Home > Mechanics, PvP > Guardian PvP or Back In The Speeder Seat

Guardian PvP or Back In The Speeder Seat

March 15, 2012

The magpie in me couldn’t resist picking up Skyrim on Steam sale a few weeks back. I suppose everyone has to go through Skyrim – it’s like the mumps.

However, in between electrocuting Stormcloaks, I have also been playing in SW:TOR warzones a lot, in my PvE tank spec. As I consider this fact, I begin to believe that my continued enjoyment of TOR may have a lot to do with the fact that I don’t really play it as Bioware intended. I like its flashpoints (so far – I will see how bad those hardmode enrage timers are when I get there) and I have been trying to squeeze as much fun as I can out of its hit-and-miss PvP. I tried to see how far I can get in that bleedin’ space arcade game without fitting expensive mods to my corvette. The answer, by the way, is the Drexel Sweep mission – it is mathematically impossible to survive its incoming damage even with Level 3 upgrades and the power conversion module helps tremendously. I have been testing myself against group missions solo, though I did have to outlevel quite a few 4+ heroic missions to succeed. I have even indulged a bit of roleplaying. Anything but consuming the story in a linear way, which is what I am constantly told is all that SW:TOR is good for, if that.

I have been intrigued by the tank role in warzones ever since the taunting of players was mentioned as a worthwhile PvP move, back during development. Previously, the only experience I had with tank PvP was in WoW, facing protection healadins back when they were essentially broken and immortal and maybe the occasional odd-composition team using a prot warrior for control. But here is TOR giving tanks an actual tanky niche.

As a defence-specced Guardian, I am rather bad at dealing damage. I eke out the 75k medal consistently (this is in the sub-50 bracket, in my 40s) but unless I am willing to blow all my one-minute cooldowns, I frequently feel like I’m whipping an opponent with a styrofoam bat, not a lightsaber. I’ve seen defence Guardians do better, and it has a lot to do with my own skill level and playstyle, but it is a fact that we cannot match the effectiveness of, say, a vanguard/powertech tank in PvP at the moment. QQ is unbecoming of a Jedi, so we work with what we have to work with.

The most important tools at my disposal are not damage dealing tools. They are Guard, Taunt and Challenging Call. Second in importance are control abilities: Freezing Force, Force Push, Force Stasis, Hilt Strike. A Guardian’s strategic merits are longevity (defensive cooldowns, Enure) and mobility via Force Leap. Good for Huttball carrying (and allowing, once in a blue moon, for little brilliancies like Force Pushing an enemy onto his own goal ledge then leaping at him to circumvent hazards) or lasting a few extra seconds on defence of a node in Voidstar or Civil War. Actual damage-dealing – ideally some combination of Force Push/Saber Throw/Leap followed by Blade Storm/Guardian Slash, combat focus, rinse and repeat – is last in priority.

Guardians guard, which means both mitigating damage and peeling. We usually guard healers, who, if they are far-sighted, reciprocate with healing to keep their bodyguard alive. Guard has a limited range, so it is a mistake to Guard someone and then run off to the other end of the map. Guard should be hotkeyed and liberally applied to anyone who’s taking a lot of damage. Taunt should be applied to any high-damage enemy on cooldown, though I find that I generally prefer to focus on one beleaguered comrade and try to keep them safe with all the tools at my disposal, including taunting whatever’s attacking them.

To obsess over the point a little more, I’m particularly bad at dealing damage because, when I don’t run around creating friction for the enemy, I tend to fixate on objectives. I’ll be that guy clicking on the Voidstar door again and again and again  – hey, as a Guardian, if I’m forcing them to shoot at me and soaking damage, that’s success. I’d experimented once or twice with concentrating on killing people above all else – my damage numbers shot up, of course, but still weren’t especially impressive compared to dedicated dps classes, and I felt I wasn’t doing my job.

I look forward to hitting level cap with the Guardian soon – apart from Skyrim, real life had bitten hard for a little while – and sampling warzones and hardmodes with the big boys. Already mulling over some conflicting advice, such as whether to collect dps gear or proper defence gear for tank-PvP at 50.

Categories: Mechanics, PvP
  1. March 15, 2012 at 22:17

    Tanks of all types have fun in TOR Warzones. As a Sith Assassin, I love having both the survivability and the extra tools a tank spec gives me combined with DPS gear so I can actually kill enemies when the opportunity arises. Tanks are ultimate team players, able to keep friends alive or survive long enough to keep the enemy off objectives, and a tank player with a clue is a real asset to the team in any Warzone.

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