SWTOR Balance Sage PvP Guide
SWTOR Balance Sage PvP Guide by Kutsus
First let me say that a balance spec sage will be the least flashy DPS on the battlefield, but also one of the most deadly and difficult to catch and kill. I really enjoy this as I tend to get ignored a lot more than your average melee or sniper… (or flashy lightning-shooting inquisitor, for that matter).
The basic play style involves using your high mobility and huge combination of CC/escape tools to frustrate and kite enemy DPS who are attempting to focus you, taking opportunities when possible to stop dead and DPS your heart out. Below is a list of specific tactical advice to help you with the balance play style.
-Remember your force shield and try to put it up 5-10s before getting into combat so you don’t have to waste a GCD on it during combat, but even in combat it is worth a GCD to reapply it if you are taking damage. You can reapply it every 20 seconds, so just as an example if you put it up 15 seconds before an Operative stabbed you in the back and depleted it without you taking much damage, you’ll be able to put it back up almost immediately and sponge 2 full force shields worth of damage in just 5 seconds.
-Force in balance makes a great aoe interrupt for objective captures or to pop enemies from stealth while delivering a decent burst of damage even to a single target.
-Mind crush is your best use of Force in Balance procs unless you are going a 0/13/28 spec and have TK wave. You will see me using disturbance a lot in my videos, but that is just because I’m a noob and like giant blue shiny waves of force.
-Use your dots, but do not go overboard dotting up every enemy in sight to pad your damage output on the leader board. This makes each player you dot incapable of being CC’d with “break on damage” type CC for the entire duration, which can be very bad when a smuggler throws out their flash bang but your dots break them all out of it.
-Do not forget your interrupt! With only a 12s timer and locking down the spell being used for 4s, I find this especially useful on healers or on other sorc/sages in 1v1s. Wait until you see the healer’s cast bar almost done for a long cast big heal, and hit your interrupt right at the end, then continue to focus the target they are trying to heal. As they start to cast the next heal you can CC them. This can often be more useful than you just mindlessly DPSing someone who is being actively healed. Against other classes in 1v1, wait for a channeled move or a long cast time and use it on that.
-When someone runs from you, don’t get completely hellbent on killing them if they manage to LOS you. Start applying pressure to someone else and help your team mates.
-Positioning is extremely important to a class like this. Look for a place that puts you close to allies, out of immediate sight range of your enemies, but still in a position where you can nuke some. Having LOS/cover near by is always a bonus. In Alderaan middle area for example, the upper platforms and lower areas near the tunnels under the ramps are excellent for this. The faster you can break line of sight, the easier it will be for you to escape focus fire.
-If you see several melee classes running at you, start off with a snare and begin pre-kiting. Your main objective when kiting like this should be to over extend those melee classes (meaning pull them out of their healer’s max range) so that they get pounded and killed in your back lines. If they realize their peril and turn back, you can turn around and nuke them all the way.
Balance Sage Damage output and how to use it effectively in PvP:
The Sage is capable of moderate burst damage when you have a presence of mind proc up by casting Project > Mind Crush (or disturbance) > Force in balance or TK channel. Project has more than a 1s delay at max range and mind crush hits instantly, so these 2 abilities can hit within less than half a second of each other. However, this burst is still less than pretty much any other DPS out there.
The trade off for not so much burst is that your DPS is very consistent, very sustainable (force efficient), and gives the highest mobility out of any nuker class I’ve played in a MMO. You do stop to channel TK throw, but you can stop channeling at any time without any drawback aside from more force spent per point of damage. In my videos you will see me stop TK throw early on a regular basis to either move, CC someone, or to use a presence of mind proc in conjunction with project to deliver a quick burst of damage. With no cooldown on TK throw, you can start channeling right away when you are ready again.
Since your DPS is based more around consistency than burst, you will be applying pressure moreso than getting every killing blow on the battlefield. Making an enemy run away due to your damage/snare pressure is almost as useful as killing them outright during an even fight. They often aren’t putting out any damage or healing while fleeing and this can give your side the edge it needs.
It must also be remembered that TK throw is a channeled snare, so using it on enemy melee DPS or kiters can really help out your team mates whether they are running away or chasing. Sometimes it’s better to focus your firepower on a lone sniper/sorc who is pewpewing away than to join the main assist train because often this will cause them to leave their position, stopping their damage output while attempting to LOS or out range you.
When you are very low on force, you can fall back on just spamming TK throw and will actually regenerate force faster than you use it. After 2-3 full TK throw channels, you will have regenerated enough force to start throwing out some of your other nukes. Efficient management of force will normally mean using nukes whenever they are needed, but primarily relying on TK throw for your damage output.
Ok… Well I hope most of that made sense and sorry for the wall of text. On to the videos.
Here’s the youtube channel, I have 4 SWTOR videos up. 2 of them are of a full warzone from start to finish, and the other 2 are a showcase of battles clipped from many warzone runs. There is a mix of zerg battles and 1v1/small scale fights at objectives in the videos that are made up of clips and I tried to keep them as interesting as possible.
Basic spec used in all videos:
I would use one of these 2 specs for a balance sage at level 50:
Personally I would use the first one.