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Sniper PvP Guide by Express

NoTomorrow's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 09:02 PM | #1
Express Guide to Sniper PvP

Hello dear SWTOR Sniper players.
This guide will focus only on Sniper PvP, 1vs1 duel matchups and Sniper PvP builds.

Before you start reading, please take notice that Bioware does not endorse using any of the suggested builds and gameplay tactics. Everything in this guide is subject to personal opinion of the author and other contributors.

First of all, if you are completely new to snipers, you may find very useful Tibbel's Sniper Compedium on mmo-mechanics. I will focus exclusively on the PvP aspect of Snipers.

Please help me push this thread to get stickied so we have less new snipers asking the same questions over and over again. I will try to keep this guide updated and add new stuff to it.

Table of Contents:
  1. Sniper's role in PvP. Pros and Cons.
  2. General Sniper PvP Tips
  3. PvP builds
  4. PvP Set bonuses and Stats Optimisation.
  5. Sniper 1vs1 Dueling review (coming soon)
  6. Individual Warzone Sniper Tactics (coming soon)

1. Sniper's role in PvP. Pros and Cons

Sniper PvP role could be defined as Support DPS. While word "support" could probably better fit when describing a healer or a tank for example, the DPS classes can be divided themselves into primary DPS classes and Support DPS classes. You are there to support the team, to provide it with necessary firepower. Think of snipers as some sort of artilery. The artilery itself is very strong, but it's never the main driving force in an offense or defense, this is and was the job of melee classes.

What is amazing about snipers is that the class grows exponentially stronger the better the sniper's team. If everyone else is doing their job right, Snipers can wreak havoc and decimate entire respawn waves. While 1vs1 Sniper can handle many ACs, the sniper alone will never be the main driving force behind completing warzone objectives. Sniper is by all means a member of the zerg death ball in warzones, but is the never the core of these death balls by himself.

For Sniper to be effective and powerful in a warzone, at any time, there needs to be another friendly class in his vicinity that will present a higher threat to the enemy or simply be higher in the kill list priority than sniper himself. An agressive friendly marauder could be your saving grace in PvP while a DPS Sorcerer will hardly keep the attention of your adversaries leading to you being simply zerged out.

1.1 Sniper advantages
  • Pretty much the only viable Ranged DPS in the game.
It's THE class if you want to kill stuff from distance. Mercs are out of the question for reasons that they don't have what snipers have: Leap, Pull immunity, ability activation pushback and interrupt immunity and CC immunity cooldown. DPS Sorcerers are in a similar situation with 31pts lightning simply being the Arsenal/Gunnery version of Sorcerer while also having some dps hybrids that struggle to actually find a clear role in PvP with all that AoE damage and trying to proc chain lightning. Assuming that stun bubles will be nerfed, Engineering will be able to pretty much replicate the entire performance of any Sorcerer AoE DPS builds. The only thing that a sniper should keep an eye out is for full mandess builds which if played right by the book, can defeat a sniper, provided they have ways to get out of sniper line of sight.

  • Fast target switching, burst fire and a very good focus fire asssist specialist.
Since you can pretty much shoot at anything within your 30+ meters range and line of sight, with specs like MM, you can at any moment, switch targets and DPS anybody that needs to be gunned down fast. A melee can be caught out of position, rooted or even have his leap on CD, a PT can be too far away from his next target or even have his main burst abilities on CD. On huttball your team mates can knockback the ball carrier, probably stun him, root him, or even pull him into the pit, but most often it will be you that will actually KILL him. This particular strength is probably the reason why there is always room for us in RWZ.

  • Master of killing blows.
We are not the only class with an execution ability, but we certainly have the most powerful one: Takedown. This thing is actually responssible for enemy healers failing at saving your enemies from the brink of death. This is the ability that will send your enemies back to respawn, not ambush, not series of shots. After the 1.4 patch, Takedown being able to proc a Followthough for MM players can pretty much give the a min-maxed sniper the possibility to inflict as much as 6000+5000 crit damage from Takedown+FT. The 4set PvP bonus is there for a reason: you will be surprised how many targets you will actually kill from 40 meters range.

  • Good composition of CC tools with the least CC downtime of all classes.
Thanks to entrench and distance. Simply put, if you are at >15-30 meters distance from your nearest enemy no CC will ever reach you except for another sniper. Entrench is there to stop this CC mandess threatening you from anything within your 15m range. Without options to get out of your line of sight, this will force your adversaries to get into a DPS race with you, which frankly speaking often be fatal to your enemies. Only marauders have the capacity to win a DPS race against you and even then you are provided with plenty of tools to defeat them.

  • A strong counter to the current meta-game and most popular classes (as of 1.6 patch).
Due to extremely high melee classes popularity and people still rolling sorcs (no matter how underpowered they are), sniper is the perfect answer against these two in PvP. While bubble stuns run rampant and ruin the melee attempts to stay on their bubbled targets, sniper has no such issues. With rage/focus being so popular, an entrenched MM sniper with ballistic dampers, siege bunker and DR from their medium armor can pretty much reduce the 7000 smashes to nothing.

  • A very good selection of DPS specs
Sniper specs can pretty much cover any possible roles you could expect form a ranged dps class: single target damage burst damage and control (MM), survivability, AoE and objective defense (Engineering), tank buster, sustained damage and pressure builds (lethality). Since all specs are DPS, there is no need to grind for a second set of gear for you to be able to play well with all those specs.

So in conclusion your role as a sniper in PvP should be:
  1. Shuttng downing any melee classes, primarily DPS.
  2. Supporting your team focus fire efforts at whoever needs to be killed ASAP, including healers and ball carriers.
  3. Defending mission objectives thanks to many tools the sniper has.

1.2 Sniper weaknesses
Since we are a highly specialized niche class, the developers made sure they left plenty of weakness for other classes to exploit and this way stop us from doing our job.

  • Stationary class. Relative lower mobility
Despite a good amount of instant attacks that we can use on the move we are still expected to be a stationary class with our most powerful abilities locking us into cover mode. The balance concept of SWTOR ranged DPS is simply this: burst damage abilities need activation or channeling, sustained Damage over Time abilities (DoTs) are mostly instacast abilities allowing you being mobile. Probably a good example would be Lightning vs Madness for sorcs. Sniper is never fully mobile or fully stationary however, but it still leans more towards being stationary. MM mobility is locked into 6 second cycles of Snapshot snipes + followthroughs, lethality mobility is focused on DoT spamming (but still needing to stand still for Cull).

  • Stationary + Ranged DPS = line of sight problems.
Since we cannot be interrupted, and often even CCed, line of sight obstruction are our primary weakness in SWTOR. This basically leads to either do massive burst damage or none at all. Since we cannot fully DPS on the move, it means we have trouble single handedly killing healers. You cannot shutdown an aware good healer, especially an operative healer. Yes you can pressure them, yes you can force them out of your line of sight, but that's pretty much it. A sniper cannot hunt down his targets. This is the job of melee guys and PTs. They can go after their targets behind that corner. You just have to wait for another opportunity to hopefully overwhelm that healer when he stays for too long into your line of sight.

  • Stealthers will be your bane.
It kind of makes sense for us to have a specialized counter class giving us so much trouble. The good news is, Concealment spec is not very popular so there is less harassment in 50 PvP. Assassins are a real pain to deal with, but again good news, is that this class has so many ridiculous abilities focused on getting the WZ objectives done, that they will more often go for the objectives than specifically hunt you down unless you are standing in their way to achieving the said objectives. Which basically leads to:

  • Solo guarding nodes is a really a bad idea as a sniper.
This is just asking for trouble from stealthers. You do have a little more chance to survive longer however compared to other non-stealth DPS defenders: pts, juggs, mercs, sorcs. Thanks to entrench and orbital strike. If the stealther is not on their top they might just as well fail, but most of stealthers that come to take the cap from you, they had plenty of opportunities go practice this before.

  • No cleansing and therefore DoT abilities vulnerability.
You are not supposed to win prolonged fights against DoTers that can keep out of your line of sight. In the long run you are dead. Either deal with them fast, or dont deal at all without team support. I am talking about full Madness, or a smart Pyrotech Merc.

1.2.1 The nature of Sniper attacks.
This could be both a strength and a weakness. A Marksmanship sniper deals primarily Ranged Energy damage. To break this down:
  • Ranged attacks like Snipe, Follothrough, Takedown, Ambush and other (everything that does White color damage). Tanking stats (Shield, Absorbtion, Defense) all these are designed to either reduce your total damage dealt (absorb it with shields), or even making the attack completely miss. There are two ways to ignore shields: dealing yellow damage (your tech attacks like explosive probe, interrogation probe, plasma probe, frag grenades, lethality poisons) or CRITICAL HIT with your ranged abilities (Snipe, FT...), if these crit, the shield will not absorb any amount of it.
  • Defense and abilities that can improve them like Saber ward and assassin deflection can only be countered by higher accuracy stat and Target Acquired ability which increased your accuracy by 30% (amazing thing against tanks and these defensive CDs btw).

  • Energy, Kinetic Damage is the damage that comes from pretty much anything that requires your gun to shoot (except Cull). This means that heavy armor and tanks in general, even if they get hit, they will be able to reduce a good chunk of this damage. You do still have tools deal even with this (again thanks to target acquired, ambush and shatter shot armor penalty).

So why am i listing these in weakness section? Why not mention that we also have a spec like engineering that ignores shields (due to dealing a lot of yellow damage) and another spec that completely bypasses shields and armor reduction like lethality? It's because for you in order to get these attacks ignoring shields and armor, you have to give up on a good chunk of advantages that a spec like MM gives you: Fast target switching, high burst damage and higher survivability (MM vs Lethality comparison).

So it's a trade off which means you have to give up some advantages to get others. You cannot have them all: high burst, high mobility, fast target switching and tanking stats bypassing. Still, as much as you would hate white attacks, you will love to have them when a force shrouded assassin troubles you.

2. Sniper General PvP Tips

  • Make sure you feel comfortable with cover mechanics.
You need to make it work on your subconsciousness level. Take advantage of both taking cover in place and taking a hard cover. Rolling into hard cover could bring your enemy into your firing range sooner than if you'd try to run on foot. You can also use the ability take cover (it is an ability that can be put in any of your slot bars, put it in primary, then with cover bar, in the same place put for example snipe. for example: put take cover in place on #2 on your main bar, then snipe on #2 as well on your cover bar, this means that you will only have to tap #2 twice to get in cover and fire an instant snipe.

  • Ability keybinding
Bind your abilities in a way that those that can be used as instant cast on the move do not interfere with your moment keys. By this reason a series of shots which requires you to stand still, can be placed somewhere where you could lift your hand from movement keys. An ablity like followthough or takedown should be placed in a way that you shouldnt need to lift your fingers away from WASD.
Also make sure you have focus target set up and acquiring focus's target's target. It will allow you to aid your main DPS in your team with the help of a single button. If we go 2 snipers, and the other one picks the targets, i make him my focus, and i just acquire his targets.

  • Try not to give an opportunity for melee to leap at you.
If you move to engage a melee that has his attention focused on you, take cover before 35 range, see what he does, if he stays in place, move a little and immediately take cover before he is closer than 30m to you and can leap. You should do your best to start DPSing him before he has a chance to leap at you. Its a tricky one, lag dependent, but being the one that opens is a key to your success. If he leaps to you, he will already have extra rage built, jugs could have unstopable 4sec CC immunity and probably an extra 10% more damage from the Vidicator PvP set. Remember, better safe than sorry, better to fall behind from your group while staying in cover than to start moving and immediately get a glowstick monkey in your face.

  • Consider your positioning very carefully!
While one of those pilars on voidstar can protect you from being shot by a flanker and overall allow you to keep a lower profile you have a big damn line of sight obstruction in less than 10 meters away from you. This basically makes you a free kill for classes like PT Pyros. In open field 30 meters in all directions, a PT Pyro is a free kill for you. So consider what is better: stay in a big open field with everyone being able to see you, and you being able to react to incoming threats, but vulnerable to zerg, or sitting close to a pilar which would allow your enemies to approach you without being shot.
Also don't position yourself close to a wall for melee to be able to exploit this and thus make your knockback useless.

  • Do not overkill
I've seen it often on other snipers and i've done this mistake my self quite a lot of times. Just because some poor fella has 500 hp left, please don't fire your 5000 damage Yamato cannon at him/her. Save your takedown for that healer that was trying to heal your friend. Still, if you have a choice between FT and Takedown (too much hp for an instant snipe, or snapshot proc is not ready yet), then give priority to Takedown, as Takedown can refresh your FT proc so you can instantly hit somebody else in vicinity. It will take some skill to learn how to distribute your DPS in a way which benefits you and your team the best.

  • Use your Evasion.
It counters all white damage. I remember meeting a very good gunslinger on ToFN with my PT Pyro, basically everytime he heard my Thermal Detonator ticking on him he instantly activated his evasion and thus denying me for 3 secs from firing my rail shot, which basically delayed my burst even more because i could not rocket punch him or i would have wasted my PPA railshot proc. These 3 seconds gave him enough time to react to my attacks. You can also use it against ravage. Here is another important fact:
enemy legshot roots only apply from actually taking white damage, if you have evasion legshot root will not hit and thus not root you. Before attempting a firetrap crossing, you can consider using your evasion if you are worried about being rooted on fire. (also throw some suppressive fire on the other side in case of stealth, where assassins like to cap usually)
  • Your legshot root is the key to killling many players.
Those who would otherwise get out of your line of sight can be rooted and often killed thanks to your legshot. DPS sorcs will hate you. It's a ranged attack, will often miss on tanks, can be cleansed by all healers because its a physical debuff, therefore don't waste your legshot also on operatives (all specs), healer sorcs, mercs (all specs) because they can simply cleanse it. Consider talenting your root on 12s CD with imperial demarcation from MM tier 2 skill. When you are rooting a melee class, you can safely reposition yourself (for example you can reset your ballistic dampers), he will be unable to leap to you. If you have an instant attack available like Followthrough, or snap shot snipe proc, you can get a free shot at the rooted target without breaking his root. You only need to make sure you will queue it immediately after firing your legshot so its less than 2sec before he gets rooted (you will need to wait 1,5 sec GCD after legshot, so you better be lucky with that instacast)
Tech healers can also cleanse your flashbangs, so watch out, and keep that in mind. Often you will flashbang an op healer and one of his friends, he might just use his CC breaker than cleanse the flashbang from his friend.
Quote: Originally Posted by LilTsar View Post
bear in mind that leg shot doesnt root until the animation hits the target, so dont throw it out and except a warrior to not jump into your grill a second later. (wtb leg shot 40 meter range as part of 4-piece field tech bonus instead of distraction)
  • Don't fill your melee class resolve while you still have your cover pulse available
And in general get rid of this bad habbit of firing cover pulse immediately as the melee approaches you. Watchout for unstopable juggernauts!! Learn to keep your cool and wait for the melee to actually start his rotation so you can react accordingly. Ravage is your prime candidate. The only exceptions to this rule will of course be dealing with respawned enemies when you need to keep them away from the door being capped. The other exception is of course the carnage marauder. Often they will go into force camo, then open with a gore + ravage on you. Get them knocked back instantly! If you followed my advice with correct positioning he will fly far away for them to be able to salvage those few seconds of gore left.

  • Ambush
Your ambush will hit hard, but your enemies will receive a warning that they are being targeted. If your adversary is a skilled player, please consider if you want to force him poping up a defensive ability or not. Assassin will force cloak, or use deflection (50% miss chance), marauders will obfuscate you (90% miss chance), saberward (50% miss chance), operatives will use evasion (100% miss chance), marauders may use force camouflage if being rooted and unable to get our of your line of sight.

  • Entrench
Simply put, this is your most powerful defensive CD, it's your ace up your sleeves. It's what will annoy the stun-happy assassins the most. Make sure you use it only when the enemy will most probably try to CC you. Don't waste it if you are on catwalks kilometers away from your opponents. Especially when they are focused on something else. The only way why you could pop-it before any real threat is in your vision is of course against stealthers to deny them of their knockdown openings. If you can predict such things, you might save yourself form a lot of potential trouble, while having 20 sec to deal with the threat and call for reinforcements. Try to anticipate your enemies next move. A typical example: you on catwalks vs. an enemy sage. Naturally he will try to force speed towards you and knock you out of the catwalks.

Also stunning is a natural reaction to anyone that somehow ends up close to a sniper. It's the same panic reaction that everyone does when a melee leaps onto them, or a concealment operative opens on them. Try to force your enemy into a DPS race where he has no way to get out of your line of sight. Yeah and please grab siege bunker if you are MM. Mitigating AoE damage has never been so fun.

Always entrench when using ballistic shield. It's a big waste of CD if you pop ballistic shield and you get knocked out of cover.

  • Target Acquired
What may seem as a lackluster ability, will actually give you an extreme edge in situations were you should probably loose. Make it a habit to use it primarily on saber ward and assassin deflection. If you are full MM, consider using it against tanks as well. It will deny your enemy of their huge Defense bonus they have against your ranged attacks. They will think that they are safe, but they are not. Still, if your enemy has tons more than 15% defense left after calculating your accuracy, consider using abilities that that have many hits like Series of Shots or even yellow attacks that bypass this defense entirely than just using a single long activation hard hiting ability that could simply miss. Seriously, you don't want to try your luck with an a 2,5s ambush against someone with saber ward on. Go for series of shots, you will most probably hit him 2 times out of 4, which could probably reach a respectable 4000 damage if you are lucky with crits.
Quote: Originally Posted by Ryvirath View Post
Just to add a note on Target Acquired, it's an additive buff. Therefore even if your target is an operative using his 100% immunity Evasion to ranged/melee, you will still be able to hit him. Most MMs will have 145% accuracy on a special attack with that buff up so you'll still have a 45% (145% - 100%) chance of hitting through the bubble. I've killed many an operative in a desperate solo situation like that.
If you are very very desperate to kill the operative and your grenades and EP are on CD, consider using Target acquired against them, although more often than not, you will really want to save your TA for Saber ward and Deflection bubbles.

  • Chain your defensive CDs instead of poping them all at once.
Again this is very much debatable, if you could kill your target before your stacked defense CDs will expire, by all means, but you really don't want to go on Cooldowns overkill mode. In a big fight you probably want to use your ballistic shield for 15 sec 20% Damage reduction, then pop-up a PvP adrenal for another 15sec of damage reduction. Judge by yourself what is better. If you are being zerged alone at a point and you need to survive those 15 sec before reinforcements arrive, pop them all.

  • Diversion
Did you know that this thing can make also tech and force abilities miss? I was hit once by it, then suddenly my orbital strikes started missing. It lowers ALL accuracy across the board. (Please don't throw it on a healers though..). If there are no gunslingers arround to use the diverison on them, use it on high burst damaging classes, ideal candidates are PT Pyrotech, Carnage and Rage Maras, Rage Juggs. It's not worth using it on DoT spaming specs because their DoTs will outlast the diversion debuff.

3. Sniper PvP builds

3.1 Marksmanship

Probably the most iconic skill tree that will always define a sniper. As I listed before in strengths section, it has an incredible burst, fast target switching, no need for set up like lethality, i has more control over your adversaries than other specs, has least energy problems and is heavily focused on single target damage.

MM is the spec if you want to perform very well 1vs1, it does lack the tankiness of engineering against zerg, but it is by no means a squishy spec in 1vs1, especially against melee DPS, hybrid dps sorcs, PTs, merc DPS. It's bad against assassins generally, but if you can catch them flat footed with some of their abilities on cooldown you could probably defeat them.

Marksmanship delivers 2 knocbacks and 2 roots which gives you plenty of room to work with. The ambush knockback is a little more difficult to use effectively, as most of players have already learned to use their defensive CDs when ambush is about to hit them. Both ambush and legshot need to actually hit for their effect to work, so watch out for defensive deflection CDs. Cover pulse in general is a very precious cooldown. Don't waste it at the first sign of trouble as 30s CD means you will probably use it only once in one engagement.

Some of the toughest challenges you will face will require you to master perfectly chaining your knockbacks and roots with your defensive CDs, especially Evasion and Diversion, and all this while you are doing your best to DPS the enemy. The tools are there for you to take advantage of them, but it does take some learning and reflexes to use them all effectively.

Followthrough coupled with insta-snipes every 6seconds can provide a very decent mobility for Markmanship. You can have a respectable DPS while you are on your route to your camping destination. Take advantage of this and relocate when there are no grapplers or leapers in your line of sight. In fact, FT can offer you limited ability to hunt down some of your targets escaping beyond a corner. Don’t use FT from cover only.

My favorite MM spec is 35/3/3.

Frankly speaking i really don't see a better full MM build for PvP. Why? If we take these optional talents:
  • Siege bunker. 60% damage reduction against AoE. This is huge. This game is full of AoE and when you are entrenched, you really don't want to move away to loose your entrench. Before 1.2 patch, if you saw an entrenched sniper, he was asking for an orbital strike be placed on top of his head. And with all the smash monkeys, you really want to grab this one.

  • Pillbox Sniper. You can be cc immune for 20s every 45s or you can be cc immune for 20s every 60s. The choice is obvious. You WANT lower CD on entrench. Everytime i pick other spec to play i miss the talent the most. Besides, this talent makes the talent above even more valuable.

  • Sector ranger, it's only one point talent, why not? more powerful knockback? sec activation for orbital strike? The point is well worth it.

  • Imperial demarcation. Something that might not be an obvious choice, 15s CD of legshot vs 12s CD of legshot? Legshot is what will keep your targets more in your line of sight, which will often lead to more kills. And when someone gets full resolve, you will be happy that you talented your legshot on a shorter CD.

Any other talents in MM are simply mandatory. I will never trade other skills like +1 energy regen while in cover. Now that we have these optional talents, what could we trade them? for?
  • You don't need that extra 10 energy with marksmanship in PvP. You have plenty of energy to work with, those optional talents above are much more useful.

  • Many people will go for explosive engineering giving an extra damage to explosive probe, orbital strikes and grenades. But seriously, this is MM spec, single target damage, AoE at best is used to scarry people from mission objectives, or just plain interrupt them from capping. Wasting talent points on this talent just to make your one 30s CD explosive probe ability more powerful is not really worth it. This is PvP, not PvE, you cannot go just for pure more damage talents.

  • As for lethality 3% crit chance, i don't see anything else more useful within reach for a full MM spec.

3.2 Engineering

What a wonderful spec. If an Assassin says that an Engineering sniper is not a free kill and even go as far as asking for tips how to deal with them, you know that this spec is valuable.

The general features of this spec are:
  • AoE galore. Tech attack, Elemental (ignores armor - Orbital strikes and Plasma Probes), Kinetic (frag grenades).

  • General tankiness of the spec. More powerful shield probes with ability to reset their CD, 6% DR when in cover (which basically makes us from a medium armored class into a heavy armored class, these 6% are HUGE). The only thing that it misses is the siege bunker from MM.

  • One of the best specs in game for defending objectives. Run into a disputed side cap on civil war, entrench, ballistic shield, place orbital strike, place plasma probe onto you, activate your shield probe, start your normal DPS rotation and watch everything melting while your team maws down the remaining resistnace. No other class can have such a huge impact on a disputed cap.

  • Shatter Shot+Explosive Probe + Series of Shots - this does seem to give a higher burst than what you could achieve with MM in the same amount of time (after this MM rapidly catches up and overcomes this damage). Please any experieced sniper verify me on this claim as it could be a false statement. If this is true, than we basically have a higher burst spec but limited to 30s intervals compared to MM which is a more frequent but probably a little lower burst.

  • Plasma Probe alone is considered by many players the best 31 pts skills in the game. Just read carefully its description to understand that it has everything what you could want fron an AoE ability. It does force you to waste time on placing it instead of simply queueing an ability, but its really worth it. The changes they did to it in 1.2 made it an excellent ability. Ultimately, lets not forget that this is the only way how you can stun someone in SWTOR from 30 meters distance.

  • Interrogation probe hits harder that corrosive dart even though it does energy damage mitigated by armor. You really want to have it on your adversaries everytime. And i generally open every fight with it. I really like that 30% snare, it's 18 seconds! That's huge.

  • Energy management is a little bit more tricky than MM, but EMP discharge allows you to burn through your energy and not be completely bankrupt.

Here is a possible example of a full engineering spec:

Alternatively you could go for this build recommended by Svii
You get the vital regulators and Endurance. The beauty of it, is if you combine it with a pvp medpack, your total amount of health recovered is pretty huge and can result in you outlasting your opponent more often than not.

In any way you really want to take ballistic dampers for any full engineering build. There are no other talents within your reach that could substationally improve your damage, while ballistic dampers can give you increased survivability which is something more useful that anything else you could possibly grab with a 31 pts engineering build.

Lets see some of the optional talents you could consider:
  • Imperial demarcation vs 3% crit. We did have a debate on this forum about taking Imperial Demarcation (legshot 12s CD) over extra 3% crit chance from lethality. These are incomparables. You cannot say that one is better than the other. If your explosive probe did not crit it would be quite sad. If you had 3s cooldown left on your legshot before you could root the ball carrier into the fire trap, it would be sad as well. It's up to you. The only thing worth mentioning, with engineering and all that AoE stuff, you have higher chance to break your roots accidentally or not. A guy that is being gently interrogated by an interrogation probe, will only be rooted for 2 secs..

  • Energy overrides - This skill basically says: you will now have extra 16 energy every minute. It is it good? It's comparable to other specs, op healers have the same 16 energy extra from adrenaline probe, but their AP is on 2 min CD while we can have 16 energy every 1 min (1 min is the cooldown of emp discharge). I can do without it in PvP, but sometimes it can be useful. As mentioned by LilTsar, bear in mind that the proc doesn't last for too long, you might just be unlucky that your your plasma probe and explosive probe be on cooldown and thus waste the opportunity to get them for free.

  • Interrogation Probe 30% snare. As mentioned above, it's a good thing. I either take this or energy overrides. 30% snare is not 50% snare, but still a very long one. You might wish to use it on carnage marauders to slow them down for example. Against force speed guys or AP PT there isn't much use. As well as against stationary classes like gunslinger that will not really care about your snare. Certainly it's good thing to use IP on ball carriers.

  • Vitality Serum, endurance 4%. Why would someone want this?? Well, here is the deal, if you are focused on keeping the enemy from capturing objectives, you want to be alive as long as possible. Within your reach there is no other skil that could improve your DPS apart from energy overrides. But you can increase your hit points. I can even do crazy things like switch to my rakata fortitude stim if i need to survive, netting me 21500 hp in PvP gear. My personal best moment was solo defending for almost 30 seconds a side cap on Civil war from 4 melees.

  • Calculated pursuit. This one is really questionable. Do you really want this overload spamming? How much extra damage does it do over your normal rifle shot? You don't have access to cut down from Tier 3 lethality tree to make your overload shots more powerful. I really don't like this one.

  • Stroke of genius. Quite questionable. You shouldn't be using snipe outside of MM spec. If you do snipe however, than always take advantage of laze target. This talent could basically allow you to cover pulse and do an instasnipe before <2s mark and thus not breaking the root. You could try experimenting with this one.

  • Any other skills I consider mandatory for this spec that should always be taken.

3.3. Lethality

Ah the good old tank buster spec. It's well known among snipers that Cull hits like a truck. The name itself of this ability inspires dread. Here are the defining features of lethality:
  • Very high sustained damage spec that completely disregards any tanking stats like shield, absorbtion, defense. This spec and Pyrotech are the primary cause why every tanks will claim that tanking stats as well as heavy armor are worthless in SWTOR.

  • It's primarily an Internal Damage DoT spec with a special burst ability that requires set-up, Cull. You apply poisons and debuffs to your target, then you Cull them, without Corrosive Dart and Corrosive grenade on your target, Cull does some pitiful .. basically no damage.

  • Since DoTs themselves are tech, it is vulnerable to cleansing by Operatives and Mercernaries. Before 1.2 we did not have lingering Toxins, so it was completely useless against a good and aware tech healer. He could cleanse your dots, thus making your Cull completely worthless. Lingering toxins however, reapplies weaker DoT versions after cleansing, which still alows us to Cull at full damage. Weaker dots is bad of course, but still better than nothing. The added benefit of lingering toxins, is that it really annoys operative players because they need to do a double cleanse (Evasion + Toxin Scan) to actually have a clean way to stealth without loosing it after cloaking due to DoT damage.

  • All this necessity to apply DoTs before Culling, (as well as 12s CD on corrosive grenade), basically means that you are slow to react and slow to switch targets. If caught flat footed a PT Pyro could whipe the floor with you before you could Cull him. A hutballer could pass the ball to other guy and you will have your Corrosive Grenade on CD. (This is why i strongly advice to field respec into MM for every hutball game).

  • DoTs breaking your roots and snares. This is yet another big disadvantage of Lethality, on top to slow target switching and Cull set up. Most of the times the enemies you will try to fight will be DoTed by you, thus rendering your legshot and cover pulse roots less useful. Same goes for flashbang, which ceases to be a useful tool for you the moment you are DoTing your enemy.
  • Energy management is a real pain with his spec. Should you be careless for a few seconds and you could end up with a strong energy deficit. Your main problem is that your DoTs corrosive grenades and corrosive dart are extremely energy expensive for you, 20 energy each. Apply these two, and you are already near the limit of your max energy regen bracket (>60).

  • This is how developers intended for you to actually play this spec: You get into a multiple players fight, spread your corrosive dart among multiple players, throw your corrosive grenade so that you hit at least 2, best 3 targets with it. Now that your dots start to tick, thanks to lethal purpose talent, your begin getting your energy back (+2 energy from every DoT critting) . You can now focus on culling people while your DoTs start slowly eating through the rest. This style of play will often lead to huge damage numbers at the end of the match, much higher than you could achieve with other 2 specs. I predict, with some good luck, good team and a full 14 minute void star game, you could probably break the 1 million total damage mark with this spec.

  • Weakening blast. There is a one tiny detail here: this skill does not cost energy, so when you are facing with a single target that you need to Cull ASAP, using weakening blast afer applying both DOTS, allows you to have one entire GCD of free energy regen, which basically leads you to being able to Cull and still remain in high energy regeneration bracket.

  • Weakening blast has 12s CD, cull has a 9s CD, if you go for a fast second Cull, your wakening blast would still be on CD. As Infaliable recommended in one of the threads, dont wait for WB to come off CD, Cull immediately as you have the chance.

  • Operative healers will be your worst nightmare, as in general all healers with this spec. Ops will be spreading their kolto probes around, thus countering your DoTs and perhaps even cleanse these dots into weaker versions of lingering toxins. You will have big big numbers at the end of the warzone, but you will have killed like 2-3 players in an entire match (if you are really unlucky).

  • So where could you use this spec? When would it be useful? If you would have to deal with a healerless team, or one where somebody is harassing their healers 24/7, you can make good damage and kills with lethality. A DPS focused team is not bad either if you can keep a low profile, a tank happy team is even better.

  • Watch out for Assassins using force shroud and cleansing all your dots. It's really really bad. You could try using your corrosive dart only and not wasting your corrosive grenade. If you could bait them wasting their Force Shroud before you use corrosive grenade, you are in a good spot to win the fight against them. If they are smart the will wait until you place your corrosive grenade, thus ruining your Cull, your dots, everything, leaving you only with Series of Shots, which can be countered deflection, and generally leaving you in a really bad spot with the perspective of outright dying to them. .

Here is a a typical lethality build, it's squishy and it needs some protection and support, probably even a guard but very powerful if left to DPS unchecked:

It's all really nice and powerful.. until a PT Pyrotech comes in your way. that insane burst will eat you alive before you start culling him. No ballistic dampers = No mitigation of thermal detonator = higher chance for you to end up dead.

If you want to reliably solo PT Pyros and generally being less squishy, while trading a few of your energy (and thus
forcing you to be even more careful with your energy management) go for this spec:

There are many mandatory talents with lethality builds, because of that, there is not much space for you to customize your spec:
  • Adhesive corosives - it's only 30% snare and only for 6 seconds. I feel like this duration is quite short. The only advantage it could probably provide is keep your adversaries longer in your line of sight for you in order to Cull them.

  • Counterstrike sniper being more or less a stationary class, i don't really see the urge to invest 2 points to be able to cleanse the roots and snares

  • Flash powder it's a general 20% accuracy debuff, so it could help against force and tech attacks as well. I don't usually take this skill. The problem is, when you use flash bang you do that with the intetion not to fight the enemy, more often than not, you want to run away, rendering this accuracy debuff useless for you.

That's about it for lethality. No, i don't think it's a viable RWZ spec. But for normal warzones, it has it's uses for sure.

One last thing about Ballistic dampers talent, as you probably have already seen, it's an important defensive talent and very useful one. Reducing the hidden strike damage by 30% is a huge deal, taking cover and get ballistic dampers when you hear that bomb ticking on you, is again a huge deal. All this is great until you have to deal with a carnage marauder. In one single slash, they can hit you 3 times: main hand, offhand and ataru form. Your dampers will be eaten in no time, and with them only negating damage once every 1,5 sec, a lot of that burst damage will get past it during this interval. Don't facetank carnage marauders. Don't facetank carnage marauders.

3.4 Hybrid specs

I have to admit i am heavily biased against these builds. The reason being, that compared to horribly balanced skill trees of assassins, our most talent goodies are situated rather in the upper tiers 4 - 7. Going for a hybrid means that you will most often give up on many of those higher tier goodies.

Imagine you want to take corrosive grenade as an Marksmanship sniper: you would have to trade siege bunker, pillbox sniper, imperial demarcation, sniper volley(!!!) all this just to get an AoE dot ability and some better corrosive dart and lower cd on debilitate. It's horrible. Of course this could be the worst possible example of hybrid.

Players seem to enjoy the MM/Engi hybrid where you basically go as high in Engineering tree to get all the Explosive probe boostin talents. Is this a better spec than full MM or full Engineering? Would you really want to put all your eggs into one single basket, i mean into an ability with a 30s CD? It could probably work, but i dont see any specific greater advantages over the full 31 pts builds..

There is also another lethality-engineering build that basically focuses on getting all 3 DoTs: corrosive grenade, corrosive dart and interogation probe. I don't understand why would want this for PvP, given the fact that you have to waste like almost 60 energy just to apply the 3 dots.. I could probably do just as well, with less head ache with some standard Cull in a full lethality build or standard EP+SoS combo in full engineering build.
Anyway, this doesn't mean that you cannot experiment with these builds. If you can prove that your hybrid build can do a better job at a specific designated role than any full 31 pts builts, i will gladly include your build into this guide.

4. PvP set bonuses and stats optimisation

4.1 Set bonus

There is not much to discuss here. Go for 4 set Field Tech Set bonus. You get better orbital strikes (more lockdown on WZ objectives), and 40, Takedowns. You will be surprised how often that 40m Takedown bonus will be useful.

As for PvE Field tech - i don't know.. 10 energy every 2 mins from Target Acquired? no thanks. Cheaper Takedowns? I'd rather have longer range takedowns.

You could probably consider the 4set PvP Enforcer bonuses.
  • 4 sec Evasion
  • +5 energy.

The problem with extra energy talents and set bonus is that there is not a great benefit from them. The energy regenration bracket (when you get 5 energy per second for example) are based on percentage from your Total Energy.
  • If you have 100 total Energy, you will regenerate 5 energy/s between 60 and 100 energy.
  • If you have 110 total energy you will regenerate 5 energy/s between 66 and 110 energy.

So 10 extra energy only gives you 4 more energy where you are in max regeneration bracket.
I don't think that going for 115 total energy with enforcer set will make a huge impact on your PvP performance

4.2 Stats optimisation

Like any class there is room for stats optimisation for sniper. Here are some basic numbers you could consider seting your stats for:
  • Accuracy. Accuracy is very important for Marksmanship. You do want to have your ranged accuracy at 100% minimum. In fact, if you have a few spare stats to distribute, you could push it a little further, extra 5% would probably eat too much of your other damage stats, but you don't want your hard hiting marksmanship abilities to miss. For engineering and Lethality it's less critical. You already have 100% hit chance on your tech attacks anyway, but still you've got some white damage attacks like Series of Shots, Ambush. Some classes like assassins get extra goodies everytime you miss on them. Marauders get to proc their retaliation ability. A missed legshot is a wasted root. If you boost your accuracy to 105% than combining it with target acquired 30%, you can have 135% accuracy in situations where you have to deal with penetrating Assassins Deflection and Melee Saberward.

  • Surge 76%. You could consider this to be a fair amount of surge given the fact that your surge is caped at 80%. Personally i feel that past the 76%-77% mark your stats points are more worth investing into something else.

  • Crit chance. Now here is the big question? More power or more crit? If you ignore entirely crit and go for power only, you will probably gimp yourself with lethality as the spec energy regeneration relies on the poison DoTs critting. No crit poisons? less energy regen for you. MM with more crit, will have less chance to trigger the shield absorbtion. I could probably ask ChrisTucker to comment on how does a full power sniper build feel in PvP as i never did this myself. Obviously his ambushes if crit, hit for probably ~+500 ~+1000 more damage than mine, but he crits less often than my 40% base crit chance sniper. This also leads to probably less often Reactive Shot procs. Personally i am very annoyed if after Series of Shots i dont proc reactive shot.

  • Endurance. It's open for debate if we want to always minimize the endurance on our gear in favor for other damage stats. After all, this is not PvE, you could end up in situations 1vs1, where a balanced sniper build will have a higher chance to win. It's entirely up to you. If you played concealment operative for example, then by all means, the success of your hidden strike determines the success of your entire fight. We snipers, are not that reliant on one single attack. If you plan to adopt a low profile style of gameplay with a lot of support from team mates, you could probably minimise your endurance.
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Scatter Bombs are meant to be a fun bit of extra damage that occurs when you roll into or away from the action. That said, we’re okay with you trapping an unsuspecting enemy for a “wall bang” every now and then.

NoTomorrow's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 09:02 PM | #2
5. Sniper vs. other classes

Before we venture into Sniper vs. other classes matchups, lets keep in mind some of these important factors that can also heavily influence the outcome other than the class that you are dueling:

  1. HP left, of course an injured combatant is put at disadvantage.
  2. Elevation, our big tump card. In fact this thing is so damn powerful, that we are rarely given the opportunity outside of huttball to get a height advantage.
  3. Initial distance before engagement. A marauder at 30m distance and a marauder in your face are comletely different situations
  4. Line of sight obstructions, and their distance form us. These can hinder our ability to attack and prove beneficial to our opponents

5.1 Sniper vs. Powertech

Powertech in general is a class that doesn't really feel comfortable against snipers. Having most of the attacks limited to a 4m - 10m range, being unable to grapple the sniper from the cover leaves little room for the PT to surprise an aware and good sniper. It’s indeed a very dangerous class for many other classes and against Sniper as well if the Sniper is zerged, but we have the tools to deal with them quite reliably provided we don’t give them the chance to abuse the line of sight against us.

5.1.1 Sniper vs Powertech Tanks

Tanks have been a serious problem for Marksmanship builds before patch 1.3. They could facetank us and although do modest damage, they could outlast us in a 1vs1 fight. Engineering had it a little easier because it could often ignore shields and thus having to deal only with their huge armor rating, Lethality was always a hard counter for them and melted them extremely fast.

1.3 brought us an updated Target Acquired, which shifted the 1vs1 matchup in favor of MM Sniper as well. Our Ambush can bypass a good chunk of tanks armor. (It's a combination of shatter shot + precision ambush + target acquired, below is a quote about how it works) . Take advantage of this. Other than that you can maintain a standard rotation and of course use your few yellow damage attacks (explosive probes, corrosive dart, even grenades) to kill them fast.

Quote: Originally Posted by BambulaGTS View Post
Armor reduction (shatter shot) =/= armor penetration (ambush talent/target acquired). Armor penetration makes your shot ignore given % of target's armor, thus it has equal efficiency on every target. Armor reduction reduces target's armor rating for 20 %, but since jugg tank and sorc (for example) has different ratings, the % of reduction in damage reduction section will be different, because armor reduction in % grows non linear with the grows of armor rating. That means shatter shot is less effective on high armored targets and more effective on low armored targets (sorcs). If your lower jugg's armor rating from 7000 to 5600 it will be less in armor reduction %, than if you lower sorc's armor rating from 2600 to 2000.
Yet still i would consider to spare a GCD for shatter shot on tanks.

PT Tanks don’t have much tools to surprise you, 2 stuns and that’s about it. Their grapple and leap is great but not against us. Anyway, you certainly want to be in cover so that a PT carrying ball will not jump on you. Before 1,4 stun range nerfs, they liked to stun you from distance than grapple, often bringing you into fire traps. This is all history.

When facing them accompanied by a team, they are much more problematic, which they should be of course. You are faced with catch 22 problem: if you focus the tank, his healer friend will heal him, if you focus the healer, the tank will taunt you. Guard is another annoying mechanic that works incredibly well against snipers. You need the help from your team as alone you will not do anything against combo of PT tank + other class.

5.1.2 Sniper vs. Powertech Advanced Prototype

This is one of the rarest breed you will ever meet in Warzones. The reasons why they are so rare, is because Pyrotech is extremely popular, despite the 1.4 nerf to the range of some core abilities. Another very important cause is the nature of how AP deals damage: it’s a non-burst constant damage spec. While excellent at 1vs1 fighting against many classes, it makes it impossible to deal with any good tech healer. Yes it will scare them a little, but never be capable to actually kill them. An operative healer that dies to AP is doing something wrong.

So how does Sniper vs Advanced Prototype look like? Well first of all forget about any attempts at controlling them, roots and knockbacks are out of the question. Their ability hydraulic overrides, removes all sort of knockbacks, snares and provides immunity for 8s against them, on top of it it provides increased speed. You will have to fight him in your face. Alternatively I could suggest you to save your cover pulse until he wastes his hydraulic overrides (easily recognizable, that big yellow cogwheel under his feet), then you can control him to your pleasure.

Don’t be scarried by AP, you should be able to win a DPS fight against him. The only thing that you will to take care of, is his Prototype Flamethrower. They will spam Immolation and 2x Flameburst, after that activate hydraulic overrides if they have it, probably explosive fuel (for extra crit chance), then proceed to burn you. We are looking at potentially 8000 elemental damage taken (more or less). You cannot interrupt him, if he has hydraulic overrides, you cannot knockback him as well. So your only way to stop him from melting you is to stun him. (oh and when he is stunned, he takes less damage).

As for Sniper spec specific tactics, you would be ok with any spec, probably engineering will have an easier time against him. I cannot think of any specific tips.

5.1.3 Sniper vs. Powertech Pyrotech

This spec has a very good fighting chance against you. It was quite heavily nerfed (in my opinion) in 1.4 making them unable to reliably open from distance on you, forcing to approach you to 10m range. But their burst in melee range remained the same. More often than not, these specimens will prefer to go on healer hunting, but if you will annoy them enough they will seriously consider sending you back to respawn.

So what is so dangerous about them? It’s their burst combo of abilities. Should you hesitate, be unprepared or just caught flat footed they will kill you extremely fast. What usually an Pyrotech rotation will look like:

  1. Lit you on fire, but not with Flameburst because this might proc their railshot too soon, typically they will start firing at you with blaster in hope that you will catch the combustible gas cylinder DoT. Once they are at 10 meters range, they have a guaranteed fire DoT with incendiary missle.

  2. Once you are on fire, their rotation starts: they will throw the thermal detonator at you (remember that ticking bomb sound?), then railshot you. Since detonator has a delayed explosion, it can roughly hit you at the same time with other burst ability. Detonator + railshot can deal as much as 8000 crit on a bad day.

  3. Rocket punch and flameburst until they can reset their railshot CD, This can happen so fast that by the time you eat the second railshot, you are most probably already dead.

Here are my tips against Pyrotech:

  • Hear that bomb ticking? Take cover! if you are not already in cover, I hope you have ballistic dampers talented, they will help you tremendously against pyro by lowering their burst by 30%.

  • Are you ignited? Expect a railshot in the next GCD, delay his rotation, use evasion! Railshot is ranged attack that can miss, if you are in cover you already have 25% defense against it, but evasion will give you 3 seconds of breathing room. He cannot do anything to you until he fires his railshot. (because he cannot use rocket punch and flame burst in fear not to proc a railshot CD reset, and thus waste it).

  • Keep your distance from these guys. A Pyro at 30 meters can only fire his explosive dart (do not confuse with thermal detonator) and spam his blaster attacks in hopes to ignite you. Abuse legshots as much as you can. Root him in place.

  • You have more defensive CDs than he does. If you handled the detonator and first railshot while keeping him at distance denying him to rocket punch you, he is dead.

  • Line of sight obstruction is the deciding factor of this duel. Any LoS within 10 meters will give the Pyro a huge advantage against you, because he can ignite you, use his instant attacks, while you will not be able to do anything. So don’t give them this opportunity.

  • Height advantage is a sure win for you, always.

Engineering and Marksmanship have it easier against Pyros simply because they can react faster to the Pyro’s attacks. Lethality has trouble because it needs to apply poisons first. You are really vulnerable with lethality, if you are facing with 2 Pyros in a game it’s enough to warrant either a respect into MM or Engineering or remain with lethality but take ballistic dampers

As for this entire matchup between Sniper and Powertech, I will most of the time bet my money on Sniper winning.

5.2 Sniper vs. Sniper

Ah, where to begin, my personal feeling that these engagements between snipers and gunslingers will more often than not happen because of the ego of both players. If you beat the guy playing the same spec as you then obviously you will claim that you are better than him Don't get me wrong, apart form feeding your personal ego, you should really consider them a priority kill. First of all they are as much of a threat to you as you are to them. While some other classes will have trouble to even getting to them (like catwalks fights on huttball, it's really a no-man's zone for melee when snipers are arround), you are the one capable to actually kill them.

A Sniper vs. Sniper fight outcome is often determined by not only player skill and spec, but also by some pure simple luck. Any sort of interference for your team or his team will heavily shift the outcome in yours/his favor. Why i am talking about luck? Because you have to deal with his cover having 20% ranged defense. You can have your shots missed.

I remember a lot of discussion on this forum about what spec would beat what in a 1vs1 fight and i've never seen an actual consensus. Personally i lost and won duels of all possible combinations.

Although we as a class lack a spec specific stance, it's really easy to determine what spec is our opponent playing. Look at his opener: interogation probe? plasma probe? that's Engineering. Corrosive grenade, Corrosive dart? Lethality. If you don't see any of these than it's Marksmanship. Some people recommend looking at his buffs bar and searching for Followthrough proc, don't waste your time with this.

As for spec specific tactics, there is always the factor of DPS race, as you don't really have that much CC you can use against each other.

5.2.1 Marksmanship vs Lethality

Both specs are capable to win a DPS race against each other. When you have a 19 000 - 20 000 HP pool, it all boils down to who gets to use his takedown first. Which basically means a race to 14000-15000 damage done. Which spec do you think can do 14000 damage faster? I cannot give any serious claim here.

Here are a few factors deciding who will win this DPS race:
  • Marksmanship has Diversion. It's powerful even against Lethality that can fire poisons, weakening blast and Cull outside of cover. Why? Because Cull is still a ranged attack. It still needs to hit every individual tick (3 per cast) in order for the extra damage per poison debuff to apply. If you miss with the white damage, you don't get to hit with Cull's yellow damage component. One missed Cull tick that's roughly 2500 damage missed. Diversion debuff + having to fight against cover 25% = 65% miss chance.

  • Lethality in turn can answer with Target Acquired to counter the diversion, even if you are hit by diversion during Culling, you only loose cover, but you continue to Cull. With TA buff, your miss chance will be 35%. All this while marksmanship will benefit from having 100% hit chance against you (since you lost your cover). No cover? no potentiall ballistic shield for lethality player, while MM is sitting comfortably with extra 20% damage reduction

  • And again Marksmanship can just simply ... INTERRUPT CULL (he lost his cover, remember?) Here is a hint for your MM guys, don't rush to Series of shots too soon before he starts Culling. It will be a pity to have to interrupt your own SoS because you need to interrupt his Cull.

  • Evasion it's a big trump card here for both sides. Marksmanship can try to evade any filler attacks between Culls, although i would rather keep Evasion to delay his takedown. Lethality Sniper will most probably want to block Marksmanship Ambush and delay FT. It's a very skillful moment here, interrupt your ambush when you see the evasion and you've saved it for when it expires. Don't do that, and you've wasted probably your key attack.

  • What will happen most often however, Lethality will just ignore all this direct fire DPS race non-sense, poison the the Marksmanship Sniper, waiting for him to melt while out of his line of sight. And it makes perfect sense. This is what full mandness sorcs do. if I am playing MM in these situations, i just get the hell out of that area before i eat too much unretaliatory damage.

  • Please don't bother with stupid mistakes like trying to move into melee range and stun your opponent. You are wasting your time unless the sniper somehow ended up in your face from the beginning. He could just knockback you, stun your first, or just have entrench. By the way, on those rare encounters that start at melee range, Entrench and Cover pulse are key. Cover pulse the dude when he is trying to get an ambush on you (but not before you stun him of course)

  • Sometimes you will see 2 snipers, instead of solving their personal disputes in a gentleman manner like Alexander Pushkin and George Dantes, instead calling for deep space Orbital Strikes to do their bidding. I had my fair moments of laughs as MM, when i used diversion and interrupt. The thing is.. most of snipers are not really used to be interrupted, there is no healer mentality here. I don't know how often an OS will be beneficial into a fight like this.. And if it's really worth it. If I got Siege Bunker, by all means, he can waste his time casting it, it will continue DPSing him.

That's about it between MM and Lethality, if played to your best skill and luck, MM should probably win in a direct fight against lethality, assuming MM has diversion available. Without diversion, it's anyone's win. Anything that involes getting out of line of sight will strongly favor lethality, or at best a stalemate if MM can disengage.

5.2.2 Marksmanship vs Engineering

As said before, Engineering has a higher burst than MM in a short time of span. If you don't believe that, go on blackhole, a kill one of those silver torvix mobs with both specs. You will kill them faster with Engineering. Again Diversion is big factor here with its main purpose of denying Series of Shots from Engineering, which are extremely powerful. I remember one of the DPS parsers, If i am not mistaken, the electrified rail gun talent alone can net you as much as about half damage that Explosive probe explosion can do (without clusters)

So its crucial for MM to diverison the SoS. The problem for MM users is that Engineering has 2 shield probes (one from EMP discharge) most of the time available that can soak up tons of MM damage. Thanks to them Engineering has the potential to outlast the Marksmanship player in a direct fight.

Alternatively, MM can immediately start with a Diversion and thus delay EP+SoS combo, he will still have 3 seconds of miss chance left after regaining the cover. This however will only delay SoS insted of interrupting it. However, given the nature of DPS race, it may be fully worth it as you might just reach those magic 15000 hp damage done sooner. Thanks to this.

Also Engineering has a ranged stun IP+PP (that can be countered by a simple entrench from MM player)

This duel is anybody's win, but personally i feel like Engineering can survive for quite some time against MM while delivering some serious yellow damage to MM Sniper. It probably all boils down to luck and whether MM Sniper has Diversion or not. Without Diversion it should be a guaranteed Engineering win.

5.2.3 Engineering vs Lethality

The question here is whether Engineering can outlast Lethality thanks to its extra, more powerful shield probe. There are no special abilities to counter and to react to except for strategic use of Evasion. As Lethality you want to evade Engineering Series of Shots. As Engineering you want to evade Cull.

As Engineering you really don't want to eat 2 full Culls. It's so much damage that it could potentially overcome your Shield probes and a very good chunk of your HP pool bringing you into Takedown range.

Line of sight cat'n'dog fights are different compared to MM vs Lethality. Engineering has its own DoT that can erode your health. It all boils down to who is left in plain sight, and who can get beyond the corner.

Regardless of player skill, if one side doesn't use shield probes and probably evasion too, it will probably loose the fight.

5.2.4 Sniper mirror specs matchups

Of all these, the only one that has more room for tactics is Marksmanship vs Marksmanship. It all boiled down to who used better Diversion. I would certainly try to time the Diversion at an inconvenient moment for the other sniper.

If he is in open field, while you can get out of his line of sight, you should be able to win. Bait his to use his diversion, get out of line of sight, come back and now use your diversion on him and gun him down.

You will probably want to use Diversion just before his Followthrough comes out of CD. The more you delay his next FT, the better for you. Don't use diverison immediately after he fires Followthrough. If you use it before, you win 6 extra seconds (actually more because he will need to 1,5 sec to snipe after his cover becomes available again). FT procs after Snipe, Ambush and Takedown (since you are probably already dead if he uses takedown on you, you want to use diversion when he activates snipe and ambush)

That's about it Sniper vs Sniper, it's mostly DPS race, but it's also skill, your shield probe and evasion deciding the winner. However, very often your duels will be influenced by either side's team mates or just pure luck. I lost some duels simply because my takedown missed while my opponent didn't although i was far ahead in damage done.
Engagements that start at Full HP can last long enough that there is a high chance for somebody coming to aid either you or him.

5.3 Sniper vs. Operative

No matter how you look at it, the presence of these guys is just bad news for you. They can either completely undo all your damage with their heals or just send you back to empire HQ in a coffin. Regardless of spec, they will always feel comfortable against you despite your best efforts. It's a class that you will learn to hate with passion.

5.3.1 Sniper vs. Operative Medicine

Here are a few main features of Operative healers:

  • Incredible mobility They have 3 main healing abilities that they can cast on the move: their kolto probes (healing over time), recuperative nanotech (their top heal skill, which is another 6s HoTs but heals 4 close players), surgical probe (instacast heal that can requires tactical advantage, and also regreants TA when used on targets below 30%)

  • Toxin scan cleanse, being able to cleanse Tech, Physical and Mental debuffs provides an incredible edge: Lethality will be unable to damage him outside of cull, you will be unable to root him

  • Incredibly powerful burst healing. If left alone for 2s, the operative can heal himself for up to 10 000 HP. While your ambush is on a 12/15s CD, his Kolto Injection is always available and also grants him tactical advantage

  • Melee stun, Flash bang and Cloaking Screen - free different escape tools, even if you caught him in a vulnerable position, he can still escape. His combat stealth basically means one free get-out-of-jail card every 2 mins.

  • Evasion and Shield probe. These two are similar to your own with exception that evasion works like a secondary general cleanse (can remove even force debuffs), while shield probe provides him extra 15% self-healing

So it's all arround bad news for you. If he happens be guarded, as most often they do, there is really nothing you can do alone against operative healers. You really really need the help from your team mates. If your team doesn't have a carnage/rage marauder, or rage juggernaut or PT Pyrotech or a very talented high burst damage assassin - the operative will never die. The advantages of these classes over you, is that they can follow him beyond the corners where you cannot go. They can DPS him fully on the move.

What can you do against an op healer?

  • Always interrupt Kolto Injection (Underworld Medicine for Scoundrels). It's very important that you do that.

  • Markmanship still has powerful burst, if he for some reason stays too long in your line of sight, without guard you can overwhelm him in the long run. Keep your rotation him, most often your ambush will bait his evasion, which is not bad, you have forced him to waste one of his important defensive CDs.

  • Use your tech attacks when he has Evasion on. You've got frag grenades, explosive probe, and other tools if he has evasion on.

  • Call out your team to focus the healer, basically if you see any operative that is visible it's safe to assume that he is a healer (his kolto probes or slow release med pack buff ban be a giveaway). Once i see these guys I instantly mark them.

  • Save your Followthrough for Takedown. Just in case Takedown doesn't crit or he has so much health even at 30%, your FT should be able to seal the deal.

  • If you plan to kill somebody else while op healer is arround, make sure you acquire the target of other DPS class. Focus fire is your only chance how you can overwhelm the op healer's efforts.

  • Engineering doesn't provide any extra advantages against them. In fact they can cleanse your explosive probe if they are quick. Lethality is only limited to Cull because the poison dots will be cleansed and replaced with the lingering versions of them. Don't even consider playing hybrid Lethality, it will just cleanse your DoTs completely.

That's about it with OP healers. Personally i think they are currently in way too good spot and you are required a way too specific team set-up to counter these guys. If you don't have a good marauder or PT you pretty much have to live with them pumping out tons of heals for their team mates.

5.3.2 Sniper vs. Operative Concealment

Disclaimer: I only played concealment in lvl 49 pvp. Some of my assumptions about lvl 50 PvP for Concealment Operatives could be wrong. Please correct me on that if you maining this spec.

Concealment, a spec about which the developers were never fully sure about how well they indended it to perform in PvP. The design goal was clear: make a rogue type spec, with front loaded burst, designed to take on some key targets in warzones which included: healers, snipers and probably squishy caster classes like sorcerers. The individual balancing parameters of Concealment have never reached a consensus between developers, OP haters and OP players.

I will attempt to make a few claims about Concealment Operatives, which some of you may do not agree with:

  1. Concealment has a very specific niche role in Warzones, it's a specialist class that does not get extra benefit from being member of the big zerg like other classes do (marauders, snipers, healers, and others..)
  2. Many players have wrong expectations from the spec, try to use it in situations it was not indended for and then deem it underpowered.
  3. It is often claimed that an assassin could replicate a concealment ops performance quite well and have extra advantages on top of that. (it's open for debate, but you will really find many people agreeing with this claim)
  4. It is generally believed that Concealment has energy problems in long fights.

These points, as well being able to roll Medicine, a spec with incredible impact on any team's performance has led to Concealment being rather underplayed in PvP, leaving only the elite and a few enthusiasts playing it. What does this mean for snipers? Most of the time, you will not have to worry at all about them as they will not even be in your WZ, but when they will be, they will be the primary threat to your existance.

Some general tips when playing a Sniper against Concealment Operative:

  • Expect concealment ops to prioritize you over your team mates unless they feel they have a chance to burst your team helers.

  • Entrench and Full resolve will discourage them from opening on you. If they did, their hidden strike would just be another backstab variation instead of knocking you down. If you can get your entrench before his debilitate, you are in a very good position, if not to win, but to force them to disengage.

  • Most important DPS abilities are in their melee range, at distance beyond 4 meters, they only have explosive probe, snipe, frag grenade and corrosive dart. Explosive Probe can hit you hard, it's nothing like an engineering explosive probe, or a smash, but if you are too low on HP, it can finish you off. Try to knock them back at distance where you will feel more comfortable than them. At distance full 31 pts Cocnealment have no ways to generate extra tactical advantage, thus they will not be able to lacerate you when they get back to melee range.

  • Operatives have cleanse which can cleanse your roots. If you really want to root them, then your only window of opportunity is cover pulse, wait for cleanse, legshot. And you only can do this if their evasion is on CD. Some players claim that cover pulse root is uncleansable by operatives (they say it doesn't have a "physical/tech" descriptor for toxic scan to be able to remove it). If this is true, then you should certainly take advantage of it.

  • Always be close to your team, any situation where an operative can single you out, will usually end bad for you. One of your most vulnerable moments are when you try to relocate from one WZ objective to another. Never move alone when stealthers can intercept you. Civil War and Novarre Coast are extremely stealth friendly maps, always go in groups from one point to another.

  • Never waste your CC breaker on Hidden Strike knockdown. It's only 1,5 seconds. It's designed to give him an extra attack after hidden strike. Wait for his debilitate stun to use the CC breaker on. Depending on OP's skill and how comfortable he feels against you, he may debilitate you soon enough, filling your resolve, or he can debilitate you later thus leaving room for a flashbang. When to use CC breaker if you are not with full resolve after debilitate? If things get to flash bang, than you probably did well enough against him that he will probably consider disengaging rather than continue fighting. Use your CC breaker on debilitate, don't let him land another backstab with acid blade on you.

  • Depending on how comitted to killing you, some operatives may burn their combat stealth just to get another hidden strike on you, they will not do this if you have full resolve though. Always keep in mind of this when they are combat stealthing. It's very difficult to pop them out of stealth as a sniper, at best you can hope for a lucky reveal with supressive fire, but i was never good with it.

  • Evasion will not help you at all against operatives as most of their damage is tech. Anything they can fire at you in melee range except for a rifle shot is a tech (yellow) damage attack. If can only help you against a snipe from distance, but i would rather save my Evasion for other encounters, assuming i survive. They however will use their evasion against you, most often when they are knocked back at distance so they dont eat too much damage from you. Get ready to use your explosive probe and grenades if you are full MM.

  • Your ambush will always bait their Evasion, always. Anticipate this and interrupt it.

  • You have to accept that they are your counter class and very will attack you at opportunistic times when you are low on health, out of cover or any other unfavorable situations. Just accept this as a tradeoff for your awesome ranged DPS that developers have give to you. Because of the nature of hidden strike, your real duel will start already with an HP loss compared to him.

  • Your objectives is to put a distance between you and him. A natural reaction (to which most of operatives are already used to) is to stun them right after you get back on your feet. Most often they will keep their calm and not break the CC (because if they did, you could easily follow up with a flashbang). Before you cover pulse him, make sure you position yourself in a way that the effect from cover pulse is maximum. Don't forget that they have sneak, that will give them a speed buff to close the distnace back to you. Try to legshot them to extend their root (although will rarely work because they can cleanse your root).

  • Consider saving your PvP medpack and PvP adrenal for concealment ops if you don't plan to usem them when zerged. In general i would always recommend using PvP adrenals against classes that are supposed to counter you. I've seen this done very often by marauders when dueling me.

As said by some concealment players, they do not regard snipers as their easiest kills, but neither they will see you as a difficult oponent.

As for spec specific tactics. You are probably better off with engineering against them. Engineering is usually a good spec against all sort of stealth crap, even when the enemy oppens on you from stealth.

Lethality is more vulnerable because they can completely remove your DoTs before you can cull (Evasion + Toxin Scan, will remove even lingering poisons). Also you need way too much time to set up with lethality.

Marksmanship is an average spec against concealment. It just requires some skill and effort in using your abilities. I would probably use diversion to ruin his lacerate and shiv attacks that will be his primary damaging abilities out of stealth. I am not sure, but i suppose, if Shiv misses, he will not get his Tactical Advantage, which is already good news for you.

Here are a few check-points for you to follow when a concealment opens on you:

  1. Be calm, keep your cool and wait to stand back on your feet
  2. Debilitate him immediately once you are back on feet
  3. Get into cover, activate Entrench
  4. Cover pulse him
  5. Start your rotation
  6. Be ready to react if he uses CC break on Debilitate (but he should not do that).
  7. Once he is out of CC, immediately activate shield probe.

That's about it concealment operatives. Frankly speaking i don't think I ever lost a duel with a sniper when playing my concealment operative, but that was only in lowbie pvp, which really means little. You do have a chance to fight these guys in 50 pvp. You will not win many duels against them, but definetely you can pull it off. What i discovered is that people just tend to panic when they see their toon knocked down on their face while taking damage. If you as a sniper had 100 duels, you would never panic, but since these things happen so rarely, it's natural to panic, and this helps concealment a lot.

Most often however, you will be unable to kill concealment ops but only force them to disengage if things gor really bad for them thanks to combat stealth.

5.3.3 Sniper vs. Operative Lethality

Together with Advanced Prototype, this Operative spec is the rarest thing you will ever meet in PvP. You could probably skip this entire section and probably never miss it. Until they will overhaul lethality for operatives, there are not much incentives to play this spec in 1.6.

If you played Sniper Lethality you should really be quite familiar what to expect from Operative lethality. It's principles are roughly similar but they have a few diferences:
  1. Poison dots are 30 meters range, but Cull and Weakening blast are 10m.
  2. Cull is an instacast single tick attack which requires Tactical Advantage. This kinda ruins the entire lethality business for operatives. You see, they don't get any other means of generating TA except for Shiv melee attack and hidden strike. They cannot sit at range and Cull you, they need to come into melee to get their tactical advantage.
  3. Their entire rotation is even longer than a sniper rotation, needing to use shivs before culling.

All this long set up time gives you plenty of time to react. Your nr.1 priority should be keeping them at distance, and thus limiting the amount of times they can cull you. Hidden strike no longer knocks you down. In a prolonged fight they should be able to win against you if they can get our of line of sight and take advantage of their heals.

That's it about lethality operatives, if you know how to fight a concealment operative, lethality shouldn't be more difficult for you. It has some better tools to deal with you at range, but they really need to make into melee range, like concealment to actually kill you fast enough.

5.4 Sniper vs. Sorcerer

Regardless of spec played, you will always enjoying killing sorcerers. There is something juicy about geting those big damage numbers on a low armored class, and generally punishing them for attempts to facetank you, a fight which they will always lose.

With all the stun bubble business, it's your job to kill them whenever they end up in your line of sight. Melee may dislike getting stunned over and over again, but you can remove their bubbles quick and without any downsides.

Despite sorverers lacking a stance, it's not very hard to identify their spec. Revivifcation their 31 pts healing spec AoE heal is easy to notice. Stun bubbles is healer + lightning hybrid, (which has much weaker direct healing spells and lacks Revification). Death Field -> Mandess hybrids. Creeping terror DoT (it roots you in place, just take notice of the DoT in your debuff bar is 31 pts Madness build.

The are not so many details you need to memorize about every spec capability. You just need to know that healer sorcs will be able to cleanse your roots. So you cannot impede their movement. However, don't forget that Sorcerers cannot cleanse your Flashbang (they can cleanse warrior AoE mezz though). Lightning has stun bubbles and knockback with root. Madness has instacast mezz (whirlwind, other specs need 2 sec to activate - interrupt that when you seem doing it on you). That's all you need to know.

Also, consider carefully if you want to use shatter shot on Sorcerers. They already have a very low armor, that extra 20% debuff will not increase your damage by a significant amount to warrant 1 GCD to waste on it. However, the trauma debuff could seriously change your mind should any healer be in the vicinity or if your target is a sorcerer healer himself.

5.4.1 Sniper vs. Sorcerer Healer

Certainly, killing elusive healers that know how to use line of sight to their advantage against a sniper is a very tough job. You do have to understand that this is not your job to specifically trying to hunt them, this is the job of Carnage, Rage Marauders, Pyrotech Powertech and Probably Assassins and probably Concealment Operatives.

However your job is to provide asistance to any of these aforementioned classes should the healer end up in your line of sight. If you just start bursting them alone, you will probably just scarry them into running and hiding. If you wait for your team mates to jump on them, then go full burst, you should have a decent chance to succeed. Personally i consider them easier to kill than Operative healers.

Guard of course allows them to stay in your line of sight for much longer, coupled with regular taunts from tank and any forms of CC, you are left at the mercy of your team mates to overcome this combo.

Since your ranged interrupt has such a long CD (12s) without any means to lower it, it does make it harder for you to lockdown a healer. Against sorcerers your best bet is to interrupt Innervate, it's their most powerful healing spell. Without a static barrier and nowhere to hide, your DPS should be able to eventually overcome their heals if you interrupt Innervate.

Some spec speific hints:

  • Marksmanship is the best spec against healers. You have high burst, constant high threat with big damage attacks to overcome their healing capacity. Just don't waste your Diversion on them please as it does nothing. If Sorcerer is flashbanged, consider setting up an Explosive Prove + Ambush + Followthrough combo. Keep an eye for your Takedown to fire it when it is available (more sorcerers have died to Takedown than to any other sniper attack.

  • Engineering has a very decent burst with Explosive Prove + Series of shots, but outside of it, it lacks the burst to threaten sorcerers on a constant basis like Marksmanship does. Take advantage of your Interrogation Probe + Plasma Probe ranged stun.

  • Lethality is not very good against sorcerers. They cannot cleanse your DoTs and Cull still hits extemely hard, but it gives sorcerers plenty of warning to get the hell out of your line sight. The lack of burst will make it more difficult for you to kill them.

5.4.2 Sniper vs. Lightning Sorcerer

There is really not much to discuss when playing against 31 pts lightning sorcerers It's an extremely easy spec to beat as a Sniper, they cannot even win against you in a straight and fair fight. Due to their nature of long activation abilities, you have plenty of opportunites to interrupt them, and simply just win a DPS race against them.

There are 2 main things you can consider to interrupt: 1. Thundering blast 2. Lightning strike. The first one will deny him of a pure damage attack, the second one will mess his rotation and deny a lot of procs related to this ability (force regeneration, chain lightning instacast proc) .

Of course you don't want to let these guys to free cast, and you cannot affort to ignore them entirely while dealing with other threats, but if these guys don't focus you, consider removing other more important targets, as your team mates should be more than capable to handle them alone without your help.

5.4.3 Sniper vs. Madness Sorcerer and other Madness hybrids

31 pts. Mandess is a fantastic DoT spec with some very amazing mobility. It has 2 instacast DoTs, and another one that can be procced to instacast. On top of that they have an instacast AoE attack that increaes DoT damage. To put it simple: a madness sorcerer will beat a sniper if he can use line of sight obstructions; however in plain sight a mandess sorcerer will always lose to a sniper regardless of spec.

This basically leads to a cat and mouse game, if you can trap him with a legshot, while his force speed will be on CD making him unable quickly escape after the root ends, he is dead, especially with Marksmanship and Engineering. Remember: only Healer sorcers have access to a talent to cleanse your roots (either trhough cleanse or through force speed). The rest are very much vulnerable to roots. And they are quite easy to identify, if he uses Death Field, then you can be sure that he cannot cleanse your roots.

Most of the time however the advantage will be on their side, and they will most often beat you through clever use of line of sight obstructions. The good news is, that they lack burst, so you have plenty of time to react, either by calling for help, or relocating to a place where they will not consider following you. (however, don't remember that they have force slow and 2sec. root on Creeping Terror DoT.

Your shield probe should provide you with a small HP buffer for you to survive longer these DoTs. If he for some reason tried to activate Crushing Darkness instead of using the instacast proc, then of course interrupt it. It does quite a lot of damage.

Outside of these facts, there is not much depth for this match-up. There are no extra special procs to watch for, or any extra special CDs. It's a pure line of sight battle that you will most often loose.

As for other mandess hybrids, that go into lightning to grab anything related to either chain lightning, backlash or overload root, they do lose Creeping Terror against you while not gaining anything extra that would give them some huge advantage. They can still beat you though, and may be get some extra burst with Chain lightning, but this just forces them more to rely on lightning strike and force lightning in their rotation, and they do know that sitting for too long in your line of sight will not end well for them.
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Scatter Bombs are meant to be a fun bit of extra damage that occurs when you roll into or away from the action. That said, we’re okay with you trapping an unsuspecting enemy for a “wall bang” every now and then.

NoTomorrow's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 09:03 PM | #3
5.5 Sniper vs Marauder

Before I start on Marauders, allow me to express my gratitude to Dhrasur and Quangus for their massive contributions on this section of the guide. All the credit goes to them.

Instead of saying ridiculous stuff like Sniper is a hard counter for Marauders, or even more horrible statements like Marauders are free kills for Snipers (which are obviously not), let me give you a more solid description: Sniper is supposed to reduce the performance and effectiveness of Marauders in Warzones. . Unless you have an immediate threat, or a healer vulnerable to be be bursted down, your most important job is to kill marauders.

Sniper vs. Marauder matchup is one of the most dynamic and skillfull in the entire game. There is a huge number of factors deciding the outcome of any engagement between a Sniper and a Marauder. What makes this matchup so crazy is mostly because it's a duel of extremes: melee vs ranged. The match-up is not just a DPS race, but also a battle of CC, abilities and counter-abilities all designed to disrupt the other side. Basically that means if the sniper can keep the distance he will win, if the sentinel stays up close and personal most time, he will win. Your goal is to force the enemy play your game while preventing him to do the same, manage to get this done and you should always come out as winner.

Before we start to venture into this domain, please review the sniper pvp tips about positioning and fighting melee in general. To beat a marauder you must know the specifics of each of their specs before you start to counter them. Take effort to learn the buff icons their fight stances: Shii-Cho (Rage/Focus), Juyo (Annihilation/Watchman), Ataru (Carnage/Combat). At the beginning of every warzone, try to memorize the stace of each marauder/sentinel you will be dealing with so that when you meet them again, you know what to expect.

Other method would be to watch for the specific behaviour of the individual marauder specs: with Ataru you will most often hear the third slash of ataru when hitting you, with Juyo most often you will se the dots debuffs appearing on your bar first of all, with Shii-Cho, well their tendency to Smash approaches 100% when playing rage

Below are all the defensive abilities every sentinel/marauder of each spec has access:

  • Rebuke/Cloak of Pain (1 min cd): 20% Damage reduction for 30 secs, ends prematurely if not getting hit in 6 secs. Most sentinels you will fight will have this available.The only time when you should consider forcing his cloak of pain to expire is when you are fighting him completely alone 1vs1, and you have an opportune time to use your flash bang or root him in place for those 5s while preparing your explosive probe + ambush burst. If this is a zerg fight, forget about these attempts. You will have to damage him through this defensive CD.

  • Saber Ward (3 min): Damage reduction against Tech and Force(25%) and 50% defense against Ranged Attacks for 12 secs, often used in combo with rebuke. Back when Target Acquired was only an alacrity CD (no accuracy), i actually lost a fight to a Sentinel because he was able to deflect a lot of my 3 chained Series of Shots (i could reach 50% alacrity with a relic back then, it was 3 SoS in 4,5 secs, crazy DPS). Because of the relative long cooldown of 3 min however, he will not likely have it available in the midle of a wz against you.

  • Force Camouflage (45 secs): He goes into stealth for 4 secs and, please keep that in mind, it will go automatically out of your targetting sight. Im saying this because if there are other hostiles in ur firing range u will likely hit them instead if you dont watch out and have auto acquire nearest target. So make sure u have him right targetted again when he pops out.

  • Pacify/Obfuscurate (1 min): Your ranged attacks accuracy (ambush, snipe, followthrough and others) gets reduced by 90% for 6 secs. Every smart marauder will take advantage of this one against you.

  • Guarded by the Force/Undying Rage (1:30, but in Focus/Rage spec it’s possible to have even just 45 secs cd!): Reduces 99% of all incoming damage for 4 secs (was actually 5 before the nerf). Since it eats half of their available health, it is only being used when they are near death. Due to its very low CD, you can expect it almost always to happen in any fight against a marauder.

  • Awe/Intimidating Roar (45 sec) - An AoE melee range mezz for 6 secs. I really hate this one. It's giving them way too much control in situations where they should be punished for recklessly jumping into a big zerg. But we have our own 30m range Flashbang - the only 30 meters range CC in the game (except for Interogation Probe + Plasma probe stun) so who am i to complain here? Just keep in mind they they will abuse it extremely often.

Any sentinel with 2-3 of of these abilities on cooldown is in a big disadvantage against you. The good sentinels will probably not engage you if they have some of this stuff they deem important on CD.

Let's start with some general tips when playing against marauders:

  • Distance is important, you can win many duels even if they start at melee range for you, but to maximize your odds, you need to be the one that starts the fight from distance. This means, never ever let your guard go down when relocating, turn your camera arround and look for potential marauders within range to jump on you. Do not allow them to do this. I was careless too many times to allow them to jump on me when i shouldn't have. Remember, getting to warzone objective fast is important, but getting there alive is even more important. If you will act as a jumping beacon for your enemy, he will mezz you and proceed to aid his budies.

  • Keep in mind if he pops his cc breaker on anything but flashbang, flashbang him. It should allow you eat valuable time from his defensive CDs like saber ward, cloak of pain. Before Flashbang expires you can do orbital strike, explosive probe, ambush and followthrough.

  • Saber ward -> Target Acquired. Obfuscate -> Tech attacks/ stun/ diversion Always use TA to counter Saberward. You could use it to counter obfuscate but it's 90% accuracy reduction for 6 seconds, you are better off just resorting to tech attacks while you have obfuscate, a cover pulse while letting him staying rooted for 5s is probably your best bet. you can use your stun as well, but you will probably want to save that for undying rage. Alternatively you can have him taste his own medicine with Diversion if you have it. Ah, also they'll often pop obfuscated when they see the ambush coming, don't waste your ambush in this case, interrupt it.

  • As said before, do not fill his resolve before you have used your cover pulse.

  • Make sure you have your ballistic dampers on, if you can afford retaking cover and reseting that, do that. Being able to reduce incoming damage by 30% is quite huge.

5.5.1 Sniper vs Marauder Annihilation

Annihilation was extremely popular Marauder spec before 1.4 patch. 90% of players have been playing it before the Rage plague has taken over PvP. It's a DoT spec with damage backloaded. It provides Marauder increased survivability thanks to its extra heals. In any prolonged fight Annihilation has a good chance to beat many classes 1vs1.

Due to the current metagame, and certain classes having a very good survivability against Annihilation, like Operative healers, many Marauders are disliking this spec because they cannot effectively shutdown them, thus just being an annoyance instead of a real threat. Another general consensus, is that annihilation is not very popular in RWZ, due to how much better burst or utilities the other two specs provide.

Personally i regard any melee non-tank class that cannot 1vs1 healers a useless spec. Melee classes which can fully DPS on the move and hunt down healers is of paramaunt importance in healer killing. Annihilation DoTs are physical type (how sad..), therefore tech classes Mercs and Operatives as well as Sorc Healers with talented cleanse can cleanse these DoTs entirely.

As a sniper, you want to delay the Annihilation backloaded DPS as long as possible, since they need to actually hit you with melee to apply the DoTs, using Evasion and keeping your distance will delay all their rotation significantly.

Merciless Slash/Annihalate: Besides master strike, this is the annihilation hardest hitting move. A well geared sent can hit for max 5k+ with it. But it costs him 5 focus which means it isn’t as much spamable.

Overload/Deadly Saber + Cauterize/Rupture: The first ability allows for melee attacks to apply DoTs on you (stacks up to 3 times), the second one is an additional dot. And that is basically the whole rotation of this specimen – he will always try to spam dots on u as much and as long as possible, throwing in some hard hitting abilities to bring u down real fast. And since u cant cleanse dots u want to prevent him from applying them on you in the first place.

Berserk/Zen: Whenever his dots crit, he will get himself healed up a bit. This buff Zen makes all next 6 ticks of his dots going to autocrit so his health goes up while yours goes down.

Some spec specific tips:

  • Marksmanship should consider using Diversion immediately after Evasion. Thus extending his missing time.

  • Engineering should not forget to use EMP discharge to reset the CD on Shield Probe, and thus activate a second on. Try to notice when your first shield probe goes down.

  • Lethality . Your DoT spec doesn't heal you unfortunately, I suspect you being at disadvantage against annihilation. If he is smart, he will probably force camo after you start to Cull, thus ruining your most important attack (if he is fast enough, he will only eat one tick, denying you of other two, and thus probably denying you of potential 5000 damage). You will neend to burn your ballistic shield and probably a PvP Adrenal here. It's paramount that you start this fight at range, so your both DoTs are applied before his own. If the fight starts in melee, it's bad news for you.

5.5.2 Sniper vs. Carnage Marauder

Carnage is an extremely dangerous spec for snipers. Annihilation is a pain when he gets the jump from you and you don't see him coming and he manages to put his stacks of dot on you, but if you avoid that, it's not too bad. Carnage can beat you even in the best situation possible, like 30m start distance without LOS.

Should you underestimate it or just be bad at your attack execution, you will end up in back in respawn immediately. This is why it's paramount to identify the carnage marauder. If he is already in your face, and you are yet trying to figure what you are dealing with, you will probably die. Most of my "what the hell just happened" deaths are because of carnage marauders.

This section will be longer than others simply because of how many more things you should be aware of when playing against carnage marauders.

Some general things you should know about carnage:

  • Super Extreme Burst. It has a lot of abilities that contribute to this. Precision slash / Gore: This will allow him to ignore 100% of ur armor in a window of 4,5 secs. Usually he will do Master strike/ Ravage which hits like a truck for up to 10k+ followed by a bladestorm/force scream which auto-crits for anywhere from 4k to 6k+. To make it short, it is possible for him to almost one-shot anyone in this game including tanks in just a matter of a few gcds. It's of paramount important for you to interrupt this crap at all costs. Cover pulse, stun, flashbang, anything to stop him from pulling this off.

  • Roots galore. Carnage has 3 distinctive roots: Force Charge 3sec, Ravage 3 sec, Deadly Throw 3 sec (10 m range, also trauma debuff). Provided snipers are not really that worried about themselves being rooted, it's still worth remembering that attempting to run from a carnage marauder is just stupid. You are force to use your cover pulse intelligently because outside of Marksmanship this will be your only knockback that you will get.

  • Extreme movement speed while being able to cleanse roots and snares with Force Camo. Ataru form itself gives 15% movement speed, but with predation buff, they are lightning fast. This basically means that keeping them at distance, unless you are situated somewhere on catwalks will be incredibly difficult for you.

  • Ataru forum extra attack. A dual weilder class gets a 3rd attack, couple that with off GCD Retaliate and you've got a spec that will eat through your ballistic dampers in no time. And since Ballistic dampers have only 1,5 seconds when they can reduce incoming damage, a lot of that damage will get past it. In fact, you can basically assume that you don't have ballistic dampers when fighting Carnage Marauders.

  • Obfuscate has 10m range compared to other specs. He is more likely to use it against you even when knocked back.

As you have probably realized by now, Carnage is realy really bad news for an unprepared sniper. In fact all these details have led me to believe that Carnage is basically designed to counter snipers in away like Snipers use Lethality to counter Tanks (which they usually have trouble with).

Lets take a look on these key components of Carnage that are the cause of all this crazy burst

Melee attack (20% chance) / Massacre (100%) chance proc Ataru strike
  • Apart from providing an extra damage by itself, Ataru strike is important to provide you the following necessary proc:

Ataru form strike -> Blood frenzy buff = Auto-Crit Force Scream
  • Basically for Marauder to get a crit Force scream, he needs to proc an Ataru Strike, either through luck with a standard melee attack, or through massacre 100% chance. You need to delay his melee attacks and Massacre as long as possible for him to not be able to get his auto-crit force screams. (Which is not easy because you cannot keep him at distance for too long with all his speed and force camo cleansing the roots)

  • Don't forget that force scream does force kinetic damage, it will ignore your Evasion, and with Gore it will also ignore your armor.

When to use Evasion against Carnage

There are a few possible moments when you could do that, here are some ideas:
  • Dodge Ataru strike procing blood frenzy at the start of the fight .
  • Dodge Ravage, at best you can only dodge his last ravage hit. If you trigger it before him starting to ravage, he will simply postpone ravage until your Evasion expires.
  • Dodge Vicious throw giving you extra 3 seconds to survive while your health is withing execution range.
  • Don't use dodge to counter berserk, the berserk buff will last long enough for dodge to go away and he'll just build rage with assault until then, which he will dump in a series of 4-5 massacre right after.

How to deal with Gore-Ravage
Since using Evasion against Ravage is sub-optimal, you are better off either stunning him or knocking him back. This is why it is extremely important that the carnage marauder not be on full resolve. If he is on full resolve, then your only chance is to use Evasion. Anyway, expect him to interrupt ravage and auto-crit Force Scream if he managed to proc an ataru strike before you popping your evasion.

More on Gore
First, the damage outside gore is far from bad. Second, gore CD is 15s. In a pure 1v1 and it is very likely that the fight will last long enough for him to have 2 gore. No matter what abilities he uses during gore, it's going to hurt, even if it's massacre without berserk(although of course that's not as bad as any of the other possibilities).

Remember that with obfuscate or saber ward, he's gonna get his retaliation proc. That is a relatively low dmg melee attack OFF THE GCD. And since it's off the GCD he can almost always get him during his gore! (gore is also off the gcd).

Please consider reading this quote from our helpful contributors:
Now you want to mess him up when he's using gore, of course. But that's harder than you'd think it is. When I'm playing carnage, no matter the class I'm against, if I'm about to gore, I will first check if I have the Blood Frenzy buff. So I was unlucky with my hits and I didn't get the blood frenzy buff, I can simply do one massacre and I'm going to get it. 1,5s GCD. That is not a long setup for the huge burst incoming. The massacre buff also increase your chance to proc future ataru strikes. Marauder will probably get 2 ataru strike during gore since gore can proc it, or retaliation, or ravage multiple hits or massacre!

In wz, when I'm carnage, I will often use something even simpler. Since there is a million cc in this game, you'll often waste gore cause a sorc is happily using overload randomly because why not! So what I do is I massacre, wait for the GCD and gore instant force scream. That's minimum 5k dmg, probably more like 6k

Finally, you guys mentioned berserk, well there is no real counter to it. Except being out of range! Cause berserk buff last long enough for him to be able to use it.
In conclusion, dealing with carnage needs a near perfect timing of Evasion, Stun, Cover pulse. If you fail with these 3, you will DIE, there is very little room for error. I heavily recommend getting 25-50 duels against a friend playing Carnage Marauder until you get the grip of it.

Some spec specific tips:
  • As for Sniper specific skill trees, Lethality will probably lead to your early death against Carnage Marauder. Yet again we see how much we have to pay for the ability to counter tanks. Your Cull needs 3 GCD to mature, and even then Marauder can just use force camo to interrupt it. May be you could try to bait first a force camo with ambush before starting to Cull. Never ever walk alone while playing lethality. NEVER.

  • Marksmanship gives you Diversion which is a HUGE advantage for you compared to other specs. Chain it after Evasion. The extra knockback form ambush is very handy, but most probably he will still be within 10m range for obfuscate and carnage. Cover pulse however has a very good chance to knock him back beyond 10m range. This is why very important to position yourself so he just doesn't come out of cloak between you and a near wall.

  • Engineering again your double shield probe can give you a fighting chance. Remeber if you put your plasma probe on yourself, which most often you will do, you limit your ability to use flashbang on him. So be aware of this tade off.

5.5.3 Sniper vs Marauder Rage

Rage is a quite simple spec that can easily be handled if you play Marksmanship, have Entrench available and Siege Bunker talented (60% Damage Resistance to AoE). This coupled with ballistic dampers can make all this fight laughably one sided. Just make sure you dont accidentally move out of entrench, or activate it in a situation when the marauder could easily get out of your line of sight.

If you dont have entrench and siege bunker, the fight will be more touch for you. Most of the general tips at fighting marauders apply here, there are no specific cooldowns you should watch for when playing against Rage. What is important to know is when they try to build shockwave: Force Crush, Berserk (when they have 30 stacks of fury), and Force Choke. It's reasonable to use your CC breaker when they are force chocking you, and immediately stun them to interrupt their shockwave building.

Full engineering can handle them quite reliably as well, the problem is, make good use of your shield probes to absorb a good chunk of that damage. In a prolonged fight you might be left without ballistic dampers and be unable to reset them because your entrench will still be up. Smash can hit you for max damage in these situations. This is most probably going to happen on his second smash, which is probably somewhere 10 seconds after the first one. You need to make sure that whatever happens, the second smash will not bring you into <30% hp execution range as his dispatch/vicious throw will probably kill you. A PvP adrenal could probably help you against second smash.

Lethality is vulnerable to Rage. All this long set up time, i am not saying it is impossible, but it almost makes it imperative for you to use PvP adrenals, and even probably burn your Baliistic Shield CD as well. I am not sure that a single Cull alone will bring him into execution range. You might need to some extra damage like SoS and that will be very near his second smash being available.

One last important thing: Zealous Leap/Obliterate: His second leap which allows him to jump on u (but only from a 10m range) even if you are in cover. Since he cannot leap to you, he will use obliterate to proc his auto-crit smashes. Watch out on huttball, if you stay too close to edge while he is in the pit, the range will be small enough for him to be able to obliterate jump to you. Stay back a little further. I'd rather have a stalemate with him hiding into the pit being unable to jump to me and me being unable to see him rather than him jumping with the ball onto our goal line.

Same goes for Voidstar defenders start. They will jump to you if they get too close.

5.6 Sniper vs. Mercenary

Mercenaries are our ranged DPS cousins that currently have big troubles in PvP simply because they lack the tools that we have: cover mechanics. Their are being eaten alive by Melee DPS, being unable to keep their enemies at distance. DPS mercs require more support from the team than Lethality Snipers need.

You are most probably reading this section just for sake of entertainment than because you actually having trouble fighting these guys

5.6.1 Sniper vs. Mercenary Healer
(under construction)

Since i never played Merc Healer, I hope someone to provide me with some insight on how to counter Merc Healers. I can give you a few important tips though:

  • Energy Shield provides Merc healers 25% damage reduction as well as interrupt immunity. You don't want to allow him to free cast his heals when his shield is on. You can still knockbackhim (if he is close to you), stun or flashbang him. In 1vs1 situation with his CC breaker on CD, Flashbang can eat 8s of his 12s Shield. (actually their shield has probably 15 second duration thanks to their gear set bonuses) . If you don't have any of this CC available he will most probably get his health back to max. If you don't have anybody else to shoot at during this time, you can contonue DPSing him, in the hopes that he will overheat which is of course good news for you.

  • Their tech cleanse can remove your roots.

  • Merc healers have the highest passive damage reduction, if they are guarded you need your team's help because you will be unable deal with them alone.

5.6.2 Sniper vs Mercenary Arsenal

Arsenal shouldn't be a difficult spec for Snipers to handle. Most of the rotation is designed arround Tracer missle. Interrupt it, and it will delay their Heat Seaker Missles, Heat signature armor debuffs as well as proccing a more powerful Unload.

You are probably better saving your Evasion for other encounters than wasting it on an interruptable Unload. Although.. it could help on railshot, but i do believe that he should be already dead by the time you will have to worry about railshots.

They cannot win an open confrontation against you , yet they don't have any significant tools to fight a battle of attrition with hiding out of your line of sight due to the fact that Arsenal is a turret spec itself, even with some heals.

I don't have any spec specific tips for you other than that you should be fine with any spec against them. Ballistic dampers is always a bonus to have.

5.6.3 Sniper vs Mercenary Pyrotech

The shared tree with Powertechs is considered currently the only remotely viable spec for dps mercs in PvP. It works on similar principles as Powertech Pyrotech, with some differences. All the abilities have a range of 30m and their Railshot reset (Prototype Particale Accelerator talent) procs from Powershot and Unload rather than Rocket Punch and Flame Burst.

Mercs dislike this proc because they consider it a weaker version compared to Powertech because both Power shot and Unload are not instacast abilities, which leaves room escape from mercenary's field of view as well as simply interrupting these abilities. And with all the melee force leaping to them, it makes proccing a railshot CD reset so much harder for them.

Also merc pyrotech railshots, hit for less than powertech railshots because they only ignore 60% of armor instead of 90%.

As a Sniper, many of the Powertech Pyrotech tips apply when fighting Mercs Pyro as well. Hear that bomb ticking? Get into cover! Ballistic shields will reduce the burst. Are you being lit by incendiary missle? Evasion! to delay his railshot. He will not unload / powershot until he can use his railshot on you (in order not to waste his railshot reset proc).

Unload is your best interrupt choice, it does quite a lot of damage if lest to be fully channeled. Your advantage however, is that unload and railshot are ranged attacks which are subject to your ranged defense form your cover, just another reason to stay in cover when fighting Pyrotech.

I don't believe Pyrotech Mercs have a fighting chance against you in an open and direct firefight. And mercs do know this very well, because of that they will try to DoT you, bomb you and get out of your line of sight and probably use their heals. When you are busy and distracted with somebody else, they will come back to Unload on you and proc railshots. To not allow this to happen, make sure you kill them as soon as the opportunity presents itself when they overcommit and stay for too long in your line of sight.

As for spec specific tips, they are all quite viable against pyrotech mercs if you have ballistic dampers. You should be able to capitalize on any spec's advantage fairly easy to defeat them.

5.7 Sniper vs Assassin
(coming soon)
I will need some guidance and help form somebody who mains Assassins. The thing is, Assassins have so many builds that is not always wasy to generalize this match-up.

5.8 Sniper vs Juggernaut
(coming soon)
I will need some guidance and help from Juggernaut players. Especially from Tanks and Vengeance players.

Thank you very much for reading this guide. You have my sincerest gratitude. Any criticism, corretions and opinions are welcomed.

Good luck with your Sniping and have fun

Best regards from
Express Delivery [Red Eclipse]
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Scatter Bombs are meant to be a fun bit of extra damage that occurs when you roll into or away from the action. That said, we’re okay with you trapping an unsuspecting enemy for a “wall bang” every now and then.

NoTomorrow's Avatar

12.23.2012 , 10:38 PM | #4
Just in case i will need more room.
Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Scatter Bombs are meant to be a fun bit of extra damage that occurs when you roll into or away from the action. That said, we’re okay with you trapping an unsuspecting enemy for a “wall bang” every now and then.

Tibbel's Avatar

12.24.2012 , 02:07 AM | #5
Looks like this is going to be very helpful to a lot of people!

Just a couple things about the stats section (4.2):
  1. Might want to specify which accuracy you're talking about (ranged vs tech/special).
  2. There's no such thing as a surge soft cap. While it's perfectly fine to say that 76% is a point at which it "feels about right", it's incorrect to say that anything significant happens to its scaling at that point.

Svii's Avatar

12.24.2012 , 04:27 AM | #6
Nice guide, NoTomorrow. You've managed to cover most of what makes a Sniper work

My first contribution is an alternative Engineer build:

It trades energy regen for more survivability and Frag Grenade spamming. The 6% HP regen doesn't sound like much, but chain it together with EMP and it's a full 12%. I've actually earned the 75K healing medal a few times with this skill point!

Frag grenades in Engineer hits almost as hard as Snipe, but on 5 targets. It's a very good in a brawl, potentially killing an entire team if they're also standing in your OS/PP. Extremely satisfying. It's also good for preventing caps, especially guarding Voidstar bomb plants.

Snipe is useful for Engineers, it's sometimes a better energy dump between burst phases against single targets. But it's not a priority skill, Frag grenade is usually a better option.

Svii - Sniper
Impetus Norvegicus
Bloodworthy => ToFN

Ryvirath's Avatar

12.24.2012 , 06:24 AM | #7
Just to add a note on Target Acquired, it's an additive buff. Therefore even if your target is an operative using his 100% immunity to ranged bubble you will still be able to hit him. Most MMs will have 145% accuracy on a special attack with that buff up so you'll still have a 45% (145% - 100%) chance of hitting through the bubble. I've killed many an operative in a desperate solo situation like that.

mattycutts's Avatar

12.24.2012 , 07:13 AM | #8
Great thread notomorrow. Have to admit the Sector ranger skill i have missed every time i try builds think its time to add it in.

In your gear optimisation section, might be worth listing some of the best mods/armourings to use just a thought.

Look forward to your updates.

BaineOs's Avatar

12.24.2012 , 07:20 AM | #9
Nice post Express dude I'm a bit of an odd sniper so take my suggestions with a big pinch of salt. I've been called a highly mobile sniper by more than one person which for snipers as everyone knows....isn't a good thing

As Svii said grenade is highly useful for engineers. Engineers Tool Belt is, for me, an absolute must for me on whatever build I use. I refuse to play a sniper without it but I do of course realise that's a personal choice for me and fits in with the way I play a sniper.

All too often I've found myself being hunted down whilst their team mates try to cap. I like to think I can kite pretty well as a sniper (my playstyle thing) with the aid of our cc abilities. As a result I find myself using grenades all too often to interupt the cappers whilst I'm kiting. That can happen on every sniper spec even engineering. Sure engineering has plasma probe but how many times have you dropped plasma probe on a group of people away from the turret/door when your team were in control only for 5 secs later to find you're the only one left? That's where grenade comes in.

The more I think about it the more I realise I personally rely on Engineers Tool Belt an awful lot (my lethality spec sniper has it) but as I for my playstyle

This is my engineering build. I'm not one for respeccing I just go with the flow so my spec is a general one for all warzones, hence why I have the heavy shot talent in mm.

For the cover thing that annoys people one thing I've learnt, and I think it's just adding to what you've already said dude is the keybind for taking cover. When I first started voidstar was the worst because I'd end up exactly where I was trying to get away from. Hence why I now use primarily Shift + F which is the default keybind for taking cover at your position.

About CC, your are dead on with what you're saying in section 1.1 however I'd also like to say we are great for cc up close too. Our cc abilities is second to none so when you're trying to cap in civil war (it's the most obvious example but not the only one) our cc abilities are second to none.

Another thing that might be worth mentioning in our list of advantages is that we're often called the class that denies an area. I think it's a term Bio came up with? The engineering class excels at that. For example the second door in voidstar defending if it's a decent team I'm in the only way they're going to cap is by hunting me down an killing me. Work out which door is being fought over the most and lock it down with a plasma probe for 18 secs and immediately go to the other door. If there are multiple people trying to cap there too then that's where the 3 sec grenade comes in. If you find more people come to join this door then pop the next plasma probe down here and move to the other door. By this constant door switching you're making it safer for yourself and helping to guard the other door...effectively 2 doors at once.

In that situation there is no way either door is being planted upon, just not going to happen....unless they focus you but if you have good team mates then it becomes that much harder. There's no other class that can do this that effectively.

In the general pvp tips section 2 for engineering snipers being pulled can actually be a blessing for the team. It's entirely dependent on your team mates (I mostly pug) but when an assassin/shadow or PT/VG pulls you the first thing you need to do is to debilitate them, then pop entrench. Takes some practice to get it right but if you have a good healer then you can start your aoe attack.

For me in such a situation you normally get pulled into a group so....interrogation probe + plasma probe on the next nearest target (or the dude that pulled you if they use their breaker...which they probably will). Followed up Oribtal Strike with ballistic shield and shield probe inbetween whenever you feel is the right moment to pop it. It is dependant on others sometimes but a pull by someone who thinks it's going to be an easy kill can turn you into a weapon of mass destruction

apologies for the long post! Forgot to say one thing though!

My main tip for snipers is to learn to kite, use the surrounding obstructions to your advantage. In one respect that goes against what Express has said in Section 2, I do precisely what he says not to do

As a sniper quite often you'll find yourself being one of if not the last person left alive and in such situations where you're most likely vastly outnumbered exactly what are you going to do? If you sit still sniping away you're most likely not going to last long. If you're in a good team then you don't have to do this. However if like me you're a pugger, then being able to kite in situations when you know you won't be getting any help is a survival method you need to learn.

I've seen far too many snipers sit still in civil war or huttball whilst they get pounded upon by 2 people with their cc on cooldowns. Sit still and die or move and survive
Es'carli - Sniper
<Lord of the Drinks>
The Red Eclipse

LilTsar's Avatar

12.24.2012 , 07:13 PM | #10
Since we cannot be interrupted, and often even CCed, line of sight obstruction are our primary weakness in SWTOR. This basically leads to either do massive burst damage or none at all.
id like to add that the reason snipers, compared to other rdps, are so vulnerable to los is not only the emphasis on casts/channels, but the fact that they are loooong casts/channels. default ambush is a 2.5 cast with a warning animation, giving targets ample time to duck behind a wall or pop a cooldown, series of shots and cull are both 3 second channels, a heads-up player with good positioing can avoid 3/4 of their damage.
compare this to the other rdps skills: sorcs have force lightning with a 3 second channel, but even madness sorcs will generally have some alacrity (as they don't use accuracy) to make it quicker, it's on a very short cooldown (ambush and sos are more than twice as long), and is not as important to either sorc dps build. crushing darkness is a 2 second cast, but is procced to be instant in madness, as is the default 3 second chain lightning from the lightning tree. only other cast/channel damage skills used by sorcs are lightning strike, a 1.5 second cast that is virtually impossible to los due to latency (and madness will only use it with an insta-cast proc, if ever) and thundering blast, a 2.5 cast that is indeed los and interrupt bait- the capstone ability of a turret tree that very few serious pvpers use in full, because it has the weaknesses of a sniper without the benefits.
mercs meanwhile have unload at 3 second channel, but that's the only really big, rotational one. death from above is long, but channled as an aoe. the compareable sniper aoe, orbital strike, is a cast instead of a channel and gives more warning than any other move in the game, taking nearly 10 seconds after the cast is finished to finish dealing damage. only other casts are tracer missile, fusion missile, and power shot, all quick casts that are prone to interrupt and pushback, but not los.
this is not to say snipers are inferior to mercs/sorcs (lol), but just to illustrate why los is such an issue for us, not rdps as a whole, as ive heard some (melee) claim that

Solo guarding nodes is a really a bad idea as a sniper.
This is just asking for trouble from stealthers.
yes, but we're better than other things: dps pts, dps juggs, dps mercs/sorcs, especially arsenal/lightning ones. between entrench and our various ccs, a sniper against any one stealth can usually at least live long enough for help to come, even if surviving is a long shot.

]Try not to give an opportunity for melee to leap at you.
quite right: bear in mind that leg shot doesnt root until the animation hits the target, so dont throw it out and except a warrior to not jump into your grill a second later. (wtb leg shot 40 meter range as part of 4-piece field tech bonus instead of distraction)

Use your Evasion.
against a sniper, the best thing to use it on is series of shots- for all specs its one of the highest dps abilities that is evadeable, plus- for mm, it stops them from getting a quick-cast ambush via sos crits, for engineering it hits particularly hard due to electrified railgun, but only if it actually deals damage, and lethality rarely uses ambush rotationally, while the internal damage from cull will still hit you even if the white damage aspect misses, and the white damage of cull isn't nearly as bad as sos.

if an arsenal merc gets the jump on you, you can be embarrased since we can't interrupt tracer missile often enough to truly ruin them-evading full auto usually fixes that

roots only apply from white damage- not that you should be in the habit of it, but if you have to walk a fire trap, evasion avoids roots (off topic, but before attempting a firetrap crossing, throw some suppressive fire on the other side in case of stealth)

ravage really hurts

Chain your defensive CDs instead of poping them all at once.
if you get stunned/knocked around while ballistic shield is active, you will lose it. ideally you'll always use entrench just in case.

Did you know that this thing can make also tech and force abilities miss? I was hit once by it, then suddenly my orbital strikes started missing. It lowers ALL accuracy across the board. (Please don't throw it on a healer though..
Did you know it works on non-snipers/slingers!? a lot of people don't seem to. never ceases to amaze me how many will use diversion on me-then immediately after flashbang and then shift to someone else. that said, it is particularly powerful against your fellow snipelingers, since it effectively reduces them to a level 50 imperial agent/smuggler (and, as of a couple patches ago, break entrench and ballistic shield). however, engineering and lethality are far from boned by it if they have target acquired available, as both have plenty to do for 6 seconds without cover. of course its generally simpler to just los through it- so don't just throw this out when you see a cover screen. that's not tactical. that's not how snipers play.


Shatter Shot+Explosive Probe + Series of Shots - this does seem to give a higher burst than what you could achieve with MM in the same amount of time (after this MM rapidly catches up and overcomes this damage). Please any experieced sniper verify me on this claim as it could be a false statement. If this is true, than we basically have a higher burst spec but limited to 30s intervals compared to MM which is a more frequent but probably a little lower burst.
engineering does indeed have crazy burst, but not often. much too often you'll find all your hard hitting attacks on cooldown, which is something you almost never find with mm or leth. grenades are small consolation. on the other hand, circle of fire!!!!

In any way you really want to take ballistic dampers for any full engineering build. There are no other talents within your reach that could substationally improve your damage, while ballistic dampers can give you increased survivability which is something more useful that anything else you could possibly grab with a 31 pts engineering build.
i take armor pen on ambush over ballistics. i find that engineering's weakness is not survivability but single-target sustained damage output. also i like my 5k medals

Energy overrides - This skill basically says: you will now have extra 16 energy every minute. It is it good? It's comparable to other specs, op healers have the same 16 energy extra from adrenaline probe, but their AP is on 2 min CD while we can have 16 energy every 1 min (1 min is the cooldown of emp discharge). I can do without it in PvP, but sometimes it can be useful
in pvp, half the time i end up having this proc expiring on me, having popped emp for that extra burst of energy and defense in a close fight, and not having to reapply plasma/interrogation probe. i'd really love to see this turn into a passive energy management effect like the dot-proc and increased-in-cover ones of leth and mm, respectively. taking damage reducing the cost of next sos, takedown, or ambush, fore example, emphasizing the tankiness of the tree. in the meantime, i dont take it.

Calculated pursuit. This one is really questionable. Do you really want this overload spamming? How much extra damage does it do over your normal rifle shot? You don't have access to cut down from Tier 3 lethality tree to make your overload shots more powerful. I really don't like this one.
in full agreement, it was ok back when it was broken and didn't have a rate limit- now that it has a 20 second one, its garbage. another engineering idea, to help increase that single target damage, again, is to turn it into an autocrit on ranged attacks when leaving cover (but not in cover). so you get autocrit takedown (not the only tree to have an autocrit execute, btw) and autocrits on a bunch of crud: rifle shots, overload shot, leg shot, shatter shot, oh yeah and suppressive fire... isn't that an aoe? which engineering has 30% critical bonus on? my mouth just watered at the thought of those poor wretches trying to defuse the bomb...

Weakening blast. There is a one tiny detail here: this skill does not cost energy, so when you are facing with a single target that you need to Cull ASAP, using weakening blast afer applying both DOTS, allows you to have one entire GCD of free energy regen, which basically leads you to being able to Cull and still remain in high energy regeneration bracket.
dont forget that this does improve the internal damage of cull, giving some more burst. sometimes i like to spec full lethality just so i can make people squirm by culling fully dotted/debuffed targets
The Shadowlands: The Further Legacy
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