Yeah, I’m actually writing a blog post. Some (read..one) of you (and you know who you are, sir….) will use this as an opportunity to hate. That’s OK though, I have to get this out there.
Let’s start with a couple definition:
Guard – One who protects, keeps watch, or acts as a sentinel.
And the closely related:
Shield - A broad piece of armor made of rigid material and strapped to the arm or carried in the hand for protection against hurled or thrusted weapons.
Notice the common denominator is “protect.” As a guard, you would use a shield to protect someone. That’s a pretty easy conclusion to draw, unless you’re playing WAR and playing a tank class. For those who do, it seems to be an unfathomable inference just like saying that horses crap oats, since there are always oats around horses.
Personally, I’ve always been a stickler for a strong archtype definition. Healers do healing, Ranged DPS do their damage from Range, and Melee DPS should shred most anything in cloth along their path. That’s how the game of Rock Paper Scissors works, People. You can’t galvanize a piece of paper to keep it from getting cut by scissors. You throw paper, they throw scissors, you die. They throw Rock, you win.
While that’s a moderately over-simplified version of the way MMOs work, it works, on the whole. You can really break EVERYTHING in an MMO as far as class-balance goes into the following two statements:
- DPS classes make people live shorter.
- Healers make people live longer.
Tanks… they can make people live longer, but not as well as a healer. They also make people live shorter, but not as well as a DPS. They’re the Plato’s Ideal Hybrid. Jack of all trades, master of none. You’re never going to get a tank that can DPS as well as a pure DPS class. Nor will you get one that can give the same output as a Healing class. You have to find a balance in the middle. If you had one that performed flawlessly at either side of the spectrum….why have the other classes that exist there natively? For you people who don’t know… you don’t.
I’m not going to say there shouldn’t be overlaps when you talk about class balance. Of course there should be. The threshold of effectiveness (where 0% is purely ineffective and 100 is purely effective…Healers can be 100% effective as healers, yet 0% effective as DPS) is some hypothetical limit to which a class can approach, yet not hit. A Tank, in order to fit in the balance model, could sit somewhere at 50%/50% Defensive/Offensive. They could drop the shield and go 25%/75%, or they could stack more defensive stats and go 75%/25%. Simple enough math, right?
Guard pretty much takes that math and does some illicit things, while not even bothering to buy dinner first. I’m not sure why Guard was able to be used without a shield. It doesn’t make logical sense. Other games put a shield requirement on abilities like this, yet WAR managed to make it out the door, around the corner, and halfway to school without someone realizing that a running Bright Wizard could bring a Knight with them, and take almost no damage (despite getting rid of their entire “ranged” portion of their archetype’s namesake). Oh, and they can also throw down damage nearly comparable to a mDPS wielding a 2-hander, all while sporting nearly 100 wounds and 70 toughness more than a mDPS class. Wut.
Mythic realized the err of their ways here. They finally came around to say, “Uh yeah. That’s entirely way too effective. We need to fix it.”
Shortly there after, the tank community of WAR agreed, and calmly took their licks. They’d been playing the golden archetype, capable of huge defensive and huge offensive numbers. They wanted what was best for the game as a whole. All was well.
Just kidding, rtards. The Tank community shit a brick the size of Snookie’s ego. They were irate that their beloved class was getting hit with the nerf bat. It didn’t matter that the TTK in the game was redonkulous. That was their playstyle and they didn’t want it changed. I can see why though, it has to be tough to hear “look, you have to stay near someone and you’re not going to lawl-a-melt their face immediately upon engaging while reducing your friend’s damage taken by half. You put on a shield, you’re defensive now.” Your class isn’t useless guys. You just have to make a choice. Just like when I roll a Shaman and pick either a DPS spec, or a Healing spec. You have to make a choice. That’s how this thing works.
Here’s the million dollar question: When was the last time you saw someone using Guard WITH a shield? If it’s a true choice, then the answer wouldn’t be “never”, would it?