Various people have wondered where my hat is so I’ll throw it into the ring today

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Click the spoiler button for the Mercenary guide:

Spoiler
Version 3.0 has come and with it comes some tinkering with the Mercenary class

If mercenaries are not familiar to you, they are the imperial faction heavy armoured ranged class. They are somewhat lacking in active defences but their high passive damage reduction on top of attacking from range and in 3.0 gaining a large amount of mobility while attacking gives them substantial survivability through a combination of reduced damage taken and the ability to frankly run away while still doing considerable damage.

For the existing Mercs among us there are a few baseline changes in 3.0

We get the new passive/cooldown ability of Supercharge taken from Bodyguard spec and reinvented with DPS and healing flavours.

Offhealing becomes less sustainable outside Bodyguard spec with the AOE heal Kolto Missile removed and replaced with the instant single target heal Emergency Scan. Rapid Scan is replaced with Healing Scan which has a longer cast, more healing and a cooldown. Rapid Shots no longer heals when you equip Combat Support Cylinder, instead you have a totally separate ability called Kolto Shot which can be used with the same effect in all cylinders. Of note is that using Kolto Shot will build stacks for Supercharge outside combat.

Virtually all defensive upgrades for the class are now in Utility points with only minor defensive boosts available in the specialist trees. On the other hand almost all the nice upgrades are available to all specs plus a number of new useful ones. And some terrible ones too.

Looking at the damage specs, if you played Arsenal before then you can still play Arsenal now. Almost exactly the same playstyle. If you played Pyrotech before then your experience is mostly worthless now. Also it’s been renamed Innovative Ordinance.

To broadly look at each specialisation in 3.0:

Arsenal

A very unrestricted spec, packed with instant damage, high levels of armour penetration and a higher resource regeneration system than other mercenary specs. Your resources are hard to waste since there is minimal delay between using abilities and damaging the target. While there are attack priorities there is no severe penalty if you have to use them out of the correct order or swap between single/AOE damage.

The AOE bonus this spec gains is +15% critical chance and +30% critical damage on Sweeping Blasters. Technically it gains another bonus to almost all AOE damage since High Velocity Gas Cylinder grants 35% armour penetration so Death From Above, Sweeping Blasters, Explosive Dart, Missile Blast and part of Fusion Missile will lose less damage vs armoured targets compared to other mercenary specs.

To offset the burst and relentlessness it doesn’t have a very high sustained damage ceiling. This is unlikely to put many off using the spec since for simplicity of mechanics and ease of use this is the spec of choice.

In stark contrast then is the revamped Pyrotech specialisation which will from now be known as Innovative Ordinance:

Innovative Ordinance

You don’t specialise in this tree for daily missions, you don’t do it for dealing with adds in operations and you don’t do it because you know how the old Pyro spec played (because that’s now worthless knowledge). You do it because it sets the bar for single target sustained damage over all other classes and you’re happy to deal with the hassle involved to get those results.

Dealing about half its output in armour bypassing elemental and internal DoT it relies on a strict rotation with little flexibility. Resources are tight normally and on a knife edge if you go for maximum damage. Using certain abilities out of order can be quite harsh to recover from. Target swapping at short notice or targets which die too quickly also interferes with rotation and resource control.

While major AOE work is not recommended for this spec it does have substantial AOE potential. As Arsenal is all instant damage so Innovative Ordinance is delayed damage even on the AOE bonus. Each of its two main DoT abilities can be spread to 8 targets using combo attacks. Over the 15 seconds each DoT ability lasts this can be major damage but it is quite slow. Of course it still has access to the baseline mercenary AOE abilities but the nice thing about this AOE bonus is that it can be used while continuing rotation on the primary target, merely mixing in the combo abilities to spread damage to nearby targets.

Mobility is unusually high for this specialisation, the neutral rotation I will illustrate further on is 90% mobile over the course of 15 seconds (which is a whole rotation). This is particularly important to master to get the main benefit of this specialisation in a fight.

Passives

Upgraded Arsenal: Reduces the pushback suffered while activating Power Shot, Tracer Missile, Concussion Missile, Fusion Missile and Serrated Shot by 75% and increases the effects of your cylinders while active:

Combustible Gas Cylinder: Increases ranged critical chance by 5%

High Velocity Gas Cylinder: Reduces the heat generated by Rail Shot by 10.

Advanced Targeting: Unload, Blazing Bolts, Rail Shot and Mag Shot ignore 30% of the target’s armour. In addition, the critical chance of Healing Scan and Emergency Scan are increased by 5% and critical results with damage and healing abilities increase damage and healing by 10% for 6 seconds.

Supercharge: Activating Rapid Shots, Kolto Shot, Power Shot, Tracer Missile or Rapid Scan generates a stack of Supercharge. Each stack increases all damage and healing done by 0.1%. Stacks up to 10 times and lasts 60 seconds. Requires an active cylinder.

Offensive Cooldowns

Supercharged Gas: Requires and converts 10 stacks of Supercharge to vent 10 heat and empower your active cylinder:

  • Combustible Gas Cylinder: Increases periodic damage dealt by 10% for 10 seconds and causes the next successful ranged attack on a target affected by your Incendiary Missiles burn to apply Supercharged Burn to the target which deals ~5000 elemental damage in 192 gear over 5 seconds.
  • High Velocity Gas Cylinder: Increases armour penetration by 10% for 10 seconds. While active, damage dealt by Tracer Missile, Heatseeker Missiles, Blazing Bolts and Priming Shot grants Supercharged Velocity which increases alacrity by 1%. This effect cannot occur more than once per second and can stack up to 3 times. The Arsenal talent of Burst Mode at level 44 increases penetration to 15%, alacrity boosts to 2% and maximum alacrity boost to 6%

Thermal Sensor Override: Your next ability generates no heat.

Power Surge: Next cast ability activates instantly and then grants interrupt immunity for 6 seconds.

Vent Heat: Rapidly vents 50 heat over 3 seconds.
Utility Improved Vents causes this to vent an extra 15 heat instantly and grant 10% alacrity for 6 seconds.

Utilities – Skilful

Gyroscopic Alignment Jets: Vent 10 heat when stunned, immobilised, knocked down or otherwise incapacitated.
Situational – CC heavy fight with low damage otherwise you’d take Power Barrier

Improved Vents: Vent Heat vents 15 extra heat instantly and grants 10% alacrity for 6 seconds.
Essential – more resources, faster casting

Power Barrier: Power Shot, Tracer Missile and Rapid Scan generate a Power Barrier that increases damage reduction by 1% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.
Recommended – 5% damage reduction reduces your risk and healing demand

Jet Escape: Reduces the cooldown of Jet Boost by 5 seconds and Determination by 30 seconds.
Situational – some special fight needing faster CC breaks or knockbacks

Afterburners: Rocket Punch immobilises the target for 4 seconds. Direct damage caused after 2 seconds ends the effect. In addition, Jet Boosts knockback effect is stronger and pushes enemies 4 meters further away.
Situational – the extra knockback range not the melee root, that’s just crazy if it ever has to be used in an operation

Custom Enviro Suit: Increases Endurance by 3% and all healing received by 3%.
Recommended – over 1500 more hp in 192’s and lowering your healing demand

Boresights: Increases the damage dealt by Sweeping Blasters by 25%.
Situational – Sweeping Blasters isn’t that great but if you’re Arsenal you gain damage bonuses to it plus you have the automatic regen and armour penetration to best use this spammable AOE.

Utilities – Masterful

Torque Boosters: Increases the duration of Hydraulic Overrides by 4 seconds.
Situational – no you don’t always need it to last 10 seconds

Suit FOE: When you activate Cure on yourself, a Foreign Object Excisor reduces all periodic damage taken by 30% for 12 seconds.
Situational – for when you cant cleanse it, your healers can’t cleanse it and it does high damage. Fairly rare in PVE really.

Protective Field: Increases all healing received by 20% while Energy Shield is active.
Recommended – You pop shield when you anticipate damage, healing boost helps healers keep you up. Good stuff.

Power Shield: Energy Shield now further decreases ability activation pushback by 30% and makes you immune to interrupts.
Recommended – we have only 75% pushback protection on our casts which weakens us in burn phases when taking damage. This takes pushback protection to 100% with your shield up so for 15 seconds your damage won’t be weakened by pushback. You probably want the damage reduction from Energy Shield since you’re only getting pushback by taking damage but it’s forced on you as a bundle even if you don’t.

Pyro Shield: When activated, your Energy Shield ignites in a blaze, lashing attackers with elemental damage while it remains active. This effect cannot occur more than once each second.
Situational – you’re not a tank, how often do you really get attacked for long periods.

Heat Damping: Eliminates the heat generated by Jet Boost, Concussion Missile, Cure and Electro Dart.
Almost worthless – this is mostly for Bodyguard Jet Boost healing and Cure

Infrared Sensors: Increases stealth detection level by 2, melee and ranged defences by 2% and reduces the cooldown of Stealth Scan by 5 seconds.
Almost worthless – increase your dodge chance from 5% to 7%. Compared to the guaranteed utility effects you can get this is poor.

Utilities – Heroic

Energy Rebounder: When you take damage, the active cooldown of Energy Shield is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. In addition, when taking damage, you have a 20% chance to emit an Energy Redoubt which absorbs a low amount of damage and lasts 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
Situational – taking lots of single target or DoT all fight? Take this.

Jet Rebounder: Increases the damage dealt by Jet Boost by 30%. In addition, taking damage reduces the active cooldown of Jet Boost by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Almost worthless – a weak AOE that scatters targets. Take Jet Escape in tier 1 Utilities if you want a shorter cooldown on Jet Boost.

Kolto Jets: Jet Boost heals you and up to 7 other allies within range.
Almost worthless – take a defensive heroic and Thrill of the Hunt, leave healing to healers.

Thrill of the Hunt: Allows Unload and Blazing Bolts to be activated while moving.
Recommended – helps sustain damage when being forced to move.

Stabilized Armor: Reduces damage taken from area effects by 30%. Additionally, while stunned, you take 30% less damage from all sources.
Recommended – AOE is very common and this cuts it by 30% passively. Also saves you from “stun -> brutal damage” mechanics.

Supercharged Reserves: Reduces the cooldowns of Cure and Disabling Shot by 3 seconds each. In addition, you build up to 10 stacks of Supercharge over the course of using Recharge and Reload. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds.
Almost worthless – Ignore the Supercharge effect since you should be stacking Supercharge before a fight using your Kolto Shot which doesn’t need a Heroic utility point.

Power Overrides: Reduces the cooldowns of Concussion Missile and Power Surge by 15 seconds each. In addition, Power Surge grants a second charge, making your next two abilities with an activation time activate instantly.
Situational – compared to the other options this is unlikely to be used.

Gearing and Stats Priority

Accuracy must be at 100% for PVE. This requires over 750 in the stat which in gearing terms you should be able to do without an accuracy augment with a little less than full 192 gear which is available for Elite comms and as drops from hard mode L60 flashpoints and storymode L60 operations.

After that as long as you don’t go for tank stats it’s almost impossible to gear badly.

Crit vs Power: If you can get a higher tier mod of either stat then do it. Once you have the luxury of picking and choosing then look to have anything under 400 crit and the rest in power.

Surge vs Alacrity: You have only 3 slots after fulfilling your 100% accuracy requirement. Any combination is totally legitimate.

Augments: You’ll need 1 Accuracy augment below ~192 gear to be 100% accurate. After that you can pick and choose between Aim (Reflex) or Power (Overkill) augments.

Expect to be unoptimised while gearing up but when you can, go for low endurance mods and enhancements.

Important note about set bonuses: The old set bonus of 15% crit chance on Power Shot and 8% more damage on Rail Shot is now junk for Innovative Ordinance. Power Shot is no longer a high percentage of our damage output and the 8% Rail Shot damage bonus does not apply to Mag Shot, its replacement in Innovative Ordinance. Make it a top priority to upgrade to the new set bonus which is somewhat different but at least they work and are a dps increase.

Relics: The safe bet is Seredipitous Assault (proc power) and Focused Retribution (proc mainstat). The strategic burst path is to swap one out for a Boundless Ages (manual power buff).

Arsenal Walkthrough

Things to remember:

  • Easy resource management
  • Instant damage
  • High flexibility (target swapping, burst, area damage)

Basic attacks you’ll use:

Rapid Shot
Rail Shot
Unload
Electronet

Fully trained you gain these attacks:

Tracer Missile
Heatseeker Missiles
Priming Shot
Blazing Bolts

Blazing Bolts totally replaces Unload at level 57 and costs 8 less heat. Remove Unload from your bar at 57.

You also apply these 45s debuffs everyone can benefit from:

-20% armour from Tracer Missile
+5% to ranged damage from Priming Shot

Key mechanical points:

  • Terminal VelocityHigh Velocity Gas Cylinder lets you vent 2 heat every 1.5s
  • Priming Shot makes the next Tracer Missile instant if it hits the target
  • BarrageTracer Missile can reset Blazing Bolts every 8s and increases damage by 10%
  • Tracer LockTracer Missile builds Tracer Lock stacks, 5 stacks increases Rail Shot damage by 30%
  • Tracer Missile debuffs cause the target to take 25% more damage from Heatseeker Missile
  • Activating Supercharged Gas at 10 stacks with High Velocity Gas Cylinder on grants 10% armour penetration and a stacking alacrity buff when you use your specialised abilities. Lasts 10s. Also vents 10 heat.

Set Bonus:

2PC Heatseeker Missile increases all damage by 2% for 15s, limit of once per 30 seconds.
6PCBlazing Bolts causes the next Heatseeker Missile to autocrit, limit of once per 60 seconds

There is no fixed rotation for Arsenal just a short and simple priority list:

1) Get the Barrage proc by using Tracer Missile
2) Use the following abilities if they are available:

  • Priming Shot
  • Heatseeker Missiles ONLY on a target with Heat Signature from Tracer Missile
  • Rail Shot ONLY with 5 stacks of Tracer Lock from using Tracer Missile
  • Electronet

3) Use the Barrage buffed Blazing Bolts
4) Use Tracer Missile if heat is available otherwise use Rapid Shots

And that’s it, I could spin it out for longer but it’s really that simple and that’s a key reason it’s popular.

As an opener I like to do Priming Shot -> Electronet + Supercharged Gas + Adrenal -> Blazing Bolts withoutBarrage proc -> Instant (because of Priming Shot) Tracer Missile. At that point I’m at #1 on the priority list and I go from there.

Remember to charge Supercharge to 10 stacks before any fight using Kolto Shot.

Your resource cooldowns of

  • Thermal Sensor Override – 0 heat cost on next ability, best used on Blazing Bolts for the maximum possible loss of heat.
  • Vent Heat – always take the tier 1 utility Improved Vents to instantly dump 15 more heat
  • Supercharged Gas – remember this vents 10 heat

Should be used as much as possible to maximise your Tracer Missile spamming when anything better is on cooldown and allow you to use abilities as soon as possible when they come off cooldown rather than waiting for heat to drop.

The reason it always is Tracer Missile is because of a few things. Plain damage is one, Tracer Lock stacks is another and 1/10 of every Supercharged Gas you build up is a third. 1 heat vented and 1/10 of the damage bonus of Supercharged Gas is tied in to every Tracer Missile or Rapid Shots.

Slightly Advanced Arsenal

You have very good automatic regen but to be most efficient you also need to use Blazing Bolts as much as possible since it costs 16 but takes up 3 seconds unlike most other abilities which cost 15 and take up 1.5s.

To do that you want to try and reset Blazing Bolts with Tracer Missile as close to the 8s limit as possible. Technically it’s a 9s cooldown because abilities work in 1.5s slots .

9s is 6 GCD and using Blazing Bolts counts as 2 of those so 4 other abilities between procs.

Example 1:

GCD0 Tracer Missile (procs Barrage at the end of the cast)
GCD1 Rapid Shots
GCD2 Rapid Shots
GCD3 Rapid Shots
GCD4 Blazing Bolts
GCD5 Blazing Bolts (continued, remember it’s 2 GCD)
GCD6 Tracer Missile (procs Barrage at the end of the cast)

Example 2:

GCD0 Tracer Missile (procs Barrage at the end of the cast)
GCD1 Rapid Shots
GCD2 Rapid Shots
GCD3 Rapid Shots
GCD4 Blazing Bolts
GCD5 Blazing Bolts (continued, remember it’s 2 GCD)
GCD6 Priming Shot (making the next Tracer Missile instant)
GCD7 Tracer Missile (procs Barrage instantly)

Example 3:

GCD0 Priming Shot (making the next Tracer Missile instant)
GCD1 Tracer Missile (procs Barrage instantly)
GCD2 Rapid Shots
GCD3 Rapid Shots
GCD4 Blazing Bolts
GCD5 Blazing Bolts (continued, remember it’s 2 GCD)
GCD6 Tracer Missile (procs Barrage at the end of the cast)

Arsenal AOE

The primary reason Arsenal is better than Innovative Ordinance at handling trash is that the bonus regen it gets is totally free and automatic. You get it from doing nothing. This is huge when you can’t expect to stay on a target for more than a few seconds.

It also applies to sustained periods AOE which of course are not rotational.

As mentioned very early on all kinetic/energy AOE attacks performed by Arsenal benefit from the 35% armour penetration of High Velocity Gas Cylinder which is a significant edge.

Anyway on top of the basic level AOE which all mercs get there’s the AOE bonus from the tree:

Blazing Barrels: Sweeping Blasters gains 15% crit and 30% crit damage

Combine that with 25% more damage from the tier 1 utility Boresights to get a decent spammable ranged AOE. I’d say it’s not as good at the best that Sorc or Sniper can offer but it’s the best that merc can offer and that’s not bad.

General Arsenal Notes

If ever in doubt about how to play a fight or when playing with people you don’t have much experience with it’s a really safe spec to go with. You can handle anything from adds to the boss and easily spare your attention from your abilities to learn fight mechanics or keep an eye on the group you’re with.

Innovative Ordinance walkthrough

Things to remember:

  • Complex rotation and resource management
  • Damage over Time (burning and bleeding) based
  • High single target damage

Basic attacks you will use:

Rapid Shot
Power Shot
Unload
Rail Shot
Electronet
Missile Blast

Fully trained you will gain these attacks:

Incendiary Missile
Thermal Detonator
Serrated Shot
Mag Shot

Mag Shot fully replaces Rail Shot at level 57. Remove Rail Shot from your bar at level 57.

You also apply these 45s debuffs everyone can benefit from:

+7% to internal/elemental damage from Incendiary Missile
+5% to ranged damage from Serrated Shot

Key mechanical points:

  • Speed to BurnMag Shot can make Power Shot/Serrated Shot instant every 15s
  • Innovative Particle Accelerator Power Shot, Unload and Sweeping Blasters can reset the cooldown on Mag Shot and make it free to use every 7.5s
  • Superheated ShotMag Shot vents 5 heat if used on a burning target
  • Superheated ShotMag Shot triggers your Combustible Gas Cylinder DoT
  • Volatile Warhead Missile Blast gains 75% damage and costs 10 less heat if a target under 30% has your DoT on them. 15s limit.
  • Relentless Ordnance – 30% more DoT on targets below 30%
  • Incendiary Missile is a 15s elemental DoT
  • Serrated Shot is a 15s internal DoT and increases elemental damage while its up (Flaming Wound).
  • Thermal Detonator has a 15s CD
  • Unload is on a 12s CD (after specialising)
  • Activating Supercharged Gas at 10 stacks with Combustible Gas Cylinder on will trigger a high damage 5s DoT if you use ranged damage on a target that has your Incendiary Missile burn and increase all DoT by 10% for 10s. You also vent 10 heat.

Set Bonus:

2PC Serrated Shot increases all damage by 2% for 15s, limit of once per 30 seconds.
6PC Unload causes the next Mag Shot to autocrit, limit of once per 60 seconds

Rotation Notes:

The most important thing about Innovative Ordinance is that you only get bonus heat venting if you use free Mag Shots on burning targets.

You only get free Mag Shots by using Power Shot, Unload or Sweeping Blasters every 7.5s.

And the burning targets will only be guaranteed by using Incendiary Missile every 15s to keep it up.

Also need to mix in Thermal Detonator, Unload and Serrated Shot because they do quite a lot of damage.

Unfortunately this means a very strict rotation core but around that we can fill in all the other abilities we want to increase damage.

Only two abilities are worth using as resets during a rotation, Power Shot and Unload.

Power Shot has no CD but is less efficient therefore we want to use Unload with its better damage and resource efficiency as much as possible. You can only use Unload once per 15s and in 15s you get two chances of free Mag Shots. So one triggered by Power Shot and one by Unload.

Here then is an example of an effective rotation I created which is infinitely repeatable. Of particular note is that you can do almost everything on the move except the Serrated Shot cast which nevertheless can be forced instant with your Power Surge.

Before any fight or during fight downtime remember to charge your Supercharge to 10 using Kolto Shot and for the basic rotation you consider it as an adrenal to increase damage. Advanced use looks at it slightly differently.

GCD01 Incendiary Missile (debuffing the target and applying the elemental DoT)
GCD02 Mag Shot (making next Power Shot instant)
GCD03 Power Shot (making next Mag Shot free)
GCD04 Mag Shot (venting 5 heat)
GCD05 Serrated Shot (debuffing the target and applying internal DoT)
GCD06 Thermal Detonator
GCD07 —— Filler Slot
GCD08 Unload (making next Mag Shot free)
GCD09 Unload continued
GCD10 —— Filler Slot

That would then continue

GCD01 Incendiary Missile (reapplying the elemental DoT)
GCD02 Mag Shot (venting 5 heat and making next Power Shot instant)
GCD03 Power Shot (making next Mag Shot free)
GCD04 Mag Shot (venting 5 heat)
GCD05 Serrated Shot (reapplying internal DoT)
GCD06 Thermal Detonator
GCD07 —— Filler Slot
GCD08 Unload (making next Mag Shot free)
GCD09 Unload continued
GCD10 —— Filler Slot

Filler slots will be Rapid Shots and Electronet when available for an unstressful rotation.

Advanced Innovative Ordinance

To hit the big numbers you cannot merely cruise with a neutral rotation, we need to be taking advantage of our resource cooldowns and instead of using Rapid Shots as a filler we need to be using something with more punch.

The ability we will use to generate more damage in the filler slots instead of Rapid Shots is Power Shot.

Like Rapid Shots it generates 1 stack of Supercharge, that means 1 of the 10 heat vented by Supercharged Gascan be counted against the cost of Power Shot making it in theory cost 14 heat.

Also 1/10 of the damage and damage boost of Supercharged Gas can be considered as part of what you get as damage from using Power Shot.

There is one other ability you can replace Rapid Shots with and that is Missile Blast. Any target with any DoT of yours that falls under 30% will proc Volatile Warhead (with a limit of 15s). The damage increase and the heat decrease makes Missile Blast hit as hard as Thermal Detonator but for only 10 heat.

Of course unlike Rapid Shots these come with a cost.

To counter this we need to use our three resource cooldowns which are NOT necessary with my basic rotation using 2 Rapid Shots.

  • Thermal Sensor Override – 0 heat cost on next ability, best used on Unload for the maximum possible loss of heat.
  • Vent Heat – always take the tier 1 utility Improved Vents to instantly dump 15 more heat
  • Supercharged Gas – remember this vents 10 heat

In brief you want to use Thermal Sensor Override and Supercharged Gas to counter small heat rises and do this as frequently as possible.

Vent Heat removes so much heat that it demands that you perform heavily filled rotations before using it, this may or may not be something you do as part of your normal rotation or something you hold back on for a heavier damage period.

Expect to have to practice this a lot before it can be considered consistent in a fight.

Start with the basic rotation, be able to kill a dummy of any health without crashing out and progress to filling with heavier damage abilities and working in your resource cooldowns to balance the heat.

However if you overheat after using your resource cooldowns the rotation suffers enormously. Your bonus regen relies on your rotation continuing.

In that scenario you’re doomed to making fast decisions on what you can drop.

The skeleton rotation:

GCD01 Incendiary Missile (reapplying the elemental DoT)
GCD02 Mag Shot (venting 5 heat and making next Power Shot instant)
GCD03 Power Shot (making next Mag Shot free)
GCD04 Mag Shot (venting 5 heat)
GCD05 —— Filler Slot
GCD06 —— Filler Slot
GCD07 —— Filler Slot
GCD08 Unload (making next Mag Shot free)
GCD09 Unload continued
GCD10 —— Filler Slot

And in this case all fillers would be Rapid Shots.

You save 30 heat by dropping Serrated Shot and Thermal Detonator but that’s what you can claw back by spending minimal resources if you are in a bad spot with heat but it’s not quite bad enough to suffer spamming Rapid Shots for an eternity.

Innovative Ordinance AOE

I mentioned earlier that AOE and adds are really not the thing you bring this spec for. However it is not totally useless at it.

Explosive Dart spreads your Serrated Shot DoT to all 8 targets it hits
Fusion Missile spreads your Incendiary Missile DoT to all 8 targets it hits

That then requires the targets to do the decent thing and live for 15s so your DoT banks some decent damage on them.

To effectively use this in the traditional boss + adds fights requires two main tactics:

a) encourage adds to be around the primary target so you can drop in the combo abilities to splash them

or

b) swap targets to perform the AOE combos during filler slots then back to the main target

If there is no primary target then frankly you are in the wrong spec and should be in Arsenal but you still have your base level mercenary AOE abilities and your combo AOE to use. You’ll do less than any other ranged DPS spec but it’s something.

General Innovative Ordinance Notes

One of the most important things you must know when taking IO into an operation or a HM flashpoint is that you’re going to need to communicate your particular strengths and your weaknesses.

If you’re about to be lumped with adds, aoe or anything that isn’t primary target focusing then make your case that you can be more useful doing boss damage. If you can’t get that then suck it up and play Arsenal because IO on fiddly low health targets is pathetic. Of course if you do get the green light you need to have mastered the spec enough to be worth it. It is a single target monster only if you can play it well enough.

Commando guide:

Version 3.0 has come and with it comes some tinkering with the Commando class

If commandos are not familiar to you, they are the republic faction heavy armoured ranged class. They are somewhat lacking in active defences but their high passive damage reduction on top of attacking from range and in 3.0 gaining a large amount of mobility while attacking gives them substantial survivability through a combination of reduced damage taken and the ability to frankly run away while still doing considerable damage.

For the existing Commandos among us there are a few baseline changes in 3.0

We get the new passive/cooldown ability of Supercharge taken from Combat Medic spec and reinvented with DPS and healing flavours.

Offhealing becomes less sustainable outside Combat Medic spec with the AOE heal Kolto Bomb removed and replaced with the instant single target heal Bacta Infusion. Medical Probe is replaced with Advanced Medical Probe which has a longer cast, more healing and a cooldown. Hammer Shot no longer heals when you equip Combat Support Cell, instead you have a totally separate ability called Med Shot which can be used with the same effect in all cells. Of note is that using Med Shot will build stacks for Supercharge outside combat.

Virtually all defensive upgrades for the class are now in Utility points with only minor defensive boosts available in the specialist trees. On the other hand almost all the nice upgrades are available to all specs plus a number of new useful ones. And some terrible ones too.

Looking at the damage specs, if you played Gunnery before then you can still play Gunnery now. Almost exactly the same playstyle. If you played Assault before then your experience is mostly worthless now.

To broadly look at each specialisation in 3.0:

Gunnery

A very unrestricted spec, packed with instant damage, high levels of armour penetration and a higher resource regeneration system than other commando specs. Your resources are hard to waste since there is minimal delay between using abilities and damaging the target. While there are attack priorities there is no severe penalty if you have to use them out of the correct order or swap between single/AOE damage.

The AOE bonus this spec gains is +15% critical chance and +30% critical damage on Hail of Bolts. Technically it gains another bonus to almost all AOE damage since Armour-piercing Cell grants 35% armour penetration so Mortar Volley, Hail of Bolts, Sticky Grenade, Explosive Round and part of Plasma Grenade will lose less damage vs armoured targets compared to other commando specs.

To offset the burst and relentlessness it doesn’t have a very high sustained damage ceiling. This is unlikely to put many off using the spec since for simplicity of mechanics and ease of use this is the spec of choice.

In stark contrast then is the revamped Assault specialisation:

Assault

You don’t specialise in this tree for daily missions, you don’t do it for dealing with adds in operations and you don’t do it because you know how the old Assault spec played (because that’s now worthless knowledge). You do it because it sets the bar for single target sustained damage over all other classes and you’re happy to deal with the hassle involved to get those results.

Dealing about half its output in armour bypassing elemental and internal DoT it relies on a strict rotation with little flexibility. Resources are tight normally and on a knife edge if you go for maximum damage. Using certain abilities out of order can be quite harsh to recover from. Target swapping at short notice or targets which die too quickly also interferes with rotation and resource control.

While major AOE work is not recommended for this spec it does have substantial AOE potential. As Gunnery is all instant damage so Assault is delayed damage even on the AOE bonus. Each of its two main DoT abilities can be spread to 8 targets using combo attacks. Over the 15 seconds each DoT ability lasts this can be major damage but it is quite slow. Of course it still has access to the baseline commando AOE abilities but the nice thing about this AOE bonus is that it can be used while continuing rotation on the primary target, merely mixing in the combo abilities to spread damage to nearby targets.

Mobility is unusually high for this specialisation, the neutral rotation I will illustrate further on is 90% mobile over the course of 15 seconds (which is a whole rotation). This is particularly important to master to get the main benefit of this specialisation in a fight.

Passives

Special Munitions: Reduces the pushback suffered while activating Charged Bolts, Grav Round, Concussion Round, Plasma Grenade and Serrated bolt by 75% and increases the effects of your cells while active:

Plasma Cell: Increases ranged critical chance by 5%

Armour-piercing Cell: Reduces the cost of High Impact Bolt by 10.

Target Lock: Full Auto, Boltstorm, High Impact Bolt and Mag Bolt ignore 30% of the target’s armour. In addition, the critical chance of Advanced Medical Probe and Bacta Infusion are increased by 5% and critical results with damage and healing abilities increase damage and healing by 10% for 6 seconds.

Supercharge: Activating Hammer Shot, Med shot, Charged Bolts, Grav Round or Medical Probe generates a stack of Supercharge. Each stack increases all damage and healing done by 0.1%. Stacks up to 10 times and lasts 60 seconds. Requires an active cell.

Offensive Cooldowns

Supercharged Cell: Requires and converts 10 stacks of Supercharge to generate 10 energy and empower your active cell:

  • Plasma cell: Increases periodic damage dealt by 10% for 10 seconds and causes the next successful ranged attack on a target affected by your Incendiary Round burn to apply Supercharged Burn to the target which deals ~5000 elemental damage in 192 gear over 5 seconds.
  • Armour-piercing Cell: Increases armour penetration by 10% for 10 seconds. While active, damage dealt by Grav Round, Demo Round, Boltstorm and Vortex Bolt grants Supercharged Velocity which increases alacrity by 1%. This effect cannot occur more than once per second and can stack up to 3 times. The Gunnery talent of Burst Mode at level 44 increases penetration to 15%, alacrity boosts to 2% and maximum alacrity boost to 6%

Reserve Powercell: Your next ability has no cost.

Tech Override: Next cast ability activates instantly and then grants interrupt immunity for 6 seconds.

Recharge Cells: Rapidly generates 50 energy over 3 seconds.
Utility Cell Capacitor causes this to generate an extra 15 energy instantly and grant 10% alacrity for 6 seconds.

Utilities – Skilful

Parallactic Combat Stims: Generate 10 energy when stunned, immobilised, knocked down or otherwise incapacitated.
Situational – CC heavy fight with low damage otherwise you’d take Charged Barrier

Cell Capacitor: Recharge Cells generates an extra 15 energy instantly and grants 10% alacrity for 6 seconds.
Essential – more resources, faster casting

Charged Barrier: Charged Bolts, Grav Round and Medical Probe generate a Charged Barrier that increases damage reduction by 1% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.
Recommended – 5% damage reduction reduces your risk and healing demand

Tenacious Defence: Reduces the cooldown of Concussion Charge by 5 seconds and Tenacity by 30 seconds.
Situational – some special fight needing faster CC breaks or knockbacks

Concussive Force: Stockstrike immobilises the target for 4 seconds. Direct damage caused after 2 seconds ends the effect. In addition, Concussion Charge knockback effect is stronger and pushes enemies 4 meters further away.
Situational – the extra knockback range not the melee root, that’s just crazy if it ever has to be used in an operation

Heavy Trooper: Increases Endurance by 3% and all healing received by 3%.
Recommended – over 1500 more hp in 192’s and lowering your healing demand

Chain Gunnery: Increases the damage dealt by Hail of Bolts by 25%.
Situational – Hail of Bolts isn’t that great but if you’re Gunnery you gain damage bonuses to it plus you have the automatic regen and armour penetration to best use this spammable AOE.

Utilities – Masterful

Advance The Line: Increases the duration of Hold The Line by 4 seconds.
Situational – no you don’t always need it to last 10 seconds

Suit FOE: When you activate Field Aid on yourself, a Foreign Object Excisor reduces all periodic damage taken by 30% for 12 seconds.
Situational – for when you cant cleanse it, your healers can’t cleanse it and it does high damage. Fairly rare in PVE really.

Med Zone: Increases all healing received by 20% while Reactive Shield is active.
Recommended – You pop shield when you anticipate damage, healing boost helps healers keep you up. Good stuff.

Combat Shield: Reactive Shield now further decreases ability activation pushback by 30% and makes you immune to interrupts.
Recommended – we have only 75% pushback protection on our casts which weakens us in burn phases when taking damage. This takes pushback protection to 100% with your shield up so for 15 seconds your damage won’t be weakened by pushback. You probably want the damage reduction from Reactive Shield since you’re only getting pushback by taking damage but it’s forced on you as a bundle even if you don’t.

Electro Shield: When activated, your Reactive Shield charges with electricity, zapping attackers with elemental damage while it remains active. This effect cannot occur more than once each second.
Situational – you’re not a tank, how often do you really get attacked for long periods.

Efficient Conversions: Eliminates the cost of Concussion Charge, Concussion Round, Field Aid and Cryo Grenade.
Almost worthless – this is mostly for Combat Medic Concussion Charge healing and Field Aid

Nightvision Scope: Increases stealth detection level by 2, melee and ranged defences by 2% and reduces the cooldown of Stealth Scan by 5 seconds.
Almost worthless – increase your dodge chance from 5% to 7%. Compared to the guaranteed utility effects you can get this is poor.

Utilities – Heroic

Reflexive Shield: When you take damage, the active cooldown of Reactive Shield is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. In addition, when taking damage, you have a 20% chance to emit an Energy Redoubt which absorbs a low amount of damage and lasts 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
Situational – taking lots of single target or DoT all fight? Take this.

Reflexive Battery: Increases the damage dealt by Concussion Charge by 30%. In addition, taking damage reduces the active cooldown of Concussion Charge by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Almost worthless – a weak AOE that scatters targets. Take Tenacious Defence in tier 1 Utilities if you want a shorter cooldown on Concussion Charge.

Kolto Wave: Concussion Charge heals you and up to 7 other allies within range.
Almost worthless – take a defensive heroic and Forced March, leave healing to healers.

Forced March: Allows Full Auto and Boltstorm to be activated while moving.
Recommended – helps sustain damage when being forced to move.

Shock Absorbers: Reduces damage taken from area effects by 30%. Additionally, while stunned, you take 30% less damage from all sources.
Recommended – AOE is very common and this cuts it by 30% passively. Also saves you from “stun -> brutal damage” mechanics.

Supercharged Reserves: Reduces the cooldowns of Field Aid and Disabling Shot by 3 seconds each. In addition, you build up to 10 stacks of Supercharge over the course of using Recharge and Reload. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds.
Almost worthless – Ignore the Supercharge effect since you should be stacking Supercharge before a fight using your Med Shot which doesn’t need a Heroic utility point.

Overclock: Reduces the cooldowns of Concussion Round and Tech Override by 15 seconds each. In addition, Tech Override grants a second charge, making your next two abilities with an activation time activate instantly.
Situational – compared to the other options this is unlikely to be used.

Gearing and Stats Priority

Accuracy must be at 100% for PVE. This requires over 750 in the stat which in gearing terms you should be able to do without an accuracy augment with a little less than full 192 gear which is available for Elite comms and as drops from hard mode L60 flashpoints and storymode L60 operations.

After that as long as you don’t go for tank stats it’s almost impossible to gear badly.

Crit vs Power: If you can get a higher tier mod of either stat then do it. Once you have the luxury of picking and choosing then look to have anything under 400 crit and the rest in power.

Surge vs Alacrity: You have only 3 slots after fulfilling your 100% accuracy requirement. Any combination is totally legitimate.

Augments: You’ll need 1 Accuracy augment below ~192 gear to be 100% accurate. After that you can pick and choose between Aim (Reflex) or Power (Overkill) augments.

Expect to be unoptimised while gearing up but when you can, go for low endurance mods and enhancements.

Important note about set bonuses: The old set bonus of 15% crit chance on Charged Bolts and 8% more damage on High Impact Bolt is now junk for Assault. Charged Bolts is no longer a high percentage of our damage output and the 8% High Impact Bolt damage bonus does not apply to Mag Bolt, its replacement in Assault. Make it a top priority to upgrade to the new set bonus which is somewhat different but at least they work and are a dps increase.

Relics: The safe bet is Seredipitous Assault (proc power) and Focused Retribution (proc mainstat). The strategic burst path is to swap one out for a Boundless Ages (manual power buff).

Gunnery Walkthrough

Things to remember:

  • Easy resource management
  • Instant damage
  • High flexibility (target swapping, burst, area damage)

Basic attacks you’ll use:

Hammer Shot
High Impact Bolt
Full Auto
Electronet

Fully trained you gain these attacks:

Grav Round
Demo Round
Vortex Bolt
Boltstorm

Boltstorm totally replaces Full Auto at level 57 and costs 8 less energy. Remove Full Auto from your bar at 57.

You also apply these 45s debuffs everyone can benefit from:

-20% armour from Grav Round
+5% to ranged damage from Vortex Bolt

Key mechanical points:

  • Terminal VelocityArmour-piercing Cell lets you generate 2 energy every 1.5s
  • Vortex Bolt makes the next Grav Round instant if it hits the target
  • Curtain of FireGrav round can reset Boltstorm every 8s and increases damage by 10%
  • Charged BarrelGrav round builds Charged Barrel stacks, 5 stacks increases High Impact Bolt damage by 30%
  • Grav Round debuffs cause the target to take 25% more damage from Demo Round
  • Activating Supercharged Cell at 10 stacks with Armour-piercing Cell on grants 10% armour penetration and a stacking alacrity buff when you use your specialised abilities. Lasts 10s. Also generates 10 energy.

Set Bonus:

2PC Demo Round increases all damage by 2% for 15s, limit of once per 30 seconds.
6PCBoltstorm causes the next Demo Round to autocrit, limit of once per 60 seconds

There is no fixed rotation for Gunnery just a short and simple priority list:

1) Get the Curtain of Fire proc by using Grav Round
2) Use the following abilities if they are available:

  • Vortex Bolt
  • Demo Round ONLY on a target with Gravity Vortex from Grav Round
  • High Impact Bolt ONLY with 5 stacks of Charged Barrel from using Grav Round
  • Electronet

3) Use the Curtain of Fire buffed Boltstorm
4) Use Grav Round if energy is available otherwise use Hammer Shot

And that’s it, I could spin it out for longer but it’s really that simple and that’s a key reason it’s popular.

As an opener I like to do Vortex Bolt -> Electronet + Supercharged Cell + Adrenal -> Boltstorm without Curtain of Fire proc -> Instant (because of Vortex Bolt) Grav Round. At that point I’m at #1 on the priority list and I go from there.

Remember to charge Supercharge to 10 stacks before any fight using Med Shot.

Your resource cooldowns of

  • Reserve Powercell – 0 energy cost on next ability, best used on Boltstorm for the maximum possible energy saving.
  • Recharge Cells – always take the tier 1 utility Improved Generates to instantly gain 15 more energy
  • Supercharged Cell – remember this generates 10 energy

Should be used as much as possible to maximise your Grav Round spamming when anything better is on cooldown and allow you to use abilities as soon as possible when they come off cooldown rather than waiting for energy to recover.

The reason it always is Grav Round is because of a few things. Plain damage is one, Charged Barrel stacks is another and 1/10 of every Supercharged Cell you build up is a third. 1 energy generated and 1/10 of the damage bonus of Supercharged Cell is tied in to every Grav Round or Hammer Shot.

Slightly Advanced Gunnery

You have very good automatic regen but to be most efficient you also need to use Boltstorm as much as possible since it costs 16 but takes up 3 seconds unlike most other abilities which cost 15 and take up 1.5s.

To do that you want to try and reset Boltstorm with Grav Round as close to the 8s limit as possible. Technically it’s a 9s cooldown because abilities work in 1.5s slots .

9s is 6 GCD and using Boltstorm counts as 2 of those so 4 other abilities between procs.

Example 1:

GCD0 Grav Round (procs Curtain of Fire at the end of the cast)
GCD1 Hammer Shot
GCD2 Hammer Shot
GCD3 Hammer Shot
GCD4 Boltstorm
GCD5 Boltstorm (continued, remember it’s 2 GCD)
GCD6 Grav Round (procs Curtain of Fire at the end of the cast)

Example 2:

GCD0 Grav Round (procs Curtain of fire at the end of the cast)
GCD1 Hammer Shot
GCD2 Hammer Shot
GCD3 Hammer Shot
GCD4 Boltstorm
GCD5 Boltstorm (continued, remember it’s 2 GCD)
GCD6 Vortex Bolt (making the next Grav Round instant)
GCD7 Grav Round (procs Curtain of Fire instantly)

Example 3:

GCD0 Vortex Bolt (making the next Grav Round instant)
GCD1 Grav Round (procs Curtain of Fire instantly)
GCD2 Hammer Shot
GCD3 Hammer Shot
GCD4 Boltstorm
GCD5 Boltstorm (continued, remember it’s 2 GCD)
GCD6 Grav Round (procs Curtain of Fire at the end of the cast)

Gunnery AOE

The primary reason Gunnery is better than Assault at handling trash is that the bonus regen it gets is totally free and automatic. You get it from doing nothing. This is huge when you can’t expect to stay on a target for more than a few seconds.

It also applies to sustained periods AOE which of course are not rotational.

As mentioned very early on all kinetic/energy AOE attacks performed by Gunnery benefit from the 35% armour penetration of Armour-piercing Cell which is a significant edge.

Anyway on top of the basic level AOE which all commandos get there’s the AOE bonus from the tree:

Blazing Barrel: Hail of Bolts gains 15% crit and 30% crit damage

Combine that with 25% more damage from the tier 1 utility Chain Gunnery to get a decent spammable ranged AOE. I’d say it’s not as good at the best that Sage or Slinger can offer but it’s the best that commando can offer and that’s not bad.

General Gunnery Notes

If ever in doubt about how to play a fight or when playing with people you don’t have much experience with it’s a really safe spec to go with. You can handle anything from adds to the boss and easily spare your attention from your abilities to learn fight mechanics or keep an eye on the group you’re with.

Assault walkthrough

Things to remember:

  • Complex rotation and resource management
  • Damage over Time (burning and bleeding) based
  • High single target damage

Basic attacks you will use:

Hammer Shot
Charged Bolts
Full Auto
High Impact Bolt
Electronet
Explosive Round

Fully trained you will gain these attacks:

Incendiary Round
Assault Plastique
Serrated Bolt
Mag Bolt

Mag Bolt fully replaces High Impact Bolt at level 57. Remove High Impact Bolt from your bar at level 57.

You also apply these 45s debuffs everyone can benefit from:

+7% to internal/elemental damage from Incendiary Round
+5% to ranged damage from Serrated Bolt

Key mechanical points:

  • Blazing CelerityMag Bolt can make Charged Bolts/Serrated Bolt instant every 15s
  • Ionic Accelerator Charged Bolts, Full Auto and Hail of Bolts can reset the cooldown on Mag Bolt and make it free to use every 7.5s
  • Scorching BoltsMag Bolt generates 5 energy if used on a burning target
  • Scorching BoltsMag Bolt triggers your Plasma Cell DoT
  • Hyper Assault Rounds Explosive Round gains 75% damage and costs 10 less energy if a target under 30% has your DoT on them. 15s limit.
  • Relentless Assault – 30% more DoT on targets below 30%
  • Incendiary Round is a 15s elemental DoT
  • Serrated Bolt is a 15s internal DoT and increases elemental damage while its up (Flaming Wound).
  • Assault Plastique has a 15s CD
  • Full Auto is on a 12s CD (after specialising)
  • Activating Supercharged Cell at 10 stacks with Plasma Cell on will trigger a high damage 5s DoT if you use ranged damage on a target that has your Incendiary Round burn and increase all DoT by 10% for 10s. You also generate 10 energy.

Set Bonus:

2PC Serrated Bolt increases all damage by 2% for 15s, limit of once per 30 seconds.
6PC Full Auto causes the next Mag Bolt to autocrit, limit of once per 60 seconds

Rotation Notes:

The most important thing about Assault is that you only get bonus energy generation if you use free Mag Boltson burning targets.

You only get free Mag Bolts by using Charged Bolts, Full Auto or Hail of Bolts every 7.5s.

And the burning targets will only be guaranteed by using Incendiary Round every 15s to keep it up.

Also need to mix in Assault Plastique, Full Auto and Serrated Bolt because they do quite a lot of damage.

Unfortunately this means a very strict rotation core but around that we can fill in all the other abilities we want to increase damage.

Only two abilities are worth using as resets during a rotation, Charged Bolts and Full Auto.

Charged Bolts has no CD but is less efficient therefore we want to use Full Auto with its better damage and resource efficiency as much as possible. You can only use Full Auto once per 15s and in 15s you get two chances of free Mag Bolts. So one triggered by Charged Bolts and one by Full Auto.

Here then is an example of an effective rotation I created which is infinitely repeatable. Of particular note is that you can do almost everything on the move except the Serrated Bolt cast which nevertheless can be forced instant with your Tech Override.

Before any fight or during fight downtime remember to charge your Supercharge to 10 using Med Shot and for the basic rotation you consider it as an adrenal to increase damage. Advanced use looks at it slightly differently.

GCD01 Incendiary Round (debuffing the target and applying the elemental DoT)
GCD02 Mag Bolt (making next Charged Bolts instant)
GCD03 Charged Bolts (making next Mag Bolt free)
GCD04 Mag Bolt (generating 5 energy)
GCD05 Serrated Bolt (debuffing the target and applying internal DoT)
GCD06 Assault Plastique
GCD07 —— Filler Slot
GCD08 Full Auto (making next Mag Bolt free)
GCD09 Full Auto continued
GCD10 —— Filler Slot

That would then continue

GCD01 Incendiary Round (reapplying the elemental DoT)
GCD02 Mag Bolt (generating 5 energy and making next Charged Bolts instant)
GCD03 Charged Bolts (making next Mag Bolt free)
GCD04 Mag Bolt (generating 5 energy)
GCD05 Serrated Bolt (reapplying internal DoT)
GCD06 Assault Plastique
GCD07 —— Filler Slot
GCD08 Full Auto (making next Mag Bolt free)
GCD09 Full Auto continued
GCD10 —— Filler Slot

Filler slots will be Hammer Shot and Electronet when available for an unstressful rotation.

Advanced Assault

To hit the big numbers you cannot merely cruise with a neutral rotation, we need to be taking advantage of our resource cooldowns and instead of using Hammer Shot as a filler we need to be using something with more punch.

The ability we will use to generate more damage in the filler slots instead of Hammer Shot is Charged Bolts.

Like Hammer Shot it generates 1 stack of Supercharge, that means 1 of the 10 energy generated by Supercharged Cell can be counted against the cost of Charged Bolts making it in theory cost 14 energy.

Also 1/10 of the damage and damage boost of Supercharged Cell can be considered as part of what you get as damage from using Charged Bolts.

There is one other ability you can replace Hammer Shot with and that is Explosive Round. Any target with any DoT of yours that falls under 30% will proc Hyper Assault Rounds (with a limit of 15s). The damage increase and the energy decrease makes Explosive Round hit as hard as Assault Plastique but for only 10 energy.

Of course unlike Hammer Shot these come with a cost.

To counter this we need to use our three resource cooldowns which are NOT necessary with my basic rotation using 2 Hammer Shot.

  • Reserve Powercell – 0 energy cost on next ability, best used on Full Auto for the maximum possible energy saving.
  • Recharge Cells – always take the tier 1 utility Cell Capacitor to instantly generate 15 more energy
  • Supercharged cell – remember this generates 10 energy

In brief you want to use Reserve Powercell and Supercharged Cell to counter small energy drops and do this as frequently as possible.

Recharge Cells removes so much energy that it demands that you perform heavily filled rotations before using it, this may or may not be something you do as part of your normal rotation or something you hold back on for a heavier damage period.

Expect to have to practice this a lot before it can be considered consistent in a fight.

Start with the basic rotation, be able to kill a dummy of any health without crashing out and progress to filling with heavier damage abilities and working in your resource cooldowns to balance the energy.

However if you overenergy after using your resource cooldowns the rotation suffers enormously. Your bonus regen relies on your rotation continuing.

In that scenario you’re doomed to making fast decisions on what you can drop.

The skeleton rotation:

GCD01 Incendiary Round (reapplying the elemental DoT)
GCD02 Mag Bolt (generating 5 energy and making next Charged Bolts instant)
GCD03 Charged Bolts (making next Mag Bolt free)
GCD04 Mag Bolt (generating 5 energy)
GCD05 —— Filler Slot
GCD06 —— Filler Slot
GCD07 —— Filler Slot
GCD08 Full Auto (making next Mag Bolt free)
GCD09 Full Auto continued
GCD10 —— Filler Slot

And in this case all fillers would be Hammer Shot.

You save 30 energy by dropping Serrated Bolt and Assault Plastique but that’s what you can claw back by spending minimal resources if you are in a bad spot with energy but it’s not quite bad enough to suffer spamming Hammer Shot for an eternity.

Assault AOE

I mentioned earlier that AOE and adds are really not the thing you bring this spec for. However it is not totally useless at it.

Sticky Grenade spreads your Serrated Bolt DoT to all 8 targets it hits
Plasma Grenade spreads your Incendiary Round DoT to all 8 targets it hits

That then requires the targets to do the decent thing and live for 15s so your DoT banks some decent damage on them.

To effectively use this in the traditional boss + adds fights requires two main tactics:

a) encourage adds to be around the primary target so you can drop in the combo abilities to splash them

or

b) swap targets to perform the AOE combos during filler slots then back to the main target

If there is no primary target then frankly you are in the wrong spec and should be in Gunnery but you still have your base level commando AOE abilities and your combo AOE to use. You’ll do less than any other ranged DPS spec but it’s something.

General Assault Notes

One of the most important things you must know when taking Assault into an operation or a HM flashpoint is that you’re going to need to communicate your particular strengths and your weaknesses.

If you’re about to be lumped with adds, aoe or anything that isn’t primary target focusing then make your case that you can be more useful doing boss damage. If you can’t get that then suck it up and play Gunnery because IO on fiddly low health targets is pathetic. Of course if you do get the green light you need to have mastered the spec enough to be worth it. It is a single target monster only if you can play it well enough.

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Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!