I have a feeling I’ll have a lot to talk about here, so I’m going to split it up. The first part I’ll cover learning/remembering them, then I’ll focus on what to use for soloing/grouping on other parts. I’m mainly going to talk about how I did things and what worked for me, so of course your mileage may vary 🙂
The first thing I did was look at all the available gambits and make a spreadsheet (yes I’m a spreadsheet addict) but now there are a few web-sites that have this all done for you already (check at my links section under the warden category). But if you make your own you do learn them a bit just by writing down, plus you can tailor it however you want. With this I was able to highlight the ones I liked best and do things like power cost calculations and the like. Some folks printed theirs out and put it near their screen, I had my speadsheet on my other monitor, for quick reference.
The next suggestion is on key-mapping. I have spear = 1, fist = 2, shield = 3 and gambit fire on 4. Some have things switched around but generally you want these 4 keys together wherever it makes sense for you.
I found it helpful once I realized and broke the gambits into their “lines,” as now I really don’t have too many things to remember. By this I mean the general pattern you follow to build up for a buff/attack. An example is our self heal over time (HoT). This starts as just shield + spear. The next tier is shield + spear + shield and the following tier is just an extra spear tacked on. So our self heal is essentially just shield + spear to whatever length you want to build it to. Our main interrupt line is the same just with spear followed by shield, taunt line is fist then spear, threat leach line is shield then fist, and bleed line is fist then shield. After that they’re not quite as simple but here are the main ones you start to get once you get tier 3 gambits:
- Defensive buff – shield + spear + fist… then adding another shield – buffs block and evade
- Main DPS – spear + shield + fist… then adding another spear – lotta DPS and big DoT
- Morale Leach – fist + spear + shield… then alternating fist & shield – 4 tick morale leach of up to 10 mobs
- Corruption Line – spear + fist + shield… then spear + fist
- tier 3 is corruption removal – spammable, so fastest removal in game
- tier 4 is attack speed buff
- tier 5 is melee damage buff
I think the only gambit that’s not covered in these lines is The Dark Before Dawn which is our tier 5 power restoration gambit (spear+shield+spear+fist+spear). Also, all of the lines stack – so you can have different tiers of the same line up at the same time just not the same tier. So when I’m getting pounded on I cab have all 4 healing tiers up at the same time which returns around 350 morale per tick depending on your javelin legacies.
So now you know what all the gambits are and have your key-mapping – the next part is practice 🙂 Basically while out killing mobs, farming deeds, etc. I’d pick a gambit or two and just spam it so I got used to the rhythm of each one. You also get used to what each one does and a feel for when (or if) to use them. While leveling, I would do this with each new gambit as I learn it.
Build up a cycle or routine that you rotate through during the fight. This will change for grouping and solo but slowly you’ll start to get to a point where you’re only using a few gambits on any given fight. So now instead of learning everything you’re just trying to keep up with your rotation. But the nice part is that the as the fight changes you can quickly adapt and switch up so that when you need to focus on some aspect (healing for example) you can stack a couple of the lines and then switch back over to dps, bleeds, etc.
The other aspect of gambits that comes into play in your higher levels is the concept of the line mastery. These are traits that you earn that allow you to more quickly build up gambits. Essentially each class trait (one per trait line) allows you to add to your current gambit 2 icons with one key press. So for instance, if you slot the spear line’s mastery this gives you 2 available skills that are spear+fist and spear+shield. So this allows you to instantly build “The Boot” gambit for a quick interrupt or quickly build longer gambits. Which masteries and how many to slot is a topic of much debate – I currently only slot the spear one, but I know some have all 3 slotted. It essentially is a trade off you need to make between building gambits faster and other trait bonuses. Most will agree though that at least one is mandatory for higher level raiding/grouping.