Sunday, December 11, 2011

Your Twenty-fifth Assignment: The Final Countdown

Destination confirmed, Agent.  We're headed for Nar Shadaa.

Thank you, Kaliyo.  Since we're locked in why don't we adjourn to the stateroom to go over some ... mission details.


Lock and load, agents.  The time is nigh.  A scant 36 hours remains until SWTOR's Early Access launch and we need to be prepared.  Now this will primarily be an Agent-focused (Sniper specifically) site, but this doesn't mean that we won't be talking about other classes.  In fact, let's do a quick run-down of the other Advanced Classes, talents to look for, and some gearing help.
Let's stay on the Imperial side; after all, the classes mirror each other so it shouldn't be too difficult to compare to the Republic counterparts.  First up, my vote for the most balls-out crazy fun class in the game, Bounty Hunter.

Here's a decent Bounty Hunter Mercenary build provided by portalrecords.  It goes deep into the Arsenal tree (the dps tree).  The 35/3/3 talent build seems to be very popular in SWTOR; I approve of this because it takes full advantage of a single tree even if all the points spent aren't pure DPS upgrades.  Utility is king (at least for me).  I like making whacky hybrids that may or may not work.  Bioware gave us the freedom to make some insane builds in this game and I definitely applaud them for allowing us the chance to fail horribly when we venture outside the box.

Now, I've got some experience with a Merc (level 25 on beta) and I can honestly say ... holy shitballs.  They're just a blast (get it!) to play.  Dual-wielding blaster pistols never gets old; all the rockets, flamethrowers, and jetpacks just add to the flavor.  Key abilities to look out for with the Merc is Death from Above (your own personal I-Win button), Rail Shot, and Unload.  For this build, make sure to put points in Riddle (fifth tier) and Iron Sights (first tier).  The build has some PVP type talents that can be swapped out (endurance buff from Custom Enviro Suit and the healing bonus from Kolto Vents) and slotted instead for System Calibrations and Advanced Targeting from the Pyrotech tree.

Switching ACs, let's check out Powertech (the tanking Advanced Class).  Bmstreeter provides a good Shield tree build.  Gotta be honest; didn't do any Powertech tanking in the beta.  Just glancing at the trees though shows that Shield Tech is the obvious tanking tree for PVE.  Pyrotech is the shared tree, so this build grabs a couple of talents out of there and dumps the leftover into Advanced Prototype for some damage mitigation and gas cylinder upgrades.

Up next: Sith Inquisitor.  These guys will be the Paladins of SWTOR; not in function, but in popularity.  The starter worlds will be awash in Darth Poopypants and Lord Sniffles, all vying to be lightning-throwing purveyors of evil.  But first, let's check out the Inquisitor's red-headed stepchild Advanced Class: the Assassin.

Look, the Assassin is fucking cool.  Just LOOK AT THESE TALENTS.  Stacks upon stacks of damage increasing talents that are just insane.  The Assassin has an incredible toolbox: stuns, fears, dots, stacking damage buffs, stealth, backstabs ... the list goes on and on.  You can tank or dps as an Assassin, though I've found that Assassin tanks tend to be very squishy.  Oh, I'm sure they're fine for a while, but at the highest level of play (so I've heard) the Assassin becomes less than optimal.  Make sure to take Obfuscation and Static Charges.

Let's play Emperor Palpy!  The Sorcerer is the ranged version of the Inquisitor.  It's a dot-heavy, ranged control class that has a myriad of stuns and massive damage.  It can also heal.  Here's a good heal build, as well as a ranged dps build.  The abilities are pretty self-explanatory.  Throw lightning.  Kill stuff.  Heal stuff.  Partnering this AC with Khem Val makes for a potent leveling combo.

Sith Warrior has two flavors: dps or tanking.  Marauders are the dual lightsaber terrors in the game; here's an Annihilation build for raid DPS.  It favors stacking damage buffs from Annihilation, while giving some static bonuses from the Carnage tree (offhand damage and accuracy buffs).

Juggernaut is the tanking tree of the Sith Warrior and it will probably be the main tank of most raiding guilds.  Simply put, they have the best tanking toolset in the game.  Here's an Immortal tank build that will get the job done.  Sith Warrior tanks are preferred by most groups in flashpoints because of their survivability, flexibility, threat tools, and sheer damage.  Powertechs aren't too shabby, but the ranged tanking sometimes can cause problems with melee bosses.  The Sith Warrior doesn't have that drawback; he prefers to get in the face of the enemy.  He also uses heavy armor which is favorable compared to the tank Assassin who only uses light armor.

I know I mentioned it before, but here's the stat priority for the different classes.  Remember: no matter what your Advanced Class is, your main stat remains the same!  I know stacking Willpower as an Assassin makes no sense, but that's how it is.


Sith Warrior: Strength
Sith Inquisitor: Willpower
Bounty Hunter: Aim
Imperial Agent: Cunning

Also, the armor types can change, depending on Advanced Class.

Heavy Armor: Sith Warrior (Juggernaut) and Bounty Hunter (Powertech)
Medium Armor: Imperial Agent (Operative and Sniper), Sith Warrior (Marauder), and Bounty Hunter (Mercenary)
Light Armor: Sith Inquisitor (Inquisitor and Assassin)

And finally, weaponry.

Sniper Rifle: Imperial Agent (Sniper)
Blaster Rifle: Imperial Agent (Operative)
Double Blaster Pistols: Bounty Hunter (Mercenary)
Blaster Pistol: Bounty Hunter (Powertech)
Single Lightsaber: Sith Warrior (Juggernaut) and Sith Inquisitor (Sorcerer)
Double-bladed Lightsaber: Sith Inquisitor (Assassin)
Dual Lightsabers: Sith Warrior (Marauder)

Fly safe, shoot straight.  For the glory of the Empire!

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