I've seen a bunch of threads from newer players asking about the class. What do Wardens do? Are they tanks? Can they dps, or perform other roles? Are they like Class-X from MMO-Y? Will I be able to get groups? The proliferation of these threads has convinced me to finally write this post I've been contemplating for months. So, if you really want to know what a Warden is...read on.
1. Don't call me a "tank." (I know you will!)
Can Wardens tank? Heck yeah. However, Warden-tanking is significantly harder than Guard-tanking. The complexity of our class means that the weaknesses of mediocre Warden tanks are significantly more conspicuous, leading to a misconception that Guards are better at tanking. I'd actually contend that Guardians are the only pure tanks. Just because a Ford F-150 and BMW 5-series can both carry your groceries home doesn't make them the same. Calling Wardens "tanks" makes people lump us in with Guards in a manner that dismisses the extraordinary versatility of our class.
In a nightmarishly long and unproductive (but rhetorically interesting) thread, I once stated:
With all due respect to the many fine Guardian players out there who get their job done, and done well, Wardens do much more than just tank, and when we tank, we tank with style. But if you decide to tank with your Warden, the opportunities you'll get were earned by those before you, so do them proud!"Regular tanking" is what Guards do. Direct line, linear, no-creativity-because-I'm-a-blunt-tanking-instrument. A Warden is a tanking artiste with a multitude of colors on his palette.
2. "Advanced class" means there's no cruise control.
Yeah, we're an advanced class. What does that mean? It means that, in order to get the utmost out of the class, you need to pay attention! Wardens aren't relaxing to play. Wardens aren't easy to play. Wardens aren't simple to figure out. If you sign up to play one, you sign up for a challenge. Read the forums, learn your gambits, keep your eye on the ball. Here are some basic goals that a complete Warden player should be able to handle at end-game:
1. Take the biggest, baddest Elite Master mob you can find and solo it.
2a. See that end-game instance? Tank it.
2b. See that end-game instance? DPS it.
2c. See that end-game instance? Crowd-control it.
2d. See that end-game instance? Heal it.
3. I'm not joking.
4. Find 8+ on-level mobs, group 'em up, and take 'em down. Alone.
5. Be in a fellowship when someone screws something up really, really badly and everyone starts yelling "we're so dead" or "drop group! drop group!" and calmly step up, put your fellowship on your shoulders, and carry them through the fire like it's something you do every day...because it is.
6. Do two or three or all of 2a through 2d simultaneously.
7. I'm still not joking.
3. What's with the 'tude?
You may have noticed - there's a bit of an attitude that goes with being an accomplished Warden...or "Waden." Well, there's kind of an attitude that goes with every class. But players of all classes joke about Warden players. And it IS funny how much we love our class. What it really comes down to is this: we've climbed the highest peak and seen the view. And until you've stood where we have, you have no idea how truly wide the horizon is. I'm not sure I can sum it up better than that.
4. But what the heck does a Warden actually do?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Wardens do a little bit of this and a little bit of that and turn it into a whole lot of awesome. So, if you want to be a tank, be a tank. You want to dps...dps. You want to perform a role in a group, practice that role, become excellent, and then run that way in the face of stubborn public perception until they say," I didn't know a Warden could do that." Don't let anyone tell you what your Warden does. You. Tell. Them.
Just do it nicely. We're all here to have fun, after all.