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  • Baron Wortshin - Guardian “Be like an oak - root firm and give no ground. Let the enemy tire themselves with movement! Be like an oak and weather your enemy’s blows until they spend their last strength. Only strike when they can no longer raise their hand against you, for then they are yours.”

    Thus spake Baron Berthold Wortshin, Rear Captain of the Ironwood Gang, who has also been granted the dubious noble title of “Hemi-Lord” of Split Rock Hill by the fickle King Oskar of Crowebyrne. But today’s blog entry isn’t about the Thornwood’s esoteric and whimsical system of earning noble title. It’s about Guardians.

    Guardian is the term for a warrior whose combination of brawn, steely resolve and tactical cunning makes them the unstoppable juggernaut of the battlefield. In gamer speak, Guardian is our game’s main tanking class.

    The master of the stand-up fight, the Guardian is an intimidating figure: the still point in the centre of a chaotic battlefield. Their extensive training makes Guardians adept in handling multiple opponents simultaneously, and they specialise in turning an opponent’s own attacks back on them. A guardian must be extremely tough and they are usually drawn from the largest and most imposing examples of their people.

    Our goal in designing the classes for Citadel was simple: We wanted to make each class as cool, interesting and appealing as possible. Our philosophy is that just as no part of the game is allowed to be boring, no class, party role or strategy in the game is allowed to be boring either. The role of tank is no exception.

    So how do you make a tank class interesting? Well, for a start, stop thinking about it as a tank class. As soon as you define a class by its main role in a group, it starts to get boring. So we think about what we want the class to represent. What are the core ideas of the class? What can it do better than the other classes?

    Shieldmaster Ahrad: Guardian

    “One’s resolve must be as a fortress. If it falls, the body soon follows.” - Shieldmaster Ahrad

    For Guardian, we wanted to present to the player the idea of the indomitable soldier. The steel-clad fighter who would lay down their life to protect their companions. The dauntless and cunning veteran to whom the battlefield is home, and more importantly, their domain over which to lord.

    We quickly decided on three things we wanted Guardian to do better than the other classes:

    • 1. Defend itself and take horrendous amounts of damage without falling over.
    • 2. Strategically control the battlefield by blocking movement and intercepting attacks.
    • 3. Turn that defence into devastating retaliatory attacks.

    The first point was something of a no-brainer. Guardians are tough, right? We have to give them not just the stats to be able to take the damage, but the skills and abilities too.

    The second point was also an important part of the class. Although any class in Citadel may designate a friendly target as a “ward” and attempt to protect them in battle, the Guardian does it better than any other class. The Guardian also knows how to limit movement around the battlefield in their side’s favour. There is no better class to have standing at a chokepoint or doorway, blocking the enemy’s path.

    The third point actually ended up becoming the core game mechanic of the class. Combination attacks are the heart of the Guardian’s gameplay and are potentially the most damaging single attacks that any class has.

    To make a combination attack, the player must unlock “Combo Tiers” in combat. Many Guardian attacks and counterattacks have a chance to unlock one Tier. You may unlock up to three of these Tiers at any given time. You may then spend these tiers to unleash any of five different combination attacks.

    • Devastate: A pure damage attack with your main weapon. At third tier, this will pound any foe and many adversaries into small pieces.
    • Slam: Perhaps the Guardian’s signature attack. It damages, stuns, dazes, knocks down and generally ensures your opponent has a very bad day.
    • Disable: The strategic choice for weakening a difficult opponent. It weakens, slows and generally cripples the victim.
    • Repel: Your opponent thinks they have a choice of position on the battlefield. They’re wrong. A third-tier Repel combo will actually throw your opponent into a room position of your choice - Even if it’s a bubbling pit of lava.
    • Massacre: Multiple opponents do not faze a true Guardian. This combo lets you use your Tiers to wreak wide-ranging devastation. At third tier, it damages every opponent in your vicinity.

    The number of tiers you have unlocked determines how lengthy and devastating that combo is. For example, the Slam combo attack ranges from a simple Tier 1 Elbow Slam which damages and stuns, up to the lethal Fate Sealer at Tier 3 which performs an elbow slam, followed by a hefty pummel knockdown and finished with an apocalyptic deathblow with your primary weapon.

    The inspiration for these combination attacks was the “throw” move type from a fighting game (such as Tekken or Virtua Fighter). They are hard to accomplish, but once begun they cannot be stopped and deal terrifying amounts of damage. And yes, you heard that right. They cannot be stopped. Even if you kill a Guardian in the middle of a combination attack, they will see it through to the end before dying.

    And that’s how you make a tank class!

    Come back next week for a look at a more civilized side of Citadel: The social system. Until then, hold your ground, soldiers!

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