SWTOR Sith Assassin Comprehensive Guide



SWTOR Sith Assassin Comprehensive Guide by AstralFire

INTRODUCTION

This guide is free for reproduction by others on any website, in part or in whole, under the following terms: a link to this guide’s official location on the official swtor.com forums or ForceJunkies.com is provided, and access to the guide does not require or imply a need for payment of any kind from the end user. I do not require (but do appreciate! ) being told when you have mirrored my guide.

This handbook is intended to be a comprehensive guide to gameplay competency with the Sith Assassin. As such, it will provide data on effective Player-versus-Player gameplay, Player-versus-Environment gameplay, and some general tips on leveling as a Sith Assassin. It is not intended to be a walkthrough or guide to any specific World, Flashpoint or Operation, and will only contain some brief looks at specific Warzones and Conflict Regions. Skill Calculator builds are merely my opinion, and though I do my best to learn as much as possible, I cannot know everything. If you have contradictory ideas, please post them here. While this guide will never be perfect, it will be more perfect with each version than the last. We get better through sharing ideas, after all.

This guide will also go over the basics of gearing as a Sith Assassin, and highlight some notable pieces of equipment.

The version numbering will correspond with that of the most recent live version of the game, followed by a letter indicating a major revision to the guide’s contents. e.g. 1.0.1c would be the third major version of the guide intended to correspond to game version 1.0.1. Minor wording changes and stylistic editing will not be considered.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

01. [Introduction]
02. [Table of Contents]
03. [Assassin Basics]
04. [Specialization: Darkness]
05. [Specialization: Deception]
06. [Specialization: Madness]
07. [Assassin Companions]
08. [Equipping an Assassin]
09. [Crew Skills]
10. [Appendix: FAQs]
11. [Appendix: MMO Glossary]
12. [Appendix: Keybinds]
13. [Appendix: Shadow Assassin Dictionary]

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ASSASSIN BASICS

Parent Class: Sith Inquisitor
Sister Class: Sith Sorcerer
Mirrored by: Jedi Shadow
Primary Weapon: Double-bladed Lightsaber, Electrostaff
Off-Hand Items: Shield Generator, Force Focus
Armor Class: Light
Aesthetic Inspirations: Darth Maul, Exar Kun, Satele Shan, Bastila Shan
Story Inspiration: Emperor Palpatine. “First and foremost was the Emperor/Palpatine inspiration. To be just bat-**** insane or to be subtle and clever.”
Skill Trees: Darkness (Defender), Deception (Melee Striker), Madness (Hybrid Striker)
Resource: Force Points. (Base Max: 100; Base Recovery: 8 Pts/Second)
Playable Species: Human, Zabrak, Rattataki, Twi’lek, Sith Pureblood
Voice Actress: Xanthe Elbrick
Voice Actor: Euan Morton

The Sith Assassin does not fear wasting her Force Points early in a fight; she has few long cooldowns, and a steadily refilling resource bar. Unlike Agents and Bounty Hunters, this resource bar does not regenerate at variable rates. The challenge in playing a Sith Assassin correctly is careful management of several short-term cooldowns and interspersing low or no-cost abilities with medium and high cost abilities, to avoid missing a vital window of opportunity.
careful balancing of your basic attack – which requires no Force to use – versus your more costly abilities is essential to success. While many of your abilities have very short or non-existent cooldowns, spamming a low-cost ability whenever available will prevent you from making effective use of the higher cost abilities.

The Assassin can access up to three different combat modes, or charges, which alter the majority of her relevant abilities. Each of these modes adds a chance to affect each of her melee attacks (though no more often than once every 1.5 seconds). Melee attacks which hit multiple times or multiple targets have a better chance of activating the technique once per ability. These modes are off of the global cooldown, but have a high resource cost. It is possible to switch modes and then immediately benefit from the change, but you can do so only with careful forethought and planning, and at the expense of restricting yourself heavily for several seconds prior.

While these techniques are active, the Assassin is able to use the ability Discharge, which has a variable effect based on which technique is active. When Dark Charge is active, Discharge becomes an AoE strike that debuffs the opponents’ accuracy by 5%. Lightning Charge creates a periodic damage effect discharge, and Surging Charge delivers a sharp burst of damage via Discharge.

Generally speaking, the Assassin is very comfortable with Melee to Short-Range play. In proper specs, the class appears to be the least kiteable melee and an excellent kiter due to high mobility options, snares, knockbacks, Force Pull, and ranged abilities. You’ll always be at your very best in Melee Range, but if someone goes out to 5 meters and farther, you are still doing very reasonable until they get to 11 meters. A completely successful escape from a properly built Assassin is nearly impossible, as should be expected from their archetype.

People familiar with Rogues from World of Warcraft will find only some similarities in the Assassin. For the most part, it is far more survivable with fewer hard controls (such as stuns) and more range as well as self-healing. While it will always be optimal for Assassin to attack from behind, it is by no means expected or necessary for any but a Deceiver.

Generally speaking, stealth is more difficult than in other games. Stealth detection is a bit easier for your targets when you get close in, which is why you get the Blackout ability. It’s a pretty neat little ability that greatly improves your stealth level for a brief window of time, with a one minute cooldown. When you absolutely have to get in close for a Mind Trap, use Blackout and get in and out of there fast.

At level 15, you get the ability Channel the Force, which is the power-up music ability for the Sith Assassin and Sith Sorcerer. Channel the Force has a 20 minute cooldown and lasts for 1 minute; it is extremely powerful, and can allow you to solo otherwise impossible challenges.

Mass Mind Control and Mind Control are great abilities in PvP, and should not be forgotten. Unlike Guard it does not require you to be in Dark Charge, so any Assassin can make use of it; clever use can severely reduce the output of someone attacking an ally. Pair it well with Force Cloak and Overload and other abilities to keep them from immediately beating up on you, however.

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DARKNESS ASSASSINS

Jedi. Their order is a fading light in the dark. Corrupt and arrogant. They must be punished. The Jedi shall fall!

Playstyle: High threat defender; melee with some ranged moves.
Mode: Dark Charge
PvE Builds: Standard (31/0/10), Madness Variant (25/0/16)
PvP Builds: PvP Harnessed Shadows (27/14/0), Hybrid Madness (23/0/18), Hybrid Stealth (22/19/0), Shock Spam (22/12/7)

Priority List:

0. Saber Strike (Out of Force)
1. Dark Ward (1 charge or about to expire)
2. Discharge (Every time it’s up)
3. Wither (5 seconds after cooldown ends) or Death Field (every CD)
4. Force Lightning (3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness)
5. Assassinate (Target at 30% health or less)
6. Crushing Darkness (Raze buff)
7. Shock (Energize buff) or Lacerate (2 or more enemies)
8. Thrash

I’m sorry, but every time I say ‘Darkness Assassin,’ I can’t help but think of My Immortal. The fanfic, not the song. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, good for you. Keep it that way.

Welcome to our tanking tree. The Darkness Assassin is the most offense-oriented of the three tank styles available in the Old Republic. We possess a mix of battlefield control, mobility and range that makes the playstyle a blast. The bulk of its survivability is defined by its high blocking chance, while it has moderate avoidance, stable mitigation, and the unique ability among tanks to self-heal. Though its armor seems initially low, Dark Charge and several of its specialized skill brings the class armor values on par with the Sith Juggernaut, and it has superior damage reduction for Elemental and Internal damage, the two types not covered by armor.

The heal granted by Dark Charge’s passive bonus is minor, and typically functions more like mitigation than damage; you won’t even notice your health crawl up. However, Overcharge Saber can be modified into an instant self-heal as well as greatly improving the healing generated by this passive.

In addition to the unique ability to self-heal, the Darkness Assassin is easily the highest damage of any defender specialization in the game, tied with the Kinetic Shadow. AoE threat is not an issue after obtaining your primary area attack, Lacerate, and as awkward as ranged tanking can be in PvE, the Assassin still handles these situations with more aplomb than the Guardian ever can hope to.

Personally speaking, I found the default User Interface to be lacking as a Tankasin; most of my time is spent checking the lower bar to watch multiple cooldowns, expiring buffs, whether or not Energize had activated, the range of a selected target, as well as estimating how much of my Force Points I had remaining in order to execute the next move. This is not good, as ranged tanking – which the Assassin will be doing a lot of – is very complicated. Fun, but complicated. Some of these issues will go with time; as you get into a steady rhythm, you won’t have to look at the bar so often to predict how soon you can use your next attack.

PVE

There are two builds presently available for Tankasins in Player-versus-Environment content: the Standard (31/0/10), and the Madness Variant (25/0/16). The Standard will likely prove superior to the Madness Variant for difficult group content, due to the psuedo-mitigation provided by Wither, as well as the additional 12% healing provided by Force Lightning through Harnessed Darkness. Note that the first 6% of the heal, along with half of the damage, occurs during the very first second of the ability; if you have to move, your Force Lightning will not be wasted, and the ability does significant damage. Even so, the Madness Variant has significant benefits which should be discussed.

Most notably, ranged tanking is a pain. The Standard only has one ability at greater than 10m range: Force Pull. Force Pull is not a move that you use to start a fight, that is what stealth is for. Instead, Force Pull is to allow you to bring one enemy closer so that you can use your death spam AoEs easier. If you have multiple enemies wielding ranged attacks, however, this can prove inadequate; this is not a game that often allows for the ‘pull around a corner’ strategy tanks would use to deal with this in the past, due to slightly smarter enemy AI. It is true that Recklessness has a (clumsy) range increase built into it for Force Lightning, but your Force Lightning can be easily interrupted. Even if you have Harnessed Darkness up, the power is still cancelled by movement, and you can only do this twice every 90 seconds; it is not an adequate solution.

This is where the Madness Variant comes in. Death Field is a location-targeted AoE attack with a 30m range, that also comes with the benefit of moderate self-healing. While it is limited in the number of targets that it can affect, at 3, Lacerate is quite spammable. Additionally, even within the 10m range, the variant is considerably more capable; Raze allows Crushing Darkness to avoid the difficulty of using Shock: the high Force cost.

Of note, the Madness Variant build is extremely close to the PvP version of the same build, and you can do an alright job tanking with the PvP version, as it picks up an extra 30m stun in return for a minimal loss in self-healing.

PVP

As a warning note, if you’re planning on PvPing at low levels, I recommend doing it as Deception. Darkness and Madness suck before 20, and respecialization is cheap your first several times.

Player-versus-Player on a tank is different in this game than in World of Warcraft, which you may be accustomed to. Mind Control and Mass Mind Control are your taunts; when used, they reduce the target’s outgoing damage by 30% for 6 seconds unless they attack you. Useful tools to prevent incoming damage on an ally, and you usually do not have to worry about an immediate backlash, because it’s nearly impossible to point out who delivered the taunt. Guarding is another story – Guarding allows you to share your HP pool with another player, which subjects you to taking more impact from Area of Effect abilities, but can make killing your partner an absolute pain. Due to a Darkness Assassin’s unique ability to break slowing effects with Force Speed, Tankasins make good partners for a huttball carrier – they can Guard the target, push and pull enemies into firewalls and off ledges, and also run the ball very effectively themselves.

Unique to the Assassin is the ability to both Guard a target and hide in stealth until attacked, allowing them to perform an effective defender duo with a healer, or part of an offensive ninja trio on enemy objectives in Alderaan and Voidstar. It’s always advisable to open in stealth if possible, in order to Mind Trap potential targets.

Another peculiar strength of the Darkness Assassin in PvP is the ability to use Spike out of Stealth. This may seem like a mediocre ability – it’s a 2s stun, and induces a 1.5s global cooldown. Well, think again. It is actually a knockdown, and not an incapacitate effect. There is no ability in the game which can break someone out of a knockdown – they have to recover normally. While it is a tricky ability to use, a well-timed Spike is guarantee of 2 seconds where there is absolutely nothing the target can do, no matter what, as long as their resolve bar is not overcharged.

As you may’ve noticed, the questionable PvP value of the top of this tree has led to a lot of potential different builds. Widely stated, the many builds are splintered around these key points: Harnessed Shadows, Force Slow, Circling Shadows, Find Weakness, Upheaval, Force in Balance, Containment and Force Strike. There are many notable skills in each of these PvP builds, but those are the most central ones.

Harnessed Darkness (go to the PvE segment for a quick look at it) is cumbersome to properly build up, but results in an extremely high spike damage/slow/self-heal that is one of the ultimate expressions of force power, and it is only ever paired with Induction for easier Shock activations. Knowing when to save a Harnessed Darkness in conjunction with Recklessness can be crucial to victory. Force Slow allows the Tankasin to be a more effective harasser, especially against an opponent with cleanse support. Induction makes casting Shock a simpler task, requiring less prediction, and improves the burst off of Exploit Weakness. Exploit Weakness sharply raises your burst output; a single Maul under its effect can deal double the damage of your Thrash, even moreso under a critical.

Due to the weakness of Guarding a target and then having you both get blasted by AoEs, it may be advisable for a defensively-playing Hybrid Stealth to drop the two points in Static Cling or Fade and opt instead for Entropic Field, which reduces your incoming AoE damage by 30%. It’s ordinarily not worth it at all, but as many AoE attacks in the game are balanced around hitting two or more targets (rather than three or more), Entropic Field can prevent you from dropping too fast.

Chain Shock randomly improves the burst off of Shock a significant amount, and Death Field allows you to finish off runners or break multiple capture attempts simultaneously in a Warzone. Haunted Dreams pairs with Death Field as an answer to runners, allowing the short-ranged Tankasin to control enemies on a whim, at the cost of filling their resolve bar. Finally, Raze in a Darkness build partially makes up for the awkwardness associated with using Shock without Induction by adding a second source of 10m range burst damage, this one free of cost, though with backloaded periodic damage.

GEARING

As with all Inquisitors, Willpower is your primary stat, and you use both physical and Force abilities, so you would rather take the Power statistic rather than Force Power. Alacrity will increase the speed of your Force Lightning attacks, but it is not something you should try to do; it has no other benefit to you. You will obviously want to build up defensive statistics – Absorption, Shield Rating, Defense and Endurance. Absorption and Shield Rating will provide the biggest bang for your buck. The hardcap on bonus for Shield Rating is around +50% chance – you’ll experience diminishing returns well before then, but it gives you a wide margin to reach for.

This is important, because the Sith Assassin has the least amount of survivability cooldowns relative to other specs, but has a significant advantage in how often it shields, thanks to Dark Ward. (Note also that a shielded attack cannot be a critical. This could mean that the Tankasin is vulnerable to auto-crit abilities, or could also theoretically reduce the critical chance of a received attack, if the chance is not 100% but the sum of shield chance + critical chance is greater than 100%.)

Because Dark Ward has a limited number of charges available, a higher avoidance chance will increase its longevity, as well. Therefore, the type of encounters we face will direct the next most important survivability statistic. If we constantly see high-end content with multiple enemies which require tanking, there will be a strong lean – a higher avoidance chance will reduce the number of charges eaten up on Dark Ward, improving your AoE tankability. If, instead, the Shadow is constantly facing a limited number of attacks, armor and absorption rating will take precedence.

Endurance is of low priority at current itemization schemes, because the endurance multiplier in the Darkness tree is so low.

Offensively, the Darkness Assassin wants Surge Rating, to take full advantage of auto-critical Shocks. Critical Strike rating should be a non-priority for gearing.

In PvP, Expertise Rating will be your single most important statistic. Accuracy Rating will also come into consideration; while you previously could only miss with your basic Saber Strike attack, every class has a minimum of 5% defense, and tanks can have much more. I would strongly consider getting at least 10% accuracy, to make sure that you do not miss with a vital Crowd Control or interrupt against enemy Jedi Sages and Sith Sorcerers, who have a base defense of 10%.

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DECEPTION ASSASSINS

You were deceived.

Playstyle: Spike damage striker, harasser; melee skirmisher.
Mode: Surging Charge
PvE Builds: Armor Piercing (5/33/3), Chain Shock (2/31/8)
PvP Builds: PvP Standard (5/33/3), PvP Chain Shock (0/33/8), Variant (11/30/0), High Regen Backstab Spam (18/23/0)

Priority List:

0. Saber Strike (Out of Force)
1. Assassinate (Target at 30% health or less)
2. Maul (Exploit Weakness buff about to expire, behind target)
3. Lacerate (3 or more enemies)
4. Discharge (Every Cooldown)
5. Shock (2x Induction buff… so near basically every CD)
6. Maul (Exploit Weakness just proc’d)
7. Voltaic Slash or Thrash

Deception is the most martially-based of the three Assassin trees, eventually becoming extremely flashy as a melee combatant. It’s the tree the Assassin was built for, and thus levels the most effectively of any Assassin tree early on; where the other trees are grasping for their basics before level 20, the Deceiver already has most of what he needs. It also is unique, as it is the only spec among all 24 Imperial specializations that has no good 30m offensive abilities, and essentially, no method of gap closing beyond Force Speed. In return, it has the most effective control while it is on a target, and the highest damage of any Assassin specialization. The basic conceit of the tree is that you use your martial strikes with a lightsaber to either buy time for your powerful, Force-driven attacks; or that you use those abilities to get into position for a particularly vicious Lightsaber stab in the back.

Since Surging Charge has a chance to activate on each hit, even though it’s capped at a maximum of 1 activation per 1.5s, all of your multiple hit moves get more benefit from Surging Charge than it appears. Surging Charge would apparently do similar average damage as Lightning Charge, right? About double the damage and half the activation rate? Think again. Your main two abilities strike twice every period. The chance of at least one activating Lightning Charge is 75%, which is a 50% relative increase from the base activation chance of 50%. However, the chance of at least one activating Surging Charge is 44%, which is a 75% relative increase from the base activation chance of 25%. This difference becomes even more distinct with Saber Strike, which has a 58% chance to activate Surging Charge, and an 88% chance to activate Lightning Charge – relative increases of 130% and 76% respectively.

Incidentally, this means that if you follow the pattern Voltaic Slash, Voltaic Slash, Shock, you will only reliably have one instance of Static Charges saved up. Static Charges gain very slowly. You’d need six or seven full cycles to get a stack of five with high certainty – that’s around 30 seconds, and Discharge will be up every 12 to 15 seconds. Some math will have to be done versus reliable gear levels, to show what the optimum amount of Static Charge stacks is to release in a maximum DPS cycle. My suspicion is that Static Charge should be simply considered a bonus rather than a need in a maximum DPS cycle, and that Discharge should only be held back, waiting for a full stack, when in burst damage phases.

Overload and Shock deserve special mention with this tree; their secondary effects are useful to allow you time to go behind the target and stab it. Overload’s knockback can even pull this off in PvP; don’t expect that effect from Shock in harder PvE or any PvP, however.

PVE

In Player versus Environment content, the Armor Piercing (5/33/3) damage rotation is pretty evident. As with Darkness, it is a very erratic priority list, as the key of the tree has you watching your rotation. The Deceiver is surprisingly good at Area of Effect damage for a single-target specialist, but only in bursts; while it still has the awesome Lacerate, the Deceiver can most efficiently use it when just coming out of stealth, or under the effect of Blackout. For those of you playing along at home, in a group situation, the Infiltrator can get 18 consecutive seconds of vicious, vicious AoE slashy goodness: coming out of stealth, blackout, Force Cloak.

When not being a whirling dervish, the Infiltrator still hits really, really hard. Starting out, you’ll find that you like to stab people in the back. It’s not as necessary as you think, though. Without the Exploit Weakness buff which comes from your other attacks, Maul typically does not do enough damage for its crippling Force Cost versus the combination of Voltaic Slash or Thrash followed by a Shock. Even under the effects of Dark Embrace, you’ll only regenerate enough Force Points for another full-cost Maul about every third GCD.

Entropic Field is not a strictly necessary skill, but it is an advisable one for group content due to the prevalence of PvE splash damage. While leveling, those points can be otherwise assigned. The 2 points in Entropic Field, Fade, Resourcefulness or Avoidance can be moved to any of the slots as you see fit.

The Chain Shock (2/31/8) build has recently been brought to my attention, and on targets which have less armor (below about 20% armor), it looks like it may overtake the Armor Piercing build (which has been renamed from Standard for that reason). This is pending on how much armor reduction enemies are calculated with on average.

PVP

The PvP Standard (5/33/3) is pretty fun, and also startlingly close to the PvE version of said build.

People keep asking me about openers. Allow me to stress that unlike Rogues and similar classes from other games, there is not a specific opener or set of abilities which can be recommended. Not only has BioWare taken pains to avoid ‘out-of-stealth alpha strike’, but there aren’t even a lot of options. Here are the basics:

– You open up with a Maul, which hits hard and – as a single one – does not put too much of a strain on your regeneration since you’re coming out of stealth with 110 FP and a high regeneration.
– You open up with a Spike, which is a knockdown (not a stun, and therefore cannot be escaped by a cooldown) for 2s. Not advisable unless you really, really need the person to not be doing something for two seconds and none of these alternatives are suitable:

– Jolt costs no Force, does not use a Global Cooldown, and for you it has a fast cooldown of its own. And it also doesn’t increase the resolve bar, which Spike does.
– Mind Trap uses a lot of Force, causes a lot of resolve bar cost, and can’t be used if your opponent is already in combat/isn’t advisable if you want to engage them in combat. It’s a great CC, however.
– Low Slash can be escaped, does damage, costs the same amount of Force, but has a 15s CD. You will probably want this for later.
– Electrocute has a 30m range, can be escaped, has a long CD. You probably want this for later.

– You open up with a Voltaic Slash, which does good damage, and sets up your chains early.

That’s really it. There’s no great complexity here. I’d go with Maul or Voltaic Slash for most situations personally, but that’s me.

That aside, you will want to keep Force Slow on your target at all times, using it every cooldown or close to it. Once the person is out of your 10m grasp, they are out of your reach forever. That’s it. Though you may be interested in frying a runner every now and then by using Force Lightning with Recklessness, as it gets 30m reach under the effects of Recklessness, and does good damage under its effects, as each tick will benefit from the 60% added chance to crit.

Discharge’s damage may seem to be a bit low relative to Shock’s; remember that Discharge deals internal damage, which bypasses armor entirely, and typically only tanks have a resistance to internal damage. It’s also on a separate cooldown from Shock, which means that it can be fired in quick succession, while Shock has to contend with its internal cooldown.

For example, an Assassin ready to torch his opponent at low health can use the combination of Recklessness, Assassinate, Shock, Discharge, Low Slash, Maul, Assassinate in rapid succession, a combination which is nearly impossible to survive.

Of note is that even though you’re not a tank, you can still use Mind Control, your taunt, which reduces the outgoing damage of the taunted foe by 30% unless they attack you – this is a great addition to teamplay dynamics, because it is entirely possible for you to use Mass Mind Control when everyone is beating on your healer or huttball carrier, and then using Force Cloak to vanish into nothingness.

The PvP Upheaval (0/33/8) build is the most notable alternative; it trades off more damage on every single attack that you do (by losing the armor penetration of Charge Mastery in Darkness) for a larger burst out of Energize. It may even be better in PvE than the standard, due to the way Shock scales, though I would not be willing to put money on it without a combat log handy.

There are two other alternative builds: Variant (11/30/0) and High Regen Backstab Spam (18/23/0). Variant works exactly the same as normal, but gives up a lot of its burst for better motion. Your mileage may vary, I don’t personally recommend it.

Neither do I recommend High Regen Backstab Spam, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – it gives up a lot of its burst for the ability to shank someone really, really sithing hard. A lot. Under the effects of Dark Embrace, you’re regenerating 15.6 FP/s, which means that in a teamplay situation, where someone else can keep the guy from paying too much attention, you’ll get a few more Mauls. To elaborate on why this isn’t worth it – roughly speaking, Maul is only half as efficient at damage as Shock and Thrash in this specialization, at least when Exploit Weakness isn’t active. You’ll run out of Force far too quickly for the energy difference to likely do its job. I don’t think it will last long enough to deliver its damage, but as I don’t claim to be a PvP god, I’ve included it for the sake of information.

GEARING

As with all Inquisitors, Willpower is your primary stat, and you use both physical and Force abilities, so you would rather take the Power statistic rather than Force Power. You do not need Alacrity as none of your abilities of note have cast-times. Critical Strike Rating is your single most important statistic, as your critical hits with Maul, Discharge and Shock do significantly more than the base +50%. While Surge Rating is also nice, you flat-out crave critical strike more than anything else until diminishing returns kicks in hard, because you have no method of ensuring critical strikes to keep Exploitive Strikes up aside from Force Potency.

Surge Rating is still valuable as well, because the built-in diminishing returns on Surge do not account for your flat bonuses to critical from your specialized skills. You can easily sport another +20% critical strike damage from gear.

In PvP, Expertise Rating will be your single most important statistic. Accuracy Rating will also come into consideration; while you previously could only miss with your basic Saber Strike attack, every class has a minimum of 5% defense, and tanks can have much more. I would strongly consider getting at least 10% accuracy, to make sure that you do not miss with a vital Crowd Control or interrupt against enemy Jedi Sages and Sith Sorcerers, who have a base defense of 10%.

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MADNESS ASSASSINS

Power… Unlimited power.

Playstyle: Periodic damage, self-healing; versatile range.
Mode: Lightning Charge
PvE Builds: Standard (7/3/31)
PvP Builds: Standard (3/7/31)

Priority List:

0. Saber Strike (Out of Force)
1. Death Field (Even single target, every CD)
2. Force Lightning (Under Recklessness)
3. Shock (If Unearthed Knowledge is not active, or about to expire)
4. Assassinate (Target at 30% health or less)
5. Maul (Exploit Weakness, behind target)
6. Crushing Darkness (Raze buff, preferentially on an unafflicted target)
7. Creeping Terror (On a target not currently afflicted, or about to expire)
8. Discharge
9. Force Lightning (if you need healing or are low on Force)
10. Thrash or Lacerate

The Madness Assassin is the only Melee/Range hybrid out of all six Sith specializations; obviously, Balance Shadows hold the same distinction among their kin. As you can see, it uses the largest range of completely unique skills as part of its damage rotation. Past readers will notice the addition of Force Lightning to the priority rotation. Force Lightning’s status as a periodic damage spell is currently in debate.

PVE

There’s not too much to say or watch out for here that the priority list doesn’t already cover.

Standard (7/3/31) has been altered from previous builds, because my assessment is that Discharge is simply not used enough on multiple targets in most situations to make a faster cooldown worth it, versus a bonus to the critical melee skill of Thrash. The basic idea behind the Madness playstyle is to drop Death Field on your target and go to town with periodic damage effects. On a single target, its damage is less relative to Deception, though decent; on multiple sustained targets, the damage can rack up quickly.

Abuse the fact that Death Field and Creeping Terror have full 30m ranges rather than 10m, and consider switching targets early in a group situation. Likewise, abuse your instant cast Whirlwinds as well as the fact that you get a stun if someone is damaged while contained within them; Whirlwind is normally risky to use mid-fight in PvE because it will heal the opponent, but if you Whirlwind a multiply DoTted opponent, it is unlikely a heal pulse will get off, making it an effective interrupt.

There is an alternative version of this build for leveling that takes two points out of Electric Execution and into Oppressing Force, which lets your Whirlwind affect two additional targets. It’s of no use in PvP or endgame PvE, but can be very nice for managing large crowds while soloing.

PVP

As a warning note, if you’re planning on PvPing at low levels, I recommend doing it as Deception. Darkness and Madness suck before 20, and respecialization is cheap your first several times.

Standard (3/7/31) is standard. There’s really not much to say here, honestly, given the currently undeveloped state of the metagame, making it difficult to speak of specific counters.

The biggest thing to note is that Creeping Terror can be a great way to nail someone who thinks that they’ve just gotten out of your range, for a minimal resolve cost; you can save it if you suspect that someone is going to flee in short order, or you can save it to backstab someone who’s gotten low, then chain into a Electrocute or Whirlwind to stab them some more..

Of note is that even though you’re not a tank, you can still use Mind Control, your taunt, which reduces the outgoing damage of the taunted foe by 30% unless they attack you – this is a great addition to teamplay dynamics, because it is entirely possible for you to use Mass Mind Control when everyone is beating on your healer or huttball carrier, and then using Force Cloak to vanish into nothingness. You can even get away with using Dark Charge rather than Lightning Charge in order to Guard your ally, as you have a wealth of self-healing available. Guarding allows you and your ally to share a health pool, which is a fantastic way to help keep them alive; 50% of their damage intake gets redirected to you as long as you remain within 15 meters. It’s not recommended for large periods of time as you are not a tank and your self-healing goes down without the ability to Discharge someone with a DoT, but you’re more capable of it than Deception Assassins, so take advantage of it from time to time.

You’re going to take the role of a Pressure Player; though you have burst, it’s significantly less than that available to the other two Assassin trees, so you are unlikely to get the burst damage necessary to down someone quickly. Crushing Darkness is significantly weaker than Shock for direct damage, and your Shocks lack the power of Darkness and Deception. You don’t have the force regeneration of Darkness, or the efficiency in burst of Deception – but your DoTs are extremely efficient, and you have the hardest hitting Thrash of any Assassin.

GEARING

As with all Inquisitors, Willpower is your primary stat, and you use both physical and Force abilities, so you would rather take the Power statistic rather than Force Power. Critical Strike Rating is your single most important statistic, as your critical hits with Thrash, Death Field, and all periodic damage abilities do significantly more than the base +50%. Alacrity will increase the speed at which your periodic damage takes effect, making it a useful ability in PvE for straight up damage, but only up to a point, due to the limited charges that Force Suppression leaves.

There’s a geometric progression on keeping Exploitive Strikes up with a higher critical chance; more Force criticals lead to more melee criticals lead to instant cast Crushing Darknesses which increases the chance that you’ll get a critical from at least one of your Force attacks. The more targets you can fight simultaneously, the easier it will be to maintain Exploitive Strikes. And all of this says nothing of the benefit to your health regeneration.

Surge Rating is extremely valuable as well, because the built-in diminishing returns on Surge do not account for your flat bonuses to critical from your specialized skills. You can easily sport another +20% critical strike damage from gear.

In PvP, Expertise Rating will be your single most important statistic. Accuracy Rating will also come into consideration; while you previously could only miss with your basic Saber Strike attack, every class has a minimum of 5% defense, and tanks can have much more. I would strongly consider getting at least 10% accuracy, to make sure that you do not miss with a vital Crowd Control or interrupt against enemy Jedi Sages and Sith Sorcerers, who have a base defense of 10%. Finally, Alacrity will be much more important since it will improve the rate at which you get health return, and ensuring that periodic damage takes effect quicker prior to being cleansed by enemy healer.

ASSASSIN COMPANIONS

To assist you in your missions, you’ll build a small team of helpers over time. While they will remain with you regardless of how you treat them, making sure that they like you is important; a companion who likes and respects you will craft faster and perform skill missions more successfully. To avoid accidental spoilers, each companion is listed in a dropdown beneath their planet.

KORRIBAN

Spoiler
Khem Val (Male Dashade)
Location: Korriban (Late)
Class: Dark Devourer
Stances: Melee Defender, Melee Striker
Armor: Light through Heavy Armor, Shields, Power Generators
Armaments: Vibrosword
Crew Skills: +15 Artifice Efficiency, +5 Research Efficiency
Voice Actor: UnknownKhem Val is a Jedi eater. Yeah… That’s how you know we’re in Sith-land. He makes for an excellent companion for a Sith Inquisitor of any type; even if you’re planning to become a Darkness Assassin in the long run, you’re going to be squishy for a while, so someone to trade places with you as a meat shield is very welcome. To keep your widdle monster happy, you should be the best stereotypical mass murderer ever, and kill everything and anything you see. Ever. He does have some sympathies for fellow slaves, however.

At lower levels, you may find it useful to trade threat with Khem in difficult fights.

DROMUND KAAS

Spoiler
2V-R8 (Steward Droid)
Location: Dromund Kaas (Late)
Class: Healbot
Stances: Healer
Armor: Droid Armor Plating, Power Generator
Armaments: None
Crew Skills: None
Voice Actor: Unknown”I am the very model of a modern Shipboard assistant.

Despite his protests, you can take your creepy ship droid out onto the field. He’s heavily armored, but brings no offensive abilities, making him only a good partner for a fully realized Sith Assassin. He does eventually get a Crowd Control ability.

TATOOINE

Spoiler
Andronikos Revel (Male Human)
Location: Tatooine
Class: Pirate Sniper
Role: Ranged Striker, Ranged Area Striker
Armor: Light through Medium Armor
Armaments: Blaster Pistols, Blaster Rifles
Crew Skills: +2 Slicing Critical Effect, +2 Underworld Trading Critical Effect
Voice Actor: Steve BlumAndronikos is the love interest for the female Sith Inquisitor.

TARIS

Spoiler
Ashara Zavros (Female Togruta)
Location: Taris
Class: Jedi Sentinel
Stances: Melee Striker, Melee Elite Striker
Armor: Light through Medium Armor
Armaments: Lightsabers, Vibroswords
Crew Skills: +10 Synthweaving Efficiency, +10 Diplomacy Efficiency
Voice Actor: Azura SkyeAshara is the saccharine light-side love interest for the male Sith Inquisitor. No, dark siders, she does not have an ‘off’ switch, nor can she be turned. She’s a former Jedi. Probably your best DPS companion; you’ll want her out for everything but elites, unless you’re a Darkness Assassin.

HOTH

Spoiler
Lt. Talos Drellik (Male Human)
Location: Hoth (Completion)
Class: Imperial Archaeologist
Stances: Healer, Ranged Striker
Armor: Light through Medium Armor
Armaments: Blaster Pistols, Vibroknives
Crew Skills: +5 Treasure Hunting Efficiency, +5 Archaeology Critical Effect
Voice Actor: Edward HibbardYou finally get a healer that doesn’t suck. Tankasins rejoice!

VOSS

Spoiler
Xalek (Male Kaleesh)
Location: Voss (Post-Completion)
Class: Sith Sorcerer
Role: Ranged Striker, Ranged Tank
Armor: Light Armor, Force Focus, Shield Generators
Armaments: Lightsabers, Double-Bladed Lightsabers, Electrostaves
Crew Skills: +10 Bioanalysis Efficiency, +2 Scavenging Critical Effect
Voice Actor: Tony ArmatradingYour apprentice. He worships you. He’s also the only ranged Force-user tank in the entire game, and one of the most mechanically unique companions.

SECRET COMPANION

Spoiler
HK-51 (Assassin Droid)
Location: Hoth
Class: Hunter-Killer
Stances: Ranged Defender, Ranged Striker
Armor: Droid Armor Plating, Shields, Power Generators
Armaments: Blaster Pistols, Blaster Rifles
Voice Actor: Kris Tabori”Systems failing, Master.

Yes, he’s back… sort of.

——————————–

EQUIPPING AN ASSASSIN

Handling your way across your starter world of Korriban as a Sith Inquisitor should be pretty simple, for the most part. However, your masters and lessons do not really explain a lot about gearing, and I feel that it is useful to have a reference list available here. If you’re looking for specific gearing instructions per specialization, look back at the final paragraph for each specialization instead. This is general information.

All characters use one primary ability score of Aim, Cunning, Strength or Willpower. All four of these abilities has a specialized purpose. Aim will only increase your ranged damage and critical chance, Cunning will only increase your tech damage and critical chance, Strength will only increase your melee damage and critical chance, and Willpower will only increase your Force damage and critical chance. Normally, anyway.

Each base class has a different primary ability score. A primary ability score equally improves both of the damage vectors which your class will use. Through the Force, all things are possible; Willpower is the primary score for Consulars and Inquisitors, and grants both Melee Damage and Force Damage, as a result.

Presence measures your ability to inspire, lead, and guide your companions. A higher presence score will increase your companion’s health, damage and healing. Companions take up the party slot of a player, but are less effective than a player; if you intend to do a lot of content which requires full or nearly full groups, it’s not wise to invest much into presence.

Endurance, simply enough, improves one’s raw health.

Secondary stats are available, which add more complexity to the matter.

Absorption Rating: Increases the amount of damage blocked by a successful shield reaction. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Accuracy Rating: Grants additional hit, and then reduces the opponent’s defense once past 100%. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Alacrity Rating: A secondary stat which improves the speed of activation time for non-instant abilities. It does not affect the Global Cooldown for instant abilities. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels. It may also increase the rate at which periodic abilities take effect.

Critical Rating: Improves the chance of a critical hit. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Defense Rating: Improves the chance of a avoiding an attack. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Expertise Rating: Increases damage and healing done, and reduces damage taken, but only in PvP. A maximum of 10% effectiveness. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Force Power: A secondary stat which improves Force Ability damage and healing only.

Power: A secondary stat which improves damage and healing from all sources.

Shield Rating: Increases the chance that a shield reaction is triggered against an attack. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Surge Rating: Improves the effect of a critical hit. Base Surge is +50%. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Tech Power: A secondary stat which improves Tech Ability damage and healing only.

——————————–

CREW SKILLS

Money can get you everything.

Those of you coming from World of Warcraft post-Classic are familiar with the skill layout of that game, where every single craft skill had to have a mechanically advantageous thing that it ‘owned’ (each of them being roughly as good as the others). Several of the crafting skills in that game effectively were worthless to anyone besides the wielder, to boot.

That is not how this game works, mechanically. Every single crew skill mechanical perk originates from the fact that you’re getting the benefit cheaper or earlier than someone who does not have your craft skill. For example, anyone can use medpacks; only a Biochem producer can get a reusable medpack, which costs more to craft but will never get used up. You do not need to be an artificer to upgrade your lightsaber; artificers make the upgrades, you just buy them and insert them into the lightsaber yourself. Etc. The other thing is that all of the crafting skills have some sort of aesthetic option which is unique to them, and these are among the rare bind-on-pickup items that cannot be given to anyone else.

Therefore, there are three approaches to take when choosing your Crew Skill layout: Do I want to get something that will save me money on a reusable I want a lot of, do I want to get something that will make me a lot of money, or do I want to get something that will give me a unique visual perk? It cannot be stressed enough that crafting of any kind while leveling up will only be of limited use; you will always end up ahead in credits while leveling by not crafting anything. It becomes a question of time and money spent now, versus time and money spent later to either level up your own craft skill or constantly purchasing everything you need.

To make your decision, you need to have a good grasp of what can be made by each craft skill. You have access to three crew skills per character; a maximum of one may be a craft skill, and it’s recommended that the other two be a gathering skill and a mission skill which support that craft skill. Everything is oriented around the crafting skills; mission skills provide a nice little bit of flavor, but are essentially a second gathering skill oriented around the rarer materials that cannot be obtained through direct gathering.

It’s important to note that you will not automatically get all of the important recipes for Craft Skills from the skill itself, even by reverse-engineering; you will need to get some of these schematics from the Galactic Trade Network. It’s also important to note that you will always lose money by sending crew members to do missions, as the point is more to raise your skill and gain materials while not being out in the field yourself. If it was strictly superior to self-gathering, no one would ever do it.

I’ll go over each of the Crew Skills in brief – each section will contain the Crew Skill’s codex entry, followed by my input.

CRAFTING SKILLS
You may only have one of these skills on your character. If you take one of these, it is your most important skill. As noted above, once you get to endgame, you are not getting unique mechanical perks from what you make via these skills; you’re just getting it cheaper, easier, prettier, faster, or reusable. For leveling content, they do create some unique stuff for lower levels, so rich rerollers will make purchases from dedicated crafters a lot.

Spoiler
ARMORMECH
Recommended Skills: Scavenging. Underworld Trading (Underworld Metals).

Codex: Armormech is the ability to work with hard metals, alloys and synthetic materials to construct armor for non-Force users. Vendor-purchased fluxes are used during the armor creation process to refine the materials to ensure suitability. Armormechs can reverse engineer their crafted armor and possibly discover new ways to improve armor creation. The gathering skill Scavenging provides crafting resources for Armormech.

Comments: Armormech is not your typical choice for a force user, because it provides no mechanical benefits to the Jedi or Sith whatsoever. It also has no aesthetic benefit to the Shadow or Assassin, who cannot wear its armor. I do not recommend it for you for any reason. The materials from its Gathering skill will be in high demand, and non-Force users are going to be a smaller clientele than Force users in this game, I can guarantee that. There is potentially some money to be made off of Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior ACs who want an unconventional look for their character, but that’s not a compelling enough reason on its own to take this skill. For both making money and saving you money, this flunks the test.

Rating:

ARMSTECH
Recommended Skills: Scavenging, Investigation (Compounds)

Codex: Armstech is the ability to work with hard metals, alloys and synthetic materials to craft blasters, blaster modifications and melee weapons. Vendor-purchased fluxes are used during the weapon creation process to refine the materials to ensure suitability. Crafted blasters include blaster pistols, blaster rifles, sniper rifles, assault cannons and shotguns. Blaster modifications include blaster barrels. Melee weapons include vibroblades and electrostaves. Armstechs can reverse engineer their crafted items and possibly discover new ways to improve their creation. The gathering skill Scavenging provides crafting resources for Armstech.

Comments: What it does not tell you is that everything it makes sucks, except for the blaster specific mod (the gun barrel), and the many, many unique models of blaster that it can make. Endgame Vibroswords and Electrostaves (if they ever intend to make the latter useful to a player rather than a companion) are obtained via vendors, to prevent this from being the potentially most universal skill ever. Instead, it’s possibly the only thing worse than Armormech, unless you really, really need to make sure that keeping Qyzen equipped is easy. Since, hooray, it can make Techblades.

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ARTIFICE
Recommended Skills: Archaeology, Treasure Hunting (Gemstones)

Codex: Artifice is the delicate skill of constructing lightsaber modifications, enhancements, generators and focii. Lightsaber modifications include color crystals and hilts that augment a Force user’s combat attributes. Color crystals determine beam and bolt color for lightsabers and blasters. Enhancements are modification upgrades for weapons and armor. Artificers can reverse engineer their crafted items and possibly discover new ways to improve their creation. The gathering skill Archaeology provides crafting resources for Artifice.

Comments: An important skill, as it creates the color crystals used by every weapon in the game, upgrades your personal weapon, creates multiple slots (force-user off-hands, shield generators), creates endgame relics, lightsaber hilt mods, and the enhancement mod which can go on all major body parts and weapons. They can also create their own lightsabers at maximum skill, though the lightsaber hilt model is usually not as important to players as the blade color. The relics, along with the unique lightsabers, are their ‘self only’ perk, as these relics can also be bought from stores. Until everyone is geared up, the BoE relics are likely to sell well for the people who can get their skill up high enough quickly. Because it is ‘exciting’, I expect this skill will be picked up by many players, including many non-Force Users. It may suffer from market dilution, and does not have a consumable to keep it useful once the economy settles, so I tentatively rate it well.

Rating:

BIOCHEM
Recommended Skills: Bioanalysis, Diplomacy (Medical Supplies)

Codex: Biochem is the skill involved in crafting medical supplies, performance-enhancing chemical serums and biological implants. Biochemists can create medpacs to restore health, stimulants (single-use injections) that provide a boost to physical abilities, and biological implants that enhance combat prowess by stimulating neural networks and regulating brain stem functions. Biochemists can reverse engineer their crafted implants and possibly discover new ways to improve implant creation. The gathering skill Bioanalysis provides crafting resources for Biochem.

Comments: Medkits, Stims, Adrenals, and the only skill that can make implants. Similar to Artifice’s relics, these can be obtained without being a Biochemist, but it will be easier for them. Until everyone is geared up, the BoE implants are likely to sell well for the people who can get their skill up high enough quickly. The real prizes for the biochemist for self-use are the reusable stims and adrenals. They will be expensive as anything to manufacture, but once they are, you’ll be set for life. One of my two top picks for your one craft skill.

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CYBERTECH
Recommended Skills: Scavenging, Underworld Trading (Underworld Metals)

Codex: Cybertech is the skill to assemble droid armor, earpieces, grenades, armoring, mods and miscellaneous gadgets. Armoring and mods are upgrade modifications that augment combat ability. Earpieces are external mini-computers that are worn on or near the ear. They enhance combat prowess by giving audio and visual feedback to the wearer or through direct neural feedback via an external nerve relay. Cybertechs can reverse engineer their crafted items and possibly discover new ways to improve their creation. The gathering skill Scavenging provides crafting resources for Cybertech.

Comments: The other of my two top picks for your one craft skill. As with Artifice and Biochem, it has exclusive crafter access to improving your ship, as well as two item slots (earpieces) – both of which can be obtained in other ways for more money. Until everyone is geared up, the BoE earpieces are likely to sell well for the people who can get their skill up high enough quickly. What makes Cybertech so fantastic is that it crafts the two of the most common upgrade items – Mod and Armoring, which can go on nearly every piece in the game – as well as five different consumable grenades which each have an unshared 5m cooldown. And these grenades can be made in reusable varieties for the Cybertech.

That’s right, you gain access to moderate to low damage ranged AoE attacks, which each carry a useful secondary effect: A slow, a stun, an immobilize, an immobilize, and a damage-over-time effect – periodic damage can ruin capturing objectives in PvP as well as attempts to use Force Cloak. That’s pretty huge in PvP, and even in PvE, as AoE abilities which do not sap you of precious, precious Force? They’re pretty awesome.

…And if that wasn’t good enough, Cybertech can make you a custom speeder bike, too.

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SYNTHWEAVING
Recommended Skills: Archaeology, Underworld Trading (Luxury Fabrics, Underworld Metals)

Codex: Synthweaving is the process of fabricating synthetic materials out of crystals, various chemicals and artifact fragments to construct armor for Force users. Vendors provide premade solutions, suspensions and composites that are used during the Synthweaving process. Synthweavers can reverse engineer their crafted armor and possibly discover new ways to improve armor creation. The gathering skill Archaeology provides crafting resources for Synthweaving.

Comments: It’s essentially tailoring, and every Force User will rely on this skill; you also will probably get a little bleedover from non-Force Users who want to have an unorthodox look. I think it’s likely to be a little more valuable than Artifice on the market, because there are far more armor slots than weapon slots, and a lot of Force Users, and a lot of people will look at Synthweaving and go, “Ew. It’s tailoring,” which sounds boring and not bother. However, its mods currently cannot have expertise on them – the principal PvP stat – limiting its usefulness for PvPers.

As of the most recent build, these items no longer come pre-installed with mods, which has greatly degraded the rating for the purposes of anything but simple aesthetics. Its value is principally in early access to having as many slots as possible on your gear.

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GATHERING SKILLS
Gathering skills are skills which you or your companion may employ in the field, when you see an appropriate resource. They supply the basic materials used in crafting skills. You may send your companions on gathering missions which cost money, but provide you with skill-point appropriate resources. There is a chance for your companion to fail when deployed on missions (I believe it is related to their affection), but it will always give you a skill point even if they fail. Out of your maximum of three crew skills, all three may be gathering skills.

Spoiler
ARCHAEOLOGY
Recommended Skills: Artifice, Synthweaving

Codex: Archaeology is the study of crystal formations and archaeological finds. Crystal formations contain crystals that an Artificer can use to construct lightsaber modifications and armor for Force users. Archaeological finds contain artifact fragments of Force-imbued technology. These valuable items contain ancient formulas and algorithms used in the crafting skills Artifice and Synthweaving. Archaeologists can send their companions on missions to gather resources.

Comments: Archaeology is an essential skill for Artifice – the craft skill that everyone wants – and is easy to level up. Synthweaving will be high in demand as well. My personal experience is that you get Archaeology materials faster than needed to keep up with your mission skills if you’re going at a good clip of leveling speed, so it may be a less satisfactory choice for a pure gatherer.

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BIOANALYSIS
Recommended Skills: Biochem

Codex: Bioanalysis is the practice of collecting genetic material from creatures and vegetation. Genetic materials include cell fibers, bacterial strains, toxic extracts and medicinal fluids. Biochemists use these materials to create medpacs to restore health, stimulants (single-use injections) that provide a boost to physical abilities, and biological implants that enhance combat prowess by stimulating neural networks and regulating brain stem functions. The crafting skill Biochem utilizes Bioanalysis resources. Bioanalysts can send their companions on missions to gather resources.

Comments: Let’s be clear right now: Biochemistry is going to be very important, so even though this is only tied to one skill, gatherers may wish to take it anyway, to either sell their goods or trade the materials to a Biochemist in return for manufacture of goods. Also, Bioanalysis can be performed by you or your companion on many dead creatures, so while you won’t get to use this skill much on your capital, it’ll catch up pretty quick on Taris.

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SCAVENGING
Recommended Skills: Armormech, Armstech, Cybertech

Codex: Scavenging is the art of salvaging useful parts and base materials such as metals, alloys and synthetic compounds from potential technological resources–junk piles, fallen droids, abandoned cargo and broken-down vehicles. The crafting skills Armormech, Armstech and Cybertech utilize Scavenging resources. Scavengers can send their companions on missions to gather resources.

Comments: You can easily progress your scavenging by killing everything in sight when you see droids – which dovetails nicely with roleplay for lightsiders, who are more hesitant to kill fleshies, and the fact that stealthing through droid missions is slightly more difficult and annoying since Mind Maze won’t work on droids. Along with Diplomacy, Slicing, Investigation and Underworld Trading, it makes a solid choice for someone not interested in personally crafting and instead making money off of crafters. It also fuels one extremely critical and two useful tradeskills, so it’s a strong recommendation.

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SLICING
Recommended Skills: Cybertech

Codex: Slicing is not a skill required for crafting. Slicing is the art of accessing secure computer systems and lockboxes to acquire valuable items, credits and rare tech schematics. Common slicing targets include electronic safes, data stations, security mainframes and biometric footlockers. These targets contain credits, rare tech schematics used to construct Cybertech gadgets, vehicles and space upgrades, and mission discovery objects that unlock challenging missions that can potentially yield great rewards. Slicers can send their companions on missions to retrieve these valuable items. Other possible mission rewards include augments that can be slotted into exceptionally crafted items.

Comments: It’s Investigation’s cousin, more or less. Getting schematics from slicing missions is a rarer occurrence than in Investigation, so I wouldn’t worry about taking Slicing as part of a normal set of three as a crafter, but it’s basically an essential for people just looking to make a buck. You still have a net loss of money by sending companions on Slicing missions, as the point is to raise your skill without doing any work for it.

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MISSION SKILLS
Mission skills function identical to Gathering skills which cannot be personally collected; you need your companion to do them. They provide the rare resources used in crafting skills as well as providing a host of other benefits, such as giving you companion gifts to raise their affection, rare schematics, and sometimes rare equipment. Out of your maximum of three crew skills, all three may be mission skills.

Spoiler
DIPLOMACY
Recommended Skills: Biochem

Codex: Diplomacy is the art of conducting and managing negotiations. Sending your companions on diplomatic missions can influence your light side or dark side standing. In addition to light side and dark side influence, possible Diplomacy rewards include medical supplies used to construct prototype and artifact implants, medpacs, stimulants, adrenals and gifts for companions to raise their Affection rating.

Comments: Gets you materials for one of the two most important skills in the game, gives you Light Side/Dark Side farm points, and can still be used to get gifts. What else do you need? Along with Investigation, Slicing, Scavenging and Underworld Trading, it makes a solid choice for someone not interested in personally crafting and instead making money off of crafters.

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INVESTIGATION
Recommended Skills: Armstech

Codex: Investigation is the skill of researching, gathering, analyzing and decoding secret information. Sending your companions on Investigation missions can yield valuable items in the form of researched compounds used to construct prototype and artifact weapons and blaster barrels, prototype schematics for all crafts, and gifts for companions to raise their Affection rating.

Comments: Investigation finds rare schematics for every single type of crafting skill, as well as materials for Armstech. Along with Diplomacy, Slicing, Scavenging and Underworld Trading, it makes a solid choice for someone not interested in personally crafting and instead making money off of crafters. It could substitute for a normal mission skill, since you rarely need the normal mission skill to simply level up your craft, or a gathering skill if you’re willing to purchase those materials off of the Galactic Trade Network.

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TREASURE HUNTING
Recommended Skills: Artifice

Codex: Treasure Hunting is the ability to track down and recover valuable items by following a series of clues. Companions sent on Treasure Hunting missions can return with rare gemstones used to construct prototype and artifact enhancements, hilts, color crystals, focii and generators. Other possible rewards include lockboxes that can contain valuable items or credits and gifts for companions to raise their Affection rating.

Comments: It only goes with one craft skill, and everything that it is used to make is pretty much reusable. Great if you’re going with Artifice, I wouldn’t bother otherwise. It can be fun to randomly receive relics or other rare items from this skill, but it’s a constant gamble.

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UNDERWORLD TRADING
Recommended Skills: Armormech, Cybertech, Synthweaving

Codex: Underworld Trading entails the exchange of goods and services on the galactic black market. Sending your companions on Underworld Trading missions can yield luxury fabrics and underworld metals used to construct prototype and artifact armor, earpieces, grenades, space upgrades, and weapon and armor modifications. Other possible rewards include gifts for companions to raise their Affection rating.

Comments: Covering both armor creating professions as well as one of the two best professions in the game, it makes a solid choice for someone not interested in personally crafting and instead making money off of crafters. Diplomacy, Slicing, Investigation and Scavenging are good partners for that.

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If you read all that and are confused still – or didn’t read all of that, because it’s a lot to chew through, that’s okay. You just want the bottom line on which three crew skills I recommend, right? I’ve arranged them into sets of three based on what your main selling market is.

PvE Endgame: Biochem, Bioanalysis, Diplomacy.
PvP Endgame: Biochem, Bioanalysis, Diplomacy // Cybertech, Scavenging, Underworld Trading
Self-Leveling: Cybertech, Scavenging, Underworld Trading // Artifice, Archaeology, Treasure-Hunting // Synthweaving, Archaeology, Underworld Trading
Simple Money-Making: Pick any three: Slicing, Investigation, Diplomacy, Bioanalysis, Scavenging
Selling to Roleplayers: Armormech, Scavenging, Underworld Trading // Synthweaving, Archaeology, Underworld Trading // Artifice, Archaeology, Treasure-Hunting
Do not pick: Armstech

APPENDIX: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How do I become a Sith Assassin?
A: Reach level 10 as a Sith Inquisitor, and find Lord Lokar in the Imperial Fleet or on Dromund Kaas. He’ll give you a mission that will further your class training.

Q: I just became a Sith Assassin. When do I get a Double-Bladed Lightsaber?
A: You should already have one. Look in your inventory for a bag item that contains a small starter kit full of things any growing Assassin needs. Be forewarned: The shield generator is useless (does not offer a shield chance) unless you are in your tanking stance, Dark Charge, which is not available until level 14.

Q: I just became a Sith Assassin. Where do I train my Shadow skills?
A: Same trainer as your base class. Click the tab at the bottom to select your list of trainable Adv. Class abilities.

Q: Where can I respecialize my character?
A: There is a respecialization trainer standing in the banking area of Dromund Kaas, as well as in the Class Trainer area of the Imperial Fleet, with the subtitle . He’s near the person who accepts Guild Charters.

Q: When can I get my speeder?
A: After turning level 25, purchase Speeder Piloting from your trainer for 25,000 credits, then go to your fleet. In the shopping area, there should be a vendor who sells vehicles. You can also purchase them on Tatooine. Your first speeder will cost you 8,000 credits; you can get upgrades at level 40 and 50.

Q: I’m coming from WoW. Do these skill specializations have any resemblance to stuff from there?
A: The Darkness tree resembles Paladin or Bear tanking, loosely. Deception is somewhat similar to a Mutilate Rogue. Madness is a cross between an Affliction Warlock and an Enhancement Shaman. None of them are identical, but these should help to give you an idea of whether or not you’ll like the playstyles.

Q: I’m coming from Star Wars Galaxies/other MMO. Do these skill specializations have any resemblance to stuff from there?
A: I am not sufficiently familiar with most of those games to say. If someone would like to suggest things for me, I’d appreciate it. Games like City of Heroes are too different from your average MMO, and thus don’t really bear comparison well.

Q: Do I have to use a Double-Bladed Lightsaber?
A: If you want a lightsaber, yes. Not all of your abilities require it – most don’t, in fact. But your Charges and Discharge do, and every single spec relies heavily on its techniques. Sorry to break it to you. The Electrostaff is an alternate weapon intended for Jedi Shadows and their Imperial mirror, the Sith Assassin; however, it faces the exact same issues as the single-bladed Lightsaber. So yes, you are stuck with a DBLS.

Q: Do we have to wear robes? Can we wear pants?
A: Pants are rare, but exist. If you want to keep the pants look, find a moddable pair and you’ll be able to keep them all the way up into endgame.

Q: Can we really keep stuff the whole game and just keep modding it?
A: Yes and no. As soon as you find a chestpiece, pants, hat, weapon, gloves, and shoes – the most important stuff – with four upgrade slots, you can keep modding it for the whole level up game. It is rumored that Endgame, however, starts getting items with extra slots, and PvP gear has its expertise as a built-in, rather than a mod granted, stat. So you can keep it for most of the game. Endgame is where you will have more difficulties.

Q: Do the lightsaber animations ever look better?
A: Yes, at higher levels, particularly as Deception.

Q: What’s the best Skill Specialization for leveling?
A: Deception is, without question, the best Skill Specialization until about level 22-ish. Energize and Dark Ward for Darkness, and Death Field for Madness, are lynchpin skills. Deception is good right off the bat. Madness is the weak link until you’re in your 30s, in my opinion, though it’s still quite tolerable to level with.

Q: What’s the difference between Sith Sorcerer and Sith Assassin in the Madness tree?
A: They are both proc-heavy, DoT self-healing builds. It’s a question of whether you want to use your lightsaber and Shock, or Force Lightning and Lightning Strike. The Assassin gets better procs to compensate for its lower range and smaller Force Pool.

Q: Is the Sith Assassin a main tank or an off-tank?
A: The Sith Assassin is a main tank; it can off-tank, but there are no skill specializations devoted towards becoming an off-tank among any class. Fully developed, it has roughly the same standard survivability as a Sith Juggernaut or Powertech who was specialized to tank. The only guild in the general beta to test endgame operations used a Jedi Shadow main tank, however, and are quite happy with the Jedi Shadow’s performance there.

Q: What’s the difference between the three types of tanks?
A: Sith Warrior tanks have the most survivability cooldowns, and once they get rolling, they have the most forgiving resource mechanic. They have the most issue generating threat, especially in ranged or AoE situations. Sith Assassins have the fewest and weakest survivability cooldowns, but have the ability to self-heal regularly, a very high block chance, strong AoE threat and okay ranged threat. Shield Tech Powertechs have a moderate amount of survivability cooldowns, okay AoE threat, great ranged threat/battlefield mobility, and the best straight mitigation. Their resource mechanic is very punishing if mishandled. The two force-users have more apparent flaws at lower levels, but grow into the role fully later.

Q: Should I play a Sith Marauder or a Sith Assassin?
A: I assume that if you’re asking this question, tanking is not seriously on the table as a primary interest for you, in PvE or PvP. The Marauder offers the three different types of specializations: the ability to play a survivable, elite-killer melee damage, an erratic high-burst melee damage specialization, and the ability to increase its battlefield control and mobility as a melee damage dealer. In comparison, the Assassin’s damage trees offer a steady pressure melee/range hybrid with minor erratic burst, or a controllable burst melee class with target lockdown options, along with both Assassin specializations having minor tanking options.

Q: Should I play an Operative or a Sith Assassin?
A: That depends. The Operative is a more stealth-dependent class – while they both have multiple Stealth abilities, the Operative is flatout dependent on Stealth for specific tactical openers, while the Assassin is more willing to engage in straight-up combat. The Operative has more control, the Assassin has more survivability under fire. Someone seeking more traditional Rogue control-and-combo-based play may prefer the Operative. Also, the Operative has the ability to respecialize as a healer or throw out tactical support as a striker, while the Assassin has the ability to respecialize as a defender or throw out tactical control as a striker.

Q: Can the Sith Assassin PvP builds tank in PvE?
A: I have not tried it myself. I’ve heard that it’s doable in flashpoints and easier heroic content, but not advised for harder ones.

Q: I’m going to do PvE. Does the Madness or Deception tree do higher max DPS?
A: Until we have damage meters or extensive theorycrafting of some kind, we cannot actually say with too much certainty which is the higher damage spec. Generally, they’re accepted to be competitive with one another in PvE. In PvP, they perform different roles – Madness is a steady pressure build, and Deception is a burst kill build.

Q: Madness?
A: Forgive me if my response is spartan.

Q: What’s the difference between an Assassin and a Shadow?
A: There are the obvious ones – different stories, companions, and titles. Visually, an Assassin’s Force Powers are centered around violet lightning, while a Shadow is reliant on golden energy and rocks or other environmental elements. Late game, the Shadow obtains Unity, which works great for Balance and Kinetic, while the Assassin gets Sacrifice, which is more suited to Kinetic and Infiltration.

Q: I want to play a Movie Sith; is this the class for me?
A: You can get fairly close to the Cinematic Sith. Darth Vader is represented well by the Sith Juggernaut. Palpatine as of Return of the Jedi works well for the Sith Sorcerer. The Assassin itself, however, is slightly off on its portrayal of Maul; Maul never used Force Lightning. You’re outta luck for Count Dooku. Asajj Ventress, though not from the movies but from the shows, maps very well to the Sith Marauder.

Q: What’s the story like?
A: I haven’t tried it myself, this is a conversion of a Jedi Shadow guide.

Q: Why don’t tanks take the Insulation skill?
A: That passive skill does not apply when an Assassin is in Dark Charge, which is our defender mode; it’s meant to improve the durability of an Assassin in Lightning Charge or Surging Charge, our striker modes.

Q: Who is the best target to Guard, as a tank?
A: Pretty much anyone who’s going to get focused. This is usually the healer or a ball carrier in PvP; in PvE, the healer is probably the wiser option at low level, but as you get more AoE threat tools, you should instead be guarding the most effective DPS, in order to give them a higher threat ceiling while damaging. An AoE focused DPS is often a good choice.

Q: Which abilities are off of the Global Cooldown?
A: Recklessness, Overcharge Saber, Dark Ward, Jolt, possibly others. Need to test more later.

Q: Does Force Lightning qualify as a periodic damage ability?
A: Unsure!

More questions to be added as needed later.

——————————–

APPENDIX: MMO GLOSSARY

Activation Time: The amount of time used before an ability finishes its animations and triggers. Generally, being attacked during an activation causes pushback, and movement will cancel the activation.

AoE: Area-of-Effect ability. Refers to an ability that strikes an area, hitting all targets within that space. AoE abilities which only affect targets in melee range of the user are called Point-Blank Area-of-Effect, or PBAoE.

CC: Crowd Control. In the MMORPG context, it is used to refer to abilities which can reduce the number of opponents being faced at a given moment, without actually defeating one of them. Several abilities have crowd control effects which only trigger on Weak and Standard enemies, and will not work on Strong, Elite or Boss NPCs, or enemy players.

Channeled Ability: An ability of this kind begins triggering immediately, but does not finish until the activation bar is entirely depleted. If this ability is ended early for any reason, then you will not get the full effect of the ability, even though you have paid the full cost. Pushback on a channeled ability will cause the ability to end early. Moving, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, will always end a channeled ability prematurely. Alacrity does not affect channeled abilities.

Defender: See TANK.

DOT: Damage-over-time. See PERIODIC DAMAGE.

DPS: Literally, damage-per-second. It is also commonly used to refer to those characters who have damage-dealing as their primary mechanical mission. See STRIKER.

Global Cooldown: Global Cooldown: A 1.5 second delay after activating any instant ability, preventing you from activating the majority of other abilities. Successfully triggered non-instant abilities do not induce a global cooldown (or if they do, they generate one that is too low to reach via current alacrity values.) A rare few abilities are not affected by the Global Cooldown.

Interrupt: Broadly, any reason that an ability with an activation or channeling time is suddenly cancelled. More specifically, an ability that always causes cancellation of the target’s non-instant ability, and adds a cooldown before the target can attempt that ability again. They are sometimes sorted into the mutually exclusive categories of Soft Interrupt (which does not add a cooldown to the targeted ability) and Hard Interrupt. Mind Snap is a Jedi Shadow’s interrupt, and Jolt is a Sith Assassin’s.

Kiting: Using abilities and careful positioning to force a melee-primary opponent to follow another person at a distance like a kite – a successful example of kiting minimizes the amount of close-range time the melee-primary character is able to get.

Knockback: Not the same as pushback, knockback refers to a character being forcibly moved by another character (usually backwards).

OOF: Out of Force (points.) When you’ve exhausted your resource bar.

Periodic Damage: An effect which causes damage over time on a regular basis, such as every second or every three seconds, without further input from the user.

Proc: A “Programmed Random Occurence.” Essentially, a proc is any ability which activates randomly. If you have an ability which has a 10% chance to heal you in addition to its primary effect, that heal effect would be considered a proc.

Pushback: Not the same as knockback, pushback refers to an unexpected delay during the activation of a non-instant ability, or causing a pulse on a channeled ability to fail. Pushback is caused by taking damage from any hostile source during the activation of the ability. Several skills mitigate or remove pushback on specific abilities.

Resolve: A bar which fills up whenever a character is limited in their actions against their will by another player character, in any way, proportional to the severity of the limitation. It slowly depletes when not recently increased. When the bar is completely filled, the character becomes immune to all limiting effects for the next eight seconds, before the bar drains entirely.

Root: An ability which forces a character to remain stationary.

Snare: An ability which slows down a character’s movement speed, but they are still capable of moving.

Striker: A character whose primary role in a group setting is to deal damage to the opponents. See DPS.

Tank: A character whose primary role in a group setting is to attract the enemy’s attention and keep harmful damage away from other squad members.

Utility: Reference to abilities which do not directly relate to healing, damage dealing, or tanking but are combat-useful nonetheless.

——————————–

KEYBINDS

Warning: I have a Razer Naga mouse, which has a NumPad on the side of the mouse, so my bind layouts will not be that useful to someone without the same mouse. If someone would like to offer their own bindmaps with common mice (incl. the standard two-button), I might post them.

ASTRALFIRE’S BINDS

Spoiler
[W] Forward
[A] Left Strafe
[D] Right Strafe
[S] Seethe
[Q] Electrocute
[E] Whirlwind
[R] Mind Trap
[F] Follow Player
[G] Autorun
[T] Mind Control
[1] Shock
[2] Crushing Darkness
[3] Force Slow
[4] Jolt
[5] Overcharge Saber
[6] Deflection
[`] Speeder
[Shift+1] Force Pull/Creeping Terror
[Shift+`] Sprint
[Shift+Q] Low Slash
[Shift+T] Mass Mind Control
[Num1] Thrash/Voltaic Slash
[Num2] Saber Strike
[Num3] Maul
[Num4] Discharge
[Num5] Lacerate
[Num6] Death Field/Wither
[Num8] Guard
[Num0] Force Speed
[Num-] Unbreakable Will
[Num+] Force Shroud
[Shift+Num1] Assassinate
[Shift+Num2] Tumult
[Shift+Num3] Spike
[Shift+Num5] Overload
[Mouse Button 4] Stealth
[Mouse Button 5] Blackout
[Shift+Mouse Button 4] Force Cloak
[Middle Mouse] Dark Ward
[Shift+Wheel Up] Force Lightning
[Shift+Wheel Dn] Recklessness
[Alt+Wheel Up] Relic 1
[Alt+Wheel Dn] Relic 2
——————————–

SHADOW ASSASSIN DICTIONARY

If an ability name isn’t included, it is identically named across the two classes. Some of the more common skills are included as well.

Shadow to Assassin

Spoiler
Balance: Madness
Battle Readiness: Overcharge Saber
Circling Shadows: Induction
Clairvoyant Strike: Voltaic Slash
Combat Technique: Dark Charge
Double Strike: Thrash
Exit Strategy: Static Charge
Find Weakness: Exploit Weakness
Force Breach: Discharge
Force in Balance: Death Field
Force Lift: Whirlwind
Force of Will: Unbreakable Will
Force Potency: Recklessness
Force Strike: Raze
Force Stun: Electrocute
Force Suppression: Deathmark
Force Synergy: Exploitive Strikes
Force Technique: Lightning Charge
Force Valor: Mark of Power
Force Wave: Overload
Harnessed Shadows: Harnessed Darkness
Infiltration: Deception
Kinetic Combat: Darkness
Kinetic Ward: Dark Ward
Masked Assault: Darkswell
Meditation: Seethe
Mind Crush: Crushing Darkness
Mind Maze: Mind Trap
Mind over Matter: Disjunction
Mind Snap: Jolt
Particle Acceleration: Energize
Project: Shock
Psychokinesis: Torment
Shadow’s Respite: Dark Embrace
Shadow Strike: Maul
Shadow Technique: Surging Charge
Slow Time: Wither
Spinning Kick: Spike
Spinning Strike: Assassinate
Stasis: Eye of the Storm
Telekinetic Throw: Force Lightning
Twin Disciplines: Unearthed Knowledge
Unity: No direct analogue, but closest is Sacrifice.
Upheaval: Chain Shock
Whirling Blow: Lacerate

Assassin to Shadow

Spoiler
Assassinate: Spinning Strike
Chain Shock: Upheaval
Creeping Terror: Sever Force
Crushing Darkness: Mind Crush
Dark Charge: Combat Technique
Dark Embrace: Shadow’s Respite
Dark Ward: Kinetic Ward
Darkness: Kinetic Combat
Darkswell: Masked Assault
Death Field: Force in Balance
Deathmark: Force Suppression
Deception: Infiltration
Discharge: Force Breach
Disjunction: Mind over Matter
Electrocute: Force Stun
Energize: Particle Acceleration
Exploit Weakness: Find Weakness
Exploitive Strikes: Force Synergy
Eye of the Storm: Stasis
Force Lightning: Telekinetic Throw
Force Shroud: Resilience
Harnessed Darkness: Harnessed Shadows
Induction: Circling Shadows
Jolt: Mind Snap
Lacerate: Whirling Blow
Lightning Charge: Force Technique
Madness: Balance
Mark of Power: Force Valor
Maul: Shadow Strike
Mind Trap: Mind Maze
Overcharge Saber: Battle Readiness
Overload: Force Wave
Raze: Force Strike
Recklessness: Force Potency
Sacrifice: No direct analogue, but closest is Unity.
Seethe: Meditation
Shock: Project
Spike: Spinning Kick
Static Charge: Exit Strategy
Surging Charge: Shadow Technique
Torment: Psychokinesis
Thrash: Double Strike
Unbreakable Will: Force of Will
Unearthed Knowledge: Twin Disciplines
Voltaic Slash: Clairvoyant Strike
Whirlwind: Force Lift
Wither: Slow Time
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4 Responses to “SWTOR Sith Assassin Comprehensive Guide”

  1. Awesome job, very helpful..great work

  2. I would imagine force lightning would be a channeled ability and not periodic damage. For the darkness assassin the only damage over time ability I've encountered is crushing darkness.

  3. i have force pull on my assassin…

  4. I realize its a jedi shadow guide turned sith assassin but, you might want to remove mention s of Force Pull. A ability the sith assassin sadly does not have =(.

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