Shield of Absorption – A Bastion in the Dark

Shield of Absorption - Guardian - Talk Tyria

You’re standing on the edge of your keep wall, peering over the crenelations into the morass of writhing bodies, baying for blood below. Your commander shouts directions to the troops: “Man the cannons! Push them back!” Your allies rush along the length of the walls, dropping fire and arrows on the invaders below, but they just keep coming. Agitated, your grip tightens around the edge of your shield.

“Get that siege up! And for Dwayna’s sake step back from the edge!” but the command comes too late – you catch the eye of an unsuspecting sylvari: too concerned with building her arrow cart to notice she has strayed within reach of the scorpion wires and deflective walls from the enemies at the base of the wall. In an instant she is gone, enveloped into the chaos below.

You have to act fast – the ground troops in the keep’s courtyard could get the soldier back on her feet if only there weren’t seventy angry invaders clawing at her from all sides. She has a split second of invulnerability before she is lost, but you only need a second more to save her… if only the path were clear. You grip the arm-guard of your shield and, taking a running jump, leap over the wall’s edge.

Landing in the tumult below, you stumble – that was a long fall. A protective symbol sprouts from your feet and spreads across the ground around you soothing some of the pain and burning your enemies. Standing over your downed comrade, you crouch into a protective stance and activate your shield of absorption – a pale blue light erupts from your shield. The sheer force of the mystical energy drives the surrounding enemies back. You now stand alone over your ally, a clear ring of ground between yourself and the enemy. Arrows and fireballs fly from the twisting mass of opposing bodies – but each bounces uselessly against your bubble, sending waves of energy across the entire dome, like ripples on a millpond. You hear the keep gate open behind you; your allies rush out and pull the sylvari to her feet. “Retreat!” you shout, spurring your allies into a sprint back towards the gate. 

For me, this is the most satisfying part of being a guardian. There is no more pleasing sight than 50 arrows bouncing limply against my Shield of Absorption. You, effectively, take out roughly 1/3 of an armies’ firepower with just one skill AND you can activate it a second time during its duration to heal all allies AND seeing as it is a “light” field any projectiles which pass through it will heal conditions on allies! What’s not to like?

What is even better is chaining shields with another guardian to provide a full 8 seconds (or even more, with more guardians) of protection for a downed ally. I was doing this with a player I met called Sigma in the Aurora Glade Borderlands a couple of weeks ago. We were directing our troops back and forth from our keep gate to the enemy main base – each time one of our allies fell we run up and Sigma would begin to heal and I’d pop my shield, after 4 seconds we would swap. It pretty much guaranteed that we would be able to get the ally back on their feet almost every time.

For complete protection, you can also slot “Sanctuary” – a tier 3 slot skill – which provides a much smaller but much more effective shield which, in addition to blocking projectiles, also makes sure enemies cannot get within melee range. The only issue with this skill is it’s prohibitively long recharge, and the 1.5 second cast time. It’s not as effective as a “quick fix”, but you can drop Shield of Absorption and then use some of the protection that provides to effectively position yourself and cast Sanctuary. Sanctuary also heals and doesn’t need you to maintain it, so once it is up, you’re free to move, resurrect, attack etc.

Both of these skills are extremely effective if used correctly. Drop your shield at a choke point (such as the archway leading to the South Western supply camp in the Borderlands) to stop your allies from being mowed down as they attempt to push through. Push multiple enemies towards the edge of a cliff, away from a gate (from the inside) or off your tail when being pursued, with the knock-back effect.

The majority of the guardian population seems to have an infatuation with the greatsword. I get it – who doesn’t like swinging their large weapon around, after all? But the humble shield needs to get a bit of love, if only for this one skill. I firmly believe that it is the most useful tool in the guardian’s arsenal.

To the reader: Which is the skill which you most enjoy using with your profession? Do you use a “sword and board” with your guardian, or do you find you’re better off with a different weapon set?

 

About the author:  Distilled (Will) has just started his PhD so will soon (well, in 4 years time) be Dr Distilled. In his spare time he enjoys first being the Talk Tyria ranger writer, then having a falling out with his drakehound and divorcing his ranger and moving in with a guardian . He writes regularly on Guild Wars and gaming over at Distilled Willpower. You can also follow him on Twitter at@Distilledwill!

Logan Thackeray: brother, rebel, guardian, human, legend.

Spoiler Warning: This article contains significant spoilers for Edge of Destiny, and minor spoilers for Ghosts of Ascalon. 

Writing about Logan is like writing about two or three different personalities that evolve during a story following what seems to be the engine that runs Logan’s life: his emotions.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Logan Thackeray, descendent of Gwen & Keiran Thackeray, is, first of all, a little brother. And like every little brother in the world (Tyria included) he looks up to his older one in awe. Dylan Thackeray sure is a good role-model: a strong fighter, passionate about his kingdom, and sure about his place. He is a Seraph, and we may very well say he is The Seraph. Dylan is the stereotype of the soldier, his strongest desire being only to protect his queen and fight for her as her champion, something he never had the chance to do. Because of that, he has his first reason for annoyance towards Logan when he becomes Jennah’s champion. Being the younger brother of someone that seems so perfect and sure about his way is just too much for young Logan, who at first chooses to play the role of the rebel. Instead of joining the ranks of the Seraph (where Dylan always thought his true place was) he becomes a mere scout-for-hire who works for caravans near Ebonhawk, almost a mercenary in the eyes of Dylan who always looks down on him, denying Logan that big brother relationship he always looked for, and that he will finally find with Rytlock.

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Guild Wars 2 Demo Review and the Guardian

Months behind, I know, I know, but I wanted to dedicate lots of time and effort to this article because it most certainly deserved it.

Back at Pax East 2011, I finally got a chance to try out the new re-hashed demo. After comically standing in line for a small eternity, it was like that first sip of peyote after wandering the Sahara for days. I seriously could not believe I was actually playing Guild Wars 2.

Ridiculous gloating aside… wow. Pretty much everything I have heard and read about this demo turned out to be true. At first glance, the game is visually stunning. Of course we can attribute bad-ass hardware for a lot of that, too. Like many of you out there, I am still curious to see how the game will play on older computers with less of the bells and whistles. Still, Guild Wars 2 is a feast for the eyes, combining art and immersion with gameplay in a way that echos its predecessor.

Facing your opponent is key.

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GW2 Profession Response: Guardian

Well it’s been a hearty five months since our last reveal, and we’re happy to finally devour our newest profession: The Guardian.

After some questionable leaks last week and some early reveals this morning, ArenaNET finally got around to updating the official site with their side of the story. And I have to say… wow.

Overview
The idea of the guardian is not new to MMOs. It’s our heavy-armor wearing protection class, with a strong focus on defense. The guardian is aimed to appeal to the monks of GW1, with rehashed skills like Shield of Absorbtion and Aegis that will sound quite familiar to those of us who liked to play prot.

I enjoy the idea of this mitigation style of support play vs simply healing. It’s more tactical, proactive, and far less dull. If this is what ANet had in mind for rehashing the MMO-Triad, then I’m even more convinced now than ever that they are definitely heading in the right direction. Shields, absorption, and deflection and knowing how and when to use such skills sounds much more appealing than watching health-bars and making sure they don’t hit 0. Also feels less stressful while still being challenging. So dare I say it, it seems all-around more fun than straightforward healing. Continue reading

The Guardian – Predictions, Predilections, and Prognostications

Most people who keep an eye cracked for Guild Wars 2 news have heard about the PC Gamer article that did some name-dropping in the caption of a GW2 image.  The “Blue Mace Lady” that we have all come to know and love has an official name: the guardian.

Until this coming Thursday, the newly-named profession remains shrouded in mystery.  Since speculation about this heavy-armor magic-user has run rampant for quite some time, however, the faithful (and frequently rabid) GW2 community has come up with plenty of hopes and theories.

Comparisons to other games have, naturally, cropped up ( – as well as cross-medium references to such heroes as the Green Lantern!)
Many forum-members across the fansites have been quick to point out the existence of a Guardian class in Lord of the Rings Online, a highly-defensive heavy tank that focuses on keeping aggro.  Since GW2 is hoping to do away with the conventional idea of tanking and replace it with an emphasis on control, the analogy couldn’t be perfect, but the defense (or support, to use GW2 verbiage) aspect of the LotRO Guardian has inspired comparisons.
NCSoft’s Aion has a moderately well-armoured melee magic-user called the Chanter, to whom tentative comparisons have also been drawn. Wielding a staff offensively and switching to a mace and shield for more defensive play, the Chanter offers effective DPS (and debuffs), player-based AoE buffs, and only minor direct healing.  Since many fans have long speculated that the BML is one of the options that will cater to those who enjoyed Monks in the original Guild Wars, the Chanter’s support-oriented blend seems like a likely parallel to the guardian’s theoretical role.
(In support of the guardian-Monk relation, folks have pointed out that the Monk skill “Guardian” seems to fit right in with what we’re expecting from the support in GW2.)
And, of course, one cannot talk about a heavy-armor support class without suddenly being hip-deep in references to WoW’s Paladin.  These gentlefolk are popular for their ability to withstand heavy damage, as well as providing support through their auras, blessings, and seals.
There are others. So many others.

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Seraph : The Second Soldier Profession of Guild Wars 2?

Warning: Minor spoilers for the two novels ensue.
Disclaimer: This was written literally a few days before the Guardian release. That said, I still think the political implications still hold merit. So have fun with it. :)

I think we all figure at this point that the 2nd solider class is a paladin-like buff / defensive profession. And that Logan has become one. Agreed? Agreed.

So many moons ago in my re-hashed Guild Wars 2 profession speculation post, I stated that I thought the Seraph was going to be the 2nd solider class. I reiterated the theory on the forums and was generally met with disagreement. I had just finished reading Ghosts of Ascalon which is how the idea solidified in my mind, although I think I had come to the conclusion earlier when I saw repeated screenshots and artwork of winged armor, a motif that’s been attached to the Seraph. I wasn’t the first one to come up with the idea, certainly, but in both cases most people shrugged it off as improbable.

The biggest argument against the Seraph as a profession is the need for it to be multi-racial. From the lore we know that the Seraph were founded by Queen Salma to defend Divinity’s Reach and the new Krytan order. In Guild Wars 2, they are charged with protecting the endangered human race, the remnants of whom as far as they know mostly live in Kryta (although we as players can assume there are survivors in Cantha and Elona, they don’t know that…yet.)

With these facts, I can see why it feels hard to believe the Seraph would open their doors to non-humans. But if we take hints from Guild Wars Beyond, bits and pieces from the novels, and even some artwork from trailers, we gather enough clues to point to clear progression leading up to a sound possibility of Seraph as the 2nd soldier class. And the kicker here is that the entire possibility centers around none other than our elusive Queen Jennah. So humor me for a few minutes as I explain why this can very much happen.

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