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Melee DPS and You: What Each Melee DPS can do for your rated warzone group.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > PvP
Melee DPS and You: What Each Melee DPS can do for your rated warzone group.

Lina_Inverse's Avatar


Lina_Inverse
01.13.2012 , 10:16 AM | #1
I think we can agree that damage in this game, minus a few specific abilities, is more or less balanced. What differs is the vehicle delivering the damage and the method in which the damage is delivered. What concerns me is the looming concern of rated pvp, slated for implementation as early as March. This thread will serve as a discussion of the role of melee dps in at least a group of 4, but preferably contributing to the entire warzone and teammates in general. I will be operating under the assumption that damage will be more or less even among them at some mythical point, or at least close. I will be writing mainly from the sith standpoint for a few reasons, but you can refer to some translators or if you have questions about how some abilities translate feel free to ask.

We have 5 melee dps classes. Please feel free to fill in your own information in reply or discussion as my knowledge about various specs within the advanced classes and in many cases the advanced classes themselves are secondhand knowledge gained from fighting people who may or may not know what they're doing.

The 5 melee ACs are the Scoundrel/Operative, the Marauder/Sentinel, the Guardian/Juggernaut, the Powertech/Vanguard and the Shadow/Assassin.

We will try to list some of the strengths of the classes while (Hopefully) remaining unbiased. Remember we're not focused on damage numbers, only how they are applied and the rest of the benefits you bring to the group. I will try to keep the summaries general, and avoid offering specific tips and tricks.

Stealth
Stealth allows unharassed mobility in a warzone, and the element of surprise should never be discounted. Enough burst damage stealthers in a game ensures that the enemy team must have uncanny response time or spend extra resources defending vulnerable objectives or various advanced locations on the huttball map.

The Shadow/Assassin:

This is the class I've played the most on beta and in live and so I have the most experience with.

General AC support roles:

The class has access to a few valuable utilities beyond stealth.

Taunts:
The primary support and group utility of the class that comes to my mind are defensive. As dps, while producing maximum dps, you still have access to two baseline taunt abilities that are both cheap and off the gcd, so there is no reason they cannot be used on cooldown. Thus, unless the enemy is training the assassin, they should be spending a large amount of time dealing significantly less damage to your group. After 1.1, the enemy will be aware of the squishy assassin taunting them and reducing their damage, so the dps will have to be smarter with its use.

Guard:
Guard is still useful as an assassin, but as dps you will only be using this in emergency situations. The role of guarding will primarily fall on your group's dedicated tank. Lacking that tank, for example at an area where he/she isn't present and you feel that mitigating burst damage on a secondary target will help with the outcome of your fight, you have the ability to willingly cut your damage to switch to tank mode and guard someone. Since this act substantially reduces your effectiveness in your primary role of damage, it will likely not be used often in a good balanced group, but should still be counted.

CC:
The assassin has some good CC for a melee dps, even baseline, that can help contribute to the team. Whirlwind is a risky move, taking 2 seconds to activate, and it can easily come too late to make a difference in the fight, or cause you to be outranged by your primary targets. The benefit over other melee classes is that this is the only long CC available at a 30 yard range. The class is the only melee dps with a ranged stun as well, which can be used to great advantage in pvp for cc'ing a healer or peeling for your healer from across a battlefield. This class has a midrange slow and interrupt as well, though they are on a higher cooldown than their melee range equivilents, it still allows for more versatility as to who can become the target of these skills (for example the healer healing nearby is more vulnerable to a tab + interrupt from a class with mid range). You also have the only AoE pushback in the melee dps crowd, useful for positioning and peeling.

As Deception/Infiltration:
As deception you gain a short CD melee range disorient in low slash that can function as a secondary interrupt, or one of the best peels available to any class. Its low cooldown ensures its use multiple times a fight, but it due to the fact that it is an incapacitation, it must be used smartly on targets that are not likely to be damaged in the following 4 seconds.

As Deception your damage is dealt as direct damage and is bursty, making it stronger for target swaps and against strong healing teams.

As Madness/Balance
For group utility in this spec, you gain an elimination in the cast time of your 8 second CC, making it debatably the strongest single target CC in the arsenal of any melee dps. The 30 yard range, on top of the long duration, on top of the additional stun if the CC breaks early from damage, make this talent a valuable group tool. On top of that, you gain a 2 second root at the very top of the tree, which allows you to control others briefly through a full resolve bar. This is invaluable in an objective based scenario. The 2 second root is on a 9 second cooldown and also has a 30 yard range, which is strong for a spec that can still be considered "melee" dps.

As Madness your damage is DoT based, but you gain a strong AoE(again at 30 yards) and still maintain respectable direct damage in most specs. Making it stronger at causing group-wide pressure and sustained damage.

The Scoundrel/Operative

As a class:

Healing:
This class has healing. If you play it you may not want to admit it to yourself but it does. The healing it does is draining, has cast times, and is in general not going to be super strong as a melee dps, but it has a few key group support role advantages. First, it's strong enough to help certain classes survive in between cooldowns or until they can be peeled for. Second, it has a 30 yard range Keeping your healers and tanks alive through CC keeps others alive later.

Ranged abilties:
As a melee dps class, you have access to some decent ranged burst. Again, it's not ideal dps, but it's the strongest ranged burst among the melee classes. These abilities can approach the burst of even some of your melee abilities, depending on criticals. This class also has a spammable dot at range, which helps to prevent objective capping on multiple opponents from a distance without having to commit to closing with them.

CC:
Flash grenade is arguably single best button you can press for CC in the game. It's long term, and affects multiple targets. It's amazing for peeling for a trained target, it's amazing for disabling your target's support train. It has a weakness in that it's limited to mid range for the operative, but it is still extremely strong. This class also has a mid-ranged interrupt and single target slow. It has the shortest cooldown stun available, though it also has the shortest range of the melee classes.

Group Stealth:
For the same reason that stealth has strengths, group stealth extends these strengths to your entire group. The duration is short, but it makes it very difficult for the enemy team to predict where large chunks of your forces are moving and very difficult to react in time to make a difference. Also, it may not be intended, but group stealth is very strong in that it can be used to stealth group members while capping objectives, making them immune to being interrupted by targeted abilities unless the enemy is close enough to detect them.

As Concealment
As concealment your unique group benefits are the initial CC on your focus target, which is especially useful if it isn't the first CC used, but rather saved to chain off another one, as it fills up the resolve bar. You also gain a root attached to your slow, the uses of which are similar to those described with madness assassins, with the caveat that it isn't 30 yard range.

As concealment, you specialize in burst damage, and offer a great ability to switch targets without giving any warning.

As Lethality
As Lethality you gain a very useful group tool, an AoE slow with a 30m range and no visible cooldown on the tooltip, but this is the only notable group support tool in the tree other than reduced cooldowns on other abilities. This is possibly the best slow utility-wise available to melee dps and I've seen it used to great effect in many warzones.

You specialize in doing damage over time, and while still producing strong damage, this spec is strongest at causing pressure rather than landing killing blows.

The Sentinel/Marauder

As a class

Healing debuff:
This class has the games only healing debuff, reducing healing done on the target by 20%. This ability is invaluable in training down targets in a group setting, the cooldown is relatively short so you can switch targets rapidly and maintain this debuff.

Group buffs:
This class is unique in that it is the only dps that offers group benefits that pertain to mobility and damage done. The speed+defense increase is invaluable for mobility, and the 15% extra damage to your group is self explanatory. The relatively high cooldown on the 15% damage means that you will only be able to use it maybe 2-3 times in a warzone, so make sure to use it when it will have the greatest affect, i.e. when the most group members are nearby.

Mobility:
This class and the jugg/guardian share a 3d, instant charge that is invaluable for target switching. The comparatively low cooldown on these abilities gives this melee dps unparalleled mobility compared to the previous two melee dps when combined with the movement speed boost from the temporary stealth and the group-wide movement speed buff. It is only rivaled by the guardian and juggernaut, who can also use another 3d and instant ability to leap to team mates.

Defenses:
This is a burly melee class, furnished with a plethora of defensive cooldowns on relatively short CD's that will ensure that with decent healing support you will remain on the front lines longer than the two stealth classes. You have 2 cooldowns that directly reduce incoming damage by a flat percentage for sizable durations, a temporary stealth/target drop that renders you untargetable for the duration, and the coup-de-gras, a short cooldown ability that halves your current hp to make you take 1% damage for 5 full seconds. This ability, in this writer's opinion, is the single best cooldown a melee dps can have, making quick target switches to you before a healer or tank can defend you a virtual waste of time. These four cooldowns are the best defenses in the arsenal of any of the 5 melee dps, in my opinion.

CC:
This class has 2 major CC's baseline, and PBAOE 6s incap and a channeled stun. The stun is irrefutably the weakest in the game CC wise, but it does at least do some damage over the duration and provide some benefits to the caster. The incap, however, is extremely useful. In my opinion, it is second only to the flash grenade in terms of the devastating effect it can cause in team fights. You also have a 2 second root on the charge ability that is good for stopping full resolved enemies briefly. In addition, this class has the often underused pacify ability, that lowers all melee/ranged accuracy by 90% over the duration. This is very useful against classes that depend heavily on weapon damage, like the sniper or other marauders.

As Rage/Focus:
As rage you gain an extremely good single target snare at the top of the tree, very strong PBAOE damage, and a shorter CD on your 99% damage reduction skill. The form you use in this spec also gives you a high base damage reduction than the other trees. You also have extra mobility in the form of a second charge ability.

As Carnage/Combat:
This tree is heavy on roots and increasing your mobility vs decreasing enemy mobility. This spec focus's on direct damage, offering a very unique skill in gore. Gore offers 100% armor penetration for 6 seconds, making the spec very strong against heavy armored healers and dps. Tanks can still mitigate most of the damage with shielding and defense, as it is mostly weapon damage with the exception of force scream/blade storm. You also have a very useful ability with force cloak breaking all roots and snares, which is very important as these abilities work through full resolve and there are a few that last quite long and are undispellable by any other means.

As Annihilation/Watchman:
This spec brings more group buffs to the table, allowing for a third buff that will heal teammates for a small amount per second while active. Since it is unlimited range, the numbers really add up on the charts. Also, this spec builds up the resource used to activate the group buffs faster. A third benefit to your group is that your group speed will be substantially faster. In addition, this spec does a lot of elemental damage, which bypasses armor and shielding/defensive stats. You have a shorter cooldown on your interrupt, giving you the shortest cooldown interrupt in the game at 6 seconds. Also, you can use your charge ability with no minimum range in this spec, giving you unrivaled ability to interrupt casters and healers compared to the other specs.

All three specs focus on dealing high sustained damage with periods of higher burst.

Juggernaut/Guardian

As a class

CC:
The juggernaut/guardian brings a unique skill to the table in force push. It is the strongest knockback in the game, as well as a good stun. There are also developer posts stating that they wish the push to reset the cooldown on charge to allow easier gap closing afterword. They have the same stun as the marauder, in addition to a point blank short duration aoe stun. The push itself is very valuable in peeling for healers or dps getting focused or opened on by an operative or other burst dps class. Its uses are legion in a 3d map like huttball. They also have a spammable PBAOE slow that is amazing group utility. The whole package makes the juggernaut/guardian one of the best classes available for peeling melee off of your high value groupmates.

Mobility:
Guardians and Juggernauts charge the same mobility baseline as marauders in their charge, with the addition of a charge to friendly target that makes them extremely mobile on 3d maps like huttball or areas like the ACW nodes.

Defense:
Like assassins, juggernauts have the ability to taunt in any stance, or switch to tank stance and guard for targets for a dps loss. Unlike the assassin it does not lock out any abilities, lowering the damage dealth by a fixed percentage and/or lowing resource generation. In addition, the leap to a friendly target decreases the damage they take for a short while as well. They have the highest passive mitigation of any melee dps in the game (tied with the powertech) from wearing heavy armor while dps'ing.

As Vengeance:
As vengeance you get an extremely useful ability that renders you immune to CC after charging. This gives you extreme utility in situations where your reaction is required and makes you unable to be instantly peeled off of your target without the chance to have some free globals to CC or damage your target further. It also buys you precious time in between gap closers where you are free to do whatever you'd like. This spec is also strong at applying armor penetration to the target, helping out your other dps against harder targets.

As Rage:
As rage you enjoy the same benefits as a rage spec'd marauder. High aoe burst with a strong slow and a second, mid ranged gap closer. This spec also is decent at applying armor reduction debuffs, with the talent to ensure you can apply them and refresh them at max range. It's important to point out that unlike the marauder, the rage tree is missing extra damage reduction, only granting the baseline 3% from shii-cho form.

Powertech/Vanguard

As a class

Pull:
This is the only melee dps that can pull targets without going deep into a tank tree to do so. Pull is extremely valuable for picking off soft targets, pulling healers away from their guards, and the obvious uses on huttball. It is immensely useful for group fights, allowing more convenient target swaps for your gap-closer challenged group mates or ranged groupmates that need clear line of sight on wall-huggers.

CC:
The powertech comes equipped with the second 30 yard ranged stun available to melee dps, as well as a point blank aoe stun similar to that of the juggernaut. It also has a short cd, melee range interrupt.

30 yard range abilities:
This class shares a number of abilities with the ranged Mercenary AC, especially one of the strongest, if not the strongest, AoE ability in the game, Death from Above. This makes it more useful at distanced encounters.

Defense:
Much like the assassin and juggernaut, this class can taunt and guard. Guarding causes a dps loss for dps specs. In terms of personal defense, this class focuses on damage reduction, having one of the strongest cooldowns in the game available for that purpose, as well as wearing heavy armor.

Stealth Scan:
Not to be discounted, this is the only melee dps with access to a stealth detection ability. This ability will instantly reveal stealthed targets in the area, including marauders and sentinels which are un-revealable during their stealth by any other means. This is a very good ability for detecting infiltrated caps or groups and countering in-combat stealth abilities to allow your group to continue training these typically softer targets.

As Advanced Prototype:
Advanced prototype focuses on dealing internal and elemental damage, which it has a decent amount of. In addition, it provides great mobility in the form of hydraulic overrides, which gives you a speed boost and immunity to knockbacks, pulls, and pushes for a fairly long duration. This makes it very good for huttball running or crossing chokepoints such as the bridges in void star, as well as pursuing knockback dependent classes like the mercenary or sorcerer.

As Pyrotech:
This spec offers a slow that is applied by your dot very low in the tree, which allows for virtually 100% uptime on a good slow at no additional cost to you. The disadvantage is that this slow is unpridictable. Also, your defensive cooldown breaks all movement impairing effects, giving it good utility against otherwise undispellable roots and snares. This spec focuses on dealing elemental dot damage, making it strong against high armor and applying sustained pressure.

Hopefully this helps future group leaders make some decisions on how best to fill the spots in their warzone premades to exploit the strengths of each melee dps. Also, again, this is in no way a perfect post. Feel free to add suggestions or things I missed. Also, these forums move fast so if you like this post bump it so others have the chance to read it.
Alias: CitizenSnipe
Character: Lina (Sith Assassin) on Anchorhead
Sith Assassin PvP/PvE streams @ www.twitch.tv/innverse

Bullsith's Avatar


Bullsith
01.13.2012 , 10:25 AM | #2
Yeah, just wanna comment on Force Push, which is the most idiotically bugged ability I've seen. Unless the target does not lag, stands perfectly still and the same goes for you, that ability will push the target away in any direction BUT the one you are aiming for. So yeah, motst powerful knoback... no.

That would be the AOE knockbacks. Mostly because you can achieve results with them even pusing them randomly in Huttball or VS.

P.S. You make a lot of abilities sound more useful than they really are.
Choices need to matter! If I die I need to live with it. Hardcore!

Lina_Inverse's Avatar


Lina_Inverse
01.13.2012 , 10:31 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Bullsith View Post
Yeah, just wanna comment on Force Push, which is the most idiotically bugged ability I've seen. Unless the target does not lag, stands perfectly still and the same goes for you, that ability will push the target away in any direction BUT the one you are aiming for. So yeah, motst powerful knoback... no.

That would be the AOE knockbacks. Mostly because you can achieve results with them even pusing them randomly in Huttball or VS.

P.S. You make a lot of abilities sound more useful than they really are.
I'm sorry that you've personally had problems with push. The lag issues really do need fixing, but let me say that sometimes lag hurts even being the victim of a knockback, where you position yourself specifically to avoid getting knocked in a direction, only for lag to place your enemy in a different location and knock you in a different direction. This, although it is difficult to avoid, would still be considered a misuse of the ability's potential. The fact remains that it is the farthest distance knockback and the only knockback with a stun attached. Which in my opinion makes it the most powerful, though not necessarily the most situationally useful

I might be embelleshing certain abilities in your viewpoint or experience, but in my 100s of hours at 50 in beta and live and running premades/ running against premades I've seen all of these abilities used to extremely annoying or intelligent effect.
Alias: CitizenSnipe
Character: Lina (Sith Assassin) on Anchorhead
Sith Assassin PvP/PvE streams @ www.twitch.tv/innverse

EasymodeX's Avatar


EasymodeX
01.13.2012 , 10:34 AM | #4
Lina is bad.






Nice writeup though.

Lina_Inverse's Avatar


Lina_Inverse
01.13.2012 , 10:38 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by EasymodeX View Post
Lina is bad.






Nice writeup though.
Haters gonna hate. Someone gettin' owned on anchorhead no doubt :P.

Thanks for the compliment.
Alias: CitizenSnipe
Character: Lina (Sith Assassin) on Anchorhead
Sith Assassin PvP/PvE streams @ www.twitch.tv/innverse

EasymodeX's Avatar


EasymodeX
01.13.2012 , 10:43 AM | #6
Dunno, you'll have to level your Sent to 50 and so on before I stop ignoring you while I beeline Dimach ^_^.

Edit:

One note, more on-topic, about rated Warzones is that stealth loses some value because it can be predicted more easily. It's far less dangerous when you know who your opponents are (thanks BioWare for pre-game / mid-game scoreboards F-A-I-L) and randomly AOE* right where a stealther would be on their approach vector. Or simply be mentally ready to instantly CC / blind / pew pew / swap guard when they pop.

* By a player who has played a stealth class extensively so they know exactly where a stealther will be when.

ururururu's Avatar


ururururu
01.13.2012 , 10:47 AM | #7
powertech/vanguard has the option to get a charge similar to the force mdps.

EasymodeX's Avatar


EasymodeX
01.13.2012 , 10:50 AM | #8
Oh ****, sup ururu. We should derail this thread to catch up.

Godalo's Avatar


Godalo
01.13.2012 , 10:56 AM | #9
well i liked your post... thanks

EasymodeX's Avatar


EasymodeX
01.13.2012 , 11:18 AM | #10
Quote:
Juggernaut/Guardian
As Rage:
As rage you enjoy the same benefits as a rage spec'd marauder. High aoe burst with a strong slow and a second, mid ranged gap closer. This spec also is decent at applying armor reduction debuffs, with the talent to ensure you can apply them and refresh them at max range.
Since you highlighted the Rage spec's passive damage reduction for Marauders, it may be relevant to note here that the Jugg does NOT get those 2 talents that add 4% damage reduction. They only get the base ShiiCho dr.