Together Weed Ride: How to Be a Washed Up Tank in Mod 6 Redux

By rjc9000

Latest Changes

  • Blundermountain is forced upon us all, RIP superior NW of the past
  • Now I’m motivated... (by boredom)

Disclaimer

As with other editions of this “guide”, this is focused on tanking dungeons and is not intended for solo play. I am not to be blamed for a terrible soloing experience. For a better solo experience, go find a DPS build and make that MMOminds author/Youtuber happy with your patronage.

Preface

Module 16 is a very different game from Mod 15 and prior. Sure, there are some things that are the same, but the game essentially got a huge reboot that makes most resources from before irrelevant.  Talking about the changes may as well take up its own document and I have no need to do so when Rainer has made one already. I have no need to list every single minute change, I am quite sure you can figure out what has changed and what hasn’t versus past versions.

Also worth noting that I don’t think tanks, or even Fighters, are that “great” in the new module, as a 4 DPS/1 healer setup can trump most mechanics due to healing power. I only really updated this because I got bored while waiting for the release date for Cyberpunk 2077,  Persona Emblem: The Church Is Evil, and Sword Goku/Banjo joining the roster of Smash Ultimate.

Disclaimer

Preface

Universal Mechanics

Guard

Guard: Guarded Strike and Shield Bash

Retaliate and Dig In The Potty SquatTM

Path of the Manguard

Fundamentals

General Defensive Tactics

Positioning

Aggro

General Character Building Notes

Races and Ability Rolls

Feats

Powers and Passives

Stat Priorities (Level 80)

Stat Priorities (Highly Scaled Content)

Utility Stat Priorities

Gear

Weapon Set

Artifact Weapon Mainhand and Offhand Bonuses

Weapon Enchantment

Armor Enchantment

Armor

Neck and Belt

Rings

Shirt and Pants

Artifacts

Active Use Artifact

Other Artifact Slots

Companions

Main Companion

Companion Bolster Bonuses

Companion Equipment

Companion Runestones

Mounts

Mount Combat Power

Mount Equip Power

Insignia Bonuses

Insignia Types

Character Offensive Slots

Character Defensive Slots

Character Utility Slots

Boons

Glossary of Common In-Game Acronyms

Universal Mechanics

Guard

Raising your shield is officially christened as “Guard”.  Here are some of the mechanics of Guard:

This mechanic is your lifeblood and main source for defending against attacks. Guard is best activated a second or two before enemy attacks hit for Stamina conservation. Check out “General Defensive Tactics” to learn how to best use to use your shield.

Guard: Guarded Strike and Shield Bash

Unchanged from before (aside from name), you get two At-wills to use while behind your shield: Guarded Strike and Shield Bash. Both of these are intended to assist you with keeping aggro while behind your shield. Animations aside, the two At-wills serve two different purposes:

Shield Bash is now the At-will to hold aggro on mobs, due to hitting enemies in a (very small) cone.

Aggravating Strike is the At-will to hold aggro on bosses, as it hits slightly harder than Shield Slam (better for aggro generation) but can only hit one target (not great for packs of enemies, but not a problem against a single enemy...).

Retaliate and Dig In The Potty SquatTM

This nearly useless piece of garbage occupies the class mechanic slot. If The Potty SquatTM didn’t have Retaliate attached to it, unbinding the class mechanic key would be a far more useful option.

The Potty SquatTM uses the same “extra layer of HP” concept as the basic Guard does, but with a few twists:

I actually found The Potty SquatTM (or more accurately, its equally as mediocre name changed version, Seethe) more useful on the DPS path, for converting Stamina into Vengeance. I never found The Potty SquatTM to be worth incorporating into my usual gameplan.

For all attacks I want to absorb, I’m using Guard.

For all attacks that are too much, 99% of them can be dodged.

For all the times I want to avoid enemies getting Combat Advantage on me, I can … walk away and keep enemies between my shield.

For all the times I want to restore Stamina, I can do The BarbarianTM and gallantly take attacks with my face, or alternatively not press any buttons.

The only saving grace of this mechanic comes in the form of Retaliate.

The only use for it I saw was in the occasional boss fight where I can see slow and heavily telegraphed attacks. Don’t bother trying to set this up on mobs, everything will die by the time you are set to take a dump on the toilet.

Path of the Manguard

It’s a passive mechanic, you select the Manguard path and get this for free. The passive’s effects are there to help you do your job (exception: the penalty, which is designed to make sure DPS tank don’t become a thing again).

I have to admit that it was pretty silly for me to think that the barely present -10% penalty would result in the Vanguard just being a better DPS with extra HP. If you try a full DPS build on Vanguard, you will deal very little damage (compared to a “true” DPS) and will likely die too many times.

I suppose that says more about our (lack of) base damage rather than it says about our aggro generation.

Fundamentals

General Defensive Tactics

Your goal behind defensive tactics are to eliminate or reduce as much damage that you take. I don’t want to insult your intelligence with Knight Captain Obvious statements like “use your shield” or “don’t die”, I think those are easy to figure out.

Rather, these are unorthodox or counter-intuitive tips that I found that dramatically improved my survivability when trying to figure out how to tank.

1.  Watch the damn enemies.

Seriously, this is probably the best thing you can start to do to learn how to survive.

Most new players I see make the mistake of trying to shield all the time, or worst of all, shielding at the wrong times. But how do you know the right time to shield?

Simple, you watch and wait for enemy attacks to land. The best timing for shielding attacks is a second or two before the attack lands.

If you watch the enemies, you’ll notice that they telegraph their attacks rather slowly and obviously (in most circumstances). If you can get a sense of how fast an attack is, you can recognize the gaps in between attacks and figure out when you must shield or take damage.

Here is an enemy and an attack they do.

 Can you recognize when should I raise my shield?

Now!

Well, how did I know?

Simple, I was watching the enemy’s animation. They practically tell you when they will attack.

In many video games, attacks will have different animation states that represent different portions of the attack’s animation. If you’re an animator, you may hear different terms, but I’m rolling with the fighting game terms that have been ingrained into my head.

The startup is more or less the windup animation. Functionally, it’s there to tell the player that an action was selected.

The active part is when the damage of the attack is actually applied.

The endlag is when the attack’s damage portions have finished, represented by the object/character recovering from the action.

As you can see above, attacks in NW follow this format. Exploit the endlag and startup of enemy attacks to ensure you can attack, but enemies are fruitlessly hitting your shield.

When to Drop Shield?

Do you find that you often find yourself getting killed when trying to drop shield? That tells me that your sense of when to raise and drop your shield need some improvement. Fortunately, I got some advice for you.

You should always wait for enemy attacks to land before casting your power (wait for the red damage popups to appear!). This is because you always get a safe moment to make a move during the enemy’s endlag.

If you know what endlag is, you’ll realize it’s the timeframe in which someone is recovering from doing an action. If the enemy is stuck returning to their fighting stance or whatever, they can’t do anything but stare at you, giving you free reign to do whatever you want during the endlag.

Do note that you can also cast your powers before the active parts of enemy attacks occur, but I do not advise doing so. This is mostly due to lag, but partially because NW likes to break its immersion with the active part of the attack hitting before the animation does.

Do not be afraid to use the “get out of the way” move.

Just because you’re billed as a front line class doesn’t mean your only tactic is to post up right in front of enemies and gallantly take attacks to the face. If moving away means that you don’t die, then do it.

A simple rule of thumb are that if attacks generate a red area, you should try to dodge them rather than shield them to conserve stamina. Attacks with red areas are heavily telegraphed, slow and fairly easy to dodge as long as your don’t have terrible Internet.

If you are using Guard, keep your shield always pointed towards enemies and maneuver to ensure enemies do not get behind you.

While the game doesn’t list shield’s range, Guard has a fairly generous approximate ~200 degree arc. You can get crossed up on shield if enemies get behind you and your shield doesn’t absorb damage if done so, so keep the

If enemies swarm you, then back up, or maneuver in such a way such that you can keep your shield between enemies. If you have to constantly move around while managing a horde of enemies, I recommend moving in a circle pattern.

Making mistakes WILL happen.

Unless you are a 1337 hax0r Dark Souls player, I can guarantee you will make mistakes. You will screw up and die trying to learn boss patterns and getting a sense of timing your shield.

An error is only a mistake if left uncorrected, a learning opportunity if corrected.

The best learning opportunity is with your guild. If they are good friends, they will be willing to stand by your side as you die over and over again and be willing to put up with you learning.

Play the game without using Scrolls of Life and Stones of Health (but feel free to use regular Health Potions/Revive Sickness boon).

Yes, I know Scrolls/Stones they are free/given away for nearly free. Yes, I know that potions slots are mostly useless.

Don’t use them, they only teach you bad habits.

Stones of Health teach you nothing about when to save and when to use Second Wind, since you have a pocket free HP refill every 18 seconds. crolls of Life are far worse, they teach that you can just do whatever and revive because of Scrolls.

Play the game without either of them so you can start learning how to deal with the pressure of 4x Revive Sickness and being low on HP.

Positioning

Most DPS players are pretty dumb and don’t bother to respect enemy attacks.

They will inevitably will think standing in red areas is a Good Thing to DoTM, die, then blame you or the healer. 

While you can’t control much of your teammates’ suicidal tendencies, you can control your positioning to help cut down on the number of ways that your teammates will inspect the floor.

You want to position yourself such that enemies are facing away from your teammates. 

Since most attacks are directed towards one person (and you want that one person to be you!), directing attacks away from your team reduces the number of attacks that could possibly hit your teammates. It’s a simple thing to do, but it’s these little things that let your team that, yes, you know what you’re doing.

Additionally, keep an eye out for where you are actually standing. Pick your ground strategically in the event that you need to account for a mechanic, like moving Drufti away from the ice blocks in Fangbreaker Island.

Aggro

The original aggro calculation dates back to Mod 5, specifically this formula dates back to the days of Mod 5 and of the best tester NW has seen, kaelac. I have seen no dev posts on any updates to the formula, with the one exception of this preview thread (link, search “Jane” and you should find asterdahl’s post), though said update doesn’t seem to overtly change what was established by kaelac.

Seeing as there is no official word on how aggro is generated mathematically considering all factors, I consolidated what was known since forever (kaelac’s formula) and the explanations in the preview thread into what I interpret the aggro formula as. Neither ACT nor the ingame combat log have any numbers that can be used to verify my consolidated formula, so you are free to interpret the formula as correct or as incorrect as you please.

Consolidated Aggro Formula

The player with the highest Aggro value is the one who the mobs attack.  There is also a “10% aggro threshold”, which is given to whoever approaches the enemies first. In order to “steal” the enemy aggro from the current target, you need to generate 10% more aggro than the current target.

Do note that just because you are not the highest aggro target doesn’t mean you lack aggro, it just means someone else is generating more aggro than you are. The exceptions to these rules are hard taunts (ex: Anvil of Challenge or Enforced Threat), which temporarily set your aggro to the top of the list.

With the changes to hard taunts no longer being free aggro buttons in Mod 16, tank builds need to have some damage in order to maintain and hold aggro. Say goodbye to pacifist tank setups of the previous mods (though don’t expect to have respectable damage for a tank unlike the braindead smite shield smite shield class Paladin).

General Character Building Notes

Mod 6 through Mod 15 embodied the “action” part of action RPG more than the RPG side (though I think even this action based RPG had more to do with DnD than Mod 16 being  “5e inspired”). Gearing mattered to some extent (ArmorPen = enemy DR and highest Crit you can get), but your tactics and attention in battle were always more important.

Mod 16 is more of a stats based game more than anything: you can have perfect tactics and know every dungeon inside out, but a lack of stats will result in failure. Gearing up as a newbie will be rather painful due to a lack of Combined Rating and a weird catch 22 situation (to get better gear, I have to beat a certain fight or boss, but to complete said quest or boss, I need that better gear…) but after gathering some gear, an abundance of Combined Rating should allow you to cap most stats with ease.

As for where your stats come from, most of your stats will come from your gear items (armor, rings, etc.) and pet bonuses (Bonding stones and bolster bonuses) rather than your enchants or artifacts. You will want to adjust your gearing priorities thusly:

Player’s Gear

Bonding stones and Companion gear

Insignias and Insignia Bonuses

Companion Bolster Bonuses

Artifacts, Enchantments, and Runestones

Races and Ability Rolls

In the devs’ infinite “wisdom”, they thought it was a great idea to make it so newbies don’t have choice paralysis … by making the effects of every ability roll equally useless and minute. If you can notice the +0.25% damage from 1 extra Strength, you should consider a career in molecular chemistry.

If you had to pick ability rolls to do this is the priority I would focus on:

 

Top Priority if you care

Strength

>

Dexterity

(STR is slightly better than Dex in my opinion and focusing on both are better than most other options)

I think STR is better for the Stamina Gain bonus than it is for the small aggro boost. If you find your Stamina regenerates fast enough and you’re doing fine for aggro, I’d go with Constitution for its AP Gain Bonus.

My second choice goes to Dexterity because the extra move speed grants that extra edge to dodge attacks.

Middle Priority if you Care

Charisma or Constitution

(both are equally useful)

Out of the remaining options, Constitution gets the slight edge for slightly increasing your base HP and giving you Second Wind back a little faster.

CHA gets the next best option because its recharge speed bonus, if minor, is better than … snickers magical damage boost.

Ignore these Rolls

Intelligence or Wisdom

(both are equally “useful)

Intelligence doesn’t offer any bonus damage for us. Wisdom is similarly “useful” with its outgoing healing bonus.

...

If only our characters were “wise” enough to have Wisdom increase the potency of effects that negatively heal enemy HP...

As for races, just play what you think looks the best, as most racial bonuses are so minute and unrelated to tanking that you do not really win or lose from picking any race over another.

If you had to pick statistical bests, there are three standout choices: Uglyborn (and Afro Uglyborn), Tiefling, and the Mezoberran Renegade.

Race Bonuses

Recommended Ability Rolls

Dragonborn

  • Free 1.03x damage
  • Free 1500 Critical Strike
  • 1.03x HP multiplier
  • 1.03x Incoming Healing
  • Ugly as sin

+2 STR/+2 DEX

Tiefling

  • 1.05x damage versus enemies at 50% or less HP.
  • Random chance to reduce enemy damage by 2.5% after getting hit
  • Not ugly as sin

+2CHA/+2CON

Mezoberran Renegade

  • Random chance to reduce enemy damage by 2.5% when attacking
  • Loldefensereduction and lolfastercampfireinjuryheals
  • Not ugly as sin.

+2DEX/+2CHA

Fatass lizards, Uglyborn, Dovakhin, whatever you want to call them, the Dragonborn is the arguable BiS for its incredibly stupid racial bonus: Your damage is flat out multiplied by 1.03x for doing absolutely nothing. That is literally the equivalent of getting 12 points of Strength. Of course, Uglyborn is “blessed” with one, incredibly crippling weakness:  looking ugly as sin. The Afro Uglyborn (aka: Metallic Ancestry Dragonborn) is the more expensive version of the regular Uglyborn with the marginally better racial bonuses. Why you would drop the equivalent of 200 US Dollars (or $75 on the consoles) for being an ugly lizard is beyond me.

The arguable best or second best option is Tiefling for multiple reasons. The first is its Infernal Wrath bonus, which can reduce enemy damage by 2.5% when you get hit. The second is its Bloodhunt racial bonus, which is still a 5% damage buff rather than a debuff as with many changed powers. The last reason is that Tieflings don’t have a face that makes you want to hurl.

Mezoberran Renegade is technically better than the Tiefling, as it offers similar 2.5% damage reduction on enemies, but when you attack rather than when you take damage. The only reason I don’t think it’s as good as Tiefling is because the Renegade must be bought from the Zen store. I can’t really justify spending Zen on “Drow with slightly better racial,tattoos, and some different backstory in lore that doesn’t affect gameplay”.

Feats

Selected Feat

Reasoning

Tier 1 Pick

For Mobs:

For Bosses:

Controversial opinion, but I found Staying Power to be pretty decent for AoE. I found it mixes well with Surging Tide and Lightning for a decent AoE aggro option.

For bosses, we go with Shield Thrower for the spammable aggro button. Losing the stun doesn’t matter too much when you can’t stun most bosses.

Tier 2 Pick

Surging Tide is planned for mostly AoE use. Mix in ET with Tide of Iron, Cleave, and Lightning, and you should have decent AoE aggro.

You can also opt to use Cleaving Bull if you find use for Bull Charge on boss fights.

Tier 3 Pick

I found Combat Balance is the far better of the two options.

I loathe relying on luck for my survival, so picking the feat that requires no luck and allows you to exceed the 50% Defense cap is a no brainer choice.

Don’t bother trying to max the benefit of this feat, let this run in the background.

Tier 4 Pick

Either feat (both are equally useless)

One feat buffs a daily that is not very useful (Bladed Rampart) and the other imposes a restriction on a daily that is marginally useful (Determination).

Flip a coin here or opt to not put anything at all if you’re lazy.

Tier 5 Pick

Two Potty Squat feats, bleh. One marginally boosts the damage of your discount Shield Slam and the other wants you to take a dump on the toilet.

I’m going with Focused Retaliation because the feat doesn’t require you to take a dump on the toilet for long stretches of time.

Powers and Passives

Name of Power(s)

Reasoning

At-Will Slot 1

For Mobs

For Bosses

Cleave the only spammable AoE At-will we have, so it gets a slot for use against groups of enemies.

Brazen Slash is slotted in for boss fights for decent chip damage and Stamina restoration.

At-Will Slot 2

For Mobs:

For Bosses:

Tide of Iron is specifically picked for Staying Power.

On bosses, I’d go with Threatening Rush due to not needing the effect of hitting multiple enemies from Staying Power.

As a power, Threatening Rush is very versatile in its application. You can use it in its obvious gap closer role, as a pseudo dodge, and to defy gravity (the game only checks minimum charging distance, not height differential for allowing you to charge, allowing you to charge to enemies above you). The only downside to this power is that you can’t shield for a second or two after casting, so think wisely when you charge.

Encounter Power Slot 1

Ranged aggro option is too good to pass up. Used in AoE too in combo with Partial Paralysis (Ring of the Curse Bringer) to toss your shield at one enemy and effectively CC them for the fight. Otherwise used if you notice some enemy meatbag spawned in the background and you need something to aggro it before the DPSers piss themselves.

Encounter Power Slot 2

For Mobs:

For Bosses:

Linebreaker is a decent gap closer with a generous radius and (apparently) also grants a multiplier to aggro generation. Perfect for establishing aggro on new packs of enemies.

Anvil of Doom is used as a simple “place me at the top of the threat list” button when used . Even without Anvil of Challenge, Anvil holds a slot on bosses for dealing a ton of damage (aka: good for holding aggro) and being useful for single target damage checks (Lair Boss 1)

Encounter Power Slot 3

For Mobs:

For Bosses That Lack Difficult DPS Checks or against bosses which lack soak mechanics:

For Bosses That have Difficult DPS Checks or against bosses where you have soak mechanics (ex: LotMM Boss 1):

Shield Slam is a great get off me button that allows you to catch a breather on some mob fights.

Depending on the boss fight, you’ll want to swap between Bull Charge and Knight’s Valor.

Knight’s Valor absorbs the damage of the nearest teammate and transfers it to  Pray that the game chooses the right teammate to protect, as it only protects the teammate or companion closest to your location, though you can attempt to manipulate which target you protect with positioning tricks. KV is decent in some fights where you may need to keep a squishy teammate alive, but is suicidal in fights where the fight forces the entire team to take damage (aka:any bosses with a 4 arrow “soak” mechanics).

In those situations where the team takes forced damage or in situations where you need extra damage for DPS checks, I’d go with Bull Charge for having good damage on a single target comparative to its cooldown.

Daily Attack Slot 1

For general purpose use:

Optionally used against bosses with soak mechanics:

Optionally used against bosses with DPS checks:

Determination is a basic CC clearing power. It is neither fancy nor used often (especially if you learn to play well), but it can be a lifesaver for dealing with boss bullshit.

You can optionally slot Phalanx for fights with a mechanic that forces the entire team to stand together and take damage (aka: “do you have a healer checked off the list so you can even win” check)..

Earthshaker isn’t amazing or great as a damage daily, but seeing as it is the only directly damaging daily that a Vanguard can pick, it can be useful in fights with somewhat difficult DPS checks. After all, you generally lack DPS and every bit of base damage can matter to stop mechanics from happening.

Daily Attack Slot 2

Second Wind is your panic button for when you need HP right now and your healer companion/potions/walking stone of health/insignia bonuses aren’t cooperating.

Class Feature Slot 1

Seeing how often we use encounters, Steel Recovery is always useful for making sure you have your shield when you need it.

Class Feature Slot 2

For Mobs:

For Bosses:

I found Greater Endurance to be very good when fighting mobs. While you are unlikely to be getting the full 10% besides passively running between fights, the small bonus to run speed can make the edge for dodging the chaotic fights that happen on some mob fights. Greater Endurance can also be of use on boss fights were you need to run around a lot.

On bosses, you’d ideally want a stronger “reset me to top of aggro list” power besides Enforced Threat and Anvil with Anvil of Challenge fills that need. If you never need an aggro list refresh power, then you may replace this passive with whatever you find works.

Stat Priorities (Level 80)

Really, just stuff in an augment and use whatever comp gear you can get available. You can have terrible blue companions and mostly blue insignias, and will likely cap everything save for (maybe) Accuracy and CA Bonus.

If you had to pick a priority (for some reason)...

Offensive:

Until ArmorPen equals enemy Defense, ArmorPen is your best investment in any offensive stat, bar none. Once you get this to equal enemy Defense, you can safely ignore this stat.  Crit is picked as the next priority for increasing our chances to proc Barbarian’s Revelry. After capping Crit, you can opt for Power or Accuracy if you somehow still have forced offensive slots that aren’t filled. If given an option between offensive or defensive slots, take the defensive stats, as the marginal increases to other offensive stats likely won’t make a difference.

As for why 68,000, that’s what Rainer lists in his pocket wiki, which is a hell of a more reliable information source than the dev team.

Defensive Stats:

Based my conclusions off the Effective Hit Point formula from Janne’s site, what I found was that Defense trumps HP due to tanks naturally having large amounts of HP. You would gain more Effective Hit Points by “multiplying” the strength of HP (have damage resistance to divide incoming damage) than you would gain by adding flat amounts of HP.

The amount of Defense needed is [50,000+Amount Equivalent to Enemy ArmorPen]. The problem is knowing what enemy ArmorPen values are.

“Overbalanced” lists enemy ArmorPen values at 7000 for level 70 enemies (level 80 enemies would logically have higher ArmorPen values), Rainer lists enemy ArmorPen as 18,000 for Lair of the Mad Mage. This has been confirmed to be fixed by @bellkazi, with enemy ArmorPen in Lair being 18,000.

Once you cap your damage resistance, just stack HP, I found it to be the best option due to having no cap and having very little use in the other stats.

I don’t think Deflect is worth actively stacking when its expected value of a 30% effective HP increase at best (50% Chance * 60% Deflect Severity, assuming a Foehammer Elixir) for a large amount of Deflect needed (the same investment would probably be better with HP). Crit Avoidance in Lair of the Mad Mage is useless due to enemies apparently having no difference in Critical damage versus a normal hit (found by @bellkazi). Awareness is the oddball stat that would be good in theory, but I find that can make enemy Awareness effectively 0 by ... good positioning.

I always prefer my tactics over stacking any stat. I think it’s always a good practice to play cautiously, rather than be reckless because you have lots of stats.

Stat Priorities (Highly Scaled Content)

ArmorPen is the most important offensive stat, bar none, until your ArmorPen is equal to enemy Defense. In the instances of noworries’ insanity, you will barely have enough ArmorPen to fully penetrate past enemy ArmorPen.83,000 sounds odd, especially considering that Rainer has listed 57,000 for level 70 zones for the longest time, but a reliable Russian tester (@bellkazi) found that enemy defense is strangely high for some instances. Stack ArmorPen accordingly to deal with “Quality Assured” Content.

 Should you somehow have enough to fully meet enemy Defense, you should opt for some extra Crit to increase the proc chances of Barbarian’s Revelry. It isn’t efficient for aggro (Power would be more efficient), but if you only have a few thousand points to spare, I think the extra Crit would be marginally more noticeable than the slight Power increase.

In terms of defensive stats, the best by far is HP. Capping Defense or getting very close is not too hard (for some odd reason) thanks to Combined Rating (even in noworries insanity zones). You are left with other options, but the best by far is HP. Crit Avoidance is useless because enemy Crit Severity doesn’t even exist (according to @bellkazi), Deflect gives poor returns on investment thanks to being a chance to reduce enemy damage by 50%, and enemy CA can be set to 0 with good positioning.

Utility Stat Priorities

“Utility stats” are bonuses that receive a direct % increase in the announcement blog. In short, these have no counter, but are incredibly rare to find. Of the courses available, they all give tiny amounts of increase. Thus, gaining or losing these stats don’t really make as much of a difference.

If you had to pick any stats to focus on, I’d focus on Movement, Recharge Speed Increase, and AP Gain (in that priority). Being able to reposition yourself is always nice on a tank. Recharge Speed Increase gets second priority so you can bring your aggro tools (Encounters) back off cooldown marginally faster. Finally, AP Gain for being able to bring back Second Wind slightly faster.

Gear

Weapon Set

For players with aggro issues

Longsword of the Cult/Ebonized Spear and Ebonized Shield, Misplaced Sword and Shield

For players without aggro issues

Bronzewood Set

If aggro is an issue, I’d suggest weapons with decent weapon damage. I don’t think it’s necessary to grind out an artifact set for this module, and even if you do want an artifact set, you want a Stronghold (Masterwork) weapon set for the superior team assisting set bonus. While this module lacks an update to Masterwork, I wouldn’t worry if I were you .Given that Mod 16 is a repeat of the fiasco known as Mod 6, then I wouldn’t be surprised if Mod 17 repeats Mod 7 that introduces higher tiers of Masterwork (aka: new Masterwork weapons with higher weapon damage).

If you are having aggro issues, the Misplaced Sword and Shield, or the Ebonized Weapon set/ Weapon Set of the Cult are good enough options. The former is given to you for free after completing the Blundermountain story.The latter weapon sets are drops from Master Expeditions with identical stats, so feel free to mix and match these items based on what drops.

Should you have no aggro issues, then I’d go with the Bronzewood weapon set. As always, the Stronghold sets reign supreme due to their set bonuses that increase your teammates’ damage. Though pure buff builds are gone, ensuring that your teammates kill things faster is always useful to making your life easier (don’t need to defend if enemies are dead, right?).

Artifact Weapon Mainhand and Offhand Bonuses

I do not think the Mainhand bonus is worth the money to spend on a tank build.  If want to spend money on the mainhand bonus, the only one marginally worth it is Brazen Slash, and that’s only if you plan to use it against bosses.

Offhand utility stat is also rather small and not too noticeable, so if you want to maximize your gains here, try Recharge Speed Increase or Action Point Gain.

Weapon Enchantment

To be honest, most of your options aren’t live or die, I’d just roll with whatever you think looks the coolest.

If you had to pick a weapon enchant, the only one that’s marginally worth it is Lightning, for AoE aggro potential. The healing enchants are not so great, I recall Holy Avenger was 1% of my total incoming healing (compare that to 5% from Barbarian’s Revelry).

Armor Enchantment

The best Armor enchantments are Eclipse or Elven Battle.

Eclipse isn’t my favorite, but I acknowledge that its “infinite stamina when you get shield broken” bonus is very very strong. If excrement hits the rotating cooling device, then the infinite stamina will help you weather the storm while your team is adjusting to new plans.

My personal favorite is Elven Battle. Aside from reducing the amount of time you’re stunned from CCs (which is a multiplicative function and can stack with other CC reducing effects according to the Edgelord), Elven Battle speeds up your Stamina recharge rate by a very sizeable amount and works in all situations. This is a huge bonus unmatched by every other enchant in the game. I also think that Elven is far more practical on a budget, as you can use the exchange vendor to your advantage. Buy some dinky Rank 8 Fireburst or other cheap Rank 8 armor enchant, turn it into the exchange vendor, and enjoy the “cheap” Elven Battle.

Armor

I don’t think it’s necessary to explain which armors are good, bad, or have potential when everything is just a stat based increase/decrease of each other. “Pick what has the biggest numbers” is about as much depth as I can extract from this new system.

Neck and Belt

BiS Option

Cloak of Valhalla and Belt of Valhalla

The best option is still the Valhalla set. While the set bonus was nerfed, the set bonus is still as useful as ever, as it reduces enemy damage if you get hit (which should happen all the time as a tank player). Unlike some of the other neutered damage decreasing debuffs such as the Rust Monster, the Valhalla set works regardless of enemy stats and is multiplicative with capped Defense. Seeing as the entire set was fairly common in some lockbox packs, it should be a fairly inexpensive option to acquire.

Rings

BiS Option

Ring of the Curse Bringer

Other Options (pick 1)

Silverglit Assault/Ward Ring, Ebonized Assault/Ward Ring, +4/5 Ring of the Shadowstalker, Assault Ring of the Spy’s Guild

While Crushing Pin proccing is a thing of the past, the Ring of the Curse Bringer still holds up fairly well for being able to put Partial Paralysis on enemies. Being able to cheese one enemy and take them out of the fight can be quite helpful with some hard hitting mobs or when initiating combat.

The last ring slot does not really matter too much, as no ring that I know of has a good set bonus. Just pick what has good stats or increases your DPS (because increase to DPS = increase to aggro).

Shirt and Pants

Ideally go for any shirt with the effect of “Crits have a Chance to reduce encounter power cooldowns by 1 second if you score a Crit with ICD”. Some examples of these shirts are the.Prized Ward Shirt of the Cult or the Protoge’s Raid Shirt.

Pick any pants with the “if you score a Crit, gain 0.25% of total Action Points with an ICD” bonus. The only known examples of these pants are the Protege’s Pants (Spy’s Guild would be recommended but they don’t exist in the game yet, for some reason).

While the pants with the effect “take 3% less damage with 75% or greater stamina” have potential, I found that you won’t be staying at 75% Stamina unless you have some ridiculous HP pool like 600,000 (and at that point, you are practically invulnerable anyways).

If you can’t find any shirts or pants with the recommended effects, grab items with the highest numbers and the stats you need.

Artifacts

Active Use Artifact

Recommended Artifacts

Sigil of the Paladin or Wheel of Elements

Other Options

Token of Chromatic Storm, Wyvern Venom Coated Knives, Lantern of Revelation, Charm of the Serpent, any artifact that increases your team’s damage versus the target

The best artifact to use is technically the Sigil of the Paladin. Activate it and it creates a zone of healing that renders you practically immortal for its duration. Do note the use of “technically”, as the PvPers that exist are qqing about it, making a nerf to this artifact very likely. Investment in this artifact is questionable.

My choice goes to the good old Wheel of Elements, specifically looking at the Water and Earth bonuses. The Earth bonus is the star of the show, as it grants you an immense amount of TempHP, which is perfect if you are in a situation where you predict you’ll take a ton of damage, or need an emergency “don’t die” buffer. The Water bonus is a small heal over time, not flashy but serviceable for most situations. The last bonus of the Wheel is that teammates can pick up the Fire buff, which adds DPS to the team, but has the perk of counting towards your damage and thus helping you keep aggro.

I wanted to test the Bloodcrystal Raven Skull, which seems interesting as a “oh crap don’t die” panic button artifact, but I lack that artifact to test in Mod 16, so I can’t say how good or bad it is. Otherwise, if you feel your survivability is great and doesn’t need any improvements, you can run with an artifact that increases teammate damage, such as the Token of Chromatic Storm or Lantern of Revelation.

Other Artifact Slots

If you are using a neck/belt with a set bonus, then one of your options is locked to the respective set bonus artifact. In our case, that would be the Horn of Valhalla. Otherwise, pick whatever has stats you might be lacking on (ex: ArmorPen) or just simply pick what gives a lot of HP.

Companions

Main Companion

You want to equip your main companion with 3x Bonding Runestones of the highest quality. Seeing as Bonding stones no longer give stats and that companion equipment slots no longer exist, your choice of summoned companion depends on what the companion actually does in combat.

Summoned Companion

Augment

Recommended Options

Dread Warrior or Pseudodragon

Bulette Pup

Substitutes

You might as well use an augment if you aren’t using a summoned companion.

Any augment of your choice

Augments are the classic “give me extra stats” option. They do have the downside of not being able to give Combat Advantage (now that Combat Advantage is no longer easy to get), but that’s not really a problem in parties (where you can rely on your team) or if your CA Bonus is not greater than enemy Awareness. As for choosing the augment, you should choose what has the best bolster bonuses for your build, as the only other differences between augments are a minor stat bonus (1000 points of a stat in 3 different stats … yay…) and their appearance.

Thus, our best option is to save money and use the Bulette Pup, whose defensive bonus is perfect for our build, in addition to being a decent option for a DPS build. If the Bulette Pup is outside of your price range, a decent option can be the Red Dragon Ioun Stone.

Summoned Companions don’t give as many stats as an augment, but (in theory) make up for their lowered stats with their unique summoned abilities and that they can give CA by positioning (assuming they don’t have healer companion AI). Note the in theory part, as in practice, most companions have pretty terrible summoned abilities and you can simply kill things faster with the increased stats of an augment, without needing to worry about positioning for CA (and in teams, you can just get CA by positioning with other players).

The Dread Warrior is a master of none, but a suitable CA by positioning wall for two reasons: its slight healing (a discount Barbie’s Revelry) makes it barely acceptable and it has an aggro boosting bolster bonus (goes in utility slot) for . I don’t particularly recommend picking this companion up if you don’t need the aggro boost from the utility slot.

The other recommended summoned companion is the Pseudodragon. Its main use is for giving forced CA by positioning through one of its abilities and the Pseudodragon holds the advantage over other other companions with forced CA powers due sharing a bolster bonus with the Bulette Pup (of which you’re likely leveling up anyways). The Pseudodragon’s utility slot bonus is ultimately a trap, as many of the recent boss fights have soak mechanics that lack any target to attack with At-wills (ie, when you’d need the Stamina restore the most).

As for other companions with forced CA attacks, you are free to use them at your own leisure. I heard some good things about the Black Death Scorpion’s attack that forces CA on targets for a long time, but I lack a Scorpion to verify results.

Companion Bolster Bonuses

Enhancement

Weapon Break

Offense

  • Tamed Velociraptor or Death Slaad/Xuna/other companions with procs of percentage of weapon damage

Defense

  • Slot 1: Bulette Pup
  • Slot 2: Apprentice Healer, Skeletal Dog, Moonshae Druid, or Apprentice Healer
  • Slot 3: Harper Bard or Goat (if you can’t get a either, pick another companion from Slot 2)

Utility

Energon or Dread Warrior

Weapon Break is to ensure your defense, as well as teammates’ is slightly more effective. Redemption is also an okay option, though no substitute for a real healer.

The Tamed Velociraptor is for your team. It is currently bugged and auto-stacks its bonus to the max, but should it ever get fixed, then you’ll need to consider your teammates. If you believe that no man can be trusted and that they'll put poison in your mutton, you can run something that marginally increases your offense, such as any of the companions that add an extra proc of weapon damage like the Death Slaad. In scaled instances, assuming you can’t trust your teammates to run the Raptor, then go for any of the companions that increase your ArmorPen, or if you meet all your caps, Power.

For defensive slots, my first choice goes to the Bulette Pup for its free emergency healing bonus that helps lighten the burden on the healer.

The second choice goes any companion you can get which has an HP boost in the defensive slot. Some examples include the Apprentice Healer, the Moonshae Druid, or the Skeletal Dog.

The last slot to the Harper Bard for its very odd HP boost: the HP boost from the Bard seems to be greater than many other companions available in the defense slot. If you can’t acquire a Harper Bard, go for anything with an HP boost to fill your remaining defensive slot..

For the utility slot, the choice goes down to the Dread Warrior versus Energon. The Dread Warrior is suitable for players looking for an aggro boost while the Energon gives a hefty HP bonus for a meager cost.

Companion Equipment

One change to Mod 16’s companions is that companions will no longer have specific gear slots. Your summoned companion will just take any 3 companion gear items and, which is nice. While our overall plans involve a defensive build, the sheer amount of stats obtained by some of the new companion equipment are too good to pass up.

The first obtainable item is the Pearl Ring of the Companion, which pretty much solves most ArmorPen issues you’ll ever have in level 80 content. While it packs offensive slots and may be at odds for a defensive focused build , you’re going to need them in scaled content to boost your ArmorPen by as much as you can.  For all the good this companion gear is, this is also the asshole companion gear that is permanently missable, for some reason. You get the Pearl Ring of the Companion by finding all 9 Relics in the Expedition to Terminus (the one you do after finishing Wyllowood).  It is a guaranteed drop if you find all 9 Relics, so if you are missing any relics before finishing, I’d drop the expedition and try again.  

The second one I’d recommend is the Plated Belt of the Companion, a Defense/Awareness gear you get upon finishing the Blundermountain storyline. It comes with a lot of Defense and Awareness to suit our defensive needs, and like with the Pearl Ring, the 2x offensive slots is great for dealing with lacking ArmorPen in the noworries insanity zones.

Your last slot is not essential to live and is free for you to experiment with. You can choose some of the old companion gear with multiple defensive slots, or just use the Choke gear you get from killing Kerestra in Waning Darkness.

Companion Runestones

One of the big changes in Mod 16 is that companion gear will no longer accept enchantments, requiring you to slot runestones in their place.

If you’re in level 80 content, the best slots would be Empowered for the offensive slots, as Power has no cap and with everything else being fairly easy to cap without trying.  In terms of defensive slots, your best bet would likely be Profane (if Defense isn’t capped), Arcane (if Defense is capped and Deflect isn’t capped) or Enigmatic (if Defense and Deflect are capped). I am not personally a fan of either Deflect or Critical Avoidance, but considering how Empowereds are bugged and don’t transfer HP, these are the best non Defense options if you happen to have gear with defensive slots (Awareness would be better, but I always advocate avoiding enemies getting CA on you rather than trying to stack the stat).

Depending on how well your stats fare in noworries insanity zones, you may also opt to run Arcane runestones in the offensive slots (ArmorPen) or Profane in the defensive slots (Profane) in scaled content where you’re missing points off the ArmorPen/Defense cap.

Mounts

Mount Combat Power

Mounts can assist you in combat, provided that the mount in question is legendary. For the most part, most of the legendary mount combat powers are flat out laughable or mostly useless, meaning that it is perfectly workable to not spend on legendary mounts.

If you have the money to spare, then consider the Stalwart Golden Lion. The Golden Lion has the best combat power, because you deploy the Lion, prone enemies (a decent “get off me” tool) and gain barrier equivalent to 25% of your max HP (ie, a small “I need extra survivability” button) for 10 seconds. While not as strong as it was previously, this is a free panic button for when things are going bad and you need that slight edge to survive something.

Mount Equip Power

Refreshing Breeze (Gas Spore) or Rejuvenation (Dawn Unicorn/Sylvian Stag/Silverback Bear)

The best mount bonus is the Gas Spore, which increases the rate at which your Stamina regenerates The only other option I found interesting was Rejuvenation for the decent patch up heals on daily use. The Lion bonus seems appealing, but I haven’t done enough runs to figure out its usefulness (gotta love being bottom tier).

If you dislike the options I found the most useful, you can pick whatever you please.

Insignia Bonuses

For the new players, Insignia Bonuses are “set bonuses” given for matching certain combinations of insignias given from mounts, with some bonuses requiring 2 or 3 insignia bonuses. Most of the 2 slot insignia bonuses are slightly weaker versions of the 3 slot version, which is only useful if you’re poor and lack a wide selection of mounts to choose from.

Most insignia bonuses got nerfed compared to Mod 15, so there’s not much, if any that are worth gunning for. The only two I found to be useful is Gladiator’s Guile and Barbarian’s Revelry.

Gladiator’s Guile is there for the passive Stamina Regeneration, with the movement speed bonus being a nice perk (you will likely not have the run speed bonus due to constantly depleting your Guard…).

Barbarian’s Revelry might be a surprise, considering that we won’t be focusing on a Critical hit build. Considering how low enemy Critical Resist ratings are and considering that you can get at least ~10% Crit from Combined Rating alone, might as well have the extra pocket heals.


I personally run 2x of each bonus as I found nothing interesting. That leaves you with one more slot remaining, so you can opt to fill your last slot with whatever you want.

Insignia Types

Insignias will have different suffixes, indicating you gain different stats from that insignia.

We will be looking for these types:

Personally, I don’t see the point in ranking these up past purple unless you have a lot of spare cash to spend. You can fight and win with just purple insignias (or even blue insignias) if you play smart.

Character Offensive Slots

Character Defensive Slots

Pick anything with HP due to no cap and enchants being mostly filler anyways.

Any combo of Radiants, Draconics, Brutals, Gigantics, or Demonics will get the job done if you play smart.

Character Utility Slots

Heard interesting things about Tactical enchants and their incoming healing bonus. Don’t have any to test myself, but could be interesting in theory.

Otherwise, go for Darks for slight increase to companion stats.

Boons

These are the boons I deemed essential or must haves. This costs about 68 boon points to do. If you have more points than I do, you can place them in Power or Crit Avoidance or whatever you want.

Glossary of Common In-Game Acronyms