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LOTRO: Guardian Fundamentals: Strategy

Guardian Strategy: Solo Play

Like all classes in the Lord of the Rings Online, the Guardian can solo very effectively. Yet, unlike other classes in the title, the Guardian has arguably the most room for diversity; that is to say, they can solo under many different situations. This relates primarily to weapon choice, be it a one or two handed weapon; in other titles, most proverbial tank characters cannot have such a choice feasibly, but indeed a Guardian does! There has been many times where I have soloed with my Guardian character wielding both kinds of weapons and noticed no real difference in my effectiveness or survivability: certainly a boon for aesthetically inclined individuals.

Though in order to aid in the above – or any situation really – is your traits combination during solo play. Since you won’t be defending anyone else, typical traits that add to either defensive bonuses or utility skill alteration are no longer necessary; indeed, one should focus on statistical increments and damage skill boons. Yet this is not necessary either: you could maintain those defensive trait benefits and still do just as well; you won’t be as speedy in your killing as the former, but it certainly is a viable option.

If there is only one requirement to success in solo play it would be thus: a powerful weapon, be it one or two handed. Due in large part to the Guardian’s parry and blocking abilities, one can deflect a good chunk of incoming damage; thereby making your total armour level less important: this does defeat mini-maxing, essentially. Yet when I say powerful weapon, I do not meant rare or epic weapons that can be found off many humanoid opponents; no, simply an uncommon drop would do just fine (or even one purchased from a crafter). Yet if you do find a rare or epic weapon off a humanoid, your ability to solo increases ten-fold! Though it is hardly necessary.

The bottom line is this: one does not need the most powerful equipment or rare weapons in order to solo effectively; it can be done with nearly any setup. In the case of traits, any combination will work – whether you want to focus on offense, defense, utility or a mix of the three – it will simply be effective. Then with equipment, anything goes; barring gross extremes.

Guardian Strategy: Grouping

Unlike the options for solo play, the Guardian is much more stringent and cookie-cutter in groups; for if one does otherwise, it would be very difficult to play the role effectively. That role, obviously, is absorbing attacks, protecting allies and maintaining aggro. As such, the use of a shield is absolutely necessary and for more then one reason; a good amount of aggro control, damage and self healing abilities can be found in reactionary block offense and defense. Without the use of these ever so important abilities, the Guardian would have a very difficult time performing their task effectively.

When traits are considered it is not much better: offensive based [traits] are not as wanted as defensive boosting ones and those that alter self healing and defensive skills. It is not the task of the Guardian to deal damage – that is demanded of Hunters, Lore-masters, Champions and others – so the Guardian must focus on being as defensively sound as possible. In addition, it would be very wise to include increases to resistances and decreases to vulnerabilities; these will aid all Guardians considerably in performing their proverbial tank role best.

Closing Thoughts

The Guardian, while very similar to tanks in other titles, does have a number of unique additions that makes the class more fun to play: reactionary skills and self healing namely. The need for mini-maxing – at least in solo play – is demolished as well; it is simply not necessary for an enjoyable game experience. At the same time, however, there are considerable rewards for players who max out their characters: they solo that much more effectively! Yet no matter how much or little equipment one possesses, the chance to solo is evident and varied. The only downside to the class, however, is the cookie-cutter role in grouping; yet it could not be any other way, due to the nature of the grouping beast.