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xzpwnz24

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PostedJan 14, 2014 10:04 am   Last edited by xzpwnz24 on Jan 27, 2014 5:18 am. Edited 21 times in total

[Guide] Guardian/Bard: The Greatest Tank (incomplete)

More will be added/edited later, feel free to ask questions and/or comment

This guide will focus purely on how to optimize the best end game pve tank

Why bard is the best subclass for a pve guardian tank:
(Explanation will be added later)

Attack rotations vs bosses

Before battle:

Buffs:
Mirrored shield > phalanx

During battle:

(Battles with bosses can be initiated with any of the 3 sets preferred, when aggro can't be maintained repeat with set 1)

Set 1 rotation:

Terrifying roar > shield bash > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating) > thundercut > phalanx > thundercut > mirrored shield > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating)

(Repeat from the beginning when aggro can't be kept)
The mirrored shield rebuff can wait a few thundercuts and sword slashes inbetween because of it's longer duration after it's cool down, but phalanx should be kept up whenever possible to survive boss attacks

Set 2 rotation:

Windfury > shield bash > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating) > thundercut > phalanx > thundercut > mirrored shield > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating)

Set 3 rotation:

Windfury > terrifying roar > shield bash > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating) > thundercut > phalanx > thundercut > mirrored shield > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating)

Stun rotation:

Shield bash > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating)

(Used when the boss can be stunned again, can also be used at the start of the battle)

Evasion rotation:

Windfury > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating)

(Used to dodge boss attacks)

Low health rotation:

Emergency healing skill as needed > thundercut > sword slash (thundercut and sword slash repeating)

(Used if bard is busy)

Stat allocation

Note that it's possible to reach the 75% defense cap and have a decent crit rate (50%~) with equipment alone at end game, when that happens the remainder of the points should go into hp and damage (if you have both 50% speed and around 50% crit)

Offense points:

Points should be put into speed until it reaches the 50% cap, afterwards all points should go into crit. The reason for maximizing speed is reducing cool down to be able to keep the guardian's signature buff skill "Phalanx" activated at all times and to be able to alternate spam attacks between the malice-holding attack skills Sword slash and Thundercut (these will be your end game boss malice-holders, in the case that you still can't hold aggro while using only both these skills, occasionally use Terrifying Roar to reattract aggro and repeat with thundercut and sword slash) while reducing the cool down of the emergency subclass healing skills of the bard. The rest of your points should go into crit after capping speed because the damage increase by putting points into dmg is so negligible that crit would be the better option for critical heals and attacks. (Crit-based gear will be introduced later which will bring your crit rate to around 50% crit with 200% crit dmg +15% crit dmg from the secret stones)

TL;DR - Speed until 50%, rest into crit

Defense points:

Points should be put into defense until it reaches the 75% cap, afterwards all points should go into hp. The reason (Explanation will be added later)

TL;DR - Defense until 75%, rest into hp
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xzpwnz24

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PostedJan 14, 2014 10:06 am   Last edited by xzpwnz24 on Jan 30, 2014 4:02 pm. Edited 4 times in total
Envoy's path

Before reaching the 75% defense cap:


After reaching the 75% defense cap:


Your priority passives in the envoy's path should be:

The Will to Live (Damage taken -50% for 8 seconds when your hp drops below 25%) - Very useful for fighting bosses (highlighted because I forgot to add this in the pictures, it should be to the right of the first prickliness)

Intimidating shout (Damage -10% for 10 seconds to nearby enemies) - Used to reduce the damage of monsters attacking you - this skill is not yet available until the envoy's path extension

Fleet Footed (Movement speed +5%) - Movement speed needed to dodge boss attacks and lure mobs

Malicious Stance (Malice +50%) - Used to help hold aggro

Taunt (Every attack generates a huge amount of malice) - Used to help hold aggro - this skill is not yet available until the envoy's path extension

Prickliness (Reflect 10% of damage received when attacked) - Deals damage to mobs and boss attacking you and helps hold minuscule aggro

Reflective shield mastery (Reflective shield skill level +5 and duration increased by 3 seconds) - Increases damage dealt to mobs and boss attacking you and helps hold aggro - this skill is not yet available until the envoy's path extension

xzpwnz24

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PostedJan 14, 2014 10:06 am   Last edited by xzpwnz24 on Jan 25, 2014 1:38 am. Edited 2 times in total
Ultimate Skills

Common: Burning Air Cut (Fortifies the sword slash skill, target's damage -8%) - Reduces the damage of the boss attacking you

Offensive: Focus (Speed +5%) - Self explanatory

Advanced: Revitalizing Wall (Fortifies phalanx, recovers hp for the first 10 seconds of the skill while being attacked) - Increases sustainability when keeping aggro of mobs and boss

Defensive: Extreme Speed (Evasion +3%, Movement speed +5%) - Movement speed needed to dodge boss attacks and lure mobs

Tactical: Organized Sabotage (Every attack has a 25% chance to decrease the target's damage by 10% for 8 seconds) - Reduces the damage of the boss attacking you

Special: Omniscience (1% of defense added to speed) - Self explanatory

xzpwnz24

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PostedJan 14, 2014 10:10 am   Last edited by xzpwnz24 on Jan 28, 2014 6:40 pm. Edited 3 times in total
Eidolons

Aelius (Party members are healed and a negative status is removed)

Bahadur (Reduces damage taken by 20% for 10 seconds)

Kotonoha (Party members gain a leech life of 10% of damage dealt recovered as hp for 10 seconds)

Tsubaki (Party members gain a leech life of 10% of damage dealt recovered as hp for 10 seconds)

xzpwnz24

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PostedJan 14, 2014 10:11 am   Last edited by xzpwnz24 on Jan 25, 2014 1:59 am. Edited 2 times in total
Secret Stones

These secret stones can be purchased at the class trainers in navea (X: 885, Y: 680)
It's recommended that secret stones be repeatedly purchased until one with the ideal bonuses appear (bonuses are random upon purchase)

(+5-7% damage to targets with the flame attribute is also recommended because the current end game pve is infernal abyss)

Sword and shield: Golden sword slash secret stone (Crit damage +15%)

Harp: (insertwhateveryouwanthere) storm song secret stone (this skill won't be used, so any secret stone with the best bonus stats work)

Helmet: Indigo ambient drone secret stone (Range +5m)

Armor: Sunrise windfury secret stone (Crit rate +4%)

Belt: Azure holy notes secret stone (Cooldown -10%)

Gloves: Golden shield bash secret stone (Crit damage +15%)

Boots: Azure thundercut secret stone (Cooldown -10%)

Recommended secret stone bonuses: Max hp +2%, damage taken -2%

xzpwnz24

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PostedJan 14, 2014 10:16 am   Last edited by xzpwnz24 on Feb 16, 2014 6:01 am. Edited 3 times in total
Recommended Equipment

Harp prefix: Nocturnal (leech life, heals 3% of damage dealt)

(incomplete)

Hofu

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PostedJan 14, 2014 12:19 pm
I don't think starting a guide with "Why bard is the best subclass for a pve tank" is a good idea. It's your opinion. You can tell us what are the strong points and what are the weak points, but in the end - it's all just personal preferences.

Second, where does it say that Sword Slash induces malice? From the skill description, Shield Bash and Thunder Cut generates aggro, not Sword Slash. Why is crit more important than damage? I'd be more inclined to believe you if you could prove it statistically.

Third, you seem to be using a skill simulator with a more recent Envoy's Path. In the current patch, we don't have some of the skills you listed.

Finally, I believe ultimate skills should be swapped depending on what you're doing. Such as standard PvE, dungeon, raids, PvP, etc... so perhaps you could expand on that matter.

xzpwnz24

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PostedJan 14, 2014 1:52 pm
Hofu wrote:
I don't think starting a guide with "Why bard is the best subclass for a pve tank" is a good idea. It's your opinion. You can tell us what are the strong points and what are the weak points, but in the end - it's all just personal preferences.

Second, where does it say that Sword Slash induces malice? From the skill description, Shield Bash and Thunder Cut generates aggro, not Sword Slash. Why is crit more important than damage? I'd be more inclined to believe you if you could prove it statistically.

Third, you seem to be using a skill simulator with a more recent Envoy's Path. In the current patch, we don't have some of the skills you listed.

Finally, I believe ultimate skills should be swapped depending on what you're doing. Such as standard PvE, dungeon, raids, PvP, etc... so perhaps you could expand on that matter.  
It may be personal preference, but it's preferred over other guardian subclasses in pve. Just as how a bard/wizard would be picked over a bard/ravager in parties, in pve guardian/bard are preferred.

It's not stated ingame that sword slash generates malice, but it does. Critical hits (if followed by % rate) will always inflict more damage than the points put into damage, this is the reason why most players in other versions of the game prioritize a decent critical rate (50%ish) over damage stats until they reach their desired crit percentage.

I'll adjust it after looking at what we have currently available later.

I also believe that ultimate skills should be swapped accordingly, this is why I stated this as a pve-specific (end game dungeons and raids) guardian/bard guide. If the content plays out the same as in the other versions of the game, outside of pve guardian/bard won't be as useful.

Synapseudo

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PostedJan 14, 2014 4:41 pm
My Taiwanese sources commented that critical hits do not increase the amount of malice generated, so if you can find a source proving otherwise, that would be very nice.

derp_kiree

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PostedJan 14, 2014 6:00 pm
Please correct me if I'm wrong but the tooltip in-game doesn't say anything about Sword Slash generating additional aggro (other than the added envoy bonus) whereas Shield Swipe does. If you have any source on Sword Slash generating additional malice without envoy bonuses, then please provide one. Shield Swipe also has higher damage + added stun so wouldn't one of the priorities be keeping Shield Swipe on cooldown as often as possible (as in using it as soon as it's up) and then throwing out Thunder Cut. Usually by the time you have used both skills in succession the global cooldown (1 second in-between every skill cast) allows you to use one more skill before re-using Shield Swipe. The reason why Thunder Cut should be priorisized over Sword Slash is the increased malice generation + the envoy bonus compared to Sword Slash only having the envoy bonus - the goal is to keep threat on you while staying alive afterall.

On the topic of Sword Slash and Shield Swipe - from my experience holding, surviving and doing AoE aggro is a big deal of tank gameplay. Instead of choosing the Burning Air Cut ultimate skill wouldn't it be a better choice to choose the one that enhances Shield Swipe and especially its range? You base your pick of Burning Air Cut on the raw damage reduction it deals to monsters. On the other hand Shield Swipe stuns - that's 100% of damage reducted/monster stunned for the duration of the stun. In AoE situations this can prove extremely necessary. As an added bonus it has the aforementioned bonus of generating more malice than Sword Slash.

xzpwnz24 wrote:
The rest of your points should go into crit after capping speed because the damage increase by putting points into dmg is so negligible that crit would be the better option for critical heals and attacks.  

If the points put into damage are neglible, wouldn't the same be true for increasing your critical hits too? Also, instead of relying on a low chance of doing critical hits to generate the additional malice, wouldn't it be a better decision to just increase your raw, stable damage instead so that you would constantly deal a bit less but still increased malice? This is of course just a matter of preference but just throwing it out there. Obviously if one chooses raw damage over the low, unreliable chance of critting, then the choices made in Envoy's path would need to adjusted correspondingly.

My last concern goes a bit off-topic from your guide but still relevant to Guardians and tanking regardless. Do you by any chance know the formula behind the damage calculation in this game and where exactly is damage reflection is counted in it? This might make a drastic change on tank's gameplay depending on how it's done. My biggest concern in this is if %-based reflection is counted before or after Phalanx. Obviously if reduction is taken into consideration before Phalanx then the situation remains the same - keep phalanx up at all times but if reflection is counted after Phalanx then in situations where you're still able to survive the additional damage and not stressing the healer too much then it just might be worth it to actually save using Phalanx for later. If you have any source on damage formula and how reflection works in this game I would very gladly have a look at it.

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