The following video has footage from 2 scenarios, Dragon’s Bane and Howling Gorge, with my Swordmaster running a damage / mitigation spec.
I made the video to show tactics for surviving heavy focus-fire as a 2h tank. Played correctly, a 2h tank has very good durability and can bring the pain with a big 2h.
The combination of 700 Strength and 700 Toughness, with 3 offensive tactics slotted (Balanced Accuracy for the crit bonus, and the Damage-over-time tactics Potent Enchantments and Ensorcelled Agony), has been the most effective blend of DPS and survivability that I’ve found. I’ve experimented with many different spec, gear, and RR configurations with 1h and 2h swords, and this 700 / 700 2h build suits my playstyle perfectly.
As I discussed in Part 3 of the Swordmaster Class Mechanics Guide, a tank can stack avoidance, or mitigation, or both.
When using a 2h, I’ve tried stacking parry or disrupt to improve survivability. Parry provides avoidance only against melee attacks in the 180 degree arc in front of you. Disrupt provides avoidance only against spells. I’ve tried stacking avoidance and mitigation together, but that causes my DPS to suffer, because I have fewer tactic slots and RR points to spend on offensive tactics and stats.
For ORVR and scenarios, what I’ve found works best is simply stacking Toughness. The only avoidance stat that makes sense to stack in my opinion is block, because block provides avoidance against most attacks (except morale abilities). And obviously you can’t block with a 2h.
Toughness provides passive mitigation against most attacks (except morale abilities). It doesn’t matter whether you are facing your opponent, and it mitigates damage even if you are stunned or knocked down. Toughness scales with the numbers of attackers; the more you are being attacked, the more damage Toughness mitigates.
A few game mechanic changes have increased the value of Toughness:
- before Patch 1.2, many damage proc and DoT abilities were not mitigatable. However, in Patch 1.2, proc and DoT abilities were changed to be mitigatable, and this increased the value of Toughness significantly
- as of Patch 1.3, there is a pocket item that drops in Land of the Dead that can makes attacks undefendable. So that’s another factor in making mitigation more valuable relative to avoidance. This is not to say that a shield isn’t a valuable avoidance tool. Shields in WAR are powerful because they can block any attack. I’ve just found that I’m more effective in RVR with a 2h sword as opposed to a sword-and-board, in terms of applying pressure to healers and bursting down targets