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LOTRO: 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 agro 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. Because 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.