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- This article is about the tactical applications of "Protection" in general. For the Monk attribute line, see Protection Prayers.
| Note: This article is geared towards new players.|
Please keep its contents to those which new players can reasonably understand and use.
Protection is a relatively unique concept to Guild Wars. Its name comes from the attribute line that specializes in protection, which was the only real source of prot at the release of Prophecies. As a concept, a skill that prots someone will prevent damage before it occurs, often in an uncapped manner, depending on the behavior of opponents. This is achieved by mechanisms such as blocking through skills such as Guardian, damage reduction with skills such as Shield of Absorption, and max damage capping with skills such as Protective Spirit. A prot is a skill that can be cast on someone else in anticipation of damage; self-protection skills such as Bonetti's Defense or Stoneflesh Aura are usually not considered prot.
Prot is often widely categorized into two types: big (or hard) and small (or soft).
- Big prots are typically expensive (at least 10 energy), but last a long time or have very powerful effects that are likely to prevent death. Examples would be Spirit Bond, which can almost completely nullify a spike, or Protective Spirit, which has a very long duration.
- Small prots are typically much cheaper with a smaller effect and/or shorter duration, suitable for preventing a death during a spike or reducing pressure. Examples would be Guardian, typically used to reduce physical pressure or pre-prot physical spikes, and Shield of Absorption.
Due to the uncapped or very high possible efficiency of prot, it sees much use in competitive play, with eight man teams often including a dedicated prot monk. Protting rewards active play as predicting opponents actions will allow maximum efficiency to be achieved while preventing deaths which often could not have been prevented through healing alone.
Pre-protting is the act of applying prot before a spike or damage occurs. Reactively protting a target means that initial damage packets slip through and need to be healed, but by watching the battlefield a player can predict enemy movements and prot a target before the damage occurs. Perfect pre-protting involves protting a target at exactly the moment damage falls when the opponent is already committed such that damage, time and energy/adrenaline is wasted.
This is often achieved by watching the position of any melee targets who can only attack adjacent foes or by watching the direction of facing for ranged spikes and predicting a likely target and protting it just before the damage lands.
Perfect timing is important in pre-protting. Protting too late means that some damage packets slip through and require healing, protting too early means that a new target may be selected effectively wasting the prot or in some cases the prot may be removed during a spike before it can prevent any damage resulting in wasted energy and possibly a dead ally.
Pre-protting in PvE usually consists of casting defensive enchantments on one person before they run in to aggro a mob. Protective Spirit would be the most important example of this, especially in hard mode.
In PvP it is generally harder to pre-prot too effectively, because human players are more unpredictable than AI enemies. Wasting much energy on your spearhead players (Warrior, Dervish, etc.) will drain your resources while opposing party simply ignores heavily protected players. Intelligently observing the situation and protting proactively are keys to pre-prot in PvP.
Active vs. Passive
An active prot Monk or Ritualist (as opposed to a passive prot) mainly uses Protection Prayers or Restoration Magic skills but does not maintained enchantments (e.g. Life Bond, Life Barrier) or spirits (e.g. Shelter, Union).
A passive prot Monk or ritualist mainly uses maintained enchantments (e.g. Life Bond, Life Barrier) of the Protection Prayers line and/or protective passive spirits (e.g. Shelter, Union) of the Communing line. A passive prot has a special role in the party and usually does not cast many spells, even during battle. Her value to the team lies in the enchantments or spirits she maintains on the other party members.
- Monk's Protection Prayers offer first and most forms of protection in Guild Wars.
- Ritualist's Restoration Magic and Communing attributes have some decent protection in form of Weapon Spells and binding ritual spirits.
- Paragon's Command shouts offer a few party or ally-wide protection shouts.
- Other professions can provide protection to their allies, but they are generally not considered "prots."
Protection in a Nutshell
Step 1: Understand that damage is going to happen
This should happen before said damage starts happening. If a Warrior is running up to your ally, you know before the first swing that that person is in for a hurting. Accordingly, they should be protted before that hurting begins.
Step 2: Identify the source and target of the damage
Determine who is or will be taking damage, what kind of damage they are or will be taking, and where they are or will be taking damage from. How you go about this is a matter of personal preference. However, the most effective way to do this is by first identifying the damage source (e.g. there is a warrior running around), then determining their damage type (Warriors can deal big packets of physical damage with attack skills), and finally determining their target (the warrior is running towards your healer). Though this method is the best, strictly speaking, it becomes very difficult when there is more than one (or two or three) noteworthy source(s) of damage. In those cases, the second best (and easiest) method is to determine who is taking damage, then the type of damage, and then the source.
- You can practice following multiple damage sources by playing prot without having the party window visible.
Step 3: Determine which 'Protection' to apply
- Spirit Bond:
- Is the damage in large packets? If the damage is in smaller packets, Spirit Bond won't do anything.
- Are the packets coming in faster than they can be healed for less energy? If the damage is coming in slow enough to be healed without the healer pouring energy into the target (casting more than one 5-energy spell every two or three seconds), it doesn't need to be Spirit Bonded; a small prot will serve well enough, and for less energy.
- Protective Spirit:
- Will this person be taking damage for more than a few seconds? Protective Spirit's strength is in its duration. If that's going to go to waste, another prot might be better.
- Is the damage in large packets? Like SB, Protective Spirit does nothing against small damage packets.
- Is the damage too fast to keep up with without Protective Spirit? If the damage isn't coming in too fast to deal with without Protective Spirit (i.e. from multiple damage sources), don't apply it. If it won't save you more energy than it costs, it's a waste.
- Shield of Absorption:
- Are the damage packets coming in quickly? Shield of Absorption is the hands-down best prot against rapidly-incoming damage packets, especially from multiple targets. Against slower damage sources, like single casters, other prots are better.
- Are the packets relatively small? This prot isn't amazing against large damage packets. In fact, it's pretty terrible against them. However, if large damage packets are reduced (by something like Protective Spirit) to lower levels, SoA can become a more appealing option.
- Shielding Hands
- Is incoming damage lifestealing? Shielding Hands will reduce life stealing as well as other smaller damage packets very effectively from vampiric weapons and other sources of lifestealing. Considering only six other skills can prevent life stealing, Shielding Hands can be a useful light prot.
- Is there enough time to cast Shield of Absorption? Shield of Absorption takes much longer to truly have effect. If you risk being interrupted while casting SoA, use Shielding Hands instead.
- Guardian/Weapon of Warding:
- Is the damage coming from attacks? If it's not, don't use Guardian.
- Is ally being affected by lots of knockdowns or interrupts caused by attackers? They will thank you for Guardian.
- Will Guardian slow down the damage more than Protective Spirit? Against slower attackers with possible knockdown or interrupt effects, Guardian is hands-down better than Protective Spirit. Against fast but powerful attackers, Protective Spirit might be a better option, especially if incoming damage is not entirely in form of attacks.
- Do they have Shield of Absorption or Spirit Bond on them? Guardian has no synergy with these prots: It slows down the rate of incoming packets on the target, wasting some of effect of SoA and SB.
- Do they cause damage to enemies with attacks? In PvP only, Weapon of Warding will end if target ally hits with an attack.
- Will I need to cast more than one Guardian every five seconds? If so, use Aegis. Otherwise, don't.
- Reversal of Fortune/Life Sheath/Weapon of Remedy/Xinrae's Weapon:
- Is one of your allies going to take damage from single, powerful skill? If so, use Reversal of Fortune or Xinrae's Weapon.
- Is there enough time to cast or wait for recharging of other prots? If you risk an ally dying very soon, cast RoF or Xinrae's Weapon instead and reassess the situation.
- Do they have conditions that need to be removed? Life Sheath and Weapon of Removal also remove conditions.
- Holy Veil:
- Resilient Weapon:
- Does your ally have a nonlethal condition or hex, like bleeding or Parasitic Bond, or affected by many negative effects? If the situation doesn't require immediate removal, or you cannot immediately remove it, it might be useful to use Resilient Weapon, or simply let them be, but do not forget that they can be exploited by your enemies.
- Spell Breaker:
- Can spells targeting your ally be prevented? Spell targeting prevention.
Step 4: Reassess the situation
Especially in PvP, situations tend to change quickly. In PvE, enemies might spend eternity trying to attack one target. In PvP, that is highly unlikely so. If you're playing a character with prots, the enemy will usually recognize you and try to come after you or change targets (if all their attacks are blocked or they're dealing no damage, you know they will) and you must as a dedicated protector keep doing your job.
|Type||General team roles||Example builds||Hero team builds|
|Damage||Spiker • Nuker||Bloodspike • Bomber • Dagger spammer • Touch ranger • Starburster • Trapper||Discordway|
|Pressure||Lineback||Barrager • Beast master • Cripshot Ranger • Pressure Ranger||—|
|Support||Healer • Protection||Battery • Bonder • Flag runner • Hybrid monk • Imbagon • Infuser • Orders||Sabway|
|Control||Shutdown • Tank||Hexway • Minion master • Perma • Spirit spammer||Mesmer Midline|
|Utility||Caller • Toolbox||Gimmick • Balanced • -Way||—|
|Guide to making a build • Category|