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Mercenary Arsenal 2.0 PVE

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Disclaimer:
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The guide has come a long way, but there are still several topics that are subject to change. Most of the info in this guide should be pretty accurate, but understand more info is still needed and I will be updating it as that info comes in. More discussion on this guide can be found on my SWTOR Mercenary Forums Thread

Special Thanks

Personal Bests

Current Gear

In addition to showing you some of the changes 2.0 has brought to the Merc Arsenal spec, the intention of this thread is to help Arsenal Mercs take their PVE game to another level. It’s easy to bash 4-5 buttons without putting much thought into it and be an alright Merc. Don’t settle for being good, be great!

To be great, you need to maximize:

1. DPS
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As a Merc Arsenal, you have the potential to shell out as much damage as any spec of any AC in the game.
2. Survivability
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You've been granted heavy armor, off-healing abilities, and wonderful defensive cds. USE THEM!
3. Raid Utility
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Topping the dps charts is great and all, but if the raid wipes, and you could've help prevent it, what’s the point?
4. Raid Awareness
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You can’t maximize the above without high raid awareness.



Bring The Deeps!

I will be elaborating on all of these points, but let’s start with the fun stuff, how do you maximize your DPS? This requires a thorough understanding of the Merc Arsenal's:

I. Skill Tree
II. Gear & Stat Goals
III. Abilities & Priority System
IV. Tips & Tricks


But first and foremost, don't be lazy. Go get your datacrons (Aim and Cunning for dps) and max out your companion's affection for a 1% boost to Acc/Crit/Surge.



I. Skill Tree

Arsenal 2.0 PVE Spec
6/36/4
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New Talents for 2.0:
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Torque Boosters (1pt): Increases the duration of Hydraulic Overrides (new ability explained in next section) by 4s.
Quote:
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Power Overrides (2pts): Reduces the cooldown of Concussion Missile by 7.5/15s and Power Surge by 15/30s. In addition, Power Surge has a 50/100% chance to yield a second charge, making your next two abilities with an activation time activate instantly
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Decoy (2pts): Chaff Flare has a 50/100% chance to intercept and absorb the next incoming direct Force or tech attack. Lasts 6/12s.
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Energy Rebounder (2pts): When you take damage, you have 50/100% chance to reduce the active cooldown of Energy Shield by 1.5/3s. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5s. In addition, when taking damage, you have a 10/20% chance to emit an Energy Redoubt, which absorbs a low amount of damage and lasts 6/12s. This effect cannot occure more than once every 10s.
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Power Launcher (3pts): Increases the damage dealt by Rail Shot, Tracer Missile, Heatseeker Missiles and Electro Net (new ability explained in next section) by 2/4/6%.

Note:

*I choose to put my 2 "elective" points in Jet Escape to reduce the cooldown of our CC breaker Determination. However I could see situations where Decoy or Afterburners could be viable in certain encounters.



II. Gear & Stat Goals

Gear:
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Set Bonus: Set bonuses are now exclusively carried by the armoring and no longer by any shells, i.e. Tionese/Columi/Rakata shells. You have two options here:

Option 1: 90% of mercs will benefit from sticking with the old 4pc Dread Guard set bonus, which grants -8 heat cost to Rail Shot. This is what everyone is used to from 1.7 and will still allow for a very good dps output. Expecially since it makes heat management tremendously easier. This is the option I have chosen for now.

Option 2: If you don't have your old 4pc DG set or if you want to sport all Kell Dragon gear, the new 4pc which grants 8% damage increase to Rail Shot is your other option. This is quite viable way to go just requires paying more attention to heat and mixing in more rapid shot fillers.

Both of these options can result in similar dps output, just different styles. But remember, the less you have to think about during a boss fight, the better you're going to perform.

BiS Augments: Advanced Reflex Augment 28
BiS Relics: Kell Dragon Relic of the Serendipitous Assault & Underworld Relic of Boundless Ages
Stats: Aim = Accuracy (99.95/109.95%) > Crit (240 rating) > Power > Surge (72.01%) > Alacrity
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Accuracy: Goal = 430 rating = 99.95/109.95%. Get this to at least 99/109% before worrying about Surge.
Surge: Goal = 430 rating = 72.01%
Power/Crit: The sweet spot for crit seems to be right around 240, this is 2 mods/2 enhances.

Detailed BiS Gear Sheet:
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III. Abilities & Priority System

We get two new abilities in 2.0; one offensive, one defensive. This section is all about offense, and 2.0 has brought Electro Net into our rotation to be used on cooldown (every 1m30s). This is a handy DPS burst ability by way of DoT and should be used on cd following any higher priority abilities listed in the priority system section.

New to 2.0:
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Electro Net
Instant
Cooldown: 1m30s
Fires an electro net that ensnares the target, reducing its movement speed by 50% and dealing energy damage over 9 seconds. The damage dealt by the electro net increases by 20% for every second that the remains moving. This effect stacks up to 10 times on enemy players or up to 5 times on any other target. Additionally, the electro net hinders the target, preventing the use of high mobility actions and escapes such as charges, vanishes and speed boosts. Lasts 9 seconds

Note:

*This ability doesn't act the same on NPCs as it does actual players in PVP. It doesn't matter if an NPC is moving or not, it will place a 10 tick DoT on the target, ticking once per second. The 2nd-6th ticks will increase in damage from the previous tick by 20%. The 7th-10th ticks will be identical to the 6th tick.

Mercs follow a priority system based on damage and heat cost. Our heat dissipation is greatest (5 heat/s) when we stay between 0-40 heat. Therefore, you should do your best to always stay below 40 heat (also be careful not to allow your heat to reach zero for more than an instant) unless the situation allows you to burn. This could be the end of a fight, or a time within the fight where you know a short break of dps is coming up where your heat will have time to dissipate. You should ALWAYS burn the target (ignore rapid shots) when your Vent Heat ability cd<~10s; this includes your opening sequence. The only exceptions are situational, usually the end of a boss fight when you'll need to be going all out. In these cases, wait on using vent heat if you'll need it before the two minute cd is over.

More Details: Show

We can make a pretty good assessment on the new 2.0 priority system based off what we know from the pre-2.0 priority system.

Pre-2.0 Priority System: Show

Now we have 3 major changes in 2.0. First, Rail shot is no longer free (costs 2 or 10 heat depending on set bonus) but still efficient. Second, Electro Net (costs 8 heat) is our added ability that comes off cd every 1m30s. 3rd, you're now only going to need one TM to gain the 25% damage boost to HSM as well as 20% armor debuff instead of three. The armor debuff will now last 45s. This effect works the same as the sniper's shatter shot now.

Single Target Priority:

Notes:

*Power Surge, DFA and Fusion Missile are situational, i.e. you usually want to save Power Surge for using casted abilities on the move instead of wasting it in stand still position (but on a dummy use it to open and when your heat is going to hit 0)...or adds are prominent in the fight where DFA or TSO + Fusion Missile would be better used for AoE rather than single target.

*I am combining priority system for both 4pc set bonus options. The only real difference is that with the new 4pc, you'll want to make sure you get a minimum of 4 tracer locks before using Rail Shot. With new 4pc you should also be weary of Rail Shot when over 24 heat since technically you won't want to use it over 30 heat, but just be aware of your heat when it's coming off cd so you can fire it at will along with HSM. With the old 4pc, just use Rail Shot on cd when your heat is greater than 17, you can build up tracer locks if you like, it won't make a great deal of difference either way, I take it situationally if I think I can squeeze in another Tracer Missile without messing up my flow I will do so.

Opening Burst
There are a lot of quality openers you can use, I encourage you to experiment with them. This is the one I've found to work best for me.

1. Power Surge + Tracer Missile (Only use PS on dummies and specific fights where you won't need to move for a while)
2. Relic/Adrenal
3. Rail Shot
4. Heetseeker Missile
5. Electro Net
6. Unload (if barrage proc'd)
7. Tracer Missile
8. Proceed with Priority System using DFA & TSO + FM situationally

With no more need for multiple Tracer Missiles to get the armor debuff and damage gain to HSM, there's no need to open with multiple Tracer Missiles. Rail Shot is now the only ability that relies on multiple Tracer Missiles and should be used after getting 4 tracer locks (2 tracer missiles will do the trick)

2.0 Priority System

Heat > 24: Rail Shot > TSO + FM > Rapid Shots
24 > Heat > 17: Rail Shot > HSM > EN > TSO + FM > UL > TM
Heat < 17: HSM > EN > UL > PS + TM

*Should also be used when HSM/UL cd=<1.5s and heat is at or above 20 (as well as Rail Shot - 4 tracer locks minimum if using new 4pc).

**You can use DFA in single target situations when AoE is not needed for at least the next 60s. For maximum dps it should be used right after a barrage proc'd UL when all other abilities are on cd. You can fire off rapid shots beforehand if your heat is above 20.

Note: We aren't the most mobile class, we put out much more damage when we can turret down our target. But if HSM and Rail Shot are on cd when you need to move and your heat is sitting fine so you don't want to spam rapid shots. Consider using Explosive Dart>Missile Blast while on the move and your heat is low. I like to rotate between those and rapid shots in these situations. Also, you could throw in a PS+TM or PS+TSO+FM so they can be used on the run.

Multiple Target Priority:

Mercs have beastly AoE damage and the priority system is as follows:

1. Death from Above
2. Flame Thrower
3. *TSO+FM
4. Sweeping Blasters

*You don't necessarily have to use FM with TSO. It does produce higher DPS, but isn't as heat efficient, so if you're not worried about heat, use it without TSO if you like. But unless you're going to get some downtime after your burn, I would wait for TSO.

Also, while you're running up to the mob you want to annihilate or waitiing for them to position themselves in a nice pile for you, throw an Explosive Dart OR Fusion Missile (with or without TSO depending on asterick'd note above) in there for a bit extra delayed AoE damage.



IV. Tips & Tricks

Action Queue
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First thing you need to do as a Merc is turn on the "Ability Action Queue Window" and set it to 1s. This is found in Preferences>Controls. You should be utilizing this by queing nearly every ability throughout your "rotation" to minimize delay between actions. This will help maximize DPS.

Don't miss out on Barrage proc!
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Neat trick you can utilize when fishing for a barage proc while spamming Tracer Missile. It only pertains to the situation when all high priority abilities' cd>1.5s, your next TM would result in heat<24 (or vent heat cd<~10s), and you're fishing for an barage proc:

1. Press hotkey for TM
2. Press hotkey for UL during cast of TM
3. Immediately after TM cast is finished, tap hotkey for TM

When step 3 is timed properly, it allows for 2 things:

A. UL to cast immediately if Barage procs.
B. TM to cast again with minimal delay if Barage doesn't proc.

The benefit of A outweighs the minimal delay from B.

Note:

* If you experience a lot of lag, this technique may not be possible. If you time step 3 a bit off, you could end up interrupt unload, wasting a proc and a GCD. With practice and no lag, you should be fine. Instead of using this, some people will double cast TM and step out of it into an unload when they see the proc. They can both be effective, I like the former personally.

Anticipate
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You need to be thinking ahead at least 1 or 2 abilities. See what's coming off cd soon, see where your heat is. You need to be able to anticipate what your heat is going to be by the time your "next" ability fires. For instance, when I'm casting TM, I'm looking at the heat, at the very last split second, I look to see if my heat is dropping into single digits...if it is, then I know my heat will be <24 when it finishes and I know I'm free to spam whatever ability is highest on priority list next. If not, I know I may need to queue a rapid shots filler.

This goes for other situations as well, anticipate when you're free to "burn" the target ignoring heat costs, know when a target switch is coming up. This all comes with practice and familiarizing yourself with the operations and programming your muscle memory.



Stay Alive!

New to 2.0:
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Hydraulic Overrides
Instant
Cooldown: 30s
Grants 8 seconds of immunity from movement-impairing effects, knockdowns and physics and increases movement speed by 30%.

Redesigned in 2.0:
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Kolto Overload
Instant
Cooldown: 3m (once triggered)
Activating this ability applies a Health Monitor that lasts up to 60 seconds, which triggers a Kolto Overload when your health is reduced to 30% or less. If your health is already 30% or less, Kolto Overload triggers immediately. Once triggered, Kolto Overload goes on cooldown for 3 minutes and rapidly heals you up to 30% of your max health for 8 seconds but will not exceed 30% of your max health.

More to come

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Posted Apr 4, 13 · OP · Last edited Sep 9, 13
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yay written things

i agree its definitely a nice opener and remember pts also rolled back the crit change. to what effect i don't remember. i think it was to the crit grained from main stat.
I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun. great, no one does. but why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

khamic.jpg
Posted Apr 4, 13 · Last edited Apr 4, 13
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Up until PTS ended they made one crit change, and it was pretty minor (when I logged in my crit rating went up a whopping .5%)and it was for both crit rating and main stat. Unless they did something differently after they closed PTS that I didn't hear about......we'll see :d
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Posted Apr 4, 13 · OP
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Thanks for the guide papa. Once I actually level my merc up to 55 and gear him out (if I even do) this will be very helpful.
Posted Apr 5, 13
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Made some updates...still a lot more to come
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Posted Apr 7, 13 · OP
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Updated, the first section "DPS" is more or less finished...I may add more to it. Will be working on the other 3 supplemental sections when I can.
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Posted Apr 11, 13 · OP
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What does "_" mean?
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Power Surge(x2 from talent)_Tracer Missile
4. Electro Net
5. Thermal Sensor Override_Fusion Missile (Power Surge is still queued)

Also how do you add the line that separate the body from the next "chapter"? Like the one found around Bring the Deeps section?


p.s. i luurve your layout and the purrty pictures! Will have to copy it!
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Posted Apr 11, 13 · Last edited Apr 11, 13
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Haha thx, it's only fair since I copied half your stuff lol. Yeah I should fix that, it means to use them in conjunction, they're 2 different abilities...I'll put a "+" instead

The line is [ rule ]. There's also an icon for "Line" on the 2nd row, 2nd to last icon.

Did you every figure out how to do "jumpto" here?

*I also added AoE and on the run abilities. Can't believe I forgot to include that....I'm sure I'm missing a lot still lol
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Posted Apr 11, 13 · OP · Last edited Apr 12, 13
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all these words mmmmmm make me happy indeed!
I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun. great, no one does. but why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

khamic.jpg
Posted Apr 11, 13
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Changed build...1pt in crit reaction seems to be the way to go for overall alacrity boost, they fixed heat regen with alacrity.
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Posted Apr 12, 13 · OP
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