SWTOR Bounty Hunter Beginner’s Guide

SWTOR Bounty Hunter Beginner’s Guide by AnubisXy

This guide is a basic, beginner’s guide aimed at players who aren’t familiar with the mechanics of the Bounty Hunter class. This guide will try to answer some of the commonly asked questions about the Bounty Hunter and its two advanced classes the Powertech and Mercenary. This guide also has some basic, suggested build guides both for PvE and PvP.

Ultimately this is just a guide to some of the class mechanics. It’s not going to discuss crafting, the Bounty Hunter’s story or companions.


1: Frequently Asked Questions

2: Resource System

3: Advanced Classes



4: Talent Build Suggestions

5: Miscellaneous

Frequently Asked Questions:

Shield Specialist vs. Juggernaut or Assassin: Which tank is the best?

Really, there isn’t a best tank. Powertechs have successfully tanked all of the content in the game, all of the Flashpoints (both normal and heroic) as well as Vault of Eternity on Normal, Heroic and Nightmare. The Powertech is able to tank the content of SWtOR just fine. So in light of that, what are some of the pro’s and con’s of the Powertech tank vs. the Juggernaut or Assassin tank?

The big pro is range. For the Juggernaut and Assassin the bulk of their attacks are in the Melee (4 meter) to Close (10 meter) range, with a handful of Long (30 meter) range attacks scattered in here and there. With the Powertech, the bulk of their attacks are in the Close to Long range with only a handful of Melee attacks. While ideally the Powertech is going to be melee range – your most important attack is Rocket Punch, this gives the Powertech a lot of different ways to open up on a group of enemies or to grab aggro on targets that are far away.

Keep in mind that despite this advantage, and despite what the Bioware developers once said, the Powertech is not a ranged tank. It is certainly capable of more range than the Assassin or Juggernaut, but ultimately it is still a melee tank and you are going to want to spend most of your time in melee range.

The second pro for the Powertech tank is Grapple/Jet Charge. Juggernauts get Force Charge, which lets them leap onto a far away target. Assassins get Force Pull which lets them pull an enemy right up to them. If specced for it, the Shield Tech can easily get both pull and charge, which gives them a few more options, especially in PvP.

The third pro is the focus on shields. Powertechs rely on shield absorbs a bit more than the other two tank classes. While they get hit a little more frequently, this also tends to make the incomming damage a bit smoother and less spiky. That in turn puts a little less pressure on your healers. This isn’t a major deal, but some groups tend to prefer tanks that take a bit less spike damage.


The biggest cons to the Powertech tank are your “Oh Crap!” buttons. Frankly, your tanking cooldowns as a Powertech blow. They’re abilities that are much better used proactively than reactively.

The first is Energy Shield. This reduces all damage you take by 25% for 12 seconds. If you wait until you’re at 10% or 15% health to pop this, you’re probably going to die. You need to use Energy Shield before you take spike damage; using it afterwards won’t help very much.

The second cooldown we get is Kolto Overload. This heals you for 15% of your health over 10 seconds. To put it into numbers, if you have a maximum of 14,000 health, it will be healing you for 210 damage every second (2100 total). Consider that most raid bosses hit for around 1000-2000 normally, and Nightmare ones are hitting for up to 4000 or more! Since the healing from this comes out rather slow, it might not help much at all, especially if you waited until you’re low on health to use it. Like Energy Shield you need to use it before you take spike damage.

The third cooldown Shield Techs get is Oil Slick. This reduces nearby enemies accuracy by 20% for 18 seconds. Traditionally, RNG (random number generated; it basically means that it’s a roll of the dice) defensive cooldowns are bad for tanks because you can’t rely on them. You could use Oil Slick and the boss could miss his next 10 hits on you. You could use Oil Slick and the boss could land his next 10 hits on you. You could not use Oil Slick and the boss could miss all his attacks anyway. It’s all just a matter of luck.

Juggernauts get an ability that instantly increases their health by 30% for 10 seconds and heals them for that amount. They also get an ability that reduces all incoming damage by 40% for 10 seconds. Assassins get an ability that effectively makes them immune to most attacks for 3 seconds, and another that increases their melee and ranged defences by 50% for 12 seconds. Those are much more powerful cooldowns as compared to the Powertech ones for those “Oh Crap!” moments.

The other major con to the class is grabbing snap aggro. If a group of adds is rushing in and Death From Above is on cooldown, there’s not much we can do. We can throw an Explosive Dart on one of the enemies – but if he gets separated from the group (due to healing or DPS aggro or crowd control) it will make things messy as we have to pick the group members up one by one. The other tanks have some slightly better tools for grabbing snap aggro on enemies.


In the end, the Powertech has some benefits and some drawbacks as compared to other tanks. Certainly when it comes to “Oh Crap!” buttons, they’re definitely a bit behind the other two tanks. But, remember that based on the classes performance in the beta, it’s clear that the Powertech is fully capable of tanking all of the end game material. Many groups and guilds even claim to have preferred Powertechs to the other tanks. If you decide to tank on a Powertech don’t worry that people won’t want you around once you hit 50.

Shield Specialist vs. Mercenary: Which Advanced Class does the most DPS?

One common misconception that keeps popping up is that the Mercenary does more damage than the Powertech. It doesn’t; remember that there is no auto-attack in the game. Each ability does a set amount of damage. Mercenary abilities require 2 pistols, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily do more damage than a Powertech. A Merc ability might require two guns and deal 400-500 damage. A Powertech ability would only require gun, but could do the same amount damage.

The Powertech is more of a melee DPS while the Mercenary is a ranged DPS. Further, the Mercenary is fairly stationary – many of its attacks have activation times, so you’ll need to stand still and cast them for extending periods. In contrast the Powertech is more mobile. Almost all of its attacks are instant.

Overall, if a Powertech and Mercenary are both specced into a DPS tree, neither will have any major advantage over the other. Finally, Bioware made it very clear that it wants all DPS trees for every AC to be within 5% DPS of one another. If the Mercenary does end up radically out-damaging the Powertech, expect that to change very quickly.

What stats does the Bounty Hunter use?

The Bounty Hunter Advanced Classes, both the Powertech and the Mercenary, use Aim as their primary stat. It’s the only one that you should be focusing on. Aim increases the effectiveness of all of your attacks as well as your healing abilities (for Mercenaries). Cunning only increases a few of your abilities, and Strength/Willpower do virtually nothing. If you equip gear with +Cunning, +Strength or +Willpower you’ll only be hurting yourself, since Aim is far, far better stat for the Bounty Hunter.

For secondary stats, Defence, Absoprtion, Armor and Shield are only useful for a Shield Tech. These are entirely defensive focused statistics.

Alacrity, which lowers ability activation times, is useless for a Powertech (almost all of their abilities are instant), but marginally more useful for a Mercenary, whether DPS or Heal specced. You need a fair amount to make a noticeable difference, and you also have be careful with it. Alacrity basically lets you activate abilities faster – if you’re not careful, and just spam your abilities faster, that can mean that you’ll Overheat very quickly. Generally, the best course is to use the extra time you get from high Alacrity to weave Rapid Shots into your rotation.

Accuracy, which allows you to hit your enemies more often will be useful for all specs save for Bodyguards (even Shield Techs will benefit, since landing more hits means generating more threat). Power, Crit and Surge will be useful for all specs.

Finally, Presence increases your Companion’s performance. This will be handy for all specs while soloing, though useless at end game, where you won’t have your companions out.

Can you become a Mandalorian?

Yes, at the end of Chapter 1 you can become a Mandalorian.

Can Mercenaries function as end game healers?

What is the best talent build?

Does Kolto Vents work whenever you vent heat for any reason? Also, why do people think Kolto Vents is a waste of a talent point?

Does Jet Charge work like Force Leap?

Resource System:

Of special note is the Resource system that the Bounty Hunter uses. This system is called Heat. It operates a little differently from the sort of resource system that you see in most MMOs. As you use attacks, you gain heat. Once you reach 100% heat, you won’t be able to use any of your attacks, other than your Rapid Shots, and you will only be able to use a few other heatless abilities such as Neural Dart.

Your Heat slowly bleeds off over time. If you stop using attacks that generate Heat, your Heat will eventually return to zero. Where this system gets complicated is, the more Heat you have, the slower it dissipates.

From 0-39% heat, you’ll be dissipating 5 points of Heat every second. From 40%-79% you’re dissipating 3 heat per second. From 80%-100% heat, you’ll only be dissipating 2 points of Heat every second. Barring cooldowns or talents, it takes just over 30 seconds for your Heat to go from 100% to 0%. Clearly, it’s better for you to try and keep your Heat low for as long as possible rather than spamming a bunch of abilities at once, overheating, and then having to sit there and wait.

You do get Vent Heat, which lowers your current heat rating by 50 every 2 minutes. And many specs get an ability or two that can proc heat venting. Still, it’s a resource that you’ll need to pay attention to, especially in PvP. Overheating can cause major problems, and a big part of the Bounty Hunter class is to maximize your efficiency while juggling your Heat mechanic.

Advanced Classes:

On reaching level 10 the Bounty Hunter can pick one of two Advanced Classes after arriving on the Imperial Fleet – those classes are the Powertech and the Mercenary. It’s important to note that, while the Mercenary uses two guns, it does not necessarily do more damage than the Power Tech.

The Bounty Hunter is a powerful class. Like the Sith Inquisitor, one of its Advanced Classes, the Powertech, is capable of tanking while the other Advanced class, the Mercenary, is capable of healing. In addition, both the Powertech and Mercenary are fully capable of fulfilling DPS roles in raids and PvP.

The section below takes a closer look at the two Advanced Classes as well as a general overview of their three talent trees. Specific talents are mentioned if there’s anything that needs to be noted.

The Powertech is a class with close ranged attacks and a moderate amount of long range capability. It has a tank tree and two DPS trees. Its DPS trees are fully competitive with the DPS trees of the other seven classes.

One of the Powertech’s signature moves is Grapple, which grabs an opponent and drags it to the Powertech. This is handy in PvP, since you’ll want to be in melee range, but it will be especially useful in Huttball for dragging enemy ball carriers. You can also use it to drag people through the hazards, often killing them.

Another ability Powertechs get is Quell, which is a melee range 4 second interrupt on an 8 second cooldown which can be reduced down to 6 seconds.

Shield Specialist:
This the tank tree for the Powertech. This tree is fully capable of tanking all of the end game raid content. During the beta, Powertech tanks successfully tanked all of the Heroic Flashpoints, as well as all Normal, Heroic and (non-bugged) Nightmare bosses in Eternity Vault.

While there were some developer quotes from last year suggesting that the Powertech would be a long-range tank, the reality is a bit far from that. The Powertech does have access to long range attacks and can, in theory, briefly tank an enemy at range. But ultimately the Powertech will want to be in melee range – Rocket Punch, a melee attack, is the most important attack for the Shield Specialist, and so you’ll want to be using it as often as possible.

Most of the Shield Specialists’ mitigation comes from their ability to Shield attacks, and they get several bonuses in their talents that give them procs for shield or that increase their chance to shield. The Cylinder that Shield Specialists will want to use is the Ion Gas Cylinder. They cannot use their Guard ability without having the Ion Gas Cylinder equipped. For more information about Guard, see the Miscellaneous section at the bottom of the guide.

Talent Skill Notes:

Jet Charge: This works just like Force Leap. If you use it on someone who is within range but at a higher elevation, you will jump up and land next to him.

Heat Blast: This looks like a underwhelming ability at first glance. It does pretty insignificant damage and has a 15 second cooldown. On the plus side, it instantly depletes 8 points of Heat when you use it. This comes out to a total depletion of around .53 points of Heat every second. If your Heat is in the 0%-40% range, that’s an increase of just over 10% on your average Heat depletion. If you’re in the 80%-100% Heat range, that’s an increase of over 20% on your average Heat Depletion.

Further, it’s on-demand Heat depletion. If you are sitting at 46% heat, you’ll be in the lower Heat depletion tier. You could pop Heat Blast to instantly get back down to 38% and be in the fastest depletion tier. While Heat Blast isn’t an amazing ability, it’s not completely worthless.

Rebraced Armor: Your armor rating only reduces the damage of Kinetic and Energy attacks. Internal and Elemental attacks bypass your armor completely. As such, while Rebraced Armor is a fine talent for PvE tanks, it’s not quite as good in PvP where Internal and Elemental damage is much more common.

Advanced Prototype:
This is one of the two DPS specs for the Powertech and it has a bit more of a focus on melee range. One of the abilities that this spec gets is Retractable Claw, which gives the Advanced Prototype Powertech an additional melee range attack to use. The Cylinder that this spec uses is the High Energy Gas Cylinder.

Talent Skill Notes:

Retractable Blade: This is a quick hitting, on demand DoT. Keep in mind that if someone has a DoT on them in PvP they often won’t be able to cap turrets or bombs. Also, the DoT component is internal so it bypasses armor.

Kolto Vents: First, despite what the talent description says, this ability only works when you use your Vent Heat ability – not whenever you vent heat for any reason. It also doesn’t heal for a lot. Sure it looks good at first glance; you heal 7% of your health each time you use your two minute Vent Heat ability. But, 7% health is incredibly underwhelming. Consider that if you have 12,000 health it will only heal 840 points. That turns into 84 points per second. Most damage abilities in PvP will be doing several hundred damage, if not in the thousands. The rate of healing is barely noticeable.

You’re probably better off putting your talent point into an extra attack or CC skill rather than in Kolto Vents. Even for PvP it’s really not that great of an ability. Maybe if the healing were 7% instantly it might be a bit more useful. Write a nasty letter to Bioware and maybe they’ll change it.

This is the second DPS tree that the Powertech gets. It has an additional DoT and focuses primarily on procs, using Rocket Punch and Flame Burst to reset the cooldown on Rail Shot. The tree is pretty damaging, though it’s top tier ability is somewhat controversial. The Pyrotech will be using Combustible Gas Cylinder.

Talent Skill Notes:

Integrated Cardio Package: Not a great talent, even for Shield Tech tanks. Consider that 3% extra health from 14,000 is only an extra 420 hit points; that’s barely 1/3rd of a weak hit from a raid boss. There are better places to spend 3 talent points than here. If you’re a tank spec, it’s probably better to pick up a few extra DPS talents so that you can push your threat higher and the other members of your group can go full out DPS without as much worry about pulling aggro.

Thermal Detonator: This ability shares a cooldown with Explosive Dart. It costs the same amount of Heat and has the same range. It also does more damage. But! Thermal Detonator only deals damage to one target – it’s not an AoE! So while this ability will replace Explosive Dart on bosses, you’ll most likely still be using Explosive Dart in your AoE rotation.

Degauss: During the beta I tried Pvping with a Pyrotech, both with Degauss and without it, and my playstyle caused me to not quite like Degauss as much as you might think. You may like the talent and want to take it; that’s fine. It’s a good talent, just one that I found to be a bit awkward to use.

As I said in the Powertech vs Juggernaut/Assassin section, Powertech cooldowns need to be used proactively rather than reactively. I don’t think that this idea changes in PvP. Energy Shield is a good ability, but it’s a bit subtle. It reduces damage you take by 25% for 12 seconds. That is a difference but only significant once at least eight seconds have passed. If you use it and die five seconds later, or use it and finish the fight 5 seconds later, it would have been better to have popped the ability earlier.

If you wait until you get below 50% health to activate it, you very well might not live through the full duration. Often times in group PvP, even in PUGs, people naturally tend to target players with lower health. So, ideally you want to try to keep your health as high as possible for as long as possible. Popping Energy Shield while you’re at <80% health means that you’ll probably get the full duration, unless you have 5 or 6 people attacking you at once.

During the beta, when I had Degauss, I found myself using Energy Shield less for the protection and more for the extra mobility break. I tended to hold off on using the ability, because I felt that I needed to use it at the “right” time – and there were several fights where I waited so long to use it, it didn’t make much of a difference when I finally did. I was already so low on life even with the shield and break free I died not too long afterward.

Furthermore, in group PvP you’re going to be frequently getting hit with stuns, knockdowns and immobilizers. I felt that getting Heat dissipation from Gyroscopic Alignment Jets, and getting the freedom to pop Energy Shield early in the fight rather than holding off, was a bit more useful than taking Degauss.

But, that decisions was very much a “Your Mileage May Vary” section of the build, and if you would rather take Degauss, then by all means, feel free to do so! I certainly don’t think it’s a bad talent at all. I just found that it turned Energy Shield from a pro-active cooldown into a reactive one, and I didn’t like the way that that changed my PvP playstyle.

The Mercenary is the other Advanced Class that the Bounty Hunter can spec into. Its’ most noticeable trait is the fact that this class uses two pistols. The class has a Heal tree and two DPS trees. While the Powertech is ultimately a melee and close range class, the Mercenary is definitely a ranged class; you don’t want people to get into melee range with you.

Contrary to expectations, the Mercenary is actually a fairly stationary class. Many of its more important attacks have activation times. This means that the class doesn’t have as much mobility as many people tend to think it does when they first imagine the class.

As for mechanics, instead of Grapple, the Mercenary gets Jet Boost, which knocks up to 5 enemies away and then slows them for 6 seconds. It’s very useful for pushing people away from you, as well as forcing them into tactically disadvantageous positions.

Further, instead of getting an interrupt they get a long duration crowd control ability, Concussion Missile, which can incapacitate NPCs for a long period of time, though PC’s will be incapacitated for a much shorter time period.

This is the healing tree for the Mercenary. The Mercenary is a fully capable healer, able to successfully heal in PvP, Flashpoints, Raids and World PvP. The Bodyguard needs to be a little more proactive as a healer as compared to the Sorcerer or the Operative. Most of the Bounty Hunter’s heals tend to have long cast times, requiring him to stand in place. If the Bodyguard falls too far behind in healing, it can be a bit difficult for him to “catch up”. Alacrity is an important stat for a Bodyguard as it will let you cast your heals faster.

Bodyguard specced Mercenaries have successfully healed throughout the end game in beta. They do have a few problems – namely their primary focus in longer, powerful heals. This makes them fairly stationary. They also tend to run into problems if you “fall behind” on your healing; it’s not as easy for them to catch up as it is for other classes.

The two major benefits for the Bounty Hunter healer are that first, if you manage your Heat correctly, you will always have the ability to heal, and second, your Combat Support Cylinder changes your Rapid Shots so that shooting your allies will heal them. This gives you a quick, no-Heat cost heal and is useful in times where you are required to be extremely mobile. Of all the “free heals” that the healer classes get, this is certainly the best one.

Many people suggest that the Sorcerer is the best healer, and in some ways they’re right. Their Resource system is a lot more forgiving than the Bounty Hunters. If a Sorcerer has to spam burst heals, it’s not a big deal. If a Bounty Hunter has to do the same, he will drive his Heat meter up into the slow dissipation zone and have difficulty regaining his tempo.

But, a Sorcerer will inevitably run out of Force points for healing, whereas if a Bounty Hunter is careful with his Heat, he can potentially heal forever; still, this might not be a huge benefit. Most end game bosses have strict enrage timers, so even if a Mercenary could heal for 20 minutes straight, it doesn’t mean that he’ll ever realistically be able to do so.

Still, as pointed out earlier, Mercenaries have successfully healed all of the content in the game. If you want to play a Bodyguard, more power to you. Don’t let people tell you that you’re going to be a fail healer or useless at end game. You won’t be.

Talent Skill Notes:

Kolto Missile: It’s not a fantastic AoE heal. You won’t be able to get by in instances just spamming this ability. You’ll frequently find yourself using it more for the +10% buff on targets than the actual heal. You’ll generally want to keep the buff up on the tank at all times.

Supercharged Gas: An important ability for the Bounty Hunter, Supercharged Gas changes your playstyle a bit when you activate it. Getting 30 charges of your Combat Support Cylinder isn’t too difficult. You can shoot allies during downtime between pulls or before the start of a PvP match. Knowing when you use this ability is very important, especially in PvP. While it does allow you to spam Healing Scan, keep in mind that you’ll overheat very quickly if you try to do that.

The Arsenal tree tends to obviously be the most popular one for DPSing Mercenaries. This is a ranged spec that boosts many of your attacks but more importantly grants you some new ones. The signature ability in this tree is Tracer Missile, which can reduce the target’s armor by up to 20% if you keep the debuff up. This spec will be very popular in raiding environments due to this particular debuff. This spec will be using High Velocity Gas Cylinder.

Talent Skill Notes:

Tracer Missile: Get used to the animation. You’re going to be spamming it. A lot. This is by far the most important ability for an Arsenal Mercenary – you need to use it every 15 seconds in order to keep the debuff going.

Basically everything about the Powertech’s Pyrotech tree applies here, except that the Mercenary Pyrotech is a long ranged DPS class instead of short ranged. Rather than using Rocket Punch and Heat Blast to proc Rail Shots, you’ll be using Power Shot and Unload.

Talent Build Suggestions:

Making a good build is not too hard – the talent trees in SWtOR are not particularly difficult to get a handle on. Generally speaking, if you’re looking to DPS, pick a talent tree and put 31 points into it. If you want to DPS in PvE then focus on talents that increase your raw statistics and the damage that your abilities do. Talents that increase your crowd control abilities are usually not worth it in a PvE spec.

If you’re looking to DPS with a PvP spec, then you’ll want to pick up some of the crowd control talents while sacrifice the “worst” damage talents. That’s a bit trickier to balance.

I’m not going to claim that these are the “best” builds you can make for a Bounty Hunter, but, they’re definitely not going to be ineffective. These builds will be useful at whatever they’re supposed to do (tank, heal or DPS) and if you use one of these builds or a similar one, you shouldn’t have anybody complaining about your spec. Not that they will; nobody can look at your spec right now anyway.

Without parsers or DPS meters it’s impossible to say what build will do the most damage. There are also frequently places in each build where you have to put points into a skill that may or may not be overly useful for your talent spec. If you want to move some points around, feel free; again, these are just some suggestions.

Keep one important thing in mind – the Bioware developers said that they do not want to see hybrid builds viable for end-game PvE. I’ve primarily focused on “pure” builds because I figure that if a particular hybrid build ends up becoming particularly powerful at end-game, Bioware will nerf or buff the trees to make finishing the tree more attractive than jumping into another.

So if you do end up liking a particular hybrid build, don’t get too attached to it, it might not be viable in another month or two.

Powertech Builds
Shield Tech

Shield Tech PvE build: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#301G0GrdorogzZMsbZb.1

The last two points in this build were put into Iron Fist. I think having an extra 8% damage on your primary, single target attack will be more useful at end game for threat generation purposes. But, Advanced Tools is not a bad talent either – it reduces the cooldown on both Flamethrower and Grapple. If you decide you’re having a bit more trouble with AoE threat then Advanced Tools might be more useful to you.

Shield Tech PvP build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…bdRrogZMsbMo.1

This is a build built for PvP tanking. Keep in mind that you can only use Guard while you have Ion Gas Cylinder active. Further, while Guarding a player, any damage that is done to you is treated as an attack, which means you can shield against it. For more information Guard, see the Miscellaneous section below.

This is a build meant for survivability in PvP plus maximum amount of crowd control. No Escape gives your Grapple a chance to immobilize your target for 3 seconds (great for pulling someone in to the hazards in Huttball). Advanced Tools lowers your Grapple cooldown by 10 seconds.

As I said up in the Powertech Shield Tech section, armor reduces Energy damage and Kinetic damage, but does nothing for Elemental damage or Internal damage. In PvP Elemental and Internal damage are both fairly common. Increasing your armor by 16% is not nearly as useful in PvP as it is in PvE. That’s why this build skipped the two points in Rebraced Armor.

You’ll notice that I chose Retractable Blade for this build instead of Heat Blast. One of the problems with the Shield Tech build is that you don’t have many DoT abilities, and to use Rail Shot the target either needs to be CC’d or needs to be DoT’ed. Ion Overload gives your Rocket Punch a 100% chance to place a DoT on the target. But, if your Rocket Punch misses or if you need to retarget afterwards, you might not be able to get another Rail Shot off.

Retractable Blade gives you an on-demand DoT. Plus, DoTs are great for preventing people from capping turrets in Alderaan. I feel Retractable Blade will be more useful for a PvP Shield Tech than Heat Blast.

Advanced Prototype

Advanced Prototype PvE build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…MsRrRrfk0sZb.1

This is a basic PvE DPS build. Get into melee range, get Retractable Blade on the target and go to town. There were a couple of points left to play with. I liked the idea of having 2 points in Hitman. In many MMOs there are encounters where interrupting an enemy is important, so having a 6 second interrupt instead of an 8 second interrupt is very handy. If you want, you could probably take a point out and put it into Power Armor for less damage or one of the other abilities if you really wanted it.

Advanced Prototype PvP build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…MsdrRrfk0sZb.1

This was a tough build. There were some useful talents I ended up not taking. In PvP, Flame Thrower is a lot harder to use. In many MMO’s, people tend to move around (or hop around) which makes catching people in the cone for more than one tick difficult. That’s why I skipped Prototype Flamethrower.

Other than that though, it’s pretty similar to the PvE build.


Pyrotech PvE build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…MsZfhbbdGhrs.1

This spec focuses heavily on using Rocket Punch and Flame Burst to reset the cooldown on Rail Shot. So, while it does have some ranged ability, you’ll still want to be up in melee in order to get those procs. Again, pretty straight forward. Pay attention to your procs, keep up your Incendiary Missile and use Thermal Detonator on strong, solo enemies.

Pyrotech PvP build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…soZfhrbdhhrs.1

It’s almost identical to the PvE build. The only difference is removing two points from Rapid Venting and putting them in Sweltering Heat and moving the point from Rail Loaders into Power Armor (though that last one is entirely up to you, whether you prefer better survivability or a bit more DPS). Sweltering Heat is a powerful ability for snaring enemies. With Superheated Gas, your Rapid Shots has around a 40% chance to snare your enemy for 2 seconds. It’s great to use on people who are trying to run from you.

Hybrid Builds

Advanced Prototype/Pyrotech Hybrid PvP build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…robckZfhrbzh.1

This is a popular and intriguing looking build for PvP. There is a lot of synergy between the talents. Rocket Punch has a 45% chance to reset and trigger a free Rail Shot as well as a 25% chance to make your next Rail Shot crit. Flame Burst has a 30% chance to reset and trigger a free Rail Shot as well as a 30% chance to make your next Rocket Punch free. Claw has a 25% chance to make your next Rail Shot crit.

This is a proc heavy build; you’ll be using Rocket Punch and Flame Burst and Claw to try and trigger procs off of one another. Hydraulic Overrides gives you some nice mobility, letting you get maximum melee uptime on targets. Incendiary Missile gives some nice ranged damage against targets you can’t catch up to.

Mercenary Builds

Bodyguard PvE build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…RbcdkqZrcoZb.1

This is a basic PvE healer build. It’s got all the necessary talent points for maximum PvE healing. I thought Powered Dampers were a bit more useful than the other talents, though Power Shield would not be too bad; there might occasionally be fights where enemies interrupt your healing. If so, then putting a point into Power Shield would be a good idea.

Still, there aren’t too many free points left floating around for you to play with, so if you want to play around, be careful what you take points out of.

Bodyguard PvP build:

This one is tricky and has a bit of wiggle room. Emergency Scan is a nice heal, but it has a 21 second cooldown. That’s an eternity in PvP and I can understand why some people might not want to take it. Certainly it makes the option if a hybrid build, where you pick up Tracer Missile for some extra DPS, plus for the debuff, appealing. But, the heat you build up from attacking means it’ll be that much harder to heal. I would recommend just going with a full healer spec, like the PvE build, but making sure to get that point in Power Shield.


Arsenal PvE build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…IkrRMdozfzZf.1

For this build, you’ll basically just use Tracer Missile to spam the hell out of your target. Make sure to get 5 heat signatures up, then use Tracer Missile often enough to keep the stack rolling. You’ll want to use Rail Shot and Heat Seeker Missiles after getting 5 stacks of Tracer Lock and whenever they come up for cooldown. Throw in your other abilities when you can, being careful not to overheat. It’s pretty straightforward.

Arsenal PvP build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…bRrdRzfzZf0o.1

Again, fairly similar to the PvE build. The basic idea is the same, but it’s a little easier to escape, thanks to Jet Escape. Further, Pinning Fire is handy in PvP. The last point went into Gyroscopic Alignment Jets – it’s still only a 50% chance, but still; you’re going to get CC’d quite a bit in PvP and it will be nice to get rid of some heat when you do. There are quite a few points you can move around with this PvP spec, so if you want to boost something somewhere, don’t worry about taking something out to put it somewhere else.


Pryotech PvE build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…ckZfhbbdGhrs.1

Basic Pyrotech build. It operates a lot like the Powertech version. You’ll be using Powershot and Unload to look for free Rail Shot procs. There really aren’t too many places for you to move points around with this particular build. Most everything is already in a good spot. Maybe you could fit a pair of points into Degauss, but that’s more of a PvP ability. You generally shouldn’t be having too many mobility issues in end game PvE.

Pryotech PvP build: http://www.torhead.com/calculator/sk…ckZfhrbdhhrs.1

Basically the same thing as the PvE build, just with two points moved into Sweltering Heat – that’s going to be very handy in PvP. Every time you use Rapid Shots you’ll have around a 40% to trigger a two second snare. The usefulness for that in PvP can’t be overstated. Rapid Shots is an ability you’ll be using fairly frequently in order to avoid over-heating. It was tough to choose what to move – I decided to take the points out of Rapid Venting, but if you like that ability it won’t be too bad if you move the points out of something else.


This section breaks down some of the abilities for the Bounty Hunter, with things that I happened to notice during the beta. I posted this earlier on the forums before the wipe, so you might have already read this section.

Neural Dart (and later Sonic Missile):
If you’re a selfish player who likes getting points, then regardless of whether you are a Shield Specialist, Advanced Prototype or a Pyrotech, you want to be using taunts every time they come off cooldown. Your taunts place a debuff on an opponent that reduces the damage they deal by 30% for 6 seconds or until they attack you. Keep in mind that currently, if the player catches you with any damage, including AoE damage, the taunt debuff will get dispelled. Likewise if they got a DoT on you and then you taunt them, when the DoT ticks the taunt debuff will be dispelled.

Why use a taunt? Simple – all of the damage that is “negated” by a taunt is added to your Protection score. If your Protection score is high enough, you’ll get bonus medals. That means more rewards at the end of the match. In many matches, just by using Neural Dart frequently, I was able to get the first two Protection medals. An extra 2 medals a match adds up to a lot of rewards over the course of dozens of PvP matches.

Just as importantly, if there aren’t any actual Tanks in the match, you very well might end up at the top of the Protection meter. There are players who use that meter to decide who to give their MVP vote to. Further, those extra medals you get might put you at the top of the Medal meter, and there are players who use that to determine their MVP vote.

Neural Dart and Sonic Missile have a 30 meter range and don’t cost any Heat. Further, Neural Dart is not on the GCD! Use it every time it pops up. It costs you nothing. It’s basically free points for you – the more often you taunt, the more rewards you get. Regardless of your spec, you’ll be wanting to use your taunts when you can… well, assuming you’re a selfish person who likes getting rewards.

For you Shield Specialist Powertechs, here are some common sense notes about Guard. You use this ability on another player and 1/2 of the damage they take is transferred to you. As a special note, this damage is treated as if were an attack against you. That means it is mitigated by your armor and resistances, plus you have a chance to Shield against the damage as well.

Guard is a new ability that doesn’t have a direct counterpart in World of Warcraft. There are going to be a lot of people in SWtOR who have only ever played WoW or who have never played an MMO with an ability like Guard before. When they see a big blue bubble appear around them, they’re not going to know what that does. When you say, “I’m Guarding you,” they’re not going to know what that means.

At the beginning of the match, say something – ask if there are any healers in the BG. If someone says yes, then use Guard on them and then take a moment and explain what Guard does: “I’m Guarding you. This will redirect half of the damage that you take to me. The longer I’m alive, the longer you’ll stay alive, so try to toss me some healing when you can.”

Keep in mind that you’re probably going to feel pretty squishy when you’re using Guard on people. You’ll be eating damage much faster, and if nobody is healing you, don’t be surprised if you find yourself back at the spawn point fairly frequently. It’s a useful tool, but it can feel frustrating when you find yourself dying a lot and nobody seems to care.

Also, one final note: if you use Guard on another tank, that tank cannot then, in turn, Guard any other player. He’ll just get an error message if he tries. Since he’ll be built for PvP tanking, it’s really going to piss him off when he can’t Guard other players. I guess it’s a nice way to mess with somebody, but seriously – don’t guard other tanks. It’s just going to make them mad.

Also, a bit common sense – you can’t Guard someone who is already being Guarded, nor can you Guard someone who is already Guarding somebody else.

Grapple is a handy skill and you’ll use it pretty frequently. One thing to keep in mind though – Grapple will not work on a player with a full Resolve bar. If you use it on such a player, your Grapple will go into cooldown and they’ll remain right where they were. This can be really aggravating, especially in Huttball. So hold off until their Resolve bar has dropped off before you pull that player to you.

Death From Above:
This might qualify as the hardest hitting ability in the entire game. When you use it, it puts a big red Imperial symbol on the floor that tells everyone, “Get the hell away from here!”

Of particular note though is that the actual area of effect for the ability is a bit larger than the symbol itself by maybe 3 meters or so. So if a player just runs out and stands on the edge of the symbol, they’re going to eat all of the damage.

The same is true for the Trooper’s Mortar Volley. If you see a Trooper use it, run out of the Republic symbol and then keep running for another 3 meters or so, or you’ll get pounded by on by the ability.

In PvP it’s very easy to get some of the lower end the healing medals. Throw on Combat Support Cylinder and run around shooting and healing your allies for a minute or two and you’ll pick up the first two healing medals. Those two medals add up fast over the course of many battlegrounds. Once you’ve got your healing medals, you can go back to killing people if you want.

Just remember that, even if you’re not specced for it, your Mercenary is capable of healing, and that you’ll be rewarded for doing so. So if you’re a selfish person who likes getting more points in PvP, take some time out from shooting Republic scum in the face and instead spend a little while shooting your friends in the face. With healing bullets.

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7 Responses to “SWTOR Bounty Hunter Beginner’s Guide”

  1. definitively a great guild,it helps me to regain my believe of my powertech,
    especially in pvp zone, i may not re-role a new character cause of this article.

  2. good guide. will definately use some of the tricks to rack up extra medals AS LONG AS it wont cause us to lose the match. However i was wondering what your thoughts on a Adv. Proto. Shield Tech hybrid build for pvp would be. my build is here: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#301hMhrdZMsrbRMfkZb.1

  3. Good info on the BHs but u might whant to use some vaxe on the talent specs…

  4. great guide! it has helped me alot understanding the pyro tree branch, but out of curiosity how come you didn't picked up integrated cardio pakage? and energy re bounder?

  5. Very good read and definitely the best I have found so far. Do you have any plans on doing some stat guides? I have not been able to find any theory crafting sites on how to Mod gear and such. I am particularly interested in Power vs. Crit for arsenal spec PVE. With Critical Hits venting 8 Heat every 3 seconds is it better to stack Crit? Obviously there is some sort of balance we wanna reach I would think. Anyway It would be nice to see a more detailed Stat section.

  6. Great guide, especialy when consider sitting 10+ minutes in front of your screen while selecting your advanced class, altho you were sure you were already settled with your decision before you reached 10. This is no just the usual "blabla" you find currently in the web about bounty hunters, mostly just putting biowares informations in own words, but really a good insight into the class.

  7. Really good content on your site. Thank you.

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