The Guardian Fighter Takes the Tank
Three of us made a foray into Neverwinter, each taking a different class. During the press event, I chose to play as the Guardian Fighter, my typically favorite class to play when starting any new MMO. For me, the ease of wading into a crowd and banging away with my shield and sword is simpler than working on more finesse-oriented classes like the Rogue or the Cleric.
As you can imagine, the Guardian Fighter is the tank class of the game. It is her job to dart to the forefront of any battle and keep the enemies busy while casters and healers do their thing from the background and the sneaky rogue darts around the back. The Guardian Fighter in Neverwinter is a sword and shield user, distinctly separate from the not-yet-seen Great Weapon Fighter who will be a two-handed weapon specialist.
As a result of utilizing a sword and board, the Guardian Fighter has some terrific bashing skills as well as the ability to taunt enemies into attacking only her.
For the “at will” skills, I chose Cleave and Tide of Iron. With Cleave, my fighter gets a good medium damage hit in. When followed up by a shield bash from Tide of Iron, it seemed a good combo while waiting for other skills to cool down.
For Encounter Powers, my main go to has been Enforced Threat. During the use of this skill, my Guardian Fighter pounds her foot to the ground and yells at foes. The pounding foot damages enemies and also taunts them into attacking, ergo keeping the squishy mage types safe. For a ranged attack, I utilized Lunging Strike that jets my fighter right into the middle of the battle at a specified target.
My daily is one of the most amazing skills ever and even allowed me to take down bosses in two or three hits....well if they were a level or two underneath mine. Even on equivalent level bosses, the daily Villain’s Menace is a great skill that deals a great deal of damage to all nearby enemies and additionally renders my character immune from conditional effects and knockback. It’s a particularly useful skill to keep saved up for boss encounters.
I loved playing the Guardian Fighter. I’ve always been partial to bad ass female fighters so it is a natural class for me to gravitate towards. Not only can GFs deal out terrific amounts of damage, but they can also keep enemies at bay by sheer virtue of area of effect skills and can hide behind their shields. They are durable and fun characters to play, particularly as a ‘first character’ in Neverwinter that requires a bit less micromanagement than some of the others.
The one caveat I have to add to this is the ability for the Guardian Fighter to gain a cleric companion who can heal her in battle. Knowing this takes some of the edge off but, still, a dedicated human healer will be essential.
The one thing that I found problematic with the Guardian Fighter is the lack of any sort of healing power at all. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by games that give fighter classes an innate healing ability. Still, because of being a tank character, the fighter takes a boatload of damage. Without a healer along or a ton of potions on hand, adventuring into harder dungeons and instances could prove tricky. Because of any ability to heal, Cryptic has definitely made the Holy Trinity a must for players.
All in all, I really enjoyed playing the Guardian Fighter. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I will continue to play her until such time as the Great Weapon Fighter becomes available, my even more preferred class. If you’re a tank fanatic, the GF is definitely worth a look.
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