Defenders are the tank class in PvE for Raiderz and the crowd control/initiator of PvP in Raiderz. This makes them a very powerful class in the game. Looking at the Defender skill tree can be one of the most difficult tasks because every skill appears useful. This is different from other classes that blatantly have less useful skills.
Pros and Cons:
5/5 Strike of Ruin: Heavy damage along with a sure crit on the next strike. This skill is great for getting a combo started.
1/5 Stunning Smash: Although the name makes you think there will be a stun, it's actually an interrupt that allows you to get in there and start your combo.
1/3 Rush: A chase and stun maneuver. It also triggers counterattack which is a key element in playing Defenders.
5/5 One-Handed Weapon Mastery: 10% increase do One-Handed Damage. Enough said.
4/5 Massive Strike: I would 5/5 this if points allowed. Massive damage with stun.
1/3 Comeback: Small heal. Mostly taken to get at damage reduction skills.
1/3 Piercing Strike: Stacking magic and defense reduction. Great for PvE although in PvP very few targets will stay in place long enough to land it consistently.
1/3 Rapid Assault: A stun that does not remove counterattack makes this a nice one for stopping/stunlocking enemies. It's also a stepping stone to Shield Slam.
2/3 Defense Mastery: Increases the chance to fully block attacks and increases damage reduction. Great for PvE and if you have fantastic timing in PvP.
1/3 Chaotic Strike: Damage attack that interrupts and regains your stamina if it lands. It's a nice skill to have in both PvE and PvP.
4/5 Slam: I would 5/5 this if points allowed. Massive damage and stun.
1/3 Bastion: Damage reduction increased by 20% but mostly taken because it allows you to block unblockable attacks.
1/5 Shield Slam: A very powerful skill. I would place more points in this if they were available. It's a very powerful attack with a stun.
1/2 Resilience: When blocking successfully it increases stamina regeneration. It also adds stamina regen to Comeback. Great skill for PvE but doesn't warrant two points.
1/3 Cyclone Strike: Decent attack damage but offers a 10% attack speed buff. Worth one point, no more though.
1/1 Evasive Strike: This is your only legitimate escape if you're caught off guard. Necessary.
1/3 Impact Recovery: Party damage reduction buff. Good for both PvE and PvP.
1/3 Steel Wall: Very large group damage reduction. Great for both PvE and PvP.
Sorcerer Tier 1:
1/3 Ice Arrow: Good for pulling and chasing enemies. The best part is it can be cast while moving.
1/5 Ice Thorns: AoE slow. Primarily used for grouping mobs in PvE and snaring players in PvP.
Why no shouts?
The skills are nice but at this stage in the game they don't really bring a huge benefit to the table. Most classes are able to regulate their stamina and energy effectively. Bringing the extra damage to the table helps more in both PvP and PvE.
Why go into Sorcerer Tree?
Defenders don't have a ranged pull for PvE so Ice Arrow is helpful in that. They have stuns in PvP but if they can't slow to catch a player those stuns are useless, it also adds an escape mechanism for them.
Plate. No arguments. Just plate.
Sword and Board. By far the best option but also using mace and shield is viable.
Strength. Some people may argue to gem for survivability but Defenders don't need more, they have plenty. Strength adds to their damage output, helping in PvP and PvE.
The toughest part of defenders is that they have so many viable skills. Defenders are a stun heavy class that are made to mitigate boss damage while dishing out some pain. In PvP they are made to bait, dive, and CC. This build sets them up for large amounts of damage and CC while maintaining most of their tankiness for PvE.