In solo play the Guardian possesses high combat survivability due to their heavy armor and equally heavy shield. That doesn't mean a Guardian can't become overwhelmed by mobs, but thankfully this fact ties quite nicely into the group role of a Guardian – learning how to maximize the effectiveness of your combat skills!
Those First Few Levels
Let's take a look at the first three skills a Guardian begins their career with:
• Sting – A quick attack that lightly wounds your opponent.
• Guardian's Ward – Strengthens your defenses for a short time.
• Shield-blow – Strike your opponent with your shield, generating a small amount of threat.
These three skills are the foundation of a Guardian. There's a little damage-dealing, some defense boosting and finally skills like Shield-blow, which generate threat onto you when used.
You may be wondering, "Why should Guardians bother with Shield-blow in solo play? Threat generation has no inherent advantage for a solo Guardian." This is true, but even with access to heavy armor making mobs fairly simple for solo Guardians the lower DPS output means that solo life as a Guardian is also slower-going. This is when fellowships come in handy, and the demand for a good Guardian is always high.
For Guardians in LOTRO fellowship play means assuming the role of "tank". A tank is the common game term for defining a member of the fellowship responsible for distracting and absorbing damage from mobs. In doing this, the less sturdy players can survive particularly tough combat encounters while performing their respective roles in the group, whether that be dealing out damage or supporting allies via healing and buffing skills.
A good mantra to live by for new Guardians is "Join fellowships early and often." Not only is LOTRO even more fun with other players, but at higher levels some of the most exciting content is designed around fellowships. Plus, with LOTRO free to play it's always easy for a friend or family member to join in during those early levels.