So after getting my fighter to level 14 and coming to terms with it?s and the games mechanics, I thought I would share what I?ve learned to help out anyone else who may be having trouble or who is interested in giving the class a shot.
1: The Basics
The GF is a tank. Duh.
2: A guard by any other name?
By holding down shift you are able to guard against attacks in an approximate 180 arc in front of you. Know that you cannot guard immediately in the middle of an attack animation. Note that that your guard is capable of blocking ANYTHING. Traps, magic, ogre clubs, you name it, as long as your guard meter can take it. As a GF, your guard meter is extremely important as guarding is your primary means of not dying. The more powerful the attack that is blocked, the more guard meter will be drained from you. If your guard meter is drained completely, you cannot guard until your guard meter is full again.
If this happens while you are still in combat, the only way you will be able to fill your guard meter again is through attacks that you should have been using to keep your guard meter up in the first place, such as Shield Bash, Enforced Threat and Shield Slam.
3: Do not cross the red line!
Large mobs (enemies that do not die by you looking at them the wrong way) all have powerful attacks they can use against you. All of these attacks are telegraphed. Either by certain movements, shiny lights, a large red area on the ground indicating the area the attack will hit or a combination of the three. These attacks, being more powerful will of course take more of your guard meter to block and more of your hp if they connect.
4: How to diffuse a nuke
So you have three options when facing these moves. A) you absorb it with your shield. B) you lower your shield and step out of the area of effect. C) stun them out of it. Let?s break down each and look at their pros and cons and when you?d want to use each.
This should be your choice if
1) You have the guard meter to take the hits and/or
2) you are at low health
3) You cannot get out of the AoE in time.
4) It?s a self cast AoE IE the enemy is at the center of their own aoe. You cannot move out of those in time.
? A no-brainer right? Well a lot of people guard no matter the situation? Like in the two below where you wouldn?t want to?
B)?Lowering your shield to sidestep and move behind an opponent.
This should be your choice if:
1) There is only one large mob and your stun/daze is on cd.
2) If there are multiple large mobs, you know the delay on their heavy hits and can time it correctly to get behind them.
3) Trying to conserve guard meter.
4) You have enough HP to take any hits that might land.
? A very oft overlooked option. Do not stand there and get pummeled until your guard meter is gone. Wait for them to telegraph their heavy attacks, then sidestep them and move into position behind and punish with a shield bash + your heavy attacks. Always guard at the edge of an AoE as you are moving out since you will often take a few hits due to latency. Remember to lower your shield for the first few moments you are moving out of the AoE so you can move at full speed.
Also, please note that option B) is to?SIDE-STEP.?DO NOT try to back out of an AoE. You won?t make it without taking damage.
This should be your choice if
1) It?s off CD.
2) If there are multiple large mobs, you are not concerned about possibly eating the other?s heavy attacks or you are pretty sure you?re out of reach.
3) You have the hp/guard meter to get out of the way because?
? Be advised that this only INTERRUPTS their attack. They will still use a heavy attack almost immediately after the stun wears off, so you should already be moving to the side to avoid, be guarding or both.
? General Tips ?
? Always try to kill the grunts first. This does two things. 1) It gets rid of their damage and 2) makes it easier to concentrate on the large mob and spot his attacks.
? Save your heavy attacks for the large mob in the group. Your AoE taunt and 2-3 hits of cleave should be enough to take out the trash.
? Do not spam attacks, this can leave you open.
? Go into a group of mobs with your guard up. Get a feel for the delay on their attacks, then attack in between theirs. I usually find that unless the enemies attacks are staggered, I can get in 2-3 hits of cleave or another attack and 1 cleave before I have to get my guard up taking zero to minimal damage.
? As noted by gillrmn, guarding against damage helps to fill your daily gauge.
? Enemies behind you gain combat advantage AKA beating the crap out of you more effectively. Keep them in front of you and your shield.
? Playing as a fighter, knowing the delay and range of an enemy?s attack is paramount. Luckily your shield allows you to find all of that out with little to no risk. Be observant!