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Ramalina's Avatar

03.27.2014 , 09:29 PM | #62

Advice from GSF Veterans:
How to pick an All-Star Team.
Optimizing Crew Passive and Active Abilities

Thanks to Verain, Armonddd, and Stasie for editing and content contributions.

Updated for SWTOR 5.5 (provisional)

KotFE Content Bug Warning

If you participate in KotFE story content you will loose access to class characters for your character's class, and also to HK-51 and Treek as GSF crewmembers. At present the only way to access them again is to spend another 1250 fleet requisition on unlocking each one again. By all means submit a bug report about this, but don't expect action anytime soon (ie, the next 2-3 years).

There is a partial workaround to this, if the class companion is a currently equipped crew member, it will be grayed out as a "locked" cremember, but the passive and active abilities will still work. So if you equip your preferred crewmembers before starting KotFE content, and are ok with never switching them again, then you won't really be affected by the bug.

Kinda sucks if you're a Consular that likes to switch between Bypass and Wingman though.
/ End Bug Warning

Crew are important in GSF. Crew let you access active abilities that can be as powerful as the actives from major component slots. In most cases by picking carefully, you can also get a set of passive bonuses that are similar in magnitude to what's provided by a major component slot.

To optimize crew choices, you'll probably have to spend some fleet requisition to unlock some crew members, but the nice thing is that you don't have to unlock all of them. Half or a bit less should let you get ideal options for every ship in GSF.

If it seems too complicated, don't worry. The default selection is not optimal for all ships, but it is good enough for all ships.

For my convenience, this is all based on Republic crew options, there are a few differences on the Imperial side in terms of arrangement of abilities, but for the most part it's not a problem to pick up the same sets of actives and passives for a ship type on either faction.

As a general disclaimer, I'd like to point out that the documentation for GSF is pretty sparse. In cases where tooltips might have more than one plausible interpretation, there's usually no official information to resolve what they really mean. This guide mostly reflects the conventional wisdom of experienced GSF pilots, just keep in mind that there's always the possibility that we're wrong. If you see inconsistencies in tooltips or between what tooltips say and what seems to happen in game, I encourage you to make a forum thread about it. The developers do read threads about possible bugs, and if the bugs are confirmed they may be fixed at some point.

Passive Abilities

Why start with passives? They're always on, so they never suffer from lack of optimal employment on the player's part, assuming that a good choice was make when picking crew.
Passive abilities are also easier to optimize. Actives can be as much a matter of personal preference and playstyle as anything else, while with passive abilities there are more clearly best matches between sets of passives and particular ship builds or components.

Offensive Crew Passive Abilities

Improved Kill Zone: Firing Arc Increased by 2 degrees.
This basically makes the firing circle for your weapons larger. For weapons affected by accuracy, meaning all primary weapons, railguns, and rocket pods the amount of benefit this offers depends on how high the weapon's tracking penalty and base accuracy are. For any missile weapon with a range over 5000 m, it's quite good because their firing arcs aren't that big, and a bigger circle makes it easier to acquire missile locks. If you look at the effect on the ship data sheet, you find that the increase is measured from the center, but the total arc is measured from edge to edge. So if the base weapon arc in the tooltip is 24, this passive will increase it to 28, because 2 degrees are added to each side.

Recommended for: long range missiles. For other weapons figure out accuracy penalties before taking this. If your chance of hitting at the outside of the circle is low, then it's not worth taking. Also provides less relative value for weapons that already have wide firing arcs.

Pinpointing: Weapon accuracy increased by 6%.
Does what it says. This helps overcome the target's evasion. It also helps counteract weapon tracking penalties. Works on weapons with an accuracy rating such as blasters, rockets, and railguns. No benefit to mines, missiles and drones.

Recommended for: Gunships, Strikes, and Scouts all find this to be an almost mandatory pick. It's not bad for Bombers either, but they tend not to get quite as much out of it.

Rapid Reload:
Secondary weapon reload and cooldown times reduced by 8%.
Reduces reload times for missiles, including proton and thermite torpedoes. Miniscule reduction in railgun GCD.
Despite the fact that they are secondary weapons it does not appear to reduce the cooldowns or reload times for mines.

Recommended for: Pike/Quell.

Spare Ammo: Ammo capacity increased by 25%.
Increases ammunition of secondary weapons that use ammo: missiles, torpedoes, and rockets.

Recommended for
: Ships that do much of their damage with ammo using weapons AND frequently run out of ammunition for them. Scouts using cluster missiles with double volley upgrade or rocket pods are good examples. Pike/Quell if the pilot runs out of missiles on a regular basis.

Defensive Crew Passive Abilities

Power to Shields: Shield power pool increased 10%
Pretty good on any ship that uses shields as it's primary defense.

Recommended for: Ships that have shields.

Quick Recharge: Shield regeneration increased 15%
Given the regeneration rates of most ships this is not that great. You need long periods out of combat for it to have a significant effect. It's possible I missed some rarely taken component combination that makes it really good, but for the most part seems inferior to other options.

Recommended for: none at present, could change if regen stacking becomes possible and good at some point in the future.

Response Tuning: Evasion increased by 5%.
Decreases chance that weapons with an accuracy attribute will hit your ship. Excellent for ships that have multiple components with evasion available, good for all other ships.

Recommended for:Scouts, type 1 Gunships. Ok for any ship with at least some evasion. One of the best overall defensive options.
Not recommended for: type 2 gunships, evasion likes company and type 2 gunships have no evasion available except the crew passive, Bombers also typically don't take evasion components and may not want this passive.

Structural Support: Damage Reduction increased by 9%.
Reduces hull damage taken by 9%. All sources of hull damage reduction are treated as armor based damage reduction. That means that weapons that ignore armor, ignore all damage reduction. While it is possible to stack damage reduction on some ships, armor piercing weapons are so common that it's not a popular choice.

Recommended for: Flying through minefields. In general this means minelayers and T3 strikes that are intended for use in an anti-bomber role in domination games. There are a few pilots that favor it in other cases, but the widespread occurrence of armor piercing weapons reduces it's value significantly compared to other choices.

Tactical Crew Passive Abilities

Comm Boost: Communications range increased 5 km.
Improves your ability to share sensor data with teammates, making spotting enemies easier.

Recommended for: Any ship.

Depth of Field: Sensor Focus range increased 2.5 km
Sensor focus is a cone in front of your ship where sensors can detect enemies. It extends to a greater distance than sensor radius. This passive extends the cone another 2.5 km. Helps find targets at a longer range.

Recommended for: Gunships, scouts, strikes can all get some use from this, probably a bit less valuable for bombers.

Peripheral Vision: Sensor radius increased 2.5 km. Increases detection of enemies in all directions by 2.5 km, but does not extend sensor focus range.

Recommended for
:All ships. A more defense minded option than sensor focus.

Silent Running: Sensor dampening increased 4 km.
Decreases range that enemy sensors can detect you by up to 4 km, if they can detect you at ranges greater than 15 km. Between comm ability and sensor damping being inactivated at a range of 15km this ability went from a must have to almost never taken. Still potentially quite dangerous in the hands of a skilled pilot with a ship build and flying style designed to maximize the element of surprise this can give. See thread posts 66-68 for details.

Recommended for
:Nostalgic gunship pilots, people who want to hide from opponents more than 15 km away.

Engineering Crew Passive Abilites

Efficient Maneuvers: Engine component abilities, maneuvers and boosting cost 13% less engine power. Good choice for most ships.

If you don't use boost much and don't use engine abilities much you might not need it.

Recommended for: All ships.

Efficient Fire: Cost of using blasters reduced by 13%.
Doesn't work for railguns or other secondary weapons.

Recommended for: Ships with blasters that draw lots of energy.

Power to Blasters:
Increases blaster power pool 15%.

Recommended for: Gunships, ships that have high draw blasters.

Power to Engines: Increases engine power pool 15%.
More energy for boosting. Can help make a ship less likely to be fully drained of engine power by ion weapons.

Recommended for: Ships that want to boost a longer distance.
"A padawan's master sets their Jedi trial, Rajivari set mine."
- Zhe Lian, Sage.