Since I mostly come across Hunters and Warlocks in Destiny, and the TitansI do see are inevitably Strikers (HULK SMASH!!), I figured I would write up this guide to help illustrate why Defenders are awesome sauce. This guide will be strictly based on PVE Utility, since this is where they shine the brightest.
The Defender is all about the Bubble (Ward of Dawn). It’s usefulness cannot be understated, not only does it protect your party from incoming damages, it also applies BUFFS to your team for simply passing through it!! Blessing of Light buff provides a temporary overshield, and Weapons of Light provides increased weapon damage. So even if you are not a Titan, it is good to know which Buff a Defender has on his Bubble, you will see the little Buff Icon above your gun/ammo on the left of your screen.
Defenders deal Void damage with their Grenades, making them useful against Vex Minotaurs/Praetorians and Cabal Psions.
Using your Bubble can provide a crucial respite for your allies, a safe zone where they can recharge their shields, reload their weapons, and get a buff before getting back in the fight. A good Defender will be able to tell when and more importantly WHERE their bubble is needed most.
It’s important to note that your Bubble only stops projectiles, it will not stop enemies from entering your Bubble, and as such, placement of your Bubble can actually hurt your team, since you can not shoot into or out of the Bubble. If a Minotaur is running straight at you, your Bubble will be of little use, and could actually prevent your team from killing it once it enters the Bubble.
You have 3 Grenade types at your disposal, they are not as flashy as your Hunter and Warlock (or even Striker) Varieties, but they can be very useful, particularly your Magnetic Grenade. It not only sticks to the enemy, but it does void damage (great against Minotaurs/Praetorians), AND it explodes twice.
Defender Melee skill, Disintegrate, is also very useful for tanking purposes, since it provides an overshield upon kill of an enemy. As with any melee however, its use is entirely situational, and since you have to rely on a kill to get the overshield, it is best used on trash mobs (Goblins, Thralls, Dregs, etc).
Intellect – Decreases the recharge time of your Super, Ward of Dawn.
Discipline – Decreases the recharge time of your grenades.
Strength – Decreases the recharge time of your melee special.
For PVE purposes, i would suggest focusing on Intellect+Discipline. Your melee may save you in some circumstances, but having a quick recharge for it is not necessary with some of the gear/skills available to you, and if you are going to need to use your melee THAT much, then you are probably going to die in Raids or Nightfalls.
However, since your Bubble is better saved for when its needed, you do not necessarily need a quicker recharge timer on that either, so a Discipline+Strength focus can still be a completely viable option.
Either way, grenades are always useful, so which ever stats you pick, try to include Discipline in there if possible.
Magnetic Grenade. This will probably be your bread and butter in PVE. As mentioned above, it sticks to enemies, making it unavoidable if you aim it right, and it explodes TWICE. First blast deals 100 points of damage, 2nd blast deals 80, and it does an additional 65 points damage if it is stuck on the enemy, giving you a possible total of 245 points of damage. Also, when it is stuck on some enemies (such as Captains or Minotaurs), the enemy will actually stop what they are doing and crouch down in cover to try and avoid damage (joke is on them though!!). This mechanic can be extremely useful, as you can stop a charging Minotaur in its tracks, AND kill it in the process!!
Spike Grenade. This grenade sticks to a surface, shooting out a torrent of Void light, and has the potential to deal even more damage than the Mag Grenade, as it deals 100 points per second for 4 seconds, giving it a possible 400 points of damage. However, this grenade is situational, as it relies on confined spaces to be its most useful. In wide open areas, enemies can simply avoid where the Void torrent is altogether. You will get the most use out of this grenade by throwing it in front of spawn rooms, where enemies are going to spawn from (such as the far back spawn rooms in the Conflux phase of VoG). While this grenade has its uses and potential, I simply find the Mag Grenade to be much more useful because of its versatility and sticky properties.
Suppressor Grenade. While this grenade has its uses in PVP, it is almost useless in PVE. While it will suppress abilities for enemies (grenades, supers, etc), Enemy Ultras are unaffected by it (which are the ones that you would want to suppress), and enemies can still use their weapons to shoot you. On top of that, if YOU happen to get caught up in the blast radius, then your own abilities will be suppressed. You might be able to find some unique uses for it here and there, but it is vastly overshadowed in utility by the other two grenades.
Your Double jump mechanic is called Lift, and it is one of the best in the game. It is faster than Warlock’s Glide, but less control. However, it does provide greater distance.
Increased Height can be useful, although you can also increase your jump height by increasing your agility. If you are making an Armor/Recovery Build (sacrificing Agility), Increased Height may be the better choice here.
Increased Control provides a slight Agility boost, and gives you much more control during your jumps. I have personally found this the most useful of the 3 in Vault of Glass, especially with the jumping puzzles, and to make sure i dont jump off a cliff accidentally (you can actually reverse your direction in air a bit with this one).
Catapult is more of a defensive perk for Lift, giving you quicker jumps. It is probably better suited for PVP, but you can still find its uses in PVE if you are making a more nimble Titan that is agility-focused, allowing you to evade enemies and get around the maps quicker for revives (works well with Crest of Alpha Lupi)
WARD OF DAWN
The almighty Bubble. The Bubble provides a shield that stops projectiles from entering or exiting the Bubble. It also provides a buff (assuming you have the perks) for your teammates. It will not stop enemies from entering, so it is best used to defend against enemies shooting from afar (Hobgoblins, for example), or against Bosses. Proper perk selection will greatly enhance your Bubble’s duration and even the perks you provide, making you one of the most useful members of any fireteam, especially in the Vault of Glass. If you use your Super while in the air, you will drop down to the ground, and it will apply the Bubble at that spot, which can be handy since the animation for the super takes a second before it actually lands (at which point you are vulnerable)
Armor of Light is most useful in PVP, as it provides increased armor while inside the Bubble, making it a dangerous proposition for enemy players to enter. Unfortunately, that is what also makes it almost useless in PVE. Not only are you sacrificing the other two more superior buffs if you use this perk, but if enemies are entering melee range inside your Bubble, you are probably in trouble anyway.
Blessing of Light provides you and anyone who simply passes through the Bubble an overshield that absorbs 65 points of damage(95 with the Illuminated perk equipped) and lasts 10 seconds. This is most useful when your team is taking damage from multiple sources (e.g. Defending the Confluxes in the Templar arena). Having that extra shield can keep your allies alive, especially if they are below the recommended level of that content.
Weapons of Light provides a buff to the weapon damage of your allies, making it universal and the best choice of the three. You get an amazing 25% buff to damage (upgraded to 35% with the Illuminated perk), and it lasts 10 seconds. I cant overstate how useful this perk is, and that YOU HUNTERS AND WARLOCKS SHOULD START TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THIS. A straight up 25 or 35% increase in weapon damage output…seriously.
Disintegrate. Similar to the Warlocks’ shield melee, this too provides you with an overshield, absorbing 75 points of damage, lasting 15 seconds (whichever comes first). However, unlike the Warlock, this requires you to actually KILL an enemy before you can get the shield, making it more difficult to use on harder content. While this is more useful in PVP, you can take advantage of it in PVE content if you plan properly and use it on trash mobs such as dregs or goblins.
War Machine. One of the better perks for Disintegrate, this allows you to reload weapons 150% faster, and reduces animation for aiming down sights and switching weapons. Since this relies on a melee ability kill, this syncs well with Shotguns, since they have slower reloads and allows you to stay in melee range.
Gift of Light. Can be useful in PVE, but is very risky. While your Force Barrier is active, any melee kills you have will generate Orbs for your teammates. This perk is the true definition of a punching Titan, and it helps your teammates when you drop some orbs, but use it with caution. Works well with the No Back Up Plans exotic piece, which extends the duration of Force Barrier, allowing you to generate more orbs with your melee kills (which benefit from increased melee speed as well).
Unbreakable. Also usefull for PVE content, as it allows your Force Barrier overshield to recharge itself, allowing you to absorb more damage. Works well with Fusion Rifles, since it increases your survivability in medium range.
Just going to skim this section, as it is the same as every other class for the most part, and will basically come down to personal preference. Your upgrades will improve either your Armor, Agility, or Recovery, or some combination thereof.
Titan Codex I Armor+2, Recovery+2 Best suited for builds where you are going to expect damage and want the best armor/recovery, sacrificing agility. Good for close range/Shotgun builds.
Titan Codex II Agility+2, Armor+2 Best suited for agile builds where you want to survive damage, such as running around reviving teammates.
Titan Codex III Agility+2, Recovery+2 Best suited for agile builds where you want to quickly regain lost health. Better for characters with higher level armor pieces.
Bastion. One of the best perks for your Ward of Dawn, increases its duration from 30 seconds to 45 seconds, and gives you +2 Armor. Those extra 15 seconds means you have 15 more seconds of chance to grab your Bubble Buffs. Useful for builds where you do not have much Intellect, since even though it takes longer for your Super to recharge, it will last longer once up.
Relentless. Much better suited for PVP, as it increases your Force Barrier from absorbing 75 points to 95 points. However, if you plan on making a close quarters melee build, this is the perk to choose.
Gift of the Void. This can also be insanely useful in PVE, as it will generate Orbs if your Bubble takes damage, and if it is destroyed, additional orbs will be spawned. If your team wants to rely on their Supers, then this is the perk to choose.
Same as Class modifiers, this will come down to personal preferences, and what type of build you are making.
Titan Codex IV Agility+1, Armor+2, Recovery+2 A well rounded perk to add a little to each. Useful in many situations/builds.
Titan Codex V Recovery+5 Useful if you are lacking Recovery, or if you wish to focus on that attribute above the rest.
Titan Codex VI Agility+4, Armor+1 Greatly increases your Agility, and a bit or Armor. Useful if you are lacking Agility in previous perks, or wish to focus on that.
Untouchable. Reduces the cooldown of Ward of Dawn, and increases Armor+1. Since it only reduces it from 4 minutes down to 3:30, and you can get Armor from other perks, I do not find this perk particularly useful, especially considering Illuminated is way way way way more useful.
Iron Harvest. Allows you to spawn Orbs from Heavy Weapon kills. This can have its uses, especially if paired with Gift of the Void, it will basically make you an Orb slot machine that hit Jackpot and spits out a bunch of Orbs to your team. If you already have a Defender Titan in your group that uses Illuminated, then you could definitely use IH/GoV in a pure Orb-generator build.
Illuminated. However, chances are you will most likely be using this perk, as it increases the buffs from your Blessing of Light (95 points) and Weapons of Light (35%). This perk is vital if you use Weapons of Light, since it will increase the buff another 10%, from 25 to 35%.
Just going to give a short overview of the useful Exotics for the Defender Titan.
Helm of Saint-14 is the Defender Exotic Headpiece. It increases melee speed, and has the unique ability to blind enemies who enter your Bubble. It also increases your Super energy when you kill enemies. While this is more practical in PVP, where players are more apt to challenge you inside your Bubble, its use in PVE content is pretty limited. Still, you could always make a close-quarters Titan build, and lure enemies into your Bubble, and it will blind them, allowing you to kill them easier.
EDIT…since everyone is mentioning the Saint, I do not mean to imply it is not useful, only that it requires your Super to be available to reap the unique benefits of this helm. But yes…this can be very useful for many situations, as many of the commenters in this thread are pointing out.
No Backup Plans is the other Exotic (arm piece) that has exclusive perks for the Defender. This increases the reload speed of your Special weapons (read: SHOTGUNS!!), increased melee attack speed, and will also increase the duration of your Force Barrier. Again, more practical for PVP, but can have its uses in a close-quarters Shotgun/Melee build.
Crest of Alpha Lupi is a general Titan Exotic chest piece, and is very useful for PVE content. You have an increase of Auto Rifle Ammo (works well with Atheon’s Epilogue), increase in Special weapon ammo (good for Snipers or Fusion Rifles), and you revive teammates quicker, and get revived quicker. This syncs well with Agility builds and Catapult, as you can get in, revive quick, and jump back out again, making you crucial when teammates die in hairy situations.
More grenades, more ammo. Pretty useful for anything, really.
Hope this guide was helpful in explaining some of the Mechanics and skills of the Titan Defender, and hopefully help convince some of you to take the plunge and join your fellow Punchbros inside the almighty Bubble. If anyone has any specific questions about Defender Titans, feel free to ask, and ill answer as best I can. Thanks for reading Guardians.