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What's the deal with Forge Guard?

Fairly new so I apologize if this has been asked but what’s the deal with Forge Guard? The class looks interesting but I only see two up-to-date builds for it and an absolute plethora of builds for Paladin and Void Knight. I also don’t see much activity for FG on the ladder. Is it poor design, bad skills, not fun? Is there a viable way of going warpath with FG or is that too much lack of synergy?

Paladin has Holy Aura, which makes everything easier as soon as you unlock the specialization. I also think both Paladin and Void Knight have better specialization trees. My best Forge Guard was a Regifter variant and I maxed out at 53 points in the FG tree vs. 42 in Sentinel. One of the top tier talents in Forge Guard is a skill that procs Ring of Shields on hit, but Ring of Shields blocks attacks that stifle FG’s innate ability Stalwart (3% armor for each hit in the last 10 seconds) and one of its other top tier talents Art of War (1% damage for each hit in the last 10 seconds).

I had to drop Ring of Shields entirely with no 5th skill worth having on my Regifter Forge Guard and went with Juggernaut Stance. This allowed me to take all of the hits and convert it into armor and damage, but it shouldn’t be that hard to maximize the one thing Forge Guard has over Paladin (a better innate talent).

My Void Knight currently has 85 points invested in the tree and most of my Paladins top 70 points. The Forge Guard tree is split between 2h and 1h and further split between blocking (which is now less useful since they nerfed Block % scaling) and not blocking.

Forge Guard has the worst tree and no “gimme” skill when you unlock its specialization. There’s also no damage type synergy that Void Knight enjoys. I would love to see Forge Guard become a “Thorns” character that absorbs damage and reflects it with great efficiency. I have my Regifter Forge Guard set up with triple Riposte + Retribution (Sentinel talent). But, even when I stack Damage Reflect idols, my damage pales in comparison to my Void Apocalyse or Decimator Paladin.

In sum, the Forge Guard tree fights against itself (unlike Void Knight) and it has no skill that comes close to matching the Paladin’s Holy Aura, nor are the offensive options in the Forge Guard tree particularly efficient. Forge Guard will do great against 100 enemies feeding it stacks, but when its a single boss and your Stalwart/Art of War stacks are >10, you’re in for a bad time compared to the other two specs.

Makes sense, thanks for the explanation. I’ll probably go the paladin route instead then as VK doesn’t interest me. I hope they improve FG down the line.

I do too, it’s my favorite specialization insofar as I enjoy playing the tanky bruiser archetype. I would prefer Sword and Shield over Dual Wielding or 2H, but it’s just not competitive from a damage perspective right now. Being super defensive, while was great in the early days of LizardIRL’s Turbo Vengeance builds, is no longer the way to stay competitive in Arena or Monolith stacking.

You have to kill fast or efficiently and the Forge Guard does neither.

On that note, everything seems to be dw with 2H or Shield lacking in most cases. I made the mistake early on building for defense and survivability on a Shaman but it does seem like damage is king.

FG just recently received a new Passive Tree together with Spellblade.

Alot of people seem to dislike it for some reason.

I really like the new FG passive tree and it even makes me invest into FG when playing VK or Paladin.

Also Smelters’s Wrath and Forged Strike are both my favorite Sentinel skills after Erasing Strike.

Forge Guard is defintely not your standard cookie-cutter aRPG class.

I would like to explain my reasons for not playing FG, in the hopes that the dev’s are listening.

I have a FG, in fact it was my highest at one point, and a lot of fun. Now, the passive tree is a mess. There’s 2H mixed with throwing mixed with shields mixed with melee with some minions on the side, but I feel there’s no harmony between them; it’s like the different paths the class can take are all fighting for dominance instead of working to give the player choices like other classes do. I have a FG that uses shields to do damage and protection, but the mana cost of using my abilities makes the character seem sluggish and disjointed, and that’s with lots of -mana stuff. My char can survive and win, it’s not like he’s incapable, but he’s not fun to play at all, and this is from someone who isn’t super twitchy that doesn’t have to move 1,000,000 mph and killing with 1 trillion damage a second to be happy. I’ve had to almost completely neglect the FG passives if favour of the Pally just to make the FG playable.

I figure the FG will change in time, but for me as it currently stands, the FG just isn’t fun. It’s a broken mess of a class that needs a complete overhaul in my opinion (which may well be wrong), which is why I’m not playing it currently nor do I intend to play it going forward.

I have a Forge Guard. I played him during the campaign then I stopped. It was nice and I love what he does: he strikes with Forge Strike which summons swords that help fight, and he is follow by a big fighting armor. It was nice to play, but to be honest it was not fun. Doing the campaign was not a pain, but it did not feel attractive either. It was rather “mechanical”, just hit and walk, no real fun. But I’d like to see more nice builds with him.
The Void Knight was the opposite feeling for me. It’s (in my opinion) a very fun mastery to play. And the Paladin is the most classic Sentinel mastery, and also somewhat fun. The FG is the less fun of the three and I’m not sure it has as much potential as the two other.

I just tried @Wrouk 's build when ApprenticeCorner posted it the other day. It was okay, I don’t have the gear to optimize it, but I found it funny that the extra points to make you tankier got dropped into the Paladin tree over more in the Forge Guard, which seems to make the argument being asserted in this thread.

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I played alot of forge guard, mostly minion foccused. there are some things i like and some things i dont:

I would like to see more minion based nodes and get most of them moved to bottom part of the tree. main reason for this is to enable more minion builds in the future as the gimmick of the summons in forge guard is that they use some of your gear stats and thus every new unique/legendary/new affixes that will get added over time in the game is potentially gonna enable more different build options. by moving the minion related stuff to the lower part of the tree you will increase that potential x3 as you have 3 different masteries you can combine new items with etc.

Now said that i believe a mastery should define itself in its top half of the tree.
So For the top part i would like to see more interactions with getting increased effect of gear you have equiped and/or more reflect interactions, few examples of some cool notables i thought of at the top of my head:

  • Glove mastery “x% increased effect of prefixxes on gloves but -x% effect on prefixxes on amulet.”
  • Spiked shield: "(x%) reduced block effectiveness but reflect deals double dmg if attack was blocked. "
  • Flame whip: “if Wearing a staff or wand, reflect wont trigger when hit but lashes out in a fiery whip every (x) seconds to a nearby enemy and deals fire dmg.”
  • Enchanted Gear: “every (x) sec enchance a random affix on your gear by (x%) (also apllies to allies with reduced effectiveness).”
    etc.

Think stuff like this will give more of a forge guard feeling gameplaywise while not disturbing the actual crafting in last epoch, as i saw some ppl suggesting they want him to have more succes chance while crafting or something like that but then ppl are only gonna use it as a alt to craft gear on wich is not what we want.

Oh and for new the unique skills for forge guard it would be cool to have it change depending on what items you are wearing so kinda like they already have with the rogue with bow and melee but then much bigger. forge strike sort of has that build in to it but IMO that should become a whole tree foccused around the summoned weapons. For manifest armor skill its more of a matter of making sure all affixes work on him and fixxing some bugs.

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The problem with minion nodes is that the Forge Guard tree is already being pulled in so many different directions – throwing nodes, 2H nodes, shield nodes, defensive stats, and manifest armor. Perhaps a good compromise is to offer nodes that enhance the stats on the armor slots, which will effectively buff Manifest Armor, but serve non-summoners as well (this may have been what you were suggesting for the top part of the tree).

My biggest problem with the Forge Guard tree is that it doesn’t offer anything unique in the way of build-defining offense – either in the traditional sense or reflecting damage. Art of War is nice, but very situational (and bad vs. bosses when damage really counts because it doesn’t stack enough).

Maybe instead of Stalwart, hits on the Forge Guard could create a new unique resource “Iron Forged” and as stacks of that grow, nodes in the tree could do different things for different builds. You would still need to solve the problem of single targets not generating stacks, but it could help to have a unified resource in the way Void Knights have void damage.

At a minimum, when I think of Forge Guard I think of armor and hammers – maybe make them blunt weapon specialists (more than the 10% per point top tier Sentinels get). Void Knight has a clear specialty (Void Damage and to a lesser extent leech nodes/Anomaly). Paladin is sort of a jack of all trades but it comes together in many different ways (which is why there are so many builds that work). I just want Forge Guards to be the BEST at something other than taking a lot of damage. Taking a lot of damage means nothing if the source doesn’t die and doesn’t stop sending more damage your way.

I think Wrouk said it EXACTLY right. Forge Guard needs to drop focus on throwing and shield (Paladin thing). Forge Guard should be PRIMARILY weapon/armor minions, damage reflection, and passive gear buffs. The passive gear buffing part could also impact the minions.

I actually like that the “animate weapons” isn’t an active summon ability. There is something neat about it being a triggered thing from an attack. I think it is a good tradeoff for not having a limited number of them being able to be summoned.

Also, as a distant secondary focus, the Forge Guard should like big 2h hammers.

I would also note that a big part of reflect being trash is that the damage reflected is post mitigation. So the % damage reflected is on the amount of damage you take after all of your mitigation like resist and endurance and block. Either it needs to be changed to pre-mitigated damage, or it needs to be able to be scaled better.

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I agree that attacking to summon is a nice mechanic, but Forge Guard does not have any attack speed nodes innate to the tree, which works against this concept. What might be more interesting is for there to be a method to spend your stacks of Stalwart to summon minions. If you change Stalwart to a resource (I used the term Iron Forged), and then for X stacks you create an animated weapon it both fits the lore of Forge Guard and feeds off his defensive mechanic. As for generating stacks against bosses or single targets, perhaps a 1 point node that generates X stacks per second when facing only one enemy within a radius of Z.

Agreed. I’m not sure how much minions mitigate their own reflected damage after it’s calculated, but that’s probably a factor as well. If you dedicate yourself to defense and reflecting damage, there should be a pay off, though I doubt the devs would ever allow it to be a viable primary source of damage given that it’s too passive/easy.

How about we take a page out of the Diablo handbook and let these blacksmiths that have been working the forge all their lives carry a 2H in one hand with a % damage reduction. Better yet, let’s dual wield them. Stomping around with a couple of Terror Maces and the additional stat options that 2-handed weapons have might balance the scales quite a bit.

At the very beginning, when I purchased the game, I thought I would not play For Guard: all FG builds I could find were with no FG skill. Only Sentinel skills or skills from the two other masteries. That’s why, when I decided to try, I wanted something really FG and I used FG skills. But as you all said, his specialization is not clear, he’s going in too many directions, so it’s difficult for him to have a real class identity and efficiency.

I think Wrouk said it EXACTLY right. Forge Guard needs to drop focus on throwing and shield (Paladin thing). Forge Guard should be PRIMARILY weapon/armor minions, damage reflection, and passive gear buffs. The passive gear buffing part could also impact the minions.

i totally agree with you. throwing and shield feels wrong on FG.

But where would they go? Throwing attacks get precious little passive support as it is.

This could be solved by giving it a cap on how many you can have out at the same time, but make them stronger.

I dont think Throwing needs alot of specific passive nodes perse but rather have them amplify and introduce even more ways to convert throwing attacks or add aditional scaling tags onto them like you can now with changing shield throw to void or fire wich opens the use of alot of passives inside palladin and voidknight.

I think taking throwing out of FG and putting it to Pally is a bad idea; what are you taking out of Pally to compensate? I feel FG’s idea is fine, its implementation is not.

Compare it to the Sorc tree: fire’s on the left, Cold is in the middle, Lightning on the right.

Now look at FG. There’s 2H, Fire/Melee, Shield Throw, and Phys (not fire, that would be wrong!) shield defense all in the same tree branch straight from the start. There’s shield to the right, that’s fine, but that middle branch at the bottom is just a mess.

Paladin has 29 tree nodes. Forge Guard has 31. Lich has 32. It wouldn’t be a big deal to take the throwing and shield stuff from FG and put it to Paladin. It seems like those are already in Paladin’s wheelhouse anyway. Paladin is Throwing, Shields, and Holy Fire damage/healing spells.

I could definitely see the Forge Guard getting Fire damage buffs as it is thematic. I don’t see the Forge Guard as being necessarily bad at throwing attacks (it should be hammer throw over shield throw for theme). I just think that the Forge Guards nodes should fit a different theme that just so happens to work with Hammer Throw. (They need to separate out Hammers as it’s own weapon type). They could then put a “Hammer” tag on Hammer Throw. Then FG could get nodes that say “attacks with Hammers shred phys/fire/armour”, “attacks with Hammers penetrate phys/fire”, and "attacks with Hammers have X% chance to summon an animated weapon/armor on hit (animated minion scales with weapon damage to balance for a 2H vs fast weapons as well as an animated minion cap).

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How would you articulate Forge Guard’s “idea” with regard to offensive capability? There’s such little cohesion for the specialization in that department. As it stands, “pin cushion” is about the only standard for FG builds.