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APPENDIX: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How do I become a Jedi Shadow?
A: Reach level 10 as a Jedi Consular, and find Master Ostar-Gal in the Republic Fleet or on Coruscant. He'll give you a mission that will further your class training.
Q: I just became a Jedi Shadow. When do I get a Double-Bladed Lightsaber?
A: You should already have one. Look in your inventory for a bag item that contains a small starter kit full of things any growing Shadow needs. Be forewarned: The shield generator is useless (does not offer a shield chance) unless you are in your tanking stance, Combat Technique, which is not available until level 14.
Q: I just became a Jedi Shadow. Where do I train my Shadow skills?
A: Same trainer as your base class. Click the tab at the bottom to select your list of trainable Adv. Class abilities.
Q: Where can I respecialize my character?
A: There is a respecialization trainer standing in the banking area of Coruscant, as well as in the Class Trainer area of the Republic Fleet. In both locations, he's a Rodian by the name of Leuro-Khian, and is titled as <Skill Mentor>. He's near the person who accepts Guild Charters.
Q: When can I get my speeder?
A: After turning level 25, purchase Speeder Piloting from your trainer for 25,000 credits, then go to your fleet. Barik, the Speeder Vendor, is located in the Northeast-most room in the fleet's main deck. (Part of the Galactic Trade Market area.) You can also purchase them on Tatooine. Your first speeder will cost you 8,000 credits; you can get upgrades at level 40 and 50.
Q: I'm coming from WoW. Do these skill specializations have any resemblance to stuff from there?
A: The Kinetic Combat tree resembles Paladin or Bear tanking, loosely. Infiltration is somewhat similar to a Mutilate Rogue. Balance Shadow is a cross between an Affliction Warlock and an Enhancement Shaman. None of them are identical, but these should help to give you an idea of whether or not you'll like the playstyles.
Q: I'm coming from Star Wars Galaxies/other MMO. Do these skill specializations have any resemblance to stuff from there?
A: I am not sufficiently familiar with most of those games to say. If someone would like to suggest things for me, I'd appreciate it. Games like City of Heroes are too different from your average MMO, and thus don't really bear comparison well.
Q: Do I have to use a Double-Bladed Lightsaber?
A: If you want a lightsaber, yes. Not all of your abilities require it - most don't, in fact. But your Techniques and Force Breach do, and every single spec relies heavily on its techniques. Sorry to break it to you. The Electrostaff is an alternate weapon intended for Jedi Shadows and their Imperial mirror, the Sith Assassin; however, it faces the exact same issues as the single-bladed Lightsaber. So yes, you are stuck with a DBLS.
Q: Do we have to wear robes? Can we wear pants?
A: Pants are rare, but exist. If you want to keep the pants look, find a moddable pair and you'll be able to keep them all the way up into endgame. Currently, endgame gear is not significantly moddable; that is due to change in March, however.
Q: Can we really keep stuff the whole game and just keep modding it?
A: Yes and no. As soon as you find a chestpiece, pants, hat, weapon, gloves, and shoes - the most important stuff - with four upgrade slots, you can keep modding it for the whole level up game. It is rumored that Endgame, however, starts getting items with extra slots, and PvP gear has its expertise as a built-in, rather than a mod granted, stat. So you can keep it for most of the game. Endgame is where you will have more difficulties.
Q: Do the lightsaber animations ever look better?
A: Yes, at higher levels, particularly as Infiltration.
Q: What's the best Skill Specialization for leveling?
A: Infiltration is, without question, the best Skill Specialization until about level 22 or so. Particle Acceleration and Kinetic Ward for Kinetic Combat, and Force in Balance for Balance Specialization, are lynchpin skills. Infiltration is good right off the bat. Balance is the weak link until you're in your 30s, in my opinion, though it's still quite tolerable to level with.
Q: What's the difference between Jedi Sage and Jedi Shadow in the Balance tree?
A: They are both proc-heavy, DoT self-healing builds. It's a question of whether you want to use your lightsaber and Project, or Telekinetic Throw and Disturbance. The Shadow gets better procs to compensate for its lower range and smaller Force Pool.
Q: Is the Jedi Shadow a main tank or an off-tank?
A: The Jedi Shadow is a main tank; it can off-tank, but there are no skill specializations devoted towards becoming an off-tank among any class. Fully developed, it has roughly the same standard survivability as a Jedi Guardian or Vanguard who was specialized to tank. The only guild in the general beta to test endgame operations used a Jedi Shadow main tank, however, and are quite happy with the Jedi Shadow's performance there.
Q: What's the difference between the three types of tanks?
A: Jedi Guardian tanks have the most survivability cooldowns, and once they get rolling, they have the most forgiving resource mechanic. They have the most issue generating threat, especially in ranged or AoE situations. Jedi Shadows have the fewest and weakest survivability cooldowns, but have the ability to self-heal regularly, a very high block chance, strong AoE threat and okay ranged threat. Shield Specialist Vanguards have a moderate amount of survivability cooldowns, okay AoE threat, great ranged threat/battlefield mobility, and the best straight mitigation. Their resource mechanic is very punishing if mishandled. The two force-users have more apparent flaws at lower levels, but grow into the role fully later.
Q: Should I play a Jedi Sentinel or a Jedi Shadow?
A: I assume that if you're asking this question, tanking is not seriously on the table as a primary interest for you, in PvE or PvP. The Sentinel offers the three different types of specializations: the ability to play a survivable, elite-killer melee damage, an erratic high-burst melee damage specialization, and the ability to increase its battlefield control and mobility as a melee damage dealer. In comparison, the Shadow's damage trees offer a steady pressure melee/range hybrid with minor erratic burst, or a controllable burst melee class with target lockdown options, along with both Shadow specializations having minor tanking options.
Q: Should I play a Scoundrel or a Jedi Shadow?
A: That depends. The Scoundrel is a more stealth-dependent class - while they both have multiple Stealth abilities, the Scoundrel is flatout dependent on Stealth for specific tactical openers, while the Shadow is more willing to engage in straight-up combat. The Scoundrel has more control, the Shadow has more survivability under fire. Someone seeking more traditional Rogue control-and-combo-based play may prefer the Scoundrel. Also, the Scoundrel has the ability to respecialize as a healer or throw out tactical support as a striker, while the Shadow has the ability to respecialize as a defender or throw out tactical control as a striker.
Q: I'm going to do PvE. Does the Balance or Infiltration tree do higher max DPS?
A: Until we have damage meters or extensive theorycrafting of some kind, we cannot actually say with too much certainty which is the higher damage spec. Generally, they're accepted to be competitive with one another in PvE. In PvP, they perform different roles - Balance is a steady pressure build, and Infiltration is a burst kill build.
Q: What's the difference between an Assassin and a Shadow?
A: There are the obvious ones - different stories, companions, and titles. Visually, an Assassin's Force Powers are centered around violet lightning, while a Shadow is reliant on golden energy and rocks or other environmental elements. Late game, the Shadow obtains Unity, which works great for Balance and Kinetic, while the Assassin gets Sacrifice, which is more suited to Kinetic and Infiltration.
Q: I want to play a Movie Jedi; is this the class for me?
A: You will not, despite promises of being 'iconic', be able to get everything about the Cinematic Jedi - Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jin, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, etc - in any one class. The closest are the Jedi Guardian (wears heavy armor, however), Jedi Shadow (wields a double-bladed lightsaber), and a Jedi Sage (barely uses its lightsaber.) You'll have to decide what you're most willing to compromise on out of the three of them.
Q: What's the story like?
A: Prologue is decent, Act 1 is weak, Act 2 is good, Act 3 is very good.
Q: Why don't tanks take the Shadowy Veil skill?
A: That passive skill does not apply when a Shadow is in Combat Technique, which is our defender stance; it's meant to improve the durability of a Shadow in Force Technique or Shadow Technique, our striker stances.
Q: Who is the best target to Guard, as a tank?
A: Pretty much anyone who's going to get focused. This is usually the healer or a ball carrier in PvP; in PvE, the healer is probably the wiser option at low level, but as you get more AoE threat tools, you should instead be guarding the most effective DPS, in order to give them a higher threat ceiling while damaging. An AoE focused DPS is often a good choice.
Q: Do we get any evil companions?
A: Not really. Zenith comes closest, but he's a well-intentioned extremist.
Q: Which abilities are off of the Global Cooldown?
A: Force Potency, Battle Readiness, Kinetic Ward, Mind Snap, Force Speed, Blackout, both taunts, possibly others. Need to test more later.
Q: Does Telekinetic Throw qualify as a periodic damage ability?
More questions to be added as needed later.
APPENDIX: MMO GLOSSARY
Activation Time: The amount of time used before an ability finishes its animations and triggers. Generally, being attacked during an activation causes pushback, and movement will cancel the activation.
AoE: Area-of-Effect ability. Refers to an ability that strikes an area, hitting all targets within that space. AoE abilities which only affect targets in melee range of the user are called Point-Blank Area-of-Effect, or PBAoE.
CC: Crowd Control. In the MMORPG context, it is used to refer to abilities which can reduce the number of opponents being faced at a given moment, without actually defeating one of them. Several abilities have crowd control effects which only trigger on Weak and Standard enemies, and will not work on Strong, Elite or Boss NPCs, or enemy players.
Channeled Ability: An ability of this kind begins triggering immediately, but does not finish until the activation bar is entirely depleted. If this ability is ended early for any reason, then you will not get the full effect of the ability, even though you have paid the full cost. Pushback on a channeled ability will cause the ability to end early. Moving, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, will always end a channeled ability prematurely. Alacrity does not affect channeled abilities.
Defender: See TANK.
DOT: Damage-over-time. See PERIODIC DAMAGE.
DPS: Literally, damage-per-second. It is also commonly used to refer to those characters who have damage-dealing as their primary mechanical mission. See STRIKER.
Global Cooldown: A 1.5 second delay after activating any instant ability, preventing you from activating the majority of other abilities. Successfully triggered non-instant abilities do not induce a global cooldown (or if they do, they generate one that is too low to reach via current alacrity values.) A rare few abilities are not affected by the Global Cooldown.
Interrupt: Broadly, any reason that an ability with an activation or channeling time is suddenly cancelled. More specifically, an ability that always causes cancellation of the target's non-instant ability, and adds a cooldown before the target can attempt that ability again. They are sometimes sorted into the mutually exclusive categories of Soft Interrupt (which does not add a cooldown to the targeted ability) and Hard Interrupt. Mind Snap is a Jedi Shadow's interrupt, and Jolt is a Sith Assassin's.
Kiting: Using abilities and careful positioning to force a melee-primary opponent to follow another person at a distance like a kite - a successful example of kiting minimizes the amount of close-range time the melee-primary character is able to get.
Knockback: Not the same as pushback, knockback refers to a character being forcibly moved by another character (usually backwards).
OOF: Out of Force (points.) When you've exhausted your resource bar.
Periodic Damage: An effect which causes damage over time on a regular basis, such as every second or every three seconds, without further input from the user.
Proc: A "Programmed Random Occurence." Essentially, a proc is any ability which activates randomly. If you have an ability which has a 10% chance to heal you in addition to its primary effect, that heal effect would be considered a proc.
Pushback: Not the same as knockback, pushback refers to an unexpected delay during the activation of a non-instant ability, or causing a pulse on a channeled ability to fail. Pushback is caused by taking damage from any hostile source during the activation of the ability. Several skills mitigate or remove pushback on specific abilities.
Resolve: A bar which fills up whenever a character is incapacitated or moved against their will in anyway by another player. It slowly depletes when not recently increased. When the bar is completely filled, the character becomes immune to all player stuns, pulls, knockdowns and knockbacks for the next eight seconds, before the bar drains entirely. Snares and roots ignore Resolve completely.
Root: An ability which forces a character to remain stationary.
Snare: An ability which slows down a character's movement speed, but they are still capable of moving.
Striker: A character whose primary role in a group setting is to deal damage to the opponents. See DPS.
Tank: A character whose primary role in a group setting is to attract the enemy's attention and keep harmful damage away from other squad members.
Utility: Reference to abilities which do not directly relate to healing, damage dealing, or tanking but are combat-useful nonetheless.
Warning: I have a Razer Naga mouse, which has a NumPad on the side of the mouse, so my bind layouts will not be that useful to someone without the same mouse. If someone would like to offer their own bindmaps with common mice (incl. the standard two-button), I might post them.
These binds were designed for a PvP Kinetic Shadow.
SHADOW <-> ASSASSIN DICTIONARY
If an ability name isn't included, it is identically named across the two classes. Some of the more common skills are included as well.
Shadow to Assassin
Assassin to Shadow
v1.1.2b: Major overhaul to Balance/Madness that better reflects the reality of current data.
v1.1.2a: Updated Crew Skills section. Deleted hybrid specs and addressed the significant buffs to Balance and Kinetic.
v1.1.1b: Fixed numerous small issues, updated the introduction, added the 0/13/28 DPS build.
v1.1.1a: Major overhaul to all specs to reflect current realities and such. Will remirror Sith version soon.
v1.0.0a: Minor fixes throughout; added a new spec to the Balance tree.
v0.0.0h: Cleared up some clutter in the tanking guide segment. Added a blurb at the top explaining about reproduction. 12/6/2011.
v0.0.0g: Accuracy stat corrected, as it no longer gives armor penetration. Crew Skill information overhauled. Minor PvP updates to gearing guides. 12/1/2011 || Added voice actor information. 12/2/2011 || Reorganized and summarized Crew Skill stuff for clarity. Updated the PvP tank builds to reflect new thoughts on Harnessed Shadows. 12/3/2011
v0.0.0f: Major overhaul of all spec analysis, as it was pretty cluttered with a bunch of useless babbling on my part, as well as some outright incorrect information. More companion data added. Changelog added. 11/29/2011
v0.0.0e: Prettified and cleaned up formatting. 11/25/2011
v0.0.0d: Translated to Sith Assassin equivalent and posted. 11/20/2011
v0.0.0a: Original versions up to v0.0.0c. Very rough internal documents in beta. Unknown date.
Tanking: A Primer is an essential guide to the comparative abilities of tanks. End-game PvE tanks should consider this a must-read.
The Sith Assassin's Codex, the Imperial version of this guide.
MainTankasin.net is a Jedi Shadow and Sith Assassin-oriented tank discussion site.
Sith Warrior is quickly turning into the numbers place for Star Wars: the Old Republic, if you want the people who do the real hardcore thinking I can only paw at.
The Consular's Codex is a resource for Jedi Sage Healers run by a friend of mine, if you're looking to run another Consular or find that the Shadow isn't for you.
CitizenSnipe has a useful channel that contains a lot of video of infiltration PvP, some balance hybrid PvE, and some tank hybrid PvP.
TORHead is always full of good information.
Powerr's Jedi Shadow PvP Tanking Guide.
Powerr's Infiltration Burst Damage Guide.
More to come later.
You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.