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Guard development: a story of traits and skills interactions


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Hello ! It has been a while since I wanted to complain about the direction guard development has taken. In my opinion many things were better in the past (in the sense that it was making the guard interesting to play without being carried by a single skill/trait/rune), and that many things could be better now.


About the things that were better and randomly get destroyed:

  • Wrath of justice got its immobilization reduction from 3s to 1s, making whirling wrath (GS #2) burst way harder to land (feb 25 2020)
  • Might of the protector got given an ICD, so that shelter lost a huge part of its tactical ability (june 23 2015)
  • Smiter's Boon (same traitline) got changed to activate after healing, so that you need to waste condi cleanse before healing (to remove poison or to survive while waiting shelter heal) -> another big hit for shelter (june 23 2015)
  • Smite (scepter #2) got transformed to symbol of punishment, reducing the range, number of hits, and time interval, affecting both permeating wrath and zealous scepter effectiveness (july 26, 2016)
  • Shield of wrath (focus #5) damage got so nerfed that it can't be used with mighty blow for a nice entrance burst anymore. (Feb 25, 2020)
  • Ray of judgment (focus #4) interacted well with other weapons and could be used both offensively and defensively, but got totally reworked for the most boring pulsating raw damage (July 10, 2018)
  • [fixed: Judge's intervention got changed so that it couldn't be casted midair (29 september 2015), making it impossible to pair with mighty blow (hammer #2). This took one year to fix (!), so that mighty blow no longer puts the guard midair (July 26 2016)]
  • Retaliation comboed well with protection, but this boon has been reworked 😞 


About the things that could be better

  • Pure of Voice: this trait and shout effects are quite outdated
  • Symbols and their traits (writ of persistence, Zealot's resolution, Symbolic Exposure, Symbolic Avenger, symbolic power) are among the least impactful AoE in the game: direct damage is easily avoidable, and boon output is really negligible.
  • Defense options: with the lowest health pool in the game and existence of "unblockable" skills (+the wonderful symbols and shocking aura interaction), guards can feel quite squishy now.
  • Mobility: while all the classes got some passive movement traits, guards have to count on runes for that. While I do not see the guard as a "run-away/kiting" machine, it definitely needs more options to stick on target (allies or enemies).
  • Half of the skills have awful target tracking or are rooting/slowing down the guard: gs #2,#3,#5; hammer #2,#3, sword #3, scepter #1, torch #4. Not especially a problem before, but now  that the game is more dynamic, they miss almost all the time.
  • Outdated utilities: signets, spirit weapons, consecrations
  • Traits could really be made more interesting:
    • Virtues traitline should only contain options that improve the virtues, including Justice is blindRenewed Justice, Zealous Scepter or Wrath of Justice
    • Zeal traitline really looks like "symbol traitline" and should only contain options that boost symbols: "symbols heal", "symbol last longer", "symbols are bigger", "symbols burn", "symbols follow the guard", "symbols cripple", "symbols give boons", etc.
    • Honor traitline has quite its support identity, but Strength in Numbers and Communal Defenses should join that traitline.
    • Radiance traitline is quite boring in its own (raw damage or condi bonuses), but is quite well done. I'd include Zealous Blade, Kindled Zeal, and Glacial Heart in that traitline.
    • Valor traitline provides selfish options for the guard to survive, which is nice. However, it has the worst minors ever imagined 😞 Altruistic healing could almost be a minor.


Final words

I haven't included "elite specializations" in this analysis because I still do not get why they are treated so differently by Anet (except for the 'we must sell expansions' part). Why core classes could not have access to new utilities/weapon skills without choosing the associate traitline ? I despise this lack of integration to the existing game.


Edited by aelska.4609
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Guardian is pretty good in pve. My only complaint is I want core guardian to operate better. Mainly unscathed contender, which is nigh unreliable, and core virtues which are… pathetic. I am more concerned with WB. It is awfully redundant. And its selling point, mobility, is so poorly designed. And ya, LB and hammer a trash tier, But I gave up on them a long time ago.

As for pvp, I no longer talk heresy. It is… unplayably bad.     

Edited by otto.5684
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