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Commando/Mercenary Top 3 Answers

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Commando / Mercenary
Commando/Mercenary Top 3 Answers
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EricMusco's Avatar


EricMusco
04.03.2014 , 09:21 AM | #1 This is the last staff post in this thread.  
Hey folks,

Here are your top 3 answers, returned from the Combat Team!

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PvE: Overall, Commando is in a pretty good place in PvE right now, and is at least viable at most levels of content. However, Gunnery is under performing in comparison to the other turret-based ranged DPS classes by a significant, but not enormous, margin. Testing on PTS has shown that this performance gap will still exist even after the changes to Gunnery in 2.7.

Most often, I see the developers hold up Commando's ability to off-heal as some kind of reasoning as to why it might possible have lower output. The idea of this is absurd, as using global cooldowns on healing abilities rather than DPS in PvE is only going to further reduce DPS output, at the cost of a marginal-at-best benefit to the group. If a class is lacking in its primary role, it will be ruled out in most cases, regardless of what its secondary strengths might be.

It is the community's belief that this lack of DPS in Gunnery spec is likely tied to the ammo cost of High Impact Bolt. Several ideas were brainstormed, but it is widely believed that returning HIB to the 0 ammo cost it possessed pre-2.0 would allow Gunnery to compete against the other ranged turret DPS classes. Are the devs aware that Gunnery is lagging behind other ranged turret DPS specs, and have they considered the possible methods of bringing Gunnery up to a place where it is competitive with the other ranged turret DPS specs?
We are aware that Gunnery/Arsenal is lagging a bit behind some of the other “ranged turret”, damage-dealing skill trees and bringing its sustained damage up to match that of Assault Specialist/Pyrotech Commandos/Mercenaries is on our “to-do” list. That said, giving Vanguards/Powertechs and Shadows/Assassins at least one skill tree each to provide competitive sustained damage in Operations is currently much higher on our “to-do” list, because Commandos/Mercenaries already have one skill tree that puts out excellent sustained damage in Operations.

We are slowly developing away from the idea that off-healing capabilities should lower the sustained damage output of skill trees that focus on dealing damage. For example, you can currently observe that Scrapper/Concealment Scoundrels/Operatives and Assault Specialist/Pyrotech Commandos/Mercenaries put out some of the best sustained damage in the game, and as you already know, both of these classes can heal. This also goes for classes that can off-tank as well, and an example of that can be seen in the improvements given to Vigilance/Vengeance Guardians/Juggernauts not too long ago.

We will not guarantee that High Impact Bolt/Rail Shot will become free for Gunnery/Arsenal Commandos/Mercenaries (but we might further reduce its cost – possibly to the point of making it free or nearly free). Please feel free to make other suggestions for how you might like to see this gain in Gunnery/Arsenal sustained damage implemented – we will be reading and considering your suggestions.
PvP: There are many people that believe that Commando is in a terrible place for PvP, especially at a higher level. While I believe that the situation is not nearly as bad as that, it is far from ideal. One of the reasons for this belief is Commando's lack of any real "OH S**T"/"get out of dodge" defensive ability. The recent changes to Sniper/Slinger defensive cooldowns prompted this response from one of the devs:

Quote:
Gang,

One of the changes that has generated the most vocal feedback is the change to the Sniper and 'Slingers defensive cooldown, Evasion/Dodge. We firmly believe that these Classes are lacking in a distinct emergency survive button, something that each other Advanced Class has (either via escapes like a Vanish, or more brute force mans like an Undying Rage)
It is clear that the design intent is to provide particularly vulnerable classes with means to either quickly extricate themselves from dangerous situations, or to straight up mitigate a crap-ton of damage for a few precious seconds. With this statement in mind, Commando has no such ability. Heavy Armor does not provide anywhere near as significant as an advantage as past devs have claimed, and Commando has a very limited set of tools to escape from sustained pressure. Hold the Line appears to make an attempt to fill that role, but it fails to provide the ability to quickly out-distance opponents who are in hot pursuit.

Based on this, it is my belief that Commando would benefit from a 'disengage' type ability. Similar to Gunslinger's 'High Tail It', the idea would be to quickly create distance between the Commando and his/her opponents. A tool such as a disengage would round out Commando's set of survival-based utility nicely, and would provide the class with the "OH S**T" button that it is in clear need of. If you take a look at the PvP leaderboards, it is easy to see that Commando is one of the more difficult Advanced Classes to find success with in a competitive environment.

Are the devs aware that Commando is in need of some kind of emergency defensive/disengage ability, and are they planning on addressing that need in the near future?
Internally, we constantly debate things like this, and as you may have noticed by now, we actually reverted the upcoming 2.7 change to Evasion/Dodge for Snipers/Gunslingers. In general, we are aware that Commandos/Mercenaries have not performed as well as many of the other classes have in the ranked PvP setting. We are committed to addressing these issues for all classes to which they apply, because our ultimate goal is for every advanced class to be competitive in ranked PvP.

As far as getting a new ability is concerned, that is not likely to happen outside of an expansion to the game. However, we may consider improving the existing defensive capabilities for Commandos/Mercenaries in some way that yields the desired boost to their performance in PvP. Our first step is to observe how Commandos/Mercenaries perform after they receive the changes coming in the 2.7 update. After analyzing this future data, we may find it necessary to take actions that further improve the Commando’s/Mercenary’s defensive capabilities.

Again, we welcome the community’s feedback here. Specifically, which existing defensive cooldown(s) would you like to see improved for Commandos/Mercenaries, and what would the improvement(s) be?
Wildcard: Assault spec is one of my favorite DPS specs to play, but it has been faced with several issues on the Commando side of things since 2.0 was released. First, it lacks any real semblance of group based utility outside of a weak slow. Assault Commando would benefit significantly from the addition of a ranged root. This would go a long way to improving the spec's ability to kite (which it cannot do quite effectively with such a poor slow, and the spec is lacking in non-Resolve-building forms of CC). Just to offer some ideas, I think that Sticky Grenade would be a prime candidate for the addition of this effect. 3s root, breaks on damage after 2s.

There is also some pretty weak synergy with several of the class's baseline abilities, particularly Hail of Bolts and Plasma Grenade:
- Plasma Grenade, the only baseline non-proc fire DoT that Commando possesses, gains absolutely no benefit at all from any talents within the Assault tree (a fire based DoT tree).
- Hail of Bolts has a 9% damage increase from hitting a burning target, but outside of Plasma Grenade and tab-dotting (incredibly inefficient way of dealing damage) there is no way to maintain DoTs on multiple targets.

In addition, there is also a kind of phantom-internal-cooldown on the ability to proc the Plasma Cell DoT using ranged-based attacks. If you have already proc'd said DoT, you cannot proc it with a ranged-based damage ability for 6s (duration of the DoT). This did not exist pre 2.0, and it currently makes it very difficult to effectively switch targets (you are forced to spend ammo on either Incendiary Round or Explosive Rounds in order to apply a new DoT within that 6s window).

The alacrity talents within the class also do not make much sense. Taking any alacrity will disrupt the flow of the internal cooldown on Ionic Accelerator (procs HIB reset). It was mentioned in the Powertech responses that the alacrity in Rapid Recharge will be exchanged for a crit chance increase.

Are the devs aware of these issues? Since 2.0 Assault has been lacking in terms of baseline synergy and group-oriented utility. What are the dev's plans to address each of these issues?
There are many different issues mentioned in this question, so we will knock out each one briefly with a bullet-pointed answer:
  • We might consider increasing the duration of the slow from Sweltering Heat, but with the number of immobilizing effects already in the game, adding yet another one to another skill tree is less than ideal.
  • Not every ability in the game receives synergistic bonuses from the skill trees. Assault Specialist/Pyrotech was not originally designed to specialize in area attacks, thus you will currently notice few boosts to area attacks within the skill tree. That said, our goal to give all skill trees better area attack options (but not so much better that you want to use your area attacks in single-target situations) allows for some improvement to Plasma Grenade/Fusion Missile. We can probably tack it onto a few of the skills in the Assault Specialist/Pyrotech skill tree. Hail of Bolts/Sweeping Blasters might also benefit from this treatment.
  • There is a 6-second rate-limit on applying the Plasma Cell/Combustible Gas Cylinder burn with ranged weapon damage. This rate-limit is not an error, but the tooltip for Plasma Cell/Combustible Gas Cylinder needs to be updated to reflect this rate-limit. It is intended that your first attack on an enemy target be Incendiary Round/Missile (should you want to ensure that your target has a burn before “going to town on them” with other abilities) – the cost of Incendiary Round/Missile was lowered post-2.0 to help with this.
  • Regarding alacrity, we want it to be a useful stat – *especially* for classes that use many abilities with activation times, like the Commando/Mercenary. One of the things we would like for alacrity to do in the future is reduce rate-limits. While we research that possibility, we will make up that sustained damage loss elsewhere for the classes that have many abilities with activation times.
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That'll do it for the Commando/Mercenary answers. Thanks everyone.

-eric
Eric Musco | Community Manager
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Elfa's Avatar


Elfa
04.03.2014 , 09:42 AM | #2
To help with Answer 2, why not simply modify Hydraulic Overrides to provide 100% damage reduction for the first second after activation, 50% for the next 3 seconds and then normal again for the remaining duration.

This would allow you to exit the area fast and without as much damage.

The only other suggestion would be instead to increase the speed of Hydraulic Overrides to Force speed levels for faster extrication.
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Icebergy's Avatar


Icebergy
04.03.2014 , 09:47 AM | #3
You guys have set a dangerous precedent for the other classes by answering this guy's 30 questions disguised in one question.
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Euthyphro's Avatar


Euthyphro
04.03.2014 , 10:08 AM | #4
I found the answer to Question #1 about Gunnery frustrating, in that it didn't address the 2.7 changes to the tree at all. What was the purpose of changing Curtain of Fire procs and altering HiB costs if not to "bring Gunnery up to par with other top-performing sustained damage specs"? I assumed this was the intended effect of the change. Those of us who play gunnery assumed that this meant our spec had risen to the top of the To-Do list, and were excited to see the attention, but as the OP states, PTS testing has shown that the dps increase is marginal. It appears to have made FA procs predictable (thankfully), but not to have brought the sustained dps numbers up enough to make the spec desirable for any fights except Draxus and Brontes, where rapid target switching is necessary.

Long story short, it doesn't make sense to say "We'll address it eventually," right as you're releasing a patch that ostensibly was supposed to address this exact issue.
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Rasen's Avatar


Rasen
04.03.2014 , 10:16 AM | #5
Having really adopted to Commando play in the past three months I must say that increasing defenses is a definite. In ranked play it is tough to perform unless you are allowed to free cast. And to use one specific PvE scenario...

During the Brontes fight when dealing with balls my Commando is at a distinct disadvantage. My Sentinel, which I main, is able to dive in with GBTF. My Shadow is able to use Resilience to also eliminate the ball. My Commando though only has Reactive Shield which will not help me survive much before the 15 stacks. I believe providing an 'endure' skill is essential and would be unique. And on that note it should be applied to Adrenaline Rush. I don't feel the skill as is is super useful so providing another ability to it that allows you to survive any attack no matter the damage(outside of instakill moves like Overcharge Beam from Brontes and Zero's and Golden Fury's own death beams.

So just to detail if you have Adrenaline Rush active any hit that would bring you to 0 instead brings you to 1 and on top of that the actual healing mechanism of Adrenaline Rush fights to get your health back up. So in essense what this does is give you a second wind without giving you much life to actually use with it thus it doesn't end up overpowered. You still need heals to save you and if your opponent is good they'll still be on you to finish you. With an ability like this I can confidently dive into one of Brontes' balls just like my other classes can without dying. Of course it would not reward dumb players because your healers might not be able to instaheal you if you foolishly use it.

What do you more practiced Commandos think?

Edit: Oh and limiting it to Commandos might be necessary? I'm still leveling my Vanguard so I can't speak confidently there.

AMightyKnight's Avatar


AMightyKnight
04.03.2014 , 10:23 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Hey folks,
]We are aware that Gunnery/Arsenal is lagging a bit behind some of the other “ranged turret”, damage-dealing skill trees and bringing its sustained damage up to match that of Assault Specialist/Pyrotech Commandos/Mercenaries is on our “to-do” list. That said, giving Vanguards/Powertechs and Shadows/Assassins at least one skill tree each to provide competitive sustained damage in Operations is currently much higher on our “to-do” list, because Commandos/Mercenaries already have one skill tree that puts out excellent sustained damage in Operations.

I still fail to understand how a simple change like reducing ammo cost of HiB to zero would take longer than 30 minutes.
How hard can it be? Just get in there and change the ammo reduction to HiB of the Special Munitions talent. Thats six numbers for Mandos and Mercs total.

Also, why on earth didnt you bring up Gunnery with 2.7 if you knew the spec is lagging behind? Why do you introduce all this changes (which are great and go in the right direction) when you know it wont be enough? I fail to understand why you dont reduce the cost of HiB even further or go with a less than 8 sec internal cd on Curtain of Fire if you changing it anyway.
And if you fear it would be too much, whats a test server for if not to test things?


Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post

• Regarding alacrity, we want it to be a useful stat – *especially* for classes that use many abilities with activation times, like the Commando/Mercenary. One of the things we would like for alacrity to do in the future is reduce rate-limits. While we research that possibility, we will make up that sustained damage loss elsewhere for the classes that have many abilities with activation times.
Uhuh. This is very simple: No matter what you do, alacrity will never be a usefull stat for sustained dps unless it influence all ammo regeneration (Chell Charger...). So researching in this direction might indeed be a good idea. ...
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JMagee's Avatar


JMagee
04.03.2014 , 10:27 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Rasen View Post
Having really adopted to Commando play in the past three months I must say that increasing defenses is a definite. In ranked play it is tough to perform unless you are allowed to free cast. And to use one specific PvE scenario...

During the Brontes fight when dealing with balls my Commando is at a distinct disadvantage. My Sentinel, which I main, is able to dive in with GBTF. My Shadow is able to use Resilience to also eliminate the ball. My Commando though only has Reactive Shield which will not help me survive much before the 15 stacks. I believe providing an 'endure' skill is essential and would be unique. And on that note it should be applied to Adrenaline Rush. I don't feel the skill as is is super useful so providing another ability to it that allows you to survive any attack no matter the damage(outside of instakill moves like Overcharge Beam from Brontes and Zero's and Golden Fury's own death beams.

So just to detail if you have Adrenaline Rush active any hit that would bring you to 0 instead brings you to 1 and on top of that the actual healing mechanism of Adrenaline Rush fights to get your health back up. So in essense what this does is give you a second wind without giving you much life to actually use with it thus it doesn't end up overpowered. You still need heals to save you and if your opponent is good they'll still be on you to finish you. With an ability like this I can confidently dive into one of Brontes' balls just like my other classes can without dying. Of course it would not reward dumb players because your healers might not be able to instaheal you if you foolishly use it.

What do you more practiced Commandos think?

Edit: Oh and limiting it to Commandos might be necessary? I'm still leveling my Vanguard so I can't speak confidently there.
If you're playing Gunnery, disregard this, but if you are playing Assault (I don't think you mentioned above) you can pop diversion right before exploding your ball (in the 15-19 stack range) and give yourself a fighter's chance to resist the explosion damage. It's only ~1 in 3 chance of working (~30% defense, depending on how your talent the rest of your points) but it does occasionally help.

I agree it's not a "cheese" like resilience, or saber ward, or even a perfectly measure roll, but when you get lucky, it works just as well.

Rasen's Avatar


Rasen
04.03.2014 , 10:36 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by JMagee View Post
If you're playing Gunnery, disregard this, but if you are playing Assault (I don't think you mentioned above) you can pop diversion right before exploding your ball (in the 15-19 stack range) and give yourself a fighter's chance to resist the explosion damage. It's only ~1 in 3 chance of working (~30% defense, depending on how your talent the rest of your points) but it does occasionally help.

I agree it's not a "cheese" like resilience, or saber ward, or even a perfectly measure roll, but when you get lucky, it works just as well.
I use Gunnery for that fight, but that is a good suggestion. Ever since 2.7 changes were announced I jumped back to Gunnery just to get used to it again. I'll try that next time I do that fight. First suicide droid might be a slight issue, but should be performing just as well.

AngelFluttershy's Avatar


AngelFluttershy
04.03.2014 , 10:37 AM | #9
Thanks for the super answers devs! If I had to make a suggestion on Gunnery/Arsenal ammo/energy management it would be to tie the cost reduction to a current proc or add another 100% proc that is just for reducing the ammo cost. For example, each stack of Charged Barrels/Target Lock reduces the cost of the next High Impact Bolt/Rail Shot by X amount. Another idea, Curtain of Fire/Barrage now also reduces the cost of the next Full Auto/Unload by X amount. If you're adding a new proc maybe each Demolition Round/Heatseeker Missiles has a 100% chance of making the next Grav Round/Tracer missile free, or reduces the cost of the next two Grav Rounds/Tracer Missiles by X amount.

As for increasing current defensive cooldowns my first idea would be to look at Reflexive Shield/Energy Rebounder as it's currently very lackluster. There is also the idea of augmenting Adrenaline Rush for Commados, but I'm not sure what that would look like.

Rasen's Avatar


Rasen
04.03.2014 , 10:39 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by AngelFluttershy View Post
Thanks for the super answers devs! If I had to make a suggestion on Gunnery/Arsenal ammo/energy management it would be to tie the cost reduction to a current proc or add another 100% proc that is just for reducing the ammo cost. For example, each stack of Charged Barrels/Target Lock reduces the cost of the next High Impact Bolt/Rail Shot by X amount. Another idea, Curtain of Fire/Barrage now also reduces the cost of the next Full Auto/Unload by X amount. If you're adding a new proc maybe each Demolition Round/Heatseeker Missiles has a 100% chance of making the next Grav Round/Tracer missile free, or reduces the cost of the next two Grav Rounds/Tracer Missiles by X amount.

As for increasing current defensive cooldowns my first idea would be to look at Reflexive Shield/Energy Rebounder as it's currently very lackluster. There is also the idea of augmenting Adrenaline Rush for Commados, but I'm not sure what that would look like.
I'm actually surprised Curtain of Fire doesn't reduce the cost of Full Auto. Seems logical.