Help the Hobbit; Shields in Overpower?

January 11, 2013


I played a Guardian as my main when LOTRO first started and I played mainly as a tank.  When we returned to LOTRO several years ago I picked up my Guardian and proceeded to play him exactly as I did before; as a tank.  It wasn’t until I started listening to Through the Palantir that I started to question my decision to disregard the Overpower stance.  After talking to them a bit about the Guardian and some feedback from the community I decided to give Overpower a try and almost instantly berated myself for being a fool and not trying it earlier.

However, with the onset of Riders of Rohan the Guardian class underwent some changes with the majority of those changes being focused on Overpower.  It’s those changes that bring us to our current topic.

This Week’s Topic

This week’s topic comes from Oli of “Has Powerful Friends” Kinship on the Vilya Server.  He asks:  Should I use a shield or a 2-handed weapon in Overpower?

Hi Goldenstar and Merric, I have a question about Guardians. When RoR came out I rolled a new Guardian and now I have him up to level 40 and can mess with his traits a bit. I play in Op with a 2h club but with the changes you are allowed to play sword and board in Op. So main point is, is it better to run with a 2h in Op or sword and board? Thank you for your help.

Unfortunately for Oli I haven’t been playing my Guardian recently so I can’t put forward my own experience.  However, I know we have a strong community here that would be more than willing to offer constructive advice.  So which configuration should Oli stick with: 2-handed or 1-handed and a shield?

Goldenstar posted this question earlier this week on CSTM’s facebook and google+ pages so you can check out those for additional discussion!

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About Merric

Co-founder of CSTM and an avid LOTRO fan.

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10 Responses to “Help the Hobbit; Shields in Overpower?”

  1. Cadd Says:

    I’ll repeat the sentiments I gave on FB, plus some extra thinking ;)

    2h will maximise your DPS, but OP Sword&Board is still a lot more dps than tanking, but not sacrificing too much survivability. Since I like to pull several mobs and wear them down, I find 2h OP too brittle. The shield makes up for the 30% reduction in Mitigations OP gives.

    However, there’s another aspect. I ran my guard OP from the moment he got it (lvl 20 back then). This means that until the change to allow shields, he had hardly progressed _anything_ in all the plethora of Class Traits that revolve around the shield!

    So my recommendation: Try both, run a period of each. This will have the added benefit of letting you work on your shield-related deeds some before comitting to one playstyle.


    • Cadd Says:

      One thing I missed to say:

      Previously, some guards did simpler tanking in OP, similar to how Champs at one time used to Fervour-tank. Some still try, being set in their ways.

      The new OP really doesn’t work for that. All aggro-builders are instead aggro-shedders in OP, I think every DPS-class in the game would give their left hand for that many tools to reduce their aggro!


    • JamesDouglas Says:

      I agree – OP with a 2H is a LOT more brittle than sword/board. I have a 68 Guard, and I switch between 2H and sword/board quite often, but I’m primarily only using the 2H against mobs to get the final class traits for OP-related skills: when the going gets tough (read: 4 mobs or more, which is what I like to pull), it’s sword/board or death for me, and that’s with Catch a Breath at a 15s cooldown with either weapon choice.

      Generally, though, I still really like the survivability of Guardian Defense – it takes FOREVER to kill stuff, but I’m never worried about survival. The only question is how much power I have left at the end of the fight.


  2. susan Says:

    When Rohan went live, I embraced shield and OP stance, it worked pretty good for me but on some warbands or instances I was too squishy. I have since just made a good one-handed/shield for Guardian Defense and a good two handed for OP. I found that mixing the two just nerfed them and its just easier to switch out the weapons and stance depending on what the situation calls for. takes a nanosecond and you get all the benefits of each stance, with the exception of how you are traited. havent found a good mix of traits yet that would get the most out of running both OP and defense.

    my strategy now is running the easy repeatable hybolts in 2H OP for fast kills, and donning def/shield when running those on foot instances that are a boogar or when I tackle certain WB solo or plain just get in trouble.


  3. tito Says:

    i’ve run my guard in op sword and board since it became available with rohan. you don’t get the same dps as two-handed but i can pull and clear mobs without issue. even in group play i find that i can tank decently because i don’t need to be healed as often as other types. i wish there was a way to trait more aggro without losing the benefits but i’ll take it the way it is now over the way it used to be without complaint.


  4. Draug Says:

    I’m sorry, I just can’t do OP. Of course when the quest is levels below me, or if I’m grinding an old slayer deed sure, but if I’m skirming/raiding, doing quests designed for my current level, I’m always in GD. Well, before the update I was always in GP lol. I just delight in pulling aggro and getting hammered… and even with sword and board, I just can’t compensate for extra damage I’m taking in OP. Worst of all, unless I’m misreading something, your threat generation skills work in reverse… they lower your aggro (I can’t say for sure, because I just noticed this last night… shows how little I go OP). Anyway, to stop ranting and answer the question, if you’re gonna go OP, at least use a shield. I dislike 2 handed weapons for almost all classes… albeit for different reasons. But your going to need all of the extra armour you can get, especially getting into that level.


  5. Avatar of andyb
    andyb Says:

    Not being a fan of the animations 2h weapons have I never really used them. And coming from sword and board tanking in other games I dont mind the potential dps loss from being able to have multiple mobs hitting you at any given time.

    I also found that OP guards suffer the same blinkered group role as the WS mini where people see your class and assume that you’re willing to retrait into the more traditional role.

    End of the day play the way you enjoy that class and you’ll get more from it.


  6. Smugglin Says:

    Well, first off, at around level 40 you are still young and fresh and should experiment with the different play styles to find out which you like best , 2H or OP SH. At your level 2H OP is all about raw damage. As you unlock more class skill deeds you will add a lot of bleed/ mobility to your play style. For OP SH, you will not bee more tanky because of the inherent reduction in mit while in OP. I think its 30% and the defensive value represented by the shield doesn’t make up that difference. What the shield DOES add is control. Your 40 and will soon be 41, so that means that you will soon be unlocking your first Legendary trait slot. If you go OP SH then slot your shield trait that will give you another bash . That will give you 2 ways to stun/lockdown your opponents. You may like this play style because it requires a little finesse to execute well. The problem will be that in OP you have no way to force a block event like you do with the parry chain. Maybe you could wear a few block rating items and keep ward up to up your chances of unlocking. In the end you need to try it yourself. I would make a suggestion that at lvl 56 when you your in Moria unlock your red line capstone and slot it. Things with be smooth as butter after that. GL


  7. Eppy Says:

    I play a guardian almost always (except when grouping) in OP at level cap.

    IMO the biggest change to OP with ROR (along with being able to play with shield) is that the your mitigations get reduced big time. You will take a lot more damage than before. While the dps is better I’ve found myself in trouble a few times taking on a bit more than I can chew where as before it was no problem. The first time this happened post-RoR I hit Guardian Pledge and instead of making me invincible for a short while it gave me a dps buff but I still got mauled to death by the mobs I pulled. The dps is really good though once you get legendary items to enhance your skills.

    At lvl 40 there probably would only be a small improvement to your 2h dps but more of a hit to your survivability. If I recall from my time at that level I mostly ran yellow traited for survivability and sword and boarded it. For this type of style I think the new OP is useful because you are geared to survive and can (when needed) switch to OP and get a little extra boost dps wise out in the field. You still take a survivability hit but it is better than being a 2h with raid traits imo.


  8. Diamint of Vilya Says:

    My main is an 85 Guard, and unless I am tanking for a group, I am always in OP with a 2h sword (for the parry bonus, and because I like swords) and a full dps gear set. Personally I think OP with a shield is a bit silly, the OP keeping you squishy while the shield minimizes your dps. You don’t get the best of either. If you’re running 2h OP and you have a bad pull, have GD, your shield and a 1h weapon on your toolbar. You can switch stances on the run, so you can slide into tough-as-rocks mode whenever you feel the need to. If I have an especially bad pull, I’ll switch all my gear out as well, but I don’t think it’s necessary to carry all that around when leveling.

    My only caution would be similar to what an above poster said- leveling in 2h OP is great, but make sure that every 10 levels you switch to a shield until you unlock & get comfortable with your shield skills. Then go back to 2h. RoR giving us two (three if you include mounted combat) completely separate toolbar settings was a godsend for me, allowing me to really get comfortable with my keystrokes in both stances without having to move skills around all the time.


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