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04.12.2013 , 02:14 AM | #2
Commandonese Translation, courtesy of Benaiah. Very Special Thanks!!!

There are many ways to play the Commando Gunnery / Mercenary Arsenal spec and Bioware doesn't endorse just "one way" to play any class or spec. The suggestions I have in this guide are strictly what I, with the help of many others, have found to be the most optimal. You’re encouraged to experiment and find what works best for you and contribute your own feedback for discussion.
Last Update to Guide: 05/04/14
Last Update to Parses/Gear: 04/25/14

***Mercenary DPS Guide***

in Commandonese

(Updated for 2.7)

- Pizza’dah’hutt

In addition to showing you some of the changes 2.0 has brought to the Commando Gunnery spec, the intention of this thread is to help Gunnery Commandos take their PVE game to another level. It’s easy to bash 4-5 buttons without putting much thought into it and be an alright Commando. Don’t settle for being good, be great!
First and foremost, don't be lazy. Go get your datacrons (Aim and Cunning for dps) and max out your companion's affection for a 1% boost to Acc/Crit/Surge.

Table of Contents:
  1. Skill Tree
  2. Gear & Stat Goals
  3. Gunnery Abilities & Priority System
  4. Gunnery Tips & Tricks
  5. Assault Abilities & Priority System
  6. Credits & Achievements

I. Skill Tree
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Gunnery 2.5 PVE Spec 6/36/4
*Decoy can be used in place of Reflexive Shield and Tenacious Defense can be used in place of Concussive Force depending on the fight
Assault 2.5 PVE Spec 0/10/36
*Field Training can be used in place of Steadied Aim if the encounter suffers little pushback from damage taken.

II. Gear & Stat Goals
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Dread Master BiS Chart (Theoretical)
Dread Forged BiS Chart
Kell Dragon BiS Chart (Archive)
Underworld BiS Chart (Archive)

Set Bonus: You will deck yourself out in Eliminator Set Bonsu gear. The 2pc grants you 15% crit bonus to Charged Bolts & Grav Round, while the 4pc grants 8% damge increase on HiB
BiS Augments: Advanced Reflex Augment 28
BiS Relics: Dread Master Relic of Serendipitous Assault & Dread Master Relic of Focused Retribution
BiS Stats In Full 81 Gear: Aim > Accuracy (100/110%) > Crit (~315 rating) > Power > Surge > Alacrity
Accuracy: Goal = 408 rating = 99.67/109.67%. Get this to at least 99/109% before worrying about Surge.
Surge: Goal = 612 rating = 75.60%
Power/Crit: Using Keren's Simulator as a base, it's seen there is a rather large sweet spot for crit in full 81 gear. You can fall anywhere between 150-374 crit and not see a noticeable difference in average dps output. I’m going to shoot for around 315 crit.

This is a small sample size of scatter plots, but done with several thousand iterations at various crit ratings: (Crit/DPS Simulation Scatter Graph), this could be gained a number of ways through mods/enhances/ear/implants... I’m planning to use a crit crystal and 4 enhancements, but if loot RNG presents other options I will adjust

III. Gunnery Abilities & Priority System
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Energy Control is Key:
Mandos follow a priority system based on damage and energy cost. Our energy regeneration is greatest (5 energy/s) when we stay between 100-60 energy. Therefore, you should do your best to always stay above 60 energy (also be careful not to allow your energy to reach 100 for more than an instant) unless the situation allows you to burn. This could be the end of a fight, or a time within the fight where you know a short break of dps is coming up where your energy will have time to regenerate. You should ALWAYS burn the target (ignore Hammershots) when your Recharge Cells ability cd<~10s; this includes your opening sequence. The only exceptions are situational, usually the end of a boss fight when you'll need to be going all out. In these cases, wait on using Recharge Cells if you'll need it before the two minute cd is over.


Single Target Priority:

*Tech Override, Mortar Volley and Plasma Grenade are situational, i.e. you usually want to save Tech Override for using casted abilities on the move instead of wasting it in stand still position (but on a dummy use it to open and when your energy is going to hit 100)...or adds are prominent in the fight where Mortar Volley or Reserve Powercell + Plasma Grenade would be better used for AoE rather than single target.

Let's begin with a legend of abilities:

GR = Grav Round
DR = Demo Round
HiB = High Impact Bolt
FA = Full Auto
EN = Electro Net
RP = Reserve Powercell
PG = Plasma Grenade
HS = Hammershots
MV = Mortar Volley
RC = Recharge Cells

Opening Burst

There are a lot of quality openers you can use, I encourage you to experiment with them. This is the one I've found to work best for me, I’ve broken them down in combos that have a resemblance to Assault combos, but centered around Curtain of Fire procs rather than Ionic Accelerator procs. This opener could get broken up early in many boss fights, but in a sustained fight and/or a dummy session, I’ve listed an opener that will get you to the Recharge Cells stage:

1. Tech Override* + GR > Adrenal + HiB** > DR > EN > FA > GR
2. FA > MV*** > GR
3. HiB > DR > RP + PG *** > FA > GR
4. FA > GR > GR > HiB > GR
5. DR > FA > GR > GR > GR
6. FA > HiB > Recharge Cells + GR > DR > GR

*Tech Override is situational, most fights allow for it to be used in the opener as it only has a 45s cd and usually not needed again in that time frame. It allows you to front-load the energy from your first GR and dissipate 7.5 energy during the GCD of your first GR.

**With no more need for multiple GR to get the armor debuff and damage gain to DR, there's no need to open with multiple GR. Some players will wait for 4 tracer locks to fire off their first HiB. Perfectly acceptable, I choose to open with it sooner because it makes my flow easier going forward.

***I’ve thrown MV andPG into the opener here for dummy sessions, these are situational in boss fights. You may want to save them for AoE if they won’t come off cd soon enough to use them when AoE damage will first be needed.

2.7 Priority System

In Gunnery Spec, we center our priority system/rotation around Curtain of Fire procs. This proc has an 8s internal CD, which means as soon as it’s proc’d, there will be a 6 GCD time frame (illustrated below) to squeeze in the proper abilities.

GCD1 > GCD 2 > GCD 3 > GCD 4 (use FA no later than here) > GCD 5 > GR (procs Barrage)

The 6th GCD should always be a GR. FA & MV shouldn’t be used beyond the 4th GCD since they take up 2 GCDs. Keeping those two things in mind the priorities are similar to life before 2.7:

Energy < 76: HiB > RP + PG > Hammershots
76 < Energy < 83: HiB > DR > EN > RP + PG > FA > HS
Energy > 83: HiB > DR > EN > FA > Tech Override + GR (TO situational)

The only thing changed from pre-2.7 priority system during these GCDs is that stated in the previous paragraph and I don't use GR in that middle energy window (83 > Energy > 76) I always use Hammershots instead to keep my energy up.

Now granted this is really becomes a rotation when it comes to dummy parsing because there's never any other factors, but I like to think of it in these terms because few bosses are like dummies

Note: You can use Mortar Volley in single target situations when AoE is not needed for at least the next 60s. For maximum dps it should be used right after a Curtain of Fire proc'd FA when all other abilities are on cd and energy > 80. Also PG is situational in single target rotations for the same reason.

Note: We aren't the most mobile class, we put out much more damage when we can turret down our target. But if DR and HiB are on cd when you need to move and your energy is sitting fine so you don't want to spam Hammershots. Consider using Sticky Grenade > Explosive Round while on the move and your energy is up. I like to rotate between those and Hammershots in these situations. Also, you could throw in a RP+GR or TO+RP+PG so they can be used on the run.

Multiple Target Priority:

Commandos have beastly AoE damage and the priority system is as follows:

1. Mortar Volley
2. Pulse Canon
3. *RP+PG
4. Hail of Bolts

*You don't necessarily have to use Plasma Grenade with Reserve Powercell. It does produce higher DPS, but isn't as energy efficient, so if you're not worried about energy, use it without RP if you like. But unless you're going to get some downtime after your burn, I would wait for RP.

Also, while you're running up to the mob you want to annihilate or waiting for them to position themselves in a nice pile for you, throw a Sticky Grenade OR Plasma Grenade (with or without RP depending on asterick'd note above) in there for a bit extra delayed AoE damage.

IV. Gunnery Tips & Tricks
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Action Queue

Don't miss out on CofF proc!


How To Analyze Your Parses

V. Assault Abilities & Rotation
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As Curtain of Fire is to Gunnery, Ionic Accelerator (IA) is to Assault. IA resets the cooldown on High Impact Bolt (HiB) and makes the next use free to use. HiB is a powerful hit by itself, but because of another talent High Friction Bolts, which buffs HiB even more and causes regeneration of 8 energy cells on AND refreshes Plasma Cell burn if present, its even stronger. Since the number one rule for a Commando is to maximize output while minimizing energy use, HiB is divine in nature.

The Assault uses a sort of rotation/priority system hybrid. More or less, it is a rotation….but because there is some RNG factors that can slightly alter your rotation, a priority system still does exist. You can reliably proc IA every 6s if you follow a strict pattern in your rotation. Let’s begin with a legend for the abilities:

CB = Charged Bolts
AP = Assault Plastique
IR = Incendiary Round
HiB = High Impact Bolt
EN = Electro Net
FA = Full Auto
RP = Reserve Powercell
PG = Plasma Grenade
HS = Hammer Shots
IA = Ionic Accelerator
RC = Recharge Cells
(TO = Tech Overide (Merc's Power Surge)

So we base our rotation around procing IA every 6s, this is feasible MOST of the time, occasionally you will have a delay on this rate by 1 GCD (1.5s) making it 7.5s between procs. You should NEVER make IA wait more than 7.5s or you’re hurting your sustained dps significantly. How do we do this? Well 6s is equivalent to 4 GCDs, one of those GCDs is going to be HiB from your previously proc’d IA, the other 3 GCDs are what you need to figure out what to do with. For maximum efficiency, always use CB on the 4th GCD (3rd filler) to attempt to proc IA. So your basic rotation will have a series of combos that follow the below pattern.

HiB > Filler 1 (F1) > Filler 2 (F2) > CB (If no IA; then FA or CB; else end of combo)

Furthermore, you want to give yourself as many “auto-procs” of IA as possible. The way Assault is working currently, you can auto proc IA when F1 or F2 above is also a CB or if you use FA’s 3s channel to cover both F1 & F2. Hence, the goal is to squeeze in a CB or a FA in accordingly during every combo. This means if F1 or F2 (or both) are already prioritized to maximize IA proc potential, that only leaves one filler for us to figure out. The two abilities that come off cd most frequently to mix into those slots are AP and IR (we’ll get to EN and PG later), and for energy management occasional HSes will be necessary.

So before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s start with a solid opener. After a LOT of testing on this matter, I’ve found the best opener for me to be (I’m listing the opener in a similar style to how I am laying out the priority system, using combos):

Opening Burst

AP > EN > Adrenal+IR
HiB > CB (If Necessary > CB)
HiB > CB > TSO+PG > CB
Begin Rotation/Priority System

The easiest way for me to explain the general priority system is to lay out the possible combos you may use and order them in highest to lowest DPS illustrated below:

Possible Combos To Use

1. HiB > AP > CB > CB
2. HiB > IR > CB > CB
3. HiB > CB > CB > CB
4. HiB > AP > HS > CB *(If Necessary > FA or CB)**
5. HiB > IR > HS > CB *(If Necessary > FA or CB)**
6. HiB > FA > CB (make sure not to clip FA, timing on the CB is challenging since you can’t queue)
7. HiB > HS > CB > CB (rarely used)

*FA to proc IA

**In combos 4,5 - F1&F2 can be swapped depending on energy, more to come on this but just keep in mind that if IR gets bumped to F2, try to maintain IR in F2 going forward as to not clip it. The next combo that gets backed up a GCD will bring it back in line with F1.

Now we need to squeeze in EN and RP+PG in somewhere. I’ve been inserting both of these abilities into F1 and/or F2 only in place of CB,HS,FA as they come off cd, keeping everything else intact. So for example, if I’m about to use a combo 6, I would use (EN or PG) > CB > CB instead. Or a combo 1 or 4 would become AP > (EN or PG) > CB …. I prioritize EN over PG unless I need energy regen. I only use PG with Reserve Powercell and I make sure using it won’t follow with me sitting at 100 energy for more than an instant. Albeit all these conditions, they pretty much just end up being used very close to on cd of EN/RP.

So the only thing left to do is assign scenarios/energy windows that each of the above combos can be used. It’s fairly simple, When Recharge Cells is off cd you’ll only use combos 1-3 and that includes EN/PG replacement combos. I start ignoring HS combos around 15-18s cd on RC and start ignoring FA around 9-12s cd on RC. It’s kinda just a feel from practice, but the goal is to use RC as close to cd as possible…by pushing your ammo at just the right moment…but not have insufficient energy in the process. Some players may prefer to save RC for mess-ups, but you will maximize dps by utilizing RC as an offensive cd.

Below is the priority system with conditions, I’ve kept the structure to reflect highest combos 1st so some of these windows overlap each other. Please note that the energy conditions are referring to where your energy is after the proc’d HiB.

Rotation/Priority System of Combos

RC <~10s or Energy > 85
1. HiB > AP > CB > CB
2. HiB > IR > CB > CB
3. HiB > CB > CB > CB

RC > ~15s and Energy > 69 … If Energy < 76 then swap F1&F2
4. HiB > AP > HS > CB (If Necessary > *FA or CB)
*If Energy > 68
4b. HiB > CB > (If Necessary > CB)
5. HiB > IM > HS > CB (If Necessary > *FA or CB)
If Energy >76 and SG is off cd
5a. HiB > AP > CB (If Necessary > CB)
If Energy > 68
5b. HiB > CB > (If Necessary > CB)

RC > ~9s and Energy > 72
6. HiB > FA > CB

7. HiB > HS > CB > CB

Because of the conditions laid out above, your opener is going to be a rotation for quite some time using only the first 3 combos. After you RC you’ll almost immediately start using combo 6 and a short while later you’ll start to look to the remaining combos 4,5,7 and the subsets based on your energy and RC cd. The first use of RC will be roughly around the 3rd use of AP or IR depending on your initial IA proc…It’s difficult to tell you exactly when to use it following the first use, but somewhere around 50-60 energy is the trigger. Practice will show you how to not use it too early or too late. You want the use of it to bring you close to 100 energy without hitting 100 for more than an instant.

Cruise Control Mode

Ok so since this rotation is excellent and requires very little thought to use, I'm adding it in to the guide. Advantages are it's extremely consistent due to the rinse & repeat aspect...and it relies on zero IA proc RNG. It is a popular dummy rotation and it can be translated to many boss fights. I'm not a big fan of it...because's a little boring, but it's arguably as good as anything written above in this guide. I would say it's potential high dps is less, and potential low dps is more due to having less IA proc RNG. Anyway here it is, the opener is the same in the guide, and ignore FA combos until after you vent heat and then you fall into this rotation:


Rinse and repeat until RC is coming off cd at which point you can ignore the FA combo and use one of the others or HiB>CB>CB>CB as needed.

***Credits + Achievements***

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