Alpha mini-guides: Guardian

Disclaimer: As 2038 progresses, much of the info in these guides is very likely to, or even bound to, not apply in the future. The purpose of these guides is to highlight how classes differ from their Global/SP counterparts, so as to provide leveling testers with more efficient ways to test later content.

Disclaimer #2: The builds outlined below are most often functional after lv30, as they do often use lv25-30 skills. It is noteworthy that not all such builds will be easy to start from lv1 with, either due to high gear dependency (ie Shrapnel) or a significant lack of AoE that would assist in leveling. Therefore, in such cases it is highly advised that testers either

  1. deviate from such builds in favor of more AoE-oriented ones early on, and later reskill to them, or
  2. account for the relative lack of AoE through the use of early/mid-game weapons that assist in that front, either by themselves or by providing AoE skills.

What’s the Guardian now?

Global had arguably limited the viable Guardian builds down to the stellar tanker build, and the decent (but not Hell mode viable) 2-hander DPS build. While such weapon choices as dual Surgecasters would provide a very efficient means of leveling (see here for footage), Hell mode’s standards would only really allow tanker Guardians to hold their ground in the endgame.

At the time of this guide’s writing, 2038 offers a very different approach. Tanker builds are naturally still stellar, but 2-hander builds are naturally impossible (due to the absence of 2-handed swords) and the infamous 2007-2008 Gundians and TC Shield Throw builds are now options to consider.

What’s still broken

  1. Taunts. Challenge and Denounce seem to be consistently misbehaving, therefore they’ve both been excluded from the build suggestions below.
  2. Grand Aura + Challenge. Challenge does not receive the Grand Aura range boost that it normally would.

Key differences with Global (details in spoiler tags)

Shrapnel is horrendously powerful. While most likely subject to change, Shrapnel currently* works magnificently. This alone makes the coveted Gundian builds of the past viable again; that is, 2x 7-slot Vorpals filled with Shrapnel. *This is an aspect of the game that is very likely to change in the future. But currently, it’s a very efficient leveling/farming option.
Shield Throw works. Global's changes to the skill's behavior, although slight, along with Hell mode's standards, had made this skill obsolete. In 2038 these factors don't apply, so Throw builds are actually viable. Moreover, +ele properties are doubled, so this also boosts such builds somewhat.
Aura of Smiting exists, having replaced Onslaught and Blessed Onslaught. This TC skill exists in 2038, but sadly it does not seem to affect build choices at all. Unfortunately, the Onslaught tree that had replaced it is naturally gone, which leaves Guardians with fewer +crit options than before.
The Sets differ, and Minisets don't exist. The Templar TC set drastically differs from the Angelic Set of Global, and Minisets don't exist. The Angelic set's (relative) +hp bonuses and +crit (which Minisets also provided) are replaced by massive +damage, +ele, and +movement speed bonuses, causing final builds to differ considerably.
"+% hp" bonuses are halved. This practically translates to Guardians having a lower max hp pool by comparison, but to very little practical effect. Since Global's Hell mode standards are absent, 5-digit hp pools are by no means essential to one's survival.

Gear

Gear needs for tankers are arguably timeless. Therefore, what applied in the tanker build linked above also applies here, in terms of desirable properties:

"The desirable properties on gear for tankers are mainly +% hp bonuses, % TAV (total armor value increased), +hp bonuses, and +All Attributes/Strength/Will for reduced feeds, and thus more points invested in Stamina. "

Curiously, the choice between specific Uniques/Legendaries and the endgame Set outlined in the same guide is also valid in 2038. That is, the TC Set does provide massive damage and other offensive bonuses, but it still lacks the specialized focus on survivability that one can build around by choosing specific Legendaries/Uniques.
Therefore, it is important to note that, as with all classes to some extent, the TC Set is NOT necessarily the best option for all builds and intended encounters.

Builds

Given the factors discussed above, here are the rough outlines of two builds that can work sufficiently.

Note, both builds take for granted a +1 to All Skills helmet. This is much easier to augment compared to Global, and it’s generally not a rare augment by any means.

Such gear as Moorgoth’s Hand, Sol’s Invictus, Archangel Wings and other +AS/+skill weapons and rings can also provide room to expand on these builds. They are not accounted for in either build, to ensure gear dependancy is kept at a bare minimum.
However, it is noteworthy that Guardians do require more skillpoints to properly build compared to other classes. Therefore, some gear options that alleviate this should be considered.

Shield Thrower

Skills

2 (1+1) Spiritual Toughness (recommended to boost)
Through using a +1 AS helmet, one skillpoint in this provides 20 Stamina. More points can very safely be invested in this if they can be spared.

3 (2+1) Shield of Faith, 2 (1+1) Shield Wall
Since shields are much more important now than they were, an investment of 3 points in this tree grants 2 panic buttons that massively aid in survivability.

3 Shield Bash, 3 Shield Turn, 2 Shield Charge
Only invested in to allow access to Shield Throw and Shield Master. All 3 can be used in combat if one wishes though.

2 (1+1) Shield Throw (highly recommended to boost accordingly)
This is the focal point of this build, and should be invested into STRICTLY depending on the base crit and CCM properties of one’s shield.
Practically, a Dissecor Shield should have 5 (1 inherent + 4 from Ranks) - 10 base crit (depending on the presence of a +crit property), and a maximum of ~100% CCM if it has both an augmented CCM and 2 CCM mods against the desired caste. So realistically, a Dissector Shield with 8% base crit (1 inherent + 4 from Ranks + 3 from a Legendary +crit property) and 100% CCM should require 7 points into Shield Throw; 8 + 35 would yield 43% crit chance before CCM, elevating Throws to a very respectable 86% crit chance.

7 (6+1) Shield Master
An absolute boon to Shield builds, this passive damage boost can even elevate Shield Bash into a proper spam skill.

2 (1+1) Prayer of Healing (highly recommended to boost)
A single point in this Prayer provides a great AoE heal skill. More points invested decrease the CD, so it’s a very decent investment to consider.

2 (1+1) Aura of Power, 7 (6+1) Aura Stability
The former is a prerequisite for the latter, but can also be used as an efficient Aura if one’s gamestyle includes skill spamming.
Aura Stability allows up to 3 Auras to be used, which is absolutely vital for all Guardians. Importantly, if fewer than 3 Auras are used, it also boosts their performance; 1 Aura under max Stability functions at 130% of its normal power, and 2 function at 110%. This can be used to boost such Auras as Deflection/Vengeance in encounters where it’s needed.

4 (3+1) Aura of Renewal (highly recommended to boost)
This fantastic Aura always scales to the player’s max hp pool, and therefore never stops being useful. Players who rarely find themselves in harm’s way due to their gamestyle may be able to skip this in favor of another Aura, such as Deflection.

2 Sword of Reckoning, 10 (9+1) Hamper
The former is strictly a prerequisite for the latter, and using it as a spam skill is ill-advised.
Hamper serves a dual purpose in this build; increasing one’s own Throw damage, and providing a very useful debuff for parties to exploit.

10 (9+1) Anchor)
Anchor is invested into strictly as a means of boosting Throw’s damage further. It can either be used just before a Throw and cancelled (as their CDs match), or used as a focal skill that can also boost one’s autoattacks or spam skill of choice.

Noteworthy gear for this build

  1. Grimace.
    Guardians have little use for swords in terms of damage, but Hamper requires one to be used. Using a Grimace in this build both grants free access to Aura of Deflection AND provides CDB for Throw. Its 5 slots can also be filled with +ACC mods, for a total of ~150 ACC and thus an amazing 300 free CDB!

  2. (preferably Mythic) Dissector Shields.
    Frankly, Throw builds suffer tremendously in terms of damage without shields with mod slots for +ele/CCM. Therefore, a specialized Dissector Shield with CCM against the desired caste is essential.

  3. Archangel Gliders.
    Massive shields, movement speed bonuses, and free access to Stampede. One can not go wrong with this piece.

Tanker/Healer

Skills

8 (7+1) Spiritual Toughness
80 Stamina, thus 400 hp. If points can’t be better invested elsewhere, this is mighty useful for any tanker.

3 (2+1) Shield of Faith, 2 (1+1) Shield Wall
As above, an investment of 3 points in this tree grants 2 panic buttons that massively aid in survivability.

10 (9+1) Aura of Renewal, 10 (9+1) Aura of Defense
This infamous duo of Auras makes tankers what they are. Renewal always scales to the player’s max hp, and Defense boosts total armor, so both are always as useful as stats and gear allow them to be.

1 Aura of Power, 7 (6+1) Aura Stability
As above, the former is a prerequisite for the latter, but can also be used as an efficient Aura if one’s gamestyle includes skill spamming. This build may have more use for Power, due to Prayer of Healing being a more central skill.
Aura Stability allows up to 3 Auras to be used, which is absolutely vital for all Guardians. Importantly, if fewer than 3 Auras are used, it also boosts their performance; 1 Aura under max Stability functions at 130% of its normal power, and 2 function at 110%. This can be used to boost such Auras as Deflection/Vengeance in encounters where it’s needed, or Renewal/Defense in this build.

5 (4+1) Grand Aura
This passive gives all Auras a 6m range bonus, allowing their effects to benefit from enemies that are further away.

10 (9+1) Prayer of Healing, 3 (2+1) Great Defender
Note, 2 skillpoints were left unused to indicate their investment into Great Defender, as the planner currently doesn’t allow it.
Prayer of Healing is maxed for a shorter CD, that allows it to be used more frequently to heal parties. Great Defender is also invested into as a party buff, but isn’t the main focus of this tree/build due to its longer casting animation and much higher CD.

Noteworthy gear for this build

  1. Sol’s Invictus and Warrior Belt.
    This infamous torso and belt duo grant 2 points in Aura of Defense and Renewal, respectively. Given the amount of skillpoints many builds require, these free points (along with useful inherent properties) still make this duo an appealing gear option.

  2. Misery’s Gift.
    Players that give up their mainhand damage (which is often already miniscule) may decide to use a weapon strictly as a source of extra skillpoints. Misery’s Gift may not allow Hamper to be used as it’s a firearm, but it grants a stunning 4 points in Aura of Renewal.

  3. Archangel Gliders.
    Massive shields, movement speed bonuses, and free access to Stampede. One can not go wrong with this piece.

And what about Gundians?

There’s little to say about Gundians, other than highlighting their efficiency (see above for footage) and the difficulty of making them, as Shrapnel is very, very rare in the endgame.
The norm of 2x 7-slot Vorpals filled with Shrapnel on hit has not changed, and can be framed in terms of skills very loosely. Either of the above builds can work in tandem with such weapon setups, depending on the player’s preferences.

Are these weapon descriptions accurate for this version of Hellgate ?

https://www.hellgateaus.info/forum/hellgate-london-general/templar-ranged-weapon-guide/

They look mostly accurate, yes.
Granted, this was probably written without the TC in mind, but the TC did not add any Templar firearms. So yes, it should be safe to use as reference.

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Updated with video reviews for both builds :slight_smile:

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https://london2038.com/skill-planner/#Guardian,50,50,0,v1.00001700000000409900164010000000090

this is the sort of Build i am looking at, not much in the way of skills to use, 3 auras up for ultimate defence, heals to keep you going through the tough bits, Anchor to increase your damage output.

sit down, shoot everything to death, just got to watch out for things getting through your shields, part of me wants to use only one pistol and get shield wall

https://london2038.com/skill-planner/#Guardian,50,50,0,v1.00001025000000409900164010000000090

but im not sure tbh … it’s all a matter of testing it out and seeing what doesnt kill me quickly :smiley:

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Looks good :slight_smile:

That’s quite close to my first build. I didn’t main Deflection, personally, but I do see its merits, especially if you don’t intend to get it from other sources like a Grimace.

Also Shield of Faith and Shield Wall have honestly been such great skills to have. Savers in poison-heavy and stunlock situations, overall great skills to have. For a 3-point investment I can’t recommend them enough.

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Regarding the Gundian Guide: Are you sure Aura of Deflection and Aura of Vengeance stack? When i run both auras i never see reflected projectiles, they only get get destroyed. If i deactivate Aura of Deflection they get reflected sometimes.

Hm.
There’s nothing in the skills’ definitions that would indicate an incompatibility between them, and I’ve always noticed a clear benefit in total projectiles stopped when using both instead of one; so both should be working.
Granted, I’ve never kept an eye on the visuals, as you mention, so I’ll need to test this. I’d probably suspect that Vengeance takes visuals over, or that their interaction somehow makes both destroy.
The latter sounds less likely, but it might well be the case.

it’s not something as mad as activation order?

Did some testing. Attacker was a Riftwarrior Diabolist. They fire 2 slow moving homing projectiles that can be easily tracked visually. I let them fire 100 Projectiles and recorded if they were deflected, reflected, or hits. Character has Aura of Deflection 5, Aura of Vengeance 5, Aura Stability 7.

Aura of Deflection only
expected: 63x1,3=81,9 deflected, 0 reflected, 19,1 hits
counted: 78 deflected, 0 reflected, 22 hits

Aura of Vengeace only
expected: 35x1,3=45,5 reflected, 54,5 hits
counted: 50 reflected, 0 reflected, 50 hits

Both Auras
expected: (1-0,63x1,1)*(1-0,35x1,1)=0,188 -> 19 hits, 81 reflected or deflected
counted: 74 deflected, 0 reflected, 26 hits

If my math and counting are correct then we can be be 95% sure that those auras do not stack. The missing effect of reflection when both auras are active also support that thesis.

In addition i have two questions regarding general HGL mechanics:

  1. Is there anything that affects the damage of shrapnel/nova/spikes/discharge? Afaik the only factor here is the ilvl of the mod/weapon

  2. More a factor for leveling with surgecasters: if a weapon deals lightning damage and has the mod “increases lightning damage by x%” then the damage Tooltip of that weapon will be higher. Does that mean this damage is the base and then gets multiplied with other added/increased modifiers or is it a increased modifier like every other? Example: all green Vorpal Slashers of ilvl 51 deal 11-16 damage. But if a green Vorpal Slasher of ivl51 also has the mod "spectral damage increased by 20% then the damage Tooltip of that weapon will show 13-19 damage. What is the base for further damage calculations here? 13-19 or 11-16?

More to the point, if your maths are correct - and I believe they are as I don’t think Flagship put any more thought into the interaction between those two auras than what’s implied by your maths - then running Aura of Vengeace on top of Aura of Deflection is useless for defensive purposes in basically all scenarios, even when the auras DO stack: going from 18,1% to 18.8% hit chance from ranged attacks for 4 more skill points? Come on…

With a third aura active, the difference would be between (1-0,63x1,1)=30,7% hits with only Aura of Deflection and (1-0,63x0,9)*(1-0,35x0,9) = 29,7% hits with both Auras. Which is at least an improvement, but I’d still consider it a waste of 4 perfectly good skill points that you’re better off spending elsewhere. I haven’t run the numbers for fewer points in Aura Stability, but I don’t think things would look any better then, either.

I have no definite answer to your 2nd question, but I believe the damage calculations would be based on the new numbers, i.e. 13-19.

As for shrapnel/nova/spikes/discharge, I detest those things and want nothing to do with them. :stuck_out_tongue: