, 04:13 PM
I see many posts in threads promoting different end-game specs from people requesting a more detailed breakdown on how to get there. This thread is for you, beginning Sorcerers.
First a disclaimer: This spec is all about leveling a Sorcerer while being competent in all aspects of the game but the emphasis is on solo play. Like it or not, you will spend the vast majority of your time soloing so that's where the emphasis of this spec is. I also want to mention is that I don't believe there is an ultimate way of picking talents while leveling--there are many ways to do it and the truth is that most of us did it slightly differently and it worked. This post is written with the advantage of hindsight.
Khem is it. Let's get this one out of the way early so you don't waste a lot of time and money attempting to gear them all as you level: unless you're determined to ignore this thread and level as a full-fledged healer(definitely doable but someone else can write that healer guide,) in which case you'll want better DPS than what Khem puts out even if you use his DPS stance and gear him for that by emphasizing Strength over Endurance/Absorption/Shield/Defense. (Ashara is my favorite DPS companion for Sorcerers.)
Khem is all you need. You do get an alternative to Khem (another tank) much later on (45+) but by that time it's unlikely his gearing will be on par with Khem's. Which brings up the first crucial point: Always, always gear your companion up as if he was the main character...you gear him first and yourself second...really.
Khem is a tank. Not only can he take several things beating on him, more importantly, he holds aggro which allows you to DPS things down without attracting a lot of attention. Please note that you can also maximize his effectiveness by using focus fire, just the same way as if he was a player tank. If you go AOE crazy or attack something other than Khem's target, you will pull aggro off him and generally just slow things down. That's not to say you can't throw your AOE around some: just don't start with it before he has a chance to attract all the attention to himself.
Jack of All Trades
There is no reason in the world why you can't heal flashpoints while you level. This is especially true of FPs before level 30 or so. You really can do it all the way to 50 but dedicated healers with healing-focused specs will have a much easier time at the higher levels. The emphasis of this spec is DPS, but don't be afraid to heal an FP, especially if you have a good group where everyone knows their role: If you're mostly healing the tank you'll have zero problems but if everyone starts taking too much damage, it'll be a struggle with this hybrid spec.
The goal of these early levels is to overcome the force cost of your abilities which can easily leave you depleted after a tough fight. 2/2 Reserves and 3/3 Electric Induction should be your first 5 points spent resulting in this at level 14: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#201Zf.1
You'll see end-game specs without any points or perhaps 1/3 in Electric Induction. There are good reasons later on to make those compromises for increased DPS...just ignore that for now.
You want to start increasing your DPS. The easiest ways to do this is by Increasing your Willpower by 6% with 2/2 in Will of the Sith (Willpower increases, damage, healing and critical chance) and putting 3/3 in Calcify to increase your Force Lightning damage by 12%. Force Lightning is the signature ability of the Sorcerer and you will use it as your primary attack always. Increasing its damage is essential. Your spec will look like this at 19: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#201ZfZcM.1
Let's emphasize defense a bit so we can get out of jams more effectively. By now you will have realized that our bubble shield is not bad at all...pretty damn good actually. Let's make it even better (+20%) by putting 2/2 in Lightning Barrier. You will probably have also come to love Dark Infusion and hate the meager heals at a high cost of Dark Heal. The problem is that Dark Infusion takes 3 seconds to cast... let's improve that to 2.5s with 2/2 in Dark Mending. The end result at 23 is: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#201MZf00MZcM.1
OK. Let's get serious about Madness. Over the next 10 levels you progressively become more adept at killing with an almost limitless pool of Force, No one else in the game will be able to sustain this much damage for as long as you can. You should start out by increasing the critical chance of Force Lightning by 10% with 2/2 in Disintegration. Yes Lightning Strike gets the same buff but you'll seldom if ever use LS with this build. A word about Lightning Strike: you might use it occasionally while Force Lightning still has a cool down but once you get rid of that CD, LS will only ever be used in the rare situation that it can be cast instantly, Crushing Darkness is on cool down and you either don't have Chain Lightning yet or CL is not appropriate because it might break a crowd controlled mob nearby. It's just not part of the main rotation with this spec.
Your next 3 points should go into 3/3 Chain Shock. Shock is a great little instant with very decent damage that you can cast on the run (comes in very handy in PVP.) Making it 22.5% more potent (extra 50% damage 45% of the time) is a very good thing.
Now get rid of the cool down for Force Lightning with 1/1 in Madness and if that isn't great all by itself, let's make it regenerate force also with 3/3 in Sith Efficacy. The force regeneration here is huge since Force Lightning is what you'll be using most of the time anyway.
Your next 2 points will be spent in 1/1 Death Field which is a very nice and potent AOE and 1/1 in Wrath which makes your Force Lightning trigger an effect that allows the next damaging ability that would otherwise have a cast time become instant (and therefore useable while moving) and hit 20% harder. You'll use that "proc" to cast Crushing Darkness whenever it's available or Lightning Strike when it's not. Later on, after you have Chain Lightning, it will be CD and CL you'll use it on 99% of the time.
At level 34 it looks like this: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#201MZf00MZcMcRs0z.1
Now it's time to round-out the Lightning tree and get the two great 3rd tier abilities in this branch but before we do that, it's time for a quick re-spec. Why re-spec at this point? Well you don't need the 9% force cost reduction from electric induction as much as you used to now that you can regenerate force with your Force Lightning spam. Those points are better spent increasing the damage from Crushing Darkness, Lightning Strike and the Chain Lightning you will soon be getting. A straight up 6% increase with 3/3 in convection is very nice. Your new level 34 spec looks like this: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#201MZbc0MZcMcRs0z.1
Your next 2 points should go into 2/2 Exsanguinate to increase the time of your core Damage Over Time ability, Affliction by 6 seconds. Contrary to what some people think, this does not spread the same damage out over a longer period of time which would be a DPS decrease. What it does is it adds 40% more damage per cast of affliction and, not insignificantly, it now only needs refreshing once every 21 seconds instead of once every 15. For your next point you have a choice: you can either go ahead and put one point back in 1/3 Electric Induction for a 3% force cost reduction on everything, increase the range of some of your damage spells to 35 meters with 1/1 in Lightning Spire or gain a 50% chance that some of your damaging abilities will trigger a 10% faster force regeneration with 1/2 in Subversion. Personally I prefer the guaranteed 3% cost reduction and that's where I put the point.
In any event at level 38 you get the very best damaging AOE ability you have in Chain Lightning which also happens to be a close 2nd best single target ability to Crushing Darkness. You will be using the +20% damage instant procs from Wrath on this and CD constantly. The next point goes into an equally spectacular ability with 1/2 in Lightning Barrage which gives you a 50% chance that any critical tick from your DOT, Affliction, will allow Force Lightning to channel twice as fast dealing the same amount of damage and regenerating force twice as fast for a whopping 100% increase in damage and force regeneration per second for the ability you're always going to be spamming anyway. So if this ability is so good why only 1/2 points for 50% instead of 100% chance? Well it's a compromise because you'll need that point later on to gain a 100% chance of something even better....read on.
At level 39 it will look like this: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#201MZdcMMkZcMcRs0z.1
Finally the time has come to round-out the healing while getting some nice DPS boosts along the way. With 3/3 in Seeping Darkness you increase the critical chance of everything you do--damage and heals--by 3%. The next 2 points after that will be spent for 2/2 in Force Suffusion which is a great 10% increase to all your AOE damage abilities (healing too but you'll never see the AOE heal with this build.) You now need to spend 3 points somewhere to get to the 3rd tier and there are few wrong choices. You can go 3/3 in Lucidity to reduce the push-back when something is beating on you while you try to heal and additionally reduce the threat generated by healing, increase the effect of self-heals by 8% with 2/2 in Empty Body or increase your Presence attribute by 6% while also increasing your heals by 2% with 2/2 in Haunting Presence. Since you're still leveling and Presence directly increases the effectiveness of everything your companion does, you might as well put it there and get a 2% healing bonus on top of that. Put the other point in 1/2 empty body for the 4% self heal increase.
Your final 3 points will go into your instant small heal plus heal over time (HOT) ability in 1/1 Resurgence and 2/2 in Force Bending. It's Force Bending why we only put 1/2 in Lightning Barrage instead of 2/2 earlier. What this does is that every time you cast Resurgence, your next Dark Infusion has its cast time reduced by 1 second. This extra second makes a huge difference in keeping yourself, your companion and others alive. Your emergency healing routine will be to cast a bubble, followed by Resurgence and followed by Dark Infusion...all in 4.5 seconds. (Note that there is currently a bug with ability activation queues: if you have the activation queue set to 1 second, you can cast a 2nd Dark Infusion also at 1.5s cast time if you do so before the previous one has finished casting. Enjoy it while it lasts but don't get too used to it.)
Your final tri-spec hybrid at 50 will look like this: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#20...cMMkZcMcRs0z.1
As I said at the start, this tri-spec while very useful and potent for leveling, is by no means the best spec for anything at end-game. You'd be very lucky to heal a Hard Mode flashpoint with this and you'd manage it only if you had an exceptional group. For PVP it's missing what many of us consider essential, 2/2 in Haunted Dreams for an instant Whirlwind and there are much better DPS specs to be had by getting those 13 points out of healing and using them in the damage areas. (I currently am DPSing with the 13/28 spec which is very potent in PVE or PVP both (http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#201ZdcMMdZcrcRsMkrc.1)
But for leveling 1-50 it's really tough to beat that tri-spec and it's a helluva lot of fun to play with.
I want to give credit to Hokonoso whose guide around Christmas time inspired me to try this tri-spec. His is a bit different than mine (he went for the extra range and 3/3 reduced pushback/healing aggro) but pretty well the same. That thread can be found here: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=101500
Hope you find this useful and have fun being good at everything