Hey guys, I'm running a level 80 Guardian with 30 trait lines in both Valor and Honor, and another 10 in Zeal right now. My gear is mostly exotic with stats put into toughness, and vitality to compensate for the Guardians lacking HP pool. The problem is I'm getting steamrolled in Ascalonian Catacombs explore paths and I find myself spending most of the instance on the floor. I'm making good use of dodging and I know my role yet I'll still have, for example, a warrior and a thief in my party who are keeping their health bars up with no issue while I'm the one hitting the ground over and over. Specifically I have issues with the ghost packs at the end of AC path 2; the ranger / elementalist mobs will come out and target me down before I can even pop an aegis skill, and even though I'm popping wall of reflection for rangers and using LOS to my advantage I'm still getting face-melt damage while my party seems to be holding their own alright. Just getting to the point where I'd like to ask the community for basic comprehensive survival tips specifically for handling mobs in explore dungeons.
Things I am aware of and make use of: -armor repairs after fights
- dodging attacks
- Guardian defensive skills
- LOS when available
- weapon swapping when needed
- mobility while fighting
- spreading out in mob fights
Not sure if this will help or not, because I don't think it's the answer you're looking for. Most games have tanky characters that never die if you play them right. In Guild Wars 2, it's not quite that clear cut. You really need to think about things like dodging, moving constantly, condition removal, and control.
You also have to know the bosses, some of which are murder on melee guys, but are not so bad if you're ranged so before you aggro those bosses, make sure you're using either staff or sceptor as part of your attack.
The thing is, most people die in dungeons. It's most about seeing the attacks, avoiding them. LOSing and in generally learning when to back off and heal, and not just stay in the action.
It takes time and patience to learn each battle, and where to run to avoid traps. I've found Ghosteaster to be the easiest path of the three, and we have the run down to about 25 minutes, which isn't all that fast, but it's fast for me. But people still die, and occasionally the party will wipe.
To add to what Vayne said, armor Runes are also very helpful in keeping you alive if you get the right ones. I don't play melee characters so I can't tell you which runes are best off hand, but if you do a quick search on the trading post of "Superior Rune" it will come up with a good list.
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Ekimtino is overstating the problem a bit - he doesn't die too much beyond what is expected of someone new to explorables. The problem
partly comes down to party composition as well. I think everyone dies more often in pugs than in full guild groups.
Beyond party composition, good situational awareness and understanding of boss mechanics as Vayne mentioned, I find efficient key binds are key to survivability. You don't need to go my route with a nostromo and G500, but fast twitch muscle memory access to dodge, condition removal, block and heal are key. Another option to pursue is the vigor boon. You've got a 5 point trait that gives vigor on crit, which would let you dodge more. The only other thing that I had to work on is actually looking at the action instead of the UI. Other mmos had me conditioned to standing in one place watching buff procs and taunting when a name plate got big.
It gets better with practice! Some days I feel godly, but there's always a random group where you find yourself dying constantly for no reason.
I'm not 80, yet, so take this with a grain of salt or ignore it if you want, but as I've been playing my Guardian, I've noticed that while using a staff, you actually become a healer. Flat out, the staff skills give you extra healing abilities, and with the others you can choose, you can make yourself a pretty great healer by traditional MMO standards.
So what I would suggest is not tanking at all, and instead get your skills and traits set up to be a support character, whip out the staff and stand back to try keeping others alive. Its a different play mentality, but it might make dungeons easier for you and everyone else (I'm not sure, as I'm only lvl 48 with my first character, atm, but still).
Just a thought.
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One of my main characters is a 80 Guardian, and I love to run AC (with the right group, I've been able to do all 3 paths in an hour). Personally, I think it depends upon your play style with the guardian. Many other guardians I see tend to be aggressive melee--which is great if that is your play style. Unfortunately, many dungeons tend to hit those within melee range the hardest. I've found when I've emphasized melee, I tend to get dropped quite a bit. A solution I have found is to use the scepter/torch, which is great for dealing ranged attacks. I will usually swap to sword/focus to deal melee damage if it is a creature I know I can get away with dealing good damage to it for a bit--like the howler after the Spider Queen.
I have seen some guardians be successful at holding aggro for a while. I imagine they probably have a lot of runes and such built around protection/toughness/health. One idea that may help you survive better if you like to melee a lot is to use mace/focus or mace/shield. As you may know, the mace gives you protection which results in 33% less damage. A skill that may be helpful to have would be the Signet of Judgement, which reduces damage by 10% for it's passive ability.
I've heard from others that I play the guardian quite a bit different from other guardians. I tend to use hit and run tactics with my melee. I'll dive in, grab their aggro for a bit, deal some nice damage, then pop my focus #5 (three blocks), and dodge away to nail them more with the scepter/torch. As Vayne mentioned, it really comes down to 'playing' your opponent. Here is an example:
In the Ascalonian Catacombs, there are the Scavengers. You can melee these, but you have to be sure to dodge their charged leap, as most people tend to find themselves dead in a hurry if they don't. For the ghost section you were mentioning, it is best to kite them, as more continually spawn until the NPC finishes repairing her cannon. Then, you can kill them.
With my guardian, I run 20 20 20 10 0 on my traits line, with full berserker jewelry and an exotic Twilight Armor/weapon set. My emphasis is more on damage than on survivability, yet if you watch what you do, you can easily get through the dungeon without dying. I do run Superior Runes of the Dolyak on my runes, which add in toughness/vitality, with an additional boost of health regeneration.
Just to be clear, I'm not advocating on becoming a 'ranged' guardian. What I'm saying is to pay attention to your situation and use weapons that merit them. There are some enemies that are best fought with range, whereas others need to have someone aggro them. While I do a fair amount of range (as this has nice aoe for the guardian) I have far more kills with the sword. I'm not sure if you have done Twilight Arbor yet, but if you have, then you will know the duelist there. I've shocked groups I've been with by being able to take duelists on 1-on-1 when the rest of the group has wiped from the knight. I'll go in, hold his aggro for a bit, using a lot of sword #2 and focus #4 to keep him blind. I also have my signets traited to recharge 20% faster, so I can heal every 32 seconds. When I get to the point where the duelist may kill me, I pop focus #5, switch to scepter/torch, use #3 (which immobilizes) and then dodge back to kite until my skills recharge. Then it is back into the fray again.
I mention this to give you an idea of my play style which has worked for me. It may not be effective for you, so you may have to play around until you find something that works better. Personally, I've found when I go charging into a huge group, I don't expect to stay in the midst long unless I intend to die to give my group more time to deal aoe damage.
On a side note, I have found that enemies can focus their attention on one member more than others. I've heard some people say that the enemies tend to focus on those who are the biggest threat, so that could be the case. If you are the most geared of the group, it could be why you are dying more because the enemies may target you more often. This isn't always the case, but I have done some testing on this concept. I've had Malronna (the spider mini-boss in Twilight Arbor) consistently chase me around the entire room while my party members could stay in place and attack.
I hope some of this is helpful to you. It may be an idea to look for a guardian to partner up in the game for a bit and see how they play. This may give you a better idea how you may adapt your style for better survivability. Good luck on future dungeon runs.
Came into this thread expecting to explain to you everything you're doing wrong, and then noticed in your post that you sound fully competent and know exactly how to play a Guardian (including knowing how to dodge, which is something a lot of Guardians forget to do).
Therefore, the only advice I can give you is to find a good combination of weapons that you can use (one for melee and one for ranged). When faced with certain foes, switch to ranged and let the warriors or thieves who are having less issue do the tanking for you. Be fast on your feet, and when you feel capable, switch weapons again and engage in melee.
Aside from that, I think dungeons are tough anyway. So, you shouldn't be ashamed by dying.