Head to Head: Warrior vs Guardian
If you’re thinking about playing melee, there are a few good options. If you plan, however, to stay in the frontlines, you are probably debating between the warrior or the guardian. Both feature many melee weapons, good survival value, and the highest armor in the game. Here, we compare and contrast the two on damage, control, and support.
Both professions include multiple options for melee combat, and two options for ranged combat. The warrior’s impressive list of weapons makes one thing clear, his role is to bash the foes’ heads in, step on toes, slash and dice, massacre. What is not so clear though is how the guardian could keep up. A guardian wanting to dps would have to bring more magic with him. The guardian has access to spirit weapons for example, as well as various signets that can passively (or actively) increase his dps, and one virtue that adds fire damage. I have no doubt that a guardian speccing for damage could be a powerful killer.
Another difference is that warriors rely on adrenaline, meaning that they potentially get stronger as the fight becomes longer. It is unclear whether guardians could keep up with adrenaline-charged warriors, but surely they have enough tools so that they wouldn’t be far behind.
Control: Survival in the frontlines
One way to help allies avoid damage is to keep foes focused on yourself. As a guardian or warrior, one effective way to do so is to remain in the frontlines, where you will physically block projectiles or at least capture the attention of most foes. Although I think even warriors and guardians will need to avoid much of the damage, they are both capable of absorbing damage if needed. They both have high armor and can use shields.
The warrior has a large pool of health, which means that he would excel at taking even spike damage up to an amount. The guardian, by contrast, has a lower pool of damage but compensates for it with higher regeneration and multiple skills that can be used to self-buff. The guardian is thus in theory easier to spike, harder to pressure. The guardian can, however, protect from a spike by using his protective spells like bubbles. It appears that guardians would require more skill to keep alive than warriors, although both are probably equally good when played by a skillful player.
Control: Shutting down foes
Both professions have access to skills that shutdown foes like snares or blinds. The major departing point is that guardians have access to spells that specifically stop foes from moving across, or block projectiles or even reflect them. As such, guardians provide protective benefits against several foes at once. By contrast, warrior skills to shutdown foes tend to apply to one foe at a time, like knockdowns or snares. Warriors who want to shutdown will likely bring a mace or hammer.
It seems that this would be where the guardian would really shine. Indeed, guardians have many skills to buff allies, including virtues that they can share with allies. They also have access to marks that place buffs on the ground, bubbles that provide protection, and shouts that gives buffs to nearby allies. However, although warriors are not advertised as support characters, they also have many support-oriented skills like shouts and standards.
It is unclear at this point whether a support-specced warrior could provide the same level of support as a support guardian.
These two professions probably overlap a lot in function, with relatively small pros and cons for each. When building a team, I would be less concerned about which profession to pick, and more concerned about their actual build. As a player picking a profession though, I would pick more based on gameplay differences.
My pick is guardian. What would you pick, and why?