The Guardian Preview
The Guardian: Warrior of Hope
There are a lot of professions worth playing ArenaNet’s upcoming MMORPG, Guild Wars 2. This profession has interested me from the very first trailer ArenaNet showed us. When I started playing, the first thing I noticed was that this profession was one that would end up being a real team player, but would be able to hold its own. Let’s start with a recap of what we know from the game’s official site.
Special Skill Types
- Spirit Weapons—The guardian can summon spirit weapons to fight at his side for a limited time. Spirit weapons cannot be attacked by enemies and can be commanded to inflict a powerful attack before disappearing. For example, Hammer of Wisdom can be summoned to fight alongside a guardian, then commanded to knock down an enemy and vanish.
- Symbols—The guardian places symbols on the ground, where they inflict damage to enemies or deliver a benefit to allies. Symbols persist for a few seconds and then go away. For instance, Symbol of Faith is a hammer attack that leaves a transient symbol on the ground, giving allies the Vigor boon.
- Wards—A ward is a marked area on the ground that stops enemies from passing through while allowing allies to move freely. For example, a staff-wielding guardian can create a Line of Warding in front of him that keeps enemies from reaching the allies behind him.
- Aegis—Guardians are adept in the use of Aegis, a removable boon that blocks the next attack. Guardians have access to this boon through the virtue of Courage.
- Main Hand: Mace, Scepter, Sword
- Off Hand: Focus, Shield, Torch
- Two-Handed: Greatsword, Hammer, Staff
- Justice—Every fifth attack causes burning. Use this skill to make nearby allies' next attacks cause burning. (This disables your Justice for 30 seconds.)
- Courage—Every 30 seconds you are granted Aegis, blocking the next attack. Use this skill to apply Aegis to all nearby allies. (This disables your Courage for 120 seconds.)
- Resolve—You regenerate health. Use this skill to remove conditions and apply Regeneration to all nearby allies. (This disables your Resolve for 120 seconds.)
The first couple hours of game play I did my best to try things out alone to see how I could survive. The Guardian with the right weapon choice, like a great sword, can really do some damage, but you need to be careful. It’s pretty easy to get ahead of yourself as the battle looks to be progressing in your favor, and then BAM! The enemy pulls a fast one and you’re a bit crippled. Yep the damage you deal is impressive, but the setup with a more damage dealing weapon is one that allows you spread the wealth of combat. In other words, you get a lot of attention fast. It’s best to do this when you want to get the attention on you, then switch over to a different setup.
My favorite weapon setup was using a shield with another weapon. To me, it promoted teamwork. You could help keep some attention on you, support your fellow players with buffs and protection, and deal some good damage all at once. To me it was the most adaptive setup. Sure swinging a great sword around looked and felt awesome, but in this game I really enjoyed being more of a team player instead. Overall the profession did feel powerful and epic no matter what setup I choose.
As far as looks go, the Guardian does look the part of a protector. They wear their heavy armor, shining even in the darkest shadows like a warrior of hope. The beginning armor was basic, but made sense. There was more chain mail and leather, so there was plenty of room for future armors to expand on. The posture of the Guardian was also taken into consideration for the character. I felt a sense of honor and pride as my Guardian would stand idle, standing up straight with his chin held high.
The Guardian skills also had a nice look to them. With a lot of the protection skills you make an area safe, which is indicated by a glowing bubble. The animations for each skill felt balanced and calm headed, until I equipped a great sword. The Guardian looks like a completely different type of warrior when that bad boy is equipped! The animations make the profession look more like a crazed soldier on the battlefield. The look of a Guardian evolved based on the chosen play style which is something I really enjoyed seeing. If the skills mechanics give off a certain feel, the visuals used to show off those skills should fit that feeling as well. I feel like they nailed the Guardians animations done perfectly.