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LOTRO Guides - The Guardian Begginers Guide : LOTRO - Guides

Posted: April 2nd, 2007, 12:17 pm

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The Guardian was often misunderstood as the most simplified class that the Lord of the Rings Online had to offer. This was derived from an expectation that the class would be simply the stereotypical tank from other titles, such as EverQuest II and World of Warcraft. Yet this would be a significant error: while the class maintains several similarities to tanks from other titles, there are noteworthy differences. These include, but are not limited to, reactionary offense, defense and taunts and in-combat healing abilities. It is the purpose of this guide to establish a thorough understanding of the make-up of the class to aid players in their decisions on which class to play.

Guardian Fundamentals: Equipment

The weapons and armour at the Guardians disposal are perhaps the most important factor in defining its role. After all, if the Guardian are to be a front line fighter, it would be ideal to have a large array of weapons and armour available to them. This is what Turbine has done, and below is a listing of what is available to the class at the opening level:


• Light
• Medium
• Shields


• Daggers
• One-Handed Axes
• One-Handed Clubs
• One-Handed Hammers
• One-Handed Maces
• One-Handed Swords
• Thrown Weapons

Accordingly, this is not the complete list of armor and weapons available to the Guardian through the entire game. As the class gains levels, more and more armors and weapons becomes available that further define the class succinctly, and they are as follows:


• Heavy (Lv 15)
• Heavy Shields (Lv 15)


• Two-Handed Swords (Lv 10)
• Two-Handed Axes (Lv 10)
• Two-Handed Hammers (Lv 10)
• Two-Handed Clubs (Lv 10)
• Spears (Lv 10)
• Cross-Bows (Lv 30)
• Bows (Lv 30)

Upon consulting the new list above, one can see the Guardian truly fulfilling the typical tank role. The addition of heavier armor and shields and long range weapons tell us that much. Yet within weapons there is an interesting pattern: Guardians can wield two-handed weapons. Most players who have played tanks in previous titles will tell you two-handed weapons are utterly useless. The necessity of a shield to decrease damage done is pivotal, and that is the reason why. While that remains true in the Lord of the Rings Online, it is not so in all situations: one of the defining differences of the Guardian to other tank classes. Yet that will be detailed later in this guide. Suffice to say, Guardians can equip any kind of armor and certainly have a large array of weapons to decide from.

Guardian Fundamentals: Skills

In the Lord of the Rings Online, the single component that largely defines what a chosen class can do in any situation is skills. They define not only damage (be it offensive or healing) but grant many of the defensive dynamics and utility proponents. So in order to understand how the Guardian class is played out and defined, a look at the many types of skills is necessary.

Taunting Skills

There are many different kinds of taunting skills that are made available to the Guardian, and, as the name implies, they, amongst other things, force the enemy to attack him. Yet what is most interesting about the taunting skills that are available is they come in many different forms. That is to say, some taunting skills are embedded in regular damage actions or what is known as reactionary offense. While the latter item will be detailed in full later, a simple explanation is thus: skills made available when the Guardian blocks or parries an incoming attack. In addition, such taunts also come from class traits that the Guardian acquires. Indeed, taunting and maintaining aggro for high level Guardians are embedded in almost every attack, instead of a small handful, like in other titles.

Attack Skills

These skills are rather simplistic and require no detailed explanation: they just do damage. The Guardian simply approaches an enemy, engages the skill and does damage. Occasionally there will be accompanying bleed effects, or it will damage multiple enemies it once. In effect, these are rudimentary skills that are replaced by more powerful reactionary [skills] in the mid to high levels.

Reactionary Skills

It is these skills that truly differentiate the Guardian class in the Lord of the Rings Online, to similar tanks in other titles. As detailed earlier, a simplified way to look at these skills is thus: when the Guardian successfully blocks or parries an attack, these skills become available for use. But there is much more to that: there are skills called secondary reaction skills, which require the use of a reactionary [skill] to be used. Think of it this way: when you block an attack, Shield Swipe opens up (a reaction skill) then when that is used, the secondary reaction skill Bash can be utilized (which is a high DPS attack). The same is applied to reactionary skills that rely on parries, but in that case there is more variety.

The benefit to this setup is noteworthy: it forces players to pay close attention to the action at hand. For if they are not attentive, the time limit to use such skills will ultimately expire and their DPS and utility will suffer tremendously. Indeed, the difference between a good and bad Guardian will ultimately be who can react quickly and [who] will not. Lastly, an ample supply of taunting effects and high-end DPS will be found in these reaction skills, so there is significant reward for maximizing potency with these [skills].

Buff Skills

These skills are very important to the Guardian’s repertoire, yet are similar to tanks in other titles, with a few notable exceptions. The Guardian is similar in the respect that some buffs add to defensive and offense statistics, while others protect an ally from damage. The difference, however, is direct statistical improvements to block and parry – critical attributes to reactionary skills.

Healing Skills

There are two minor healing skills that are available to the Guardian: one replenishes morale and the other power. In the case of the former, it only becomes available upon a successful block, while the latter can be used at any time. These kinds of skills are new and unique to the proverbial tank class, but at the same time permit the Guardian increased survivability and new challenges to group play.

Guardian Fundamentals: Traits

Traits are the primary means of class (and character) differentiation in the Lord of the Rings Online. As such, even in the Guardian class, some very intriguing yet significant choices need to be made. For instance, one could focus on improvements to the might statistic, which increases damage with a melee weapon. Alternatively, one could improve on vitality (increases morale), increases resistances and decrease vulnerability – clearly advantageous to the primary tank. There are a myriad of other possibilities as well, and while it is near impossible to list all of them, I will provide an explanation for the more important traits and suggestions for where aspiring Guardians should focus on.

Statistical Traits

These traits concern increases to your base statistics – such as mighty, vitality, fate etc. Each of these correspond to an important attribute to your character; might increases damage with weapons and vitality overall morale. As such, if one wishes for increased damage for their Guardian, then increments to might would be beneficial; the same logic can be applied for boons to health. Generally speaking, however, each of these traits – by themselves – do not wield much, but combined together can make a formidable difference.

Class Traits

These traits are among the most important (save legendary) one can acquire, and as such wield some very significant benefits to your character. These include, but are not limited to, improvements to existing skills and increased chances to block and parry. The latter items are of particular importance: the Guardian relies heavily – both on offense and defense – on being able to parry or block attacks. It would be advisable then to take such skills. Alternatively, however, if one wants more offense and move out of the stereotypical tank role, you could seek skill improvements that deal heavy damage. So while these traits are among the most important, there is room for diversity, depending on ones ultimate preference.

Damage Reducing Traits

These are the traits that Guardians will seek out if they embrace the tank role. In this category I include decreases to vulnerabilities (long and short range) and increased resistances. Like the statistical traits, they are not very significant on their own, but bundled together they could be very significant, but, unlike them, very situational. For instance, if your fellowship is actively fighting spiders, then traits that increase poison resistance would be ideal. Regardless of circumstance, however, these traits are important in fulfilling the tank role.

Which traits should I include, then?

As mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, that entirely depends on what sort of role you want your Guardian to be. Do you want your character to be the penultimate tank? If so, you may want to focus on traits that increase blocking and parrying, taunting skill effectiveness and reductions to melee and long range vulnerabilities. If, on the other hand, you want more offense, focusing on might and skills that improve damage would be critical. Or, you could arm yourself with a mix of the two. The bottom line is this: the system allows for an incredible amount of diversity and there is no set guideline to follow; you can do what you want. In addition, there are many other combinations then what was listed here; this is just a basic guideline for trait allocation.

Guardian Strategy: Solo Play

Like all classes in the Lord of the Rings Online, the Guardian can solo very effectively. Yet, unlike other classes in the title, the Guardian has arguably the most room for diversity; that is to say, they can solo under many different situations. This relates primarily to weapon choice, be it a one or two handed weapon; in other titles, most proverbial tank characters cannot have such a choice feasibly, but indeed a Guardian does! There has been many times where I have soloed with my Guardian character wielding both kinds of weapons and noticed no real difference in my effectiveness or survivability: certainly a boon for aesthetically inclined individuals.

Though in order to aid in the above – or any situation really – is your traits combination during solo play. Since you won’t be defending anyone else, typical traits that add to either defensive bonuses or utility skill alteration are no longer necessary; indeed, one should focus on statistical increments and damage skill boons. Yet this is not necessary either: you could maintain those defensive trait benefits and still do just as well; you won’t be as speedy in your killing as the former, but it certainly is a viable option.

If there is only one requirement to success in solo play it would be thus: a powerful weapon, be it one or two handed. Due in large part to the Guardian’s parry and blocking abilities, one can deflect a good chunk of incoming damage; thereby making your total armour level less important: this does defeat mini-maxing, essentially. Yet when I say powerful weapon, I do not meant rare or epic weapons that can be found off many humanoid opponents; no, simply an uncommon drop would do just fine (or even one purchased from a crafter). Yet if you do find a rare or epic weapon off a humanoid, your ability to solo increases ten-fold! Though it is hardly necessary.

The bottom line is this: one does not need the most powerful equipment or rare weapons in order to solo effectively; it can be done with nearly any setup. In the case of traits, any combination will work – whether you want to focus on offense, defense, utility or a mix of the three – it will simply be effective. Then with equipment, anything goes; barring gross extremes.

Guardian Strategy: Grouping

Unlike the options for solo play, the Guardian is much more stringent and cookie-cutter in groups; for if one does otherwise, it would be very difficult to play the role effectively. That role, obviously, is absorbing attacks, protecting allies and maintaining aggro. As such, the use of a shield is absolutely necessary and for more then one reason; a good amount of aggro control, damage and self healing abilities can be found in reactionary block offense and defense. Without the use of these ever so important abilities, the Guardian would have a very difficult time performing their task effectively.

When traits are considered it is not much better: offensive based [traits] are not as wanted as defensive boosting ones and those that alter self healing and defensive skills. It is not the task of the Guardian to deal damage – that is demanded of Hunters, Lore-masters, Champions and others – so the Guardian must focus on being as defensively sound as possible. In addition, it would be very wise to include increases to resistances and decreases to vulnerabilities; these will aid all Guardians considerably in performing their proverbial tank role best.

Closing Thoughts

The Guardian, while very similar to tanks in other titles, does have a number of unique additions that makes the class more fun to play: reactionary skills and self healing namely. The need for mini-maxing – at least in solo play – is demolished as well; it is simply not necessary for an enjoyable game experience. At the same time, however, there are considerable rewards for players who max out their characters: they solo that much more effectively! Yet no matter how much or little equipment one possesses, the chance to solo is evident and varied. The only downside to the class, however, is the cookie-cutter role in grouping; yet it could not be any other way, due to the nature of the grouping beast.

From allakhazam


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