One Shot, One Kill: Imperial Agent Sniper Build

One Shot, One Kill is a column devoted entirely to the Imperial Agent Sniper. If you’ve got something Sniper-related you’d like resident devotee Matthew ‘Scope’ Pearce to cover, drop us a line.

I wanted to spend some time covering the burst DPS build I use with my Sniper and what’s changed since patch 1.4 hit.

What changes in 1.4 actually affected snipers?

Well we should all be happy that they finally fixed the delay that was happening when going into cover and using our AOE knockback  straight away. The delay that usually followed meant knocking your opponent in the wrong direction or missing them completely, thus wasting a life- saving cooldown.

Marksmen spec snipers should also be happy with the improved Followthrough that is now usable 5 seconds after using Snipe, Ambush, or Takedown, up from 3 seconds. It now allows us a little more breathing space in our rotations and some time to mix things up a bit, which I like a lot.

Why should I play a Sniper?

Great long range abilities, CC immunity , amazing crowd control as well as multiple damage reduction defensive abilities.

Snipers are great fun to play – they have some of the best defensive  and offensive cooldowns in the entire game.

What other reasons should you play a sniper that are not combat related? Well, Imperial Agents get to experience one of the best story lines and meet some of the most interesting companion characters out of all the Empires classes.

Without giving away any story spoilers, the Imperial Agent’s story is like one of the good James Bond stories – it’s filled with loads of action, loyalty, love, betrayal , and focuses on the Sith Empire from the viewpoint of a loyal soldier trying to do their best to help the Empire or to help themselves

What build are you using at the moment and why?

I run with the 25/16/0 build and have been since I first made my sniper back in beta:

imperial agent sniper build

 My reasoning behind why I run this build instead of a full 31 point build is simple: I love burst damage.

When you play on a PVP server like I do and when world PVP can and does happen (though rarely as of late), I prefer burst damage builds. They are the best way to bring your enemy down as quickly and easily as possible and snipers fill this role the best out of all the ranged damage classes in SWTOR.

My build is centred around the application of Explosive Probe, for its main damage dealing abilities and as a source of energy regeneration with the talents in Imperial methodology, plus the extra regeneration from Snipers Pillbox in the marksmanship tree. These two talents allow me to stay in the fight longer as well as manage my energy levels better and thus deal more damage.

Is this build good for levelling?

When I first levelled my sniper up I made sure that my first 2 talent points went into the “Engineers Tool Belt”

These 2 talent point lets us throw our Fragmentation Grenades every 3 seconds and makes levelling faster and easier as we can simply run into a group of 5 enemies toss a grenade, rifle shot and then toss another grenade again over and over until all the mobs are dead.

I would focus on going up the engineering tree first until you hit level 30, then I would respec and go with marksmanship and try out the new ability “Followthrough”. Once you get to level 32 you should put two points back into “Engineers Tool Belt” to regain the ability to AOE spam every 3 seconds and then continue back up the engineering tree the same as in my build until you hit level 50.

So where does the burst damage come from?

The combination of the Marksmanship tree’s ability to dish out fast and hard hitting single target attacks, combined with the explosive abilities that activate when hit from the engineering tree, make for one hell of a burst damage build.

Here is an example of my sniper using just “Explosive Probe” followed by “Ambush” and the burst damage I can dish out:

 imperial agent sniper build

That’s 11600 damage in 1 hit.

Can you show us an example of a basic rotation?

Say you run into a Sage or Sorcerer – these guys have the lowest armour in game and as such are usually the easiest targets for a sniper to kill and kill quickly. If they aren’t paying attention you can bring them to below 50% hp with 2 button presses.

Here is a quick and easy rotation that you can use to bring a Sorcerer or Sage down in around 5-8 button presses depending on his gear and yours.

1 First go into cover

2 Toss out your “Explosive Probe” ability. Note that if another person or NPC is hitting the target of “Explosive Probe” the next hit the target takes will trigger the effect. however don’t let this discourage you from using this ability as it also adds four extra damage ticks due to our spec.

3 Hit your Ambush ability. Note that you can also use your “Laze Target” and the “Target Acquired” cool downs prior to using Ambush in order to add extra damage if so desired.

(once Ambush hits the target with an explosive probe the target usually goes down to 50% hp)

4 Hit your “Followthrough” ability. This ability can only be used after using either Ambush Snipe or Takedown.

(If the target is now under 25% hp use “Snipe” and then “Takedown” – if the target is not below 25% continue to step 5)

5 Hit “Snipe”

(Because of our talents when we go into cover we get an instant cast snipe for the next 10 seconds)

6 Now that “Snipe has been used it has unlocked the ability “Followthrough” again but it is still on cool down so what we do next is use our “Series of Shots” ability.

7 Once that ability is finished quickly hit “Followthrough” again

8 Now the target should most definitely be below 25% health so we can use the “Takedown” ability to finish them off.

(if this ability doesn’t finish them off completely you can simply leave cover and re-enter cover for another instant cast “Snipe” that you can easily follow up with another devastating “Followthrough”)

So over to you: do you currently play a Sniper or plan on levelling one now?

The Third Edge: 1.4 Balancing for Mercenaries / Commandos

The Third Edge is devoted to everything Bounty Hunter and Trooper. Our resident guru in the area, Jemima, knows her stuff and what she doesn’t know she knows where to find it. Drop Jemima a line if you have ideas for future columns!

The news of coming Mercenary/Commando changes in 1.4 has been out for a day or two now and as usual the ‘balancing’ is nothing if not contentious. To this end, I’ve put in my own two cents and assembled a few of SWTOR’s leading theory crafters in the world of all things Mercenary and Commando to give us their ideas, insights and predictions as to what these changes are going to mean for all of us.

The Expert Panel:

JEM plays Jet, a Valor Rank 73 Mercenary, as well as a Shield Tech Powertech on the Dalborra server and is GM of Aftermath, a leading 16-man progression guild.

KRIPT is one of the Dalborra server’s most renowned PvP Mercenaries and a member of Notorious Synergy.

AERRO is an Arsenal Mercenary and an officer of Chosen, a 16-man World Progression guild on Prophecy of the Five and is the author of the MMO Champion guide  ArsenalBountyHunterAreYOUDoingItRight?

Onto abilities:

Electro Dart and Cryo Grenade now have a 10-meter range

Jem says: This is a nerf. To be able to use our one and only stun we now need to be in melee range, and that’s exactly where we don’t want to be.

Kript says: This change was more for the Powertechs but has also affected Mercs / Commandos. BioWare should have noticed this and changed the range back to 30m for this AC.

Aerro says: If I looked at this without taking all things into consideration, this is most definitely a nerf. We may or may not have gained things to offset this nerf, but overall it is a nerf. Our utility in Huttball (Arsenal/Gunnery) already felt minimal.


Using a crowd control ability on an already controlled target now applies reasonable Resolve gain values by comparing the incoming control effect to the greatest of existing control effects. As a result of these Resolve changes, unorganized teams will no longer pay huge penalties for overlapping control effects at critical moments.


Jem says: Resolve won’t fill up as quickly allowing more and longer CC times. Fantastic if you’re the one dishing it out. Not so great if you’re the recipient. I think Bioware intended them to be Marauders/Sentinels, but I have a nagging suspicious we’re going to be an unintended casualty here. Beyond the universal 2-minute release from everything, most classes can free themselves from at least some forms of cc every 20-45 secs. Yet we can only Degauss once every 2 mins if talented.

Kript says: This is something I need to see for myself when 1.4 is out. Resolve has always been a touchy subject on the forums and I want to test this before making judgement.

Aerro says: In a way I am glad for this change. Even when queuing with 3 others, you get players on your team with poor CC knowledge that sometimes change the match for the worse. However, Mercs/Commandos are going to soon be on the low end of this change. Having Tracer as our primary, getting interrupted means running around in fear for what seems like forever. Adding in the CC changes means we will now run around in fear followed by being CC’d while we watch our friends die.


Mercenaries and Commandos now have a 30-meter interrupt, Disabling Shot. This ability interrupts the target’s current action and prevents that ability from being used for the next 4 seconds.

Jem says: Look, an interrupt is a good thing. Healers should no longer be able to kill us with the same speed a Marauder/Sentinel or Sniper/Gunslinger does and it’s a meaningful change for PvE. But I’ve been a long-time proponent of that fact that an interrupt was not going to be our panacea in PvP. Our dependency on Tracer Missile/Grav Round makes us a one-column temple. We need a way to stop being interrupted far more than we need a way to interrupt others.

Kript says: Well it’s about time, right? We have been asking for one on the forums for months and the amount of times I’ve been rejected from a raid group or rated WZ because of no interrupt is staggering. Good move BioWare.

Aerro says: I whole-heartedly agree with what Jem has stated. An interrupt being added to our skill list is definitely a nice PvE change, especially for those of you who raid in an 8-man environment. Having more interrupts readily available is a positive for this. As for PvP, our utility was to put the pressure on the healer or DPS and use melee as the interrupters. It may be a 12-second cooldown, but I would much rather have an ability that made Arsenal Mercs / Gunnery Commandos immune to interrupts for a select duration. Bodyguard Mercs / Combat Medics already have that with Energy/Combat Shield, so I much would rather have a talented form of that.


Afterburners / Concussive Force: Rocket Punch / Stockstrike now immobilises the target for 4 seconds instead of knocking it back. Damage caused after 2 seconds ends the effect.

Jem says: This was the change I was looking for – an immobilisation ability I can near on spam.  But I needed it IN ADDITION to the Rocket Punch knockback.

By my calculations I need around 24 seconds of casting time and 30 seconds total to kill an opponent with decent gear and a few abilities that mitigate or offset damage – like bubbles, heals and temporary immunity. Surely balance in PvP is giving me the potential to do that and then relying on my skill to achieve it? This change gives me about half that time and replaces a knock-back (which most classes can’t mitigate) with immobilise (which many can). It’s actually a big, fat nerf and it makes ledges in PvE HEAPS less fun.

Kript says: I’m against this move and I’ve gotten very heated on the forums about this. The knock-back has been a huge part of my play style. As a ranged class we need to keep our distance from a target and, yeah sure, we can run back, but other classes have something to close that gap, ranged can keep shooting, Powertech / Vanguards can pull us back and others can leap to us just  few seconds after.

I would have loved to have seen it changed to ‘Rocket punch knocks target back and roots target for 2 seconds’. BioWare have let Mercs down with this change.

Aerro says: I’m not quite sure why this change was even added. The suggestion forums exist for a reason (so I thought), and nowhere did I see this as one of the major suggestions offered by the community. A root is great, but not when our kiting abilities are already lack-lustre. Rocket Punch / Shockstrike was a great way to cut a few GCDs out of melee on you, but now it seems only useful if you’re *running*. Rather than give us more of a reason to run, I would appreciate something that stopped us from having to run, such as a knock-back that roots the target when talented.


The knock-back previously caused by this skill generated enough Resolve that it was actually detrimental to the Mercenary / Commando’s ability to further escape the attacker.

Jem says: Interesting. I wonder if an external factor forced them to switch to an immobilise rather than change the amount of resolve applied by knock-back.

Kript says: Was resolve the issue here? In PVP you want to time everything and when you knock them back you want to make sure your target isn’t coming back right away, by staying on high ground and knocking them off. Well then, resolve wasn’t an issue.

Aerro says: Generating half a resolve bar for a Rocket Punch knock-back was absurd to say the least. If it were cut in half or just removed, I think the community would have appreciated that more than having the new version. Again, more emphasis on Arsenal Mercs / Gunnery Commandos having to escape targets instead of ‘manage’ them.


Tracer Lock / Charged Barrel: Now each stack additionally reduces the activation time of your next Healing Scan / Advanced Medical Probe by 20% per stack.

Jem says: This one is my absolute favourite!! I would argue that if I can get 3 tracers off on the same guy and keep the stacks up I probably don’t need to instantly heal myself for less than a med pack. But, I didn’t think it was possible to link another thing to Tracer Missiles / Grav Rounds, let alone a heal, so well done there. Completely unexpected. [/sarcasm]

Kript says: This got me excited! A 3rd instant heal, if used right. A 5-stack takes no time to get up. Add that with a Power Surge / Tech Override heal and a WZ med pack we can get 10 -13k health back in no time at all. Some may think it’s a little OP, but I guess we will see.

Aerro says: After testing this on the PTS, I can say that I definitely love this change. I haven’t had a first look into its affects in PvP considering there were zero queues, but I can imagine that it is probably one of the greatest strengths of this patch. As for its usage in PvE, unless heals are seriously scarce, its most likely going to be avoided by those trying to maintain their highest DPS possible. It does get rid of your Tracer Lock stacks on use, so ‘wasting’ it on a heal will not only take away a GCD from your rotation, but also nerf your Rail Shot in the process.


Pinning Fire: This ability’s snare has been increased to 70%.

Jem says: I’ve never really noticed the effect of this in PvP, maybe the extra 20% slow will make a little difference but it’s only for 2 seconds, so I don’t think it’s going to be a game breaker.

Kript says: I personally don’t use Pinning Fire. I’ve felt the slow isn’t really needed in PVP because of too much open space and not a lot of room to kite.

Aerro says: This change does not seem like a buff, but more so a form of balancing. Expect to see little to no results from this change, so take this ‘buff’ lightly. The only benefit of this talent seems to be against melee… who aren’t after you. Most melee have a major gap closer, so slowing them down doesn’t change much, especially if their gap closer is a leap. It’s still a positive change so I’ll take it. It’s better than nothing, right?


Over to you: what are your thoughts on the 1.4 changes?

Solo Malgus Kill: Go The Assassin!

I’m sure it’s not unique, but I’m always fascinated by solo kills and this SWTOR solo kill is no different.

This time it’s a Sith Assassin called Stevoo on the Master Dar’Nala Server, knocking over Darth Malgus in the False Emperor Flashpoint – in hard mode no less.

Having a healer companion doesn’t hurt obviously, but it’s still an impressive feat.

Have a look for yourself:

Over to you: have you pulled off a similar feat or does it seem a little too much like hard work? Post your thoughts below!

[Thanks to Jedi Consulars for the heads-up]

The Third Edge: Mercenary/Commando Interrupts & Utility

It’s always great to welcome a new writer on board, particularly one with the passion of Jemima Moore. She’ll actually be writing two columns – more on that soon. The Third Edge is devoted to everything Bounty Hunter and Trooper. As you’ll see from the article below, Jemima knows her stuff and what she doesn’t know she knows where to find it. Welcome Jem!

On March 23rd, Lead Combat Designer, George Zoeller lit a bonfire when he claimed that giving Mercenaries and Commandos an interrupt would, “increase their combat utility, especially in PvP, beyond what we are comfortable with.”

Since then I doubt few debates have raged more fiercely. Interrupts are useless against 50% of classes. Interrupts are essential for stopping burst and increasing survivability. Lack of an interrupt is the cause of TracerGravSpam. A well-named interrupt could be the next Pope.

So in this, the first edition of The Third Edge, I’d like to take the wahhhmbulance out of the argument and put Georg’s claim to the most judicial test of all – mathematics.

How much utility do Mercenaries and Commandos actually have? On a scale of 1 to 10 where do we rate compared to other classes? What’s an interrupt worth in terms of utility? And the question I think BurdoThePious should have asked – is giving us an interrupt going to stop most of us from sucking at PvP?

I have to admit, when I first approached this task I thought it would be easy – a simple 4-step process:

1) Define utility.
2) Determine which abilities fit the definition and group them into categories.
3) Allocate a point score to each of them.
4) Add up the numbers and see who has the most.

It turned out to be far, far more complicated than that. I did stick to that basic methodology, but as usual the devil is in the detail. Do I compare specific builds? What optional talents come into play? Is a stun better than a slow? What’s a longer lock-out worth compared to a shorter cool-down? What about when one ability can do three different things?

The task was behemoth and labyrinthine, but with optimism in my heart and a Prozac in my pocket,
I decided to compare 15 different common tank and dps trees (not builds) and included talents only from the bottom two rows of other trees.

Abilities were divided into categories and within each category I defined a baseline that would score 5 points.  A good example of this is in the Release category. Every advanced class has the ability to free themselves from all incapacitating effects once every 2 minutes – this the baseline worth 5 points. Additional points are added and subtracted based on modifiers like range, cast time, duration of effect, length of cool-down.

I made very few distinctions about whether one ability category held more value than another. Given any and all situations one can’t objectively make the claim that, say, a stun is better than a slow, so each ability category holds the same 5-point baseline with one exception – ‘special’ abilities or those tricks that are unique to one class or a few classes. Stealth is clearly more useful than Stealth Scan.  Group Stealth is cool and kooky but not as useful as a Combat Res. To give you an indication of the differential – Stealth is worth 10 points, Combat Res is worth 5 and Stealth Scan and Group Stealth are worth 4.

When it comes to modifiers – what’s a longer lock-out worth compared to a shorter cool-down – there’s a lot of room for debate and I hope there’s going to be! But the important thing to remember is that the same modifiers were applied to ALL classes and, for the most part, across all categories. So, even if you don’t agree with the reality of the numbers, at least everyone was tarred with the same brush.

A full list of baseline definitions, modifiers and my calculation sheets are available at the end of the article for all the seagulls to swarm over like a hot chip at the beach, but in the meantime and without further ado…

How do Mercenaries and Commandos rate in the utility stakes?

We’re 10! 10? C’mon I knew it was low… but 10? Operatives and Marauders have DOUBLE our utility and all four of the Bounty Hunter’s trees modelled place in the LAST six on the ladder.

The only category Mercs and Commando’s score highest in is the Arsenal Mercenary/Gunnery Commando specced into Afterburners/Concussive Force for knockbacks.

What good is that? If you’re not a Sniper, Gunslinger, Sorcerer, Sage at range; an Assassin, Shadow, Smuggler or Operative in stealth; or a Warrior or Knight in a window of immunity to movement impairing effects we’ll punt you across the map every 9 secs (or 13,500 damage taken @1500dps)! Watch out Galaxy – Boo-ya!! … not.

Alright, with the shaking of fists and indignance of scoring lower than a Jedi, on any scale, slowing fading it’s time to draw some objective conclusions. After all, this exercise was supposed to test Georg’s March 23 bombshell and shine a light on utility and interrupts as they pertain to PvP.

Mercenaries and Commandos score across less categories than most: we have no interrupt, no speed boost, pull, push or leap and we retain only baseline talents in the CC, Stun, Slow, Mitigation, Release and Cleanse categories. Our heals score the lowest of all advanced classes by a substantial amount. But more importantly the majority of our abilities are watered-down versions of things other classes can do more of or do better.

Electro Dart/Cryo Grenade  stuns for 4 secs, but Electrocute/Force Stun , Backhand/Hilt Strike and Debilitate/Dirty Kick all stun for 4 seconds and do damage as well.

Jet Boost/Concussion Charge gives an aoe knockback with slow but Sorcerers/Sages can knockback and immobilise.

Unload/Full Auto slows our targets for 3 secs with talents but a Marauder’s Ravage/Master Strike with talents immobilises AND they can perma-slow with two additional abilities.

On the other side of the coin…

Concealment Ops/Scrappers score highest and are commonly regarded as the pariahs of PvP. Powertechs/Vanguards are akin to gods in Ranked at the moment and they are dead last. They both score reasonably well in the interrupt category but Juggs/Guardians with 3 true interrupts lead that category are not generally considered to be formidable, terrifying or unstoppable in PvP. Even if we were given a 5 point baseline interrupt, it wouldn’t make a dent in that 60 point gap and if it did it wouldn’t make us Powertechs/Vanguards.

One can only conclude that the hero factor in PvP lies somewhere other than utility.

The kings of PvP: Powertechs and Vanguards, Marauders and Sentinels burst away unfettered by mobility issues and they scoff at interrupts no matter how many of them you have. PT/Vanguard dots and delayed explosions keep killing you even after they’re dead and Maras/Sentinels off-the-chart mitigation makes them close to immortal for us ‘Jedi Killers’.

Bestowing us an interrupt is not going overcome this problem but then nor is it going to upset class balance beyond all reckoning. It would be nice to have one in PvE but if it only works at 4m or 10m range like the rest them then that’s about as reverse on a lawn mower.

It’s claimed that Mercenaries and Commandos have some of the best burst in the game but we’re also one of the few Advanced Classes that relies heavily on casted damaged. Snipers and Gunslingers are immune to interrupts while in cover and Sorcerers/Sages have a stellar combination of mitigation and heals to keep them alive through a lock-out.

If we’re to truly become Jedi Killers, we need a way to protect our burst without asking Bioware to completely redesign the class. A decent window of immunity to movement impairing effects; better releases, speed boosts and leaps; improved damage mitigation or one of the better suggestions I’ve heard: Make Tracer Missiles/Grav Rounds instant cast but give it a cool-down.

I’d love to hear your ideas below.

As promised earlier, here are the full calculations in PDF format for you to digest or dissect: Advanced Class Utility Calculations

The Assassin Tank

This is a guest post from Xterminatz over at Xterminatz Gaming. Enjoy!

Ever since SWTOR has been released I’ve been playing multiple roles and characters at the high end-game level. My primary role is Ranged DPS on my Sith Sorceror however I do play other roles such as Assassin Tank and Bounty Hunter Healer during the alt/casual runs to give other non-hardcore players opportunity to see end-game.

Midian was in the race for Warlord Kephess Oceanic First kill several weeks ago however we choked horribly to say the least and there was some major changes that needed to happen if the guild was going to stay together especially with Diablo 3 coming soon.

Prior to last week we had a good few weeks of wiping on Warlord Kephess and being the GM sitting in a leadership role you can’t help but feel that It’s your fault the guild is not progressing as well as the amount of responsibility that’s on your shoulders as a leader.

You ask yourself how do I fix this?

We killed Colonel Vorgath before the 01/05 reset and had at least a few attempts on Kephess, but the problem didn’t start happening until 03/05 and from there it was just constant wipes. The raid would progress and manage to get to the transition phase at 58% majority of the time but once below that all hell broke loose.

Once you pass the transition phase sucessfully and you reach below 58% It’s no longer the “main” responsibility of the DPS or Healers for what happens next. Watching other videos and guilds killing on live stream the tanks play the vital role in the end it all comes down to positioning, timing and kiting Kephess correctly with the final mechanics of the fight and this is what we struggled with.

After watching our tanks a few times it was clear that they didn’t have a real understanding of how these mechanics worked or what exactly they had to do for the final phase, we had them watch multiple videos and we discussed endlessly the different ways to approach it but none of them worked.

What to do now?

So after 6 raiding nights of wiping as the GM and the leader I made the decision to stop 16HM raiding on Sunday 13/05 as players started to burn out and people just didn’t want to turn up for progression anymore. From a DPS/Healer point of view you can point the finger endlessly at the tank but until you’re actually playing a tank you don’t understand what’s happening in the raid.

The following night Monday 14/05 I decided we would do 8HM instead and bring our best players from the team, I also switched to play my assassin tank so I could feel and see what our tanks were doing, it allowed me to have a 1-to-1 perspective to see if it was the tanks having the problem or maybe just the strat we where using.

First problem; Positioning – After the transition phase we found that the positioning used for Kephess was slightly incorrect and we saw within a few attempts DPS/Heals would get gimped because Kephess or the raid was in the wrong spot and he would cleave (arcing slash) players.

When you enter Kephess room you’ll notice 3 doors/gates one to the left, one to the right facing Kephess and obviously the third is the one you entered the room via. We positioned Kephess at the right door/gate and had the raid DPS/Heals stack at the entry gate to maximize the distance for any possible issues we would encounter, we also had a specific tank on Kephess for the transition phase.

The offtank (myself) who was not tanking in the transition phase positioned himself at the boxes to the left entry door so that when Kephess finished the transition he would immediately taunt, then get knocked back to start dropping purple circles and the original tank would pickup again and continue tanking as normal.

We did this a few times and it worked great!

Second problem; Timing and Kiting – We found our first problem and fixed it relatively quickly however the second problem now boiled down to timing of the tanks taunting at the correct times for BoTM (Breathe of The Masters) and being able to kite Kephess without getting hit by him, or getting knocked into a purple circle which would result into the tank getting one shot.

The key to this problem was communicaion between the tanks which we previously never saw in any of our 16HM attempts and I think this is one of the major key points that turned it around for us. After deciding we would kite Kephess clockwise starting from the boxes it all boiled down to the tanks communicating with each other and letting one another know when to taunt (as a verbal warning) for BoTM.

I’ll admit that when I was kiting Kephess I made a few bad decisions with the kite path and got myself knocked into the purple circles, tanks for this phase will always need to be on the ball.

The end result – make or break?

With all phases now sorted out it came down to the entire raid perfecting the execution of the strat and this is pretty much where exceptional gamers are either made, or broken and I can happily say that with the amount of time and effort we’ve put into Warlord Kephess we killed him 8HM re-assuring our players for 16HM.

Here’s the live stream unedited 8HM kill:

Following the reset our 16HM raid visited Warlord Kephess on Wednesday 16/05. We used the exact same strat as our 8HM kill and with much suprised we managed to kill Kephess & clear Explosive Conflict within one raiding night. Unfortunately I don’t have video/fraps recorded from my POV however I plan to have a 1080p HD video up soon from my tanking perspective to help with other guilds.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article It’s not easy being a top raiding guild but I thought I would share my experience as this was the birth of The Assassin Tank for me.


Diplomatic Investigations: 1.2 Update Favourites

Welcome to our weekly column dedicated to everything Consular and Inquisitor. If you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like covered in this column, drop Tim a line!

This is my third straight article about the Sith Assassin/Patch 1.2 and will be the last time I play on the public test server with patch 1.2 because it’s now live.  Well, the last time on the PTS for this patch – I’ll certainly be back for the next major release to check out what is new.

My Sith Assassin moved up to level 31 and just finished Chapter 1, which will apparently earn me two titles (one for reaching level ten on the test server, the other for finishing Chapter 1 also on the public test server).  Apparently these titles transfer over once patch 1.2 goes live.

It seems a lot of people were playing on the public test server just for the titles.  In actual fact I saw a player running around with a guild name of “Just Here For The Titles” !

As a writer for TOROZ I was lucky enough for SWTOR to copy one of my characters over to the public test server (meaning I got to play a clone of my level 41 Sith sorcerer immediately on the public test server). As it turned out, before that happened I was leveling my Sith Assassin and was enjoying it so much I continued playing that instead.  I did however setup the legacy for my copied character and had a play with the legacy system which looks pretty neat. My previous legacy name and experience did not copy over though, meaning I effectively started from zero on the test server. It’s a pity in a way, because I had a number of characters already leveled and of course there are now real and substantial benefits of that legacy experience.

Two benefits that I will find useful once I obtain them are a mailbox in my ship (yay!) and a Global Trade Network (GTN) in my ship as well.  Very handy.  I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve quick traveled to a location to resume where I left off and remembered I was going to list some items on the GTN.  Yes I know, I should be using an alt character and emailing the item to list on the GTN to them. I’d much rather have these items in my ship to do it there and then.

Being able to craft your own legacy weapon is nice as well.  But my favorite feature is a relatively simple one: the Sprint ability being available at Level 1.  Not to be confused with Force Speed which increases your movement speed by 150% for 2 seconds (without breaking stealth). Sprint, of course gave you an increase in movement speed by 35% while not in combat. Yes this is my favorite feature of patch 1.2.-  I personally find it infuriating to have to walk everywhere. I mean, I am Sith, I am a ruthless killing machine, I have a light saber and can generate lightning from my hands, but I have to walk everywhere? Whats the deal with that?

Such a simple change made a better experience in levelling for me.  Obviously it was 35% quicker to get to my destinations, something that is of particular importance in those early levels for experienced SWTOR players leveling up new characters.   I think those new to the game who start playing with Patch 1.2 will have no idea how spoiled they are. Let’s face it, the first time you play SWTOR you are probably taking it all in and having to walk everywhere is not that much of a pain, because by the time you start to think it’s a bit slow you gain the ability anyway.  Now it’s there from level 1.

Have you tried out the patch 1.2 yet and if so, what are your favorite features? Which is the feature you like most?

Guild banks?

Legacy weapons?

The new Operation and Flashpoint?

Combat log?  (I haven’t even looked at mine yet).

User Interface customisations (this one rocks).

The new Warzone maybe?

Something else?

Would love to hear from you, drop me a comment below.  Thanks for reading.

Diplomatic Investigations: Sith Assassins – Guard And Stealth

Welcome to our weekly column dedicated to everything Consular and Inquisitor. If you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like covered in this column, drop Tim a line!

This article is a continuation from my previous article about Sith Assassins and their abilities.. In that last article I had a Level 19 character and as a result I was missing out on a lot of skills and abilities that you get at a higher level.

Since then, my character has progressed to Level 25 and some really cool new abilities are available which I will share with you. For the record I am talking about the Sith Assassin but the skills and abilities are the same for the Jedi Shadow (but with different names).

Tanking/Protecting characters

There is an ability called Guard for a Sith Assassin that you cast on a single ally (player or companion). It requires you to have Dark Charge active, which is used to buff your armor rating by 150%, shield chance by 15% and threat generation by 50%.  Dark charge also gives your attacks a chance to drain life force from the target but melee bonus damage is reduced by 5%.

Guard, once cast enables the target to take 5% less damage and to generate 25% less threat, in addition 50% of all incoming damage from enemy players to that ally gets redirected back to you.  You do need to be within 15 metres for it to have effect however.

So who should you use it on? It’s probably best to cast this on a healer.  Why?  Well if you are a tank (remember Sith Assassins can be) then you are (or should be) the number one priority for your healer to keep alive, as your job is to soak up all the threat in fights.  As a result the healer should be focusing on keeping you alive. So your job as a tank is to keep threat off other players, leaving the DPS players to do their thing (hopefully enormous amounts of damage) and the healer to heal you first and the DPS players if necessary.  Of course you can and will do some damage at the same time yourself. It makes sense to ensure that your healer does not get attacked as indirectly, as it keeps you alive.

Guard can also be great in PvP as well.  If you want to be a little selfish then look for an ally about to get defeated, cast Guard on them and in as little as a few seconds you have three medals.  Easy  🙂

I expect with ranked Warzones in patch 1.2, this is going to be something focus on a lot more. But having Guard also mean that technically you could use a companion other than Khem Val for solo play early on (ship droid, I am looking at you).  He is useless as a fighter but reasonable (mostly) as a healer.   Doing this means you have to approach your fights differently as it will only be you inflicting damage and not Khem Val as well, but on the plus side you will have a healer.  It’s worth a try!

I just love Khem Val though (what’s not to love about a 100% evil companion?), so for me it’s a juggling game with limited healing options. In the past as a sith sorcerer with healing, I just healed Khem Val (who generally held threat).  Now if he is defeated I am in potential trouble. The Force Cloak ability has reduced this problem mostly though, because if I do get into the situation where Khem Val is defeated and I’ve used my medpac and am heading towards defeat, I’ll just cast Force Cloak which allows me to vanish from sight and exiting combat – pretty cool.  For 10 seconds you become virtually undetectable. On the downside all healing is decreased by 100% for those 10 seconds.

Incidentally, I found a bug in patch 1.2 for this where sometimes it did not work properly.  It did put me into stealth mode but I was still being attacked!  I am sure this will be sorted out when patch 1.2 goes live. Overall though, pretty powerful.  This really makes it easy to solo most encounters as you can take on large mobs, defeat as many as you can, cast Force Cloak, disappear, move away to heal, wait for the 3 minute cooldown (less with some abilities on the non- tanking skill trees) and then go back and finish off the remainder.

The point is, it’s just another play style to get used to!  And that’s why this game is so much fun, learning the best ways to succeed with a given class! This week’s picture is my character dancing while stealthed with an unfortunate enemy who has had Mind Trap cast on him, rendering him effectively useless for 60 seconds (or until attacked):

Well thats me for this week, thanks for reading. Until next time, bye for now.

Diplomatic Investigations: Sith Assassin Tanking – Men in Tights?

Welcome to our weekly column dedicated to everything Consular and Inquisitor. If you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like covered in this column, drop Tim a line!

I don’t know about you, but for me the concept of a tank in an MMO is traditionally a character with heavy armor, and outfitted to the max.

So it came as a surprise when I found out the Sith Assassin or Jedi Shadow can be quite viable tanks in light (yes light) armor.  Yes I had read about it, but when it came time to playing it, that was different altogether.

The Sith Assassin gets around the lack of armour by having stances (well they are called Charges) like Dark Charge which increases the strength of the armor.

Below is a summary of my experiences moving from a ranged class (Sith Sorcerer) to a melee based one (Sith Assassin).

Of course one of the big differences is melee vs ranged – the Sith Assassin is a melee class so you are a heck of a lot closer to the action.   This is of course directly opposite to what the sith sorcerer and jedi sage classes are, which I covered previously.

Added to the mix is stealth which I had some experience with when playing my Imperial Agent operative.  I found it hard to not want to fight through all mobs instead of sneaking around them, almost like I was choosing the easy way out by not defeating anything that moves, which I tended to do with my sorcerer.

At the time of writing this article my assassin is only at level 19 so I cannot comment on some of the more advanced abilities, but one of the challenges I am facing is healing – or rather the lack of it with a Sith Assassin.  This is where the Jedi Sage and Sith Sorcerer rocked.  Even if you did not choose the healing talent tree, you were able to heal yourself or your companion.  This is not the case with the melee class.  So you better be sure you can survive a fight with the mobs you are taking on.  You can use medpacs of course but I sort of feel naked in a fight knowing there is no healing to back me up.

To get around that to a degree I am using Whirlwind to trap a particular enemy before taking on the rest, and also tried to be careful to make sure I use the appropriate interrupts (Jolt, etc) to minimize the damage caused by enemy special attacks. Doing this has made a big difference in where I end up at the end of the fight (dead or alive!).

The other thing that takes a bit of getting used to is the amount of Force you have.  The Sith Assassin and Jedi Sage have 100 Force (certain talents in skill trees can increase this a little), and this goes down (but also replenishes) quickly. This is a BIG difference to the Sith Sorcerer. If you are not particularly careful you will run out and have no attacks available since pretty well everything requires at least some force to use.

Fortunately, there is one attack you should always have on hand and that is the very basic Saber attack. It requires no force and should be what you are using to inflict some damage while waiting for your force to regenerate.   So make sure you have that mapped as chances are it will get a workout in most encounters.  Some damage is better than none after all.

In a later article once I have my assassin to level 30 or so, I will go though the rotations.  For now it does not make sense to do it, since it is changing regularly as new abilities become available to me.

Overall, I have to say I am enjoying the Sith assassin – it’s not like you lose all your ranged attacks.  For example you still have Force Lighting which is a staple for the Sith Sorcerer if you are in situations where it’s appropriate to attack from non melee range. That, and unlike Imperial agents they have lightsabers, double bladed ones at that!

In terms of companions I am still using Khem Val at this stage. The plan in battle is for Khem to hold aggro on the strongest enemy while I am mopping up the lesser powered ones and then I come in to assist Khem.  Plus as outlined above to use Whirlwind where necessary.  This has proven to be quite effective to date.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week with another article!  Until then keep on gaming.   And if you are on the public test server, and are on the Sith side look for my two characters Mee (Sith Assassin) and Sil (Sith Sorcerer).

Heavy Damage: Tanking Mandalorian Raiders

Heavy Damage is our weekly Tanking column – if you have suggestions of what you’d like covered, drop our resident Tank, Alec Bailey a line.

Mandalorian Raiders is this week’s Flashpoint. It’s a level 25 Flashpoint for both the Republic and Empire. The Flashpoint takes place on the Allusis and it begins with you and your party breaching the ship’s hull in an attack pod. Once you are on the Allusis you’ll need to fight your way to the command deck.

There are several bosses and mini bosses located throughout this Flashpoint. I will go over each one and detailing what strategy you should be using as a Tank.

Braxx the Bloodhound

Braxx the Bloodhound is accompanied by two adds that are resistant to knock-back and crowd control abilities. Braxx will occasionally use an ability that is made visible by a large red reticule – if either of the hounds are inside this reticule their attack speed and damage are increased. It’s best to keep Braxx’s attention away from the party. When I ran this I tried to keep his back turned as the damage dealers burnt down the adds. The hounds have a random aggro, so they will bounce from player to player. It might be easier to just spread out as this will keep the hounds from getting his buff as often, and then just burn down Braxx then work on his hounds.

Boarding Party

The second boss fight consists of a Sith Warrior, a Sith Inquisitor, a Bounty Hunter, and an Imperial Agent. All four are immune to any form of crowd control. It’s best to take out the melee characters first then work your way to the  ranged. As each of the boarding party fall the other members will become stronger. One strategy I’ve seen used is to get all four members down to about 10% health then burn them all down in rapid succession. I would NOT recommend this strategy for a pick up group. Either way you tackle this encounter it will be one of the most difficult fights you’ve been in yet. As a Tank you’ll need to make sure you have your guard up on someone and just try to keep the melee focused on you.

Marvis Varad

Marvis Varad is the final boss – this encounter begins with you only having to deal with Marvis and as his health is depleted he will leap to turrets positioned around the room. Disengage Marvis and destroy the turrets each time this happens. Varad will also throw grenades at random party members – this is easily avoidable as it is indicated by a large reticule on the ground. The turrets are susceptible to crowd control abilities so keep that in mind.

There are also 100 Lightside or Darkside points available on this mission.

As always stay frosty and may the force be with you!



Cunning Ambitions: Looking ahead to 1.2 (Part 1)

Cunning Ambitions is dedicated to everything Smuggler and Imperial Agent. If you’d like to see our resident guru Kate cover anything in particular, drop her a line!

I had planned to write about the thing that tends to make or (more often) break opinion about Smugglers and Agents: the cover mechanic.  However, it was starting to grow into something much bigger than what I could handle in a week.  Rest assured, I will talk about Cover soon, but it’s going to need a lot more time and research than I can give it in a week. Luckily, the good people at Bioware have dropped patch 1.2 onto the public test server, and as you may have already noticed, it is MASSIVE.

Here at TOROZ, we’ve got a full listing of the entire 1.2 patch notes, broken down by category.  You can find the major highlights as well as links to each category over here.

At first glance it can be overwhelming, so I’m going to try to sift out the parts relevant to us Smugglers and Agents, to make it a bit more manageable and easier to understand.  It’s also good to remember that the patch notes posted for 1.2 are not final, and that the patch itself is still several weeks away from hitting live servers.  There is every likelihood that some changes listed will not make it into the final draft, especially if issues crop up during the testing phase.

In order to better understand how this update will impact upon Smugglers and Agents, I’ve set up a few characters on the test server, and started to play around with some of the new features. Due to the sheer volume of updates for these two classes, I’m going to start off by looking at some of the more general changes that 1.2 offers.  In the next few weeks, I’ll start to go into a bit more depth about ability changes and the extensive skill tree reshuffles and rebalancing.

First things first: character creation.  Due to the upgrade to the Legacy system, 5 extra races can be unlocked for both Smugglers and Imperial Agents.  In order to unlock these extra races, you must have a level 50 character of that race on the same server (and hence part of the same Legacy).

Smugglers can additionally be created as: Chiss, Miraluka, Rattataki, Sith, and Zabrak.

Imperial Agents can additionally be created as: Miraluka, Mirialan, Sith, Twi'lek and Zabrak.

We all want to make Sith of everything, I know.  However, I am kind of fascinated by the idea of a Chiss Smuggler, and the Zabrak should be able to be awesome at everything.  Also, a gun-toting Miraluka? You can’t tell me that isn’t utterly badass!  Roleplay-wise, I’m sure some great stories can come out of these new options.

In addition, this update might serve to explain the rumours of Legacy-enabled use of Force abilities for non-force classes – I would expect naturally force-sensitive races like the Miraluka and Sith to be able to use them, even if their lives have taken them down the path of the blaster rather than the blade.

Crew Skills

Armourmechs will now be able to learn schematics to make Aim/Cunning/Shield and Absorb augments.

The Cunning and Shield ones will be particularly useful for us as Smugglers and Agents.

Armstechs will be able to learn schematics for Endurance, Surge, Critical, Accuracy, and Power Augments.

Here, Endurance and Critical augments will be of most use.

Synthweavers will now learn schematics allowing the creation of Strength, Willpower, Defence, Alacrity, and Presence Augments.

And here, the Defense, Alacrity and Presence are probably best, though I don’t really recommend Synthweaving if you want to make things for yourself.  Armormech and Armstech are much more useful to us.

In addition to the new schematics, the above three crew skills will also allow reverse engineering of the Augments to give Prototype and Artefact quality schematics (presumably these are Augment schematics, though it is not stated in the patch notes).  As a result of Augments moving to the crafting skills, they have been removed from Slicing as mission rewards. Instead, Slicing missions can now reward tech parts that are needed by the new Augment schematics.

Companions & NPCs

Other than cosmetic changes to some of the Companion codex entries, and fixing a few companion quests that weren’t working properly, the only really important change for us is that Kaliyo’s storm ability has gone from a range of 5-20m, up to 5-30m. (Which isn’t huge, but it is a boost and not a nerf, so hurrah!)

One change that I’m particularly excited about, which I actually haven’t seen listed in the 1.2 patch notes at all, concerns the Smuggler companion Corso Riggs.  If you’ve played Smuggler (or watched Zero Punctuation’s SWTOR review) you’ll know that Corso has an ability called Harpoon Shot, that pulls enemies right up close.  It has to be the most counter-productive skill ever invented for a ranged class.  Luckily, it was possible to switch it off, and since there was a patch that allowed abilities to remain switched off through logging, I haven’t given it another thought until now…

Illegal Jet Pack!  Gone is the useless Harpoon Shot – now Corso flings himself at the enemy, and keeps them far away from you.  Brilliant. Of course, it’d be better on a melee character, but if Corso is happy using a Blaster Rifle at close range to keep the enemies off me, then I’m a happy Smuggler indeed.  Illegal Jet Pack is now pretty much the same skill as Kaliyo’s Storm, and is probably also why Storm gets a range increase in 1.2, as well.

Also note the much more streamlined look to the Abilities window – no more cluttering of tabs across the bottom.  Unfortunately, you can also see here how silly Corso looks.  It seems Companions won’t be getting the rather cool “unify to chest colour theme” option that our own characters have.  Hopefully this is something that will follow soon after 1.2, if it isn’t actually part of it at release.

Strong and Elite humanoid enemies no longer throw grenades at or use Headshot on targets in cover.

This should prevent some horrible wipes from a few enemies that other classes can beat much easier at the same level.  I’m actually finding that I can fight much more level appropriate enemies on the test server than I could with the same-level character on live.  Though, it could also be that I know what I’m doing now, more so than I did when I first started playing SWTOR.

That’s all for this week, so thanks for reading!  Next week, I’ll start to tackle the new abilities and skill tree for Gunslingers and Snipers, and the week after it’ll be Scoundrels and Operatives.  In the meantime, I’ll be levelling on the test server like mad to try and see as much of it as I can.  As always, leave a comment if you have any questions or comments, or if there’s something in particular that you want me to discuss.

Diplomatic Investigations: Patch 1.2 for Inquisitors and Consulars

Welcome to our weekly column dedicated to everything Consular and Inquisitor. If you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like covered in this column, drop Tim a line!

This week I want to talk a little about the changes coming in Patch 1.2 for SWTOR, and specifically how they apply to Jedi Consulars and Sith Inquisitors.  This patch is currently available to play on the Public Test Server (PTS), but it should be noted that the functionality for this patch is not yet finalised.  In other words, some features they have reported in the patch notes may not end up in the final 1.2 that is deployed to live servers.  So keep this in mind when reading below!

I expect it will be several weeks before the change is rolled out, so for the next few weeks I’ll focus on some of the benefits (and drawbacks) to the patch, with an emphasis on how it affects Sith Inquisitors and Jedi Consulars. Do you find it amusing like I do when people are getting upset about how nerfed “XYZ” class is with the 1.2 patch?   All I can say is at least wait until it has been finalized!

Not possessing much patience, I decided I would try out the new changes now, and connected back to the PTS (Public Test Server) and gave the patch (in its current state) a run. If you decide to use the PTS, you have to start your character from scratch again, and due to time constraints I ran out of time to get my newly created Sith Inquisitor off Korriban and to their advanced training, so I’ll report more on that next week.  At this stage I am thinking it’s time for an assassin as I’ve played the Inquisitor and its Jedi equivalent quite a bit.

As an aside, if you are considering using the public test servers, note that characters are NOT deleted, but rather remain.  They will have things happen to them (like reseting of advanced skills when required, etc) but the point is, you don’t have to continually start from level 1 with every patch version.  Yes, it’s relatively safe to create a character and leave it there, and just login and try out new patches from time to time.   Famous last words I know – I’ll probably login and find my characters gone!

Interestingly enough, I actually joined a guild on the test server, and saw a level 37 guy running around. There were a surprisingly high number of people online actually and I was in heaven because there was no trolling in general chat !    If it wasn’t for the aussie swtor lag issue, I’d consider making this my main server!

I did notice some a cool new interface editor for SWTOR where you can now customize your interface (see picture below), a nice target of target option, and some nice animation sequence fixed.  The more I played it, the more I liked it, quite honestly it almost felt like a new game again.

My frame rate seemed to be notably quicker as well.  So this is quite a major patch that Bioware have put together.

On the down side, there was a lot of problems with sound chopping in and out, and I had a bugged quest when I had to defeat someone and I couldn’t due to faulty line of sight indications. But it is a test server after all, so you have to expect that, and they will no doubt fix it before it goes mainstream.

Moving on, lets talk about some useful features for light saber wielding classes in 1.2. Color Crystals are being revamped in this update – Bioware’s thinking was to allow players to not have to be stressed by the numbers (stats) when choosing.  As a result all colour crystals will have top end crystals which eliminates a big problem. The ability to create Magenta crystal is also being added as is an entire activity chain which is cool.

The “mandatory crew skill” award for Jedi Consulars and Sith Inquisitors goes to…..


*drumroll* …   🙂


Artifice.  At least I think so because of what they have changed in the 1.2 patch. You can now do dedicated PvP Crafting with Artifice.   You can earn crystal schematics of various colours in PvP, as well as the required materials, and with the 1.2 patch Artifice is the only crew skill that offers a permanent expertise bonus! This adds another cool element for those of you who only do PvP, but the benefits are also there if you, like me, only do PvP some of the time.

I’ve usually chosen Artifice as one of my three crew skills anyway, but with these changes I’d have to say for Inquisitors or Consulars this should be mandatory once the patch comes out. One other cool thing I’d like to add is that s an artificer you can make willpower-based shields for the Sith Assassin/Jedi Shadow tanks – a welcome addition.

Ok thats it for me for another week – I’ll be back next week and thanks for watching!


Heavy Damage: Tanking Changes in Update 1.2

Heavy Damage is our weekly Tanking column – if you have suggestions of what you’d like covered, drop our resident Tank, Alec Bailey a line.

The 1.2 patch is now on the test servers, so I will be taking a break from my Flashpoint tanking guides to discuss and theorise what these changes could and will do to Tanks in SWTOR.

Changes for the Jedi Knight


  • Awe no longer costs Focus to activate.
  • Dispatch can now be used on targets at or below 30% of maximum health (up from 20%).
  • Force Kick no longer costs Focus to activate.
  • Master Strike can no longer be interrupted.

Guardian Tree changes relating to Tanks


  • Blade Barrier is now located in Tier 4 of the skill tree.
  • Blade Storm no longer consumes stacks of Courage while the Momentum buff is active.
  • Command no longer reduces the cooldown of Challenging Call and is now located in Tier 5 of the skill tree.
  • Dust Storm is now a 3-point skill that provides the same overall effect.
  • Guardian Slash now generates 50% additional threat.
  • Momentum is now a 2-point skill that provides the same overall effect.
  • Pacification is now a 1-point skill with a slightly reduced overall effect.
  • Shield Specialization is now located in Tier 5 of the skill tree.
  • Stasis Mastery is now located in Tier 4 of the skill tree.


  • Commanding Awe is now located in Tier 5 of the skill tree. It increases the Guardian’s damage reduction while Focused Defense is active.
  • Single Saber Mastery is no longer restricted to certain stances.
  • Stagger is now located in Tier 1 of the Vigilance skill tree.
  • Sundering Throw is now located in Tier 6 of the Vigilance skill tree.
  • Zen Strike now generates 2 points of Focus when it is triggered.

If you’re a regular reader of Heavy Damage, you may remember this article where I talked about the build I use and builds I thought were worth taking a look at.  If you’re following my 18/23 build still (or any other Guardian build) this new patch has some changes that I hope will bring the Guardian back to par with the other two Tanks. Because let’s face it, they are somewhat lacking. Before the Guardians flame me for this observation I just want to say I play all three tanks, all three of my tanks are level 30-32 and it’s not that the Guardian can’t handle itself, it’s just a lot more work for the same outcome.

Now for the changes. Guardian Slash adding 50% more hate makes it a little more viable than the Overhead Slash trade off in the 18/23 build. I would say if you were following that build to take a step back and think of a respec. I will be republishing builds once the patch is in full effect and I have a chance to test all the changes. Blade Barricade is a skill I feel that the Guardian Tank cannot do without, so it being moved up a tier changes the 18/23 build even more to where I know I’ll have to respec.  Command no longer reducing the cooldown on Challenging Call seems like a nerf to a class that doesn’t need any of those, but we’ll see how things turn out.


Not a lot of changes here. A few tweaks and cosmetic things:

  • Mass Mind Control: Updated this tooltip to correctly state that the ability does not break Stealth. The ability’s functionality has not changed.
  • Kinetic Combat
    • Kinetic Ward’s appearance now refreshes properly when reapplied.
  • Balance (Shadow)
    • Force Synergy’s activation effects are now more visible.
    • The Force in Balance no longer heals the caster if no targets are hit.

General Trooper changes:

  • Full Auto’s attack animation now begins more quickly to improve reactiveness and faction balance.
  • Mortar Volley’s animation has been updated. In addition, it now has a 5-meter radius to bring its range in line with other Trooper Area of Effect abilities and it now begins its damage sooner after activation.
  • Vanguard
  • Due to changes to the Vanguard skill trees, all Vanguards have had their skill points refunded.
  • Fire Pulse’s visual effect more accurately represents its functionality.
  • Riot Strike no longer costs Energy Cells.
  • Animation timing issues with Energy Blast have been addressed.
  • The hit timing delay on Explosive Surge has been improved.
  • Shield Specialist
    • Ceramic Plating: the Absorb amount gained from this skill has been slightly reduced.
    • Counter Attack is now a 3-point skill.
    • Energy Blast is no longer limited by the global cooldown. Its damage has been reduced by approximately 15%.
    • Power Screen is a new 2-point skill that causes Ion Pulse and Energy Blast to build a stacking buff that increases shield absorption.
    • Smoke Grenade is no longer limited by the global cooldown.

The changes to Vanguards don’t seem to be a nerf, which I feared was coming. Vanguard is in my opinion the most well-rounded and effective tank. I am hoping that the other classes get buffed to its level, not the other way around with nerfs for a class that plays like it should.

The most interesting change to me is the Power Screen ability. Ion Pulse and Energy Blast are two skills I feel like I border on over-using (Explosive Surge too) just because of the damage debuff it places on enemies. Now it has a shield buff it’s maybe the only skills you need. As with the Guardian, I will be republishing builds once I’ve had time to test out the changes. The comsetic and timing changes to the abilities will be welcome sights –  I’m glad they fixed the delay issue with Mortar Volley.

As always stay frosty, and my the force be with you!