I've had this set up in one of my guild's forums, I'm just gonna repost it here and see if it's helpful, or useless. I've seen many Sages shy away from Telekinetics and in light of new evidence that this is the superior spec
I hope that this guide can help Sages not give up on DPS.
Note: All credit for the information thread goes to Kaedis. I have simply adapted his guide in the mmo-mechanics.com swtor forums so that it is more republic friendly, and added a few of my thoughts on it.
I've decided to put up a guide for all Sage DPS wannabes. I know that currently a very popular spec is Hybrid/Full Balance spec, and rightfully so. They pull of good damage, have significantly increased mobility (especially for Full Balance), and an easy rotation.
However, you lose several things as a Balance/Hybrid sage. Potential increased damage where there's an armour debuff (not by a far margin, but anyway...), and a very efficient/viable AOE. This helps in some bosses. TK sages are always preferred on Denova (well at least what I've read on the forums) because during Kephess, there are tons of mobs. In addition most boss fight comes in pairs, allowing you to proc your Psychic Projection a lot easier.
Advantages at a glance:
-More efficient AOEs
-Much Higher Burst (especially useful for Soa, Bombardiers on Kephess [especially the last one], and any boss that has a burst phase)
-No issues with force management at all
-The ability to off heal without killing your force
-The ability to bubble without killing force or lowering DPS much
(do not underestimate the merits of the last two)
Disadvantages at a glance:
-Arguably complicated rotation + steeper learning curve
1.4: Most changes in this patch is meant for PvP, I will update if I find anything useful
1.4: Force Mend, the one new defensive cooldown. Use it wisely!
Section A: List of Skills/ Procs
I will not include skills not relevant to the rotation, or that I find myself almost not using it in PvE Boss fights at all.
Weaken Mind: This is the bread and butter for the TK Sage. Its a potent sustained DoT that procs a burst TK Throw. You can apply it on more than one target, which is especially relevant for the double bosses in Denova. It auto crits turbulence.
Turbulence: This is the top skill on the tree for TK Sage. It does reasonably good damage, and auto crits if you have weaken mind on.
Disturbance: In terms of DPCT and DPF, this isn't exactly the most impressive skill. HOWEVER. This skill procs Tidal Force (which instant casts TK Wave) and stacks Tremors (increase 1% damage per stack, up to 3 stacks). So it's your major spam skill.
TK Throw: When you have Psychic Projection proc-ed, this skill becomes a very efficient burst. Even without Psychic Projection it is a better skill over Disturbance, but for the reasons above it should not be used.
Project: When changing spot, moving in the battlefield, this is a very useful skill to use. On other Sages this consumes a lot of force, and may not be adviseable. But the TK sage is set up for efficient force management, henceforth do not hesitate to use when necessary.
Force Quake: A little below-average AOE, still helps to proc TK Wave so when used in intense battles like Kephess' Trandosian phase, it is still very useable.
Mental Alacrity: Increased burst DPS. In my opinion useful for a number of situations. (a) at the beginning of any fight, to initiate 3 stacks of Tremors and proccing Tidal Wave by spamming loads of deliverances (b) burst when you need it, Kephess, Soa fights will find this useful. Do not be afraid to use it, but do note its 1 minute cooldown and decide how to optimize it over the fight. For instance, I keep it for the first Warstalker DPS phase on Kephess, and the last bombardier just in case.
Force Potency: Crits your next two attacks (+60%, so if you're sitting at 40% it's guaranteed, almost always if you're close anyway). Most optimal use before TK Throw and TK Wave. No point using it for Turbulence given its auto crit.
Force Speed: Get out of AOE, Get into position, this is by far the best Utility skill we have that other classes do not enjoy.
Cloud Mind: If you don't use this, especially when using mental alacrity, get ready to be scolded by your tanks.
Mind Snap: Ranged interrupt, please help out when needed!
Force Stun/Force Wave/Force Lift/ Force Slow: Useful situationally, I often use it to help slow the approaching Assassin Droids on Colonel Volgrath (Minefield), CC the other. Force wave to kick ads off like during Lost Island. These are all just utility and become less relevant in boss fights.
Force Armor: Powerful instant "heal", TK sages have the resources to cast these, but not too much or it will disrupt our rotation or DPS
Section B: Speccing
A typical TK spec looks like this:
Some points are optional, like those in telekinetic defense and inner strength, but I prefer those because
a) Although we have no force management issues, this can come in handy in times of panic or over-use of projection in mobile fights
b) You can help healers relieve some load with those bubbles
especially in huge fights like the nightmare pilgrim where there's nothing to do during the shield phase.
Section C: Rotation
This is the arguably MOST difficult part of the TK Sage.
I'm gonna quote MMO-Mechanics and put down a few points from myself: (Also personally translated everything to Republic side stuff and tagged them for easier future references)
Telekinetic has a much clearer DPCT list: [For those seeing this for the first time, this means "Damage per Cast Time"]
TK-Throw (Psychic Projection) > Weaken Mind > Turbulence > Mind-Crush > TK-Wave > Disturbance
Unlike Balance (and Hybrid), Project is not better than Telekinetic's filler ability Disturbance (mostly due to the lack of TK-Wave). It is, however, relatively close, and thus is still a valid ability to use on-the-move if nothing else is available (in particular because Telekinetics has the force efficiency to support it).
Interestingly enough, Telekinetic Throw, even without Psychic Projection active, has a higher DPCT than Disturbance. However, the Disturbance DPCT does not include in it uptime on Tidal Force or Tremors procs.
This means that while weaving in Telekinetic Throw is beneficial even without Psychic Projection procs active, using Telekinetic Throw on cooldown is not desirable
, as it impairs Tremors uptime and Tidal Force procs too much. The ideal usage appears to be weaving in a Telekinetic any time you would be casting 2 or more Disturbance in a row.
Do note that as Psychic Projection cannot re-proc during it's duration (10 seconds), a Psychic Projection + Telekinetic Throw may not be the highest priority ability, despite having the highest DPCT. This is because Psychic Projection can't be wasted unless Telekinetic Throw simply isn't triggered within the buff. The result of this is that refreshing abilities with cooldowns or durations takes priority. However, at all costs do not fail to cast Telekinetic Throw during the duration, Psychic Projection is a very significant DPS boost. The same logic applies to Tidal Wave-based Telekinetic wave casts, you have a 10 second window to cast them without sustaining potential DPS loss.
Just like Balance, Telekinetic Throw is still your best use of a Force Potency charge, followed by (or preceded by) a Tidal Wave Telekinetic Wave. As with Balance, try to line up Force Potency use with you Relic and Adrenal use. Turbulence will consume Force Potency charges without providing any benefit, so at all costs avoid using Force Potency right before Turbulence comes off cooldown. Mental Alacrity is optimally used when you have a large number of cast-time abilities ahead of you. Ideally this means having at least 10 seconds left on Weaken Mind on the target, and right after you use a Telekinetic Wave from Tidal Force. Any Tidal Wave procs that occur during the duration should be withheld until after Mental Alacrity expires, as the instacast Telekinetic Waves' gain no benefit from Mental Alacrity.
Telekinetic specs very rarely run into Force issues due to Telekinetic Effusion, so Telekinetic players should feel free to utilize expensive abilities such as Force Storm or Static Barrier as the encounter mechanics suggest without worrying (much) about Force depletion. Lightning players are also the best option for emergency off-healing, as they can regain their Force totals the easiest of the 3 specs, at the least dps loss (just weaving in more of the efficient Force Lightning casts).
, Telekinetic Wave far out-strips Force Quake if instacast. Even hardcast Telekinetic Wave has a higher DPCT than Forcequake against 5 or less targets, and has a better damage efficiency. However, if Telekinetic Wave is off cooldown, this should be avoided. Optimal usage seems to be Hardcast Telekinetic Wave -> Disturbance (until proc) -> (Tidal Wave) Telekinetic Wave -> Forcequake -> Hardcast Telekinetic Wave -> Lightning Storm (until proc) -> repeat.
Rotation Priority List
(with Psychic Projection
(with Tidal Force
(with Telekinetic Throw
(only if moving)
Lightning Barrage buffed Force Lightning should be delayed for Affliction refreshes or casts of Crushing Darkness or Thundering Blast, if they are off cooldown, to maintain a greater percentage uptime/on-cooldown-time for those abilities. A Lightning Barrage should never be allowed to fall off without use if it can be avoided, however.
The above applies to Lightning Storm CL as well, it can and should be delayed for Affliction refreshes or casts of Crushing Darkness and Thundering blast, so long as it is cast within the 10 second ICD (unless there are close-proximity CC concerns).
Due to Lightning Barrage and Thundering Blast's dependance on it, Affliction should be maintained on the primary target at all costs. While not as detrimental as it is to Madness, clipping Affliction's duration should be avoided.
Due to Lightning Barrage's mechanics, casting Affliction on multiple targets won't have a proportional increase in procs. However, it will increase the proc rate, and Affliction does a large amount of damage on its own, so maintaining Affliction on secondary targets (arguably even if they aren't targets that need to be DPSed, like targets that will despawn without being killed) is highly recommended, unless doing so would interfere with encounter mechanics or the targets will only last a short time (less than the duration of Affliction).
When opening on a target, the recommended sequence is: Pre-cast Crushing Darkness > Affliction > Thundering Blast > Lightning Strike x3 > (Force Lightning, if Lightning Storm did not proc).
Usually we dont have the luxury of pre-cast. My rotation is as follows:
-Mental Alacrity + All Stims
-Disturbance (Spam until Proc usually)
----Thereafter it's a proc priority rotation.----
-Psychic projection procs -> TK Throw
-Tidal Force procs -> TK Wave
For phases requiring Burst, save your http://www.torhead.com/ability/fLmFqEx/mental-alacrity
. That spell gives you some crazy-*** burst, on the ops dummy throughout the duration of mental Alacrity and stims, I managed to score 2000DPS. Thats some nice 10 seconds of good fun.
(By the first rotation if you get it right, you should be able to pull aggro, although this isn't your objective. Weave in your Cloud Mind right after Mind Crush, it helps.)
Thereafter the cooldowns may NOT allow you to easily repeat the rotation. Just follow the priority listed in MMO-Mechanics.
Comments on AOE:
-I have a different opinion on AOE casts (very small difference). That is, instead of using Disturbance to proc Tidal Wave, I think situationally, like in Kephess's run, Forcequake to proc tidal wave is much more efficient. EACH damage dealt to EACH of the 5 AOE gives you a 10% chance. This allows you to proc Tidal Wave a lot faster... So I would start off with hard cast TK-wave, force quake till cast finish, Instant Cast Telekinetic Wave, then hit Forcequake again. Worse case scenario is that you proc Tidal Force only towards the last second of Forcequake, then getting it to proc again by the completion of the next Forcequake cannot happen. This is where you are forced to hardcast Telekinetic Wave as SOON as it C/Ds.
Fine Tuning the rotation:
-Deciding what spell to cast next doesn't necessarily mean it has to be absolutely according to the rotation. Turbulence is one of your hardest hitting spells, so you should time the rest around it. If it has about a 2 second cooldown to go, obviously you are not going to cast TK Throw, instead maybe a disturbance even if it wont proc.
-In mobile fights, feel free to spam Projection. You have enough force to do so.
-Mental Alacrity coolsdown nicely together with a relic. So if you use relics, it's good for a double use.
-Force potency is useless for Turbulence since you get a guaranteed crit if you have weaken mind on.
-Weaken mind on multiple targets allows you to proc Psychic Projection with greater probability. It's one of your best Bursts and should NEVER be missed.
Section D: Gearing
From The BiS thread:
We at MMO-Mechanics.com have been hard at work over the last couple weeks boiling down all of the changes in 1.3 (and 1.2, to an extent), and we've come up with our solid marks for current BIS gear setups, linked below for each of the 3 DPS specs. I've also listed buffed stats for each, so those of you nearly BIS gear can use them as a landmark for ideal stat ratios. Lastly, I've included in spoiler tags the current priority list for each of the setups, in SimC format.
Note that the DPS listed assumes a single-target Patchwerk fight with a single armor debuff and full raid buffs (including stim), duration 300 seconds (5 minutes) ± 60 seconds. Stats listed are with raid buffs but before stim.
Lightning (1853.1 DPS)
Stats: 2129 Willpower, 992 power, 164 crit, 342 alacrity, 228 surge
actions+=/recklessness,if=(buff.lightning_barrage.react|buff .lightning_storm.react)&cooldown.thundering_blast. remains>3
*Work in Progress*