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The Secret to Guardian Tanking


seraphimm

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You're right on one point, from an angle -- and off on the other if my understanding of it is right.

 

1. Yes, riposte is off GCD, but your general ability to blow focus is tied to the GCD and the riposte CD. Realistically, you shouldn't have much trouble paying full value for riposte.

 

2. On Blade barricade, take note of the wording: "adds x to your defenses" -- it doesn't add X to your mitigation. It's adding 6% of your total defenses. So, assuming my understanding is correct and applying it to your example: it's adding 6% of 27%, not a flat 6% to 27%.

 

I took the skill and looked at my stats, and this was how I understood it to be working -- but I'm certainly not claiming I have it 100% accurate.

 

You're right on point 2. The tooltip does say increase defense by 6%, according to TORHEAD. So I redid the calculations, it's down to approximately 43% mitigation, with Blade Barricade. Still, it's a good number. Of course, that is assuming the formula I used for it is correct.

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So this received a better response than I assumed it would. I had my fireproof pants on assuming it would attract the hate fueled flames from those who wanted to play today and couldn't and are willing to take it out on any post they find disagreement with. After all I'm suggesting people Tank without maximizing the Defense tree.

 

Instead the post was flagged as a 5 star rated post (thanks to whoever did that) and the conversation has largely been a positive exchange of ideas.

 

Also an early leader in the forums based on number of replies.

 

Not counting the threads complaining about not being able to play on day one of pre-release.

 

Anyway, Thanks again all

 

Seraphimm

 

It does make for good discussion, I have to admit. What you are doing here is giving a creative alternative to a standard build, one that most likely does work. On the forums you saw my calculations. It is very comparable to the standard defense calculations.

 

Actually... I'm going to have to redo them to take into account Soresu form and armor rating. I'll let you know what I come up with.

 

Number crunching, number crunching... :)

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This is always a touchy subject, everyone has their own way of doing things. That being said I LIKE the way I had things set-up.

 

My Gear:

Logitech G-13 Gamepad (left hand)

Logitech G-19 Keyboard

Razer 17 button mouse (right hand)

 

Mouse is my movement. All of it. The 12 button thumb grid holds my movement keys and any skill I can't use while moving.

 

I generally map the first row of thumb grid to A-W-D center button (where my thumb rests is W. Then strafe left and right are left and right to the center button in accordance. Steering with the mouse. The next row up were skills I could only use while standing still (channeled) or my stun break buttons. I also attached Force Leap to my mouses center button

 

On my G-13 I set up a 9 button grid with my center 3 fingers in the center. The center 3 buttons are my 3 primary strikes (In the guardians case, Riposte, Sundering Strike, and strike. The upper rows are my second most frequent (again using the guardian; Force Sweep, Blade Storm, and Challenging call/taunt). The lower row I used to bind Slash, overhead slash, and a macro trying to cast both pommel strike and opportune strike (only 1 is going to work depending on the condition).

 

My thumb has 2 big buttons one doing Warding call, and the other doing Force kick.

 

My pinky has 2 buttons. 1 a macro that targets my healer and casts guardian leap (used this button for force freeze prior to 50) the other button mapped to shift that lets me use the same 9 button grid for my infrequent skills (force stasis, cyclone slash, etc.)

 

When I play the bounty hunter cast heals goes on the thumb grid, instant heals goes on the upper left hand grid.

 

Interesting setup. I always thought that if you could do all of your movement with your mouse that would leave you the greatest flexibility for quickly activating abilities anywhere on the keyboard. #2 on the naga to move forward, though, is a bit of work. I suppose your right hand has gotten used to it by now. Do you have anything mapped to backpeddle?

Edited by Delphis
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Interesting setup. I always thought that if you could do all of your movement with your mouse that would leave you the greatest flexibility for quickly activating abilities anywhere on the keyboard. W to move forward, though, is a bit of work. I suppose your right hand has gotten used to it by now. Do you have anything mapped to backpeddle?

 

No, I don't backpeddle

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oh i played on nagafen few years ago, do you remember some Qeynos gardian named Zooloo?

 

I am sorry, no. We may very well have met (pvp server I believe) in some form or another , but that was some many games ago (FFXI, WOW, Eve, etc.) and names run together after a while.

 

My apologies

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First of all, seraphimm, I don't suppose you recall your armor rating at your max level do you?

 

Secondly, I just did the revised calculations for Blade Barrier vs. Protector/Unremitting build.

 

The assumptions that were made here were:

 

Mob hits for 3000 damage per cycle (2000 DPS)

Character was lvl 50

Character had a 4000 armor rating

Character had Soresu form on

Blade Barrier absorbs 300 damage per 1 hit.

Both Protector and Unremitting stack

Ideal conditions (basically all moves are done on time and there is no lag time between guardian leap and force leap)

Maximum mitigation is 75%

 

Known details:

Protector mitigates damage by 20% for 6 seconds. Has a 20 second cooldown.

Unremitting mitigates 20% for 4 seconds. Force Leap has a 15 second cooldown

 

The first set of calculations that were done were per cycle. The vigilance build depends on the cooldown of guardian leap, so that was set to a 20 second cycle. Blade Barrier depends on Blade Storm cooldown, so that has been set to a 12 second cycle. Per cycle, damage taken by the player is as follows

 

Vigilance build: approximately 15570 damage taken per cycle

Blade Barrier: approximately 10070 damage taken per cycle.

 

Over a 1 minute time period, the results were

Vigilance build: approximately 46710 damage taken

Blade Barrier: approximately 50351 damage taken

 

What this shows is that when armor is taken into account (the other calculation negated armor) the Vigilance build does indeed mitigate more over time. However, as per cycle, blade barrier absorbs more. The reason for this is that Blade Barrier has a shorter cooldown period than the Vigilance build, so it is less spiky. This is opposed to the tank taken full damage on the Vigilance build for a full 14 seconds. However, over time, the percentage mitigation for the Vigilance build wins out. The last thing to note is that the full mitigation for the Vigilance build is not being taken advantage of. The base mitigation without these abilities was 43%. You tack on 40% and you get 83%. However, the assumption is that the mitigation cap is 75%. So not all of the new mitigation is taken advantage of. Just keep in mind the mitigation cap is a assumption, and is subject to change with more data.

 

Hope this helps. I'll be making revisions as I gather more data over time.

 

Edit: Was slightly wrong on these calculations after inputting the new armor value. The results do not change, but the numbers are slightly different.

 

Per cycle, damage taken by the player is as follows

 

Vigilance build: approximately 13875 damage taken per cycle

Blade Barrier: approximately 11593 damage taken per cycle.

 

Over a 1 minute time period, the results were

Vigilance build: approximately 51173 damage taken

Blade Barrier: approximately 57966 damage taken

Edited by Demitries
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First of all, seraphimm, I don't suppose you recall your armor rating at your max level do you?

 

Secondly, I just did the revised calculations for Blade Barrier vs. Protector/Unremitting build.

 

The assumptions that were made here were:

 

Mob hits for 3000 damage per cycle (2000 DPS)

Character was lvl 50

Character had a 4000 armor rating

Character had Soresu form on

Blade Barrier absorbs 300 damage per 1 hit.

Both Protector and Unremitting stack

Ideal conditions (basically all moves are done on time and there is no lag time between guardian leap and force leap)

Maximum mitigation is 75%

 

Known details:

Protector mitigates damage by 20% for 6 seconds. Has a 20 second cooldown.

Unremitting mitigates 20% for 4 seconds. Force Leap has a 15 second cooldown

 

The first set of calculations that were done were per cycle. The vigilance build depends on the cooldown of guardian leap, so that was set to a 20 second cycle. Blade Barrier depends on Blade Storm cooldown, so that has been set to a 12 second cycle. Per cycle, damage taken by the player is as follows

 

Vigilance build: approximately 15570 damage taken per cycle

Blade Barrier: approximately 10070 damage taken per cycle.

 

Over a 1 minute time period, the results were

Vigilance build: approximately 46710 damage taken

Blade Barrier: approximately 50351 damage taken

 

What this shows is that when armor is taken into account (the other calculation negated armor) the Vigilance build does indeed mitigate more over time. However, as per cycle, blade barrier absorbs more. The reason for this is that Blade Barrier has a shorter cooldown period than the Vigilance build, so it is less spiky. This is opposed to the tank taken full damage on the Vigilance build for a full 14 seconds. However, over time, the percentage mitigation for the Vigilance build wins out. The last thing to note is that the full mitigation for the Vigilance build is not being taken advantage of. The base mitigation without these abilities was 43%. You tack on 40% and you get 83%. However, the assumption is that the mitigation cap is 75%. So not all of the new mitigation is taken advantage of. Just keep in mind the mitigation cap is a assumption, and is subject to change with more data.

 

Hope this helps. I'll be making revisions as I gather more data over time.

 

Holy mathematics Batman.

 

I think it was ~5200 towards the end?!?

 

Anyway I just finished reading the "<Beginners Guide to Juggernaut Tanking by Phottek>" Not THAT is a tanking guide. I suggest everyone wanting to tank go have a read. Top shelf stuff. Puts this pitiful guide to shame.

 

I love math, but have never used it to verify my game. I've always played by feel (Fight a mob, judge relative ease of fight, make some changes then go in for another fight). For all I knew I was way off base and was just having more fun using Guardian Leap and Force Leap back to back.

 

Of course you know all this will change on Launch day with the first big patch...

Edited by seraphimm
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I do hate the fact that you can do a free Blade Storm after Force Leap (with Momentum) and still use up your Courage stack, and you need at least 1 point of Momentum to get to the second tier of the Defense tree. That turns me off of Courage completely and makes the guaranteed free Force Sweep from Effluence far more appealing. With the Vigilance/Defense build, you have a guaranteed free Blade Storm after each Leap, and a guaranteed free Force Sweep every time the skill becomes available

 

 

Two things to make note of here:

 

1. The spec as it is does not allow for a free blade storm every leap (only 2 in every 3), not hard to fix, but you do need to free up a point from somewhere. My suggestion would be to skip thrown gauntlet all together in favor of filling out shield spec and battle cry. Yes the 15 seconds reduced cd on the aoe taunt is nice, but in theory you shouldn't be NEEDING it on cd anyways.

 

2. For builds that go full defense and use courage instead you need to consider that a priority order change between blade storm and sweep is necessary when you have both 3 stacks of courage and battle cry. It may be a bit much to think about on the fly, but that would effectively solve the problem.

 

About the build in general:

 

I'm still skeptical, I like the theory but I think that in alot of fights it may be more trouble than it's worth to execute, not to mention all the problems excess unnecessary movement can cause.

 

The biggest reason I was/am skeptical of this build is recouping the focus gen lost when dropping courage and cyclonic strikes. Although in an attempt to math it out I came to an interesting conclusion, they're a lot closer than I originally thought, although courage still wins out:

 

Vigilance build:

 

Assuming: force sweep and blade storm are used on cool down and leap is used after guardian leaps cool down and the build in question has a full 3/3 battle cry for free storms after leap. The optimal focus generated/saved in 1 minute assuming everything is perfect is:

 

3 leaps @ 3 focus generated: 9 focus

5 sweeps @ 3 focus saved: 15 focus

3 storms @ 4 focus saved: 12 focus (only 3 of the 6 cast in 1 minute are free)

Total: 36 focus per minute saved/generated

 

Realistically this is probably more in the 27-33 focus per minute range based on timing and other ability cool downs.

 

Defense Build:

 

This is a bit less straightforward. While Cyclonic sweeps adds a guaranteed 20 focus per minute, courage is less obvious. For defense to break even on vigilance courage needs to generate ~15 rage per minute or 2 every 8-9 seconds or so. A single mob attacking on the gcd will swing at you ~6 times and you need to parry, deflect, shield or resist 2 of them, which isn't actually all that difficult, and in fact ideally you will proc courage off of more than that (as many as all would be nice for at least partial mitigation). Up the number of mobs to 2 or 3 and you may find that it generates more free focus than you can spend, at least on sweep and blade storm.

 

The other reason I don't like it, is as stated the micromanagement of leaping into and out of direct combat seems like a lot of work to get that extra mitigation when in theory blade barrier provides mitigation for free. (Yes I understand that blade barrier being broken or not scaling well is the primary contention and reason for this build, bear with me a moment) So I wanted to see roughly how far blade barrier lags behind leaping around like a loony.

 

Assuming:

  • Mobs are attacking on the GCD for about 2500 damage per swing (high? low? let me know, I figured it was a good number based on player ability numbers as quoted in torhead, without a combat log it's hard to know actually for sure numbers)

  • Mobs pull out a gun and shoot you when you are away from them for the 2 or so seconds during your leap. While some will follow you and not hit you for that time, it does the comparison little good.

  • 4 seconds of 40% DR and 2 seconds after that of 20% DR will on average work out to 2 hits at 40% DR and 1 at 20% DR, the timing window is too tight to guarantee that you will be hit 4 times in the 6 seconds you have unremitting and/or protector. (In theory this could go the other way and be 1 hit at 40% and 2 at 20% if your timing is really off, and that is still more likely than timing it perfectly and having 2 at 40% and 2 at 20%)

  • For Blade barrier, you are using blade storm on CD, and for Unremitting/Protector you are leaping every 20 seconds on the guardian leap CD

 

Given these assumptions unremitting/protector will mitigate ~1000 damage from the first two swings and ~500 from the third or ~2500 every 20 seconds (neat how that works out isn't it).

 

Admittedly, this is more than the ~500 or so every 12 seconds mitigated by blade barrier, but not as much as it appears on the surface, and it takes a lot of work to get. Another bonus in favor of leaping around is that %DR scales with enemy damage where as blade barrier apparently doesn't scale at all. Although I would like to see a combat log parse or SS showing how much BB actually absorbs rather than use anecdotal evidence which is why I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt here.

 

The final reason I prefer a full defense build (at least in theory) is all the other stuff you have the flexibility within defense to get.

  • You don't need to make the choice between command and shield specialization.
  • You get to take the 4% elemental and internal mitigation, which is kind of important seeing as how those damages otherwise go unmitigated but for soresu. (Not to mention the extra 5 seconds on your +40% hp cool down that comes attached to it)
  • Stasis mastery makes stasis actually useful as a tanking device.
  • Pacification means that even though your sweeps aren't always free they do hit harder
  • Never underestimate the usefulness of an extra stun in an emergency, hilt strike, even with it's long cd can be valuable in clutch situations, and guardian slash isn't quite as poor as you make it out to be, it gets extra damage when there are 5 sunders on the target. Still not quite as much dps as overhead slash, but not necessarily bad.
  • Having to jump around like a monkey to tank doesn't appeal to me. Moving the bad mans too much or for no reason has a tendency to piss the dps off (and pissed off dps tend to make your life miserable by being bad) and if you jump to the wrong target and LOS the healer, or glitch the boss, no one will be happy.

 

In an effort to provide a thought out counter argument to your build many will see the opposite, especially when it comes to the mitigation provided by leaping, however I stand by my skepticism.

 

I feel that the marginal extra rage per minute and not having to move the bad mans, as well as the flexibility within the defense tree to take extra utility are worth giving up what looks like a reasonably large mitigation boost. This is especially true when you consider that the mitigation boost is not quite as solid as it looks at first glance. If the real numbers for blade barrier were to double and be 1000 damage instead of 500, or if the damage numbers were to come down to say 1500 per hit instead of 2500 per hit then the boost is no longer as significant in a real situation.

 

For the record this is what I would consider the 'mandatory' points for a full defense build (although I would be okay with 3/3 pacification or 3/3 momentum rather than taking command I can't strictly show that) the other 10 can go pretty much anywhere, but personally I like something that looks like this and leaves 1 point free to go where ever. (Again, still okay with taking points out of command if you want 3 to play with. I'm a firm believer that while it's pretty nice that reduced cool down on AoE taunt is shouldn't ever really be NEEDED. By design if you have to use something like that on cool down there is a problem.)

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Holy mathematics Batman.

 

I think it was ~5200 towards the end?!?

 

Anyway I just finished reading the "<Beginners Guide to Juggernaut Tanking by Phottek>" Not THAT is a tanking guide. I suggest everyone wanting to tank go have a read. Top shelf stuff. Puts this pitiful guide to shame.

 

I love math, but have never used it to verify my game. I've always played by feel (Fight a mob, judge relative ease of fight, make some changes then go in for another fight). For all I knew I was way off base and was just having more fun using Guardian Leap and Force Leap back to back.

 

Of course you know all this will change on Launch day with the first big patch...

 

I just don't like it when people throw out opinions without data. I'm the kind of person who needs to verify with evidence. If I have evidence, I can substatiate my claim. That's why I use numbers. And thanks for the armor rating.

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No, I don't backpeddle

 

I meant, "#2 on the Naga to move forward..."

 

As I start this new game, I'm changing my setup so it is interesting to me to hear how other people do it. I have never felt completely comfortable with WASD while at the same time trying to get off instant abilities. It seems to require finger contortion. However, with the Naga life gets a lot easier.

 

Anyway, great guide.

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Two things to make note of here:

 

 

For the record this is what I would consider the 'mandatory' points for a full defense build (although I would be okay with 3/3 pacification or 3/3 momentum rather than taking command I can't strictly show that) the other 10 can go pretty much anywhere, but personally I like something that looks like this and leaves 1 point free to go where ever. (Again, still okay with taking points out of command if you want 3 to play with. I'm a firm believer that while it's pretty nice that reduced cool down on AoE taunt is shouldn't ever really be NEEDED. By design if you have to use something like that on cool down there is a problem.)

 

The standard build is of course viable (I call it that because one is much like all the others within some few points, and this will be more true if they buff Blade Barrier to be more in line with Kinetic Barrier (which I believe they will).

 

Issue I have is that I think end game you will miss having the added accuracy (hit Cap is always possible, but lots of mobs have -acc debuffs), and I think you might be underestimating the benefit Guardians get from the +6% to their primary stat (which according to the information we have so far effect every ability and action performed by the class).

 

But I won't argue it's viability. I think most will make a build such, and thus the main reason for this whole post.... simply another way to look at things.

 

Actually I never gave consideration to bugging the boss when I started this. I just figured if my team was within of the leap all would be well. This does deserve some consideration even though I never actually encountered it.

Edited by seraphimm
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For the record this is what I would consider the 'mandatory' points for a full defense build (although I would be okay with 3/3 pacification or 3/3 momentum rather than taking command I can't strictly show that) the other 10 can go pretty much anywhere, but personally I like something that looks like this and leaves 1 point free to go where ever. (Again, still okay with taking points out of command if you want 3 to play with. I'm a firm believer that while it's pretty nice that reduced cool down on AoE taunt is shouldn't ever really be NEEDED. By design if you have to use something like that on cool down there is a problem.)

 

The reason he chooses to go deep into vigilance like this is because the defense three is bottom heavy. Most of the better talents are at the bottom of the tree, and the higher you go, the more the talents become more 'meh'. Meanwhile the vigilance tree has talents that provide decent tanking ability. Probably the only higher talent that would be useful to get is cyclonic sweeps, in order to use inner focus more often, and perhaps guardian slash for decent snap aggro. However skills like Force Clap, Inner Peace, and Stasis mastery I can easily do without. Even Blade Barrier, as far as people on this forum are describing it, is inferior to the Protector/Unremitting combo.

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I'm very glad and excited you posted this detailed guide. It took me awhile to get through it, but that is ok, because it's filled with good explanations. I will definately be using this guide as my first build to learn SWTOR tanking.

 

Since I have yet to be able to play, what DO you use for single target mobs? you arent going to insult me :)

Edited by XceptionalForce
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I got a question about guardian slash and overhead slash. I saw that you never mentioned that guardian slash does extra damage if you have a full stack of sunder armor instead of applying sunder armor again. So wouldn't that actually make guardian strike the better strike for Jedi Knight tanks?

 

Other than that, I'm not questioning any other choice you prioritize in the vigilance tree.

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I got a question about guardian slash and overhead slash. I saw that you never mentioned that guardian slash does extra damage if you have a full stack of sunder armor instead of applying sunder armor again. So wouldn't that actually make guardian strike the better strike for Jedi Knight tanks?

 

Other than that, I'm not questioning any other choice you prioritize in the vigilance tree.

 

Just did the math on this. With a full 5 sunders on a target, overhead slash actually does more DPS on a target. More DPS means more threat via Soresu form. The downside of this is that you have to constantly keep the sunders up using Sundering Strike. But keep in mind that using Sundering Strike also generates focus.

 

Guardian Strike however is more used to do both DPS and keep sunders up more easily. This means that you probably wont be generating focus via sundering strikes as you wont need to. Instead you'll probably be using Cyclonic Sweeps to reduce the CD of combat focus, and use that to keep your focus up, when applied alongside normal strikes.

 

Both abilities use the same amount of focus.

 

In greater detail,

Overhead Slash has a 9 sec CD (with talent), and with 5 sunders, does approximately 266 DPS

Guardian Slash has a 15 sec CD, and with 5 sunders does approximately 166 DPS.

 

Clear distinction.

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Just did the math on this. With a full 5 sunders on a target, overhead slash actually does more DPS on a target. More DPS means more threat via Soresu form. The downside of this is that you have to constantly keep the sunders up using Sundering Strike. But keep in mind that using Sundering Strike also generates focus.

 

Guardian Strike however is more used to do both DPS and keep sunders up more easily. This means that you probably wont be generating focus via sundering strikes as you wont need to. Instead you'll probably be using Cyclonic Sweeps to reduce the CD of combat focus, and use that to keep your focus up, when applied alongside normal strikes.

 

Both abilities use the same amount of focus.

 

In greater detail,

Overhead Slash has a 9 sec CD (with talent), and with 5 sunders, does approximately 266 DPS

Guardian Slash has a 15 sec CD, and with 5 sunders does approximately 166 DPS.

 

Clear distinction.

 

Actually, I imagine you would still want to use sundering strike to generate focus because it still generates more focus than slash. Guardian Slash costs focus to cast last I saw when I played during the stress test so sundering strike still has it's uses in generating focus unless they changed guardian slash to generate focus instead.

 

Anyways, how much bonus damage does guardian slash gets when you have a full stack of sunders up? I thought it was going to be almost double damage there.

Edited by Philmors
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Actually, I imagine you would still want to use sundering strike to generate focus because it still generates more focus than slash. Guardian Slash costs focus to cast last I saw when I played during the stress test so sundering strike still has it's uses in generating focus unless they changed guardian slash to generate focus instead.

 

Thing is, is that sundering strike has a 4.5 second cooldown, and triggers GCD. Strike is only affected by the GCD. Now, it can be argued that sundering strike can be the main attack, and attacks like force sweep and overhead slash can be used in the interval. However eventually you're going to run into a situation where everything is on CD and you need to generate focus and threat.

 

As for the amount of damage Guardian Slash does after the 5 sunders, that was it. In this case I average the damage to 2500, a decent round number. It was given in the tooltip as the damage after all 5 sunders are applied.

Edited by Demitries
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Thing is, is that sundering strike has a 4.5 second cooldown, and triggers GCD. Strike is only affected by the GCD. Now, it can be argued that sundering strike can be the main attack, and attacks like force sweep and overhead slash can be used in the interval. However eventually you're going to run into a situation where everything is on CD and you need to generate focus and threat.

 

Yeah, I know that but you really shouldn't be using slash all that much. Only when you don't have enough focus for a move costing focus and sundering strike is on cooldown. If you have plenty of focus and everything is on cooldown then you should probably be using master strike over slash.

 

If anything on guardian strike, I was thinking you would be prioritizing the main strike of that tree over almost anything else asides from riposte and after that you would focus on other things.

Edited by Philmors
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Thing is, is that sundering strike has a 4.5 second cooldown, and triggers GCD. Strike is only affected by the GCD. Now, it can be argued that sundering strike can be the main attack, and attacks like force sweep and overhead slash can be used in the interval. However eventually you're going to run into a situation where everything is on CD and you need to generate focus and threat.

 

As for the amount of damage Guardian Slash does after the 5 sunders, that was it. In this case I average the damage to 2500, a decent round number. It was given in the tooltip as the damage after all 5 sunders are applied.

 

This does happen, and you can get Focus Flooded, and instead of Strike you use Slash to dump Focus.

 

Should this thread be reposted in the tank forums as well?

Edited by Jonlo
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This does happen, and you can get Focus Flooded, and instead of Strike you use Slash to dump Focus.

 

Should this thread be reposted in the tank forums as well?

 

I'm going to be honest. Whenever I tanked I never had a problem with generating focus. In fact most of the time I have found myself focus flooded and had to dump a lot of it into slash. So no, focus is never a problem, at least up till lvl 25.

 

And yes, a lot of this can be said in the tank forum. This probably would be a better place for this discussion.

Edited by Demitries
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