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GalnarDegana
03.16.2012 , 03:03 PM | #1
Welcome to the Gunslinger/Sniper Advanced Class Guide! This is the go-to compendium of knowledge for The Fanatical Swordsman on the Gunslinger and Sniper advanced classes. This is a work-in-progress, and will be updated as much as possible. For the most up-to-date information, the original article this is based on is here.

LAST UPDATE: Update 3.0.2

The Gunslinger is my main, and I find it an extremely fun playstyle, especially if you like ranged DPS. While difficult to play well in PvP, the Gunslinger/Sniper can be a potent force if played correctly. For readability sake, since it is my main, I will use the term Gunslinger as the overall descriptor of this class-type, especially for things that are true of both classes, such as discussions of general tactics. However, I will refer to the specializations by both their names, and I will show builds for both the Smuggler and the Agent, and I will refer to skills in a manner as such: Smuggler skill name/Agent skill name.

Most builds are links to my website, TheFanaticalSwordsman.wordpress.com and the articles which I have written about the builds. Included with the actual builds are step-by-step analyses of the talents I took and why. Oftentimes, sacrifices in one area must be made for another area's advantage, and I spell those out there. Also, some builds are accompanied with strategies for their use.

Any and all constructive comments and questions are welcome!

Roles and Overview

The Gunslinger is a DPS class, pure and untainted. The class is primarily focused around using the Cover mechanic and is somewhat dependent on it. When a Smuggler chooses the Gunslinger as its advanced class, it gains some important upgrades, the greatest of which is increased range on most, if not all, blaster attacks. This range is the largest in the game, at 35 meters. Another bonus is Portable Cover (the energy shield on the ground). This grants 20% ranged defense even when in the open, and it makes attacks uninterruptable by damage.

Cover

For a Gunslinger, cover comes in two varieties. Use of actual cover (the kind you "roll" into, like rocks, crates, etc.) grants the ability for ranged attacks against you from enemies standing in the cone of cover to actually be completely mitigated, at least while you aren't firing shots of your own (which is when you will get the 20% ranged defense). Portable Cover simply gives you 20% ranged defense. However, rolling into actual cover can lose some positional advantage. Use each wisely.

Energy

The Gunslinger/Sniper's resource is called Energy. Starting out, thanks to a passive skill acquired with the class called Bravado/Energy Tanks, Gunslingers and Snipers have 110 Energy. The Energy regeneration rates decrease as Energy levels go down. The Energy regeneration rates are as follows::
0%-19%: 2 energy per second
20%-39%: 3 energy per second
40%-59%: 4 energy per second (tooltip says 3, but I think it is a typo)
60%-100%: 5 energy per second


There is a talent in the Sharpshooter/Marksmanship tree called Foxhole/Sniper's Nest (level 32) that increases Energy regen by 1 while in cover. This is certainly a talent one would want for PvE, and perhaps even in PvP, if you are generally good about staying in cover for extended periods of time, which the mobility demands of PvP don't usually allow. Regardless, this doesn't actually increase energy regen by 1 across the board, but rather at the top end, then proportionally down the line, like so:
0%-19%: 2.4 energy per second
20%-39%: 3.6 energy per second
40%-59%: 4.8 energy per second (tooltip says 3.6, but I think it is a typo)
60%-100%: 6 energy per second


The 3 Disciplines
With the coming of Update 3.0, massive changes to the talent system made hybrid builds impossible. The talent trees were hacked apart and restructured to have the best talents for each specialization made exclusive to that specialization. Talents that were more universal were made into Utility Skills.

This section will cover the Disciplines, the differences between them, and which ones are best for which content. The Utilities will be covered in the next section.
NOTE: I will sometimes use the word "specialization" when I mean "Discipline." This is because I am lazy and don't want to change all the times I used it pre-Update 3.0.

Sharpshooter/Marksmanship

Spoiler


Saboteur/Engineering

Spoiler


Dirty Fighting/Lethality

Spoiler


Utilities

Most of the defensive, mobility, CC, and quality-of-life talents were moved to the Utilities section. The way it works is you get to pick up to <strong>seven</strong> Utility talents, and you get Utility points to spend at levels 11, 19, 27, 35, 43, 51, and 60 (every 8 levels until the stretch from 51 to 60).

The Utility talents are sorted into three tiers called Skillful, Masterful, and Heroic. You must pick at least three talents from Skillful to be able to pick any in Masterful, and you must pick at least five in either Skillful or Masterful to open up Heroic. Therefore, the highest number of Heroic talents you can have is two. I will summarize and rate each of the talents below.

Skillful
Spoiler

Masterful
Spoiler

Heroic
Spoiler

Builds

With builds now being restricted to Utilites only, there aren't as many variations. That being said, I do have some that I like. Some of my favorite combos work off of various synergies, as well as trying to get a more defensive situation for my defensively-strapped Gunslinger. Here are my favorites.

NOTE: I am going to use Gunslinger terms. I'm sorry to my Sniper readers, but I have defined all of these talents and skills above for you. It just reads so much better without all of the this/that nomenclature.

PvP Mobility Build
Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting
  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Reset Engagement
  • Masterful: Heads Up, Lay Low, Dirty Trickster
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground
This build takes advantage of the speed boost/movement-impairing effects immunity from Hunker Down and the speed boost from Blaster Whip. Hold Your Ground gives us the CC-breaker cooldown reduction, and Dirty Trickster helps break us out of roots and snares if Hunker Down is on cooldown.

PvP Survivability Build
Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting
  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Reset Engagement
  • Masterful: Hotwired Defenses, Lay Low
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Riot Screen
This build takes my favorite talent, Ballistic Dampers, which gives us frequent 30% damage reduction. We get a better Defense Screen with a lower cooldown, thanks to Hotwired Defenses and Hold Your Ground, respectively. Riot Screen makes cover a 6% shield, as well as giving us more use of our Scrambling Field, which is 20% damage reduction. Dirty Fighting also gives DoT protection with Concussion/Toxic Regulators (level 56).

PvP Arena Build
Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting or Sharpshooter
  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Flash Powder
  • Masterful: Hotwired Defenses, Lay Low
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Riot Screen
In Ranked PvP, Gunslingers are perceived as weak and easy to kill. Because of this, people focus them, and go figure, they die. We can boost our defenses and help our teammates by using Ballistic Dampers, Hotwired Defenses, Lay Low, Hold Your Ground, and Riot Screen just like in the Survivability Build, but I also take Flash Powder to debuff the hardest hitter of their side.

PvP 1v1 Build
Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting or Sharpshooter
  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Flash Powder
  • Masterful: Hotwired Defenses, Lay Low
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Plan B & C
Low cooldowns on defense skills and CC’s is the name of the game for this build. 1v1s tend to be more focused on surviving and out DPS-ing, so it has similar parts to previous builds, but it has a low cooldown on the debuffing power of Flash Grenade.

Anti-CC Build
Recommended Discipline: Sharpshooter
  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Reset Engagement
  • Masterful: Heads Up, Lay Low
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Holed Up
Hunker Down and Escape are the primary focuses of this build. Everything that buffs those two skills is taken.

CC Build
Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting
  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Reset Engagement, Flash Powder
  • Masterful: Trip Shot
  • Heroic: Plan B & C, either Compounding Impact or Kneecappin’
Buffing Flash Grenade, along with Leg Shot, is the focus of this build. The final point can either be used to buff the slow from Speed Shot/Penetrating Rounds or used to buff Leg Shot so it has a slow when you break the root. With the former, you’ll be using Speed Shot/Penetrating Rounds anyway, and with Reset Engagement, it will knock back melee and they’ll be stuck with an 80% slow. On the other hand, with Kneecappin’, the already great skill Leg Shot has a lower cooldown AND a slow. Muy bueno.

PvE DPS Build
Recommended Discipline: Sharpshooter
  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Cool Under Pressure, Snap Shot
  • Masterful: Pandemonium, Heads Up
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Riot Screen
We’ll talk more about rotations in a bit, but for now, think of this as your double-instant-cast Charged Burst build. About every other time you do Charged Burst x2 -> Trickshot to get the cast-time buff for Aimed Shot, you can do two instant-cast Charged Bursts. Also in here are Cool Under Pressure to help healers a bit, as well as Riot Screen for a more frequent Scrambling Field. Heads Up is nice so you can move around fast in moving phases.

Notable Skills

The Gunslinger has some unique skills that can change the way you think about the class. Some changes that came in recent patches also make it worth reexamining some of the skills you have grown to love.

Hunker Down/Entrench

Hunker Down has always been a favorite of mine, but it is just insane how many buffs you can get for it. The fact that you can use it as a high-uptime 50% speed boost, plus mitigate 60% of AoE damage, is just amazing.

Let’s also take a moment to think about how many skills there are in the game that actually make you immune to CC on command. I can think of one, and that is the Shadow/Assassin’s Resilience/Force Shroud, and that only lasts for 5 seconds max. We can have 26 out of 45 seconds of un-CC-able time, if we use all the buffs. We can spend over half our time CC-immune. Huge tactical tool.

Vital Shot/Corrosive Dart

Vital Shot is our DoT, and it is fine damage-wise, but the newest, coolest thing about it is that it has a Ranged damage debuff attached to it now. Thanks to the passive skill Crack Shot/Imperial Targeting, you apply the debuff Marked to the target for 45 seconds (see this article for more info on debuffs).

Scrambling Field/Ballistic Shield

One of our best raid-utility skills, Scrambling Field gives a 20% damage reduction buff to allies within the area. You no longer lose it when you get knocked out of cover too, so you can not worry quite so much about moving around under it.

Smuggler’s Luck/Laze Target

Smuggler’s Luck/Laze Target is a straightforward skill. It used to give Charged Burst/Snipe a 100% chance to crit, but now it is way better. It gives a 100% chance to crit to Aimed Shot/Ambush, Sabotage Charge/Explosive Probe, and Wounding Shots/Cull, so there is one skill for each Discipline that is buffed. The tier 6 PvP gear bonus gives you two charges as well, so you can get two big crits as fast as the skills come off cooldown.

Flourish Shot/Shatter Shot

A good skill, this basically just debuffs the target for -20% incoming healing. Instant-cast, low energy, good results in PvP.

Illegal Mods/Target Acquired

This is your “time to kick butt” skill. It increases Ranged and Tech accuracy by 30% and armor penetration by 15% for 10 seconds.

Diversion

The former level 20 Sharpshooter/Marksmanship skill (pre-Update 3.0) was called Diversion (both the Smuggler’s skill and the Agent’s skill have this name). It was an anti-cover skill to use against other cover-users, as it knocked the target out of cover and prevented them from re-entering cover for 6 seconds. It also reduced the accuracy of the target by 45% for 9 seconds.

The new-and-improved version of Diversion is a skill given to Gunslingers as a base skill at level 22, and is now a ground-targeted AoE ability that removes anyone in the area from Cover for 8 seconds, as well as debuffing anyone in the area for -45% accuracy for 8 seconds. This won’t work against Operation bosses.

Hightail It/Covered Escape

The Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion brought a new skill at level 51 called Hightail It/Covered Escape. This skill is a 18m roll in the direction of your camera that deposits you in Cover at the end. While rolling, you have 100% chance to dodge incoming attacks. Each of the three specs buffs this skill differently.

Sharpshooter/Marksmanship: With the talent Stay Low/Portable Bunker (level 52), after landing in Cover at the end of Hightail It/Covered Escape, you get 3 seconds on Hunker Down/Entrench, which can grant a speed buff if you immediately run if you have the Masterful utility talent Heads Up/Seek Cover.

Saboteur/Engineering: With the talent Scatter Bombs (level 52, same name for both classes), Hightail It/Covered Escape drops five bombs behind you as you roll. If you time a roll correctly or roll into a wall next to your enemy, you can drop up to two of them on one target.

Dirty Fighting/Lethality: With the talent Incendiary Mine/Corrosive Mine (level 52), Hightail It/Covered Escape will drop an AoE effect in the place you were before you used the skill. This effect will also slow the targets affected.

Rotations

Sharpshooter
Spoiler

Saboteur
Spoiler

Dirty Fighting

Coming soon!

PvE Strategies
  • Cover placement should be in range of all the mobs you are going to need to kill, because you don't want to have to move.
  • Ideally, use Scrambling Field/Ballistic Shield when your group is about to take a ton of damage. Strategic use of this skill can save the group from a wipe.
  • Diversion is useful to debuff accuracy on all mobs in PvE except for Operation Bosses, as of Patch 1.1.2.
  • Quickdraw/Takedown has a low energy cost and is very damaging. As soon as a mob gets below 30% health, it should always be kept on cooldown.
  • Remember that your energy regenerates more slowly at lower levels. Keep it above 50%, and you probably won't run out.

PvP Strategies
  • Hunker Down/Entrench should be used immediately after going into Cover when in the middle of a firefight, and especially when going 1v1. The first thing people like to do is take you out of the fight by using a CC skill. Hopefully, they blow its cooldown and can't use it when you aren't actually CC-immune anymore.
  • Watch the Resolve meter above your opponent's head. When it is all white (i.e. full), the target can no longer be CC'd, and that includes knockbacks. Leg Shot can still go through, but is subject to shielding.
  • Use Defense Screen/Shield Probe when you are out of CC skills and knockbacks, or when your opponent has a full Resolve bar. You want that mitigating as many attacks as possible, so the sooner you pop it after starting to take consistent damage, the better. If you are dead and you still have the little probe guy around you, you waited too long to pop it, because it could have been protecting you longer.
  • In Huttball, save your roots for when the ball carrier is crossing the fire. Also, having your knockback ready is a good way to give your team more time by knocking the carrier off of the higher ramps into the pit.
  • Remember that when you are in cover, Warriors and Knights cannot Force Jump to you and Troopers and Bounty Hunters cannot grapple pull you.
  • Remember that you have no auto-attack, so be spamming that Flurry of Bolts/Rifle Shot when running around. Be tabbing around for enemies under 30% health to make use of Quickdraw/Takedown, which is a great skill to use on the move for a high amount of damage.

Crew Skill Selection

Crew skill selection can be important to a class' progression. Only one crafting skill may be trained at a time, and the options that are really useful for a Gunslinger/Sniper are Armstech, Cybertech, Armormech, and Biochem. Artifice and Synthweaving are mostly useless, though Artifice can make Enhancements and Color Crystals and Synthweaving can make medium armor Custom armor pieces that a Gunslinger/Sniper could mod with Cunning mods. You will find that Armormech has more class-specific equipment, though. For a Smuggler, the best two options are Armstech and Cybertech, as their companions have the best bonuses in the game for those two. Agents are best suited for Armormech and Slicing, due to their companion bonuses.

Update Log

01/14/15 - Updated for 3.0.2

04/25/13 - Updated for 2.0.0, added update log

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Harbinger: Geldarion ('Slinger), Shadowlands: Geldaria (Sniper)
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