SWTOR Operative Leveling Guide by sang
I’ve seen quite a few leveling threads over the past few days, and as a result, I’ve decided to make a thread with my personal guide to leveling an operative. Please keep in mind that this is a leveling guide only, and what is described below will most likely never work well in PvP or PvE effectively. I hope at least a few people glean something from this. Enjoy~
At the time of posting this thread I am currently a level 44 operative, so I hope you can take what I’m about to say as something reasonably valuable coming from someone with a decent amount of game experience. The two major problems I see people talking about on this forum about leveling the operative are as follows:
1. The Operative heals are clunky and require too much energy.
2. The Operative does not do enough damage.
I too ran across these issues when leveling my Operative, but after a bit of tweaking (and leveling), I believe I have found a sweat spot. Unfortunately there is a downside: the following strategy only becomes effective between levels 25-27, and much more after that.
Step 1: The Basic Concept
The most important part of this guide/build is Kolto Probe and Medical Engineering, you will need both skills maxed out. How you go about maxing these skills out is up to you. I personally recommend spec’ing straight into healing to get them maxed by level 27.
The basic idea here is that you want to have 4 Kolto Probes active at ALL TIMES. Two on you and two on your companion. With Medical Engineering fully spec’d, Kolto Probe has a 30% chance to active TA every 4.5 seconds. With 4 probes active, the probability of getting a TA to activate every 4.5 seconds is pretty damn high. At this point you have done two important things:
1. You are keeping consistent heals on yourself and your companion, regardless of whether you think you need them.
2. You are keeping TA active/usable
Step 2: Bringing it together
With consistent heals and a nearly permanent TA, your next job is to work in your other skills. The minute you have one TA to spare, always activate Stim Boost, whether you’re at fully energy or not. With 4 Kolto Probes activating TA, you should almost always have Stim Boost active at all times.
Why do I recommend a near infinite loop of Stim Boost when Kolto Probe doesn’t cost much energy? Simple, because when you start engaging mobs, you’re going to start chaining more expensive energy costing skills. As a result, having Stim Boost permanently active helps keep your energy high throughout fights, which should for most mobs mean you are never scrambling for energy.
As for the rest of your spec, it’s completely up to you. The only other recommendation I will insist upon is spec’ing fully into Slip Away. I have come to believe this skill is an absolute must for every Operative in every situation (PvE/PvP). I find it best to spec entirely into DPS once you have maxed out Medical Engineering, as it will help you kill mobs/bosses quicker.
Step 3: Combat
Again, I don’t really have many specific instructions on how to go about combat. Whether you want to utilize Stealth and CC your mobs or try to AoE your mobs is up to you. I would note, however, using AoE’s like grenades will tax your energy more. There have been plenty of threads about how to stack your abilities, so I’ll refer you to them.
The most important things about combat are as follows:
1. Remember to ALWAYS keep Kolto Probe (preferably more than 1) and Stim Boost active.
2. When your TA is low/running out, Shiv to replenish it.
3. Try not to spend your last TA unless absolutely needed or you can’t replenish it with Shiv.
4. Corrosive Dart should be active on all Strong/Elite/Champions at all times.
This is really all I want to say on combat, if people would like more elaboration on how to deal with difficult Elites or whatever, I will expand on this later.
Step 4: Gear, Stats, and Crits
Again, I’m not going to get too specific in this section. The basic idea with your gear/stats is to increase your Cunning (obviously) and your Crit%. By keeping your Crit% high, you not only have a greater chance at doing more damage with your attacks, but each Kolto Probe tick has a greater chance of healing for more life. More life = less dying. Imagine a crit’ing Kolto Probe tick healing ~500 health. Yea, that’s pretty good.
One last thing on gear and stats. Personally, I’m unsure of how much importance an Operative should place on Surge. Perhaps someone can give their thoughts in the comments?
Step 5: Putting it all Together
There you have it. At this point you should have a permanent set of heals on yourself and your companion, always have Stim Boost active, and hopefully have a TA active at all times. What this build allows you to do is enter (most) combat without having to worry about activating Kolto Injection or Infusion. Obviously, when things get dicy, you will definitely need to use both those skills. However, the constant Kolto Probe + Stim Boost should keep you at high life + high energy for most mobs. Additionally, the constant TA means you’re always dealing an extra 2% damage. Combine even more Crits for damage and healing, and you should be well on your way to owning mobs and leveling with ease.
I’d like to reiterate this guide/build only really becomes effective at level 27+ (assuming you spec straight into healing) and slit spec’ing DPS + Healing will never work once you finish leveling. I’d also like to reiterate that this guide is from my own personal experience and the reason I’m leaving so much up in the air is to allow you to play with different variations of the general concept of this build. Am I doing this wrong? Maybe. But I’ve found the following build extremely effective in my leveling process. At my current level (44), I can pretty much run through all normal mobs without breaking a sweat and even Strong mobs with the right CCs aren’t too bad either.
Thanks to all those who read this far, and I hope someone out there found this guide helpful. Happy leveling!
TL;DR: Kolto Probe + Medical Engineering + TA + Stim Boost + other skills = good times leveling