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General Notes on Bulwark

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The Bulwark is a powerful defensive warrior, never comfortable without several pounds of steel (or better) on every body part. They utilize both Armour and Defense to the fullest. Their offence consists of weapon/shield combination talents, so one will never see them utilizing two-handed weapons except in the most dire situations, or if the player is an Ogre.

The Bulwark's defining talent is Shield Wall. This gives Armour, Defense, stun resistance, and knockback resistance. Most of the other talents are expected to be used in combination with it.

On the defensive side, Bulwarks will want to invest in Armour Training, so that they can wear the biggest, hardest, toughest things they can find. This reduces incoming melee damage, allowing a Bulwark to stand toe-to-claw with virtually anything.

In the early game, your offence will be a bit on the weak side. Shield Wall reduces your damage, so you'll want to quickly max out the Weapons Mastery talent to compensate (and also put points into Combat Accuracy so you can actually hit things).

Your offense will build up as you acquire more shield-based talents. Shield Pummel stuns and does two hits with the shield. Adding points makes the stun last longer. Shield damage increases with better shields, and with points in Shield Expertise.

However, the pinnacle of the Fighter's melee arsenal is Assault, which strikes 3 times in a single turn, and the last 2 hits are guaranteed criticals.

Fighters have several choices for talent categories to unlock, depending on the direction you choose for your build. The archery talents are generally not worth considering.

If you prefer a cautious style, the Track talent gives you monster detection capability, and therefore the Field Control tree is probably where you'll want to spend your first category point. You also get Disengage, which gives you a little bit of mobility (though typically in the wrong direction - unless there is another enemy handy who can serve as a launching board).

Bulwarks can be built for mobility. They have access to Rush early, and its cooldown improves with invested points. However, the Step Up talent (in the locked Battle Tactics tree) offers mobility that makes most other classes look like they're standing still; at 5/5 it is nearly as good as hitting a movement infusion after every single kill. Combined with an actual movement infusion - or with Rush - to bootstrap the killing spree, they can practically fly from foe to foe across the battlefield.

On the offensive side, Shattering Shout (in the locked Warcries tree) does substantial area-effect damage in a cone. This is the Bulwark's only real crowd-control talent. Fortunately it's a good one, easily exceeding 1000 damage per use against sufficiently large numbers of foes. Players who want higher damage output (or ranged damage) should look here. This tree also provides access to the excellent Second Wind and Battle Shout, if the player is having issues with stamina.

Antimagic can be made to work with Bulwarks, although this will enforce rather tight (often frustrating) equipment restrictions, as well as taking away the use of teleport runes as emergency escapes. It will also suck up Generic talent points that could be used for Armour Training, Combat Accuracy, Weapons Mastery, racial trees, etc. However, magic users are a Bulwark's worst enemy, since Armour does not reduce spell damage. It makes for an interesting trade-off.

With so many excellent locked trees to choose from, it's tempting to forego extra inscription slots, but a 4th or even 5th inscription can often be a life-saver. The choices are not trivial ones.