Forohir's Guide to Melting Faces in Overpower
I consider myself one of the foremost experts on Overpower in Landroval, if not LOTRO at large. When tanking in Overpower (which you can do for 80% of the content at level 65), I regularly hold single-target aggro against every class without using a single skill that has bonus threat--in other words, I tank by out-damaging the rest of my fellowship. Now, am I saying that I out-damage every conceivable player of every other class? No. Just that in my experience, I very rarely lose aggro when in Overpower, even though I'm not using anything but damage skills (nor do I have any bonus threat from belts or anything).
The only classes that I've ever seen come close to me in damage output are the most well-geared and well-played champions and hunters, and even then it usually only happens on very long fights. For shorter fights or up-front damage, I've not met anyone who can compete with me in Overpower in terms of damage-per-second. Certainly, Hunters and Champions are far more power-efficient and have the potential to do more damage over a long fight though.
More than traits or even gear, the most important thing in Overpower is your skill sequence. Your goal is to swing your 2-hander as many times as possible, as quickly as possible, in the shortest window of time. Most classes are restricted in how many swings they can get in a period of time, but Guardians have many tools to basically exploit the combat clock. I'll talk about those tools below, and how they combine to make us perhaps the most powerful burst-damage class in the game (for a single target at least).
A brief explanation of Fast skills
Guardians are lucky in that we have many 'Fast' skills (this is not a simple adjective--it is a keyword on the skills that indicates a mechanical difference in how the skill works as compared with normal skills). Fast skills execute immediately after the prior skill is done animating. They ignore what is called the "action/attack duration" which is a delay that happens after you use a skill before you can use another skill.
The Fast skills we use in Overpower are Stagger, Retaliation, Thrust, and Overwhelm. There are other Fast skills Guardians have, but they generally require a shield and are for tanking, not DPS. If you want to learn what's so great about these skills, just go do a skirmish and fight a Shepherd of Filth. Let him hit you with all of his worms, which will massively debuff your "attack duration" speed. You'll now notice that all of your normal skills, like Guardian's Ward, Salt the Wound, Vexing Blow, Sweeping Cuts, and even Sting, are very slow to fire, one after the other. However, Fast skills like Retaliation, Stagger, and Overwhelm effectively ignore the debuff completely and fire just like normal--that is, immediately one after the other.
Now, I'm not saying that all of our non-Fast skills are useless. I'm just saying you have to choose your skills, and the order you use them, carefully. If you're going for DPS (damage per second, not damage per power!), you really want to focus on getting as many swings as possible in the shortest possible window of time.
Sting is not a Fast skill, per the keyword, but it is still awesome. Its animation and action duration are super quick, and when traited with Stinging Blow, it does 10% more damage and has a very short cooldown. You can also get a belt legacy that boosts its damage another 11.1%. You basically want to be using Sting as much as possible, especially now that its use does not significantly affect your auto-attack cycle.
Guardian's Ward, if traited and legacied, can give you something like +1700 parry rating. And in Overpower, parries translate to more DPS, as they open up your parry chain (made up of Fast skills). If legacied to have increased duration, you can use it at the start of a battle and not need to use it again until your full skill sequence is complete.
Force Opening gets you a parry response if you're not getting lucky with parries (or if you don't have aggro), so it is vitally important in opening up your parry chain, which is the true source of our DPS awesomeness.
Take to Heart
You'll need to use this skill often in order to keep yourself powered. Whenever possible, use it on foes who are stunned so that they have no chance to block, parry, or evade it (which can be very frustrating).
I called out Overwhelm already amongst the Fast skills, but it's so awesome it deserves special mention. Before Siege of Mirkwood it really wasn't anything special. But now, it's Fast, AND you can increase its crit rating with a (IMHO) must-have weapon legacy.
A word on Auto-Attacks and animation times
The recent changes to the combat system altered the way auto-attacks work. Auto-attacks no longer need to complete their animation in order to deliver their payload of damage. All they need to do is start. They can then be interrupted by any skill and will immediately do their damage. An auto-attack will attempt to start every 1.9 seconds for a 1-hander and 2.6 seconds for a 2-hander (or is it 2.4?). It cannot start while you are animating a skill, but as soon as that animating skill is done, it will start (in this way it functions like a Fast skill). Auto-attacks will "slip in between the cracks", so don't worry about starving yourself out of auto-attacks by queueing skills up one after the other.
The only way you can significantly reduce your auto-attack DPS is by using many skills with long animations. For Guardians, the only skill that has a very long animation is Sweeping Cuts. It may seem like you are getting a bargain with Sweeping Cuts, since it swings twice--but in reality you could have used another skill and an auto-attack in the same time, for a lot less power. Sweeping Cuts also has a significant post-animation delay before you can use another standard, non-Fast skill. In short, Sweeping Cuts is really meant to be used in multi-target scenarios, not against single targets.
Additionally, To the King and Brutal Assault have longer-than-ideal animations, but they are still worth using due to their high bonus damage, and anyway they will not delay your auto-attacks significantly.
The Skill Sequence
Many guards will argue over the ideal skill sequence, but here is the one with which I have had the most success (note, for single target only!):
- Guardian's Ward (For more parries. Ideally you want your duration at least 15 seconds, since it will be at least that long until you have the dead-time to reapply it)
- Force Opening (unless you immediately get a natural parry)
- Overwhelm (3-6 should be queued up one after the other, giving you four main hand attacks in about a 1.5 seconds--much faster than your actual weapon speed)
- To the King
- (from this point on, if you get a parry, goto #3 or #4 and resume from there)
- Brutal Assault
- Goto #1 and resume from there (note that this sequence, with no natural parries, takes about 15 seconds. However, for me most generic 65 normal foes will be dead after step 8).
This sequence requires the trait Blocking Force if I want to be able to reuse Force Opening on a second full lap.
Ideally, if you are getting parries, you will spend the bulk of your time in steps 3-8. Many guards will wonder why I place Brutal Assault so far down in my chain. It's not that I think it's a bad skill. In fact it is very power efficient. But its animation is somewhat long, and while it does do bonus damage, it's not enough to outweigh the damage output rapidly chaining through 3-6. I also like to hold Brutal Assault as a reserve skill, in case I am unlucky and have no parries and end up with dead-time. As for Hemorrhage (Brutal Assault's bleed), it's nice, but it's only a 50% proc, and unless I'm fighting a boss, whatever I'm fighting is going to be dead before the bleed would tick many times anyway.
What about Thrust? Thrust, while itself Fast, requires using Salt the Wound to unlock the real potential of the bleed. Unfortunately Salt the Wound is not Fast, and thus disrupts the speed and rhythm of the sequence signicantly. And once again, most foes are dead before enough bleeds ticks would occur to be worth it. Also, every use of Thrust is lost chance to crit with Overwhelm (and it does crit often when legacied!).
Obviously for PvMP it's a different story, and bleeds are your best means of getting consistent damage.
What about Sweeping Cuts? In my opinion this skill is only worth using if you are fighting more than two foes. The power consumption and animation time are otherwise not worth it in my opinion, and even though you get two swings, the long animation is delaying your auto-attack clock. In the same time you could have used another skill and made an auto-attack, for much less power. Additionally, you pretty much must use a Fast skill after Sweeping Cuts, or else you have to wait for its long action duration to expire. And did I mention its a power hog?
For multiple targets, it becomes worth it to focus on multi-target attacks such as Vexing Blow (w/Harasser), Sweeping Cuts, and Whirling Retaliation. For that reason, multi-target fights are actually much simpler to optimize. Keep your Guardian's Ward up and keep hitting those AOE attacks as they come off cooldown.
Personally, I run with Guardian's Ward, Harasser, Quickness, Raw Power, Blocking Force, Stinging Blow, and Hit Where It Hurts. The only Legendary you must have for Overpower is TTK. Hemorrhage also is good, but in my sequence less of a priority unless I know I will be fighting elite masters or higher.
On my Overpower belt (make sure to have a dedicated OP belt), I run with +Guardian's Ward Parry Rating, +Sting Damage, and +Stagger Critical Rating. On my Overpower weapon, I have +Guardian's Ward Duration, +Overwhelm Critical Rating, -% Overpower Power Cost. I'd love to have gotten +TTK or +BA damage, but was not so lucky.
I have a separate two-hander with +AOE targets, +Vexing Blow Damage, +Sweeping Cuts Damage, and +Whirling Retaliation Damage for multi-target fights.
Other Sources of Massive Damage
Might. Your Melee Offense Rating is set to 10x your Might. My Might is 637 currently, with more room to grow. Replace useless legacies with Might legacies. Get some nice +Might jewelry. Might additionally increases your parry rating 1-for-1.
Get the best crafted relic for both your belt and weapon. Symbol of Battle, for +390 Melee Offense Rating and Melee Crit Rating.
Right now I am running at over 7000 MOR, which gives me an additional +22% damage ontop of the 31% that Overpower gives me. My critical rating is currently over 3000, giving me around 10% chance of crit and 5% chance of devastate.
In skirmishes, take the Personal traits which give you additional Melee Offense Rating and Melee Crit Rating to improve these scores even further (increasing your parry rating is also helpful here). Additionally, use an Herbalist and trait her with both the single target power restore skill and the ultimate group power restore skill (even if you are just soloing, she will stack both on you). You can also have her use the skill that buffs your parry rating even further. If you're doing it right, then your soldier keeping you powered, with little to no downtime, will get you through skirmishes much faster even than if you had taken a maxed out Archer, Sage, or Warrior.
I'm sure many will challenge the bold boasts and assertions I've made above, but I stand by them. If anyone is on Landroval, I will happily give you a demonstration of what damage an Overpower Guardian can really do, while still being tons more durable/healable than a Champion in Fervour (and starting many more FM's to boot). Am I saying that OP Guardians should replace Champs and Hunters as primary DPS? No. But they can replace Champs and Hunters as a source of DPS for most end-game content. Just like Champs can tank instead of Guards.
The Price of Awesome
Of course, all my bold claims of Rawrdian pwnage are reliant on two requirements:
1) You must have aggro. If you aren't getting natural parries, you only have access to your parry chain, full of yummy Fast skills, once every 15 seconds. And if you miss Force Opening, you get nothing. Usually this is not a problem, as if you are doing the most damage, you will usually have aggro. But it can be difficult if you are undergeared compared to others in your group, or if you have a miss streak early on and fall behind (Challenge and Engage are useful here, followed by Guardian's Pledge or Eldar's Grace).
2) You must have power. You will run out of power very fast. Get tons of steeped power pots. Use them early and often. Use Take to Heart whenever it is up (again, ideally on stunned targets). Keep your eyes out for groups of 2 or more enemies so that you can run into them and use Thrill of Danger. Tell your group's Loremaster you will need power. Make sure the group's set FM has blue in it! Power power power!
These parses were taken vs. Burzthrang Mauraders (signature orcs outside Gatburz). The numbers vary wildly, based on crits, natural parries, misses, etc. Yes, these parses are lower than what the most elite Champions get--that's how it should be. But these levels of damage are certainly enough to earn your place as a DPS role in almost any grou
I'd really like to see what he was parsing. Either way there is no way an overpower guard can keep aggro off of an average geared Hunter/Champ/RK.
Guardian's threat is generated through a bunch of taunts and skills specifically made not to inflict damage but to grab the mob's attention as though you had inflicted it. That upside/down red Atari sign is as good as some of the best Hunter damage. If you arent kicking those out at a regular pace than you arent doing diddly.
The funny thing is that when this post was probably written, Guards were complaining that they were unable to hold threat no matter what they did.
At level 75, when tanking, my damage is buffed by 35% which is much lower than the OP. My average geared hunter and RK is buffed to nearly 80%. Couple those numbers with the high base DPS skills, mitigation modifiers, Crit enhancers and you are talking major damage/aggro. I have personally hit HeartSeeker and Epic Conclusion for 5-6k which is low compared to others. My Guard in overpower would need a dozen swings to get that much damage. By that time the hunter/RK is usually dead.
Thanks Wish for finding this but if I were you I'd keep reading the forums and find posts from some real tanks like Yano.
i think there were some parses at the end of the op I cut it off to limit the size. Forohir's Guide to Melting Faces in Overpower this is the full thread if you are still interested.
I just checked out the thread. Its 2 1/2 years old. Those numbers are pretty impressive for that time.
I shelved my guard at that time because his DPS was so awful.
My hat is off to Mr. Forohir but that was then and this is now.
Tanking now requires sword and board, a loud voice with oodles of mitigations and armor value and I hope it stays that way.
Zeke Ironhand Defier of Evil
Level 75 Guardian
Anyways I found this on the LOTRO forums. It may help explain how Guards generate threat thru skills as opposed to thier DPS. Not quite sure how these numbers were compiled but they certainly make good reading.
Fray the Edge: 2800
Vexing Blow: 1500 + Damage
Shield-blow: 2200 + Damage
Shield-blow with Orthanc set: (. Bonuses over the entire 30sec) 2200 + 2400 + Damage
Shield Swipe: 750 + Damage
Bash: 1450 + Damage
Legendary Shield Smash: 2200 + Damage
Shield Taunt: 3450
Challenge (with trait): 500
My comments are meant for tanking for a group. If you are soloing, agro doesn't matter.
You will want to use Whirling Retaliation everytime it is up when tanking. It isn't listed as a taunt skill, but instead, it saps agrom from your allies instead, thereby reducing there agro. When I tank, I use this skill over the single target skill everytime I can. I also do not use Overwhelm or any of my shield attacks that might stun until on a boss until he has the cooldown symbol from a CJ. Remember, Overwhelm and your shield attacks can and most of the time will stun the mob, making your possible CJ from To the King not go off.
When tanking multiple mobs, it is all about Whirling Retaliation, Vexing Blow, and Shield taunt. With traits and legacies, I think those all have a minimum of 6 targets. Throw in Sweeping Cut when you aren't doing one of those 3. use Challenge to open up, and Fray the edge and whatever that other single target taunt is when they are up. I am not sure about the trait for an increased chance at a CJ when using Fray the Edge. I can not recall ever getting a CJ from it and I use the skill often. I removed it from my trait line. I think I am 2/4/1 traited. I am typically using Guardian Threat Stance for the extra threat, block, and parry. Sometimes I swap to Block to increase my chance of getting a block when I want to heal, and sometimes I change to Parry to increase my parry chance if I want to try to get a CJ from To the King.
Since power used to be a major issue for me, I have a legacy that gives me 350% power restoration on blocks and parries and I trait both the block and the parry traits for power restoration. Now I seldom use a power pot.
The original post up there had to have been written over a year ago. There is no way in today's lag that you will have to worry about how many swings you can get in within 1.5 seconds. Sometimes you are lucky to get your advanced skills off within the 5 seconds the game gives you. I have seen them grey out many times while I was lagged.
Also, if you really want to tank, get the 5 second Kick cooldown. In three man instances and some 6 man instances, you are going to be the one everyone is relying on to stop the inductions.
Like Zeke posted earlier, I like the way they have the guardian setup now. His job is to keep the mobs off everyone else and survive the battle. He isn't the DPS Class, so do not warry much about your DPS.
If you are looking for some good tank advice, check with a real tank like Hamorin.
You guys crack me up but on a serious note, us dps really appreciate the tanks and healers. I played tanks and healers 90% of the time when I played WoW and I know sometimes it seems dps takes those classes for granted but I understand that it puts more pressure on you when doing it. My hats off to you all.