III. Stats & Equipment
(NOTE: Although much of this information is standard for all classes, it is presented here as a focus on our class)
A. Basic Stats
Each character has seven basic stats: Morale, Power, Might, Agility, Vitality, Will and Fate. Your initial stats are determined by your class and race. They improve as your character gains experience (and levels). They can also be improved by Traits (Section II).
Morale. The higher your Morale:
The more damage you can take before you are defeated. (This is the green bar in your Character Vitals display.)
Power. You use Power to trigger most of your skills; if you are out of Power, you cannot use those skills. (This is the blue bar in your Character Vitals display.)
Might. The higher your Might:
The higher your melee damage. The better your ability to block and parry attacks that can be blocked or parried. The better your Common (physical) damage reduction (mitigation)
Agility. The higher your Agility:
The less often you miss with an attack. The better your ability to evade and parry attacks that can be evaded or parried. The higher your ranged damage. The better your chance to Critically hit a foe
Vitality. The higher your Vitality:
The higher your maximum Morale. The more quickly you restore Morale when not in Combat. The better your Shadow and Fire damage reduction (mitigation). The better your Wound, Disease and Poison resistances
Will. The higher your Will:
The higher your maximum Power. The more quickly you regenerate Power when not in combat. The better your Fear resistance
Fate. The higher your Fate:
The more quickly you restore Morale and regenerate Power when in combat. The more likely you are to get a Critical result with your healing abilities.
B. Other Stats
Damage Reduction (Mitigation) Damage reduction (Common, Fire & Shadow) reduces incoming damage to your character. Your Character Journal lists your base value for each of these three categories. However, a foe whose level is higher than yours will lower that chance. Common damage reduction is determined by your Armour Value, your Might and any Traits or equipment that adjust mitigation. Fire and Shadow damage reductions are determined by your Vitality and any Traits or equipment that adjusts those mitigations.
Resistances. Your Fear, Wound, Disease and Poison Resistance values are your base percentage chance to avoid these aspects of an attack. Will improves Fear resistance; Vitality improves Wound, Disease and Poison resistance. Appropriate Traits or equipment can also improve your resistances.
Abilities. Abilities include Critical, Block, Evade and Parry. Your Character Journal lists your base percentage chance for each one. A foe whose level is higher than yours will lower that chance.
Critical. Most melee attacks can have a Critical effect, but that effect varies depending on the type of attack. Often, a Critical effect increases the damage you inflict, but (for example), a Critical Shield-smash can knock your foe down.
Block, Evade & Parry. All three work against melee attacks. Ranged attacks cannot be parried.
Effectiveness. Melee Effectiveness and Ranged Effectiveness values are not actually used by the game. They are provided to help you estimate your ability to deal damage. Higher values are better.
C. Equipment & Supplies
1. Armour & Shields
Having the ability to wear Heavy Armour is what makes a Guardian a Tank. Having the ability to use a Heavy Shield is what makes a Guardian a Heavy Tank. This combination of passive skills is what affords the Guardian the ability to handle more mobs, of higher levels, without planning, than any other class. Even though we decrease our ability to evade blows, we exchange it for the ability to outlast almost any opponent at level and often a few levels above. In exchange for this ability, we do take on the most damage to our gear and must be aware of its durability and sturdiness more than any other class. When choosing what to wear, whether it is from a quest, looted or crafted, make sure you are taking all of these factors into consideration. Currently, outside of a few quest/PvMP rank items, the best Armour and Shields at any level come in the form of Critical Successes from Single Use Crafting Recipes. If you are lucky enough to obtain one, it may have a longer shelf life in your inventory than other gear but is still replaceable until you get to the highest levels of the game.
Jewelry is the one area where a Guardian’s choices can have the longest lasting effects since now there are a ton of options. Seven pieces can be crafted (Necklace, earrings, bracelets and rings) so the pocket bauble is the only peice that currently must come from looting and quest items. Even though the variety is greater, I still recommend that a Guardian heavily consider choosing jewelry over armour quest rewards. The variety of jewelry at each level is much greater than armour so the fine tuning that you may want to do for your build is most likely to come from these items instead of armour. At the highest level most Guardians prefer the crafted set so you might be able to get a set of crafted armour better than what you are wearing, but the earring or bracelet that would have given you the stats you prefer, even over the crafted, it is gone forever. Also, as you level, you’ll find that jewelry is one of the best places to improve base percentage stats like block, parry and evade.
The weapon(s) you choose can make a heavy impact on how you approach any battle. Be sure to consider your Racial Traits as you consider which weapon suits you and your style of play best. Having a +2.0% damage bonus based on your Race may be enough of a difference for you to use one type of weapon over another. Often there are clear choices as to which weapon is better but as you level the choices become more complex. You must not only take into consideration the DPS of a weapon, but also its damage range, speed, base weapon abilities, stats & special abilities and the often under appreciated damage type.
--a. DPS: Damage Per Second is the standard comparison between any two weapons. All other things being equal, having a higher DPS is better.
--b. Damage Range: This shows the amount of damage you can expect from a non-critical auto-attack. All other things being equal, having a higher Damage Range is better.
--c. Speed: The speed of your weapon is the deciding factor in how soon you can link together attacks. It is closely tied to the Damage Range of your weapon. In general, faster weapons have lower damage range since in a given time frame they can attack more. By attacking more often they can make up for the loss of damage made per hit. But be aware, faster weapons burn through more power in the same amount of time.
--d. Base Weapon Abilities: The type of weapon you wield may have some built in abilities making some worth keeping around for a certain situation and others primary defaults based on your play style. Swords have a built in plus to hit chance; Daggers have a plus to critical hit on auto-attacks; Axes have a decrease to hit chance but normally add a chance to sunder an opponents Armour; Clubs, Maces and Hammers have a chance to stun. Although I don’t recommend that you carry multiple weapons with you, having an extra in your vault that can be used in different situations certainly makes sense.
--e. Stats & Special Abilities: Weapons that are Uncommon (Yellow) and above will have additional stats and/or special abilities built in. For this reason alone you should open your character journal and see the effects that a weapon change may have on all of your visible stats. The weight of special abilities should also be considered since they may tip the tide as to which weapon you’ll use most often. Reflecting back damage received to your attacker may seem nice but you might prefer the ability to sometimes cause bleed damage.
--f. Damage Type: Very few things help sway a decision about a weapon as much as Damage type. Just like we do, mobs have mitigations to certain types of damage at differing levels. This means a lower DPS weapon with an uncommon damage type may actually cause more damage to a mob than one with higher DPS that only does common damage.* The uncommon damage types are Westernesse, Ancient, Beleriand, Fire and Light.
*A test of this in Beta matched a 29.7 DPS crossbow versus a 26.7 DPS fire damage crossbow and the Fire crossbow consistently caused more damage than the common versus humanoid mobs.
4. Crafting and its impact on the Guardian
--a: To craft or not to craft.
Crafting is clearly a subset and money sink in game but it does have its benefits. Don’t feel that you must craft if you want to be viable as a Guardian, just know that at any given level, you may see someone with higher stats in several areas due to their ability to make or purchase crafted equipment. The choice is yours.
--b: Which vocation to choose?
There is really no specific craft a Guardian should focus on; it all depends on how much you group, if you want to make a lot of money, or if you want to help advance your character. If you group a lot you’ll have less down time and have the ability to kill more mobs faster, which means an increased chance for more loot drops. If having the biggest bank roll is your focus, crafting might not be for you because there are several things built into crafting that are money sinks. But if you desire to advance your Guardians abilities, you may want to pick up a Mining Pick and get to work.
The crafts that best fit the Guardian are Armourer (you can make 7 useable pieces of equipment), Tinker (7 pieces and you can make your own food) and Armsman (2 pieces). Woodworker, Yeoman and Historian have side benefits to the Guardian so choosing them would have more to do with personal preference. If you don’t consider yourself the crafting type, I would still recommend picking up Explorer as a craft. It’s a good way to generate money since the resources you gather will always have a demand and if you become friends with another crafter you may be able to trade materials for the equipment you want.
Whether solo or in a fellowship, some of a Guardian’s best tools are his supplies. Potions can help you have the Power or Morale to survive the hairiest of confrontations. Food can give you that extra stat boost or H.O.T. that keeps downtime to a minimum. Having enough of the right consumables at all levels can make your play experience more successful. When you’re ready to solo Ancient Ironscale because your kinsmen haven’t logged on, you’ll be happy you have a stack of Superior Lembas. Make sure you do your best not to leave town with less than a stack of each essential potion/food type. The silver you spend to stay supplied may save you the silver you spend on multiple visits to the retreat circle.