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The graveyard => Class Discussion => Topic started by: Bryan on Aug 15, 2012; 10:24 pm

Title: Guide to the 2-handed Battleguard: Paladin,anyone? v1.1
Post by: Bryan on Aug 15, 2012; 10:24 pm
Disclaimer: The following is NOT a viable Hell mode end-game build.This setup provides an alternative approach for Nightmare grinder/levelling Guardians and makes for a decent solo Templar farmer, hopefully appealing to those who are fond of the idea RP-wise.

Why go for 2-handers?

As already stated,2-handed swords are sadly not the ideal choice for Guards.Since the days of Flagship,most damage-dealing choices seem to have been nerfed below Hell mode's standards,and therefore one such character may be far less welcome in parties that mind alternative builds.

There is still reason to go for one such approach,however.
2-handed swords do lack a Mythic variant,which is a further drawback,but Guards in particular can still use the high level Uniques very efficiently through the Shield skill tree.In this context,skills such as Stampede can provide damage instead of just mobility,Shield Turn can kill critters instead of just stunning,and so forth.

It stands to reason that utilizing an unsupported hybrid such as this requires experience,fine-tuning and careful skill/gear selection.Unsurprisingly,the overall optimal route for a 2-handed damage dealer seems to be,crits.

Guards and crit
It has been established that crit is all the rage in HG:G, and surprisingly Guards do have some affinity for it. If not enough to support a "pure" crit build, at the very least enough to provide a visible DPS boost.

Sources of base crit a Guardian can consider are:
-The inherent base of a "Night Angel"/"Yama Iron Sword" (5%)
-The "Surgical Precision" expertise (5%)
-The "Onslaught" passive skill (4%)
-The "Angelic Epaulets" set shoulders (4%)
-The "Strengthen Dark Monarch" ring (3%)
-The 2 PvP achievements (3%)
-The "Visor of the Order"/"Face of the Crusader" helms (2%)
-The "Forgotten Warrior"/"Lazy Envoy" miniset belts (1-2%)
-The "Mahomet's Surcoat" torso (1%)
-The "Armwraps of Benevolence" gloves (1%)

The above, along with the 1% inherent base, sum up to 30-31% base crit without any pure crit mods. That amount would be enough for one to seek ~200% ccm VS a specific caste, which would grant near-constant crits versus that caste.

Sadly little room would be left for cdb, but some of the aforementioned gear does provide some generic crit damage. It is noteworthy that both swords have an added bonus, granting the Yama Iron Sword a 330-350% and the Night Angel a ~300% crit damage bonus.

It is also noteworthy that Strength and Shield Master’s damage bonuses are also calculated in critical hits, therefore the same amount of crit damage bonuses as other classes may not be necessary for a Battleguard to be effective.

Stat allocation

As with all classes (and most setups) in Global,Battleguards have a dire need for stats due to the endgame gear/mod feeds.Therefore,the approach most often followed is to only invest stats when sorely needed while leveling,in cases where a specific piece of gear will be worn for a while and at least requires a stat that will later be covered (ie Strength,Stamina).
The aim of careful stat planning is to avoid having to use an Attribute Retrainer,or at the very least before lv55.While more free stat allocation doesn't seem to show its drawbacks while leveling,most classes that have done so find themselves unable to equip their lv50 grinder weapons/gear as early.A prime example of this would be the Blade of Behemoth and the more preferred Night Angel swords,both of which come with considerable STR feeds,before mods,enchants and possible augments.

A Battleguard will typically end up with much Strength and Willpower,just enough Stamina to equip all (possibly +AA/stat) gear,and Accuracy mostly required/given by gear.
Willpower becomes more fundamental if one is going for higher +ele % mods and assists in more frequent skill usage,while excess Accuracy may be preferred over Strength for CDB if a decent >80% crit chance has been achieved through CCM mods.
Title: Re: Guide to the Battleguard: Paladin,anyone?
Post by: Bryan on Aug 15, 2012; 10:31 pm

For newer players, it is noteworthy that all Shield skills except Shield Throw do work with 2-handers.Mentioning it in case it otherwise feels bizarre to invest in Shield skills for a damager build.
This would be a sound foundation for a Battleguard:

Note, an extra point has been calculated as well. Said point would need to be acquired through Set legs or skill augments on swords (most likely Yama Iron Sword,when the build can be properly fleshed out).
An alternative approach would be to invest no points at all in Spiritual Strength, explained below.

Elaborating on the skills further:

Spiritual Strength 7-0/7
Saves massive points in strength. One may wish to get fewer points in it (to even none at all) and invest added points in strength, as they do have a direct impact on damage.

Shield Bash 3/10
Prerequisite for the rest of the tree, can still be used as a direct attack for added elemental strengths and damage as it receives the benefits of Shield Master.

Shield Turn 3/10
Prerequisite, but also a handy AoE for crowded situations. Actually inflicts damage twice per use.

Shield Charge 2/10
Prerequisite, still useful for charging in on a particular opponent.

Shield Master 7/7
Perhaps the most significant skill for a Battleguard. A passive 56% increase in all shield skills’ damage is massive, and most importantly it is calculated before crits as it differs from the “increases damage” property.

Stampede 1/10
Amazing damage when used with a maxed Shield Master and a sword with good direct/splash damage. Makes for a handy charge and a great escape skill.
More points would not be advised as only elemental effects are increased.

Prayer of Healing 3/10 (minimum recommended)
Incredibly useful self-heal, can be used to assist parties as well. In case of possible leftover points, this skill would be worth investing more points in to reduce the cooldown further.

Aura of Renewal 10/10
Amazing health regeneration, useful in most situations. One may still wish to invest fewer points in it if seen fit.

Aura of Defense 10/10
Handy armor buffer, at a maximum of 96% armor increase with 8 enemies engaged. Since a Battleguard’s defense already suffers by comparison, this is an essential skill.
One may still wish to invest fewer points in it if seen fit, but would not be advised.

Grand Aura 2/5 (minimum recommended)
This will allow auras to function in a larger radius, and thus assists in any kite/retreat situations. More or fewer points may be invested according to personal preferences.

Aura Stability 3/7 (minimum recommended)
Initially it allows for 2 or 3 auras to be used at once. The more points one invests in it, the better the auras will function. 3/7 is the absolute minimum recommended, and if one has leftover points this skill would be a fine investment.

Heaven’s Arc 1/7
A great attack for any flying mobs. Dedicated solo grinders/farmers will absolutely need this, players who prefer to join parties may consider skipping it.

Anchor 1/10
A handy 30% increase in damage for any situation that allows for immobility. It is uncertain whether the damage boost is calculated before or after crits, but in case of the former this skill makes for a worthy investment.

Onslaught 4/4
4% base crit, this skill is an absolute must.

Optional skills to consider

3-7/7 Challenge
If it suits one’s tastes to have a taunt at their disposal, Challenge is a most useful skill to use in tandem with Shield skills.

10/10 Denounce
If one opts to be more party-friendly in certain bossfights Denounce is a worthy investment. Being able to interrupt Moloch’s healers is a noteworthy asset.

1-10/10 Hamper
A useful armor debuff, and thus a damage booster. One may still need to consider the speculations that Hamper doesn’t scale properly, and for players wishing to invest few points in it a simple cast weapon should suffice.

1-7/7 Blessed Onslaught
Passive cdb boost, but miniscule for the required points (20% per point). A luxury only affordable in ideal conditions, not recommended unless there is an abundance of free skillpoints and nothing else suits one’s personal preferences.

If one can max Aura Stability,one may consider using Aura of Power alongside the 2 others for added power regeneration.Any fewer than 7/7 in Aura Stability and all 3 Auras are hampered considerably.
An ideal allocation would be 10/10 Aura of Defense and ~6/10 Renewal/Power.Not suggesting maxing them as well due to the massive skillpoints required,which will in turn hamper other skills.
Title: Re: Guide to the Battleguard: Paladin,anyone?
Post by: Bryan on Aug 15, 2012; 10:34 pm


Swordsman gear is always of use due to the increased attack speed, as even a 10% boost is a visible difference. Hefty base armor, hitpoint bonuses, power regeneration and movement speed bonuses are always of use as well.

One may also consider equipping Fawkes gear (with ignite strength) and adding fire damage to their weapon, as ignition can be a very useful elemental effect early on.

A Hero of Heorot, clean or with skill augments, can carry players from Lv16 to at least Lv25 when a Victory at Mt.Badon can be equipped. Any Executioner with base crit, skills or other useful properties can provide a decent substitute for grinding from ~Lv30 to mid-40s due to the increased base damage.

From the early 40s one should consider the Blade of Behemoth, as it provides stats which assist with feeds (~20 strength and stamina). It is also the sword with the closest direct-splash damage in the game, and plain damage increase/physical damage mods can make a visible difference with only a few enchants.

A Warrior Belt/Sol’s Invictus with shield penetration can provide a damage boost while providing 2 points to essential skills, namely Aura of Renewal/Defense respectively.

-Lv 50

At this point players would most usually grind for ranks. All final armor pieces can be already worn, and for efficient grinding it is essential that they are. Recommended pieces and possible substitutes are:

-Visor of the Order. Crit and melee speed, can be traded with Face of the Crusader. One would lose the added melee speed and possible shield penetration over hitpoint regeneration and miniscule crit damage bonus, not recommended but possible.

-Mahomet’s Surcoat. Crit and melee speed, can be traded with a Sol’s Invictus that provides shield penetration. One would lose crit and melee speed over added survivability, possibly shield penetration and 2 points in Aura of Defense. Not recommended but may be of use due to the highly point-intensive build.

-Lazy Envoy/Forgotten Warrior belt. Crit, armor penetration, increased electric/toxic damage respectively. Can be traded with a Blackadder’s Baldric, one would lose the aforementioned properties over slightly increased melee speed, crit damage and a point in Hamper. It’s a more affordable choice one may consider.

-Set legs. Base armor, base hitpoints, TAV and a point in a random skill. One may trade them for legendary Swordsman legs with similar properties or other useful ones, but would be losing the chance at the 3-piece Set bonus. Not recommended.

-Set boots. Base armor, TAV, movement speed and points in Sprint. One may trade them for legendary Swordsman boots with similar properties or other useful ones, but would be losing the chance at the 3-piece Set bonus. Not recommended.

-Armwraps of Benevolence. Crit and added attack speed, may be traded for similar gloves or Set ones but not recommended.

-Set Shoulders. Crit, shield penetration, base hitpoints and TAV. There’s no alternative for the 4% base crit bonus , absolutely essential.     

Note, since the build is very point-intensive a Visor of the Order/Face of the Crusader with +1 AS would be incredibly valuable. Strength feeds are considerable (due to the helms both being for Lv40s and up), but Strength is always beneficial due to increasing damage.


At this point one can make full use of the end-game 2-hander, Yama Iron Sword. Sadly the sword was apparently designed for Blademasters as it provides the Surge Mastery skill. There are a few reasons to prefer this over the Night Angel sword however:

-Same base crit but more cdb. This is essential for Battleguards as their cdb lacks in comparison, so even a ~50% bonus is an added benefit.

-Higher base damage. Due to level it has more base damage, and therefore enchants will be of more benefit to it than Night Angel since they work with percentages (see http://www.hellgateaus.cyou/wiki/Nano_Forge for details).

-More availability. Not much of a reason, but an existent one. Since it drops from Natan it will most often be available in larger qualities than Night Angel.

Both will most likely be rather cheap for end-game weapons as well, since the vast majority of players does not prefer them.

Note, since the build is very point-intensive 1-3 rare/legendary skill augments will be of much use, unlike the norm where skills are not preferred. Strength feeds will be increased, but feeds should not be an issue for Battleguards due to gear being pretty much set. And finally, Strength adds to damage so it’s always useful. 

Modding the Yama Iron Sword is sadly very restricted, due to the limited amount of available mod slots. Ideally, the only mods one should consider are:

-Legendary ccm vs a specific caste
-Legendary/perfect rare double Elemental damage mods
-Ccm/ele legendary dual mods

The most efficient but rather expensive final modding choice should be roughly 4 dual ccm/ele damage mods and 1 double ele damage mod. Plain ccm mods will still be of use, but one would lose an average of ~16% added elemental damage, which also applies before crits.
Title: Re: Guide to the Battleguard: Paladin,anyone?
Post by: Bryan on Aug 15, 2012; 10:35 pm
Expertises and closing notes

Recommended expertises in order of priority would be:

4/4 Surgical Precision
5% added base crit, absolutely essential.

4/4 Tranquility
A Battleguard’s damage comes mainly from skills, so extensive skill use calls for massive power regeneration.

3-4/4 Toughness
Battleguards lack the defense of tankers, so any survivability boosters are always welcome. The armor bonus is also subject to TAVs.

3-4/4 Improve Willpower
Same reasons as above, a higher power pool is a welcome addition.

The rest are up to personal preference, Affliction would be a worthy invstment as well but it’s not as essential to functionality as the aforementioned ones.

Having followed the above guidelines, one will have created an efficient grinder that can stand their ground in many combat situations. A Battleguard may never match the DPS of a Blademaster or the defense of a tanker Guard, but will surely provide a balanced combination of the two for efficient NM grinding/farming.

RP-wise, the Battleguard is the closest to a Paladin Hellgate can provide. For more casual players or those generally interested in RP/nostalgic of the Paladin class in earlier games, the Battleguard will hopefully be an appealing alternative to the standard character builds.
Title: Re: Guide to the Battleguard: Paladin,anyone?
Post by: thegreatcthulhu on Aug 16, 2012; 02:47 am
Good job.

I made one similar to this back on the Korean server while I was toying around with the occasional freebie respec items that came from Handbutt.

And I'll agree strongly that Nightangel is THE blade for any Guardian wanting to specialize in 2 handed swords.

Tis a shame it doesn't hold up well in Hell mode. I tried it, but it wasn't worth the trouble... but still had fun with it even though I was stuck pretty much soloing or playing with small groups on as high as Nightmare mode.

You can "still" be a Paladin even when using the classic sword and board build, if you ask me. But I guess I've always had the impression the Guardian IS Hellgate's Paladin.

As far as the skills go for the RP standpoint, I'd be a little tempted to argue that Great Defender is necessary to give you an "Armor of Bahamut" skill. But that's probably not feasible since it looks like you won't have points left to go deep into the Guardian's "caster" skills.

Title: Re: Guide to the Battleguard: Paladin,anyone?
Post by: Bryan on Aug 16, 2012; 08:13 am
My thanks :)
Yeah sadly the build is too point-intensive already to try and get more caster-type skills.Great Defender and a maxed Prayer of Retribution would suit my tastes as well,but with any less than ~10 added skill points it just doesn't seem possible to spread out that much.

To be honest I've always treated the Paladin as the righteous warrior with a 10-foot 2-handed blade.Shields do match the image as well,but sadly practically it has been much harder to ditch out decent damage with a shield and board so far.
Title: Re: Guide to the Battleguard: Paladin,anyone?
Post by: thegreatcthulhu on Aug 17, 2012; 10:35 pm
That'd be simple to rectify if they kept the damage synergies for the shield skills from 2.0 TC, fixed the targeting bug with Stampede and Shield Throw and increased the damage on swords and shields (another 2.0 TC improvement).

Oddly enough, they did increase the damage on the "ultimate" weapons (Gleamcarver and Dissector sword) but it doesn't scale well versus the monsters in Hell mode. I guess they were too afraid of people accusing the Templar of being rigged.

There probably could have been some other improvements, but its well past the point where they'll do anything to make life better for the Templars* since the game is now in maintenance/events only mode.

For what its worth, I think I used Aura of Power via 3 of the cheat shop skill points (thanks to getting a bunch of Hell Cash/T Coins as a refund for my subscription). It probably helped offset the need for Tranquility... never did put points into it, but then again I got bored and quit before I really started getting into the expertise.
Title: Re: Guide to the 2-handed Battleguard: Paladin,anyone? v1.1
Post by: Bryan on Aug 24, 2014; 10:47 pm
V1.1 update: Added a more thorough intro and a (needed) segment on stat allocation.
Will be making minor corrections here and there shortly.