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Returning player looking for a tank class

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Hello to you, people!

I would like to thank you for taking a moment of your time to read this post.

I am a returning player, as stated in the topic, and I've had quite a lot of fun in this game. My last memory, if I'm correct, was finshing the first raid dungeon and claiming the "Eternal" title as a Chronotank.

Regardless, in all the MMOs (for over 15 years) I've always been playing a tank, or, if tanking was not allowed, a tanky support / utility / CC class. I never really liked focusing on DPS, because somehow I would always get narrow-minded. As a tank, however, I got used to a highly-mobile aggressive style that focused more on positioning, CC, personal and group survivability and tactical thinking. I've been a main tank and a guild leader in many guilds while playing other MMOs. GW2, however, has a very different take on the whole MMO Trinity concept that, while not without its flaws, is still pretty enchanting.

In this game I took interest in playing Bunker Guardians (when they were still relatively useful in structured PVP), a personal variant of Ventari (Ascended Nomad stats) WVW Guardian for pushing and healing, a Bunker Warrior for structured PVP (yeah, he was a thing back when Sentinel Amulet was still a thing), Tank/Shout support Warrior for WVW for pushing and leading and, my most recent endeavour was Chrono Tank/Support in both PVE and PVP. Suffice to say, I really liked the idea of controlling the tide of the fight by diverting the enemy attention and enforcing my rule upon the field. That moment when you are pushing through the Central Keep corridor in WVW and weather all the attacks, paving the way to your zerg... these moments are unforgettable.

Times change, and the concept of a defensive Warrior is no longer viable, nor was the Guardian Bunker a smart choice in the HoT expansion. It seemed that the developers were bent on forcing people to focus on damage, even if the players themselves did not want to. But yet another period of time has passed, a new expansion has launched and I see the cards, the facts all laid bare before me and... I am simply unable to determine the next step. I am still trying to find a reason to come back.

Let us take the warrior out of the equation - it is obvious that two recent elite specializations were focused more on the offensive aspect of the class (as if he did not already pack quite a punch).

I studied a bit the new Firebrand specialization - seems quite a joyful ride to me. If you throw away all the Burning conditions that he can assault you with and focus more on aspects of healing and support, in theory, he becomes quite a top-notch anchor for the group, providing good heals, good boons and stability. Just the thing I'd want to be. I can almost imagine being in the frontline wearing full Ministrel or Nomad gear, yet again leaping into the flames. The concept of a paladin, reading aloud the holy verses is too appealing to me. A desire to scream "DEUS VULT, INFIDEL!" is just a whim away, is it not?

Yet, on the other hand, another concept that has always been stirring my imagination greatly - the jump between the dimentions, the ability to turn the tides of Time, the character who exploits psychology and fights with lies and half-truths. While being a huge fan of Minsc from Baldur's Gate with his undying phrases "YOU POINT - I PUNCH!" or "FULL PLATE AND PACKING STEEL!", I felt strangely attracted to this... very... wierd class. I hated the purple/pink colour and the butterflies (wish you could change the color, really. I understand that purple-pinkish color portrays dementia and the shattered glass pictures the illusions breaking apart, while the flying butterflies probably stand for something related to the butterfly effect (?) or yet another take on the image of illusions, however imagine how cool it would be if the color was, say, red), BUT the sheer complexety of flexibility of the class truly made me love it. No matter what build or specialization I was, I had tons of ways to help my group and myself. These ways, alas, did not include superior healing or high uptime and easy access on protection / regeneration boons, but something... entirely different, like CC, pulls, portal, boon sharing and many-many more. This class was the epitomy of 'thinking outside of the box' for me. And I truly loved it.

The reason I did not quite like my mesmer, however, was that during big fights I could not rely on my survival cooldowns that were dependent on my illusions - the whole mechanic of my class was shut down by the encounter that I was acting as a tank at. In case of my guardian, Altrustic Healing alone kept me going for hours, despite the overwhelming odds. Now, by all means, I am not a pro-player, and I understand that there may be some edge or some field, that I know nothing about, that opens a whole new perspective upon the class, so I want you to know that everything here is just my personal opinion based on my personal experience.

The state of things, as they are now, is somewhat shrouded from me - I've only recently returned and my knowledge about the new specializations is lacking, at best, figured out from reading and watching videos, rather than having a first-hand experience.

Thus, my question is the following: I've listed my preferences and my inclinations before you. There's this Firebrand tank and Chronomancer tank. I would like to know which one of them bring more utility, which one is tankier, which one can do things that... well, things that I like.

The spheres include both PVP (Structured, GVG, WVW) and PVE (dungeons, raids, fractals), however, I must admit that my... take on the play-style makes me somewhat useless in PVE, since dodge is still the best survival method that is more than enough to beat every encounter, thus my sheer enjoyment of the WVW part of the game.

Your opinions are appreciated, dear friends. I hope that reading this post has not inflicted too much pain upon...

... your.....m̯͔̦̜̗͖̣̟̹͇̊̀̇̊̋͑̈́̑̏i̧̭͍̯̜̥̳̇͋̔̑̚n͎̲̜̖̞̦̪̫͛͒̂̕͝d̵̡̡̗̪̺͚̰̅̏͊̈́̿̄̆̆̎s̨̬̳̟̥͓̈́́͊͗̔̊͆̎͘.

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wvw: firebrand is one of if not the only class that can keep up with a scourge in terms of condi cleansing. Problem comes if the enemy zerg is bigger than yours, and/or if more than 80% of them are scourges and you're the only fb/living being in yours that brought condi cleanses.

Spvp: you'll have to deal with scourges and spellbreakers. Familiarize yourself with their abilities and learn how to dance around them. They're both fairly susceptible to ranged pressure and are fairly oppressive at close range due to their mechanics. Also they are said to be on the chopping block for nerfs, presumably between now and some time November.

pve: Raiding is still pretty much the same; 2 chronos, 2 druids, 2 wars, 4 dps. The new raid wings aren't out yet and the new especs just added more dps options for all classes. You could prob go tank/support fb in fractals, but mind you, you're gonna look more attractive to the mobs in fractals and most pugs prefer to run self-sufficient builds that doesn't exactly kill things quickly.

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DISCLAIMER: All of this is my personal opinion.

WvW: Firebrand is nuts right now due to boon support, condi cleanse, and outright healing AoE healing with very little damage sacrifice, but another option would be the Spellbreaker Warrior that is taking the WvW frontlines by storm with high damage, great survivability, and condi cleanse/mass boonstripping. If you want your play to be successful in a large group, those two will do great depending on what role you want to take. For more solo/small group stuff I prefer Dragonhunter Guardian with sword/shield using marauder's gear. It offers very good survivability and in-combat mobility with multiple teleports, frontline traps for burst damage, and the general tanky feeling that comes with guardian and shielding.

SPvP: I don't play this so I won't chime in here.

I'll break PvE into two different places:Fractals and General PvE:Chronotank is useful in fractals, but not by much as DPS is still king. More often, chrono's find themselves being useful by boon support rather tan face-tanking anything. Spellbreaker is probably a better general tank option due to the same things that makes it successful in WvW; high built-in survivability, boonstripping, and condi cleanse. Firebrand is also good for the same reasons as WvW as well, with the added fact that it's much more effective with a 5 man team than a 40 man zerg.

Raids:Chronotank is still king due to its ability to simply override many mechanics via distortion and the ever-necessary alacrity buffing. Firebrand could make a fantastic tank what with healing, survivability, boon support, permanent quickness, etc., but it'll be hard to get into PUGs as a tank if you aren't a chrono (sadly). A little-used alternate is an Auramancer Tempest as they can provide a ton of protection, high levels of AoE healing, and decent boons to others, however they do have a crippling reliance on the right fields being dropped and since so many other players drop the wrong kinds of fields for them it can underperform even considering it has no distort and no alacrity. If you wanted a real challenge, try tanking as an evasive Daredevil. It's possible, but again you fall into the problem of most groups being unwilling to use anyone for tanking that isn't a chrono.

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As a long time tank player from other MMOs, I've been so frustrated with GW2 over the years. I've left the game a few times; because I just felt that this game was not designed with my play-style in mind.

That said, since around PoF release I've started discovering the Chronomancer for myself. I've found it to be the closest experience of tanking that GW2 has to offer. This is the build website that I studied when building my character https://metabattle.com/wiki/Build:Chronomancer_-_Chronotank

I'm a Chrono noob. And, Vets will probably tell you that I'm doing it wrong. But I'm still learning and need a little extra help. My current perception of the Chrono is that it plays/feels differently based on what type of armor you have equipped. Minstrel gear will tank cough cough your dps output. But, it gives you better healing and survivability. Beserker + Commander gear on the other hand will increase your DPS. I decided to ignore everyone and went with Wanderer's gear that gives vitality, power, and some boon duration. As far as runes go, I've chosen Superior Rune of Durability. Go ahead and yell at me you meta peoples ;) So far, I've only played low to mid tier fractals and PvE open world. So, I might change my gear when I feel more comfortable with the class. Here is the wiki page for Gear Attribute combinations.

One big hurdle that I'm still working on is that Chronomacer survivability seems to depend largely on skill usage to avoid damage. I felt very squishy starting out. But, the more I play the better I feel tanking. That said, there are still times that I get caught by surprise and my health drops like a rock.

I'll list a few Chrono survival abilities:1) Main hand sword evade2) Shield block (can use twice if you actually block an attack)3) If you use "Signet of the Ether" as heal skill, you can reset your shield block (potentially bringing total blocks up to 4).4) Off hand sword block. (from second weapon set).5) Distortion from f4 shatter skill

Of the above options, only 1 really relies on having your illusions active.

I hope that my very limited experience has helped a little. I hope that some friendly long time Chronomancers will chime in.

~ Mal Seren

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Thank you all for your answers, people!

I must admit that, strangely enough, even thought I X'd out the warrior from the equation at the very start... I feel strangely drawn to this profession, for I see a huge potential both going Nomad stats full push/support and going, say, Soldier stats with Vigorous shouts frontline.

Firebrands are cool, but hey, if you have a few of them in your group, they already make you tanky enough through boons and heals. Chronomancer's survivability relies too much on him being in a fight and being able to get 3 illusions going, for my taste.

What do you people think?

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New Warrior elite Spellbreaker is very capable class in PvP and WvW. Since it very much relies on removing boons from enemy, it is less fun in PvE where enemies rarely have enough boons. It is so good atm, that I have this nagging feeling both Full Counter and Winds of Disenchantment will be nerfed soon (completely unofficial, based on my own guess only).

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Ehhh, after much deliberation and testing I think I'll join the guardian master race, because both mesmer and warrior are more reliant on their capability to kill before getting killed themselves. While guardian can actually take both pro-active and reactive role, mesmer's and warrior's survivability is less flexible, aka, you cannot focus entirely on your / group's survival.This is all, of course, my personal opinion.

That being said, now I just gotta get those bloody hero points and then I'll see you all on the battlefield. Get behind me and you'll be safe.

Thank you all for help.

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