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Very strong Vanguard dps hybrid

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Vanguard / Powertech
Very strong Vanguard dps hybrid

Hirokinae's Avatar


Hirokinae
01.11.2012 , 02:19 AM | #1
*important update at bottom of this post, CACULATIONS FOR FULL ASSAULT VS HYBRID POSTED BOTTOM!*

I've been racking my brains for a decent vanguard raiding dps spec, and I believe i've found one which has completely blown me away as far as performance. I've tried both assault and tactics, and am currently 4/5 nightmare EV on my dps vanguard. Keep in mind that this spec caters mostly towards PVE raiding, as I believe there are better pvp specs than this.

I will try to list the reasoning behind my choices, and the pros and cons of picking up certain skills

http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#801hMhZMsMZfI0bkGhM.1

Eseentially, its a hybrid spec which takes the best of both worlds, and focuses on HIB as the heavy hitter, while having incendiary round, and improving the damage on ion pulse, providing very strong, even, and high sustained dps.

The main problem I had with tactics, was that I felt the damage wasn't horrid, but it is a very movement unfriendly spec, and toe to toe with a pure assault spec, it was only about even. Almost all of the fights in EV require a lot of moving around, and being in anything but melee range was detrimental to tactics. I found tactics to be a much more forgiving spec ammo-wise, but the potential for damage was limited.

For a pure Assault spec, after some testing and number crushing/research, i found that Assault plastique simply was not a higher overall dps output than a HIB/ion Pulse combo. in addition, Adreneline fueled is a lackluster talent, and with reserve powercell so buggy atm, i found it difficult to use at times.

Eseentially, this spec takes most of the assault spec tree, and does away with the top three talents, freeing up 9 points for use elsewhere. Heres what you gain, and heres what you lose


Losses:
You lose Assault plastique, which honestly wasn't the best ability in the world, considering the fact that it is kinetic and fully affected by armor, and mathematically does less dps than using a combination of ion pulse/HIB, even when you DONT take in the fact that HIB bypasses 72/90% of armor and ion pulse ignores it completely.

You lose Adrenaline Fueled, which like i said is a lackluster talent.

You lose burnout, but this is negated by the fact that you can now pick up Blaster Augments, which does the same thing for 1/3 of the talent points, and you lose a lackluster "execute" ability. (10% extra incendiary/plasma round below 30% isn't much of a dps gain.)


Gains:
You gain the ability to pick up Steely resolve, both points in demolition, and frontline offense, all of which increase the damage on your most optimal rotation

You gain focused impact, which makes your high impact bolt penetrate a further 60% of armor, which stacks with high friction bolts, although its currently unclear whether its a culmulative effect or not. Meaning its either 72% or 90% armor pen.


To sum it all up, the problem I had with tactics, was that your dps was completely screwed if you were forced to run out of melee, and it didn't feel like it was ahead of assault specialist enough (if at all, it actually felt worse) to be as viable for raiding. Fights such as SOA, which requires you to constantly run out of melee and move around due to lightning balls, really hurts your dps. This essentially makes it so that you have the luxury of moving in and out of melee without destroying your dps in doing so.
Compared to Assault, the benefits far outweigh the losses, and if the math is correct, it shows that HIB/ion pulse is already better than assault plastique dps-wise, which is the only thing you really lose.

The only thing to note, is that this spec can be very unforgiving on your ammo consumption. You must be very careful with your ammo management, as it is easy to blow it all trying to put up dots, and go through your rotation without a HIB proc.

Note that of course, you will be in PLASMA cell for this spec, and your priority list is as follows, although this is not comprehensive.

Currently with the "ability delays", attempting to use your trinket and battle focus at the same time can be very frustrating, and trying to hit reserve powercell and recharge cells at the same time is nigh impossible. Very often, i'll run into the problem where if i follow recharge cells with an attack ability, the ability simple will not fire, yet still activate my GCD, wasting it completely. Hopefully bioware fixes this soon.

The best initial opener i've found, is to begin with "reserve powercell", your dps relic/Battlefocus and follow with incendiary round, making your opening rotation very smooth and light on ammo, giving you plenty of time to spam stockstrike and ion pulse to try to proc HIB.

*priority* Hammer shot whenever Below 8 Ammo
A) keep up Incendiary round at all times unless target will die in less than 5-10 seconds; avoid refreshing until about 2 seconds left to avoid clipping the dot.
B) High impact bolt should be used on cooldown, and whenever possible if refreshed
C) Stockstrike should be used on cooldown if High Impact Bolt is not up
D) 2+ targets, Sticky Grenade
E) Ion pulse

** i've been thinking about picking 2 points of burnout instead of frontline offense.
Essentially I would be trading 6% raw ion pulse damage, for 2% tech crit and 20% increased dot damage below 30%. This essentially improves our plasma cell and incendiary dot damage.
-for those who do not know, "tech" damage is any damage which is yellow. this essentially means that for vanguards, only hammershot and HIB is not considered tech damage.
What do you guys think? List your opinions below =) I would be able to test this if it weren't for the lack of a combat log.

FINALLY, CALCULATIONS ON ASSAULT HYBRID VS ASSAULT PLASTIQUE BUILD, AND RESULTS:
http://www.swtor.com/community/showt...41#post2691241

Testing on Kinetic damage on page 3 http://www.swtor.com/community/showt...=161399&page=3
Testing on High impact bolt vs Assault plastique on different armor values http://www.swtor.com/community/showt...=161399&page=6

Furiso's Avatar


Furiso
01.11.2012 , 04:15 AM | #2
Using Ion cell I found going deep into the tactics line just too ammo intensive so switched to a very similar skill set-up.

If you want a set-up leaning towards damage I think this or similar is near the best set-up you can take.

I have slightly more defense and ammo recoup but broadly I'm using what you have linked and it works really really well.

LordSemaj's Avatar


LordSemaj
01.11.2012 , 06:49 AM | #3
Critique:

Tactical Tools should be traded for Power Armor. While it's nice to maximize your dps in a dps build... think about the healers. A dead dps does zero dps and boosting your slightly better than paper defense by nearly 7% helps them out.

Not a fan of Steely Resolve because aim doesn't improve as fast as your bonus damage value. So 9% damage on your most spammed attacks is the better trade and still fits into this build. Extra 30 bonus damage and a tiny bit of crit chance, or extra 9% on 600 bonus damage + base skill? Easy call, Aim's bad.

Jasputan's Avatar


Jasputan
01.11.2012 , 08:19 AM | #4
How does this compare to a typical Gunnery Commando DPS?

Hirokinae's Avatar


Hirokinae
01.11.2012 , 11:19 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by LordSemaj View Post
Critique:

Tactical Tools should be traded for Power Armor. While it's nice to maximize your dps in a dps build... think about the healers. A dead dps does zero dps and boosting your slightly better than paper defense by nearly 7% helps them out.

Not a fan of Steely Resolve because aim doesn't improve as fast as your bonus damage value. So 9% damage on your most spammed attacks is the better trade and still fits into this build. Extra 30 bonus damage and a tiny bit of crit chance, or extra 9% on 600 bonus damage + base skill? Easy call, Aim's bad.
Thank you for you valuable input and feedback. After a little bit of napkin math using the tooltips and some gear swapping, I've found that 9% aim equates to roughly 4% increased damage across the board, in addition to a little over .9% crit, which is about 27-28 crit rating. The lack of a combat log at all is extremely frustrating. It would take some additional testing, I could possibly come up with a spreadsheet to try to gauge the damage, but a large portion of our dps comes from our two dots, Incendiary round, and Gut.

Also, Steely resolve scales with our gear, whereas rain of fire will always be a static 9% damage gain. Currently, I am testing in half Columi/Tionese gear with roughly 1450 aim, so my aim isn't maxed by any means. However, we've cleared HM's this week, and soon, i'll start collecting rakata gear. In full rakata, I estimate our AIM to sit around 1700-1800, and Steely resolve to increase our accross the board damage to 4.5-5%.

After reading your post, I've decided that steely reserve and rain of fire are actually pretty neck in neck, It would just take much more testing to figure out

a) how much exactly do our dots/ion pulse account for our dps and then
b) is it worth losing the overall damage and a little bit of crit to gain 9% on our other three abilities?

What I do know for certain, is for fights with adds and aoe, Steely resolve would win out because of the increase in our aoe damage. So perhaps it would provide more utility for Heroics, and fights such as Gharj, the pylon boss. etc.


As for tactical tools vs power armor, you have very valid points. In the end I think it can be counted as a preference, as i like to have tactical tools for the heroic flashpoint/pvp utility, and currently even in HM EV, I do not have a problem with survivability at all though in nightmares that is certain to change. Will probably switch for nightmare progression, but for now, The flashpoint/pvp utility is more useful for me.

Hirokinae's Avatar


Hirokinae
01.11.2012 , 11:26 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Jasputan View Post
How does this compare to a typical Gunnery Commando DPS?
There is simply not enough information due to the lack of a combat log to fully gauge which does more damage. The only thing I can tell you at the moment, is that when comparing our kill speed for the council boss in EV, i beat our gunnery commando by a wide margin consistently, although that could be attributed skill/gear/etc, and is impossible to tell at the moment.

I WILL tell you that vanguard dps is VERY viable in raids, and it all comes down to preference at the moment.

Vanguard damage is much more melee oriented, this spec simply gives you the option to play at not so melee range at times, as well as almost infinite mobility at short-medium ranges.

Gunnery Commando is very stationary, and not very movement friendly, but does not have the range restriction that vanguards do.

In the end:
dps is viable for both classes
vanguard is short range, extremely mobile dps
commando is long range immobile dps. Although, i'm sure assault spec commandos will have a little more mobility at the cost of an overall slight dps loss.

Hirokinae's Avatar


Hirokinae
01.11.2012 , 05:02 PM | #7
updated

henla's Avatar


henla
01.13.2012 , 07:45 AM | #8
really nicely written

can I ask some questions as

a) I've not played dps vanguard (shield spec thats probably going to have to go dps for raiding due to guild)

b) 1st good vanguard dps post I've hit so far

which cell are you using ? (guessing plasma)
is it a rotation or a priority order ?
what secondary stats should we aim for?
does this play well in flashpoints or purely a raiding spec (concerned a lack of any CC will impact playing vanguard dps in a flashpoint, but thats a different matter)

thanks

MindlessDrone's Avatar


MindlessDrone
01.13.2012 , 01:51 PM | #9
If I wanted to pvp while leveling towards this spec which tree would be the best one to go up first.
Skornful

Hirokinae's Avatar


Hirokinae
01.13.2012 , 05:15 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by henla View Post
really nicely written

can I ask some questions as

a) I've not played dps vanguard (shield spec thats probably going to have to go dps for raiding due to guild)

b) 1st good vanguard dps post I've hit so far

which cell are you using ? (guessing plasma)
is it a rotation or a priority order ?
what secondary stats should we aim for?
does this play well in flashpoints or purely a raiding spec (concerned a lack of any CC will impact playing vanguard dps in a flashpoint, but thats a different matter)

thanks
I'm currently playing around with the spec, and am testing it out in hardmode EVE tomorrow. At the current moment, its hard to nail down a rotation, and the rotation itself is turning out to be VERY user-unfriendly. Its more of a priority system as well, since you will want to use high impact bolt whenever its off cooldown. Its your hardest hitting ability as well as your cheapest, meaning you ALWAYS want to use it when its up.

As far as secondary stats, the main consensus is AIM as primary of course, then - crit - power =/= surge- alacrity.
Currently, surge is an interesting stat, because it goes hand in hand with crit, HOWEVER, I have found that there IS a softcap on surge, although i dont remember what % its at. possibly around 90-100%.
This spec is a little cubersome for flashpoints, as its a dot reliant spec, so is mostly only good for heavy boss fighting.


I am currently working on a revised version of this spec once i test it out sunday in our hardmode EV, and might consider dropping Gut in favor of Rain of fire. As it is, the ammo drain from having to put up both dots, HIB on cd, and tryin to keep stockstrike on cd is proving to be quite difficult to handle. I will keep you updated.


While leveling, if you wish to use this spec, i would recommend going into assault first, as that is where the majority of our damage boosting capabilities is, and you want to pick up incindiery round and ionic accelerator ASAP.