Category Archives: Empire


Sniper & Gunslinger SWTOR Class Representative Questions for June 2014

SWTOR Snipers and Gunslingers begin class question brainstorming. Our deadline is June 2014 which means many many weeks of cherry picking the best 6 questions to throw at the combat team.  Like the previous round of the Class Rep program, anyone can submit their question and by early June we will vote for our top 2 PVE questions, top 2 PVP questions, and 2 other “wildcard” questions.

SWTOR foroum post:

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republic capital ship

SWTOR Republic Capital Ship


Concealment SWTOR Operative DPS guide by Noire

This is a swtor operative dps guide for Concealment updated for Patch 2.6+ by Noire of <Aurum Gaming> from The Harbinger.

Table of Contents:

      1. Intro
      2. Spec
      3. Info
      4. Things to remember
      5. Opener
      6. Basic Rotation
      7. Hidden Strike
      8. AoE
      9. Gearing



We’ve seen some nice changes to this Spec to take us from a very RNG dependent, energy-starved, sub-par dps to the exact opposite.


      • Lowered the cost of Hidden Strike to 15 energy (down from 17 energy), increased its cooldown to 9 seconds (up from 7.5 seconds), and increased the damage it deals.
      • Increased the duration of Tactical Advantage by 5 seconds (now 15, up from 10)



3/36/7 is the only variation of Concealment that is viable for PvE dps. You do have a small window of variance in the first two tiers of the Concealment tree, but that’s about it.



Let’s get into it…..

As of Patch 2.6 (February 2014) the top 5 current parses for Concealment are very close to 4k and/or beyond it. The only other current class that can compete with this are Pyro Mercs by a few extra DPS. The single target damage potential is very high.

  1. Pyrotech Mercenary
  2. Concealment Operative
  3. Dotsmash Sentinel
  4. Vigilance Guardian
  5. Dirty Fighting Gunslinger

“Dummies are great, Noire, but what about Operations Bosses where it counts?’

I’m glad you asked…Concealment Operatives do not have the same ranged and AoE capabilities that Lethality Operatives enjoy, however, what we lose in those areas, we make up for in straight single target burst damage. With Lethality, a common playstyle is to DoT up the room on a very cheap Corrosive Grenade and resume single target DPS with great energy gains from multiple DoTing. Concealment does not benefit from this playstyle at all and is, therefore, focused on burning down the target at hand as heavily as you can and we have the right tools for the job now.

Orbital Strike has been nerfed into the ground. Do not use it as part of a single target rotation ever, except on an opener for your dummy parse before your initial Stealth. This means everything in this spec’s arsenal is instant-cast.


  1. Always keep 1 TA up for the extra 2% damage buff. Do not consume them all for any reason.
  2. Make use of the lack of GCD for Acid Blade by pairing it with Rifle Shot and/or Backstab. Your APM should be around 48 with good ping and frame rate.
  3. Getting additional Hidden Strikes is really good, but can be tough to fit in without messing up your timing and TA. I wait for when I have energy CDs like Adrenaline Probe up and I use it in place of a subsequent Shiv outside of my opener (this means the 3rd one and beyond in an encounter). We also generate a TON of threat, especially in the first 10 seconds and so Cloaking out is really important and helpful especially considering the talent Advanced Cloaking reduces the CD on the ability by 30 seconds.


Acid Blade → Sneak → Stealth → Hidden Strike → Backstab → Corrosive Dart → Shiv → Laceration x2 → Acid Blade/Cloaking Screen → Hidden Strike → Laceration → Shiv → Laceration → Stim Boost → Laceration → Acid Blade/Backstab → Shiv → Laceration x2 → Adrenaline Probe → Corrosive Dart → Shiv → Laceration → Rifle Shot/Acid Blade → Backstab… continue

In list format:

  1. Acid Blade → Sneak → Stealth  → Hidden Strike
  2. Backstab
  3. Corrosive Dart
  4. Shiv → Laceration → Laceration
  5. Acid Blade/Cloaking Screen → Hidden Strike
  6. Laceration
  7. Shiv → Laceration → Stim Boost → Laceration
  8. Acid Blade/Backstab
  9. Shiv → Laceration → Laceration
  10. Adrenaline Probe
  11. Corrosive Dart
  12. Shiv → Laceration → Rifle Shot/Acid Blade
  13. Backstab… continue to Basic Rotation


The simple pattern in the Concealment rotation is:

[ Shiv → 1 → 2 → 3 .. repeat ]

This will be further explained below.  Once you have established your rhythm and you can easily predict when your extra Laceration will come thanks to the talent Tactical Opportunity, you can easily maintain the energy needed to sustain your DPS, but you can also make choices ahead of time concerning your next few GCDs.

Key GCD Timings post ability activation:

The trick in min/maxing DPS with this spec is to Rifle Shot JUST enough to maintain this energy threshold. Too much and you will lose DPS, too little and you will be energy starved.

So, you’ve come out of your opener…now what? After that last Backstab….

[ Shiv → 1 → 2 → 3 .. repeat ]

  1. Shiv → Laceration x2 → Rifle Shot/Acid Blade
  2. Shiv → Laceration → Backstab → Corrosive Dart
  3. Shiv → Laceration x2 → Rifle Shot/Acid Blade
  4. Shiv → Laceration → Backstab → Rifle Shot
  5. Shiv → Laceration x2 …. repeat

  1. Shiv → Laceration x2 → Rifle Shot/Acid Blade
  2. Shiv → Laceration → Backstab → Corrosive Dart
  3. Shiv → Laceration x2 → Rifle Shot/Acid Blade
  4. Shiv → Laceration → Backstab → Rifle Shot
  5. Shiv → Laceration x2 …. repeat

  1. Shiv → 1 → 2 → 3) 
  2. Shiv → 1 → 2 → 3)
  3. Shiv → 1 → 2 → 3)
  4. Shiv → 1 → 2 → 3)
  5. Shiv → 1 → 2 →  …. repeat


  1. Watch your Shiv CD, if your Corrosive Dart is about to fall off and you have 1.5 seconds left (the GCD window of time) on Shiv, Corrosive Dart to reapply and Shiv immediately after instead of Rifle Shot.
  2. As you can see Shiv needs to be used every 3 GCDS.  Backstab needs to be used every 6 GCDS.  Also be as close to 100% uptime on Corrosive Dart as possible and essentially work to keep Backstab on cooldown to apply Acid Blade every time.


Hidden Strike can be really tempting to use by Cloaking into on the opportunity, but if poorly timed, can really be a risk and wreck your DPS instead of increase it by starving energy and/or messing with your TA.

After your opener, you should be settling into your rotation and when Cloaking Screen comes off of CD, you should delay your Hidden Strike until a few conditions are met:

  1. You have Adrenaline Probe available
  2. You have a Shiv coming up followed by a single Laceration that won’t benefit from Tactical Opportunity

In this case, it is worth delaying your Hidden Strike to replace a Shiv with and going into your Laceration without worry about putting Shiv on CD until your next round of Laceration . This keeps your energy in tact and maintains the rhythm of your rotation without the risk of falling behind.

Remember Shivs aren’t as important here as they are in the Lethality specialization because they don’t proc anything like Fatality.  Tactical Advantage is what is most important in Concealment.


Our AoE potential is not very high. Frag Grenade, Carbine Burst and Orbital Strike are as much as we get.

  1. If you are dealing with 4 or less mobs, stick with Frag Grenade and single target burst down with a potential for Orbital Strike depending on trash health at the time.
  2. If you are dealing with 5+ targets, I would recommend using the other abilities with the addition of Carbine Burst, but be mindful of TA usage with this.


Critical Rating

      • Although Crit rating behaves very erratically in this game, it’s very good/noticeable to have 200+ with this spec. I would not recommend, however, going over the 240-260 threshold.
      • Because of Concealment tree talents like Concealed Attacks, Calculated Frenzy, and Lethality (the talent), we can push Hidden Strike and Backstab over 50% chance to Crit.


      • Always have 110% Tech accuracy. This = 5 Initiative Enhancements on your character (earpiece and implants count toward this number)


      • The rest should go into Power/Surge.


      • High-end PvE Relics Focused Retribution/Serendipitous Assault are what you are after. The stat gains from this combination are ideal. When they proc together during a double-Laceration phase and you Crit gives a lot of (burst) DPS.

SWTOR Operative healer & website updates

  • The  drop-down menus have updated and added (check it out :) and added the Operative version of Fusebox’s Scoundrel healing guide (finally…)
  • Updated the drop-down menu for the Training dummy DPS Rankings (this list is not indicated of Raid DPS.  For raid DPS check out these forum leaderboards for 8-man and 16-man HM)
    1. Pyrotech Mercenary
    2. Concealment Operative
    3. Dotsmash Sentinel
    4. Vigilance Guardian
    5. Dirty Fighting Gunslinger
    6. Telekinetics Sage
    7. Assault Vanguard
    8. Balance Shadow
  • Updated the  SWTOR DPS Gear Profiles for 2.6

SWTOR Operative Healing guide by Fusebox

Operative Medicine Healing by Fusebox.  Some info about the author here.

1. Gearing thoughts
2. Skill Tree & Abilities
3. Sustainable ability combos and energy regen
4. Healing Priorities, playstyle and other tips

The Medicine Operative; what do you offer the raid?

  • Stealth revive
  • Very effective raid HoTs (Heal over time abilities)
  • Great single target healing, and “Emergency” healing
  • Effective group healing if appropriately used
  • Moderate damage and burst for the raid when needed

Here is a video that highlights some of the things I will cover.

Gearing thoughts

Power or Crit?

Both. I try and keep around 255-317 critical rating if possible, the rest is power (at the 78 level, 1 mod and 3 enhancements will give you 255 crit, 2 mods and 2 enhancements will leave you at 262 crit). Your Accomplished Doctor talent in the second to last tier of the tree gives you a static 30% surge bonus to your Kolto Injection, Kolto Infusion, and Recuperative Nanotech abilities when fully specced in the talent (3/3). Since the benefits of surge are only seen when you crit, it makes sense to pick up some critical rating as a Operative healer – just not too much so as to avoid being at “DR” (diminishing returns). Not to mention, your Diagnostic Scan gives you energy back each tick of the channel when it crits. Yes, this ability can be used as a filler even if not for the full duration.

When min/maxing almost never do you want to look at the % rating (for something like crit). What it takes for a Operative Healer to get 25% crit is a lot less than it would be for, say, a combat Marauder.

Firstly, Operative Healers pick up both a crit % talent AND a % cunning talent in the tree. This mean you will get to 25% crit without too much work. However, crit % is NOT something that hits diminishing returns, but actually the crit rating.

When people say get around X percentage, it is my impression that it is a lot more ballpark, and subject to class-specifics (and a lot less exact than talking about the actual rating in this way). Keep in mind that at lower gear levels, getting upwards of 250 crit or 400 alacrity might be a lot more painstaking and unrealistic than it would be at the 78 level.

Surge or Alacrity?

Both.. Alacrity has become a fairly useful stat for Operatives. It increases our energy regen per second, makes cast times and GCDs shorter, and also speeds up our channel on Diagnostic Scan which returns energy when it crits. Additionally, our Stim Boost‘s effectiveness scales with the amount of alacrity we have got. It essentially speeds up each and every one of our heals.

Surge is also a useful stat for us. Since picking up some critical rating is a good idea based on the dynamics of the class (see above), supplementing that with some surge rating before the diminishing returns mark is smart.

Keep in mind that to stay in a range that is energy efficient (upwards of 60 energy), or in other words, to refresh Kolto Probe and Kolto Injection + Surgical Probe effectively, you want at minimum ~450 alacrity.

Set Bonus

4-pc PVE Field Medic

  • (2) Increases the healing done by Recuperative Nanotech or Recuperative Nanotech by 15%.
  • (4) Increases maximum energy by 5.


There are a few options for relics:

  1. Ephemeral Mending,
  2. Serendipitous Assault
  3. Focused Retribution
  4. Boundless Ages

Currently I roll with 1) Dread Forged Serendipitous Assault and 1) Dread Forged Boundless Ages. I always do Operations with Toxin Scan Adrenals, but they’re on a 3 minute cooldown and only 15 seconds of uptime; if you want to be a healer that can dig your team out of a hole, Boundless Ages is your friend [just make sure to use it in anticipation of heavy damage phases (e.g. Titan 6 soft enrage) - it lasts for 30 seconds!]. For fights that don’t have phases with overwhelming damage output, 1) Dread Forged Serendipitous Assault and 2) Dread Forged Focused Retribution will definitely be your best bet. Ephemeral Mending’s effectiveness is completely RNG (random), and should not be used unless you have no better options.

Gear 2.5 HM Lethality/DP

Optimal set up from solely the unassembled tokens.

  1. Head 131 crit / 94 alacrity
  2. Chest 131 power / 94 surge
  3. Hands 131 crit / 94 alacrity
  4. Legs 131 power / 94 surge
  5. Feet 131 crit / 94 alacrity
  6. Belt 69 power
  7. Bracers 69 power
  8. Mainhand 172 power / 94 surge
  9. Offhand 172 power / 94 surge
  10. Earpiece 130 power / 94 surge
  11. Implants (2) 130 power / 94 alac

Running the above – full Field Medic’s except Field Tech Ear and Professional’s Implants – will get you:

Total = 1,134 power, 397 critical, 470 surge, 470 alacrity.

You will need to drop some of this crit as you currently have 3 set pieces with critical rating (3 mods and 3 enhancements). Replace a Head, Gloves, or Boots with an Oriconian one. From there, you can put a BiS 69 cunning/power mod (from Ultimate comm belt), and a BiS Power/Alacrity enhancement (from Ultimate comm Sith Warrior dps legs) to be at: 262 critical rating, 470 surge, 470 alacrity. Notes on gearing/playstyle can be found in the “Healing Strategy” section below.

If you are looking for things to buy with ultimate comms until you have the appropriate token pieces, the Oriconian Power/Alacrity Earpiece helps until you have an adequate amount of alacrity rating.




Optional talents
1. Change points in Corrosive Microbes + Lethal Injectors to Razor Edge for fights with movement where you can use Shiv on the boss/adds to gain speed and an Tactical Advantage.

2. A common alternative to this skill tree is 38/3/5. Individuals usually pick up the ‘Infiltrated Med Delivery’ talent that generates 2 Tactical Advantage when exiting Stealth. However, if you begin the fights with tanks hotted and build 1-2 Tactical Advantages before pull with a couple of Kolto Injections + Diagnostic Scan, these 2 talent points are useless unless Stealth Rezzing. The two points in Medicine leading up to Recuperative Nanotech are usually spent in ‘Med Shield.’ However, I prefer ‘Evasive Imperative‘ as Evasion is a much better cooldown, and this talent can be great for fights with adds. The Shield Probe heal is mediocre at best. Even though Shield Probe‘s absorb scales with the amount of healing power you possess, it doesn’t with the heal (from my observation).



  1. Toxin Scan – Cleanses an ally of up to 2 negative tech or physical effects. Spec also allows you to dispel mental effects. See the “Healing Strategy” section below for effective use of this ability in a raid setting [important].
  2. Resuscitation Probe – Your in-combat revive reserved for targets that are a high priority for the fight (usually tanks and healers).
  3. Cloaking Screen or Cloaking Screen + Revive – Cloaking Screen can be used as a defensive cooldown if absolutely necessary. However, an important use of this ability is in combination with your out of combat “Revive” ability. Cloaking Screen drops you out of combat allowing you to “Stealth Rez” a raid member. More info on this in the “Healing Strategy” section.
  4. Adrenaline Probe – If you are digging yourself into a hole in terms of energy management, go ahead and burn through the rest of it and pop this cooldown. It restores 16 energy immediately, on top of 50 energy over 3 seconds. If you can make it back into energy efficiency (60+ energy) with some Diagnostic Scans, do that instead, as blowing your Adrenaline Probe cooldown can really hurt you if the raid is to take spontaneous damage.
  5. Sneak/Sleep Dart (Trash only abilities)
  6. Scamper – “Roll forward a short distance. While rolling, your chance to avoid melee and ranged attacks is increased by 30%. Costs 25 Energy, but has no cooldown.” Great for getting out of the way, or putting yourself in a better position. Do not use if below ~75 energy unless it is a lull in the fight.


  1. Tactical Advantage – Try to stay above 1 stack of Tactical Advantage (max of 3 when specced). From the 2nd tier talent ‘Medical Consult,’ Operatives get a +6% bonus healing if >1 stack is active. Healing abilities that consume Tactical Advantage include Surgical Probe and Kolto Infusion. Abilities that generate Tactical Advantage that you will actually use in a raid setting are Kolto InjectionStim Boost, Slow-release Medpac (30% chance per tick, once every 4.5 seconds max, with proper spec), and Shiv (though infrequently).
  2. Stim Boost – Use when just under 60 energy, or when you need to do burst healing and/or have relics/adrenal running. Also Generates Tactical Advantage.

Important item to note is the Prototype (or Reusable) Nano-Infused Toxin Scan Adrenal. These are a healer’s best friend during situations where your raid is taking moderate-high damage.

Defensive Abilities

  1. Shield Probe – Small amount of absorb (maybe 3-4k at 78 gear level?)
  2. Evasion – Purges removable effects and 100% Evasions melee and ranged attacks for 3 seconds. Does not break Stealth.
  3.  Countermeasures – Drops your threat. Just like with DPS, using this ability preemptively can be helpful – especially if you have adds attacking you.

Offensive Abilities

  1. Orbital Strike – You will want to cast this when your heals will not suffer (long cast time, high energy usage). Do this before a fight’s pull, or for AoE.
  2. Explosive Probe – In-cover ability, high energy cost, large burst potential, can be used from range.
  3. Corrosive Dart – A DoT that can be used on the boss when you have down time.
  4. Backstab – Must be behind target. Good ability for burst.
  5. Shiv – Use in combination with Backstab to do good burst at melee range. Generates Tactical Advantage as well.


  1. Escape – Standard remove-movement-impairing-effects ability (PvP stunbreak but useful in Ops on occasion – Cartel Warlords’ Vilus Garr, Titan 6 stomp, etc.)
  2. Debilitate – Brief stun, useful on gold adds.
  3. Flash Grenade – Instant (minus the travel time) 8-second stun with a small radius. Not 30-meter range like Sniper‘s, but still useful on gold adds that are on your raid, or for interrupts.

Class Changes

Crouch + Take Cover – Crouch no longer mitigates damage or prevents enemies from leaping to you. Take Cover should only be used as a gap closer now.


Healing as a Operative requires that you play around with these abilities:

  1. Kolto Injection – The Operative‘s “big” heal. Can crit for almost 1/3 of a raid member’s HP. Generates Tactical Advantage.
  2. Kolto Infusion – Requires Tactical Advantage. Use on cooldown, if possible. Energy efficient, heal up front + HoT afterward.
  3. Slow-release Medpac – HoT that stacks up to two times. Maintain this on individuals that should take consistent damage (tanks). Other common targets include healer OR dps Sith Sorcerers with low force (as they will surely be “noble sacrificing” to change hp to force), and melee DPS as they typically have more damage taken during fights. Generates Tactical Advantage (30% chance per tick, once every 4.5 seconds max, with proper spec).
  4. Recuperative Nanotech – Very energy efficient heal if you can get 3-4 raid members that can benefit from this HoT. Casting this ability on a targetted ally will heal 3 others that are within 10 meters of said individual. Do NOT use this ability on cooldown. Doing so will lead to you not having it up when the raid really needs it. When the raid is taking damage, casting it on a melee dps, or yourself when you are in range of co-healer or other dps, are usually good opportunities.
  5. Surgical Probe – Requires Tactical Advantage. Instant cast heal that should not be spammed, but used when you have 2-3 stacks of Tactical Advantage, or Kolto Infusion on cooldown, and want to top off tanks or raid members. Especially useful on raid members lower than 30% HP, as it will not require a stack when properly specced.
  6. Diagnostic Scan – With adequate amount of crit and alacrity, Diagnostic Scan is a good filler ability. If tanks and other consistently damage-taking individuals are hotted, you should be using this ability to increase your energy, or Precast/Cast cancel Kolto Injection, which I will cover later (“Healing Strategy” section).
  7. Kolto Probe – Slow-Release Medpac :  18-second duration heal over time ability that stacks up to two times. Refreshing this HoT before it falls off will maintain the 2 stacks. This should be done on individuals that should take consistent damage (tanks). Other common targets include, but not are limited to, healer OR dps Sith Sorcerers with low force (as they will surely be “noble sacrificing” to change hp to force), and melee DPS as they typically have more damage taken during fights. Generates Tactical Advantage (30% chance per tick, once every 4.5 seconds max, with proper spec).


  1. Kolto Probe x2 on tanks, Sith Sorcerers, melee dps or other frequently damage-taking players.
  2. Kolto Infusion if you have 2+ stacks of Tactical Advantage.
  3. Kolto Injection if you see players with (generally) more than 20% HP missing.
  4. Surgical Probe if Kolto Infusion on cd and you have 2+ stacks of Tactical Advantage. This ability should be prioritized if you see players in danger at less than 30% HP.
  5. Recuperative Nanotech on targetted ally if there are multiple people within 10 meters that can benefit from this HoT.
  6. Diagnostic Scan if you ever see yourself dipping into inefficient energy regeneration range (less than 60% energy regen).


Ability combinations that end up at 4 pips of energy regen

Similar to Mercenaries healing, Operatives have a limited pool of resource  that gives them optimal energy regeneration.  Note that in order to be sustainable you will have to allow time for energy to regenerate in between your healing abilities that cost energy.  Unlike Mercenaries who only have Rapid Shots, Operatives have two abilities they can use to maintain 4 pips of regen.  These are Diagnostic Scan  and Surgical Probe.  For the purpose of section of the guide, let’s just use Diagnostic Scan‘s icons below.  Also note that Diagnostic Scan gives you energy whenever it crits so that gives you some leeway and allows you to be more daring with your energy bar.  In contrast Surgical Probe is your on demand burst healing which costs no resource and should definitely be used over Diagnostic Scan when immediate healing is needed.


  1. Energy positive = leaves you at 4 pips of energy regen;
  2. Sustainable healing = leaves you at the same energy mark you started with prior to doing the healing combo

Sustainable healing (used infinitely will not dip you below 4 regen):

emergencymedpack → diagnosticscan

Below is the Operative‘s sustainable burst healing as long as you have stacks of Tactical Advantage to spend:

emergencymedpack →  surgicalprobe

Both can be interchanged depending on if you need more energy or need burstier healing

This one below is energyp positive however Kolto Infusion has a cooldown and cannot be spammed.

koltoinfusion → diagnosticscan

Because Recuperative Nanotech is instant cast, you are bound to regen its entire energy cost when you do

koltocloud → diagnosticscan

From 100%, beginning your healing combo with Recuperative Nanotech and Kolto Injection is slightly energy neutral.  This means by the end of Kolto Injection you should be approximately at 90% energy and allow you continue with the other ability combos down below:

koltocloud → surgicalprobe~100% energy

Energy positive ability combos:

For staggered healing over time

emergencymedpack → koltoinfusion → diagnosticscan

koltoinfusion → emergencymedpack → diagnosticscan

Biggest burst healing

emergencymedpack → emergencymedpack → diagnosticscan

emergencymedpack →  surgicalprobe

Other energy positive ability combos

koltocloud → emergencymedpack → diagnosticscan → emergencymedpack

koltocloud →  emergencymedpack → diagnosticscan → koltoinfusion

Keep in mind while doing these ability combos, you are also, still, supposed to maintain 2 stacks of Kolto Probe on priority players

surgicalprobe x 2 = Put on Tanks, Sorcerer healers (for when they Consume, melee DPS, etc


  1. Focus Target and Acquire focus target’s target keybind
    • Setting your focus target to the boss or enemy and using a keybind for ‘Acquire Focus Target’s Target’ under ‘Preferences’ → ‘Targetting’ will make your reaction time much better. It can help tremendously for anticipating raid damage. This is especially true for bosses/enemies that cannot be Taunted. Some examples of this are NiM S&V Olok Phase 1: Wealthy Buyer and Heirad’s lightning in NiM TFB Dread Guards. It also lets you know when the boss is casting certain abilities.
  2. Precasting/Cast Cancelling
    • With practice you will be able to precast Kolto Injection on your tank in anticipation of spike damage. This is especially important for boss fights that have heavy single-target tank damage. If no damage is given to the tank near the end of your cast, simply press one of your movement keys to stop the cast.
  3. “Hotting up” the raid
    • In phases of fights that have heavy damage output to the entire raid, anticipate the damage and cast Kolto Probex2 on each raid member. Maintaing these, along with some your other heals here and there, will be extremely beneficial. Make sure your raid is using their defensives/medpacs/Sniper bubble/etc. too! Some examples are: Fingers in HM Brontes and S&V Titan 6 final phase, as well as Thrasher.
  4. Stealth Rezzing
    • The Revive ability should absolutely be hotkeyed, as right clicking a dead body is almost always a bad idea for reviving. There are two things to consider for Stealth Rezzing
    • Assure that you do not have any HoTs rolling on ANY targets, as this will pull you back into combat.
    • The phase of the fight will allow for you to get off a long cast time, and will not pull you back into combat.
  5. Notes on Reviving
    • Never use your in-combat revive “Resuscitation Probe” on a DPS unless absolutely necessary, or if the fight requires intense burn. Alternatively, you should opt to save it for later on in the fight, and go for a Stealth Rez instead, if one of these members dies early on in the fight and you can manage to get it off.

6. Cleansing in Operations

  • Any DoTs (damage over time) or debuffs that look like tech abilities (Imperial Agent/Agent or Bounty Hunter/BH abilities) you can almost guarantee are cleansable and should be cleansed as they usually tick for quite a bit of damage.
  • This is not always the case. However, it is a good indication of an opportune time to use Toxin Scan. An example of when you might get thrown off: the grenade in S&V’s Olok the Sith Assassin fight that looks like a cleansable corrosive grenade dot.


In general, the two biggest things that affect your healing role are your co-healers, and the group’s DPS composition. You might want to play differently, and therefore, gear differently, depending on the healers you run with.

I agree 100% with this comment in my other thread, from Anivra of <Severity Gaming>

To add to the discussion here, alacrity/surge is also somewhat based on your role as a healer and your healing style. My 16m group runs 2 Operatives and 2 Sith Sorcerers, with the Operatives usually on tanks. As such, I’m typically using more casted abilities (Kolto Injection / Kolto Infusion) than if I would be assigned to raid healing, where I would use instants (Surgical Probe/ Recuperative Nanotech/Slow Realease Medpac).

The more casted abilities you use, the better alacrity becomes. It may not seem like a lot, but .15-.2 seconds off the cast of UM over the course of a 5 minute fight is (at best) 16 more UM casts, which at my average UM is more than 100k more healing. That’s a generous estimate, as I won’t be chain-casting UM, but it makes the point that I’m going for.  - Holdt View Post

Since most people play in an 8-man setting, here are some things to think about: If you heal with a:

Merc Healer

Merc Healer

You might consider swapping out an alacrity enhancement for a surge one, since in this scenario you will more than likely be playing the role of a proactive HoT healer.  In contrast, if you heal with a

Sorcerer healer

Sorcerer healer

You might consider swapping in an alacrity enhancement, as you will be more casting focused.


Heals Per Second (HPS) is the rate at which you heal – how many green numbers you put out into the raid per second. Effective Heals Per Second (EHPS), however, is the best measure of your “effectiveness” as a healer – the amount of healing output that is actually a heal, and not an overheal. Thus, EHPS is the best thing to look at. Take this statistic with a grain of salt, though, because in contrast with a player’s DPS output, a lot of other factors besides your own button clicking can impact your EHPS. How much damage is the raid taking – are people standing in stupid? How geared are your tanks? How good/geared is your co-healer(s)? All of this, and more, will alter your EHPS.

Examples of increasing HPS but not EHPS

Recuperative NanotechKolto Infusion

Using Recuperative Nanotech and Kolto Infusion on cooldown.  These abilities have strong HOTs.  Using them on cooldown regardless of whether or not the raid is taking damage is sure to increase your HPS , but not your EHPS.  The only exception to this is :

Kolto Probe

Slow Relase Medpac should be rolling on your hots and ideally on melee DPS and Sith Sorcerer (healers) as well. This will grant you a steady stream of HPS and give a steady constant stream of light heals to players that constantly take damage.  Sith Sorcerers especially healers will occasionally if not constantly use Consumption and having your HOTS up on them will definitely help in the long run.  You don’t want your Sith Sorcerers to be a low health especially during high burst or incoming damage phases in the raid.

Aside from these abilities, most of your other heals contribute greatly to EHPS.  The combo:

Kolto Injection  & Surgical Probe

is one of the biggest and easily sustainable burst healing rotations in the game (especially when it crits). Underworld having a 1.5 second cast time, and Surgical Probe being an instant cast which costs no energy other than using up a stack of Tactical Advantage.  Obtaining stacks of Tactical Advantage should not be a problem as Medicine and you will find yourself swimming if not clipping these most of the time in a raid (especially when you use Kolto Injection generously), which is what you should be doing in the first place.

Maintain 4 pips of energy regeneration with Diagnostic Scan

and remember:  SPAM <Kolto InjectionSurgical Probe>, not< Surgical ProbeSurgical ProbeSurgical Probe>. Despite how “fun” it may seem to heal players while running and jumping around and using only your instants (which is what Operative healers are known for), your best and strongest heals come from

Kolto Injection  into → Surgical Probe.

When no allies need priority burst healing, then use that time to refresh your HoTs.


SWTOR Patch Notes – Game Updates

Operations and Flashpoint-oriented timeline of the SWTOR patch notes (if there’s anything i missed, or corrections, let me know!) and other major happenings.”  As of Patch 2.6, there are 7 Operations to do, 5 new flashpoints added to the game (including HK-51, altho not exactly a flashpoint but the content is huge). There are also multiple 1) Ground PvP updates, 2) Exploration dailies (Macrobinocular, Seeker Droid) and 3) Recurring Events as well but those are not covered here.

 Dec 2011 1.0 ev
 L50  cap
 January 2012 1.1 kp
 April 1.2 ec
 September 1.4 tfb
 November 1.5 secx
  Explosive Conflict Nightmare
 January 2013
 April 2.0 sav
 L55  cap 2000
 June 2.2 Terror From Beyond Nightmare
 July 2.2.2 Scum and Villainy Nightmare
 August 2.3 cz198
 October 2.4 df
 January 2014
 February 2.6 gsf
 April 2.7  Dread Fortress Nightmare
 July 2.8  Dread Palace Nightmare
 January 2015
 January 2016
 January 2017
 January 2018
 January 2019
 January 2020
 January 2021
 January 2022



SWTOR Darkness and Hybrid Assassin tank guide

I. SWTOR Assassin tank guide by KeyboardNinja (video)
II. Deception Hybrid tank

I. Darkness Tank

recklesness THE BASICS

Tanking with Sith Assassin requires you to play around with these threat generating abilities:

  1. ShockEnergize, Electrify, Harnessed Darkness. Used along with Wither to generate Harnessed Darkness.
  2. WitherMounting Darkness, Harnessed Darkness. Applies an AoE slow.
  3. Force LightningHarnessed Darkness. Grants you Dark Protection with 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness.
  4. DischargeMounting Darkness. Applies an accuracy debuff.
  5. ThrashThrashing Blades, Energize, Conspirator’s Cloak. Basic DPS ability.
  6. MaulEnergize. High DPS ability with positional requirement. Talented by Conspirator’s Cloak.
  7. Force Pull – Pulls the target to you and generates a high amount of threat. Has a min range requirement.
  8. Taunt – forces the target to hit you and increases your threat as long as you have the attention of the mob when you activate the ability.
  9. AssassinateEnergize, Conspirator’s Cloak. Execute ability on targets < 30% HP.
  10. LacerateEnergize, melee aoe ability.
  11. SpikeHand of Darkness, CC knock-down.

Mitigating damage as a Sith Assassin requires you to use these defensive abilities and cooldowns:

  1. Dark Ward – 15 sec cd. Maintain the buff at all times. Max mitigation happens when you have 8 stacks of Dark Bulwark with at least 1 stack left on Dark Ward.
  2. Deflection – 2 min cd. 50% melee and ranged defense for 12 seconds. Good for mitigating frequent ranged and melee attacks,
  3. Force Shroud – 1 min cd. 100% immunity to force and tech attacks for X seconds on a fairly short cooldown. Can negate a lot of boss mechanics. Works against targeted and AoE abilities as long as they are Force or Tech attacks.
  4. Overcharge Saber – 2 min cd. 15% self-heal with a DPS component by buffing your Technique. Additional damage reduction from Hollow,
  5. (Offensive) Recklessness – 1 min 30 sec cd. When activated with Energize causes your Shock to deal a huge amount of damage and threat.

Other passive tanking talents:

  1. Shroud of Darkness + Endurance
  2. Premonition + Defense
  3. Assassin’s Training + Endurance

Unique (and Other) abilities available to Sith Assassin tanks are:

  1. Force Speed – 20 sec cd. Disjunction.
  2. Phase Walk – great utility abiltiy for quick repositioning around the map. Leaves Assassin‘s Shelter persistent buff on the ground which buffs healers and allies who stand in it.
  3. Force Cloak – 2 min cd. Gets you of combat. Can be used to do an in-combat Revive.
  4. StealthPremonition.
  5. Blackout – increases your Stealth level allowing you to go unnoticed by most enemies.
  6. Mind Trap – 1 min CC.
  7. Guard – place on your high threat DPS. Preferably on melee DPS,
  8. Dark ChargeCharge Mastery, Electric Execution. Your tanking “stance”
  9. Force Slow – 12 sec cd. 10m range.

Interrupts are a crucial part of tanking. They should be used on mobs to help mitigate attacks that would’ve otherwise dealt damage to your allies:

  1. Overload – 15 sec cd. Conal knock-back.
  2. Electrocute – 1 min cd. Hard stun.
  3. Jolt – 12 sec cd. Interrupt’s your target’s cast.
  4. Force Pull – 1 min cd. Not useable on some targets (e.g. bosses, champion mobs) and requires min range.

Force management skills:

  1. Lightning Reflexes → Lightning Recovery
  2. Blood of Sith

courage Gearing


Tam is KeyboardNinja’s Shadow tank from the Ebon Hawk

Here are two options on how to gear your tank in SWTOR based on number crunches provided by the following theorycrafters:

  1. Optimal Tanking Stats by KBN
  2. Tanking Stats and Squish by Dipstik

darkbulwark Dark Bulwark

Dark Ward is a tanking mechanic unique to Assassin tanks that requires you to keep the buff up in order to mitigate max damage. Dark Ward has 15 charges, lasts 20 seconds and can be refreshed every 15 seconds. Dark Bulwark gives you 1% Absorption whenever a stack of Dark Ward is used up (that is when you “absorb” an attack) and it stacks up to 8 times. This means that you should be “tankiest” at 8 stacks of Dark Ward and you have at least 1 stack left on Dark Ward.

This means that it is not optimal (although it won’t significantly harm your survivability) to simply refresh Dark Ward on cooldown because doing so will refresh your Dark Bulwark stacks back to 0.  However it IS better QoL if that is what you are looking for.   With the PVE Survivor set bonus, let’s look at the benefits you get beginning with a full stack of Dark Ward :

  • Dark Ward x 15 gives you +0% absorb and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 14 gives you +1% absorb and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 13 gives you +2% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 12 gives you +3% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 11 gives you +4% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 10 gives you +5% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 9 gives you +6% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 8 gives you +7% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 7 gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 6 gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 5 gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 4 gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 3 gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 2 gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield
  • Dark Ward x 1 gives you +8% absorption and +20% shield

As you can see it is optimal to maintain Dark Ward at 7 stacks or less and then refreshing 1) before it runs out and you lose the +20 shield buff or 2) before all 15 stacks are used up and you lose the +20% shield buff.  Note that you’re playing with fire letting Dark Ward linger at 1 or 2 stacks and possibly letting it fall off .  Getting hit at that moment is not going to be optimal as well.

Further reading and some numbers from KBN about Dark Bulwark here.

hd2 What is Dark Protection?

Dark Protection is a buff you get by casting Force Lightning with 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness.  Dark Protection stacks up to 4 times and it is very crucial that you maintain this buff on you at all times.

wrath What is Harnessed Darkness?

Shock and Wither have a 100% chance to grant Harnessed Darkness, which makes the next Force Lightning used uninterruptible and immune to pushback. In addition, each stack increases the damage dealt by your next Force Lightning by 25%. Stacks up to 3 times. At 3 stacks, dealing damage with Force Lightning grants Dark Protection, which increases damage reduction by 1%. Dark Protection stacks up to 4 times and lasts 12 seconds.

hd3 Structure of the rotation


Where 1, 2 and 3 are abilities that proc Harnessed Darkness


Where GCD1, GCD2 and GCD3 are filler abilities while you wait for Wither and Shock to come off cooldown.  Use these GCDs to increase your DPS by using Thrash, Assassinate, Maul proc, reapply Discharge for the accuracy debuff if it is about to fall off or to reposition yourself in a boss fight, etc.

At (3) Shock should come off cooldown following the rotation structure above and you now have 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness.  Channel Force Lightning to grant you 1 stack of Dark Protection.

withershockthrashmauulshockforcelightning repeat

hsquestion What is GCDx?


The optimal thing to do in terms of threat and rotational safety is to channel Force Lightning immediately (after 3) and start the rotation over from the beginning. This is what I do most of the time. However, you are also perfectly free to inject two additional GCDs before you channel, though GCD5 is playing with fire unless your connection is very lag-free. These GCDs are new in 2.5, since it was previously utterly mandatory to channel as often as you possibly could, whereas now there is no particular benefit in channeling before the stacks are about to expire (aside from extra threat). Originally posted by: KBN

With Energize

Once the channel is finished, you start the rotation block from the top. Note that, because of the Energize proc, it is entirely possible that your rotation will actually look like this one below.  Because of Energize you are able to refresh your stacks in as early as 6 seconds, around half the time of Dark Protection’s duration which is 12 seconds.

wither → shock → thrashenergize → shock → forcelightning repeat

Without Energize

Energize is not needed to maintain your Dark Protection stacks.  As long as you keep Wither and Shock on cooldown, you will always have around 3 seconds to spare before Dark Protection runs out. This 3 seconds is accounted for in GCD 4 and GCD 5. Try the rotation from 10-m range to test it for yourself. You will always be able to maintain 4 stacks of Dark Protection.

shockwither→ wait → wait →shockforcelightning repeat

recklesness Recklessness, Chain Shock and Energize

Some Assassin tanks spec into Chain Shock, a 3 point talent in the Deception tree which gives a chance for your Shock to do a second attack that deals less damage (and threat). It is worth noting that Chain Shock will eat both stacks of Recklessness. Because of this it is best to use Shock when you have 1 stack left on Recklessness. Because of this the best use of Shock is when you have 1) Energize Proc and 2) when you have a stack of Recklessness left.


1. (2) + 3 x HD → (1) + Shock with Energize
2. (2) + Wither → (1) + Shock with Energize

First Shock, Second Wither

Check the following rotations:

1. shockwitherGCDGCDshockforcelightning

2. withershockGCDGCDGCDshockforcelightning

Both are tied to Shock’s cooldown in order to get the 3rd stack of Harnessed Darkness for your Force Lightning.  The 2nd rotation gives you an additional GCD thus delaying your Force Lightning by 1 GCD.  The first one is the optimal rotation since it allows you to refresh your stacks in the least amount of time.

Use Shock as early and as often as possible. If you don’t use Shock in either the first (optimally) or second GCD after you channel Force Lightning, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re having trouble maintaining your Dark Protection stsacks, this is probably why.


shockwitherdischarge thrash mauul→ shockrecklesnessforcelightning …

Following this opener, you will have a block which looks like this:

withershockGCDGCDGCD→ shockGCDforcelightning …

All of your subsequent rotation blocks will look like this second block above, with varying abilities placed in GCD1 through GCD3  (which can be eliminated if you get a Energize proc) and optional abilities being applied in the one GCD following the 2nd Shock as necessary.

Deafening Defense Reduces all damage taken by 2% at all times and by an additional 7.5% while Enraged Defense is active. Additionally reduces the cooldown of Intimidating Roar by 7.5 seconds. Force Management 

Force Management can be tough especially when off-tanking by missing out on up to 40% force regeneration by shielding or defending against attacks.   Some bosses also do not hit frequently enough to maximize the gains from Lightning Reflexes and Lightning Recovery.  Fortunately there is plenty of room in the cycle to allow for a force positive rotation while still maintaining your Dark Protection stacks:

withershockassaultassaultassaultshockassault→ forcelightning …

Force cost of above rotation is 20 + 26 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 26 + 0 + 30 = 102 force over 9 GCDs.  Putting in Saber Strikes, by default you will regenerate at least 10.4 * 13.5 = 140.4 force. That is more than enough force so you definitely do not want to use Saber Strike all the way.  The most important thing though is to have just enough force to keep your Shock on cooldown and have enough force for the following Force Lightning.  This is 26 + 30 – 15.6 = 41 force at the end of GCD3.

1. shockwitherGCDgcd3shockforcelightning

2. withershockGCDGCDgcd3shockforcelightning

 Conspirator’s Cloak

Remember the example from ’First Shock, Second Wither‘ section:


By using Shock at the beginning of your next cycle, you are able to cut GCDs out of your rotation which enables you to channel Force Lightning faster.  However since it is no longer needed to channel Force Lightning as often as possible, this (aside from giving you some breathing time for refreshing Dark Protection) adds an extra GCD where you can increase DPS by using Thrash, Assassinate or your Maul proc:






By adding an extra GCD prior to Force Lightning this allows the cooldown of your previous Shock to align with the tail end of your Force Lightning channel.  This means after you finish chanelling , Shock will always be up at the beginning of your next rotation cycle.

shockwitherGCDGCDshockGCDforcelightning …

shockwitherGCDGCDshockGCDforcelightning …



It is still possible for you to add that extra GCD before Force Lightning but you need to be careful otherwise you risk losing your stacks of Dark Protection.  Remember you still have to account for positioning, adds, and boss mechanics.

If you delay by more than one GCD, or if you have to move a lot in the middle of the rotation (delaying the second Shock, then you probably need to go straight into the channel just to be safe.

Hard Priority Queue

  1. Force Lightning if 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness and <1.5s on Dark Protection
  2. Force Lightning if 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness and boss mechanics incoming
  3. Shock if < 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness
  4. Wither if <3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness
  5. Discharge if accuracy debuff expiring
  6. Assassinate if above 51 force
  7. Recklessness + Force Lightning if 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness
  8. Maul if above 46 force
  9. Force Lightning if 3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness
  10. Thrash if above 49 force
  11. Saber Strike

Dark Protection stacks are eminently maintainable. The above is how you do it. :-) SWTOR Assassin tank and rotation guide by KeyboardNinja.  SWTOR Disucssion thread

II. Deception Hybrid Tank

With all that’s said above, briefly put Assassin tanking requires 3 things:



Deception’s Darkswell

Exiting stealth mode now finishes the cooldown of Blackout, and Blackout can now be used out of stealth mode, granting 6 seconds of Dark Embrace and restoring 15 Force. While Dark Embrace is active, all damage taken is reduced by 25%. In addition, Force Cloak no longer reduces healing done and received.

Is another tanking build for Asssasin’s that use Blackout in conjunction with Darkswell.  At a glance it is easy to see the difficulty playing the Hybrid tanking build.  1) You begin with 2% damage reduction instead of 4% since you are speccing only 1/2 Conspirator’s Cloak.  You do not have Wither which means 2) you rely only on Shock to generate Harnessed Darkness and 3) you won’t have the 5% boss damage reduction.  4) You will have less (AoE) threat as well if it comes down to that..

fightingspirit Trade-off

The trade-off between the Darkness and the Hybrid tanking build is mentioned clearly here:

So, the following question, is losing 100% uptime on the 4% DR worth 6sec of on demand 25% DR every 60sec? I suppose it would depend on the fight?  Quote: Originally Posted by ML_DoubleTap

In addition:

[...] you have to be better with the Hybrid build [than] you have to be with the standard spec.  If you are just able to refresh Dark Protection a millisecond before it runs out in the [Darkness] spec, that’s not enough to run the Hybrid and to get a good significant uptime of Dark Protection there. Quote: Originally Posted by THoK-Zeus <DiLiH>

One requirement to playing the Darkswell Hybrid as mentioned by Thok-Zeus above is to be able to keep your Dark Protection stacks up which can be slightly difficult because of the lack of Wither. However if you are able to keep the same uptime on Dark Protection in the Darkswell build as you can when you play the Darkness build (for a certain boss fight), then the 25% on demand damage reduction from the Darkswell hybrid is definitely a viable alternative.

 Activating Darkswell → Dark Embrance

Getting the on demand 25% damage reduction can be done in several ways.

  1. Going out of Stealth
  2. Activating Blackout
  3. Activating Force Cloak + Taunt

Activating Force Cloak to give you stealth and immediately going out of stealth will also grant you Dark Embrace. 

Force Cloak Cooldown: 120s. Uses the Force to vanish from sight, immediately exiting combat and entering stealth mode. For 10 seconds, you become virtually undetectable but all healing done and received is decreased by 100%.  Obviously this last choice has the added benefit of reducing/removing all your threat and removes your ability to do an in-combat Revive.  Careful planning and thinking ahead is needed if ever you decide to use Force Cloak + Taunt … for the 25% damage reduction.

koltiinjection Pick your poison

If the goal is maximizing +4% damage reduction from Harnessed Darkness → Dark Protection, then Full Darkness will be easier to play because of Wither and will allow more room for error. If Full Darkness gives you 100% uptime on Dark Protection, the Darkswell Hybrid is going to slightly give you a harder time maintaining this uptime because of the lack of Wither. HOWEVER if another tank can apply a 5% damage reduction on the boss (you won’t have one because of Wither), you have a good rotation and can keep 100% uptime on Dark Protection, and you have no need for Force Cloak outside of using it on cooldown to give you the Darkswell buff, then the Hybrid build is an ok alternative.

The only boss i use a 33/11/2 build sometimes is Nefra, it’s the only boss that fulfills all the requirements if there’s someone with the 5% damage reduction buff (no movement, no stealth rez possible, you get [the damage all the time] and can (and should) vanish on cooldown, no need for aoe threat….) Quote: Originally Posted by THok-Zeus

Given 100% uptime on Dark Protection


  1. Force Shroud – 1 min cd. 100% immunity to Force or Tech attacks
  2. Deflection – 2 min cd. 50% Ranged and Melee defense
  3. Overcharge Saber – 2 min cd. 25% damage reduction
  4. Wither - 5% boss damage reduction.  AoE Threat.
  5. Force Cloak  always available for utility
  6. Starts the fight with 4/4 Dark Protection

Deception Hybrid

  1. Force Shroud – 1 min cd. 100% immunity to Force or Tech attacks
  2. Blackout – 1 min cd. 25% damage reduction
  3. Force CloakTaunt - 2 min cd. 25% damage reduction after stealth
  4. Deflection – 2 min cd. 50% Ranged and Melee defense
  5. Overcharge Saber – 2 min cd. 25% damage reduction
  6. No Wither 5% boss damage reduction (needs a fellow Darkness Tank or a Powertech tank), no Wither aoe threat
  7. Removes your ability to use Force Cloak for utility (once used)
  8. You may start with 2/4 Dark Protection if spec’d 1/2 Conspirator’s Cloak

Dotsmash Hybrid Marauder Sentinel DPS

Charadith’s Hybrid Marauder {Ebon Hawk} by B’oard

Trade-off versus Full Rage, losing AoE damage for slightly more Single target damage.  Edits: Spec invented by Charadith from the Ebon Hawk, and (~BiS) parsed by Attrix {Ebon Hawk}.  See comments for more info.


  1. Skills  & Talents
  2. Abilities used
  3. Opener
  4. Priorities
  5. Looking at the logs
  6. Rage/Focus management


  1. 3800 DPS Ardarel_Solo or El’ethon (AMR profile)
  2. 3779 DPS Xievix (AMR profile)
  3. 3747 DPS  Attrix 
  4. Raid parsed by Lafayette (8-man) (Others) (The Eyeless video)

Continue reading


Shield Tech Powertech tanking guide by MGNMTTRN

Hammer Thoughts:  Some Notes on Shield Tech. A Shield Tech Powertech tanking guide by MGNMTTRN.  Introduction by Tiika, MT <Intrepid>

I, MGNMTTRN on the official SWTOR forums, assert that I have attempted to bring you the most accurate information possible. However, I realize that in a guide of this depth and breadth, there will be mistakes. Send your angry letters to B’oarder of

Table of Contents
1. Specific values
1.1 Gearing
1.2 Basic Ion Gas Cylinder  functionality
2. Exploring Ion Gas Cylinder in more depth
3. Single target threat
3.1 Opener
3.2 Priority
5. AOE threat for trash & adds
6. Details of heat management
7. Animation clipping and delays
7. Self healing

1. Skill Tree

(BASIC) 36/5/0 with 5 points leftover.  In author’s opinion: getting +8 stockstrike is pretty important, and +2% damage reduction and +3% accuracy  are both essential. So you are left over with just 3 points to play with and he put them into 1/2 Advanced Tools and 2/2 into Hot Iron.


If you allow Flamethrower to cooldown naturally and then do a Rapid Shot, it will most likely refresh the cooldown due to Flame Engine and speccing into Advanced Tools will allow you to dish out the most Flamethrowers in a long fight.  For more Endurance put these points in Integrated Cardio Package. For extra crit put these points in Prototype Burn Enhancers. For the most DPS put these points in Hot Iron & Iron Fist1280 DPS original parse with Prototype Burn Enhancers → 1293 simulared DPS gain with Hot Iron.



1.1 Specific values

Some values, especially damage spreads, are specific to my level 55 Powertech tank under patch 2.5.2 (1398.21.0) wearing mixed level 72/78 gear. Ranged bonus damage: 637, Tech bonus damage: 1091.9, 0 points in critical and surge ratings. See ‘gearing’ section for more information on gearing your tank.
When discussing kinetic/energy damage spreads, if armor debuffs are not discussed, assume a boss damage reduction of 0.7 was applied to simulate the effect of a 20% armor rating debuff on the target.

1.2 Gearing

Patch 2.5 DPS In full level 78 gear you should be hitting at least 1300 damage/second on an operations dummy with armor debuff. Examples of my rotation:


1.3 Basic Ion Gas Cylinder functionality

Understanding your Powertech‘s Ion Gas Cylinder is essential if you hope to play the Powertech tank class well.  Among other things, Ion Gas Cylinder [gives] ranged attacks a 15% chance to deal additional energy damage.’ Note that the only attacks accessible to Powertechs that SWTOR considers to be ranged are Rail Shot, Unload, and Rapid Shots. For now we’ll only worry about the chance of Rapid Shots triggering an Ion Gas Cylinder effect.

Rapid Shots the free 30m attack of the Bounty Hunter base class, is split into five independent small attacks. In both cases, each independent small attack has an 84% chance to hit the enemy (90% base ranged hit chance, -10% for autoattack penalty, +1% from companion affection bonus, +3% from Puncture in skill tree). For a Powertech tank, the probability of triggering Ion Gas Cylinder (written as P(Ion Gas Cylinder)) is


In other words 0.467, or 46.7% chance of a Powertech triggering his Ion Gas Cylinder using Rapid Shots with 5 independent small attacks 

This value is important because it will dictate

  1. The number of Ion Gas Cylinders attacks you trigger, which affects your DPS
  2. The number of Heat Screens and Heat Blast cooldown reductions you trigger as a downstream effect of triggering Ion Gas Cylinder
  3. The chance you’ll trigger a Flame Engine proc

For information on Unload‘s contribution, see the ‘Single target threat‘ section. For information on Rail Shot, see the ‘Exploring Ion Gas Cylinder in more depth’ section.

2. Exploring Ion Gas Cylinder in more depth

This section is for advanced players; new players are advised to familiarize themselves with the class before bothering with this material.

  1. Shocked (Tech) 
    • Note that the chance that an attack will trigger a Shocked (Tech) effect has three points of failure due to misses: the applying Rapid ShotsRocket PunchRail Shot attack may fail or be resisted, the Ion Gas Cylinder DOT can be resisted, and the Shocked (Tech) tick can also be resisted.
  2. Ion Gas Cylinder
    • The tooltip has been bugged since launch; the damage of Ion Gas Cylinder is split into a damage-over-time effect with 1 tick occurring immediately; this tick will be labeled ‘Ion Gas Cylinder’ in logs and will do slightly more damage than whatever the Ion Gas Cylinder tooltip actually claims. The second and third ticks from Ion Overload are labeled ‘Shocked (Tech)’, occur 3 and 6 seconds after initial application, have an 8x threat multiplier, and will also do slightly more damage than the tooltip claims.
  3. Without Prototype Cylinders
    • my tooltip claims I should do 292 pre-damage reduction(DR) damage. I’d expect my first tick of Ion Gas Cylinder to do 292*0.65 = 189.8 damage, but it actually does 202 damage. Similarly, the ticks of Shocked (Tech) claim 369 pre-DR damage so I’d expect each tick of Shocked (Tech) to deal (369/2)*0.65 = 119.9 damage, but each tick actually deals 127 damage. Note that in both cases, applying a 1.05x multiplier or (1-0.05) divisor will predict the damage almost perfectly; I have a theory that Ion Gas Cylinder‘s 5% damage reduction doesn’t apply to Ion Gas Cylinder effects. Or the tooltip is wrong.  Also note that a similar underestimation is seen when Prototype Cylinders is spec’d for.
  4. Building off the previous point
    • since Ion Gas Cylinder‘s DOT duration is 6 seconds and only the ticks at 3 seconds and 6 seconds have an 8x threat multiplier, you tend to put yourself at a disadvantage if you use any series of attacks in a row that have a high chance to renew Ion Gas Cylinder‘s DOT. The exception to this is the sequence Rocket Punch → Rail Shot at the beginning of a fight; this is an excellent source of initial threat and contributes to building those Heat Screen/Heat Blast procs that you need.  Note that Rapid Shots following Rocket Punch will have a high chance to renew your Ion Gas Cylinder, which pushes down the number of ticks of Shocked (Tech) that your enemy will suffer.
  5. With Prototype Cylinders
    • The 1 point talent in row 2 of the Advanced Prototype tree, gives +8% damage to Ion Gas Cylinder. It does indeed increase tooltip damage and actual damage by the correct amount. However, that’s all it does. It does not give +8% damage to Shocked (Tech) from Ion Overload; it just increases that first tick of Ion Gas Cylinder from ~200 damage to ~216 damage. This makes it almost worthless.
    • Prototype Cylinders gives you (suppose you had a boss fight that lasted 300 seconds/6 minutes. In that time you’ll have 300/1.5 = 200 GCDs. If you had some magical ability that had a 100% chance to trigger Ion Gas Cylinder on each GCD, you’d deal (216-200)*(300/1.5)/300 = 10.66 extra DPS if you can trigger it 100% of the time.  Since you’re triggering Ion Gas Cylinder even less frequently in a raid you’re gaining significantly less than 10.66 DPS by speccing for Prototype Cylinders.  In other words,  do not take this talent.
  6. Ion Gas Cylinder
    • Doesn’t increase your armor by 60% like the tooltip says; it increases your armor by approximately 60%. It stacks additively with the Rebraced Armor talent in row 2 of Shield Tech, giving you a total armor multiplier of approximately 1.76. 
  7. Supercharged Ion Gas
    • has a 100% chance to trigger Ion Gas Cylinder on 4 enemies within 5m of the target ‘while Ion Gas Cylinder is active’. Note that this means all you have to do to fulfill these conditions is have Ion Gas Cylinder activated! You don’t have to have an Ion Gas Cylinder DOT on your target. To test for yourself, get both Supercharged Ion Gas in the tank tree and Retractable Blade or Incendiary Missile in another Powertech tree; you’ll see for yourself that using Rail Shot on any target has a 100% chance to trigger Ion Gas Cylinder (before miss/resist rolls).
  8. Rail Shot
    • If you use Rail Shot on one enemy, no matter how many enemies you trigger Ion Gas Cylinder on you will only build at most one stack of Heat Screen and can only reduce Energy Cell’s cooldown by 1 second.
  9. Rocket Punch and Rapid Shots
    • If you use Rocket Punch or Rapid Shots and kill that enemy, there is no chance that you will build Heat Screen stacks as a result of that attack. I’m not sure what happens when you hit an enemy with <1000 health with Rail Shot and kill him; I’d expect that nearby enemies would not gain Ion Gas Cylinder debuffs. This is a problem that all tank advanced classes will experience to some degree; it’s similar to the inconvenience a Juggernaut would suffer if he used Ravage on an enemy or if a Sith Assassin used Force Lightning on an enemy and caused that enemy to die as a result before the cast could be finished.

3. Single-target threat

Let’s take some time to dispel some major misconceptions about Powertech tank damage real quick.

  1. Explosive Dart
    • Some people mistakenly believe Explosive Dart belongs in the Powertech single-target rotation. It doesn’t.
    • For example:
      Explosive Dart1893 – 198014842968
      Flame Burst1331 – 142916063202
    • If I’m generous and assume that my Explosive Dart is going to get 0.7 damage reduction rather than 0.65, I’d expect Sticky Grenade to deal (1893+1980)*(1+0.1865*0.51)*0.7/2 = 1484.5 damage before misses and threat multipliers, while Flame Burst would deal (1415+1518)*(1+0.1868*0.51)*1/2 = 1606.2 damage before misses and threat multipliers. And… they have the same resist chance (6%) and threat multiplier (x2).
  2. Grapple
    • is another red herring. Its tooltip claims to generate ‘high threat’. It actually generates 2708 threat. That’s about 30% of the Shadow’s Force Pull. It’s also guaranteed to do less threat
      on average than if you had waddled into range to use Flame Burst. Considering that Flame Burst is one the weakest attacks that you can open with, surely you can find something better than Flame Burst and Grapple to use on your enemies to initiate combat.
  3. Death from Above
    • I see some folks not using Death from Above in their single target rotation. This is a mistake. Death from Above gives (5506+5897)*(1+0.1865*0.51)*0.7*2/2/3 = 2913 expected threat/second. This is quite good.

With those notes in mind, here’s an example of a high-threat Powertech opening rotation:

3.1 Opener

  1. Explosive Fuel (off GCD) + Shoulder Cannon (pre-loaded, and launched as quickly as possible) +
  2. Death from Above
  3. Jet Charge (if necessary)
  4. Rocket Punch (trigger Ion Gas Cylinder, get Rocket Punch on cooldown)
  5. Rail Shot (trigger another Ion Gas Cylinder)
  6. Flame Thrower (efficient, strong attack)
  7. Flame Sweep (gets 2.3x threat multiplier)
  8. Flame Sweep
  9. Rapid Shots (if no Pulse Engine proc), repeated until Pulse Engine proc is acquired
  10. Flame Thrower with Pulse Engine
  11. By now, you should have built 3 stacks of Heat Screen and gotten Heat Blast on cooldown

In general, you have several abilities that you will want to use in decreasing priority.


  1. Heat BlastExplosive Fuel & Shoulder Cannon
  2. Rocket Punch
  3. Railshot
  4. Rapid Shots if Heat Blast‘s cooldown is finished and you have less than 2 stacks of Heat Screen.
  5. Flame Thrower
  6. Flame Thrower with Flame Engine
  7. Flame Sweep with Flame Surge
  8. Flame BurstFlame SweepRapid Shots as necessary


  1. Heat Blast, Explosive Fuel & Shoulder Cannon
    • Keeping Heat Blast’s effective cooldown below 12 seconds in live conditions is essential if you want to be a ‘good’ Powertech tank; no similar tank ability (Force Scream for Juggernauts, Dark Ward for Sith Assassins) will make such a huge impact on your damage taken per second. Explosive Fuel will multiply any damage you do over its duration, so if you have no need to use it within the next 2 minutes to get aggro or burst a target, use it on cooldown. Shoulder Cannon should be loaded at all possible times and Shoulder Cannon stacks should be discharged as soon as you have less than 95% health.
  2. Rocket Punch
    • Since Rocket Punch’s natural cooldown is 9 seconds and Flame Shield‘s cooldown is 7.5 seconds, it is imperative that you use Rocket Punch as soon as it becomes available so that you can have the smallest window possible where you could get a Rocket Punch reset before getting Rocket Punch to come off cooldown naturally; it will always be at least 9 – 7.5 = 1.5 seconds.
  3. Railshot
    • Due to its lack of contribution to the Powertech rotation apart from Heat Screen, keeping it on cooldown is not nearly as important as Rocket Punch
  4. Rapid Shots if Heat Blast‘s cooldown is finished and you have less than 2 stacks of Heat Screen.
    • Bear in mind that if Heat Blast’s cooldown is ever finished and you have less than 3 stacks of Heat Screen, something went wrong. Always be tracking your Heat Screen stacks and ensure your rate limit for casting Heat Blasts is the cooldown on Heat Blast, not Heat Screen stacks.
  5. Flame Thrower
    • Flame Thrower does approximately 20% more damage than would be done if you had simply used Flame Burst twice in a row, it’s more heat effeicient, and it is an area-of-effect attack. Also note that Pulse Engine’s internal cooldown is 18 seconds; Flame Thrower’s natural cooldown is 18 seconds, and when specced properly should be 16.5 seconds. If you use Flame Thrower with Flame Engine then Flame Thrower will come off cooldown almost immediately before it can be reset again. Use this to your advantage by using some mini-rotation . More details of Flame Engine and Flame Thrower will be covered in the AOE threat section.
  6. Flame Thrower & Flame Sweep with Flame Engine & Flame Surge
  7. Flame BurstFlame SweepRapid Shots as necessary

Some things to remember about this spec:

  1. Going over 40 heat

    • Going over 40 heat for Rocket PunchDeath from Above, and Flame Thrower is totally acceptable. But if you find yourself frequently going over 40 heat without any way of recovering, try finding something to Jet Charge to.
  2. Jet Charge
    • Can be resisted, but you will still be moved to the target. Jet Charge can crit as well, and uses your Tech crit rate. This should make sense because it’s a Tech attack.
    • Also note that in PVE you will find an abundance of enemies to Jet Charge to; failure to use Jet Charge in rotation is pure laziness on your part.  By using Jet Charge and Flame Sweep in your rotation, you are exchanging weaker attacks like Rapid Shots for Flame Sweeps, which do great threat and decent damage. If your enemy is immobile with respect to your character (Draxus, Corrupter Zero offtanking, large portions of Brontes, Calphias offtanking, Raptus offtanking) you should be using some mini-rotation like .
  3. Unload
    • is more heat-efficient than using Flame Burst twice and may do a bit more damage, it does not enjoy pushback protection like Death from Above or Flame Thrower. This means that unlike Death from Above or Flame Thrower, taking damage while channeling Unload will cause the Unload attack to lose duration, which will probably eliminate the 3rd tick of Unload’s damage. For this reason, using Unload is acceptable only when you are not taking damage.

5. AOE threat for trash and adds

Powertechs have a multitude of in-rotation abilities and out-of-rotation situational abilities that they can use to gain aggro on large groups of enemies.

  1. Death from Above
    • If any group of enemies will spawn within 1 minute of engaging a boss/starting a fight, you should probably save Death from Above for those adds. It will most likely be a DPS/threat increase for you as well.
  2. Flame Thrower and/or Flame Engine
    • Your second-best option for AOE threat. Note that since Flame Thrower is a conal attack, you will probably need to have all your enemies to one side in order to hit the largest number of enemies possible. Note that Flame Engine can proc from any single-target non-DOT attack; this includes both attacks that you are performing, and attacks that are performed against you. Also note that if an attack has both an initial and a DOT component like Ion Gas Cylinder, then the initial component can trigger Flame Engine. This means one Rapid Shots has slightly more than a 58% chance of proccing Flame Engine. Also note that environmental damage, for example from Gharj’s lava, the Terror From Beyond’s water, torches in Dread Palace, and water in Styrak’s arena can all trigger Pulse Engine.
  3. Explosive Dart
    • has no place in the Powertech tank single-target rotation but its utility as an AOE is undeniable. It comes bundled with an AOE stun on weak enemies as well and is one of your strong options when the enemies are at range.
  4. Sequence Jet Charge → Flame Sweep → Flame Sweep
    • is good for getting up close and personal with your enemies. Note that Shield Cannon in the Shield Tech tree claims it gives +5% threat to Flame Sweep; it’s actually a 2.3x threat multiplier, or +30% threat to Flame Sweep from spec. In total Flame Sweep gets +12% damage from Flame Surge+8% crit chance from Flame Shield, +6% crit chance from Prototype Burn Enhancers (if you spec’d for it instead of Hot Iron), and the +30% threat from Shield Cannon. Together they make Flame Sweep kind of good. Don’t be afraid to use Flame Sweep; given all its buffs it’s not an especially wasteful attack. Also note that even if you use the PVP pc set bonus (-1.5 second cooldown to Jet Charge) it’s not possible to build more than 2 stacks of Flame Surge.
  5. Rail Shot
    • with Ion Overload will generate Ion Gas Cylinder on a few enemies within range. This will deal significantly less damage and threat than Jet Charge and Flame Sweep would deal, and is useful mostly if you find yourself in a position where something’s crowd control ought not be broken. Be aware that although not pushing back your Rocket Punch cooldown was emphasized previously in the single-target section, that doesn’t mean using Rocket Punch → Rail Shot on a group of adds is probably a good idea; in that case, you would probably be better served by burning down the adds with whatever high-damage abilities you have at your disposal, especially Flame Sweep. Quickly eliminating multiple enemies with Flame Sweep/AOE damage and building high threat on them will probably serve your group better than continuing your ‘rotation’ by using Rocket Punch → Railshot on them.
  6. Grapple
    • Although we went over why Grapple’s a bad opener, if you find that a ranged enemy is not in the AOE ‘killzone’ or if you see a melee enemy running off to chase someone else, using Grapple to bring them into your AOE is perfectly reasonable.
  7. Carbonize
    • Be aware that Carbonize, your 2.5 second AOE stun on 45 second cooldown, is one of the strongest mitigation abilities that you can use on a large pack of enemies. Just make sure they don’t have ‘Boss Immunity’ or any other incapacitation resistance before you hit it.

7. Details of heat management

(This section is for advanced players; new players are advised to familiarize themselves with the class before bothering with this material.) There are a few ways you might be able to refine your play by using heat more efficiently:

  1. The Powertech tank gets several free attacks
  2. Thermal Sensor Override
    • Try to use TSO on an attack that generates a lot of heat.  Abilities that qualify include Death from Above and Flame Thrower (without Flame Engine). If you would have to push back Thermal Sensor Override’s cooldown by a long period of time in order to accomplish this, using Thermal Sensor Override on a 3 second attack (Unload) or an expensive attack (Flame Sweep) is acceptable. Definitely not optimal though. Note that Explosive FuelThermal Sensor Override, and Death from Above all have a cooldown that is a multiple of 1 minute. You ought to use all 3 of these abilities chronologically nearby each other in order to maximize the amount of hard-hitting attacks that you use during the uptime of Explosive Fuel.
  3. Jet Charge
    • As noted in the single-target and AOE rotation sections, Jet Charge should be in your rotation, followed by 2 Flame Sweeps. These 3 free GCDs may even be preceded by one GCD where you cast Rapid Shots, giving you 4 GCDs  of venting heat. Be aware of your Jet Charge cooldown and use it to your advantage.
  4. Overriding Thermal Sensor Override
    • Rapid Shots, Heat Blast &Jet Charge will not consume Thermal Sensor Override.
    • The free Flame Sweep (after Jet Charge) and the free Flame Thrower (with Flame Engine) will consume Thermal Sensor Override. The reason why this ‘works’ this way is because Rapid Shots, Heat Blast & Jet Charge are always free.
  5.  Rapid Shots
    • As discussed in the single-target rotation section, there’s no shame in using Rapid Shots. Sometimes it really is the best attack to use at the time, especially when you need to build another Heat Screen to use Heat Blast.

7. Animation clipping and delays

(This section is for advanced players; new players are advised to familiarize themselves with the class before bothering with this material.) Several Powertech animations take a long time to draw. In addition, many Powertech tank abilities are off-global cooldown. This results in multiple points where Powertech
animations can interrupt each other, with detrimental results to the player.

  1. Neural Dart
    • Newer Powertech players will quickly notice that the Powertech‘s Taunt animations have a delay; after looking at the logs, it appears that you are awarded threat approximately 0.5 seconds after the Taunt effects go out. This applies to both Neural Dart (single target Taunt) and Sonic Missile (AOE taunt).
  2. Sonic Missile
    • The radius of your AOE taunt is generated from and around your target, not your immediate surroundings (unlike Juggernaut and Assassin’s AOE taunt).  This can be a boon and a bane depending on your situation so keep that in mind.
  3. Rapid Shots
    • The independent attacks of Rapid Shots are spread out over approximately 0.5 seconds. Activating Rapid Shots, then activating an off-GCD ability like Hydraulic Override or your taunt may interrupt the animation for Rapid Shots. If the animation is interrupted, those Rapid Shots will fail to connect with the target and will have no effect in game; this prevents the attack from possibly triggering Ion Cylinder or proccing Flame Engine.

8. Powertech self-healing

(This section is for advanced players; new players are advised to familiarize themselves with the class before bothering with this material) With 2.0 came two new Powertech abilities: Close and Personal  (+2.5% health every time an AOE attack is taken, 3 second internal cooldown) and  Shield Cannon (+5% health every time a Shoulder Cannon hits a target). Soldier’s Grit in the second-to-highest row of the Shield Tech tree also buffs Adrenaline Surge. Taken together you should aim for an excess of 200 self-healing/second on an AOE-heavy fight and 100 self-healing/second on a fight without much AOE damage.

Note that effective self-healing contributes to your threat at a 1x multiplier. For example,

  1. Close and Personal
    • If you have +1% healing from a companion affection bonus and are hit by an AOE attack and have 40,000 health points, you will self-heal for 40,000*0.025*1.01 = 1010 health, and will gain 1010 threat from that ability’s activation as well. (Most AOE attacks will deal more than 1010 damage so Close and Personal should have close to 100% effective healing).
  2. Shoulder Cannon
    • Bear in mind that with Shield Cannon will give both damage at a 2.3x threat multiplier and threat from its 5% self-healing at a 1x multiplier. If you have 40,000 health then you should expect Shield Cannon  each to give 40,000*0.05*1.01 = 2020 threat, assuming you don’t have any other healing received buffs and are at below 95% health.
  3. Active self-heals

SWTOR Tanking stats by dipstik

Patch 2.5 info with damage debuff on boss applying before stat/armor mitigation.  Dread Fortress and Palace average at 6K DPS, assumes Arkanian Reactive Warding relic procs at 23s, Dread Forged Reactive Warding at 43 seconds. Source

Check your Defense, Absorb, Shield ratings from your character sheet (including stim).




Goal is to get as close to the suggested values as you can


Vanguard / Powertech

Defense 613 rating
Shield 1236 rating
Absorb 833 rating
pre armor squish 0.568857017
total squish 0.290074849
pre heals/absorb dtps 1740
post heals dtps 1740.45
damage per HP 3.44738609
spike 0.045144393
weighted relic base diff =ark =DF
def proc 0.2847 0.2725 0.2890 0.0054 5989 5888
abs proc 0.2858 0.2735 0.2901 0.0043 7442 7316


Shadow / Assassin

Defense 526 rating
Shield 940 rating
Absorb 1216 rating
pre armor squish 0.482105691
total squish 0.28503891
pre heals/absorb dtps 1710.23
post heals dtps 1710.23
damage per HP 3.508292955
spike 0.051336322
weighted relic base diff =ark =DF
def proc 0.2790 0.2651 0.2838 0.0061 5290 5200
abs proc 0.2801 0.2663 0.2850 0.0049 6573 6461


Guardian / Juggernaut

Defense 1057 rating
Shield 940 rating
Absorb 685 rating
pre armor squish 0.585751481
total squish 0.307396701
pre heals/absorb dtps 1844
post heals dtps 1711.05
damage per HP 3.253125346
spike 0.04549478
weighted relic base diff =ark =DF
def proc 0.3022 0.2904 0.3064 0.0052 6210 6104
abs proc 0.3032 0.2914 0.3074 0.0042 7715 7584