“The Guardian is a heavy armor class who relies on boons to make up for their low levels of innate health. They focus on area control and punishing enemies for the position on the battlefield. We want them to feel very powerful when their boons are active, but if those boons are removed, they will start to feel pressure. They can remove conditions more easily than the Warrior, but share the Warrior’s need to be in melee range to dole out maximum damage.”
-Survival is from boons + armor
-Focus on area control and positioning
-Rely on boons
-Need to be in melee range
This essentially defines what the Guardian is; I think ArenaNet has mostly achieved this vision of the Guardian. However, the design itself has one glaring flaw. ‘Need to be in melee range’; this is the Guardian’s paradox.
Guardians don’t have comparatively powerful burst. Guardians don’t have powerful ranged weaponry (or effective long-range weaponry). Guardians don’t have massive health pools. But, they are the anti-attrition Profession and can stay in a fight for a long time, and they have reliable melee damage. Their ranged capacity is not reliable at anywhere beyond 600 range or so, and to be effective, as ArenaNet indicates and as any Guardian knows, you have to be in melee range. This is the contradiction.
Guardians are by far the most dependent on melee combat in the game, and yet they lack the tools to stay within melee range.
The following is the entire arsenal the Guardian has to stay in melee range (which they are designed to rely on):
3 Gap closers (1 leap; 2 teleports)
3 Swiftness Abilities
Immobilizes: There are 2 at 900 and 1200 range, and a projectile that goes to 1200 range. They are on the Scepter, Utility Skill, and Hammer respectively. They tend to be quite reliable and effective.
Chill: It is a 2nd tier Major trait in Valor that lasts 4s/45s and requires the Hammer and critical hit activation. It’s useful only if you have a Hammer with a critical build, and is only reliable at the start of battle.
Gap Closers: There are two teleports, a Utility on a 45s cooldown and a Sword skill on a 10s cooldown. The Leap is 15s on the Greatsword. They are good at bad. The Utility has a 1200 range, but requires a target and has a long cooldown. The Sword is on a short cooldown but also requires a target. The Leap has a moderate cooldown and can be used in a variety of ways. The problem with the teleports is that you need a target, so they can’t be used for movement or evasion; only gap closing. Overall they are adequate at the very least, but effective if you have multiple.
Wards: One line on a 45s cooldown with a 5 seconds duration, a ring on a 45s cooldown with a 5 second duration, and a dome on a 120s cooldown with a 6s duration. The line tends to be impractical because it immobilizes you when you cast, so actually trapping enemies becomes a problem. There is also an issue where enemies can bounce through the ward, rendering it useless. There is another problem of where enemies who receive the knockdown from running into the ward become temporarily unhittable. The dome can be useful in the right situations, especially if traited for ground casting. Overall they are effective in the right situations, but only the Ring tends to be reliable.
Swiftness: Most Professions can now have passive +25% movement speed, and most have access to easy swiftness. For example, the Engineer can gain permanent swiftness by 10 points in a trait line and having 1 kit equipped. The Warrior can gain 50% swiftness uptime by one skill on an off-hand. The Guardian can only achieve a similar level by sacrificing melee or by sacrificing 2 utility skills. This poses a significant problem for Guardians in PvP unless they can also have as much movement speed, since they are designed to be melee-dependent.
They can either switch to Staff and gain 8s swiftness and be stuck using a staff (which is not a powerful combat weapon), or by taking the shouts Retreat and Save Yourselves, which barely meet 50% duration (and both are on a 60s cooldown). If the boon is stripped, this effectively nullifies the sole reason for taking 2 long cooldown utilities.
Edit: Retreat traited with 10 points in Honor can reach close to 50% swiftness duration, but it still suffers from the same issues mentioned above (in addition to also requiring a trait).
Pull: The pull affects 5 enemies at 600 range and is on a 30s cooldown. It’s the best AoE pull in the game and pairs well with the rest of the Greatsword. However, it is the Guardian’s only pull.
Overall, the Guardian is dependent on melee combat, but has comparatively few tools to stay in melee combat. They have 3 ways to quickly close the gap, but the Utility is usually a one-use skill due to the cooldown, which leaves 2 melee weapons with no gap closer. If the Guardian can manage to effectively close the gap, they still can not reliably keep the enemy from moving away due to lack of cripples/chills and only a handful of short duration immobilizes, and the Guardian lacks the speed to keep up with the enemy in the first place. The CC is effective when used continuously, but the Guardian doesn't have massive burst like the Warrior or Thief, and blowing all cooldowns leaves them unable to stay in melee range for an extended period
IMO: The base of the profession is solid, but it is incomplete. The supportive mechanics are there, as are the survival mechanics. The damaging mechanics are also solid. However, the mechanics aren’t functional due to “the need to be in melee range” not being fully supported There are numerous small changes that can, and in my opinion, should be made to address this issue.
That’s my view of the problem, what’s yours?
Edited by Alaroxr, 24 December 2012 - 07:35 AM.