The Guardians' origins are rooted in the origins of the Last City itself, in the Dark Age that followed the Collapse. In the earliest days, when the survivors of the Collapse were gathering beneath the Traveler and groups like Takanome's Rangers were all that separated refugees elsewhere from certain death, the Guardians were known as The Risen. Having been granted the power to wield the Light by their Ghosts, The Risen lacked a common, unifying purpose, and took up roles as enforcers and bodyguards for the first Factions of what would become the Last City. As the Factions feuded over their competing ideologies and competed for influence among the residents of the fledgling city under the Traveler, some of The Risen became disillusioned and abandoned their Factions, seeking a higher purpose. With tensions between the Factions already near the boiling point, this triggered the Faction Wars, a violent conflict that only ended when The Risen ceased fighting each other in order to unite against a new enemy that threatened them all: the Fallen. In the end, the Fallen were repelled, the Factions' iron grip was broken, the city under the Traveler became the Last City with massive walls erected to protect it, and The Risen became known as the Guardians.
Outside the Last City, various Guardians also set themselves up as petty kings across Earth. Known as Warlords, they forced villages to accept their "protection" in return for tribute and warred with each other for territory. Eventually, four warriors who fought against the Warlords' tyranny, Radegast, Jolder, Perun, and Saladin, joined together to form a force for good modeled after the knightly orders of old. They became the first Iron Lords. Over the years, the Iron Lords' numbers swelled into the hundreds as they defeated Warlord after Warlord and destroyed their Ghosts to ensure their executions were permanent. A number of Warlords, such as Felwinter, even decided to join the Iron Lords' cause. When the Warlords were vanquished, the Iron Lords set about rebuilding human civilization, but this unfortunately led to their downfall. Hoping to harness the Golden Age technology known as SIVA, they breached Site 6 and awoke the Warmind Rasputin, who activated SIVA as a defense mechanism. In the ensuing conflict, all of the Iron Lords perished but two: Saladin and Efrideet. Saladin sealed the Iron Temple as a monument to his fallen friends, and took up managing the Iron Banner at the Tower.
Guardians of the present are chosen from the ranks of ancient dead by the Ghosts of the Traveler, and have defended the City for centuries. However, that defense cannot hold out forever. Guardians are charged with the protection of humanity's survivors, but many have splintered off into other groups with their own agendas. For example, it is commonplace for Guardians to align with one of the City's many Factions for support. Some, however, leave the City altogether, such as those aligned with Concordat or the Cult of Osiris. Few have turned their back on the Light and humanity, such as the villainous Dredgen Yor.
Guardians are equipped with an advanced arsenal of weaponry and vehicles, as well as the ability to channel the Traveler's power (referred to by some as "magic"). It is said that Guardians rarely speak.
Thanks to their Ghosts, Guardians are effectively immortal in most situations. They take advantage of this fact in a number of ways, whether its the live-fire training exercises of the Crucible, or by making new discoveries via visions as thanatonauts. However, Guardians can be permanently killed if their light is drained by a powerful enemy, or if their Ghost is destroyed.
There are three classes of Guardian: Hunters, Warlocks, and Titans. Hunters utilize swiftness, accuracy, and stealth. Warlocks have the least amount of armor but the fastest regeneration, and utilize a variety of projectile attacks in their abilities. Titans are able to both take and deal massive amounts of damage, prioritizing either one depending on their subclass.  Titans emphasize armor and raw power, while warlocks emphasize the use of their magical abilities and agility. Hunters fall in between both classes. The Guardians include members of the human, Awoken and Exo races, and can be either male or female.
While the choice of race is mostly aesthetic, the choice of class will have more impact. Note that all three classes have access to the same weapons, and are not "locked in" to any particular role. However, each class can specialize in a particular direction depending on which subclass the player is using. Choice of subclass will determine what Super the player can use, as well as what bonuses and other lesser abilities they'll have access to. Subclasses can be leveled up and switched on the fly, allowing a single character a degree of flexibility for different combat scenarios.
Guardians have three base stats determined by their choice of subclass: Armor (shield strength), Agility (movement speed and jump height), and Recovery (shield regeneration speed). Each class emphasizes each of these stats differently, but can be modified slightly. Choice of armor can boost any of the three cooldown stats: Strength (melee cooldown), Discipline (grenade cooldown), and Intellect (Super cooldown).
While players gain levels with experience, these levels are mainly for determining what gear and missions are unlocked. The player's actual strength is determined by Light levels. Light represents the average attack and defense values of the player's currently equipped weapons and armor; every mission has a recommended light level, so players who meet that recommendation are more likely to succeed said mission. Generally speaking, items with more rarity have a higher light level than others.
- Firebreak Order
- First Pillar Order
- Pilgrim Guard
- Praxic Warlocks
- Stoneborn Order
- Sun Legion
- The Sunbreakers
- Eris' Fireteam
- Kabr's Fireteam
- Fireteam "The Bad Guys Don't Care What We Call Ourselves Do They?"
- Fireteam Tuyet
- Six Coyotes
- Holborn's Host
- Jagi's Host
- Radegast's Host
The Guardians as they appear in The Law Of The Jungle live action trailer.
Guardians holding their ground on Mars
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List of appearances
- ^ Bungie Destiny Story
- ^ Bungie (2014-12-10), Destiny: The Taken King, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Rezyl Azzir - Before These Walls
- ^ Destiny the Game - How to read your Grimoire cards
- ^ Bungie (2014-6-12), Destiny: Alpha PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Guardians
- ^ IGN Bungie's Destiny: A Land of Hope and Dreams
- ^ Tower NPCs Breakdown: The Jovians, Osiris, The Great Pyramid, Sun Legion, Ragnarök, etc. (Part 2)
- ^ Forbes.com Bungie's Destiny Unveiled
- ^ Gameinformer: Jason Jones - The Destiny Interview
- ^ Reddit: The Taken King Reveal Teaser - Destiny Year 2
- ^ YouTube: Destiny - Zavala Gives Up on the PA