Let's take these one section at a time, shall we?
The good news is the new defensive abilities the Guardians are getting. Shield Wall will allow the tank to take all the incoming damage targeted at another party member. And Fray The Edge is a new ranged single-target taunt that is stackable and has a chance of triggering a Fellowship Maneuver.
The bad news is some current defensive skills are overpowered and are getting tweaked. Shield-taunt will no longer put the Guardian at the top of the threat list, but will add significantl threat. And the Deep Breath ability that allows Guardians to prematurely end the cooldown of many of their skills is getting it's cooldown significantly increased.
There are some other tweaks, but the bottom line for Guardians in defensive mode is they are going to have to change their playstyle a bit. They have relied on some ability mechanics that are making their job too easy in some cases, especially in Raids.
Before the wailing and sackcloth and ashes get going, remember two things: the devs are trying to balance the game to make it challenging and every game does class revamps. No one hates you. Well, except that Minstrel that kept dying in your pick up group, but aggro control is everyone's job, right?
Read on for the really good news.
New DPS Stance
The long awaited dps boost for Guardians is also being introduced in Book 12. Overpower is a new stance that will increase melee dps by 15%, but also increase power cost by 20%, disable Block and reduce Evade by 5%. It also opens up new skills that will increase the Guardian's overall dps as well as debuff the target's attack speed and run speed. A few existing dps skills are also getting tweaks.
LotRO devs experimented quite successfully with the Minstel's dps stance in Book 11 and it's clear they're looking for the same positive impact with their tank class. It will be a welcome addition to speed up the Guardian's solo endeavors, but it isn't going to get the Guardian the dps slot in a group anytime soon.
New Utility Abilities
Guardians have complained long and loud about their repair bills. Turbine listened. The rate at which equipment takes damage will be reduced (even more by slotting the Guardian's Ward trait) and the rate at which Heavy Shields take damage will be cut in half.
Additionally, should an item become non-functional due to wear, Guardians will be able to summon a traveling Tinker at any campfire. Any player can repair with this NPC, though at a premium. It may be worth it to avoid the downtime of heading back to civilization to repair broken equipment.
Finally, Guardians are getting a new kind of ability to use on runners or mobs that turn on other party members. The Engage skill will slow the targets speed and build threat for the Guardian.
All of these new Utility abilities will be good news to players. We're not sure if it's enough to balance out some of the nerfs that are part of the package. The true test will be when Book 12 hits Roheryn, the Test server. Then all the theorycrafting showing Guardians as worthless and replaceable by Lore-masters will either be proven or fall away.
So when are we going to see Book 12, Turbine?