of mobs and handily dispatch them as a group. This is fairly easy for mobs within the character's level range, and a modestly-equipped Champion should be able to handle 3 - 4 non-elite on-level mobs without much worry. Against lower-level mobs, a modestly-equipped Champion can handle even larger numbers. Over-level and more powerful elite mobs will take a bit more finesse, and should usually be handled either singularly or in very small groups. The Champion shares an inherent weakness with the Guardian: because of the tough nature of the class, it is quite easy to overestimate the character's abilities and pull too large of groups at once. While the Champion has a small handful of self-preservation skills, these are not as powerful as the "panic button" skills of some other classes, and if the situation gets complicated further (for example, patrolling mobs join the fray), the Champion may find himself overwhelmed.
At low levels, rounding up a group of mobs involves simply running up to them and getting aggro, then kiting them until they are grouped up tightly and unleashing a flurry of area-effect attacks. At mid-levels, the game changes a bit and the Champion has more options for pulling with the use of bows and some ranged attacks. At level 20, the Champion gets one of his most useful skills for group pulls:Horns of Valour, a passive skill allowing the use of crafted horns. Horns can be sounded when the Champion is surrounded by a horde of mobs, stunning a number of them for a brief period. Higher level horns incapacitate the enemies for longer periods of time and can affect more targets. These horns can be crafted by a woodworker.
no no... AXE breaks HAMMER, PARCHMENT covers axe....
Fervour stance is most useful for soloing, as it adds fervour pips more often than the other stances and increases outgoing damage, and the high-fervour-cost skills are the ones that do the most damage. On the other hand, they also cost significantly more power, and power consumption can be an issue in long, protracted fights. Increasing in-combat power regeneration will help, and the Champion has a number of defeat-event skills and a couple of handy legendary skills that will restore power, but the smart Champion will want to carry lots of potions and power-restoring food.
Healing is another area where Champions may encounter some difficulty. The class has little in the way of self-heals - Dire Need and Bracing Attack - and the most useful soloing stance decreases the amount of incoming heals by 30%. Carrying an ample supply of healing pots is absolutely crucial for soloing, and morale-restoring food is highly recommended.
Up until around level 20, Champions can get away with running everything in Fervour, but eventually the player will start encountering tougher mobs. This is where "stance-dancing" comes in. When facing off against tougher mobs, the Champion will want to have some kind of defense, and Fervour stance is not conducive to defensive playing. While Ardour stance does detract a bit from parry and evade ratings, it does not altogether cancel them out like Fervour does, and block rating is unchanged. Sword-and-board and Ardour stanceare fine tools to use against tough mobs. And for the really hard fights, Glory-tanking is the stuff of myth and legend - used in conjunction with instant-fervour skills, self-heals and in-combat power regeneration, Glory stance with a shield and 1-hander allows the Champion to solo mobs that would otherwise take teams of players to beat. The nature of the fight calls the steps of the stance-dance.
Working out a skill rotation is fairly easy, due to the fervour-gating of the more powerful attacks. At later levels, when some of the skills apply bleeds regularly, it pays to work them into the rotation as early as possible. For instance, Rend has an excellent damage-over-time bleed that can be improved with legacies on legendary weapons, and costs very few pips of fervour to activate. Starting with 2 basic attacks - Swift Strike and Wild Strike - will generate enough fervour to unlock Cleave/Rend, and the bleed-out begins.