Questions by Cody
"Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor

style="font-style: italic;">
Answers by
Jørgen Tharaldsen, Product Director for Funcom

Ten Ton Hammer's bi-weekly Age
of Conan

class interview series continues this week as we shift our focus from
the Dark Templar to the Guardian, another class in the Soldier
archetype. This in-depth, Q&A style interview was delivered to
by Funcom’s Product Director, Jørgen Tharaldsen,
who has
continued to amaze the Ten Ton Hammer staff with his thorough answers
and enthusiastic attitude. Being the second interview in the series,
Cody “Micajah” Bye delved deep into the previously
information concerning the Guardian, and his questions focuses on the
Guardian’s reliance on armor, his nature in the Hyborian
what his best abilities are, and the sort of players that might be
attracted to this reinforced warrior. After you finish reading the
Guardian interview, check out the href="">Dark Templar
Q&A and drop by
again to read up on the next AoC class interview!

Ten Ton Hammer: In MMOG
terms, the
Guardian appears to be the epitome of the “tank”
sort of
class; his greatest asset is his armor. How much difference does it
make between wearing a piece of light armor (leather) compared to
wearing the full-plate type of armor that the Guardian will possess?
Will the blows simply bounce off his armor or does the armor itself
mitigate the damage?

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 136px; height: 165px;"

title="He's ready for anything"> src="/image/view/14546/preview"

style="font-style: italic;">Guardians are the
only class in Age of
that can wear Full Plate.

Guardian will be a fantastic tank that is for sure, but I definitively
wouldn’t say that their greatest asset is
their armor. The armor of the Guardian is naturally very important
since the Guardian is the only class that can equip Full Plate armor
(for one example), but he also has many other strengths. For instance,
in Conan the Guardians can also deal significant amounts of damage.

In general, we have tried to innovate on several fields to make the
tank classes more interesting than in many other MMO games, and I will
expand on this a tad more in this Q&A.  When it comes
to the
damage; the armor will mitigate the damage in most cases.

I found this King Conan quote from one of the lore documents that our
lore master have made, and he thinks it’s quite fitting for
particular class…“Guardians are the unassailable
rock upon
which the waves of battle break.” This points towards having
great defensive qualities, but if you read along you will also see that
class has a lot more to offer than just protecting.  

Ten Ton Hammer: How will
the Guardians
armor set progress in the game? Will they immediately have access to
heavy plate armors, or will they need to wait for a few levels before
getting the better armor?

We have divided
the various armor sets into several categories, and it goes from full
plate, which is the highest form, to heavy, medium and light (as well
as shields).  The medium armor starts at level 10, and it
“ends” with full plate at level 60. As you progress
the game you will learn that the various forms of armor will increase
the defense rating and weight of the Guardian, and in order to meet the
defense rating target, the Guardian should / needs to always wear the
heaviest armor available. If they don’t do that, they will
more damage. Simple as that. Also, by adding up weight, the Guardian
also increases his resistance to knockback effects. 

The armor progression doesn’t stop at level 60 either. You
have the normal tier upgrades for full plate, as for all other
equipment types, at level 70, 75 and 80.

Ten Ton Hammer: Aside
from his armor,
the Guardian seems to be a fairly prolific de-buffer, wielding skills
that allow them to wear down their enemies. Will de-buffing be the
Guardians second responsibility when he’s in a group
situation or
is that merely a side effect of his skill set?

The guardians
aren't really debuffers at all. The only real debuff combo line they
have is their numbing strike line to lower DPS, although I guess you
could say that stamina drains are a form of debuff as well.

Ten Ton Hammer: What is
the biggest
difference between the Guardian and the other two classes in the
Soldier archetype (the Dark Templar and the Conqueror)? How will
players that play Guardians differentiate themselves from the other two
“tank” classes?

There are many
differences between the tank classes, and we have tried to make each of
them unique and innovative in their own way.  It’s
innovation just for the sake of it though, you will notice it as a
player if you are a veteran of MMOs. Remember that we have a lot of
experience from Anarchy Online on what works or not (and many other
games), and this means we have tried to take our experience and skills,
and evolve it into something more modern and fitting for

When it comes to the main difference between the Guardian and the rest
of the tanks, I can take the easiest comparison first, which is the
fact that the Guardian is the hardiest of the three (most HP), and they
also have the most defensive options. The Guardians are also the most
adjustable, and their three abilities tactics, maneuvers and stratagems
allow them to tweak their playstyle on the fly. At any time they can
have one of each of these three groupings running (so they can have a
tactic and stratagem but not two tactics).

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: left; width: 136px; height: 165px;"

title="Preparing for a decapitation"> src="/image/view/14545/preview"

style="font-style: italic;">When compared to
the other Soldier classes in the game, Guardians have the most HP and
are more
adjustable than the Dark Templar and Conqueror.

These abilities are small tradeoffs; they increase power in one area
while reducing it in another. For example, the Unguarded Attack
Maneuver increases DPS but lowers HP, while the Enduring Defense
maneuver decreases DPS but increases invulnerability ratings and
fear/stun resists. Since all of these three can be swapped around on
the fly, the Guardian can change around his setup in small, yet
significant, ways depending on the circumstances. Of the three tanks
this is a Guardian-only ability.

In addition to this there are many other differences both small and
large, like the full plate armor mentioned above, and the many unique
combos only the guardian can access. Guardians are also very proficient
with the polearm, which allows them to sweep through ranks of enemies
(polearm is not available to the other tanks in the same
For instance the Tempest polearm feat line enables attacks that sweep,
striking many foes simultaneously.

To continue on that line of thought, the Guardian’s
feat line provides more defensive augmentations, but both styles
incorporate devastating charges, faster combo recovery times and melee
attacks that immobilize, stun or leave an enemy bleeding. These are all
unique to the Guardian.

I would also say the Guardians are known for their devastating charges,
and they are capable of ripping through enemy lines, deploying them
straight into the heart of the battle.

Ten Ton Hammer: According
to the
American Heritage Dictionary, the term “guardian”
“One that guards, watches over, or protects.” This
like a pretty noble goal for someone in the Age of Conan universe. Will
Guardians be the “lighter” side of the Dark
Templar? Are
they more concerned with protecting lives than killing hordes of people?

Noble goals?!
Light?!! NOT killing hordes of people?!!! I assure you…if
is one thing you will do in Conan it is killing people, almost
regardless of your class (ok, ok, that was a bit unfair on those who
don’t want to be all about killing, but….guess you
my drift *smiles*). 

As we see it, this class isn’t “light” at
all. They
are rather hardened professional killers. I would therefore file them
under “purely professional soldiers and
instead of the “good guy” (or woman) category. They
incredibly honed in their abilities to adjust to the circumstances
around them, so they are, quite simply, perfect killing machines and
consummate professional soldiers.

Ten Ton Hammer: Being a
“tank” isn’t always a very exciting job
when it comes
to MMORPG gameplay. Why should players take a serious look at the
Guardian when deciding on a class to play?

I think this
depends on who you are. Remember that many individuals like to tank
(and these people are often highly needed!). After all, it’s
their task to keep the mobs off you and others, which is pretty
important in order to succeed. *winks*

Taking your point, it’s true that people often deem tanks to
boring because they have low DPS ratings, so when they aren't actually
tanking they sometimes “suck” at what they do. I
think we
have found some cool ways around that problem with our stance system.
The stances give all of our tanks Defensive and Frenzy stances. I spoke
shortly about this in the Dark Templar update last time around, but if
you, for instance, swap into Frenzy stance you can significantly
increase your DPS, and thus become a serious DPS threat. This means you
lose your primary tank ability though since you take massive amount of
extra damage. Therefore, should you want (and dare), you can make a
DPS-oriented tank, and there are additional lines of feats you can use
to aid you along that road.

However, when you find yourself in situations where you can’t
in DPS uber mode (if you are soloing or if you are the tank), you
simply exit frenzy and revert to normal or go over to
This means that there won’t be a massive need for re-specing
feats when you cross between being a survivable tank and a DPS-focused
soldier. It is all done just by entering a stance.

Ten Ton Hammer: Anything
else you’d like to tell the Ten Ton Hammer

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 136px; height: 165px;"

title="The details on this Guardian are amazing"> src="/image/view/14544/preview"

style="font-style: italic;">The developers at
Funcom believe they've found some cool ways to alleviate any
frustration players may have with playing a tank.

I think our
class designers have done an excellent job with the Guardian class, and
there is so much more cool stuff we could share about this class. As an
end to this article I am therefore copying in some selected ability
examples I found in one of the class design documents;

Wall of Steel


The Guardian defends themselves with a wall of flashing steel allowing
them to evade blows but fending off strikes tires the guardian fast.

Charge - Combo

The Guardian rushes at their enemy delivering a savage blow. Their
weight and added momentum makes this attack particularly devastating.

– Feat

While wielding a pole arm, this charge attack causes horrific damage
and the target suffers a bleeding wound.

– Combo

A Guardian relies upon their honed battle reflexes to automatically
counterattack enemy blows.

– Feat

The Guardian improves their counterattacking technique, increasing the
damage done by their counterstrikes.



The Guardian becomes an unstoppable war machine for a brief time,
invulnerable and dealing increased amounts of damage.

On a completely different note… the first snow just fell in
Oslo. The darkness and cold is upon us again (so good times for
finishing up a game *smiles*). And with that the snowboard resorts open
up again! Can’t wait to continue training some of those RL

How much do you love this
article? Do you want to be a Guardian now? href="">Let
us know in the forums!

If you enjoyed this article, make sure you check out our href="">Dark Templar

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016