SWTOR Gunslinger Sharp Shooting Guide
SWTOR Gunslinger Sharp Shooting Guide by Kheranax
For a while now I’ve been compiling a guide on Sharp Shooting within the Gunslinger smuggler tree and I am now finally in a position to share it.
1. About this guide and its author
2. Class Overview
3. Understanding Energy
4. The Cover Mechanic
5. Talents and Builds
6. Abilities and Priorities
7. DPS Single Target
8. DPS Multiple Target
11. PvP Specific Info
1. About this guide and its author
This guide first of all, is free information. I’ve made it to help players like me, who want to do a good job with the “Gunslinger” class. My name is Smack, I am the GM of long standing gaming team “Legion”.
If you would like to republish this guide elsewhere, all I ask is that you don’t charge for it in any way and you leave it as it is with the credit due where it’s due.
Shameless plug aside, I’ve been gaming for over 20 years. I’ve played every type of game imaginable and I’ve probably done enough raiding, leading and just plain ol’ nuking to last a life time. I don’t claim to be the best or even close to it, but I can put up a respectable fight, and hopefully with this guide, so can you. If you’re still in… well then read on Captain.
2. Class Overview
Gunslingers are a smuggler advanced class, capable of delivering large amounts of burst damage and extremely respectable sustained damage. A gunslinger relies on dual wield pistol attacks and keeping a healthy distance between them and their target.
When allowed to sit and shoot, gunslinger DPS output is fearsome, but if you’re not protected by a tank, or you get closed down in PVP that output starts to fall rapidly. Gratefully, there are tips and tricks that will help you cope in all situations.
3. Understanding Energy
This is an absolutely “critical” part of playing your smuggler of any type well.
You have x amount of energy subject to talents and so forth. When your energy bar is full it recharges quickly, as indicated by the 4 little yellow arrows on your energy bar. As you expend energy on abilities so the bar drops, but also, the rate at which your energy recovers drops as well. When you’ve used all of your energy up it recovers very slowly, agonisingly slowly in fact. At its slowest rate you get 1 energy per second, and it takes what feels like an eternity to rise enough to even use a single ability.
This means you have two options in order to use your energy:
• Blow all of your energy in a large burst of damage in an attempt to kill whatever it is you’re shooting before the energy bar runs dry. This can often be extended with abilities like cool head etc. but it’s a fairly short lived affair to burn your energy bar. This method is only viable in certain situations where you can come out of combat and recharge soon after. It’s ok for PvP where the guy in front of you needs to die right now, but if you don’t succeed in killing the enemy before you’re out, it’s most likely gg. Bear in mind that even in PvP where this “might” be viable, if anyone else attacks you after you kill the first guy, you are screwed as your energy will be gone and recharging slow as hell.
• Alternatively, you can attempt to stagger your abilities with normal shots to maintain your higher energy recharge rate. In any fight over 15 seconds long there’s absolutely no contest, you “have” to stagger your abilities. You want to be using only the last third or so of your energy abilities for damage and then weaving in normal shots to allow your energy to recharge. As an example, at full recharge rate you can indefinitely rotate charged burst and 1 normal shot in between. You can also use abilities with long charge time (read aimed shot) to allow time for energy to build whilst still using a high damage ability.
In short, don’t blow all your energy in one go, keep your bar high and charging fast. It’s “really” important.
4. The Cover Mechanic
This is something all Gunslinger need to get their head around. The bane of our lives and also a great addition to the class in one go.
Cover mitigates damage received and as such can be incredibly useful. It’s also the only way to activate certain abilities like Charged Blast and as such taking cover is a vital part of our DPS rotation.
It offers benefits elsewhere too, particularly in PVP where cover blocks some unwelcome moves such as charges, leaps and various other “You look nice, I’d like a hug” manoeuvres that melee classes like so much. It renders full immunity to said charges etc, and depending on the cover you take, varying damage reduction.
• Natural Cover – From rocks and boxes to just hills and ramps. Anything you don’t drop yourself is classified as natural cover and possible cover positions are highlighted with a little green dude in a cover position indicating you could roll there with your cover button “2 by default” if you wish.
• Portable Cover – At level 10 you’ll unlock the ability to take an advanced class and you’ll also be granted the ability to drop a little portable cover screen wherever you go. This is a brilliant ability that helps us quickly get to full DPS output even if there’s no cover about, but there is a trade-off. As you would expect, portable cover is not quite as strong as the real deal and only offers limited damage reduction.
Regardless of which cover type you are in you will gain defensive benefits when you’re keeping your head down. It’s worth noting most classes have AoE attacks that are designed to help them bust cheeky little smugglers out of their cover, so don’t necessarily count on the first cover you find being the one you stick with.
Also, needless to say, every time you poke your head up to take a shot, you lose the defensive benefits of being in cover, i.e. you’re vulnerable to blaster fire etc.
5. Talents and Builds
Once you’ve selected your advanced class (AC) there is no going back, but there’s plenty of opportunity to play around in the 3 trees that each AC gets offering you some variation to suit your style, or just to give you a change from the norm.
Unlike our Scoundrel smuggling buddies, the Gunslinger is all about the DPS and has no trees dedicated to either healing or tanking in any way. The three main talent areas and what they favour are:
• Sharp Shooter – The fairly standard, shoot stuff at distance build. This is a fairly safe place to start and features abilities that enhance shots as well as unlocking a few extras along the way. Sharpshooter also features some fairly strong PVP abilities.
Here’s a video of the Sharp Shooter spec for people wanting to see how it works, I’ve tried to include a few tips to help out:
• Saboteur – It’s all about the big booms for the sabo’s of the world. Whilst the tree features some really potent single target attacks and debuffs that make the tree viable for pvp, it really shines in AoE with the buffs to the AoE abilities that we have.
Having tested this build for PvP predominantly where it does have its merits my conclusions are that it’s got awesome mobility and utility allowing you to lock down objectives with fire quite well and the more readily available cool head ability does help to manage the energy hungry rotations you end up using.
I did a lot of damage with this build, and protected a lot of points. But I found it lacking in pure out and out burst damage. I would sometimes get a very good rotation off on a player and then be left with nothing I could do while they were still at half HP. Needs more burst dammit!
• Dirty Fighting – Filled with bleeds, dots and buffs to your CC abilities Dirty Fighting will be a natural choice for PVP’ers who want to leave a ton of damage rolling on someone and make an escape. The Dirty Fighting tree also adds numerous buffs to your melee abilities meaning that if someone does manage to close you down, you can retaliate more effectively
Testing on this one was really interesting. This build tree has some real potential and a well executed rotation leaves an absolute ton of damage rolling on a player. The down side, is that you’ll generally just get the one rotation off and then be “very” low on energy.
From what I can see, stacking crit can mitigate this a bit, so if you’ve got the gear for it, give it a go. DF offers a ton more mobility than SS for PVP and in a PvE fight I would be willing to bet the mobility would still appeal to some.
For me, again it lacks burst damage that I like as a good healer can heal through your DoTs quite comfortably. This draws me to good old Sharp Shooter time and again.
– D/F Sab – This build got a lot of love a few weeksback and I can see why, it’s a great harass and mobile damage build with long ticking DoTs and decent boom for buck. I put up a short video of it in action just so you can see what it’s like:
No points for pwnage but it’s played moderately well enough to show the benefits of the build. The exact spec is in the video notes
The following is my own Sharp Shooter build, use it or not, it’s what I have found to be the right fit for me at the moment. In all truth there doesn’t seem to be a lot of flexibility in the tree itself, however there’s quite a lot of flexibility in the 10 points you add to it.
Cover Screen and Trip Shot – Not taken as primarily useful in PvP
Lay Low – Useful if you need to be able to AoE a little more, but if that’s the case, consider a Sabo build.
Streetwise – A no brainer, 9% on our Primary stat is mandatory in my book.
Bravado – Is not taken as having extra 10 energy at the start will not stop you needing to manage your energy throughout the fight. Thus it becomes an advantage only for 1 ability during your opener. (My opinion! Not necessarily fact!)
No Holds Barred and Black Market Mods – Taken purely to get to Mortal Wounds, which in my opinion is the most useful of the “extra talents” available.
6.Abilities and Priorities
All classes get a “lot” of abilities, and quite early on it becomes clear one action bar ‘aint gonna cut it.
I had the first 2 bars at the bottom of the screen full before I had even hit level 20. Whilst there’s some abilities you will use so rarely they’re barely worth screen space, there’s not very many that are even slightly “useless”. With this in mind, having a “lot” of key binds is necessary for optimum output. If you can’t dance your fingers across the key board like Michael Flatley on crack then don’t despair, here’s the ones you “really” need to worry about and the abbreviations I’ll be using for them at times in the guide.
AS – Aimed Shot
CB – Charged Burst
FS – Flourish Shot
GCD – Global Cool Down
QD – Quick Draw
RF – Rapid Fire
SS – Speed Shot
TS – Trick Shot
VS – Vital Shot
Here’s a list of key abilities to open with as well as some idea of priority thereafter. It’s worth noting that every situation is different and being able to rapidly decide which ability is most useful “right now” is what separates good Gunslingers, from very good Gunslingers, and it only comes with practice.
1. Flourish Shot – On fights where this is going to last the majority of its duration (45s) this is an absolute no brainer. It reduces armour increasing the damage of your other shots, put it on first, and keep it up every 45s.
2. Vital Shot – This is your DoT, it’s extremely useful for rolling damage as well as blocking PVP opponents from using items whilst it’s ticking. You should get it on early, and keep it on. Particularly important if you’ve taken the Dirty Fighting talent “Mortal Wound” which gives it a chance to tick twice each time it deals damage.
3. Charged Burst – This is your standard filler, it triggers the “Quick Aim” talent which drops the activation time of Aimed Shot making it a very good opener, especially when combined with the “Snap Shot” talent which makes your CB instant on entering cover as well as the “Smuggler’s Luck” ability which guarantees your opener will be a critical hit. Finally, this ability, when combined with the talent “Burst Volley” which gives you a stacking Alacrity buff up to 3 stacks every time you hit the enemy with CB and then wearing off shortly after. Each stack lasts about 6 seconds, so you want to try and add a different ability or two in between refreshing it for best results.
4. Trick Shot – This is almost completely free damage, its energy usage is very low, it deals respectable damage and costs you not a lot more than the global cool down consumed using it. It’s useable after every CB or AS and I would recommend you fit it in right after every one of those you do.
5. Speed Shot – The smugglers “burst” ability. This deals a large amount of damage by firing rapid successive shots at your enemy. This ability also offers the “Quick Aim” proc so if you weren’t lucky with your opener and didn’t get the fast AS, you should juggle your order and use Speed Shot to proc it. I don’t think I have “ever” had Speed Shot fail to proc Quick Aim. Our top end talent allows us to reset this ability immediately after use and use it a further 2 times back to back. This, needless2 to say, results in some rather large burst damage especially if you utilise it correctly.
6. Aimed Shot – Following your opener, there’s a decent chance you’ll have triggered a 1.5s Aimed Shot (or lower subject to other alacrity effects), which should be used once you’ve put in your Trick Shot. Aimed Shot is your heavy hitting ability dealing large amounts of damage, but having a fairly long cool down.
7. At this stage, you’ll have done a fairly routine opener which is designed to debuff/DoT the enemy and line up your key shots in a fairly respectable order, from here on in, it needs to be a little more common sense.
Priority following opener:
1. Flourish Shot (depending on enemy health, if they’re about to die, this isn’t worth the GCD), in all other situations, it needs to be on.
2. Quick Draw – An instant cast, high hitting damage ability only useable during the final 30% of a targets health. This is a top priority.
3. Vital Shot, again, if it will reach the end of its duration, it offers very good damage in return for the energy used as it’s an instant cast. Especially if you’ve buffed it with dirty fighting talents.
4. Speed Shot – If you get into the habit of using this “before” you use AS, it will constantly proc the Quick Aim AS for you. As a result, for me, it’s a higher priority where as CB is not guaranteed to proc Quick Aim.
5. Quick Aim Enhanced AS – If you’ve not reduced the time on it, consider using Speed Shot or Charged Burst again subject to cool downs. Bear in mind you do not want to leave AS off of cool down at all so ideally, you need to be proc’ing your Quick Aim ahead of it coming off cool down.
6. Trick Shot – This should be weaved in as a priority. Try to get into the habit of considering it a part of the previous attack you’ve carried out. The TS should always follow right after unless you have QD cool in which case you’ll want to TS after that. If you prio Speed Shot over Trick Shot you’ll often find that it takes so long to cast that Trick Shot is no longer available when it’s finished.
7. Charged Burst – Our good ol’ filler. Utilise it with Smuggler’s Luck whenever possible to max its output and if you have proc’d the stacking alacrity increase, you will gain damage by weaving extra CB’s into your rotation to refresh it before it falls off.
The following are some situational tips for maximising DPS in Single Target or Multiple Target situations.
7. DPS Single Target
The real trick to this is in the energy management, keep your energy high so that it recharges fast allowing you to put out more abilities per second than otherwise.
We’ve talked about rotations, so now the dirty tricks you can employ to maximise your output:
1. Go buffed… it’s the easiest way to get an increase. Whack on a Skill stim for a fairly decent chunk of Cunning which will subsequently boost all of your DPS. It’s not a big increase, but it’s guaranteed regardless of skill, and it’s not “that” expensive, especially once you are 50 and can farm dailies on Ilum or Bel’Savis. The best in my experience are the Proto Hyper Stims that persist through death. Befriend a biochem, or be one yourself.
2. Utilise your relics!! You don’t have relics? Go and buy them from your appropriate dark/light vendor and be sure to use them often. You want relics for Power or Crit/Surge and you ideally want to use them before this next trick…
3. Use your “Rapid Fire” ability which resets Speed Shot and allows you to use it twice in conjunction with DPS Relics to maximise damage, if you have consumable stims to boost power, those work too. I personally favour Power over Crit/Surge as you get the benefit on every single shot you fire. Just remember you have 20 seconds, so dont just spam speed shot back to back, use it as a part of your rotation to accelerate your aimed shots.
4. Use your “Illegal Mods” ability with the above. This allows you to channel back to back Speed Shots much faster than normal. This is particular useful to us as Illegal Mods doesn’t do a lot to speed up our instant abilities, so it’s ideal to use it in a period we can string out a lot of cast, or channelled abilities.
5. Try to weave your instant/normal shots in where you need to move or deploy to new cover etc. to minimise the impact on your DPS. It goes without saying, but being out of cover impacts on DPS, try to do it when you want to refresh Flourish, Vital Shots or have Trick Shot available. Don’t forget even when moving you might be able to quickly drop for an instant Charged burst and Trick Shot combo.
6. “Cool Head” – This ability grants an immediate energy return and increases energy regeneration for a short time. It’s a great ability to pop in the middle of a heavy burst moment to make sure you don’t end up with 0 energy. One key thing, is to be especially careful in your energy use right after using this. If you go to 0 energy and you’ve already used this, you can kiss your DPS goodbye. In time you’ll be confident enough of energy management to use this proactively, however some players may wish to hold on to it… “just in case”.
7. And finally, the golden rule… DO NOT DIE! Yes, yes, yes dead dps is no dps blah blah blah. It’s still, the most important point. Abilities like defense screen, dodge and scramble field are every bit as important as these.
8. DPS Multiple Target
If you face multiple opponents, you first have to make a call. Do I need to Crowd Control (CC) them to gain an advantage? If CC’ing the enemy, even for a few seconds will give you the upper hand, you’ll want to use it. If it’s Droids, slice one and put it out of the fight, if it’s anything else, use flash grenade and pop cooldowns to start burning one of the mobs/players down.
In PvE where you often have tanks the above may not be necessary, if you want to just burn mobs down fast the following abilities are most effective in my experience:
1. XS Freighter Fly By – It’s awesome, we love it. And it’s very effective against groups as it stuns them on impact (if they’re weak minded) before burning them further. There’s only one slight drawback to this ability, and that is that it’s damned near guaranteed to pull aggro meaning you often have to combine it with knockbacks, dodge or even scrambler field to stay alive. I’ll cover these more in a moment in the PVP section.
2. Thermal Grenade – It’s DPS is good, it’s cheap and it’s fun to use, I tend to weave these in between other AoE abilities where possible.
3. Sweeping Gunfire – Our 0 CD AoE ability not only looks extremely cool. Against large enough groups, usually 4 or 5+, it’s actually respectable dps. It is however, very energy intensive and as such you may want to weave in a little single target DPS or pop your “Cool Head” cool down to maximise output. The damage hits enemies a little outside of its targeting circle, try to get used to how far away from a mob you can go in order to hit another if they’re spread out. The same applies to XS Flyby.
Good DPS no matter what game you are playing is all about the same line of thought:
What abilities hit hardest for the time spent casting them and what do I fill the gaps in between using them with most effectively?
After you nail this, the “basic rotation” it’s all about how you make individual elements hit harder still, or faster by either debuffing the enemy or buffing yourself.
Popping a decent “Power” buff right before you start XS Freighter Flyby for instance, gives a pretty noticeable damage increase.
Stats are a pretty simple affair in SWTOR. BioWare has taken the decision to itemise pretty much by class so that there’s little to no chance of 2 different classes wanting the same item.
For Smugglers, the stat of choice is “Cunning”. We get 1 damage and 0.1 critical strike chance for every 5 points of cunning we have.
Don’t overlook your other two key stats as well which are:
Endurance – This stat is the best solution for those who repeatedly find their health reaches 0 before their targets, whether in PVP or PVE a healthy amount of health, is a good thing. Don’t sacrifice cunning for it overly, but be aware of your HP or you’ll end up a glass cannon. You might want that, but it usually pays to carry some endurance heavy gear with you as well even if you’re of the “Glass Cannon” school of thought.
There are a lot fights, particularly at end game where large AoE damage on the raid or group is unavoidable. If you can’t survive it as a matter of course with a decent health pool and the use of your abilities, you’ll find you are warming the bench for other more sensible and probably better looking Gunslingers.
Presence – Presence directly affects the strength of your companion. The more presence you have, the more effective your companion will be. For some this will be viewed as useless as they either want to PVP where a companion can’t be used, or they plan to only raid operations where again, they’ll have a team pre determined. However, for the levelling process, and any subsequent activities you choose to carry out solo, Presence is a powerful stat.
Don’t go out of your way to stack it, but don’t ignore it either.
Our stats do diversify a little more with Accuracy, Crit, Surge and Power. But at this stage it’s very difficult to know what is yielding the best results. Typically, you want a decent amount of crit, with that often comes surge. I’d normally say you want to get to about 35% crit buffed (with your own buff). After that, focusing on Power and Accuracy will yield good results. Accuracy starts to cap out around the 103% mark from what I’ve seen so once you’re over 100%, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over favouring Power.
Those gunning for Nightmare modes etc, will likely need to push harder on accuracy than those PvPing. This isn’t too big a deal as the Columi/Rakata gear you’ll farm in Hard Modes tends to have the accuracy you need to go further.
A quick word on Datacrons…
Focus on picking up any datacrons you can with Cunning, Endurance or Presence. Everything else is frosting. It’s nice, but ultimately, who gives a crap about Willpower?
There’s a need to collect your 3 “Red Matrix” shards as you level which will allow you to pick up a fairly nifty cunning relic at 50 if you are the “forward thinking” sort.
Also if you can be bothered, there’s an excellent +10 to stats datacron hidden away in the fleet.
There’s a load of datacron hunting guides out there so I will not bore you any further with this subject. If you want to know more, it’s easily found.
11. PvP Specific Info
Gunslingers are for me, one of the more enjoyable, yet challenging PvP classes to play. As with all games the challenge PvPing as that squishy guy at the back, is that if one of those big guys with the large pointy things thinks you’re going to look good on their mantelpiece you need to have an exit strategy, or in fact… 3 or 4 exit strategies for when the first few inevitably don’t work. I’m at about valor rank 35 as I write this so I have a decent amount of experience. Some key points:
“The “Hunker Down” pop everything defensive assault Manouvre”
Now, not all the time… but some of the time, you’ll be in the best possible position in PVP, you’ll have decent health, and all of your cooldowns available to you. You’re a lean mean fightin machine ready to pick on some poor bastard (preferably with low HP and from the safety of cover of course).
In these situations, you can nuke at your leisure, but sometimes, usually times quite different to the above you’ll need to do a **** load of damage right now whilst mitigating a ton of incoming damage, or die horribly/lose the objective etc.
For these latter situations, you can use the Smack Patented PEDAM! (needs work I know) in order to rain fire and destruction upon the enemy.
My own sequence goes as follows (in truth, mine varies wildly, but this will give you the general idea):
1. Pop Hunker Down in cover to prevent anyone CC’ing you during the rest.
2. Pop Illegal Mods, Relic and Adrenal
3. Pop as many of the following as you need to stay alive: Dodge, Distraction, Defence Screen, Medpacks and Scrambling Field. This is a bit subject to whats attacking you.
4. Start a burn rotation, using speed shot and aimed shot then popping the refresh on SS and throwing in whatever you can to do as much damage as possible.
5. If it looks like you’re winning, burn all the energy you need to. If not, start easing out and pop Cool Head to keep yourself in a position to output damage.
6. If it looks like you’re STILL losing, omg get more gear nub!!1 or else, you may have picked on someone who’s a bit bad ***, it’s NOT over yet!!
7. Prepare to use your stuns and kiting CD’s to stay alive longer. Dirty Kick, then lead into Pulse to throw them away. This is assuming they’re melee but in fairness, you’ll only ever have this much trouble with Assassins and Operatives. As they start to close yet again, use an aim shot to throw them away and IMMEDIATELY follow it with Leg Shot. Players don’t gain resolve when you use leg shot which should make it your opening cc all the time. I repeat:
“Players do not gain resolve from leg shot.”
8. Run like mad, keep em dotted and stop and shoot as often as you can. If you head for objects, you can sometimes exploit the roll to cover mechanic to gain some serious distance. All the time you are kiting, you are watching to see which of your cooldowns is coming next, whether it be a kick to buy some time, another flash grenade (make sure you let VS tick off first) or something else.
In short, we have an absolute ton of abilities designed to keep us going. Be prepared to throw the kitchen sink at em and use every last one of them over and over to get the edge.
Enemy Specific Advice
Here’s a quick rundown of what works well against each of your likely opponents:
Cover is handy to prevent their charging in, after that it’s about the use of your Pulse, Aimed Shot Knockback and Leg Shot to keep them at range long enough to make the fight yours. I don’t personally struggle with melee too much, they’re typically fairly easy to keep at range long enough to tip the fight your way.
The real advantage against these guys is cover blocking the charge, if you can get to a semi awkward position wherever it may be, popping cover will make you a real irritation to them.
If you’re caught in melee pop defense screen, dodge or if they have already choked/stunned you, scrambler field to buy additional dps time. Just don’t expect them to leave you in your field when they can choke you out of it if they have it available. Failing that, you can pop Hunker Down to cover the use of your other abilities. You should “always” use Hunker Down when you are about to blow DPS cooldowns in PvP. There’s nothing worse than being stunned while your relic, adrenal or illegal mods are ticking away.
It’s also a good idea to use your smoke grenade against anyone who has a chance to miss in mêlée so if you’re not using something else get it on them.
It’s often a good idea to pop the flourish shot a bit more routinely with the Juggs in particular where as with some classes they can be hit so hard it isn’t aways worth it.
These guys suck, and they have a lot of CC and speed abilities. The same approach applies, don’t let them get too close if they’re the melee variety, and interrupt and out dps if they’re the ranged variety.
Assasins in particular will hit you hard and do a lot of damage in their opener. You need to try and react fast, breaking stuns and immediately going into “Hunker Down, super dps” mode. Pop Hunker Down and your cooldowns making very sure you dot the assassin and start burning their HP whilst popping your own defensive cooldowns as needed. They may try to vanish and run if you look like you’re winning so make sure they’re dotted with Vital Shot and be ready to Leg Shoot them to stop them getting away.
For the Sorcs it’s ALL about the interrupts.
You can interrupt with more than just your distraction ability. Dirty Kick (my personal favourite), pulse detonator, AS and flash grenade can all interrupt giving you the upper hand and making you extremely irritating to fight. Add to that the benefits of defense screen and scrambling field and you got the tools to make it through this. Don’t ever CC the break the knock back and root, or you’ll end up in a whirlwind for full duration. If they do root you as most will, use abilities that do not require cover like grenades, vital shot and good ol flyby.
They’ve got good output and if one gets the drop on you while you’re out of cooldowns it will be a pretty rough fight. Just remember every inquisitor that beats you, still has to wear a dress.
Update from community: You can’t dodge lightning unfortunately so don’t waste the cd unless you’re also being attacked by something you can dodge.
Versus Bounty Hunter
These guys have serious DPS output and you should try to interrupt their “Death From Above” ability or the ever annoying “tracer missiles” as opposed to just running, the area of effect and range of these is huge you’re almost guaranteed to take one or two hits form it, especially if they stunned you first as most do. If it’s a choice between blowing “Escape” early, and being stunned for a full duration “Death from Above”, you better pop escape and interrupt them.
After they’ve stunned and attempted to blast you with bombs, it becomes a more standard fight where again, your defense screen and dodge combo offer a good chance to burn them. Use your cover and again, push them away when they come close. Often against a BH you’ll need to pop Flourish Shot and Vital Shot on them and treat them a bit like a tough mob. They can take a long time to go down, so feel free to pop cool downs and give them hell.
BH Mercs are a great example of when using Hunker Down and burning all your CD’s is actually quite important. They’ve got a lot of HP to get through and an incredibly annoying shield as well for that matter. If you’re in the middle of Cooldowns, keep DPSing through the shield. If you’re not, consider throwing a flash grenade, or stunning another way till its worn off.
The only thing to really watch out for on the PowerTech side is the good ol’ cable. Especially if you’re playing huttball, or if they’ve got a bit of a kill team rolling toward you. You can prevent them using it with cover, but if they rope you in to something nasty, you’re going to be stuck for a while. You could consider breaking it with your Escape, but there’s a good chance if they pulled you toward friends, that more CC is on the way. Your best bet in all honesty, is not to get caught in the first place.
If you do end up fighting a PowerTech then pop Flourish and Vital shot, and stand your ground and nuke. They do fairly trivial damage if you throw out the odd CC and are fairly easily escaped once the cables gone using Flash and Leg Shoot. Don’t ever… and I mean “EVER” go toe to toe with a tank if they have anything at all else with them. Unless you wish to be branded as stupid as a PvE boss, you do not attack a tank while his dps buddies are ripping you a new *** or his healer friends are seeing how low you can get him before they bring him to 100% again.
Versus Imperial Agent
Snipers are pretty easy prey if you get the drop on them, the same as you are in reverse. We have hard hitting abilities that can be strung together for large amounts of burst damage so line those up as you lob in your smoke grenade which will seriously ruin their game plan for the next 6 seconds.
After that it becomes a bit of a DPS race to see who can burn the other fastest. They’ll almost certainly expose you in return for your smoke grenade, at which point it’s a good idea to pop all those abilities that don’t need cover, my personal pref though is to go for the XS Freighter Flyby, not only does it hit like a truck, it’ll force them out of cover “again” unless they want to try and soak it. If they interrupt it, resort to grenades, vital shot or get in close and dirty kick till you’re good to go again. You can use leg shot to catch a fleeing player trying to LoS you more easily which is always something you see executed against any ranged dps by any half decent pvp’er.
Remember, with these guys, LoS works two ways. If they expose you, hiding till it’s off is a perfectly viable solution. If you’ve got a healer, leaving dots ticking and giving them the run around with a pillar is a very frustrating experience for them which usually forces stuns and cd’s waaaay before they should be used.
Against a player that’s giving you the run around on a pillar, use Sweeping Gun fire or Flyby and target the corner you know they’re hiding behind. They’ll be hit by the AoE even if they are out of LoS. Amazingly, even though the damage from sweeping gunfire is minimal it will often force a less experienced player out of hiding when they see they’re taking damage.
Now, against operatives…
These are the true empire PVP masters. A good operative will lock you down and deal huge damage to you before you even get the chance to retaliate. It is best to be quick with escape and retaliate immediately with Dirty Kick or Flash Grenade. Then when you’ve bought some time, pop your defences and try to keep them at distance with pulse, AS and Leg Shot. Blow your aggressive cooldowns as well and nuke the hell out of them.
Try to use leg shot early and often where it’s important not to bump their resolve too much.
You want to get to a position of having broken the initial stun and gotten into cover with hunker down on asap. Then dot them as a priority and start the “pop everything and burn” plan. If you get this right, even at low health, you can recover and win this matchup through sheer firepower, subject to gear.
As with Inquisitors, keeping them DoT’ed with Vital Shot, will prevent any cheesey vanish and return later tactics. If they do manage to vanish, you are pretty much screwed as they’ll only strike again if they know they can finish you and the odds are, you already blew your stun break.
The good news is they’re quite squishy, but if you give them more than a few seconds on you, it won’t matter.
The real downer is they seldom pick on players at full health, they’ll get you when you’re weak, making your defensive abilities even more important. This will sound a little defeatist, but if you know you are screwed, save your CC break for later.
Understanding resolve is not just useful in PvP, it will save you a lot of frustration. Watch your target and you’ll notice their portrait has a little white bar that grows around them as they get cc’d. Once this bar fills, it grants immunity to cc for a short time.
This encourages two behaviours in a good PvPer:
1. Try not to break cc with escape unless there’s a good tactical reason or you are maxed on resolve where you know you can’t then be re-cc’d right after.
2. Try to get into the habit of checking your targets resolve before you fire off your cc effect. There would be nothing worse than trying to pulse someone away from your goal line in huttball to find they were immune for another half a second.
There’s no opponent, PvE or PvP that can guaranteed take you down every time… the key is to stick to what you’re good at and that is dealing DPS. Keep them at range, and blast ‘em hard as fast as you can.
Manage your energy as always and control the fight till you’re out of options.
…good luck out there Captain.