Sunday, June 15, 2008

Age of Conan Guardian Guide

Age of Conan Guardian Guide
TheUnnamed post:

Under construction:

-Feat breakdown of other trees
-Leveling methods
-Tanking Guide
-PvP tactics
-More everything!

No introduction I need all the characters I can get for these posts.


What level do I gain the ability to use 'x'?
See Guardian Abilities

Should I use Polearm or Sword and Shield?
This is going to be a long debated topic and it's not likely that my short answer here is going to stop people from asking or debating the merits of both. Polearm and Sword and Shield both offer good benefits and drawbacks. If you want to be a main tank then stop reading now, go sword and shield, and continue on your way. While polearm has great survivability and you can off tank, tank trash or tank low level mobs as polearm sword and shield just offers much better threat production (counter attacks, bleeds) and more defense (the shield).

For everyone else it's a tough choice. Both have good offerings and it's really not as clearly cut about damage as you'd think.

-Offers more reliable Defense, polearms need guard up to boost their survivability.
-Offers a multitude of bleeds and counter attacks that are great for taking on higher level monsters
-Offers more group utility
-Good spike damage with overreach and bloody vengeance
-Relies on group to build vengeance counter to deal high damage
-Offers more cc abilities

-Larger range makes positioning easier and is a great advantage in PvP versus other melee classes.
-Good damage right out of the gate with white hits and flashing arc
-Good burst damage from skewer and impale
-Can stand behind other melee and still hit target
-Good sruvivability while guard is up + bonuses to evasion from feats
-Less downsides to high damaging combos. Flashing arc is spammable and polearm guardians don't rely as much on vengeance or can build it themselves
-Broken combos limit versatility (disable and riposte).

Honestly, if tanking isn't a concern for you, the choice should come down to which feats you want not what weapon you want to wield. Both specs when specced right can have good survivability and/or good damage. So it really comes down to what you want to be able to do. The only major concern is do you want the extra range or extra survivability of a shield.

What is vengeance?
Vengeance is a stacking buff that has a chance to be generated when your teammates are hit. It stacks up to 10 times and provides movement and damage bonuses. Vengeance also affects the damage and cooldown of the bloody vengeance feat. Additionally at the higher stacks of vengeance the guardian gains a small (3m) aura that reduces the damage of nearby enemies.

What is wrath?
Wrath is a stacking buff that has a chance to be generated when you are hit in combat. Each stack provides a 1% damage increase.

Why doesn't Slam knock back monsters?
Slam is intended as a starting ability for low levels and does not scale up. Without scaling the level of knockback from the slam ability is quickly outpaced and the effect is rendered useless. You have to make do with shield slam and stagger for your knockback purposes.

What choice should I make from the destiny quests?
When you do your level 30, level 50 and beyond destiny quests you are given 3 options. One is for attack, one for hitpoints, and one for hp regen. Each choice gives you a very minor boost in the area you want and which option to take is open for debate. Try not to fret too much about your choice however as you can always overcome the small differences in choices through gear.
Health Option Gives ~40-60 additional hp.
Attack Option Gives +1 attack rating.
Health Regen Gives an unknown amount of health regen believed to work both in and out of combat.

Do stunning charge, impale, and charge share a cooldown?
Yes, sort of. When you use Impale or Charge you will receive the normal cooldown on all other charges. When you use Stunning Charge you will only receive a 30 second coolown on charge/impale.

Does Storm blade affect all weapons or just polearms and what does it do?
Storm blade affects all weapons. When you melee with a weapon you won't deal additional damage on each hit but you'll occasionally proc a secondary 'storm blade' hit. If you setup a combat chat log you can see the effect. The attack is generally about 75% of the main hit you'd do with a decent sword at the same level. It appears to proc around 20-30% of the time when maxed.

What do Defense Rating and Heroic Defense rating do?
It's not fully known but the following is believed. Defense Rating is compared to the attacker's Attack rating to determine how much damage a melee swing does. When there is a level difference this calculation is skewed in favor of the higher level. Heroic Defense rating comes into play here. It is believe that heroic defense will help a player's defense rating against higher level monsters. There was also talk a while ago about heroic defense rating possibly increasing the defense rating cap.

How much of an effect do the improvements to frenzy stance make
Maxed out Improved Frenzy stance will increase the damage of the frenzy stance by 10%. Guarded Frenzy will reduce the immunity penalty by 10% for each point. Maxed out frenzy stance provides a guardian +60% damage -70% immunities.

How much regeneration does Lifesaver, Toughness, Recovery Give at level 80?
Recovery gives around 173 regen at 80 (need confirmation but it should be accurate). Lifesaver and toughness seem to give about 1/3rd of the regen that recovery does for any given level.

How much damage does counterstrike and anticipation do at level 80?
A very small amount that scales with level. I don't have any hard numbers but 13/6 respectively at level 45 is what I've heard. So I'd expect these talents to do about 5-20% damage of a normal melee swing for any level.

Where should I spend my skill points?
See guardian abilities for descriptions of all skill types

This depends on your focus and server type. Regardless of setup you will at some point need climbing to reach otherwise inaccessible points so plan ahead for that. Other than climbing, if you are on a PvP server, having enough in hiding to hide in broad daylight (about 300-400 points) is a great investment. Endurance and Run speed also provide small, but noticeable, boosts and are a potential area to place points for both faster traveling and PvP effectiveness. Keep in mind that the Run speed does not work in combat however. The resting skills (bandaging, recovery, fast recovery, etc.) are also very important. In addition to providing much less downtime, these skills can be useful for PvP when you can duck out of combat and recovery a few big ticks of health and stamina before jumping back in.

Then there's threat. This one to me is an all or nothing. If you are going heavy PvE then max it out. The more threat you generate the better. If you aren't then leave it at 0. If you're doing a 'hybrid' PvP/PvE build or spec I'd still recommend getting this as high as you can. Take this over endurance, run speed or, if you really have to, hiding. It can be tough to hold aggro in PvE so every little bit really helps.

Does plexus strike restore a flat amount of stamina or does it depend on the number of things I hit with it?
Plexus strike will give you additional stamina per target hit by the combo.

Guardian Abilities

Item usage Requirements
Never Dual Wielding two weapons, Cloth Armor, 2 handed edged or blunt weapons
Level 1 Light Armor, 1 Hand Edged, 1 Hand Blunt, Polearm, Thrown Weapons.
Level 10 Medium Armor
Level 30 Heavy Armor
Level 50 Crossbows
Level 60 Full Plate

Class skills
Bandaging Level 1
Improves out of combat hp regeneration when using the rest skill. Rumored to also increase in combat regeneration

Hiding Level 18
Allows you hide, the stamina drain for moving while hidden is immense. More points makes it harder for mobs or people with perception to spot you. Around 300 points is required to hide in all types of lighting/locations.

Improves out of combat stamina regeneration when using the rest skill

Fast Recovery
When resting gives a chance per tick to recovery double the normal amount of stamina (gives a potential for a very fast resting recovery rate).

Provides the ability to spot players while hidden. Extra effective when using the search ability.

Run speed
Boosts your out of combat run speed. It's a small but noticeable amount.

Reduces the stamina drain on running. Again a small but noticeable amount.

The Self Buffs
The guardian gets several types of exclusive buffs: Stances, Maneuvers, Stratagems, and Tactics. You can only have 1 effect from each type active at a time. These buffs last as long as you leave them active, though they may fade when you die or zone (such as the stances).

Level gained
Level 15 Stances
Level 20 Maneuvers
Level 40 Stratagems
Level 60 Tactics

The Stances
Frenzy Stance Increases Damage output by 50%, Reduces Immunities by 100%. This is a situational stance but can be used to great effect. Your damage output is top notch while in this stance but you're also one of the squishiest things alive while in this stance. So use this in situations where you know you can survive the extra damage (paired with a healer, soloing mobs you can kill in a few shots, or PvP when not being attacked).
Defensive Stance Reduces damage output by 15%, Increases threat generated by 15%, Increases Slashing, Piercing, and Crushing resistances by 7%.

The Maneuvers
Unguarded attack Boosts Damage output by 5%. Reduces Hitpoints by a scaling amount. The exact percentage of hitpoints lost is not known. This is a great maneuver that can be used almost any time.
Enduring Defense Boosts all immunities by 5%. Reduces damage output by 10%. Increases Resistance to Stun by 10%.
Provoke Boosts threat generated by 10%. Reduces damage by 5%.

Intractable Mind Boosts Resistance to Stun, Fear, Snare, Root, and Charm by 10%. Reduces evasion by 5%.
Bolster The Line Boosts hitpoints by an unknown percentage (scales with level). Reduces movement speed by 30%. Great for a tough pve fight where you don't need to move.
Hold The Line Boosts stamina generation by a small amount. Reduces threat generated by 10%. This is probably the best stratagem for solo leveling or pvp against melees. There's no downside to this stratagem when you aren't trying to hold aggro.

Wall of Steel Tactic +5% to evasion but causes you to lose 5 stamina every time you are hit. A pretty neat bonus and grabbing a small amount of stamina drain or natural stamina regen can keep yourself from burning through your sta. Good for smaller sized battles but be careful in larger fights as you the -5 sta ticks can add up fast.
Elusive Daring Tactic -10% to all immunities +5% damage +10% to snare immunity. Not entirely sure when to use this other than straight dpsing.
Mental barrier Tactic +5% to Fire, Lightning, Cold, Holy, Unholy, and Posion immunities. -10% to physical immunities. A pure bonus ability against casters.

Here is a small breakdown of the various combos and a quick overview of their usefulness. For a full list of combos please see:

Please note that often I am rating the combos based on the higher level effectiveness. At various times when leveling up different combos will be stronger or weaker. I hope to incorporate more information about what combos are worthwhile at what levels in a leveling section of the guide later on

General Combos
First Obtained: level 2
You very first combo that you really almost never need to use. It's quickly outdone by the other combos you get and it's damage bonus isn't anything special.

First Obtained: level 4
A quick damage combo + knockback. Useful for the first few levels that you get it this combo but the knockback stops working well by level 5 or 6. The damage done stay viable for quite a while after that though so you may find yourself using this for a little extra punch in combat until you get more abilities.

Enraging Strikes**
I: level 5
II: level 11
II: level 17
This combo delivers some damage and has bonus threat generated on your target. Overall the damage is only slightly better than your white hits and I find the threat lacking. It's a good additional source of damage for the first 40 levels or so but you may want to eventually replace it with your weapon specific combos (multiple ranks of them if need be). Additionally the bonus threat generated doesn't appear to be that significant and usually you'll generate more threat using a combo with more punch to it.

Brutal Enraging Strike**
I: level 7
II: level 13
III: level 19
Everything that applies to Enraging Strikes applies to the Brutal version as well. They are pretty much identical skills with the exception of hitting opposite sides (enraging strikes hits left, brutal hits right). I'm not sure if the threat generated by this skill is any more significant than the enraging strikes version so if anyone can clarify that I'd appreciate it.

Enraging Wound**
Level obtained: 9
Quick attack that also applies a small bleed effect and generates additional threat. The bleed effect has a very short duration and only ticks a few times before fading. Useful for when your opponent has no mid shields as there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of mid hitting guardian combos early on. The additional threat doesn't appear to really contribute much and with the lower initial impact of this combo I wouldn't expect too much from it. Eventually though this skill just doesn't scale enough to keep using it. Expect to eventually bench this one as well.

Brutal Enraging Wound**
Level obtained: 15
Everything said about Enraging Wound applies here. They both have the same input sequence and both have just about the same effect.

Level obtained: ?
Closes the distance between you and your target very quickly and also delivers a stronger than normal attack. Takes no stamina to use and has a 60 second cooldown. It also has a minimum range so you have to be distanced from your target to use it. You'll have a love/hate relationship with charge. It's a key ability for guardians (provided you don't get impale) that you must use and time wisely to have good success in PvP. In PvE this ability is less key but it can be a good way to open up a fight or travel from mob to mob faster. This ability is a fussy one though. You'll hate it for all the times it warps you back, won't activate, or doesn't plant you right next to your target because they've moved.

People feel free to correct me on the previous combos if I'm newbing it up and the threat they generate really is better than higher level combos post 40 or 50.

Polearm Combos
Flashing Arcs****
I: level 10
II: level 20
III: level 28
IV: level 36
V: level 44
VI: level 56
VII: level 64
VIII: level 72

This is your bread and butter combo as a polearm guardian. You'll want to use this as often as you can and possibly even multiple ranks of it. It deals good damage and has a low cooldown. There are plenty of good feats to boost the damage of this combo as well.

I: level 13
II: ?
III: level 40
IV: level 52
V: level 68
Provides you with a damage shield and a defensive shielding bonus roughly equivalent to what you'd find on a shield at the same level. There are only 3 situations where you don't want to use this buff. One is if you are using sword and shield (and even then you may want the counterattack effect). Two is if you aren't taking damage. Three is if you are using another ability like skewer, impale, etc. to kill the only monster you're fighting very fast. Otherwise this should be up all the time. Most of the time when people have trouble killing things using a polearm it's because they don't keep this buff up. Use this combo!

I: level 32
II: level 60
III: level 76
This ability deals damage and stamina damage. Unlike plexus strike it does not give you any stamina back. This ability either appears to be bugged, have a weak first rank, or just stinks. The damage it delivers is about what you'd get from a white hit and the stamina damage is very small. In fact the stamina damage you deal to an opponent is less than the stamina cost of the combo for you. There's a bunch of feats that boost this combo but unless they're amazingly strong you really never need to use this junk combo.

I: ?
II: level 24
III: level 48
IV: level 60
Knockback ability that also does good damage to boot. Given that this is used with a polearm the range on it is pretty big and it's fairly easy to knock back a whole group of people/monsters. A great ability regardless of spec and weapon type of choice. Great for emergencies, getting off follow up combos, stopping runners, or interrupting casting. Has a 60 second cooldown before feats so make sure to use it wisely.

1 hand and shield combos
Dulling Blow****
I: level 7
II: level 20
III: level 40
IV: level 64
A very solid combo that lowers the damage of any target hit by the combo. The combo does a very solid amount of damage and has a good number of feats which improve upon it. A very important combo for any PvE situations as a sword and shield guardian.

I: level 15
II: level 24
III: level 48
IV: level 72
Deals damage and causes monsters attacking the guardian to take damage. This is your most important skill as a shield guardian in PvE (both solo and group). Does good initial damage plus significant amounts of retaliatory damage to all targets hit by the combo.

Guard Destroyer**
I: level 36
II: level 60
A combo dealing damage and increases damage done to all targets hit by the combo. Has a very high stamina cost and only adds a static amount of additional damage every time an affected target is hit.

Shield Sweep****
I: level 5
II: ?
III: level 52
IV: level 76
The shield and sword knockdown combo. Perfect for knocking down, not so good for anything else. Useful regardless of spec and weapon choice. Smaller range than stagger but can gain a snare effect through feats.

I: level 17
II: level 32
III: level 56
IV: level 80
Deals damage but reduces your damage by 10% if you connect with it. Currently this combo only does a moderate/small amount of damage over dulling blow. if you're s/s you're stuck making use of this to deal damage but it's no longer a powerhouse combo.

Plexus Strike*****
I: level 28
II: level 44
III: leve 68
Combo that deals moderate damage and drains stamina from all targets. A staple combo for any guardian regardless of spec or weapon choice. The stamina that can be regained from using this combo can be a life saver. You may not need to use this every time it's up but it's a very very handy combo.

Here I will try to give a short overview of each feat and a description of what it does. I'm going to rate each feat with *s from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best as an overall indicator of how useful you may find this skill. This by no means is absolute as spec and goal of your class really can determine how much you get from a particular feat. if you have a strong disagreement with one of my ratings by all means share your opinion. There's no way I can try out each feat to it's fullest potential so I'm relying a lot on the forum and feedback to come up with these ratings.

You can use to build your own test feat trees.

General Tree

Pretty much the must have talent for any guardian. This talent gives a large amount of in and out of combat health recovery to the guardian and is vital for both PvP, Leveling, and Tanking in PvE. At level 80 this is reported to give around +173.5 natural regen.

Stone Skin****
Gives 1% immunity to Fire, Electrical, Cold, Holy, and Unholy per point for a 5% maximum.

Improved Frenzy Stance***
Improves the damage bonus of Frenzy stance (+10% at 3 points). It's a 10% increase in frenzy stance damage. Depending on your play style this is a great talent or completely worthless. If you want to use frenzy stance a lot or get big hits this is a good investment.

Hateful Strikes***
Active ability that increases the threat you generate. It's a 10 second effect with a 2 minute cooldown. The short duration and long cooldown limits the effectiveness of this talent. The saving grace of the talent is that it boosts your threat generation rather than just grabbing a mobs attention. This means that even after the buff fades the mob will still pay attention to you.

A single target taunt to make a monster attack you. 2 minute cooldown. This talent appears to be bugged and occasionally not work or bug out. Assuming that this is fixed this talent still has a long cooldown for its effect. None the less this is going to be an important emergency talent for tanking and is only a single point investment.

Improved Defensive Stance****
Gives 3% resistance to Slashing, Crushing, and Piercing at 5 points. This talent would be rather lackluster except that for endgame PvE tanking every little bit of immunity helps. This is also a requirement for Lifesaver which is a very useful talent for both PvE and PvP.

Iron Skin****
Gives 1% immunities to Piercing, Crushing, Slashing, Poison per point. This feat is a good return on investment for physical immunities and a great investment for any tank.

Burning Vigor**
Gives a small chance (10% at 3 point investment) to regain health when hit by a spell in defensive stance. This feat only works in defensive stance and is reported to give back only a small amount of health. It's still additional regeneration and life recovery so it has its uses for a tanking build but it's not significant enough to be of a major concern.

Sustained Rage***
Adds to your melee damage. Reported to be +9.1 Damage at level 80 with 3 points invested. It's nothing special or must have but will give you a solid boost to your DPS.

Counter Strike Stance**
Grants an ability that will cause you to deal mediocre amounts of damage when struck in defensive stance. This damage scales with level but not very well. Overall this talent has use in a 'spiky' build making heavy use of reflective damage but beyond that not it can easily be passed up. I believe this is an activated ability but I don't have any concrete numbers on duration/cooldown (feel free to help me out!).

Surging Health**
Provides a 6% chance to regenerate health when hit in defensive stance (at 3 points). The damage returns is rather small and apparently doesn't scale very well. Still provides a boost for tanking at a point where you need anything you can get.

Guarded Frenzy***
Reduces the immunity penalty when in frenzy stance by 30% at 3 points. Generally when in frenzy at -70% to immunities or -100% immunities you're still going to be taking a lot extra damage. The saving grace is its use in solo PvE. Many people report having success grinding in frenzy stance using this talent. It's a talent that's easily passed up for uses other than in a grinding/leveling build.

Cunning Deflection**
This feat provides an ability that reflects 50% of the damage of the next attack the guardian is struck with along with a 20 second damage shield buff. The ability is on a 30 second cooldown. A micro heavy talent that reduces the damage of the next attack and provides damage shield. Generally regarded as too tough to use effectively and too long of a cooldown to mitigate a significant portion of damage. This ability may be useful for fights that involve slow hitting monsters or monsters with a predictable hard hitting ability.

Adds a permanent damage shield to the defensive stance, does not strike back as much damage as counter strike stance but both can be active at one time. This feat suffers from the same problem as its requirement. The retaliation damage just isn't enough to make it a must have. Again this feat might be good for a 'spiky' build but otherwise don't feel bad for passing it by.

Adds life regeneration to defensive stance. When maxed appears to be about 1/3rd of what you get from recovery. This is a very valuable talent for PvE tanking as well as a great tool to have in PvP. Being able to go defensive stance and regen large amounts of hitpoints in combat is very effective. Taking this talent also allows you fight much higher level mobs with sword + shield and defensive stance for fast experience.

Volcanic Rage*****
20% damage increase for 20 seconds 2 minute cooldown. A great talent for damage or PvP focused builds. Allows you to spike some damage at key moments. If you have 20+ points in the general tree and are planning on doing more than PvE tanking that you should get this talent. Also stacks with the damage buff of juggernaut.

Goad Mob**
AoE taunt around the guardian to draw the attention of monsters. Has a 5 minute cooldown. If you are doing serious PvE tanking then you will likely need this skill for emergencies. Still doesn't change the fact that its an excessively long cooldown.

Improved Goad Mob**
I couldn't find any information about this talent. Let me know so I can fill it out! I can't see it being rated any higher than Goad Mob though. Chances are this and Goad mob go hand in hand and if you get one the other one is probably also a worthy investment.

Juggernaut Tree
3% invulnerabilities and health regen. A very solid starting talent for the juggernaut tree. It's a feat that may even find its way into some tempest builds.

Weapon Master***
Increases the damage from 1 handed weapons (edge and blunt). Just like all the other + damage feats this one helps but isn't a huge contributor to our overall damage.

Savage Counterstrike****
Boosts the damage of your counterstrike retaliation. Great for soloing groups of mobs or tanking.

Battle Cry*****
Restores stamina over time for 15 seconds, 45 second cooldown. A must have when going down the juggernaut tree. This restores a very healthy amount of stamina (scales with level). It's well over enough to perform a combo when maxed. Great when used with plexus strike if you run out of stamina.

Ardent Battle Cry****
2/3/5% damage increase for anyone effected by battle cry. Don't feel bad if you skip this for something else but it is a very good talent. 5% damage for 15 seconds every 45 is pretty good and this can really help your overreach or other combos to reach their full damage potential.

Bleeding Counterstrike****
Provides a pretty good damage bleed with your counterstrike. Once again a good talent for leveling or tanking.

Morale Boost**
Grants an additional stamina gain for the guardian and his group when plexus strike is used. Returns a much more modest amount of stamina, around and additional 1/4th of what you see with the base plexus strike. Not a bad talent for a little more stamina but generally guardians can already keep themselves topped off well enough with battle cry and plexus strike (before feats). It's also in a very competitive spot in the tree.

Reduces charge/stunning charge cooldown by 20 seconds for full cooldown 10 seconds for 1/2 cooldown of other charges. Boosts bleed damage on impale. Provides additional bonus damage to attack(s) following the charge. Great talent for PvP. Also useful for PvE but not completely mandatory or needed.

Bleeding Dulling Blow***
Not quite as effective since the last patch this ability still provides some additional bleed damage on dulling blow making it effective for tanking and leveling.

For one point the reduction to cooldown of all abilities is well worth it. the -6 seconds on shield bash cooldown is almost enough to make this worth the feat point alone.

Stunning Charge*****
Great for both PvE and PvP. In PvE this can help to save someone mid battle and is also a great opener to ensure that you can get in some initial damage before the mob runs off. In PvP this gives you a massive advantage with the ability to get off some combos or a knock back easily. Well worth the 1 feet point.

Improved Shield Bash***
Adds a snare to shield bash. Chances are if you knock a mob down with shield bash and don't have aggro by time it gets back up then the extra snare isn't going to help. In PvP this is a pretty useful talent though. The reason I gave it 3 stars is because the snare duration (6 to 10 seconds I believe) starts when you knock down an opponent so most of it is wasted.

Brutal Overreach***
Takes your overreach and makes it better by increasing the critical chance. Even nerfed a critical overreach can still deal some decent damage. If you get Swift Overreach you need to get this. It's no longer a must have talent for guardians though.

Swift Overreach**
Reduces the cooldown of overreach by 1 second per point. Effective for boosting your sustained DPS but with overreach no longer being an effective burst ability this may not be the best place for your points.

Forced March

Stand Your Ground

Improved Dulling Blow***
Provides an evade boost to your dulling blow. If you're serious about tanking this is a good talent to look into. Dulling blow is already an important part of an aggro generating rotation so getting an extra shielding bonus is always nice. Not essential for tanking and relatively useless in other situations though.

Bloody Vengeance*****
Gives you an instant combo (no lead up attacks) dealing damage that scales with the # of vengeance counters you have on you at. Cooldown is also reduced with additional counters. In PvE you can make use of this only when you can't hold aggro properly or in any situation with an off tank. In group PvP this ability is what is going to cause people to target guardians. This is probably the most important feat points you will spend if you do group pvp.

Drive Them Back


Provides your teammates a 2nd chance to generate a vengeance counter when they get hit in combat. Helps to build up vengeance faster but vengeance already builds up fairly quickly. It's a useful talent but it's not vital or must have.

Strike and Guard

Titanic Smash**
It's a high stamina 2 minute cooldown knockdown that does moderate damage. There's really nothing to exciting about this talent and after 2 knockdowns already a third isn't really that needed for most situations.

For a one point investment this ability provides you with additional immunities (4%) and damage (20%) for a short while. Great for spiking damage and a little extra tanking power. Probably one of our only good 41 point talents.

Tempest Tree
Storm Blade***
Adds a chance to proc additional damage when striking with any weapon in combat. At 5 points it's about 75% damage of a normal swing and procs 20-30% of the time. A good solid talent for sustained dps but does nothing to help with burst dps. In PvP the additional DPS is always nice but it's not going to help you spike down people.

Pole Arm Mastery***
Another weapon damage increase feat. This time for polearms. Just like the others it's a decent boost but nothing amazing.

Boosts retaliation damage from guard by 20/25/30/35/45%. The retaliation from guard is much less significant than what we get from counterstrike as it doesn't proc every hit, making this a talent easily passed up.

Power Sweeps****
Boosts flashing arc's damage. Flashing arcs is your main source of damage with a polearm. Passing this feat up when going with polearms would be a big mistake.

Brutal Sweeps****
Boosts the critical chance of flashing arcs. If your flashing arcs does not crit the damage is does is rather forgettable. If you're going polearms you pretty much need this feat.

Bleeding Revenge**
Adds a bleed effect to the retaliation of guard. Again this is much less significant than the counterstrike equivalent because guard does not always retaliate.

Stand Off*
You're a tank not a DPS. If you're really going to be DPSing and want reduced aggro then here you go. Otherwise a pretty useless talent.

Disarming Aggression**
30% damage boost, -10% hate generation for 10-20 seconds with a 45 second cooldown (need to double check these numbers). Doesn't affect skewer, storm strike or riposte. Would be a pretty solid talent if the activation wasn't buggy. Performing other actions while or before activating the ability (basically anytime that the animation can't play) will cause the cooldown to be consumed but no buff given.

Chance on being hit to proc a 10% evasion buff. Lasts about 10-20 seconds after triggering. At 5 points will proc quite frequently. One of the better things in the tempest tree in my opinion 10% evasion is a healthy boost. Overall a pretty solid talent.

Relentless Assault****
This cooldown reducing feats are pretty much mandatory if you travel down the polearm tree at all.

Charge that also places a bleed effect on the target. Bleed does 5 ticks of scaling damage. Great damage source when combined with momentum this is a pretty solid form of charge. Unfortunately it's also bugged and triggers the full cool down on your base charge rather than the 1/2 cool down like stunning charge.

Brutal Maiming*
Boosts critical chance of disable. Critical hits on a combo that does no damage to begin with. Save your points.

Combat Mastery***
Another damage increasing feat. Works with all weapons. Required for Skewer so you're going to have this if you are tempest. Not really much choice in the matter.

This is pretty much your only source of burst damage in the Tempest tree. It can put out some serious hurt. This combo is an instant left side attack doing 2 strikes. It also has a 60 second cooldown. Additional points boost the damage by 15/30%.

Sweep the Field

Master Pikeman

Crippling Thrusts*
Boosts the damage of disable. Disable is pretty worthless. So this talent likewise is worthless. Save your points and skip this.

Combo doing increased damage after evade. Reported to be bugged. Does no additional damage after an evade.

Hateful Vengeance*
Bugged, provides no change to the listed tooltip damage of vengeance stack. Unless someone can confirm it's working and list the effects I can't recommend this talent.

Eye for an Eye

Appears to be broken and does not scale. When under 50% health this will proc a 2 tick heal that heals for 54 damage at 60... and 80... Typically you'll see it proc several times if you're taking a lot of damage below 50% health.

Vengeance is Mine***
Lets you gain vengeance on your own. I'm not sure of how often it procs but I've heard it's enough to be worthwhile. In that case this can be a nice talent for solo play. Less useful in group situations unless you're the only one taking damage. Also not that useful because you can't grab this + bloody vengeance without ruining your survivability.

Lightning Reflexes

Storm Strike**
Another knockback but comes at a high stamina cost and 2 minute cooldown. Also does not provide significant source of damage. Not really worth the investment.

Controlling your Guardian

By default Age of Conan will cause you to automatically face your target when you make a melee swing. Turn this off. Right now. With this on you will be unable to easily position mobs or fight other players. Having this on is a very big handicap to your potential. In the interface options under the basic tab there is a 'Targetting' section. In this seciond the option 'target-autofacing' is the one you want to turn off (uncheck).

Hotkey and Keyboard control setup
I fully intend to expand on this section and offer some basic tips and advice later. However don't expect me to list off a bunch of different fully fleshed out control schemes that will magically make you a better player. The most important thing about your hotkeys and keyboard control scheme is that it has to work for you. If you don't feel comfortable with your layout (after giving it an honest try) then you have to go with something else regardless of if someone is trying to tell you it's the 'best' setup.


Weapon swapping
Weapon swapping (Shift+R by default) is a very effective tactic and should be second nature to every guardian. By weapon swapping you can quickly switch to an alternate weapon type to execute a combo or ability then switch back. Most common uses are swapping to execute a 2nd knockback, or stacking counterstrike and guard (sorry the guard defensive bonus doesn't stay when you swap to sword and shield!).

There are many less used, but by no means less effective, applications though. One is swapping from pole arm to sword + shield to make use of the overreach combo. If you look at the feat trees you'll notice that there's not much that boosts the damage of overreach specifically. The only featss boosting overreach's damage are the generic + sword melee talent and a feat boosting the critical chance. The reason for this is simple, overreach already does great damage. It also hits left which can be very helpful when your opponent is guarding heavy right. Don't be afraid to make use of it even if you are a polearm guardian. Another great combo to make use of is plexus strike. The stamina gained from using this combo is well worth making the short swap over to sword/shield.

Finally one last important use of weapon swapping is to avoid ranged melee damage when you cannot strike back (knocked down, being kited, rooted and being hit from behind). There's no reason to be taking extra damage when you aren't giving any back. In these situations you should swap to your sword and shield to mitigate some extra damage.

Keep in mind that when swapping, regardless of the reason, you will lose any guarding bonuses gained from the guard combo. It's going to be up to you to decide when this is acceptable or not.

Positioning and Spacing
Positioning and Spacing are two of the most important things for a guardian in PvP and PvE.

Positioning is the act of dragging monsters around until they are in a favorable position. Your goal with positioning is to attempt to move the monsters into a clump where you can hit them all. The easiest way to accomplish this is to back up as you take swings. Also do not be mindful of ranged mobs that cannot be moved around easily. You should be trying to melee next to these mobs so that you can hit them and any other melee mobs at the same time. Knockdown will also mess with your positioning and you should be careful of that as well. When you use a knockdown you may need to strafe around a target to be able to keep hitting multiple targets. When positioning also keep in mind that you should be swinging at the 'mid point' between all of the monsters you are fighting. To do this you will need to have autofacing disabled (and every guardian should have it disabled). By swinging at the mid point you can be sure to hit all of the monsters.

Spacing can be considered the PvP counterpoint to Positioning. Since melee weapons in AoC have different ranges, spacing is a very important factor in PvP effectiveness. Spacing is the art of distancing yourself properly from your opponent to maximize your damage. If you are using a 1 hand + shield this is really going to just be 'get as close as possible'. However if you are using a polearm it's much more involved. Since your polearm has a longer range than other melee weapons you need to be try and keep a proper distance between you and your opponent such that you can hit him but he is unable to fight back. The easiest way to do that is through use of strafing and the backwards dodge (careful of the stamina cost here). So keep in mind that even though you may be a melee class sometimes keeping a little distance between you and your opponent can be very important.

Stance Dancing/Timing
Another important tactic the guardian should use is stance dancing and timing. This is the act of rapidly changing your stances to gain the most benefit of each one while minimizing their penalties. A good example of making use of this would be to swap to defensive stance when knocked down then back to no-stance once your character finishes getting up. Guardians have 3 types of 'stances' (stances, maneuvers, and stratagems) so I'm sure I could write pages upon pages of when to swap each one. However to keep the guide short and relevant I'm just going to touch quickly upon the uses of frenzy stance timing.

A good use of frenzy stance is completing a combo up to the very last swing then swapping into frenzy stance and doing the final swing. This will mean that for the majority of the time you are not in frenzy stance taking additional damage but as you execute the finishing moves (which make up the majority of your damage) you'll deal a lot more damage because you're in frenzy. Once you finish the combo you can quickly swap back to no stance or defensive stance to keep from taking too much additional damage. Using this tactic in PvP can be a great way to tackle some of the harder classes in 1v1 as otherwise you'll either die too fast from being in frenzy or not deal enough damage to kill them.

Active Dodge/Momentum canceling
Another useful tactic. Typically when you active dodge or momentum (double tap any strafe or forward/back direction) you will lunge in a particular direction. Sometimes this may not be desirable as the lunge can mess with your positioning and it takes time for the animation to play. If you active dodge in a direction the immediately active shield (default X button) you will gain the active dodge buff but not lunge out of position. This makes it much easier to get off a stunning attack on an opponent without wasting time lunging forward.