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2.0 Powertech Tanking Guide


GrymEdm's Avatar


GrymEdm
05.26.2013 , 12:51 PM | #1
A quick word about who I am so you know the experience my advice is based on. I've been PT tanking for the last 7 months or so, and in that time I've tanked all the content in the game. My guild and I clear out all HM content each week, so the strategies I'm relaying are at least good enough to do all current content.

Spec:
Click Here for My Spec
Fairly self-explanatory for the most part. I take the full accuracy boost from AP because it's the largest dps boost for dps classes, and thus I assume the same for me. I take Hot Iron from AP over Advanced Tools because Flame Engine from the ST tree resets the cooldown on Flamethrower all the time, so in between those procs and regular ones I'm FTing really often. The last three points in AP though are what I consider my dump points, and I'm sure you could move them anywhere and make it work. There are some people advocating the endurance increase in pyrotech tree, and there's an argument to be made that it is an increase in survivability. I am of the opinion that the increase is too small to warrant 3 talent points, and I instead prefer to increase threat. However, YMMV.


Stat Targets:
Click Here for Ideal Stats Threat
Credit, of course, goes to KeyboardNinja for his excellent work. In that thread, scroll down until you see the spoiler tag underneath Vanguard, which is our Pub counterpart. That will bring up a list. The first number you read on the far left of each row is your total defensive stat budget, and the numbers that follow are your optimal stat ratings for defense, shield, and absorb. To calculate you defensive stat budget, open up your character sheet and mouse over defense chance, shield chance, and absorption, and add up the rating (green number in the hundreds) for each. Yes, your defense is supposed to be that high. Follow that stat budget as closely as you can for whatever row of total defensive stats you are closest to.


Gearing:
- You want to max out your defensive stats at the cost of endurance. Yes, this does mean that you'll end up with lower health, but you'll last longer with your improved mitigation. My PT is just about completely optimized and only has ~32.4k unstimmed hp in nearly full 72's and I tank all the content currently in the game quite successfully.

- Purchase or craft the level 55 Veracity Experimental Response Implant x2, and the Veracity Advanced Cosmic Combat Module, and do not replace them with token or commendation gear. They are lower endurance by a fair bit, but they are much higher defensive stats and that's more important.

- Always use the 4-piece set bonus, even if that means you need to use Dreadguard/Campaign armorings until you get 4-piece Arkanian/Underworld. The 2% defense boost is more mitigation than you'll get from upgraded armorings. EDIT: This may fall to preference, I'm having difficulty locating a definitive source on this. I did not upgrade until I had 4 pieces, and I was able to clear HM SnV with old armorings.

- Replace high Endurance mods or enhancements as quickly as you can in favor of their high defensive stat equivalent. Ideally you'll never use a lettered mod; always use an Advanced Deflecting Mod 31 over a 31A or 31B for instance. For enhancements use only Bulwark and Bastion, the other ones are high Endurance and suboptimal. The ideal ones are only obtainable from Arkanian/Underworld token drops, and you'll need several extra pieces to fully optimize so you can get by with the Elite/Ultimate comm pieces in the meantime.

- Never ever take alacrity or accuracy for any reason on any piece of gear. These are dps stats, not tanking stats. Taunt never misses and no amount of accuracy or alacrity will make you tankier.

- Your best relics are Fortunate Redoubt (Defense Proc) and the old PvP War Hero/Elite War Hero (shield rating). If you do not have an old PvP trinket, your next best bet is the Shrouded Crusader (on-use Shield/Absorb).

- If you are going to use defensive adrenals, use the old exotech ones that boost armor rating instead of the new ones that boost shield/absorb. The armor boost is better by a fair margin.

- Augments are critical for tanks, so upgrade asap and use the augments to try and hit the stat budget as per the previous section of this guide. You will likely end up almost completely in defense augments, so make friends with a synthweaver.


Rotation:
Single Target:
- Never taunt at the start of a pull unless someone else has aggro, and then yell at them for pulling instead of waiting for you. The longer you wait to taunt the more effective it is, and in a perfect world you would delay taunting until just before you lose aggro. If you taunt from further away than 4m you get extra aggro, but it's not worth running around to get it. However, if you end up away from the boss it is worthwhile taunting THEN closing the gap as opposed to doing it the other way around.
- If you are having problems keeping aggro in the early part of a fight, weave your taunts together by which I mean use the opener below (which has a taunt in it), then use AoE taunt about 6 seconds (4 global cooldowns) afterwards, then use regular taunt again about 6 seconds after that. This will generate an incredible amount of threat.
- Otherwise save your AoE taunt for use as an emergency taunt.
- Load up Shoulder Cannon early, and map it to a button you can press in tandem with other buttons. Shoulder Cannon is not linked to the global cooldown of your other abilities, so you can use it right overtop of anything except a channelled ability like flamethrower.
- Your opener is Explosive Fuel -> Jet Charge -> Rocket Punch -> Rail Shot -> Flame Burst x2 -> Flame Sweep x2 while spamming Shoulder Cannon on top of those moves. Taunt, then Flamethrower (which will probably be the quick flamethrower from Flame Engine Proc).
- Your rotation from then on is a priority based on what you have available:
1. Heat Blast: Map this to a key you can occasionally spam while pressing other keys. I put mine on F and spam it by instinct whenever I Flame Burst because you want to use this asap every time it's up.
2. Death From Above if the boss has a large hitbox or you are comfortable aiming it close to yourself. Skip it or become better at aiming it if you find it takes more than 1 second or so to get into position properly.
3. Flamethrower (regular or Flame Engine proc)
4. Rocket Punch
5. Rail Shot
6. Flame Burst
7. Rapid Shots if your heat is too high.

AOE:
- I can't give you a set rotation for AoE situations because each one is different and very dynamic. I'll instead try to give you some general tips.
- Generally speaking, it's better to Jet Charge a ranged mob as opposed to a melee one. The ranged mobs don't move, but the melee will come to you so long as you have aggro. Charging a ranged makes it easier to gather up the baddies.
- If you team is laying down AoE damage (orbitals especially), make an effort to tank inside their effect (even if you have to move slightly) unless you have to stay out of it (e.g. enemy aoe is there). It's very frustrating for a dps to spend the time/resources to put down a field of death only to have the tank haul the mobs out of it.
- The most important thing about AoE tanking is to go in with a plan of action. Look at the distribution of enemies and figure out how you're going to hold onto different mobs. This may seem like a lot of time to spend, but it becomes much faster as you get used to what your abilities do.
- Generally speaking, you'll want to open with a Death From Above on the largest number of targets you can hit with it.
- Explosive Dart will CC any normal mobs for a few seconds and is a decent aoe punch regardless. I sometimes use it as a very mini Death From Above to generate AoE threat on a group that isn't hit by my DFA. So I'll DFA, ED, the Jet Charge in and start my AoE tanking.
- Jet Charge a central target, grapple a far/problematic target next to you, and flame sweep.
- Flamethrower if you can hit most targets with it. If you back against a wall you'll hit more, if you back into a corner you'll do even better. Try to limit the amount of space around you that mobs can spread out in if you can, but I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time moving.
- Try to watch the group of enemies to see which way they are facing. If you see a mob stop attacking and change the way it's facing, you've lost aggro and that's an ideal time to aoe taunt.

Ranged:
- It's not often you'll have to tank from range, and it's not where you'll generate optimal, or even really acceptable threat. However, sometimes you will find it beneficial to tank from range (for instance kiting the bubble from the large "domed" robots during the puzzle boss in SnV).
- You'll be using DFA, Unload, Grapple, Rapid Shots, and Explosive Dart when possible, and taunting on cooldown. You may be able to hold aggro by staggering regular/aoe taunts by 6 seconds and then taunting on cooldown, but it will be difficult.

Zhaaratustra's Avatar


Zhaaratustra
05.26.2013 , 04:51 PM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
Yes, your defense is supposed to be that high. Follow that stat budget as closely as you can for whatever row of total defensive stats you are closest to.
Hard work done, but still the fuzz about defence. It's only supposed if one follows the theorycrafting without taking some common sense into it.
I'm not following the defence advice at all, instead I'm focsuing on getting high shield + absorb and it works pretty well in all 16M HC. Your healers will thank you for doing so because they don't get this scary moments when rng works against you.
Avistyn
~~Dark Society~~
Teamlead SWToR section

GrymEdm's Avatar


GrymEdm
05.26.2013 , 08:41 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Zhaaratustra View Post
Hard work done, but still the fuzz about defence. It's only supposed if one follows the theorycrafting without taking some common sense into it.
I'm not following the defence advice at all, instead I'm focsuing on getting high shield + absorb and it works pretty well in all 16M HC. Your healers will thank you for doing so because they don't get this scary moments when rng works against you.
I have had excellent results following KBN's numbers. I won't say that you can't be successful following your strategy, as your experience shows you can. However, I've read his thread and I follow his logic about taking the best points available at each budget level. As anecdotal evidence that his numbers are solid, I am able to tank 8-man HM Tu'chukk to ~16 stacks (which is when we kill him) without a tank swap and without ever falling below half health. Finally, the high defense has excellent synergy with our Oil Slick ability and with it being up for just over 25% of the time that is worth mentioning.

Snarkasms's Avatar


Snarkasms
05.27.2013 , 06:41 AM | #4
Out of curiosity, why would you take the 6% damage increase on flame burst rather than the 8% damage increase on rocket punch, which I believe (I'm not at my comp at the moment, or I'd check) hits harder than flame burst anyway and frequently resets upon shielding attacks? RP is one of your hardest-hitting attacks and best threat-improvement mechanisms (both due to damage and to it proccing ion cell for a rail shot), so I'm curious how often you're spamming flame burst and if it really equates to higher damage output than the 8% boost to RP.

Zhaaratustra's Avatar


Zhaaratustra
05.27.2013 , 08:04 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
I have had excellent results following KBN's numbers. I won't say that you can't be successful following your strategy, as your experience shows you can. However, I've read his thread and I follow his logic about taking the best points available at each budget level. As anecdotal evidence that his numbers are solid, I am able to tank 8-man HM Tu'chukk to ~16 stacks (which is when we kill him) without a tank swap and without ever falling below half health. Finally, the high defense has excellent synergy with our Oil Slick ability and with it being up for just over 25% of the time that is worth mentioning.
Oil slick by itself is an excellent cooldown and don't necessarily have to be combined with defence at all. Tu'chuk is an good example I have done similar in 16M way back once the equip of our DPS and mine was way more worse then now. I will upload to torparse next time I tank him again.
You defence fanatics still seems to forget how our tank tree is called - shield tech and that's for a reason. Btw. skilling Hot Iron for increased Flame Burst damage makes sense following that logic, because higher def and lower shield means lower chance to reset Rocket Punch.
This damage increasing skills are debatable anyways because of the IGC nerf from 2.0.
Avistyn
~~Dark Society~~
Teamlead SWToR section

ellenbec's Avatar


ellenbec
05.27.2013 , 04:10 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Snarkasms View Post
Out of curiosity, why would you take the 6% damage increase on flame burst rather than the 8% damage increase on rocket punch, which I believe (I'm not at my comp at the moment, or I'd check) hits harder than flame burst anyway and frequently resets upon shielding attacks? RP is one of your hardest-hitting attacks and best threat-improvement mechanisms (both due to damage and to it proccing ion cell for a rail shot), so I'm curious how often you're spamming flame burst and if it really equates to higher damage output than the 8% boost to RP.
I was going to ask him much the same why he chose not to take the 8% increase to RP as well. I personally only invest 1 point into the +accuracy/+armor penetration for Rail Shot talent instead of the full 3 points. This allows me to put 2 points into the RP talent and keep the rest of the the AP build as is.
Khuri-PT

Gault: "I'd like to take this moment to remind you that you are not, in fact, a hovertank - no matter how much you dress like one."

WillLongstick's Avatar


WillLongstick
05.27.2013 , 04:45 PM | #7
Many issues with a lot of the advice given here.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
The 3% Endurance boost is starting to become quite substantial and is free HP at a minimal threat cost. It's at least worth mentioning you can move some AP points that just increase damage into the Endurance talent.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
Click Here for Ideal Stats Threat
Credit, of course, goes to KeyboardNinja for his excellent work.... Yes, your defense is supposed to be that high.
Your defense may not necessarily need to be that high. The given stats assume a specific damage profile, and if you drop defense to pick up Shield and Absorb you'll play more into your tank tree talents AND have your mitigation optimized, albeit for a different damage profile.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
- You want to max out your defensive stats at the cost of endurance. Yes, this does mean that you'll end up with lower health, but you'll last longer with your improved mitigation. My PT is just about completely optimized and only has ~32.4k unstimmed hp in nearly full 72's and I tank all the content currently in the game quite successfully

- Purchase or craft the level 55 Veracity Experimental Response Implant x2, and the Veracity Advanced Cosmic Combat Module, and do not replace them with token or commendation gear. They are lower endurance by a fair bit, but they are much higher defensive stats and that's more important.
That is woefully low health. I'm all for maximizing mitigation, but at some point you have to ask yourself how low you want to take your health bar. You sound fine dropping below 35k health to pick up more mitigation. Are you ok with dropping below 30k health? 25k health? If you take B lettered mods and Veracity Ear/Implants you gain a significant amount of health while still sitting at a large mitigation pool.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
- Always use the 4-piece set bonus, even if that means you need to use Dreadguard/Campaign armorings until you get 4-piece Arkanian/Underworld. The 2% defense boost is more mitigation than you'll get from upgraded armorings.
No it's not. For Ranged/Melee damage the 2% Defense Chance is almost exactly the same mitigation as the 1.06% Damage Reduction you gain from going between 4 Dread Guard armorings and 4 Black Market armorings. However, dropping your Damage Reduction for a Defense Chance increase will leave you hurting against Force/Tech damage. Overall it's better to upgrade your armorings to 69s or 72s when you can until you get the 69/72 level set bonus.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
If you taunt from further away than 4m you get extra aggro, but it's not worth running around to get it.
You get that extra aggro by moving 2 meters away from the boss. That's very doable on most bosses. The humanoid melee bosses like to keep you at something like 1.7 meters. It's the massive hit box bosses that can be troublesome.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
- Your opener is Jet Charge -> Rocket Punch -> Rail Shot -> Flame Burst x2 -> Flame Sweep x2 while spamming Shoulder Cannon on top of those moves. Taunt, then Flamethrower (which will probably be the quick flamethrower from Flame Engine Proc).
You use Flamethrower IMMEDIATELY after you proc the Flame Engine. The double tick flame thrower is your highest threat per GCD ability by far.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
- Your rotation from then on is a priority based on what you have available:
1. Heat Blast: Map this to a key you can occasionally spam while pressing other keys. I put mine on F and spam it by instinct whenever I Flame Burst because you want to use this asap every time it's up.
2. Death From Above if the boss has a large hitbox or you are comfortable aiming it close to yourself. Skip it or become better at aiming it if you find it takes more than 1 second or so to get into position properly.
3. Flamethrower (regular or Flame Engine proc)
Flamethrower is usually not worth using without the Flame Engine proc. With the Flame Engine proc Flamethrower comes second in priority only to Heat Blast. If you're using Flamethrower when it procs it will be your second highest damaging ability over the course of a fight.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
- You'll be using DFA, Unload, and Explosive Dart when possible, and taunting on cooldown. You may be able to hold aggro by staggering regular/aoe taunts by 6 seconds and then taunting on cooldown, but it will be difficult.
Don't forget Grapple and Rapid Shots.
Gorthog - Amelthea
<Intrepid>

GrymEdm's Avatar


GrymEdm
05.27.2013 , 05:25 PM | #8
Re: Hot Iron vs. Iron Fist vs. Puncture: I flame burst a lot, especially on the move, and a lot of fights have movement mechanics. Like I have said though, this is preference and not math, so it's entirely possible that Iron Fist pulls ahead. My talks with our dps has led me to believe it's not worth sacrificing accuracy (and rail shot penetration) to pick up rocket punch damage. To them, accuracy is top priority until capped, so I assume it's the same for my dps. I would rather remove Hot Iron to pick it up if I made the switch.

Re: 3% Stamina Boost: At my level of endurance, stimmed, I would be spending 1 talent point for just under 300 health. Even if you gear more for endurance, your gains won't get appreciably higher. 300 health is, in my opinion, much too small a benefit in survivability to merit the expenditure of a talent point, and taking it three times is just three mistakes. That being said, I'm sure you can successfully tank with it taken, your threat will just be slightly worse. On most pulls, taunts fix that.

Re: Defense vs. shield/absorb: If you disagree, I recommend reading the first 15 pages or so of the ideal stats thread wherein the difference between good points vs. best points is discussed. Is it impossible to do well if you stack shield/absorb? Absolutely not, and for certain damage profiles you will actually do better (which was the thrust of your argument I admit). However, over the course of an entire op, you'll take more damage. I prefer, and thus recommend, maximum all-around mitigation which has KBN's math to back it up and my anecdotal success. If parses prove that mitigation is maximized with another gearing strategy, I will happily update the OP.

Re: Total Health: Stimmed I hit a bit over 34k health. With a mix of high end and low end itemization you are likely stimming to ~36-37k depending on how heavily you are leaning on endurance. That's a difference of 10% or less. Now, in the middle of a fight, would your healers rather have you at 90% health and higher mitigation or 100% health and lower mitigation, because that's basically what the choice boils down to. So long as I can survive a few hits I ALWAYS prefer mitigation over health. Part of this is advice I have found on the forums and cannot locate again quickly (I tried) that says for Vanguards/PT's in particular mitigation > health. Part of it is years of playing a healer in MMOs and the type of tanks I like to heal. I would absolutely be comfortable dropping under 25k health if my survivability was rising enough to warrant that, and my healers would likely thank me for it. That is, of course, impossible in this game, but I will always take fewer/smaller hits over more damage taken to a larger pool. Especially when the difference between high hp and low hp is 10% or less.

Re: Upgrading your armorings: If you can cite your source for the math I'll change the OP. It's entirely possible it's a wash either way, but that's the strategy I took and it was successful. I'm fairly sure that the value of each % of mitigation rises the higher the base is though, i.e. it is better going from 18-19% than it is going from 10-11%. WIth that in mind I prefer to keep high defense, and I think the mitigation from 2% defense is a moving target, but again, supply a source and I'll happily update the OP.

Re: Taunting from a distance: I was told the extra aggro happened with taunts outside 3.75m (I round to 4 to make it easy to gauge in the heat of the moment), which is hard to get with a mobile boss. If you have a definitive source for 2m, I'll update the OP to reflect that.

Re: Opening: I agree with Flame Engine proc being high priority. I like to have a short, set opener because it gives me ~10 seconds to get position and settle in mentally, during which I can tank on auto-pilot. Plus, if you channel flamethrower you cannot use shoulder cannon, which is amazing off the start given it's high damage, healing, and extra threat. Admittedly it's only for a GCD. However, I prefer not having to monitor to procs and also spamming shoulder cannon. Using the opener I posted I almost never have to taunt unless my smash Juggernaut crits 8-9k in the first 4 seconds. On TFB final fight, I frequently tank the tentacles in the initial phase without needing to taunt at all, and my dps are typically top tier marauder and sorc. So I feel very confident is saying my opener is simple and works well.

Re: Using FT without Flame Engine: Pre-2.0 I did the math and found that FT, even as a 2x GCD move, was higher damage/threat than 2 other moves that could be performed in the same time. Do you know for certain that has changed? I will look at it again tonight on a dummy and update OP as necessary.

Re: Ranged Tanking: I'll add Grapple and Rapid shots to the OP.

WillLongstick's Avatar


WillLongstick
05.27.2013 , 06:02 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
Re: 3% Stamina Boost:
Think of it this way. HP is a form of mitigation. What you're advocating is sacrificing mitigation for higher threat. Pre-2.0 Jugg tanks proved you could still tank and hold aggro even with pitifully low threat.

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
Re: Upgrading your armorings:
The difference in damage reductions was done with AskMrRobot. I kept the chest, belt, and bracers as 69 non-set bonus armoring and swapped the other four armorings between Dread Guard and 69 non-setbonus. As far as seeing whether 1.06% Damage Reduction is better or worse than 2% Defense Chance, I have a little calculator I grabbed long ago that I run these things with, and I don't really know how to easily export its results. You can pop over to the tanking subforum and grab the spreadsheet Denchet made and run the numbers yourself. I used 53.25% Damage Reduction (this includes your Flame Burst debuff) 19.5% Defense, 38.9% Shield, and 51% Absorb (average Heat Blast contribution being used).

Quote: Originally Posted by GrymEdm View Post
Re: Taunting from a distance
I don't have a source for this. Someone told it to me once, so I tried it on my ship dummy and looked at logs and saw it was true. I encourage you to do the same.
Gorthog - Amelthea
<Intrepid>

GrymEdm's Avatar


GrymEdm
05.27.2013 , 06:19 PM | #10
I just tested Flamethrower vs Rocket Punch/Rail Shot combo on the ops dummy, and it is worthwhile to channel even a 3s FT.

RP+RS (full puncture) (no crit) = ~3-3.2k
FT (no crit) = ~3.6k

If you, like me, take the extra crit chance on fire effects from AP tree, then FT has, obviously, a better chance to crit as well.