"Oh great, another thread about how to fix the warden class".
Hello everyone, my name Iznogoot. Warden is my main toon, and boy how I love this class. And yes, this is definitely another thread about how to fix the Warden class. But before flaming my thread, please at least hear me out why I love this class.
Warden is awesome. He is righteous, courageous, skillful and the most versatile warrior on the battlefield. He protects those who can not defend themselves, wearing nothing but leather armor, charging the battlefield with a spear, a shield, his javelins and his courage. How awesome is that?
LOTRO had the right idea when they created this class: they wanted a versatile class so they created the gambit system, where you can use any kind of skills depending on the order of your gambits. Warden depends on his skill, and his courage to fight and tank so they make him with the intention of using self buff (b/p/e buffs) and morale regen. The 3 trait lines are supposed to be based on DPS, Heal, and Threat. But there are some flaws in their design from the beginning, in concept and in gameplay.
Let me point it out:
_ Gambit system is great, but it has one flaw: the more advanced the gambits are, the longer it take to execute. Ultimately, the gambits will be too complicated and clustered and the rewards are not worth the troubles. They compensated this by implementing Gambit Masteries, but seriously, the induction is too long, and by the time we executed them, the enemy have already 1 or 2 steps ahead. For a DPS warden, taking 3-5 gambits to do a decent damage hit on your target is simply not efficient, and that is completely backward with a warden's motto: efficient and skillful. For a threat/tanking warden, try to gain threat, buff yourself, try to self-heal all the while maintaining threat; all that while pumping gambits, is not efficient. Especially with how they scale (or rather, not scale) threat and the morale regen rating.
My solution to this, is to let the masteries be active even out of combat, and a warden should be able to "warm up" before combat, self-buffing for b/p/e, and always initiate a battle with spear. Depending on trait line, spears should have different effects, which I would explain later. DPS, Morale regen and threat should be scaled up, depending on trait line they should have a total differernt scale than when not being traited.
That moves us to the second flaw of the warden class: the trait lines, especially blue and yellow are so not as unique as they should be. The way I visualize it, the trait line should have been such as so:
_ Spear line:
A warden is skillful and a master of maneuver
Spearline, red line, or dps line, should focus on javelin for more damage. This line should focus more on debuffs, skirmish skills, and javelin skills. A warden on the offensive should utilize their most deadly weapon: the javelin and should always initiate it in combat. And as he doesn't have to protect anyone, he should use his versatility, his precision with a weapon to his advantage.
When traiting Spear line, warden should have the option to:
+ Increase spear range (but not as far as a hunter's bow range)
+ Hugely increased in damage (javenlin should be the main weapon for warden when pvmp or sparring in dps mode, not spear, for javelin should be the most deadly weapon in the hand of a skillful warrior).
+ DoTs and bonus damage for both spear and javelin dots
+ Ability to use poison in weapons (which would further more put DoTs on the oponent)
+ Javelin skills, aside from Slow effect, should also have Root effect. If a hunter can AOE root a group of opponents with arrows, there is no reason why a warden can not impale 1 single opponent to the ground with his deadly javelin. And since a javelin is 10 times bigger than an arrow, they should have a prolong root effect comparing to arrows. The effect should be 40s and the target can not move even when being attacked.
When engage in melee combat in spear line, a warden should be able to:
+ Debuff opponent armor
+ Apply bleeds
+ Chance to start fellowship maneuver when using critical strike on a stunned opponent. A warden is a master of maneuver. He should have the ability to start a FM when traited right. I think it would be best if we implement this into warden Critical Strike skill. If traited 2 spears, warden should have 25% chance to start FM when hitting stunned opponent with CS. 40% with 3, and 55% with 4. Ofcourse, giving that warden doesn't have a skill with 100% stun chance (the boot only gives 25% stun chance, and Boar's Rush is also not 100%), and the fact that there is an "immune to stun" buff for mob after being stunned, to successfully execute an FM, the warden has to work with another class.
To sum it up, spear line should be about debuff, bleeds and javelin. A warden traited in this line when going out to the moors should have no problem single targeting a mob, root/stun them, get close and apply bleed/debuff, and run away, which is the perfect strategy for a skilled skirmisher. Ambusher is nice, but is not enough. In a group, dps warden can help debuff, dps, apply massive bleed on target, and start FMs. How to scale this trait line, is really up to the devs. Spear line is associated with might, and should focus on heavily buffing the warden with evade rating, not parry (when you sneak in for an attack, hit your opponent at a vulnerable spot, do you evade or parry?). Way of the spear Legendary trait should also have increased crit ratings.
Moving on to blue and yellow line. Before we start, let me make a notion that the yellow line and blue line that we currently have, makes no sense. Some people even consider yellow line useless.
_ Shield line:
A warden is courageous. He protects those who can't protect themselves
The blue line have had so many criticism, so I won't even go into detail. One thing for sure, a scale up for morale heal is a must. There is one thing I'd like to change about this trait line, one might upset some wardens, but is essential to making this trait line distinct from fist line, is that conviction should not have the aoe threat effect anymore. Conviction should stack up (it is not, at the moment), and act as a group heal skill that a warden can spam. Ofcourse, giving that it is a healing skill, it will still have threat, but not as much as it is right now. A shield traited warden should be:
+ A decent healer with decent group heal
+ A buffer, which gives group buffs on physical and tactical mitigation, block rating and maybe incoming heal rating.
+ One who has huge self buff on Block rating, incoming healing rating, outcoming healing rating, and self-heal
+ A 1 target tanker, with ability to self heal and buff group.
In a group, a shield traited warden is reliable for healing and buffing, and is quite self sufficient in tanking single or a few mobs. In solo, a shield traited warden should be able to self heal through any kind of difficulty. Shield line should be associated with will (or might?), and Way of the Shield trait should have enormous increase in block rating for the warden.
_ Fist Line
A warden is righteous and master of fear
Multi tanking has been the strong and weak point of a warden all the same. Warden can grab threat from any kind of tank, but they can't take and endure the damage dealt from mobs. When ganged up, warden either have to kite, or stay and rely on healer to pump every heal possible their way. Self buffing is not fast enough to give warden their extra b/p/e ratings, or when self-heal, doesnt give them their morale back fast enough. Comparing to a Guardian's taunt, warden simply don't have as great the range nor the instant threat steal. In my opinion, this trait line should be rebuilt so that:
+ Javelin skill, when traited yellow, will have great threat. Depending on what kind of javelin skills, it either have single target threat or multiple target threat. With about 4 different javelins, the warden can single target and pull 4 different mobs as he will. Or with the deadly jav skill, will pull a whole group. This will help greatly for a warden to initiate a battle, grab threat instantly and effectively, or if he is off-tanking, can range select target from a group of mobs without stealing aggro from the whole group.
+ For a multi mob tanking, warden should have increased leech rating (naturally)
+ Enormous Parry and Evade rating buffs, as well as great buff for block ratings
+ Gambit Masteries should be active in and out of combat. A warden should be able to warm up and self buff on BPE before engage into combat, and their buffs should last longer. Along with a decent (not heal traited) self heal and aoe threat skills, they should survive longer in the battle field as a main tank.
+ As master of maneuver and fear, a warden should be able to dumb threat as will onto a single target (namely a guardian) when traited yellow. This should make them more versatile as an off-tank. I know that deflection is a threat transfer skill, but transfer to whom? The warden simply drop threat against 1 single target but where does the target go after when he drops the threat? The way I see it, is the warden should be able to run around the room, aoe and grab the strayed mobs, run back to guardian, dumb the mobs on him. And if needed be, warden can pick up single targets and tank them, sharing the damage with main tank. A more easy way to CC is, to gather them up, dump threat on guardian, and aoe fear all of them, effectively reducing incoming damage to 1/3 or 1/4 for a period of time. The gambit use for Threat Dumb, or let's call it Tag-team, should be Fist Shield Spear Fist Shield, and then click on the guardian and execute the gambit. Desolation, when traited 5 yellows, should have more chance to fear, and have more targets.
+ Warden should have 25% chance of stun immunity when equiping 2 yellow, 50% with 3, and 75% with 4 yellows. The most annoying thing when tanking mobs, is that they take turns stunning you, and being a gambit user, a warden really doesn't have any special skills like champion to break stun, and thus loosing aggro and get the whole group killed. A medium armor warrior and master of maneuver should have less chance getting stunned anyways, since they should be able to dodge a blunt and heavy weapon better than a heavy armor warrior does.
+ When tanking in yellow traited line, warden should have increased incoming healing rating from Fist Line. This would get them better healing from healers without relying on gears.
As a main tank, warden should have the ability to survive longer while having more incoming healing rating, better BPE, and the ability to fear mobs to reduce incoming damage. They can grab threat better with spears and more selective on targets, initiate battle faster. They'll have ability to self buff before battle which would also be important to their survivability. As an off-tank, a warden can coordinate with a guard or a champ and be in control of the tide, being able to gain threat quickly and dump it also as quickly. Hopefully, it will make warden a worthwhile tank, not as sturdy and durable as the guardian, but with a few tricks up his sleeves, he can maintain a trustworthy tanking spot in his fellowship/kinship.
I do write a lot, and it seems like I ask a lot. But think about it, it's not too much, and it really is how I see a warden should be. If you think that my kind of warden is such a mashed up of guardian, champ, captain, burglar, hunter,.... you are half right. Warden should be that versatile, but at the same time, due to their gambit system, they don't play like other class at all.
Again, above are just my suggestions. I have not gone into the detail of how much morale or bpe ratings should be, for that is up to the dev to figure out.
If you would like to comment on my post, please reply, I'd love to hear your opinion of pros/cons. If you want to build your own kinda warden, please make your own threat. Thank you all and to all the warden out there, don't lose hope in our class.