The Guild Wars 2 Guardian, Paladin by another name?

I’ve been playing a good amount of my Guardian alt in Guild Wars 2 these last few weeks and having a blast. I really like the aesthetic of the class, magical abilities infused with blue flame or light coupled with in-your-face melee attacks. The class is also a mix of support and defense baked-in with the three frequent use ‘virtue’ F-keys and the auto-block mechanics of aegis. In many ways the class makes me think of the Paladin archetype from fantasy literature, Dungeons & Dragons and other sources.

Sword and … focus?

I’m not a fan of tanking as a standard trinity/group role in dungeons or other content, but I do love healing. So although my Guardian isn’t a classic MMORPG healer, I do get to feel a bit like one during dynamic events by buffing people’s health and defense.


At the moment he wields (long)sword & focus for exploring and damage dealing, and staff for group content and survivability. The former gives a charge ability and some burst damage. The latter weapon brings a wide-spray basic attack for quickly tagging multiple mobs in the crazier zerg situations, and Symbol of Swiftness and Empower for buffing allies. It’s a combo I’ve been using on him for a while, at least since I dropped shield for the focus back when he was spending most of his time running the world boss event chain in Wayfarer Foothills.

Sword and … focus?

The key attributes of the Paladin, a stoic magic knight with a focus on healing and defensive abilities describe the Guardian well indeed. There’s a lack of the usual obvious religious trappings and faith that you might expect of a Paladin, but the visuals and mechanics fit the trope well enough for me to really enjoy playing this profession.

Holy blue flames FTW!

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3 Responses to The Guild Wars 2 Guardian, Paladin by another name?

  1. Bhagpuss says:

    From what I hear, you’re going to love the PoF elite spec for the Guardian, which is set to be the new go-to for healing. Not tried it myself but if so it brings the class even closer to the Paladin archetype which it always resembled.

  2. Sylow says:

    I’d even say, only with the new elite spec it is a Paladin. Mind you, when i stated out in GW2 i also thought that the Guardian would be a Paladin by another name. It’s still my main and most actively played char(r) and i use a rather support oriented setup.It has lots of shouts, which in my spec also cleanse people around me, etc. It really feels good when you see not only yourself, but also a number of people around you run away from a boss after he used a fear ability, then your char(r) shoulds something like “Hold the line” or “Stand your ground” and people around you are in control again and attack again.

    But while i provide buffs, cleanses and stability to people around me, healing is not a big part of the deal. (Generally my healing is to jump to people with my F2, but due to cooldown that doesn’t happen too often. ) In terms of healing the base Guardian, as well as the Dragonhunter, falls short of many other classes. While you seem to like the staff, it’s rather weak compared to many other classes options. Sword and focus on the other hand are very solid, especially since the sword a while ago got one of its most annoying glitches (a number of attacks were coded as projectiles with melee range, which made some mobs deflect them and others not be reliably hit by them) fixed. So sword provides good (not the best, but still good) damage, mobility and a light field. Both sword and focus can blind the enemy, which makes your target miss the next attack. When used properly you can prevent a bosses big attack to hit, which can be a lifesaver. (With F3 being the other tool where you can save people from certain death from a big attack. )

    In pure theory the shield now, after the rework at in spring, is superior in group, but i personally find it clunkier to use. So while the focus at first glance is the more “selfish” of those two offhand options (the third being the torch, which is mostly an offensive tool), i find the focus to be preferable both for my group and myself.

    After thatl long text still: yes, the new elite spec on way might be what you want.

  3. PMu says:

    I love how what would be a tank in any other game is more complex in GW2, can’t wait for PoF

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