EverQuest II Swashbuckler Guide



EverQuest II Swashbuckler Guide by Odeius

Introduction
I was very bored during a raid and I decided to start making a new swashbuckler guide/overview for new players. This post will outline information important to the swashbuckler class to help new players. I cannot cover all things so if anyone has suggestions feel free to add them.

A terminology reference:
DPS = Damage Per Second
Buff = A spell/ability that increases ones power or strength
Debuff = A spell/ability that cripples your targets ability to cause damage or resist damage.
NPC = Non Player Characters
Agro = Aggression or hate towards you/another by an NPC
Stats = This covers things like strength, agility, intelligence, anything that boost your abilities.
Avoidance = the ability to avoid income attacks: defense, parry and riposte skills fall in this category.
Mitigation = the ability to mitigate melee damage dealt to you by your attacker.
Raid = More then 1 group of players get together in order to take on a boss mob who’s consider shows Epic.
Proc = A triggered effect that is triggered by the execution of a combat attack (for us).

Things to know about the Swashbuckler class:
We are a rogue class, we are a Tier 2 DPS class equipped with a variety of offensive debuffs to cripple our targets damage capability. As we progress in levels we gain more Area of Effect damage abilities making us a strong AE damage class. Our primary concern is DPS in groups and raids. With the aforementioned we have a respectable amount of utility we bring to groups, raids and that make our soloing life easier.
Swashbucklers are proficient soloers as long as you know how to play the class. Gear, poisons and AA choices play a powerful role in our solo ability and of course our group ability for DPS. We have a few stun abilities, a mesmerize and evac (teleport away) ability all of which make soloing easier and safer.

Our utility:
Hate:
We have the ability to manipulate a targets hate to us and others by use of agro transfers and agro reducers. We also have taunts which increase our agro to our target (or target encounter depending on the taunt).

  • There is a hate, or agro, meter in the game now that will tell you how far away you are from drawing your targets attention to you. Once you reach 100% your target will change his focus to you and begin attacking you.

Debuffs:
We have some crippling offensive debuff abilities at our disposal. These abilities will decrease our target’s ability to cause damage to whoever they are engaged in combat with.

  • As you progress in levels you will gain more of these abilities, our staple ability (Lung Puncture) is granted at level 58.

We have a decent amount of defense debuffing capability. We can decrease our targets defense, parry and mitigation as well as several stat debuffs (wisdom, intelligence, strength (later)).
We are granted one of the most know Alternate Achievement abilities, Traumatic Swipe, from our rogue AA line.

  • This ability decreases our targets ability reuse speed by 50%, this means that each time they use an ability with this effect on them that ability will take 50% longer to refresh to reuse.
  • This is used on raids to give more time in between a boss NPC’s Area of Effect abilities, that said not all AoE abilities are affected by this ability anymore.

Scout abilities:
We have stealth which makes us invisible to many NPCs and other players (if on PVP), if the NPC is KOS (kill on sight, hostile) to you they will have a red border around their name when you target them. If this border goes away when you stealth they cannot see you.

  • Engaging in combat and interacting with objects can drop your stealth and make you visible so use caution.
  • In PVP if you get too close to a hostile player they will be able to see you to an extent so use caution. If the player has see stealth, granted from totems or spells, they can also see you.
  • We are also able to stealth our entire group.

We have the Tracking ability as a scout. This ability allows you to locate any person or NPC within your area and will lead you to them.

  • Tracking is equipped with many filters to help with locating your target. These include filters by a NPC’s strength compared to you, filters by name and filters by PC and NPC.

We have the Escape ability which is granted at level 25. This ability will teleport you and your group (if grouped) to the nearest designated safe point within your current zone.

Understanding your Stats.

Stats:
Overview of what the basic stats do for swashbucklers (strength, agility, stamina, intelligence , wisdom). All these stats can be viewed in your Persona window (press ‘P’ in game to see)

  • STR (strength) = Determines how much weight you can carry.
  • AGI (agility) = this boosts our avoidance, increases our power pool and also determines our innate critical mitigation. This also boosts our weapon(s) autoattack and combat art damage. This is your most important basic stat.
  • STA (stamina) = this boosts our maximum health.
  • INT (intelligence) = No benefit to our class.
  • WIS (wisdom) = this boosts our resistance to spell damage, you wont get much of this.

An order of importance for these stats is: AGI>STA. You will end up with more AGI/STA easily then most by default because the majority of the gear we can wear gives those stats.
To determine soft cap (point where it gives less benefit after reached) for our primary stat (AGI) is 1200. Once you reach the soft cap the stat gives less benefit beyond that point.
Overview of what the advanced melee stats do for swashbucklers (DPS mod, haste, critical hit, damage amount, double attack, melee AE, accuracy, hate mod). These can be viewed in the persona window and change the drop down list under ‘Stats’ to ‘Melee Stats’.

  • DPS mod = increases your weapon(s) damage potential.
    • At 200 in this stat you will get a 125% increase to your weapons damage potential.
  • Haste = lowers your weapon(s) swing delay.
    • At 200 in this stat you will swing 125% faster with your weapons, just over twice as fast.
  • Critical hit = gives you increased chances to perform a critical attack with either your weapon(s) or your combat arts.
    • Since this stat affects both combat arts and weapon damage this is a very important advanced stat.
    • If you get 100% in this stat it will only give you a 100% chance to perform a critical hit against of target that is the same level or lower then you. You will have to obtain higher then 100% to get 100% critical hit against mobs higher level then you.
  • Potency = Increases the base percent for any ability you use.
    • This would increase the amount of damage your combat arts can inflict based on the percentage increase it shows.
  • Ability Mod = increases the maximum damage your combat arts can do.
    • The maximum any combat art can be increased is by 50% of the base (unmodified) damage.
    • Potency changes the maximum amount of ability mode that can affect an ability. The more potency you get the more ability mod you can get and still receive the benefit.
  • Double Attack = grants you the chance to perform 2 attacks for each swing of your weapon(s), at 100% you will perform a double attack with each swing of your weapon(s).
    • Right around 50% of our damage output comes from our weapon(s) so this stat is important.
  • Melee AE = grants you the ability to hit multiple targets that you are facing with your weapon(s) auto attack.
  • Accuracy = increases the chance that you will hit your target in combat with melee attacks.
  • Strikethrough = grants a chance to strike through a targets defenses.
  • Hate mod = shows you what % increase or decrease you have to hate gained while in combat.

Ability stats (viewable in the persona window under ‘Stats’ set the drop down list to ‘Ability Stats’. The ones listed below apply to our combat arts as well.

  • Casting = improves casting speed of your abilities
  • Reuse = improves reuse speed of your abilities (how long before you can use them again)
  • Recovery = improves recovery speed of your abilities (how long before you can execute another ability)

You want to get as much DPS mod, Haste, Critical Hit, Damage Amount and Doubleattack as possible to their caps. All of these are important to our damage potential, that said Critical hit is the only one that affects both your combat arts and weapons auto attacks. A generally accepted order of importance is Critical Hit>Double Attack>DPS Mod>Potency>Damage Amount>Haste. We are granted Melee AE from one of our abilities (hurricane at lvl 52) and that stat is very hard to come by otherwise. Haste is low on the priority list because we get it from our Spurious Bravado line.

Understanding your combat abilities:
A list of swashbuckler abilities is available here
Keep your abilities at least at Adept, it will make your life much easier when leveling up especially when soloing. I would recommend keeping your AoEs, Back stabs and double/triple attack abilities as high as possible in ranks. Once you get to max level make sure you are working to upgrade your abilities to Master.

Positioning:
Unlike other rogues we only have 4 abilities (6 if you count AAs) that have positional requirements to execute them. Beakdown: 2 (4 including AAs) of them are flanking or behind, 1 of them is flanking or front and 1 of them is behind only. This gives us more flexibility in encounters BUT you want to always be behind/flanking your target in combat to maximize your damage potential and prevent/lower your targets chance at avoiding your attacks.
We have Cheap Shot, Walk the Plank (AA ability), AoE Stun, a Mesmerize and stun poisons at our disposale. These all make it easier to continue to use our positional attacks when soloing.

Autoattack Timing
AutoAttack timing can get complicated and takes time to get the hang of, it really comes into play at higher levels. What it is is timing your autoattack swings with your combat art executions. If you spam combat arts you are losing DPS because you are possible delaying your autoattack from triggering.
Being able to time effectively comes down to: A) If you are using 2 weapons, B) The delay of the weapons, C) Your haste percentage, D) Your casting and recovery speed.
If you are dual wielding your weapons delay is increased by 33%, so if you have 2 4.0 delay weapons equipped they have an actual delay of 5.33 without any haste. (to see actual delay you can type in /we, this will give you weapon information) At higher levels you will generally get 2 combat arts between auto attack swings when grouped and raiding (excluding slower CAs like Dashing Swathe).
Advanced Combat Tracker (ACT) can be used to help with timing autoattacks, there are also custom UI’s that you can install to help with this. See ‘Useful tools and references’ at the end of this guide.

Combat Art Execution Order
The generally accepted execution order for our combat arts is to use our abilities that debuff defense/avoidance first, followed by offense debuff abilities then everything else. By debuffing defense first you increase the chance your other abilities will hit. One thing some swashbucklers do is group their abilities by the above order and also by recast time. To be effective you need to understand and master auto attack timing.
My CA execution order, this is mine others might vary. Once I get past #10 it not set in stone, this is what I generally do for DPS on raids:

  1. Boot Dagger
  2. Shanghai
  3. HO Macro
    1. Lucky Break 1st
    2. Trickery 2nd
  4. Razor Edge
  5. Kidney Stab
  6. Flash of Steel
  7. Hamstring
  8. Lung Puncture
  9. Evasive Maneuvers
  10. Thieving Essence
  11. Dashing Swathe
  12. Snap of the Wrist
  13. Viscerate
  14. Flurry of Blades
  15. Lucky Gambit
  16. Flamboyant Strike
  17. Dvious Blade
  18. Torporous Strike
  19. Traumatic Swipe
  20. Walk the Plank

Special Abilities
Abilities in this category usually have a long recast timer or are not upgraded, they include:

  • Ruthless Cunning: Increases your Damage Per Second, lvl 35 non-upgrade.
  • Perfect Finesse: Increases your Damage Per Second and Haste, upgrades stop at lvl 67.
  • En Garde: Gives you another attack if your attacker avoids your attack, if you avoid an attack from your attacker or a chance to perform another attack on successful execution of a combat art. First obtained at lvl 65.
  • Inspired Daring: Gives you additional piercing damage on all successful attacks. First obtained at lvl 50.
  • Hurricane: Gives you a percent chance to hit up to 4 targets you are facing with your primary weapons auto attack, lvl 52 non-upgrade.
  • Disarming Grin: Single target Mesmerize ability, prevents a target from continuing to engage in combat. This ability is useful when soloing.

Area of Effect Abilities
Swashbucklers have 2 AoE abilities while leveling up and 1 more granted through Achievements at higher levels (shadow line). We also have the ability Hurricane which gives our primary weapons auto attack the ability to hit multiple targets we are facing (up to 4).
Things to note about our AoEs.

  1. They cannot break Mesmerized effects unless we are targeting the mesmerized target directly.
    1. This includes our Hurricane ability.
  2. All our AoE abilities are classified as “Blue” AoEs, this means they are out of encounter so they can strike any attackable NPC (or hostile PC if on PVP) within their designated range.
  3. AoEs can be enhanced with our Achievement lines to increase range and damage potential.

Gear:
Overview of what swashbucklers can wear and the weapons we can wield.

  • Swashbucklers are primarily a chain wearing class, we are able to wear leather and cloth as well.
    • While chain is generally all that you will wear you will find equipment that is leather that can boost your DPS more then another chain piece you may have, this is rare though.
    • You want to wear as much chain as possible because it will give you the greatest boost to your melee mitigation.
  • Swashbucklers are able to wield piercing and slashing weapon types. We are also able to use bows and throwing weapons.
    • It is a good idea to keep all these skills as high as possible as you level up. You will find that you may wield one of each as you level up.

Keep your weapons and gear as current with your level as possible. Doing this will make your life easier as you level up especially when soloing. Keeping your weapons current is very important and you should always do this.
Poisons:
Swashbucklers are able to use poisons starting from level 1. Poisons coat your weapon and grant you a variate of added effects to your attacks. You can have 3 different poison types active at any given time, you cannot have 2 of the same poison types active. You have the ability to auto consume poisons, I would recommend this because poisons have a limit trigger number before they will fade away. Auto consuming poisons keeps them up all the time.

  1. Turn auto-consume on:
    1. Right click on the poison you wish to auto consume and select “Turn auto-consume on”
    2. If you wish to auto consume a different poison of the same type you must turn auto-consume off on whichever poison you are already auto-consuming (of the same type) and then you can turn auto-consume on for the other poison (assuming you havent consumed all of the poison you were auto consuming first)

Poison types are:

  • Damage: these have a red icon when you examine them, red icon in your maintained spells window when you use them. These have 100 triggers before fading and will trigger an average of 4.9 times per minute.
    • You want to at least always use this type of poison as you level. Starting after level 50 you will get access to Vitality breach poison which is a life tap (takes health from your target and gives it to you, healing you).
  • Debuff: these have a blue icon when you examine them, blue icon in your maintained spells window when you use them. These have 60 triggers before fading and will trigger an average of 2.9 times per minute.
  • Utility: these have a purple con when you examine them, yellow icon in your maintained spells window when you use them. These have 60 triggers before fading and will trigger an average of 2.9 times per minute.

Poisons to use:

  • The standard poison combination used, especially at the higher level game, is as follows:
    • Caustics Poison: Direct Damage poison (damage)
      • When soloing you can substitute Vitality Breach poison for this poison (available after lvl 50), which is a lifetap poison.
    • Enfeebling Poison: Debuff’s offensive capability (debuff)
    • Ignorant Bliss Poison: This is a threat decreasing poison (utility)
      • When soloing you can substitute Stupefying Poison for this poison, which will stun your combat target.
  • There are many other poisons in each of the above types but you will find the aforementioned combination the best in most cases.

Where to get Poisons:

  • The best poisons you can get are player made by Alchemists. Each Tier of levels has 2 types of poison, a handcrafted and mastercrafted for each type.
    • Mastercrafted is the top of the line and is most expensive but gives the greatest benefit.
  • As you gain level you will get access to new poisons and the poison quality will increase. Keep this in mind as you level, make sure you use poisons appropriate for your level.
  • You can purchase poisons from merchants but they are of a lesser quality and you cannot find the above poisons on them.

Skills:
As scouts swashbucklers get a number of skills that are very useful and should be worked on as much as possible. List below are the primary skills that you should maintain as much as possible.

Combat skills:

  • Slashing: This determines how well we use slashing weapons, the higher the skill the better chance you have at hitting a target in combat with a slashing weapon (swords, axes).
  • Piercing: This determines how well we use piercing weapons, the higher the skill the better chance you have at hitting a target in combat with a piercing weapon (daggers, rapiers, spears, etc).
  • Ranged: This determines how well we use ranged weapons, the higher the skill the better chance you have at hitting a target in combat with a ranged weapon (bows, throwing weapons)

The hardcap for all above skills is: 6.5 * Level; so at lvl 90 it is 585.
Defensive skills:

  • Defense: This is avoidance, if this skill isn’t maxed you will have low avoidance and will get hit more often in combat.
  • Parry: This skill also contributes to your avoidance, the higher the skill the better chance you have at warding off an incoming attack.
    • Up both these skills by engaging in combat and taking hits from the attacker.
  • The hardcap for Defense/Parry skills are: 6.5 * Level; so at lvl 90 it is 585.
  • Riposte: This is an innate ability scouts have, it allows you to block an incoming melee attack and then perform a counter attack with your weapon.

Utility:

  • Disarm Trap: The higher this skill the better chance you have at disarming a chest.
    • The only way to up this skill is to use it on every chest that drops.
    • Recent changes have made it so if you open a chest you will automatically attempt to disarm it.
  • Safe Fall: The higher this skill is the less damage you will take from falling.
    • To up this skill you must jump off high places, over and over again…

Swashbuckler Alternate Advancement Abilities:
Notes about AAs:

  1. You begin gaining AA XP starting at level 10.
    1. You can control the amount of AAXP you are gaining by using the AAXP slider in the AA window)
  2. AAXP is gained from quests, killing “named” NPCs and once your level capped your combat XP is diverted to AAXP until you are capped on AA.
    1. If you want to know if an NPC will grant AAXP it will have a star in the upper right corner of the target window when you target it.
  3. I suggest not neglecting your AA’s as you level up, it becomes difficult to gain AAXP once you get higher in level (often times it requires mentoring to do lower level zones to get named kills).
  4. You are able to respec your AAs by visiting an Alternate Advancement Counselor within your guild hall or home city. The costs to respec increase progressivly as you respec, the cost will reset after 30 days of no respecing.
    1. We are also granted occasional free respecs that will appear within your AA windows under each tree.
      • Respec 1   :         1s
      • Respec 2   :       13s
      • Respec 3   :  1g 3sp
      • Respec 4   :       13g
      • Respec 5   : 1p 3 gp
      • Respec 6+ :      13p

Your AA builds can change as you level up, it all depends on your play style. I will offer an overview of the AA lines to help you choose what works best for you. I suggest searching the swashbuckler section for AA information, the builds I outline below are optimal DPS builds for higher levels and assume max AAs and Level.

Rogue:

  1. Strength Line
  • This line boosts offensive ability. It grants 2 additional combat arts along with boosts to your Critical Hit chance. As a side addition it also boosts your defense some.
  • Traumatic Swipe is granted in this AA tree.
  1. Agility Line
  • This line boosts offensive ability. It grants an addition combat art, this CA forces your target to face away from you so you can backstab them, and it grants an additional innate proc when you are behind/flanking your target.
  • The final choice in this line increases your casting and recovery speed by 25%.
    • Recovery time is the time it takes before you can execute another combat art.
  1. Stamina Line
  • This line boosts your tanking ability. It grants additional taunts, increases hitpoints and defensive abilities (boosts to shield effectiveness as well).
  1. Wisdom Line
  • This line boost offensive ability, only when you are not wielding a weapon in your offhand. It will increase your doubleattack chance and grant a boost to your offensive/defensive skills.
  1. Intelligence Line
  • This line boosts your ability to avoid aggression from your target while in combat. It grants the boot dagger combat art (takes you into stealth when you execute it, so you can use our stealth back attack).
  • This line’s final ability grants you the ability to Feign death (fake death) once a minute and it has a 30 second duration.

Optimal Spec (DPS and HP Spec)

  • Pick Pocket 1
  • STR 10-4-10-1
  • AGI 10-4-10-1
  • INT 3
  • STA 4-10

 

Swashbuckler:
  1. Potency Line
  • This line improves the effectiveness of our mitigation debuffs and several poisons.
  • The final choice in this line increases the trigger chance of ALL poisons by 6%.
  1. Reach Line
  • This line increases the range of our Area of Effect abilities and improves the trigger chance of Hurricane.
  • The final choice in this line increases the range of our melee and ranged weapons.
  1. Style Line
  • This line gives improvements to the reuse speed, duration and trigger chance of several of our special abilities.
  • This is one of the best DPS improving lines and will generally be your first choice.
  • The final choice in this line gives us a 13 second duration immunity to AoE effects to us and our group (5minute recast).
  1. Debuffs Line
  • The line improves the effectiveness of our debuffs (offensive and defensive).
  • The final choice in this line adds an effect to our Snap of the Wrist CA that increases the chance our targets spells will be resisted.

Below is the most optimal build options for increasing DPS for the Swashbuckler line (Order Style–>Reach–>Potency–>Debuff). This assumes max level and AAs

  • Potency
    • Kidney Stab – 5
    • Offensive Poisons – 5
    • Turgur Poison – 5
    • Flurry of Blades – 5
    • Potency – 1
  • Reach
    • Lucky Gambit – 5
    • Dashing Swathe – 5
    • Arctic Blast – 5
    • Hurricane – 5
    • Reach – 1
  • Style
    • Sneak – 3
    • Avoid Blame – 5
    • Perfect Finesse – 5
    • Inspired Daring -5
    • En Garde – 5
    • Advanced Warning – 1
  • Debuffs
    • Flash of Steel – 4

Shadows:
Everything in the shadows tree is going to be geared towards improving your DPS, because of that I will just list the best choices in each tree. This assumes max level and AAs.

  1. General
  • These are just general abilities, you will most likely choose ‘Hearty Constitution’ and ‘Enhance Mind’ since they increase your health and power pools.
  1. Scout
  • Quick Strike – 5 (increases base damage and critical damage of Flash of Steel)
  • Sinister Strike – 5 (Improves reuse speed of Sinister Strike (master strike))
  • Evasive Maneuvers – 1 (High damage CA that lowers your thread position by 1)
  1. Rogue
  • Rogue’s Flurry – 5 (increases base damage and critical damage of Snap of the Wrist)
  • Circle of Blades – 5 (increases base damage and critical damage of Lucky Gambit)
  • Battle Endurance – 2 (adds STA and improves the stat bonus of the rogues self buff)
  • Poison Mastery – 5 (increases poison damage)
  • Thieving Essence – 1 (Medium damage CA that takes spell and melee damage of target and gives it to your group)
  1. Swashbuckler
  • Pirate Swipe – 5 (improves damage, reuse speed and increases hit chance of Traumatic swipe)
  • Flamboyant Swashbuckling – 5 (increases base damage and critical damage of Dashing Swathe)
  • Kidney Slice – 5 (increases base damage and critical damage of Kidney Stab)
  • Countering Blow – 5 (Improves trigger chance when using a combat art and damage of En Garde)
  • Precision Striking – 1 (Improves base damage of all combat arts with a 30 second or higher reuse timer by 10%
  • and increases their critical damage by 5%)
  • Enfeebling Whirl – 1 (Blue AoE attack that does high damage and decreases INT and STR of all targets struck by 66, 1 minue reuse)

Sentinels Fate
The Sentinels Fate line is pretty much geared to DPS, it should be pretty simple to determine the optimal spec for DPS. If you are having issues with agro substitue the DPS abilities for the agro reducing ones (Evading Awareness, Skilled Deception)

  1. Rogue Tab
  • Cunning Prowess – 8 (Boosts Potency of all Abilities)
  • Capo Ferro – 8 (Increases ability reuse speed)
  • Ruthless Riposte – 2 (grants a change to inflict damage on a successful parry)
  • Coordination – 8 (Accuracy boost on successful snap of the wrist attack)
  • Dance of Metal – 2 (Progress damage boost for each successful successive combart art attack up to 8 triggers)
  1. Swasbuckler Tab
  • Viscerating Stab – 5 (Improves base damage of Viscerate line)
  • Punctured Lung – 5 (Improves base damage of Lung Puncture line)
  • Flash of Power – 5 (AGI tap on successful Viscerate attack)
  • Swarthy Expertise – 1 (Adds 10% strikethrough to Ruthless Cunning and Perfect Finesse, reduces casint speed of Inspired Daring by 1s and adds 3s to duration)
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