Patch 1.3 is live and has implemented a wide array of changes to almost every advanced class. Some of the more notable mentions include the much publicized improvements to Juggernaut/Guardian AOE tanking abilities, the nerf to Shadow/Assassin tanks, and the Gunslinger/Sniper DPS changes.
Note: Abilities are listed, Imperial/Republic.
- The responsiveness of Retaliation/Riposte and Gore/Precision Slash has been increased.
- Gore/Precision Slash: This ability now costs 1 Rage and is no longer limited by the global cooldown. Its damage has been reduced, and the duration of its armor penetration debuff has been reduced by 1.5 seconds to ensure the effective duration is the same.
Apart from a few minor tweaks and changes to visual effects and tooltips, the only large change to Marauders and Sentinels is to the Precision Gore/Slash Ability. It will now cost only one rage/focus, is not limited by the global cooldown, but has had it’s debuff length and damage reduced. All in all quite positive changes for the players who stuck it out with the Carnage/Combat trees, especially if you’re a PVP’er.
- Due to changes in the Juggernaut/Guardian skill tree, Juggernauts/Guardians have had their skill points refunded.
- The amount absorbed by Sonic Barrier/Blade Barrier now scales properly based on character stats.
- Soresu Form now generates 100% additional threat while active.
- Single Saber Mastery now applies different effects based on your current Form. Shii-Cho Form now increases all Force damage dealt by 2% per point. Shien Form now increases all melee damage dealt by 2% per point. Soresu Form now increases melee and ranged defense by 1% per point and increases the threat generated by Smash/Force Sweep, and Sweeping Slash/ Cyclone Slash by 10% per point.
- Quake/Dust Storm: Sweeping Slash now additionally applies this accuracy debuff to affected targets.
- Blade Barricade: Retaliation now increases melee and ranged defense by 1% per point and lasts 12 seconds.
- Unleashed/Profound Resolution has been replaced by Crushing Fist/Purifying Sweep, which causes Smash/Force Sweep to apply 2 stacks of armor reduction per point to all affected targets.
- The damage dealt by Backhand/Hilt Strike has been reduced, but this ability no longer costs Rage/Force to activate.
- Crushing Blow/Guardian Slash has been slightly altered. The ability still applies 3 stacks of armor reduction. Damage dealt by this ability has been reduced, but when the target is affected by 5 stacks of armor reduction, Crushing Blow/Guardian Slash now deals damage to up to 2 nearby enemies, spreading 3 stacks of armor reduction to those enemies and knocking down Standard and Weak targets. It does not deal damage to sleeping, lifted, or incapacitated enemies, and continues to generate a high amount of additional threat.
Guardian and Juggernauts are set to receive one of the more substantial set of changes with the upcoming patch, and as such will have their skill points refunded. The largest change is to their ability to generate AOE threat. Not only will Soresu Form provide an additional 100% threat, but Crushing Blow/Guardian Slash will now deal damage, stack armor reductions, and generate threat on up to two nearby enemies. As an added bonus this new “smart AOE” will not damage incapacitated/stunned breaking their CC, but will continue to generate threat. This should result in a much easier time of handling groups of trash mobs that previously would have been handed to the groups Assassin/Shadow or Powertech/Vanguard.
Of course with every attempt at balance there is usually a trade of, and in this case it comes in the form of reduced damage output to the Immortal tree. Backhand/Hilt strike has taken a reduction in damage but now costs no rage/force to activate, while Crushing Blow/Guardian Slash also lost some damage output in a trade for the AOE threat abilities mentioned above. Finally, in terms of survivability there is not much of a change, the reduction in blade barricade being balanced out by the 1% defense increase in Single Sabre Mastery.
- Maul/Shadow Strike now displays the correct error message if this ability is used while the player is not behind the target.
- Dark Charge/Combat Technique now generates 100% additional threat while active. The healing generated from this ability has been reduced by approximately 50%. Its armor bonus has been reduced to 115% (down from 150%).
- Discharge (Dark Charge)/Force Breach (Combat technique) now generates a high amount of threat.
- Spike/Spinning Kick now costs 20 Force.
- Overcharge Saber/Battle Readiness now increases the damage and healing dealt by all Charges/Techniques by 100% for 15 seconds.
- Wither/Slow Time no longer damages a sleeping, lifted, or incapacitated enemy unless it is the primary target.
- Harnessed Darkness/Harnessed Shadows: The healing generated by Force Lightning/Telekinetic Throw has been reduced to 8% total (down from 12%).
In the continuing attempts to balance out tanking in the game unfortunately one class usually takes a hit from the nerf bat, and this time it was the Tankassins. While it’s no secret that they outperformed Juggernaut/Guardian Tanks the majority of the time, the nerfs still seem a little excessive. And although the nerf to self-healing capability is somewhat understandable and impacts PVP more than PVE, it’s the armor reduction that’s really going to hurt the Tankassin in Operations, as they already had around 10% less armor than other tanking classes.
- Barrage now properly affects Unload while wielding a single blaster pistol.
- Terminal Velocity/Cell Charger has been redesigned. While High-Velocity Gas Cylinder/Armor Piercing Cell is active, there is a 50% chance per point to vent 8 Heat/generate 1 Energy Cell every 6 seconds.
- Tracer Lock/Charged Barrel and Light 'Em Up/Gravity Surge have swapped positions in the Skill Tree. Tracer Lock/Charged Barrel now requires Tracer Missile/Grav Round, and Light 'Em Up/Gravity Surge now requires Tracer Lock/Charged Barrel.
- Light 'Em Up/Gravity Surge now additionally grants an extra stack of Tracer Lock/Charged Barrel and Power Barrier/Charged Barrier, if applicable, with each Tracer Missile/Grave Round fired.
- Custom Enviro Suit/Heavy Trooper now increases healing received by 1% per point (down from 3%).
Pyrotech (Mercenary)/Assault Specialist (Commando)
- Advanced Targeting/Target Lock has been redesigned and now gives Unload/Full Auto and Rail Shot/High Impact Bolt, 10% of armor penetration per point.
It’s all DPS changes for the Mercenary and Commando, and focuses almost entirely on the Arsenal/Gunnery trees. The largest change is the increase in armor penetration received from Advanced Targeting/Target Lock when using Unload/Full Auto and Rail Shot/High Impact, which were already tow of the Mercenary/Commandos big earners. Resource management has also been improved somewhat, and those who throw two points into Terminal Velocity/Cell Charger have a 100% chance to vent 8 heat/generate 1 cell every 6 seconds.
From the looks of it, these changes should increase the Mercenaries/Commando’s stamina in longer encounters, a situation they are currently not suited for as well as other DPS classes such as the Gunslinger/Sniper.
- Ion Gas Cylinder/Ion Cell now generates 100% additional threat while active.
- Pulse Generator now only affects Pulse Cannon, as described.
Shield Tech/Shield Specialist
- Supercharged Ion Gas/Super Charged Ion Cell now increases Ion Overload damage by 25%. While Ion Gas Cylinder/Ion Cell is active, Rail Shot/High Impact Bolt triggers your Ion Gas Cylinder/Ion gas Cell on the target and up to 4 additional nearby targets. This damage does not affect sleeping, lifted, or incapacitated enemies. This generates a high amount of threat.
- Flame Shield/Static Shield: The critical chance bonus applied to Rocket Punch/Stock Strike and Flame Sweep/Explosive Surge has been reduced to 8% per point.
- Flame Surge/Static Surge now increases the damage dealt by Flame Sweep/Explosive Surge by 6% per point and causes Jet Charge/Storm to grant 1 charge of Flame Surge per point, which makes the next Flame Sweep/Explosive Surge free of cost. This skill now requires Jet Charge/Storm instead of Flame Shield/Static Shield.
Those who specced into the Shield Tech/Shield Specialist tree can expect much the same treatment as the Juggernaut/Guardian tanking tree. Rail shot/High Impact will now hit up to 4 additional targets when IonGas Cylinder/Ion Cell is active, generating a high amount of threat and also acting as “Smart AoE” it will not damage incapacitated/stunned enemy. This providing a nice improvement to the Powertech/ Vanguards tanking abilities when paired with the 100% threat increase from the Ion Gas Cylinder/Ion Cell.
What may upset certain people, especially those who were sporting the “Iron Fist” build, are the changes to Flame Shield/Static Shield and Flame Surge/Static Surge. They can now expect to see a reduction in the critical chance bonus applied to each Rocket Punch/Stock Strike, which are mainstays of the classes arsenal. As some consolation Jet Charge/Storm will now provide a free Flame Sweep, again a sign of Bioware looking to improve tank classes AOE Tanking ability.
- The animations for Laceration and Collateral Strike have been improved.
- Survival Training/Survivors Scars now increases healing received by 1% per point (down from 3% per point).
- Due to changes in the Sniper/Gunslinger skill trees, Snipers/Gunslingers have had their skill points refunded.
- The amount absorbed by Shield Probe/Defense Screen now scales properly based on character stats.
- Entrench's/Huner Down’s buff tooltip no longer incorrectly mentions damage reduction.
- Target Acquired/Illegal Mod’s now increases Accuracy by 30% and Armor Penetration by 15% instead of increasing Alacrity.
- An issue that prevented Shatter Shot/Leg Shot from displaying visual effects has been corrected.
- Series of Shots' visual effects now fire 4 times over the 3-second activation. Its projectile now changes color based on the equipped color crystal.
- Takedown/Quickdraw has a new sound and visual appearance.
- The visual effect of Smuggler's Luck now lasts the full 20 seconds.
- Rapid Fire and Sniper Volley/Burst Volley have swapped positions in the skill tree.
- Rapid Fire is now a 3-point passive skill that reduces the cooldown of Ambush/Aimed Shot and Series of Shots/Speed Shot by 1 second per point.
- Sniper Volley/Burst Volley now finishes the cooldown of Series of Shots/Speed Shot and increases Alacrity by 10% and Energy regeneration by 50% for 10 seconds. It has a 45-second cooldown.
- Followthrough/Trickshot has a new sound and visual appearance, and its visual effects now change color based on the equipped color crystal.
- Cluster Bombs/Contingency Charges now lasts 20 seconds (up from 10). Cluster Bombs/Contingency Charges can now be detonated once every second (down from once every 1.5 seconds).
- Imperial Methodology/Insurrection now provides 2 additional Cluster Bombs/Contingency Charges (up from 1).
Another Advanced Class that has seen a lot of its abilities swapped around, Snipers/ Gunslingers will both receive a full skill point refund. Capstone abilities were the focus of the changes, with Rapid Fire switching positions with Sniper Volley/Burst Volley on the skill tree. Also, Rapid Fire has now become a passive ability providing a 1-second cooldown reduction per point on bot Ambush/Aimed Shots and Series of Shots/Speed shot.
Channeling speed will be taking a bit of a hit with Target Acquired/Illegal Mod’s switch from Alacrity to Accuracy and Armor Penetration, but Rapid Fire and Sniper/Burst Volleys new traits should help make up for it.
Remember these are only Patch 1.3’s initial notes, many changes are likely to occur throughout Beta Testing so be sure to get on the PTS and leave your input.
For now, let us know what you think of the changes to your beloved class in the comments below.