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GalnarDegana's Avatar

03.16.2012 , 03:03 PM | #2
In replying to this post here, I ended up writing a frickin' guide on our defenses. This is updated for 5.1, so I am posting it here, with plans for updating the parent post at some point soon.

You have seven main defensive abilities, not counting Utilities. The format is Gunslinger (Sniper).

Defense Screen (Shield Probe): Incoming damage shield with a hidden health (so it can be popped when it gets enough damage). This is basically a proactive medpack.

Dodge (Evasion): Increase chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 200%, as well as reducing force and tech damage you take by 75% (this is from the Hold Position passive). Really short, really potent.

Scrambling Field (Ballistic Shield): AoE protection of teammates, 20% damage reduction.

Hunker Down (Entrench): CC immunity while in cover for 20 seconds baseline.

Hightail It (Covered Escape): a mobility roll that can help reposition away from melee and in better line of sight areas. Also, while rolling, +100% chance to avoid attacks.

Pulse Detonator (Cover Pulse): PBAoE knockback that can get melee off your back.

Bag of Tricks (Imperial Preparation): Resets the cooldown on the above skills, as well as Surrender (Countermeasures).

So you have a lot of options. Now when do you use them? Take for example your best skill, Dodge (Evasion). This only lasts for 3 seconds, so you really need to time it correctly. For this to be as useful as you'd like, you need to know what is going to happen from the enemy. You can just pop it when you are getting focused, and that will help, but the ideal time to use it depends on who you are facing.

For example, Vanguards (Powertechs) will place their Assault Plastique (Thermal Detonator) on you, which ticks for a couple of seconds, then explodes. Good ones line up their burst, so right as that explodes, they often hit you with High Impact Bolt (Rail Shot). They might be on you for a couple of seconds before their burst hits you. If you panic and hit Dodge (Evasion) too early, it won't help you that much. I don't even know how many seconds after they put the charge on me it takes, I am just aware of the sound, so I hear the escalating ticks and then the release of Rail Shot, and I've gotten used to it, so I automatically know when this will happen. An alternative is to hit Hightail It (Covered Escape), since that will also save you damage. Either one of these works.

So long and short of it, you have to be aware of what skills and cues the other classes have, so you know what to avoid and what to wait out. It isn't enough to just know what your skills do, you need to also know what their skills do.

There are also a number of CC skills that you have, as well as Diversion, which helps lower the damage you take by limiting the damage output of the enemy team.

There are also a lot of Utilities that help, as well as Disciplinary talents.

Sharpshooter (Marksmanship): Level 24 talent extends Diversion effect 3 seconds beyond when the targets are in the Diversion field, Level 52 talent increases the duration of Hunker Down (Entrench) 3 seconds, and you get Hunker Down (Entrench) after using Hightail It (Covered Escape) for 3 seconds.

Saboteur (Engineering): Extra stun and longest range stun in the game in Incendiary Grenade/Shock Charge/Sabotage combo (Plasma Probe/Interrogation Probe/EMP Discharge). Not that long of a stun, and a pain in the butt to set up, but there it is. It used to be much better.

Dirty Fighting (Virulence): Level 56 talent gives you 30% damage reduction against periodic effects. Level 60 talent gives your Scrambling Field (Ballistic Shield) 5 seconds more duration.



Ballistic Dampers: Gives three charges of 30% damage reduction. Can be refreshed every 6 seconds (i.e. 4 attacks). Getting out of cover and back in quickly can help keep you alive (this is called cover hopping).

Cool Head (Vital Regulators): Don't take this for PvP. You are having problems with burst, and this is a slow heal over time. Too little, too slowly.


Heads Up (Seek Cover): Speed boost from leaving Hunker Down (Entrench) is great synergy with a great skill. Also makes you immune to roots while you run.

Pandemonium (Stroke of Genius): Along with a boost to Charged Burst (Snipe), this makes Pulse Detonator (Cover Pulse) even better, as it adds a 20% Force and Tech resist chance to a skill you'll be using anyway. Every bit helps. Note that this is resist chance, not damage decrease like with Dodge (Evasion). That means that there is a 20% chance you won't be hit at all by a Force or Tech ability, which includes CC.

Reset Engagement (Reestablish Range): knocks back people with Speed Shot (Series of Shots) or their replacements in the Sharpshooter (Marksmanship) tree, which is great for keeping melee off your back. Also, you get a speed boost and root/snare cleanse with Surrender (Countermeasures), which is reset by Bag of Tricks (Imperial Preparation) as mentioned above.

Lumbering Impact: Flash Grenade (Flash Bang) leaves behind a 20% accuracy debuff, which can be helpful on a well-performing DPS. Not the best, but not terrible.


Lay Low (Pillbox Sniper): Reduces cooldown of Hunker Down (Entrench) by 15 seconds, which is amazing. Adds even more synergy. In Sharpshooter (Marksmanship), this lasts for 23 seconds out of 45, and you get more of it on your rolls. Amazing value.

Holed Up (Siege Bunker): Hunker Down reduces AoE damage you take by 60%. Good if in that kind of meta (we aren't right now, I don't think).

Hold Your Ground: Defense Screen (Shield Probe) cooldowns are reduced by 5 seconds, you get 30 seconds off of your CC-breaker, and a minor ranged defense buff after you leave cover. Overall, fine, but not great. Defense Screen (Shield Probe) is not as amazing as one would think, so while a lower cooldown is nice, I like speed boosts better for movement and learning line of sight and positioning better.

Hotwired Defenses (Augmented Shields): increases Defense Screen's (Shield Probe's) damage absorption cap by 30%. Not to 30%, by 30%. If you would take 20k damage before it broke, it would now break after 26k. An increase, but not that much. I don't know the actual numbers, they've changed with every expansion, as I believe they are tied to your Mastery stat as if it were a heal.


Shield Reserve (Defensive Safeguards): this is a relatively new talent, and this is very tempting. For each enemy within the shield, you gain an additional 5% to the 20% damage reduction you already have, up to 40%. You also heal for 3% of your maximum health every second (not every 3 seconds like Cool Under Pressure (Vital Regulators) up in the Skillful tier). You are also immune to being pulled or knocked back, which Hunker Down already does, but still, you don't always have it up. This is an amazing talent.

Bait and Switch (Tactical Retreat): Hightail It (Covered Escape) heals you for 10% of your max health and Dodge's (Evasion's) duration is increased by 5 seconds. I don't think I have to tell you how amazing this talent is, it is brilliant. Definitely a powerful combination.

Riot Screen (Deployed Shield): Reduces damage taken while in cover by a flat 5%, as well as reducing the cooldown of Scrambling Field (Ballistic Shield) by 30 seconds. Some definite synergy possibility with Shield Reserve (Defensive Safeguards), but a bit weaker than some of the other talents in this section, IMO.

Perfect Scheme (Over-Prepared): Reduces cooldowns on Bag of Tricks (Imperial Preparation) by 45 seconds, and adds a 15% damage reduction effect to it for 15 seconds. This is an excellent talent. Honestly, it adds so much value, it seems like a must-take in many situations.

Okay, so I think that is a comprehensive list of all of our defensive abilities. Obviously, being aware of line of sight and positioning is important to becoming better at the class' defense. Learning the other classes' abilities is important to learning how to use your skills to counter theirs. Watch youtube videos of other people explaining how to play each class, so you can learn the rotations and the best skills for each class so you know what to look for. You can also watch really good snipers and 'slingers to see how they play in each warzone, where they sit, who they focus, why they move if they do.
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