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: 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!


Diplomatic Investigations: Melee or Ranged – What’s Your Poison?

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!

Both the Sith Inquisitor and Jedi Consular offer you the choice of a melee character or a ranged one. The melee classes are close up action where you are fighting alongside your companion or other players in a group, whereas the ranged characters fight from a distance.

The Sith Assassin is the Melee character, and the Sith Sorcerer is the ranged class.  For the Republic side the Jedi Shadow is the Melee class and the Jedi Sage the ranged one. The classes on opposing sides are very similar in their abilities (albeit it with different names) so after a period of familiarisation either should feel comfortable to you.

So how do you make the decision on which way to go?

Firstly from a faction viewpoint, you will likely have an opinion on which side you will want to start playing – I rushed to create a Sith Inquisitor for the “dark side” experience (although of course you can make “dark side decisions” as a republic player) and then moved to the Sith Sorcerer because I like the ranged attacks more than melee.

Another decision which can play a factor in melee vs ranged is server location. Aussie SWTOR players in general have until recently suffered a disadvantage compared to their overseas opponents, mostly due to our physical location. Most SWTOR servers reside in other countries and as the game has to send and receive information to and from the servers you can see that in theory the further away you are from the action the more you could suffer a disadvantage.   Even though the time is measured in milliseconds these differences count.

SWTOR does a good job generally of trying to even things up to a degree, but with PVP in particular things can get very hectic.  Play SWTOR for any period of time and you will hear about lag. This becomes an issue because every single key-press or mouse-click has to be transmitted.  And of course information on your surrounding areas (opposing players movements, NPCs, and anything else that moves or does something) has to be updated. The reality is if other players reside in the same country as the server, then it takes much less time for their key-press or mouse click to be sent and received as well as the other game state updates. We are still talking milliseconds here, but in a PVP situation milliseconds can count. Depending on the lag you might find the opposing player has time to issue several commands to your single one – And from their point of view, you seem to be very “slow” and  easy to defeat as a result and he/she seems almost invulnerable because every time you go to attack he/she beats you to the punch.

The reason the melee vs ranged decision is a problem on overseas servers is how the classes operate.  The up- close melee classes can suffer more with lag in my experience than ranged classes.  One example is a “from behind” attack (Jedi Shadow and Sith Assassin).  If you have lag issues it’s going to be harder as a rule to position yourself quickly as it’s more about co-ordinating movements and attacks at the right time versus just issuing attacks as a ranged class.

So yes we Aussies and New Zealanders have a good excuse of why we are not good at PVP.  Well maybe not!  While there is not doubt lag plays a part a good player can work within these limits. In any event, the good news is that all of this has changed with the recent introduction of local servers in Australia.

So when it’s available, make sure you move your characters to the Australian servers to eliminate this lag problem, because most of the players on these servers will be Aussies meaning that lag should generally be a non-event.  And if we find some overseas players on the servers then it’s our chance to use their lag to our advantage.  I’ve already had some interesting discussions with some overseas players complaining about the lag on Aussie servers  🙂

Out of interest you can hover your mouse in game over the latency button to get a general idea of your speed.  Also known as your ping.  As you can see in the two pictures, I have shown you my ping on an American server and an Aussie server . As you can see with the exact same Internet connection the American server has about four or fives times high latency than the Aussie server.  This can make a big difference.


Nasty, evil overseas lag

Ahh, that's more like it











In case you are wondering, I am with Bigpond Cable on their Ultimate package and loving the 33 ms latency. I moved there because it is the fastest possible Internet access in my area.  Add local servers to the mix and I am in heaven!

With lag being taken out of the equation, other factors in deciding which advanced class apart from the melee or ranged questions are, whether you wish to focus on healing, whether you like the benefits of invisibility, if you want to be a tank in game, to name three common ones.

Make sure you choose carefully though because once you choose between melee and ranged, it can never be changed for that character.  That said, the thing to remember is that you only need to level up a character to around level 10 and leaving your first planet, to get access to the advanced classes. So there is nothing stopping you from leveling up a few characters and trying both sides before deciding where to put your focus in the long term.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week!


Sith Inquisitors: Lords of the Evil Headgear

Time to look at the latest progression video. This time it’s for the class that our poll shows will be the most commonly rolled primary toon: The Sith Inquisitor.

As usual there’s lots to see in the video – I particularly like the head-gear on the advanced classes. That’s probably why it’s going to be such a popular class: we all still have a subtle love affair with fancy hats and masks.

Anyway, have a look for yourself:

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Sith Inquisitor vs Republic Trooper video

The juicy SWTOR tidbits keep on flowing – the Friday update sees yet another new video. This time it’s one of the ‘Choose Your Side’ episodes, this time featuring the Sith Inquisitor and the Republic Trooper. Like most of these videos they provide further nuance to each class and hopefully make your choice of class a little easier.

Have a look for yourself:

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Sith Inquisitor in WoW!

Well, not really, but this I love this YouTube vid of a Shaman in WoW doing some serious lightning work as it’ll appear when the next WoW patch (4.3) drops. There’s certainly a similarity there!