Actually the AoE stun is a pretty potent tool against melee.
You're right that our burst is only "ok". Not great but "ok". And it's kinda ridiculous that a Vanguard's HiB hits harder than a Commando's because of the extra armor Pen they get, but saying our sustained damage is low when left alone to free cast is being disingenuous at best. If our sustained was that bad we wouldn't be so good on the PVE side of things, where let me assure you Commandos and Mercs have no problems.
Did they balance 1.2 around a bugged HSM/DR, then realized it was bugged and fixed it completely screwing us for months before they got around to fixing the Crit Multiplier talent for Full Auto (Deadly Cannon for us), Allowing Charged Barrel to stack 2 at a time, and changing the accuracy talent to an armor pen buff for both Full Auto and HiB? Yep they did that. They suck. And for a few brief shining days we had incredible burst. They changed it, because, again they suck.
You point to the crazy smash damage going out as evidence that it would be balanced for us to have our 8k DRs back, and that's just the wrong example imo because I think it's a tad broken.
I agree with the others that what we really need are utility changes. Sadly I think we need a LOT of utility help, not just a little, but they should probably introduce any changes slowly overtime to keep out the FotMers, and to actually have a chance to ASSESS a change and how it works on live before they make additional changes. It might be that just one of the proposed changes (like Hold the Line) would be enough to tip the scales and make us viable again.
What, personally, has me angry isn't that we've been left alone for so long in this sad state, but that last time they made an actual change to our utility it was to give us the interrupt we should have always had, and then nerfed what few tools we had in either DPS tree. *** BW?
Well said. Two changes in specific that just made the Commando/Merc community w.t.f:
Assault: Sweltering heat needs to be buffed back up to 50%, honestly that is all it would take for this spec to shine. As is, 30% is next to negligible and next to useless. Either give us an on demand snare or raise it back to 50%.
Gunnery:Stockstrike and it's knockback removal. Having a root is nice but having it tied to a 4m ability on a RANGED class is incredibly awkward, competent commando's can and do make it work but honestly the mechanic is ridiculous and I'm watching the very same Commando's quickly drop the class in favor of a less dysfunctional one. Add the knockback in addition to the snare, severely reduce the amount of Resolve produced, nerf the root duration and/or even the knockback distance but we need both. Rooting a melee 4m next to you as a ranged class with 0 interruption immunity is laughable.
I could go on, the class is preposterously dysfunctional but well over a hundred suggestions have gone into this thread as is, time to read it and fix the awkward class Bioware.