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A Scholar Eye on the Party Guardian

I said party guardian, not disco guardian.

I said party guardian, not disco guardian.

Today I explore the guardian’s ability to boost his allies both offensively and defensively. Guardians have many tools to use on allies, including virtues, healing magic, and protective bubbles. If you like the idea of an armoured character taking care of allies, look no further. This primer will give you all that you need to know to get started.

I will focus on guardian skills that have a direct effect on allies such as virtues, shouts, symbols, and healing spells, as well as those that provide protective barriers. Even focusing on this single aspect, the list is very long, and I may have missed some. This means that the party guardian will have a lot of flexibility on how to make his build, and play a support role.

Before I get into the details, I realize some of this might change even today, and a lot will change by the time of release. So what? The ideas will remain even though the details will change.

Virtues
Virtue of Justice: Grant Burning to you and your nearby allies next attack.
Virtue of Courage: Grant Aegis to yourself and nearby allies.
Virtue of Resolve: Heal yourself and nearby allies.

Recommendation: These come free of charge, might as well use them.

Weapon skills
Greatsword (2h):
Symbol of Wrath: Pierce the ground with a mystic symbol that damages and burns foes while granting retaliation to allies.

Hammer (2H):
Symbol of Protection (3rd hit): Create a symbol that gives protection to you and your allies.

Staff (2H):
Orb of Light: Fire a slow moving orb of light that can be detonated to heal allies.
Symbol of Swiftness: Sear a mystic symbol into the target area, damaging foes and granting swiftness to allies.
Martyr: Draw conditions from nearby allies to yourself. Gain multiple boons for a short duration.

Mace (main):
Faithful Strike (3rd hit): Hit your foe with a final strike and heal nearby allies.
Symbol of Faith: Smash a mystic symbol onto the ground that damages foes and regenerates allies.
Protector’s Strike: Surround yourself and nearby allies with a shield. Knock back enemies that strike protected allies. Grant protection to yourself and nearby allies if you are not struck.

Focus (off):
Ray of Judgment: Pass a ray over foes and allies. Foes are damaged and blinded. Allies gain regeneration and lose 1 condition.

Shield (off):
Shield of Judgment: Create a shielding wave in front of you that damages foes and gives protection to yourself and up to 5 allies.

Torch (off):
Cleansing Flame: Breathe magical flames that damages foes and remove conditions from allies.

Trident (aqua):
Light of Judgment: Launch a ball of light that heals allies and damages foes.
Purify: Release an orb of cleansing light that removes conditions of allies it passes through. Detonate it to burn foes and remove conditions from allies in the blast radius.
Wall of Refraction: Create a wall that turns hostile projectiles into healing energy.

Recommendations for weapons:
A support guardian will probably pick staff, mace + any offhand, and trident for aquatic. This build offers the largest amount of support skills for the guardian. The decision will be mainly in which offhand to choose, which will depend on personal factors like preference and playstyle.

Healing skills:
Healing Breeze: Heal yourself and allies in a cone in front of you.

Utility skills:
Hallowed Ground: Consecrate the target area, granting stability to allies inside.
Purging Flames: Create a ring of fire that Burns enemies and removes conditions from allies.
Sanctuary: Form a protective shelter that prevents foes and projectiles from entering, and heals allies.
Merciful Intervention: Teleport to the nearby ally with the lowest health and create a healing area around them.
“Hold the Line!”: Grant protection and regeneration to allies.
“Retreat!”: Grant aegis and swiftness to up to five nearby allies.
“Stand Your Ground!”: Grant stability to yourself and allies.
Signet of Judgment: Active: Grant retaliation to nearby allies.
Signet of Mercy: Active: Revive a nearby ally.
Bow of Truth: Summon an arcane bow to remove conditions from you and your allies.

Elite skills:

Tome of Courage:
Heal Area: Heal allies in the target area.
Purifying Ribbon: Release a ribbon of light that bounces to nearby allies, removing one condition from each ally hit, blinding each enemy hit.
Protective Spirit: Grant protection and regeneration to allies in a cone.
Light of Deliverance: Fully heal up to five allies.

Tome of Wrath:
Smiter’s Boon: Grants swiftness and might to all nearby allies.
Zealot’s Fervor: Grants fury to all nearby allies.

Downed skills:
Symbol of Judgement: Draw a symbol on the ground that heals allies and burns foes.
Purifying Light: Blind foes and remove a condition from allies.

Recommendations for skills:
Healing Breeze is the only healing skill that affects allies.

The guardian has many good options for party utility skills, and the choice of utility will depend a lot on the player’s preferred playstyle and the type of challenges expected in the area. My three favourites are (1) Purging Flames, which can be used as a damage skill or to remove conditions from allies, (2) Sanctuary, providing protection and healing, (3) Merciful Intervention, healing the ally who needs it most, (4) “Hold the Line!” granting protection and regeneration to allies, and (5) Signet of Mercy, to revive a nearby ally.

Either tome is good for elite, with courage providing more ways to support (heal) allies, and wrath providing offensive buffs to allies.

Interestingly, even a downed guardian can heal allies and remove conditions from allies.

Traits:

Zeal
Minor
Adept Zealot’s Speed Create a Symbol of Swiftness when health dips below 25% health. (30 second cooldown)

Major
Protector’s Impact Create a Symbol of Protection when you take falling damage.

Valor
Major
Altruistic Healing You are healed whenever you apply a boon to allies.
Strength in Numbers Nearby allies gain +30 Toughness.

Honor
Minor
Master Selfless Daring The end of your dodge roll heals nearby allies.

Major
Battle Presence Nearby allies gain your passive Virtue of Resolve.
Protective Reviver You and your ally gain aegis when you revive them.
Protective Spirit Aegis gives protection if it expires without activating.
Pure Of Voice Shouts remove conditions.
Pure of Heart Aegis heals on removal.
Resolute Healer You generate a Shield of Absorption when you start reviving an ally.
Superior Aria Shouts recharge 20% faster.
Writ of Exaltation Symbols are larger.
Writ of Persistence Your symbols last longer.
Writ of the Merciful All symbols give regeneration.

Virtues
Minor
Adept Inspired Virtue Your virtues now also apply the following boons (…)

Major
Consecrated Ground Your consecrations are ground targeted.
Extended Consecrations Your Consecrations last longer.
Fearless Courage grants 3 seconds of stability.
Master of Consecrations Your consecrations recharge 20% faster.
Purity of Resolve Activating your Virtue of Resolve removes three conditions.
Vengeful Retaliation lasts 50% longer.

Recommendations for traits:

Zeal’s impact on allies is pretty situational and unreliable. Valor has two good major traits. Honor and Virtues both have many major traits worth taking, as well as a nice minor trait each. The specific major traits that will work best for you will depend on your choice of skills though, but it’s clear that there are many theoretically good guardian party builds to pick from. It will take the community quite a while to evaluate all these builds. Of course, before deciding on traits, it would be worth considering that traits have been reworked considerably and much of what I said above might no longer apply.

Two builds:

For the moment, I would give these two a try:

Frontline support
This built is meant more for frontline, with more of an emphasis on bubbles, and a skill to teleport you to the ally who needs healing the most. You do get two ways to support from a range, the staff, and the elite skill.

Backline support
This build is more meant for ranged support, with skills and traits that work at a range. Virtues can be spammed more liberally as granting boons to allies actually also heals you.