Guide to the Warden
This page is still in the works. Please see the Warden class page for general information as well as skill and trait specifics. The warden class requires 795 to unlock or purchasing the Moria expansion pack from the in-game store (which also unlocks the rune-keeper class among other things).
The warden is a class with many unique aspects. It is primarily a tanking class although it can also provide a moderate amount of ranged dps. Wardens are best known by their powerful self-heals which makes them an extremely survivable class. Their travel skills, called musters, allow for relatively easy travel throughout the major locations of Middle-Earth though they cannot port anyone with them as hunters can.
Choosing a Race
The warden class is available to the races of human, elf, and hobbit. Stat-wise, hobbits tend to make slightly better wardens (guardians as well arguably) due to their +15 vitality racial trait - but this is fairly negligible as it only amounts to about 75hp (tank classes receive 5hp points per vitality point) though every little does help and vitality does also contribute to several other important stats such as physical and tactical mitigation.
The Gambit System
Warden's use 3 basic skills (MH melee attack, OH shield attack, Ranged taunt) called gambit-builders in order to execute more potent skills called gambits. In this regard it is different from the guardian as guardian skills tend to be reactive (one is able to use certain skills after blocking or parrying an attack). Furthermore, gambit-builders also a buff(or apply a slight DoT) as well as a base attack and contributes towards a general buff which when maxed gives the warden +6% to block, parry, or evade. There are also numerous gambit masteries that allow for the execution of two gambit builders at once in a certain order which allows wardens to execute longer gambits more quickly. Warden's recently have acquired the ability to use javelin gambits which will be explained later on in the section dealing with the vast number of changes to the warden in update 6/The Great River Region Expansion. Gambits requiring more gambit-builders are more powerful than those that require less. Furthermore, the specific bonus' given by gambit builders and gambit skills varies depending on which of the three stances the warden is using (Determination for tanking, Assailment for ranged dps, and Recklessness for melee dps). The gambit system seems confusing at first, but players will quickly be familiarized with it. You can view your warden skills by going to your class trainer to train skills and unchecking the "view only trainable skills" box, or by hitting "k" in-game to open your skills panel (the latter option will only show you the skills you have trained).
Wardens are unique in the aspect that they are a tanking class that uses medium armour. The two stats one should focus on when choosing which armour to acquire are vitality and agility (Note: Wardens changed from might-based to agility-based around the time of Update 10), focusing mainly on vitality. Vitality is essential for a warden's total morale as well as mitigation. Though a warden's DPS is relatively low, agility is important because it increases damage which equals extra threat. Capped wardens need to be wary of heedlessly increasing morale at the expense of mitigation and agility. At lower levels mitigation is not as important and as long as you gear your warden correctly there should not be any problems. You can view the exact specifics of how these stats affect your character by opening your character equip screen in-game and holding your mouse over the stat name in the side panel on the right. Wardens can wield spears, swords, daggers, maces, clubs, and 1-handed hammers. They have their very own class of shields called "warden shields" which lies in between shields and heavy shields in terms of armour bonus. Wardens also are the only class able to use javelins. The spear is the traditional melee weapon of the warden and is favored by some wardens due to its bleed characteristic which can be increased by certain traits and augments the warden's relatively low melee DPS.
Warden vs. Guardian
Wardens and Guardians are both great classes that each have its own advantages. As described above, wardens utilize a proactive combat system where the warden has great adaptability to choose what skills he/she wants to use. Guardians, on the other hand, activate most of their skills reactively when they block or parry - guardians of course have extremely high block and parry ratings to insure viability in combat and extra skills that further boosts their chances of blocking and parrying. Wardens primarily utilize powerful and frequent self-heals to survive in battle as well as to compensate for their weaker medium armour. Guardians rely on their stronger heavy armour as well as their extremely high block and parry ratings to significantly reduce and nullify the damage they take in battle. In terms of tanking, there are no two ways about it - it is much easier to tank as a guardian than a warden (It is important to remember this does not mean guardians are better tanks simply that tanking as a guardian requires less skill). This is due to the fact that wardens gradually build up their threat overtime and have only one skill with an instant force attack effect that has a cooldown of about 7 minutes while guardians have an enormous arsenal of force attacks and most of their basic attack skills generate a large amount of threat. Typically, groups prefer guardians over wardens. In solo-play, players will more than likely find the warden easier to play due their extremely high durability and travel skills - it should also be noted that wardens are able to use javelins from the start at level one while guardians do not possess the ability use ranged weapons until level 30. In the end, the decision to play as a warden or guardian is up to each individual's preferences and play style. Both are great classes and it is recommended that players try both to at least some degree.
Changes in Update 6/Great River Region
The warden received many new changes in Update 6 which heavily increased its high durability as well as various other miscellaneous but significant changes. The Determination stance was revamped to include various defensive bonuses and increased threat. Gambit-masteries can now be trained at lvl 40 and do not require the trait to be used. Defiant challenge had its cooldown cut down to about half and now applies a +40% physical and tactical mitigation. The warden's only power heal, Dark-before-the-dawn had it's 50% hp requirement removed.
The javelin gambit system:
The Javelin gambit system is essentially the regular gambit system except that it is only accessible when in the Assailment stance and the spear gambit-builder is replaced with a javelin gambit-builder. This allows the warden to be decently effective at range while keeping the warden's high durability.