Wardens - Tanks not Defenders

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Disclaimer:
Okay let me first start of by saying that I do enjoy the Warden Class, and I do know they can be an effective defender if built right. The point of this thread is to show that Warden's can easily slip from being a defender to a tank, and that as a Defender they have some major hurdles they have to overcome. Also many of these ideas are not new, or orginal. I made this thread to express my frustration with the Warden Class verse other Defender Classes.

The Reasoning:

The Baseline:


The first thing I need to explain here is what is a Defender and what is a Tank. While these are common enough term here I want to be clear what I mean. To that end I will define both what a Tank is and what elements turn a character from a Tank to a defender.

Tank: Is simply a PC that is extra tough. This can be achieved through a number of different tactics from having Insanely High Defenses, to being able to heal pretty much any damage you take, or just having so much HP that you don't care if you get hit. Most Tanks have elements of all three basic tactics.

Next up is what makes a Defender. To me there are a few key traits that turn a Tank into a defender.

Marking: This is simply the ability to lay down marks. This is the building block which all defenders rest on. You have to be able to mark you enemies to be able to deter you enemies from attacking you squisher. However by itself having a Mark does not make you a defender.

Mark Punishment: This is what turns a defenders mark into something to be feared. This can take many forms but the idea here is that a Defender can react to someone triggering his mark in a way that will make the enemy think twice about attacking an ally.

These are the base two factors but most defenders need at least one of the following factors as well.

Stickiness: This is your ability to keep you enemies from moving away from you. If you are able to keep enemies close to you and away from you allies then they really only have the option of attacking you. This means that you are doing your job.

Lure: This works similar to Stickiness and is many ways similar. This is your abilty to draw enemies to you. If you can keep drawing the enemies to you and away from allies you are creating a situation similar to what Stickiness does where the enemy doesn't have a choice but to attack you.

Mobility: This is you ability to chase after enemies and follow them. If you stay on the enemy 24/7 you create a situation where you are always up in the enemies business and there by increase the enemies incentive to attack you over allies. Once again this works in a fashion similar to Lure and Stickiness.

Ranged Punishment: If you can't do one of the above three then you need to have a way to make you Mark Punishment effective at range that way even if you are not up in the enemies business you are making it harder for them to attack you allies. This is primarily used by you Swordmages and Paladin as a way to make up for their somewhat lack of the above factors.

Now the best Defenders have bits of most of these factors working together and balanced against each other. Focus to much on anyone aspect and you end up with a less effective whole. For example Mark Punishment needs to be Balanced by your Tank ability if you are to tanky in comparison to your Mark Punishment you are not being a effective defender, like wise if you focus to much on Mark Punishment you will end up dead as you can't withstand tha attacks coming your way.  

The Warden:


Okay now that we have talked about what a Defender is lets look at the Warden and how it fits in.

Tank: Here the Warden really shines they are by far one of the toughest class in the game and really have it all when it comes to being a Tank.

Marking: Once again a Warden is very good at this easily able to lay down multiple marks each round so long as he can get close or keep enemies close.

Mark Punishment: This is the Warden's single biggest weakness as a Defender. The base mechanics are fine attack an enemy when they voilate you mark. This is what the Figther does and it works well for him, but then why does the Warden have issues. The issue here is support between PHB 2 and PP there is not a single feat that really impacts your ability to punish a mark. While if we look at the Fighter between PHB and MP there are 9+ feats that all they do is boost the potency of their Mark Punishment. This doesn't even include the PP side of things which makes it even worse for the Warden. This means that while the Fighter can make his Mark deadly the Warden really cannot which puts the Warden at a sever disadvantage.

Stickiness: At a base line the Warden lacks the ability to do this. Now when you add in some of there powers a Warden can easily pull this off, but that creates a different problem for the Warden. They are forced into picking certain powers if they want to be sticky. This limits the varaity of powers you select if you want to be a effective defender.  

Lure: Once again at a base line the Warden lacks this ability and needs to rely on his powers to come to the rescue. This has the same issue as Stickiness that it limits the possible combination of powers just so you can make an effective defender. Stormheart Wardens get some feat support in this area and some support in their Class feature but it is minimal.

Mobility: Yet again at a base line the Warden lacks this ability and needs to rely on his powers to come to the rescue. This has the same issue as Stickiness that it limits the possible combination of powers just so you can make an effective defender. Wildblood Wardens and Stormheart Wardens have some feat support in this regard but it is once again minimal.  

Ranged Punishment: The Warden does come with a version of this but it is lacking to say the least. The Warden's Grasp doesn't do much to discourage or hinder you enemies for attack your allies and it suffers the same issue as the Warden's Mark punishment, lack of support.

The Result:


Okay now having expressed the baseline and seen where the Warden fits in on the base line lets talk about how the factors in the baseline interact with regards to the Warden. Overall the Warden has most of the basic tools to be a defender but there are two key areas he has issues with.

Tank vs Punishment: Wardens are extremely Tanky, but do not have strong mark punishment. This creates a situation where even with their mark and punishment the choice of many enemies will be to attack the Warden's allies over the Warden. The reason being is that the when the enemy does a cost benefit analysis it will usually come up that the minor threat of an attack from the Warden is outweighed by the ability to kill of the Warden's Squisher allies. Basically the Warden's ability to punish with their Mark is not balanced against the fact that they are extremely tough.

Powers: This may a bit controversial but I believe is warranted. The Warden depend on his power to fulfill the role of a defender. The issue here is that by having to rely on his powers if he selects the wrong powers he will not be effective in his role. This creates a bad choice for players as they are forced to take certain powers just to do their job. Other defenders rely on their powers to enhance their ability to defend so if they pick a bad power it does not stop them from being a defender just diminishes their ability slightly. This once again put the Warden in a bad posistion verse other Defenders.

With these two glaring issues it is easy for a Warden to fail at being a Defender and it makes realy hurts the class. This becomes even more evident when you begin comparing the Warden against other Defenders. Now while a Warden can be an effective defender these issues will always hold them back.

Disclaimer 2: I want to reiterate I am not trying to bashe the Warden or trying to say they can't be effective defenders but that when you compare them to other defenders they are found lacking. That from a Character Optimization stand point this is a bad thing and should be addressed and taken into consideration when building a Warden.
I think you need to create some sort of baseline, and introduce the other Defenders into the mix if you want to prove your theory. If a Warden is weak in one area, demonstrate how another Defender is better in that area.

For example: Given the criteria you set above, I don't see how a Paladin fares much better in the areas that you find the Warden deficient. 
The Battlemind has to jump through power and feat hoops to do his job as advertised, as well. And Swordmages have varying odd challenges with their marks. The Warden isn't alone in being challenged by the Fighter gold standard.

Also, there's a balance to marking. I've seen a lot of Fighters and Paladins with their needles on empty two fights into the day, with the rest of the party as fresh as daisies. They did their jobs too well ... A Warden jumping into the middle of three or four bad guys and tagging them all with -2 or -3 to hit is adding value, even if some of them decide to attack someone else despite the penalty. 

Paladins have several feats and PP paths that can enhance the effecitveness of their Mark plus their mark can punish at range and can punish without the need for the Paladin to take a single actions. This makes it vastly superior ot the Warden's Mark Punishment, and they also have the secondary leader (Lay on Hands, Divine Mettle) thing to help them keep their Allies alive with out costing their allies any resources.

For Example Look at the Ultimate Defenders Thread. 3 out of the 8 builds there are Paladins. I will say that paladins have their own issues but they do have a varaity of support to enhance there mark and because it is a ranged mark they do not need the additional Stickyness or Lure that a Warden does. 

Cherrypicking aspects of a class for comparison leads to useless results.  You can't just say Wardens aren't sticky because they rely on powers and not a class feature like fighters do.  You can't say that Wardens are bad defenders because they have weak mark punishment while discounting the vast array of powers that FORCE the monsters to target them, and in a sense pre-empt mark violation without needing to punish it. 

As an example, take even a level 1 Warden using Form of Winter's Herald.  Warden walks up and bashes the baddie in the face with Weight of Earth.  Now it's slowed and it (usually) can't shift since it's in difficult terrain.  It could move a whopping one square, while provoking an attack of opportunity.  I don't care what you're doing, it's not going over and turning the Wizard into paste.  Mission accomplished.  If it wants to make a ranged attack at the Wizard, then you get an opportunity attack AND a mark violation, just like any other defender.

The fundamental issue is that the Warden, unlike other defenders, isn't actually a defender.  It's a controller-tank.  You force the enemies to target you by more direct means than "If you misbehave you get an axe to the face"
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

Paladins have several feats and PP paths that can enhance the effecitveness of their Mark plus their mark can punish at range and can punish without the need for the Paladin to take a single actions. This makes it vastly superior ot the Warden's Mark Punishment, and they also have the secondary leader (Lay on Hands, Divine Mettle) thing to help them keep their Allies alive with out costing their allies any resources.

For Example Look at the Ultimate Defenders Thread. 3 out of the 8 builds there are Paladins. I will say that paladins have their own issues but they do have a varaity of support to enhance there mark and because it is a ranged mark they do not need the additional Stickyness or Lure that a Warden does. 




If that is the case though, doesn't the fact that the Warden uses his powers to help alleviate the issues you brought up more or less cancel out with the fact that the Paladin will be using feats to accomplish something similar?
Out of the box a Shielding Swordmage has some of the best defending ability, and like the Paladin and Fighter also has support to enhance his mark.

The biggest issue is that the Warden has NO ability to enhance his primary marke punishment Warden's Fury while every other defender has multiple ways to do this. No one mark is properly effective at the higher level of play with out some investment.

Now I am not saying that other Defenders don't have their other issues but I am saying that the lack of support and the structure of the Warden's defending ablity makes it much easier for a Warden to become a Tank not a Defender as I defined it.
The biggest issue is that the Warden has NO ability to enhance his primary marke punishment Warden's Fury while every other defender has multiple ways to do this. No one mark is properly effective at the higher level of play with out some investment.



The Warden is the only "defender" that doesn't need to even USE his mark punishment to get things to target him.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Most of the Warden's Powers don't enhance his mark punishment at all. They just allow him to be more sticky, have greater lure, or more mobile, and not all of the warden's powers do these things.

There a fairly large subset of powers that do these things but if you do not invest in them you are not being a defender which creates a situation where the Warden if he picks the wrong powers simply cannot fufill his role as a Defender. Where other defender classes have most of the basic mechanics to be a defender built into their class features, and Feats and Power selection just enhances their abilities.
Discounting the warden's powers when considering stickiness is a mistake. Wardens stickiness is based off their powers and rather than class features and that's the whole point. They didn't need another fighter in phb2 they needed a different defender class. The whole point of a warden is to limit your enemies options so they either stay with you or try to get away and provoke opportunity actions. Your opportunity attacks can be devastating and they prevent your enemies from reaching any allies. If you want simple mark then attack action you can choose a fighter but the warden has it's own play style and to call them not sticky is comical.
The biggest issue is that the Warden has NO ability to enhance his primary marke punishment Warden's Fury while every other defender has multiple ways to do this. No one mark is properly effective at the higher level of play with out some investment.



The Warden is the only "defender" that doesn't need to even USE his mark punishment to get things to target him.



I would disagree there if you go with a super sticky Warden you can keep enemies close to you but unless your Allies are all ranged then eventual your allies will get with in melee range of your Enemies at that point your Mark Punishment becomes a major factor in who your Enemies attack. If your mark punishment is found lacking then you have failed as a defender in those situations.
Discounting the warden's powers when considering stickiness is a mistake. Wardens stickiness is based off their powers and rather than class features and that's the whole point. They didn't need another fighter in phb2 they needed a different defender class. The whole point of a warden is to limit your enemies options so they either stay with you or try to get away and provoke opportunity actions. Your opportunity attacks can be devastating and they prevent your enemies from reaching any allies. If you want simple mark then attack action you can choose a fighter but the warden has it's own play style and to call them not sticky is comical.



Yes I agree I even talk about it in my post that yes a Warden can be sticky with power support but that from a perspective the NEED to do so to fufill your role hurts the class as a whole. As if you do not pick those powers which enhance you stickiness then you are unable to do your job effectively which creates a bad dynamic with in the class when building a PC.

As for keeping enemies away from your Allies see my above post.
The biggest issue is that the Warden has NO ability to enhance his primary marke punishment Warden's Fury while every other defender has multiple ways to do this. No one mark is properly effective at the higher level of play with out some investment.



The Warden is the only "defender" that doesn't need to even USE his mark punishment to get things to target him.



I would disagree there if you go with a super sticky Warden you can keep enemies close to you but unless your Allies are all ranged then eventual your allies will get with in melee range of your Enemies at that point your Mark Punishment becomes a major factor in who your Enemies attack. If your mark punishment is found lacking then you have failed as a defender in those situations.



The flip side of that though is the sheer ability the Warden has to mark his opponents. If his punishment is weak, it is still better than no mark at all, which is the case with other Defenders when multiple enemies are involved.

To be fair to the OP, a Warden does have to work much harder to become truly sticky than a Fighter, but when he gets there he's locking down ~everybody.~ The Fighter's never consistently locking down more than two targets, and that with dedicated leader support or intermittently as a subpar Tempest.

EDIT: Unless the Fighter build is expressly centered on multimarking powers, yes.

That falls flat as other defenders can easily multimark and as an Immedaite action the Warden can only punish one enemy a combat round. So even if you has multiple enemies marked he can only punish one. Marking ability is not a Warden' weakness it is Mark Punishment that is weak.
That is I believe incorrect. My Spartan Build found in my signature can easily lockdown multiple opponents every combat with multiple ways to slide, and Knock prone multiple enemies. There are several fighter builds that can do this and can lockdown hordes of enemies. The Warden does have a slightly easier time assuming he picks certain powers over others.
That falls flat as other defenders can easily multimark .



Only by cherry-picking powers and building expressly for that purpose, which is exactly your complaint about the Warden in reverse. He already multimarks, but has to work to make the mark have bite. Others have a mark with bite, but have to work to multimark.
I think people just seriously overestimate what it takes to be a defender. You don't need a mark-punishing attack that slides, knocks prone, dazes, and deals triple damage to be a good defender. Likewise, you don't need an Immobilization Aura 4 to keep enemies near you.

If one class is based on powers and the other on features, it doesn't mean one is inherently worse than the other.

I really don't see anything in the OP to suggest to me that wardens are not effective defenders or are simply tanks and not defenders.

In some ways yes that is true (I did say other Defenders have there own issues), though I think those classes have more options to multimark then the Warden has option for stickiness.

That falls flat as other defenders can easily multimark and as an Immedaite action the Warden can only punish one enemy a combat round. So even if you has multiple enemies marked he can only punish one. Marking ability is not a Warden' weakness it is Mark Punishment that is weak.



Yes, but even if the mark punishment is not in play, the mark penalty *is*. 

With the Warden marking everything adjacent to him, all of those creatures have to choose whom to target. Even if the Warden has already dished out his attack, they still have to suck up the -2 to hit. Other Defenders can't do this as easily. So while they might dole out a better punishment, the enemies that remain unmarked are free to do as they please, with zero repercussion. 
It seems to me wat you have done is pointed out that Wardens a different not worse than other defenders, and like all classes, will fail to fulfill their role if built poorly...  You say that a fighter has many feats that he can take to improve his mark, if he doesn't take those feats his mark is bland, like the wardens. In the same way that the warden needs to pick powers to be a optimised defender the fighter needs to pick feats to be an optimised (vastly different from good) defender.
@Khan it has to do with the Balance of Tank to Mark.

The Warden is by its nature very Tanky and so by default not an optimal target for enemies. The Warden also has some issues in DPR (save perhaps hammer wielding Earthstrength wardens) so his stock as a target drops even more. If you are given a choice between attacking the Warden and the Ranger an enemy will attack the Ranger (easier to kill more dangerous enemy).

The primary means of all defenders to change the equation is through his Mark. If he makes his mark powerful enough then the equation swings back in his favor. The issue is that in mid Paragon to Epic tier the Warden's Mark is lacking as it has no support from PP or Feats to make the mark more then a what it started out is a slightly better MBA.
In essence this:

The point of this thread is to show that Warden's can easily slip from being a defender to a tank, and that as a Defender they have some major hurdles they have to overcome.



doesn't seem particularly unique to wardens.
It seems to me wat you have done is pointed out that Wardens a different not worse than other defenders, and like all classes, will fail to fulfill their role if built poorly...  You say that a fighter has many feats that he can take to improve his mark, if he doesn't take those feats his mark is bland, like the wardens. In the same way that the warden needs to pick powers to be a optimised defender the fighter needs to pick feats to be an optimised (vastly different from good) defender.



I am saying that the Warden does not have a way to make his Mark Punishment more then a Bland attack which hurts him severely.

While through power selection he can gain the other factors the one big factor he is missing is a way to enhance mark punishment. There is a reason every other Defender has these, and that is because at upper level of play a Bland Basic attack from a Defender is not much of a disincentive.
Yes all defenders suffer from the issue of Tank over Defender I simply beleive that do to the way the Warden is put together (relying on powers for much of what makes a defender) and the Lack of support for their punishment mechanic makes the Warden even more likely to fall this way then other defenders.

I will say again I do not think that Warden Cannot be good defenders I have built and played several (look in my sig for the Ice Storm). I just feel that when compared with the other Defender the Wardens suffer from a higher chance of being Tanks verse other defenders. That is my point. The OP is there to point out why so that the issues can be addressed.
The ideal warden doesn't need a strong mark punishment though - his goal is to lock down battlefiled zones, offering monsters the choice of attack him or attack no-one since they can't reach anyone else.  Fighters offer the choice of attack me or get whacked, shielding swordmages offer the choice of attack me or your attack is rendered impotent. Different choices - I dont see why that means that one of the defenders is necessarily worse, or easier to screw up.

I think they key difference is that wardens don't lock down monsters, they lock down areas.
Warden's don't punish with their mark, they punish with their OA which they can improve on to the point it is better than their at wills.
The lockdown no choice argument only works if you allies are not melee PC themselves.

The issue is that at some point in the fight if you have melee allies they will need to get close to the enemy. So even if you have them trapped in your difficult terrain or Immoblized by other effects at some point in every fight you Enemies will have to face the choice of attack you or attack your ally. At that point your Mark Punishment is your only factor of being a defender.
The lockdown no choice argument only works if you allies are not melee PC themselves.

The issue is that at some point in the fight if you have melee allies they will need to get close to the enemy. So even if you have them trapped in your difficult terrain or Immoblized by other effects at some point in every fight you Enemies will have to face the choice of attack you or attack your ally. At that point your Mark Punishment is your only factor of being a defender.



Which is negated by the fact that if the enemy isn't marked, there is no penalty at all.

Huh?

The Warden can only effectively punish one enemy a round so the multiple mark thing has a somewhat minimal impact. While yes a -2 to hit can be helpful it is generally not enough to stop an enemy from attacking you ally over the Warden. The idea for a defender is to do that to protect their allies by taking the punishment themselves.


Huh?

The Warden can only effectively punish one enemy a round so the multiple mark thing has a somewhat minimal impact. While yes a -2 to hit can be helpful it is generally not enough to stop an enemy from attacking you ally over the Warden. The idea for a defender is to do that to protect their allies by taking the punishment themselves.




But the -2 penalty to hit is strictly more than what is available for a non-marked opponent. It might not be huge incentive, but it is greater incentive than nothing. The Warden may not do as much damage with his mark as other Defenders, but he locks more of them in place and applies that penalty across more enemies.
Other shocking reveals: when you discount their powers, wizards make subpar controllers and barbarians lackluster strikers.
I have not discounted the Warden's powers I mention them several time in the OP. I have also mentioned them in my response though I think there are some issues with them they are where the Warden's Power lies

Yes, -2 is better then nothing but is not enough to make up for their Mark Punishment issues. Other classes can get the multimark potential of a Warden through power selection, and still have strong Mark Punishment. The Warden can get the stickyness of other classes through Power Selection so those two factors even out for the most part. But the Warden cannot get the mark punishment of other classes and that is the root of my issue when you compare the warden to other defenders.
I have not discounted the Warden's powers I mention them several time in the OP. I have also mentioned them in my response though I think there are some issues with them they are where the Warden's Power lies

Yes, -2 is better then nothing but is not enough to make up for their Mark Punishment issues. Other classes can get the multimark potential of a Warden through power selection, and still have strong Mark Punishment. The Warden can get the stickyness of other classes through Power Selection so those two factors even out for the most part. But the Warden cannot get the mark punishment of other classes and that is the root of my issue when you compare the warden to other defenders.



I disagree. There really isn't any way for another Defender to multi mark like a Warden. He is accomplishing the marking by just standing there. For other Defenders they are spending resources and actions to accomplish something similar, and in most cases still not matching the multi mark potential.

I think you need to demonstrate exactly how the other marks are better, and how they can be improved so greatly that they dwarf the Warden's mark and sheer multi marking potential. 
i have a simple, honest question: why is the fighter superior to any defender? the only reason i see for this is powers like come and get it and warriors urge, wich i think are neccesary for all defenders, lure is a game changer. 
but fighters, unless they use certain specific powers, are limited to mark only 1 enemy per round, enemies have to be close, and as far as i know, they dont have that great mobility.

paladins on the other hand:
  • mark at ranges as large as 5 squares

  • can punish multiple opponents each round

  • dont need an attack roll to punish enemies

  • can defend even while dazed/stunned/dominated (a dazed fighter, until epic and one specific destiny, is dead meat) 

  • when all resources are down, he can consistently mark 2 enemies, and even at a distance

while wardens do have some of the issues, they are more resilient, have many different survival abilities, and wildsblood have enormous mobility and mark enforcement to create catch 22 (second wind). wardens can also boost their damage to great levels (maw of the guardian, crushing guardian, etc)
so, at the end of the spectrum, the only thing i see fighters doing better is lure. and MBA damage.

so, please, would you guys explain to me, why is the fighter superior? 
One of the problems I think is that it is far easier to other defenders to pick up the strengths of the Warden (high toughness, multi-marking) than it is for a Warden to pick up the strengths of other classes (stickiness, mark punishment).

For example, a Fighter can take Come and Get It, Daring Shot and Threatening Rush. Bam. AoE marking is sufficently covered. If there is a attack granting warlord in the party, the fighter will be marking out of turn easily as well.

The support for Martial classes is kind of sad. Did they really need ANOTHER 8 fighting styles in Dark Sun? I love Martial classes, dont get me wrong, but the support for other classes definately lacks because of the silly amount of attention Martial gets. Sorry to rant about Martial classes! I think if other defenders got some more attention, they wouldn't be constantly cherry-picking fighter feats and PPs.

so, please, would you guys explain to me, why is the fighter superior? 



If I had to rank them...

1.) Stickiness. Combat Superiority. OAs that stop movement, and have a +wisdom to to the attack roll? Insane. I think having both those elements is actually kind of game breaking, both playing as a DM and a player.
2.) Ease of triggering mark punishment. Shifting or violating the mark? This also adds to stickiness with Mobile Challenge (mob tries to get away? Immediate punishment and then an OA that cancels their charge. Two out of turn attacks and a completely negated turn for the creature).
3.) Damage. Fighters can stack the damage on. Pitfighter, Marked Scourge, Slashing Storm etc.
4.) Every attack they make marks, hit or miss. This means the more OAs, granted attacks, etc they are given, the better they get at their job.
5.) Amazing support. Don't even ask me to count the amount of starting choices, powers, feats, PPs that fighters have access to. You can build an amazing number of fighter permutations. You can compensate for any number of weaknesses your build might have, or continue to work on your strengths.

They are sticky. They are damaging. They have easily triggered mark punishment. They have unmatched support. Other defenders can do their job, just not as well as a fighter.
Okay let look at my Spartan Build it can multimark with every single one of its encounter powers, with 1 of his at will, and a couple of his utlitities, meaning he attacks and marks the opponents adjcent to him the vast majority of the time. Because of his mark mechanic he is doing this with attacks so is not really losing out on DPR or wasting action to get the ability. On the lock downside he can punish shifts with Combat Challenge. or simply by moving with the opponent through his multiple means of Shifting. Also many of his attacks Knock the Enemy Prone and Slow them further enhancing his stickiness. Meanwhile he can add to his mark punishment debelitating effects through a varaity of feats such as Shield Push, Distracting Shield, Hindering Shield, Etc (there are so many options here it is actually hard to pick).

On the flip side the warden counters the Spartans Close Burst with his own close burst and his Free Action Marking. Overall the amount of marking that can be done is very similar. He gain his stickiness through Difficult Terrain reducing the chance if Shift, and Making His OA stop movement (something the Spartan Does as well). The Warden does have a slight edge on toughness with more HP, but the Spartan has better defense so gets hit less. Meanwhile the Warden's Mark Punishment can not be improved at all so he loses in that regard.

That is just a straight up comparision, Paladin's can get several close burst marks as well and don't require stickness with their Divine Sanctions, plus they can use either Radiant vunerablity tricks to enhance their mark damage, Baladin Tricks to add Str and Chr to damage, or other effects like Weaken, Slides, Ally Healing, on their marks to make them more effective.  

Swordmages can get better then Warden Marking with Total Aegis allowing them to mark all enemies in a close burst 2. Meanwhile they like the Paladin don't need stickiness being able to use their punishment at range. They also have ways to enhance their mark through powers, and through feats to make it reduce more damage or have some added negative effects.

I am not fully familar with the Battlemind as I really didn't like the feel of the Psionic Classes, but I do know they have ways to enhance their mark with slides and so on, and can get strong OA and can reactively shift with an opponent. Not sure about there stickiness.
One of the problems I think is that it is far easier to other defenders to pick up the strengths of the Warden (high toughness, multi-marking) than it is for a Warden to pick up the strengths of other classes (stickiness, mark punishment).

For example, a Fighter can take Come and Get It, Daring Shot and Threatening Rush. Bam. AoE marking is sufficently covered. If there is a attack granting warlord in the party, the fighter will be marking out of turn easily as well.

The support for Martial classes is kind of sad. Did they really need ANOTHER 8 fighting styles in Dark Sun? I love Martial classes, dont get me wrong, but the support for other classes definately lacks because of the silly amount of attention Martial gets. Sorry to rant about Martial classes! I think if other defenders got some more attention, they wouldn't be constantly cherry-picking fighter feats and PPs.



You do bring up an extremely valid point though. Class support is far from equal across the board. One of the reasons that Fighters make such versatile Defenders is the sheer amount of support they have. While there have been some great additions to the other Defenders, Fighters have simply received more of it.

In regards to the Warden, this could change greatly when we see Primal Power 2. It's a tough job to compare classes when the amount of support is so different, and I hope that Primal Power 2 will help alleviate some of the issues that the Warden does have. 
Yeah I understand but that is why when researching the issue I only compared support in the PHB and MP for the fighter. Even when you put them on a supposedly equal amount of support they are lacking, And that still doesn't make up for their bad comparision to Swordmages and Paladins when it comes to support as all three classes only have 1 book out.

The issue is almost all of the support for Wardens is about their Second Wind stuff which while cool really doesn't help them much as a Defender. Unless perhaps if you are a dwarf and can use it as a minor action, but that is a limited case and doesn't make the issues any less real.
@obtusehobbit

Thank you very much for the comparison. It helped me understand your argument a lot better. Also, incidentally, I really like your Spartan build. I'm a big fan of the Fighter shield feats, which your build uses to great advantage.

I think that there almost has to be two separate arguments in play. The first is regarding the Fighter. At present, there really isn't a Defender that can match the sheer tricks and control that a well built Fighter can. In this regard, I don't think the Warden is unique. None of the other Defenders compare.

The second argument, where the Warden is a sub par Defender compared to the other Defenders is a little more tenuous, in my opinion. You brought forth some compelling arguments, but there are elements which are a little tricky to work through.

For example, you mention Total Aegis for the Swordmage. I agree, it is a game changer of a feat that does a lot to close the multi marking gap. But it *is* an Epic feat, so the Swordmage isn't going to be using it for the majority of his career. For those forst 20 levels, the Swordmage isn't concerned with stickiness, but that is only, in most cases, for a single opponent.

The Paladin, for me, is another can of worms. They too are less concerned about stickiness, but their mark is pretty weak as well, and the feat support for it isn't all that stellar either. Plus in order to reliably multi mark, they have to select an at will to do so, which brings them in line with the Warden's reliance on powers to complete the Defender job.

I too have little experience with the Battlemind, so I can't really comment on them either. From what I can tell, their lack of feat support is also a pretty large issue.

I can appreciate your argument, but I don't think that I can agree with the conclusion. My perception is that the mark and it's punishment is only one part of a Defender's mechanic, and that you have to analyze the sum of it to really get a good feel for it. And I think I am placing a higher value on things like the ease of multi marking and control related powers that end up making the Warden look more favourable in my book than it does in yours. 
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