Shield and Guard

In the recent PTS event it was discovered a fairly significant change was on the horizon for Tanks in 1.4. The Guard ability, one of the most defining core abilities for tanks, is being changed to require a shield. Yeah, fairly significant. Now I haven’t really been paying much attention to the chatter on the forums, but there’s been some discussion amongst Bootae, Lokax, and myself on the Twitter. Also, I’ve put out the inquiry for the elitists on IRC but I hardly expect that to go over well, hive of scum and villainy and whatnot. Since then, the change has been rejected for the immediate future, but a lot has been discussed and thrown on the table.

1. Good! Shields make sense for Guarding! It defines the spec appropriately and makes perfect sense!
2. Bad! Guard is the defining ability that makes a Tank, we’re useless without it!
3. Not Fair! Tit for tat you bastards. If we 2h Tanks can’t Guard then you don’t get (insert ability here).
4. Not Fair! Tit for tat you bastards. If we 2h Tanks can’t Guard then give us a new defining ability!
5. If you want to make changes, do it right and redesign the archtype…

Now seeing as I don’t really pay attention to other peoples opinions much I’m just going to run down what each of these points really means to me. I don’t really care much to pass judgement on any of these things either. I play a tank as my main and I can adjust fine to however the archtype will be changed, and any good player will be able to do the same regardless of whether or not they agree with the changes.

1. I would imagine more people supporting the change as it stands are either Shield tanks to begin with, or have some deep seated issues with 2h tanks in general. The whole “tanks are supposed to be tanks” rhetoric has been thrown around here, and for the most part I can agree with the basis of it. I’m a strong proponent for making each spec line more independant and worthwhile to fully spec in. Chosen, as that’s the main I play, do this well by having a defensive tree, offensive tree, and magic-based tree, pretty sure all the Tank classes are setup similar. Compartmentalizing the shield to defense and 2h to offense makes perfect sense, but still it could use room for improvement.

2. Flat out rejecting this proposal I think is rather silly. There’s always room for change, and I think classes go WAY too long without being shaken up a bit (looking at you BW/Sorc and WP/DoK’s out there). Maybe Guard is the defining ability for Tanks in WAR, but it doesn’t make it any less overpowered which is why it was likely questioned in the first place. Guard damage can be parried and blocked, regardless if the guardee was being hit by spells, projectiles, or being hit from behind where Block/Parry wouldn’t apply anyway. It is a VERY powerful ability in this sense and could use a good chop at the knees, imo.

3. Ah, tit for tat. Okay, so I haven’t really heard anyone say that specific phrase, but it’s the idea that matters. Since 2h spec is getting something taken away, the first reaction (well third I suppose) is to take something away from the Shield users repertoire. Maybe you need to be using a 2h for Juggernaut? Sever Blessing/Shatter Enchantment? Maybe change Tank knockbacks to be Medium length unless you have a 2h (being Very Long instead). There’s a lot of ways you could go to ensure that 2h tanks also have their defining flavor aside from Guard.

4. This is one of my own proposals, but what about a counterability to Guard? Call it Rally, or Leadership, or something along those lines. You pick a friend, and that friend deals X more damage when within 30′ of you. Since you happen to be the big badass dude wearing heavy armor and carry a ridiculously sized weapon on the battlefield while calling out orders, it would only make sense that you could possibly inspire your selected henchman to do a smidgen more damage with the right sort of encouragement. Downside to this? Could be a multitude of things (although I would stray away from a straight DPS reduction or taking damage ala Guard), maybe -10AP/s for fueling his fire, increased cooldown timers on all abilities while it’s active due to the distraction of keeping your ally focused (3s is enough to be annoying, but not crippling), or maybe 0 normal Morale generation as you’re focused on directing someone else. Hell, what if it drained your Morale while it was in use? Interesting concepts here..

5. But really, when you’re sticking your finger in the pie of a well established class mechanic due to its overpoweredness, maybe you should consider baking the pie all over from scratch. Go through each class and rebalance the 2h and Shield users so both specs have something viable and desireable in group play. Something where regardless of PvP, RvR, or PvE, they would both shine. I think since this was discovered on the PTS and the firestorm of discussion emerged, there should be MORE than enough ideas floating around out there. Tanks should be Tanks in different ways regardless if they’re using a Shield or a 2h. IMO, a Shield should grant more personal defenses and keeping your own ass covered or just being the unkillable rock that harasses casting squishies, where a 2h would be more geared towards leading the fight, keeping buffs on allies, debuffs on enemies, and doing pressure AoE damage.

It pleases me that this discussion took place because it should really remind Mythic that we care a lot about the game, and understand the classes at vary degrees. However I am also displeased that they shied away from the change since it brought up so much discussion. Discussion is good! You just have to be willing to roll with the discussion and make changes based on various intelligent input. Obviously something changed your mind and got the plans nix’d, but I can’t imagine it was due solely to negative feedback so much as logical possibilities that were not thought of during the planning stages of this change. Take it back to the drawing board by all means, but don’t table it indefinitely. 

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One thought on “Shield and Guard

  1. I believe the main reason for pulling the changes was: “It’s taking the focus off the real changes we want to test and have feedback on in this stage, the ORvR overhaul”, or something in that vein (I made that quote up btw). But you are right, they do tend to put off things for so long it almost seems they’ve forgotten about them *cough armor changes cough*.I think that shielded tanks do need a bit of encouragement for small scale RvR, but the prob is that so do twohanded tanks for large scale RvR (they’re almost non-existant in organised large scale fighting). So they clearly have different spec lines for different playstyles, the real problem is the different potency of different tank careers. They really need to balance the tanks so they all have a viable 2h and S&B playstyle.The guard change is really just scratching the surface and I feel like Mythic might have bitten a bit more than they were willing to chew with it. I hope they can dedicate a few more patches to career and realm balance after the ORvR overhaul.Oh and it’s funny you picked the picture you did, cause there was a lot of controversy over a news agency claiming the picture is from another MMO. Supposedly someone forgot about a baby and left him to die while playing it (IRL), and there was this picture beside it.

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