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[Guide] The Sith Assassin's Codex

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Sith Inquisitor > Assassin
[Guide] The Sith Assassin's Codex

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AstralFire
12.13.2011 , 07:12 AM | #1
THE SITH ASSASSIN'S CODEX
v1.1.1b (updated 10-Feb-12)

"I know that treachery can break even the mightiest foe."

Speed and deception are the tools in the Assassinís arsenal. Whether using stealth to infiltrate a Republic base and remove a high-profile target or tactically entering a large-scale battle, the Assassinís dual-bladed Lightsaber flashes with deadly precision to provide a relentless offense and when necessary, a formidable defense. The Assassin can channel the Force just as easily, mentally assaulting an enemy and manipulating a confrontation to ensure his side maintains the upper hand.


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INTRODUCTION

First off, a little about me - my name is AstralFire, my main is a Jedi Shadow, and I have played almost every spec that has ever appeared in this guide for at least a day. I am a PvPer first, a Battlemaster before patch 1.1, and a group PvEer last. The guide has a stronger PvP tilt than many play guides for other classes, but I try my best to cover everything for the newbie.

This handbook is intended to be a comprehensive guide to gameplay competency with the Sith Assassin. As such, it will provide data on effective Player-versus-Player gameplay, Player-versus-Environment gameplay, and some general tips on leveling as a Sith Assassin. It is not intended to be a walkthrough or guide to any specific World, Flashpoint or Operation, and will only contain some brief looks at specific Warzones. Skill Calculator builds are merely my opinion, and though I do my best to learn as much as possible, I cannot know everything. If you have contradictory ideas, please post them here. While this guide will never be perfect, it will be more perfect with each version than the last. We get better through sharing ideas, after all.

This guide will also go over the basics of gearing as a Jedi Shadow, and highlight some notable pieces of equipment.

The version numbering will correspond with that of the most recent live version of the game, followed by a letter indicating a major revision to the guide's contents. e.g. 1.0.1c would be the third major version of the guide intended to correspond to game version 1.0.1. Minor wording changes and stylistic editing will not be considered.


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

01. [Introduction]
02. [Table of Contents]
03. [Assassin Basics]
04. [Notable Issues]
05. [Specialization: Darkness]
06. [Specialization: Deception]
07. [Specialization: Madness]
08. [Assassin Companions]
09. [Equipping an Assassin]
10. [Crew Skills]
11. [Appendix: FAQs]
12. [Appendix: MMO Glossary]
13. [Appendix: Keybinds]
14. [Appendix: Shadow <-> Assassin Dictionary]
15. [Appendix: Changelog]
16. [Appendix: Advanced Reading]


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ASSASSIN BASICS

Parent Class: Sith Inquisitor
Sister Class: Sith Sorcerer
Mirrored by: Jedi Shadow
Primary Weapon: Double-bladed Lightsaber, Electrostaff
Off-Hand Items: Shield Generator, Force Focus
Armor Class: Light
Aesthetic Inspirations: Darth Maul, Exar Kun, Satele Shan, Bastila Shan
Story Inspiration: Emperor Palpatine. "First and foremost was the Emperor/Palpatine inspiration. To be just bat-**** insane or to be subtle and clever."
Skill Trees: Darkness (Defender), Deception (Melee Striker), Madness (Hybrid Striker)
Resource: Force Points. (Base Max: 100; Base Recovery: 8 Pts/Second)
Playable Species: Human, Zabrak, Rattataki, Twi'lek, Sith Pureblood
Voice Actress: Xanthe Elbrick
Voice Actor: Euan Morton

The Sith Assassin does not fear wasting her Force Points early in a fight; she has few long cooldowns, and a steadily refilling resource bar. Unlike Smugglers and Troopers, this resource bar does not regenerate at variable rates. The challenge in playing a Sith Assassin correctly is careful management of several short-term cooldowns and interspersing low or no-cost abilities with medium and high cost abilities, to avoid missing a vital window of opportunity.

The Assassin can access up to three different combat stances, or charges, which significantly alters her playstyle. Each of these stances adds a chance to affect each of her melee attacks (though no more often than once every 1.5 seconds). Melee attacks which hit multiple times or multiple targets have a better chance of activating the technique once per ability. These stances are off of the global cooldown, but have a high resource cost. It is possible to switch charges and then immediately benefit from the change, but you can do so only with careful forethought and planning, and at the expense of restricting yourself heavily for several seconds prior.

People familiar with Rogues from World of Warcraft will find only some similarities in the Assassin. For the most part, it is far more survivable with fewer hard controls (such as stuns) and more range as well as self-healing. While it will usually be optimal for Assassin to attack from behind, it is by no means expected or necessary for any but a Deceiver. The Assassin is also more comfortable with range than the Rogue, especially as a Madness specialist.


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NOTABLE ISSUES

- Assassin's Training is not functioning properly and does not increase the damage dealt by Shock.
- Sacrifice is notably worse than the Consular counterpart, Unity, at least when Unity will no longer be bugged in 1.1.2. Item of minimal importance since neither Sacrifice nor Unity can be used in endgame zoned content.
- Spike has a somewhat more unpredictable animation than the Shadow counterpart, making it more difficult to 'place' an opponent with the small knockback it possesses.


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DARKNESS ASSASSINS

"Jedi. Their order is a fading light in the dark. Corrupt and arrogant. They must be punished. The Jedi shall fall!"

Playstyle: High threat defender; melee with some ranged moves.
Mode: Dark Charge
PvE Builds: Standard (31/0/10)
PvP Builds: WitherChain (31/0/10), WitherStab (31/7/0+3)
Which spec should I pick?: Standard is your best option if you want to both PvE and PvP, as it performs well at both. WitherChain is my recommendation for the hardcore PvPer, and WitherStab is an experimental build I want to mess around with a bit. Three points are leftover with WitherStab; I recommend they go in Exploitive Strikes in Madness, or Obfuscation in Deception.

Overview of Recent Changes:
Spoiler


Welcome to our tanking tree. The Darkness Assassin has the highest single-target threat of the three tank styles available in the Old Republic, and we possess a mix of battlefield control, mobility and range that makes the playstyle a blast. The bulk of a Darkness's survivability is defined by her high blocking chance, while she has moderate avoidance, stable mitigation, and the unique ability among tanks to self-heal. Though the class's armor rating seems initially low, Combat Technique and several of its specialized skill brings the class armor values on par with the Jedi Guardian, and it has superior damage reduction for Elemental and Internal damage, the two types not covered by armor.

ABILITY OVERVIEW

Priority List:
1. Dark Ward (1 charge or about to expire)
2. Force Lightning (3 stacks of Harnessed Darkness)
3. Assassinate (Target at 30% health or less)
4. Wither
5. Shock (Energize)
6. Discharge (every CD)
7. Thrash
8. Saber Strike (Conserving Force)
This priority list holds even single-target, as Wither and Discharge have useful side effects, and Death Field is good damage for the FP cost.

Dark Ward: Useless in PvP; shielding is basically unimportant there and it costs Force and splits your attention. In PvE, just keep it up whenever it is about to expire.

Spike: This ability is most notable in PvP; it causes less than half a bar of resolve. Darkness Assassins will be able to use this ability out of stealth, and should use it before any of their other stuns; it's particularly effective after Force Pulling a target into a hazard in Huttball, or to be focus-fired, thanks to the Nerve-Wracking skill. Do not open with this ability at the start of the fight, but save it to disorient the opponent. In PvE, the tank should use it regularly on the primary non-boss target.

Wither: This ability generates more single-target threat than your Thrash, increases your Harnessed Shadows stacking, and deals a comparable amount of damage, while also snaring the target and ignoring defense/accuracy. It also delivers a hefty 5% damage debuff to the target. And it strikes up to five targets at a time within 5 meters of your original target. Use it every cooldown. This ability makes Darkness Assassins very important for harassing opponents trying to move between objectives, especially in Huttball and Voidstar.

Maul: Only use this ability while Exploit Weakness is an active buff. If you're not WitherStab specialized, don't use it at all.

Discharge: In Dark Charge, it functions like a cheaper (20 cost versus 30 cost) and weaker version of Wither that bypasses standard armor-based damage reduction. It has double the cooldown length, and deals less damage even against heavily armored targets. -5% accuracy is also a significantly weaker debuff than -5% damage in PvP, though it's the other way around in PvE. It's useful and necessary, but not very fun or compelling.

Electrocute: It has a much longer CD than Spike, but is also a much longer stun. In PvP, when used on kill targets it should be reserved for targets who are already near their maximum resolve bar. It's also very handy to use on non-kill targets, of course, to prevent enemy ranged artillery and healers from freecasting. In PvE, it should be used similarly to Spike.

Whirlwind: 23/0/18 Hybrids will use this ability a lot due to having it as an instant cast; the two second cast makes it uncommon for use by any other type of Darkness Assassin. The primary incapacitate basically gives the opponent a full grey resolve bar from nothing. If the target has any grey on their resolve bar prior to casting, they will get a white resolve bar, granting them CC immunity until the bar drains completely. Any damage will break a Whirlwind, but Madness Hybrids will then get a secondary two-second stun. If the target did not already have a white resolve bar, this second stun will trigger and give them one. All in all, Whirlwind is a risky and situational ability and I only recommend using it in PvP on a target you have no intention of killing or can guarantee that you will kill in 2-3 global cooldowns. In PvE, its benefits are slim.

Force Shroud: Any ability that doesn't deal 'weapon damage' in its description is affected by this ability. Use it together with Force Cloak to make a successful escape, use it offensively when you anticipate a cast, use it to remove all healer-removable enemy effects on you... It's on a short cooldown and grants you five seconds of near-immunity. It's particularly useful for running the ball in Huttball, or surviving boss damage traps like those on the final boss of Athiss or Eternity Vault. Force Shroud is not affected by nor causes a global cooldown. Jedi Knights and Scoundrels have some immobilizes and snares which Force Shroud does not grant immunity to.

Force Cloak: Obviously, a very useful defensive escape tool - but you cannot be healed while in it. Make sure to keep stealth in a position that's easy to activate immediately following Force Cloak. Worth noting is that Overcharge Saber does not break stealth, but medpacs will - so the former would be wasted if you used it within 10 seconds of Cloaking without first breaking stealth, while the latter will immediately break your stealth and heal you. In PvP, I frequently run for the heal power-ups while being chased, cloak, and then immediately destealth right before I run over the heal. Force Cloak is not affected by nor causes a global cooldown. Deception Hybrids do not have the issue of Cloak preventing healing.

Mind Trap: A very useful ability - in PvP it can help a partner take an objective, reduce the number of opponents you have to face temporarily, break an opponent's objective taking without revealing your presence. In PvE, the biggest issue is that you risk discovery if you're not careful, and that your AoEs can break your Maze. It's used well in conjunction with Blackout to prevent the former issue, and strategic use of Force Pull can help with keeping your targets far enough away from your Mazed victim.

Blackout: For most Darknesss, this ability is only useful to ensure that you can remain hidden for a brief period of time while Mind Mazing or scouting. If you're an Deception hybrid, you'll want to avoid using it for that and instead using it to guarantee when you can go all-out against a target. I recommend using it at about 25% to 75% Force. Any higher and you risk wasting some of the energy, and going lower risks having periods where you have insufficient energy anyway; none of the Force would be wasted, but your burst period would be hampered. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Overcharge Saber: Use it whenever you need a 10% heal. This ability does not break stealth. The bonus to your healing over time from Combat Technique is notable, but not significant enough to plan around. The 2 minute cooldown is short enough that you can use it multiple times in long boss fights like in operations: once early on, once in the middle, and then once towards the end. Most boss fights of any kind will allow at least two uses if the first is cycled early, so don't be too shy about saving it. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Deflection: Amazing survivability CD in PvE. The 2 minute cooldown is short enough that you can use it multiple times in long boss fights like in operations: once early on, once in the middle, and then once towards the end. Most boss fights of any kind will allow at least two uses if the first is cycled early, so don't be too shy about saving it. In PvP, it's of limited function; it will provide a decent survivability bonus against specializations that rely heavily on weapon damage, such as the Deception Assassin, Sentinels and some Gunslingers; it is of less useless against those that primarily rely on tech or force damage, such as the Commando, and completely useless against a Sage. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Recklessness: This ability should work with Energize, but as described in the notable issues segment, it does not. That's not a major concern, however; you primarily want to use the ability with Force Lightning as a Darkness Assassin, as it increases the range to 30m and gives a 60% boosted chance of critical on every single tick. Harnessed Darkness is what you want to save your first Recklessness charge for. Your second should ideally be spent on Shock, as you will almost always have enough Force to activate Shock immediately after a full-duration F-Lightning. Anything else is a waste for anyone with the Harnessed Darkness skill. If you are Darkness and don't have Harnessed Darkness, your best bet is to use it with Death Field. If you don't have that, either, use it with... whatever, I guess. Note that Shocks that activate with the Chain Shock skill will consume two charges of Recklessness, and Death Field's heal will also consume a Recklessness charge. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Force Lightning: Never use this ability as a Darkness unless you have three stacks of Harnessed Darkness. With three stacks and Recklessness active, I can guarantee delivering 3.5k damage in 1 second, and another 3.5k damage over 2 seconds. That is a massive amount of single target threat, and a massive amount of burst damage. In a multiple target situation in PvE, this should go towards your secondary target, as it will even up your threat very quickly.

Shock: Ideally, you should only use Shock with the Energize buff active, which can be noticed on your buff bar or with a briefly flashed halo of color around your character. When opening, however, you may wish to begin with Shock to gain a Harnessed Shadow buff; the amount of healing and damage delivered by Harnessed Shadows is too large.

Force Pull: In PvE, never start a fight with your primary target using Pull; it has a threat component and a long cooldown, so it's best used to reposition a ranged enemy closer to you mid-fight. In PvP, it's extremely versatile; you can use it to close gaps with a target, pull someone into the fire (where you will then stun them), pull them into your group (where you will focus fire and murder them), or - and this is a personal favorite - sprint about 25 meters away from the group and pull a healer or a tank away from the rest of their group. Pulling the healer away prevents him from healing effectively and you may be able to kill him, especially if you broke a tank's Guard on him. Pulling the tank away prevents him from taunting and again interrupts his Guard on an ally. Use your judgement on which is the best to pull away at a given time; I usually prefer to get the healer, especially if it's a Sage, as a Sage can pull their tank right back to them.

Lacerate: This move is typically terrible and should only be used when you can guarantee you'll strike at least four targets, or if you like spinning in place like a pretty ballerina. In PvP, it can also be useful for preventing objective caps, but watch out for the Force Cost. However, when paired with Deflection and other defensive cooldowns, the Force cost can briefly become negligible and make its use more compelling when a lot of AoE damage is necessary.

Unbreakable Will: Your CC breaker as a Jedi Consular. In PvE, just use it any time you're stunned for more than a second. Your speed should be used for breaking immobilizes and snares instead. In PvP, try to reserve it for when you have a white bar of resolve, unless you absolutely need to break an objective cap by the enemy or something.

Force Speed: You can do it every 20 seconds, and it breaks all snares and immobilizations on you. Use it judiciously to avoid hazards (like in Hard Mode Directive 7), sprint right through hazards (in Huttball, but this is risky even when paired with Force Shroud), close gaps, etc.

Guard: Judicious use of Guard is one of the things that separates the good tanks from the bad tanks. In PvE, you'll typically want to Guard your off-tank - in a flashpoint, this refers to your best-geared DPS (melee preferred over ranged.) This will reduce the amount of healing that needs to go to them. Healers should generally not be guarded barring extraordinary circumstance. In PvP, however, the Guard mechanic changes greatly and a Healer should almost always be your main Guard target. But not your only Guard target. Watch people near you and switch Guards as necessary or even turn them off if it's going to get you killed - you'll do more if you survive, heal, and taunt than if you just go down. Keeping Target Nearest Friendly bound in a convenient place as well as Set Focus and Target Focus is essential to maximizing good Guard play in PvP. Also try and keep your Guard target about 10m away from you. 15+ breaks the Guard effect, while <10 makes it too obvious who you're Guarding as well as making you both susceptible to AoEs.

Mind Control/Mass Mind Control: PvE, their usage is simple: you don't have threat, you use this ability and get threat. Force Pull is preferable to MC for a ranged enemy, and note MMC's short 15m radius as opposed to MC's long 30m range. In PvP, use Mind Control every CD on someone who's not hitting you (it doesn't trigger a GCD), but I'd reserve Mass Mind Control for the hectic situations. Every now and then I do burn MMC with only a single target around - if a healer is about to go down and they're already guarded and MC is about to end, then I chain in MMC. It's made the difference a few times.

Overload: There's about a 0.5s delay in activation on this ability, which can make prediction hard unless paired with a target who is already immobile. Overload is also the weakest KB in the game, with the least momentum behind it. Aside from the obvious 'knock someone into hazards or down cliffs' component of all knockback abilities, Overload should be used judiciously to get your Guard target some breathing room in PvP.

GEARING

As with all Inquisitors, Willpower is your primary stat, and you use both physical and Force abilities; Willpower no longer increases the effectiveness of any of your self-healing, however. When gearing in PvE, you will have to balance Shield Rating (chance of a shield effect triggering), Absorption (strength of a shield effect), and Defense. Averaging out these values to provide your maximum survivability has a precise formula. This thread has the related formula you should use if you want to find out what could potentially give you the most survivability out of your upgrade slots. The basic rule is to not try to stack too high on any one stat. In PvE, you will always prefer mods that favor Endurance over Willpower, and you'll never have to make a choice for Endurance versus a secondary stat.

For PvE gearing, you can just stick with the Survivor sets.

PvP is where the whole thing gets complicated. Avoidance and Shielding (especially shielding) are mostly worthless in PvP, as they will not activate properly on a significant portion of the attacks delivered in PvP. My recommendation for PvP tanks is to slot a balance of power and surge rating in your upgrade slots, along with a bit of critical hit rating. This extends to your relics and adrenals; only your stim is possibly in question, since a higher Endurance translates to a bigger Harnessed Shadow heal. Expertise is, of course, the most important stat - it improves all of your healing - but it's basically a default stat that doesn't need to be factored in. At 50, you'll want to run with two pieces of Survivor PvP gear rather than Stalker PvP gear if you went deep enough to get the Stasis skill - just unslot the Survivor mods and put in Stalker mods. Yes, that means you have to get at least two extra pieces of Centurion, Champion or Battlemaster.

Getting the four piece Survivor bonus isn't a big deal in PvP. It's preferable over having two pieces of Stalker and two pieces of Survivor, but the Stalker two-piece bonus is decent enough, so if you want to grab all Stalker pieces initially for the better mods, do so.

I do not recommend equipping a Shield Generator in PvP; you'll be better off with a Power Generator.


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DECEPTION ASSASSINS

"You were deceived."

Playstyle: Spike damage striker, harasser; melee skirmisher.
Mode: Surging Charge
PvE Builds: Chain Shock (2/31/8), Armor Piercing (5/33/3)
PvP Builds: PvP Chain Shock (0/33/8)
Which spec should I pick?: Honestly, I haven't done the math on whether Upheaval or AP is a better spec and I haven't been able to find any math on that subject. If anyone happens to know where I can find some, please let me know.

Overview of Recent Changes:
Spoiler


ABILITY OVERVIEW

Priority List:
1. Assassinate (Target at 30% health or less)
2. Maul (Exploit Weakness)
3. Discharge (every CD)
4. Shock (2x Induction)
5. Voltaic Slash or Thrash
6. Saber Strike (Conserving Force)
Deception is the most martially-based of the three Assassin trees, eventually becoming extremely flashy as a melee combatant. It's the tree the Assassin was built for, and thus levels the most effectively of any Assassin tree early on; where the other trees are grasping for their basics before level 20, the Deceiver already has most of what he needs. It also is unique, as it is the only spec among all 24 Imperial specializations that has no good 30m offensive abilities, and essentially, no method of gap closing beyond Force Speed. In return, it has the most effective control while it is on a target, and the highest damage of any Shadow specialization. The basic conceit of the tree is that you use your martial strikes with a lightsaber to either buy time for your powerful, Force-driven attacks; or that you use those abilities to get into position for a particularly vicious Lightsaber stab in the back.

Note that Deception is overall considered to be lesser PvE damage than Madness, both for its higher melee dependency and lower sustained damage.

Thrash/Voltaic Slash: Voltaic Slash is essentially the same ability as Thrash, dealing slightly more damage, using a new animation, and with an excellent secondary effect. Once you have Voltaic Slash, take Thrash off your bar.

Maul: Generally, try to restrict use of this ability to when Exploit Weakness has activated, preferably near the end of Exploit Weakness' buff cycle since it can only trigger once every 10 seconds anyway. It can deal more damage than Assassinate for you when it crits. There may be once or twice you'll really need the spike of burst damage and you have the spare Force to use Maul without the Exploit Weakness buff active, but it's not going to happen very often, and miscalculated it will cost you more damage than it gives you. You may also sometimes wish to open with this ability in PvP, such as on a weakened target.

Spike: This ability is most notable in PvP; it causes less than half a bar of resolve. Do not open with this ability at the start of the fight, but save it to disorient the opponent after vanishing with Force Cloak, particularly if the opponent is in mid-activation of a non-instant ability. You can also use Spike to buy you time to set up for a Maul backstab.

Low Slash: This ability has some similarities to Spike for tanks, but important differences; Low Slash does significantly more damage, almost as much as your normal attack. Low Slash is also a daze and not a stun, which means that it breaks on damage. It also fills the resolve bar less than Electrocute. This opens up several different avenues of approach: Low Slash into a brief run into a Whirlwind when you want to escape, Low Slash into Maul for burst, Spike into Low Slash into Electrocute to maximize damage uptime and minimize their time to react, Low Slash to break someone's non-instant ability... it has a very fast CD, which only helps. In PvP, this is the most game changing single ability for an Deception Assassin; in PvE, however, the only reason you would bother to take it is because it's required for Voltaic Slash.

Force Slow: Should be spammed on your primary target judiciously in PvP, just about every cooldown. It causes no resolve, does a little bit of damage, and helps you maximize your uptime. It has no PvE usage except on very specific fights.

Surging Charge, Discharge and Static Charges: Since Surging Charge has a chance to activate on each hit, even though it's capped at a maximum of 1 activation per 1.5s, all of your multiple hit moves get more benefit from Surging Charge than it appears. Incidentally, you gain Static Charges very slowly. You'd need six or seven full cycles to get a stack of five with high certainty - that's around 30 seconds, and Discharge will be up every 12 to 15 seconds. Static Charges should be simply considered a bonus rather than a need in a maximum DPS cycle, and Discharge should only be held back when you want burst damage.

Electrocute: It has a much longer CD than Spike, but is also a much longer stun. In PvP, when used on kill targets it should be reserved for targets who are already near their maximum resolve bar. It's also very handy to use on non-kill targets, of course, to prevent enemy ranged artillery and healers from freecasting. In PvE, it should be used similarly to Spike.

Whirlwind: The two second cast makes this ability uncommonly used. The primary incapacitate basically gives the opponent a full grey resolve bar from nothing. If the target has any grey on their resolve bar prior to casting, they will get a white resolve bar, granting them CC immunity until the bar drains completely. Any damage will break a Whirlwind, but Balance Hybrids will then get a secondary two-second stun. If the target did not already have a white resolve bar, this second stun will trigger and give them one. All in all, Whirlwind is a risky and situational ability and I only recommend using it in PvP on a target you have no intention of killing or can guarantee that you will kill in 2-3 global cooldowns. In PvE, its benefits are slim.

Force Shroud: Any ability that doesn't deal 'weapon damage' in its description is affected by this ability. Use it together with Force Cloak to make a successful escape, use it offensively when you anticipate a cast, use it to remove all healer-removable enemy effects on you... It's on a moderate cooldown and grants you three seconds of near-immunity. It's particularly useful for running the ball in Huttball, or surviving boss damage traps like those on the final boss of Athiss or Eternity Vault. Force Shroud is not affected by nor causes a global cooldown. Jedi Knights and Scoundrels have some immobilizes and snares which Force Shroud does not grant immunity to.

Force Cloak: Obviously, a very useful defensive escape tool - but you can use it offensively to lead into a Spike when it's absolutely vital.

Blackout: You'll want to avoid using this ability for improving your stealthiness most times, and instead use it to guarantee when you can go all-out against a target; it increases your Force Regeneration. I recommend using it at about 25% to 75% Force. Any higher and you risk wasting some of the energy, and going lower risks having periods where you have insufficient energy anyway; none of the Force would be wasted, but your burst period would be hampered. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Overcharge Saber: The additional damage increase is fairly large - it can easily pan out to an additional 3000 damage while it's active, by itself - and gets even larger when timed with other cooldowns. Use it early, use it often. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Deflection: Amazing survivability CD in PvE. The 2 minute cooldown is short enough that you can use it multiple times in long boss fights like in operations: once early on, once in the middle, and then once towards the end. Most boss fights of any kind will allow at least two uses if the first is cycled early, so don't be too shy about saving it. In PvP, it's of limited function; it will provide a decent survivability bonus against specializations that rely heavily on weapon damage, such as the Deception Assassin, Sentinels and some Gunslingers; it is of less useless against those that primarily rely on tech or force damage, such as the Commando, and completely useless against a Sage. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Recklessness: Note that Shocks that activate with the Chain Shock skill will consume two charges of Recklessness. You'll want to use Discharge first with this, then Recklessness, for maximum ouchies. And trust me, it will be very ouch. In PvP, your four-piece set bonus gives an extra Recklessness charge, so you can use it in whatever order you like. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Force Lightning: This move is usually terrible as a Deception. Potency/Recklessness extends the range and makes every tick have a 60% higher crit chance, making it situationally useful. You may want to bind it if you're really concerned about the lack of a 30m attack and think that there will be sufficient situations where you'll save up Recklessness to channel from 30 meters away - stranger things have happened. But that will be rare enough that, if you are hurting for keybind space, you won't miss not having this on your bars.

Shock: Only use it after two Voltaic Slashs or Thrashs. Don't bother using it before you get the Induction skill. In PvE, Shock has a stun effect on some weaker enemies if you're desperate for a chance to backstab.

Lacerate: This move is terrible and should only be used when you can guarantee you'll strike at least three targets (preferably four or more), or if you like spinning in place like a pretty ballerina. In PvP, it can also be useful for preventing objective caps, but watch out for the Force Cost.

Unbreakable Will: Your CC breaker as a Jedi Consular. In PvE, just use it any time you're stunned for more than a second. Your speed should be used for breaking immobilizes and snares instead. In PvP, try to reserve it for when you have a white bar of resolve, unless you absolutely need to break an objective cap by the enemy or something.

Force Speed: You can do it every 30 seconds, and it increases speed enough to basically ignore most snares (though not immobilizations.) Use it judiciously to avoid hazards (like in Hard Mode Directive 7), sprint right through hazards (in Huttball, but this is risky even when paired with Force Shroud), close gaps, etc.

Mind Control/Mass Mind Control: PvE, their usage is simple: don't. You're not a tank. In PvP, refer to the Kinetic Shadow overview.

Overload: There's about a 0.5s delay in activation on this ability, which can make prediction hard unless paired with a target who is already immobile. Overload is also the weakest KB in the game, with the least momentum behind it. Aside from the obvious 'knock someone into hazards or down cliffs' component of all knockback abilities, Overload should be used judiciously to some breathing room in PvP, such as immediately before a Cloak.

GEARING

As with all Inquisitors, Willpower is your primary stat, and you use both physical and Force abilities. The Deception Assassin has essentially identical preferences for gearing in both PvE and PvP. You target the Stalker gearsets at 50, and lean heavily on critical hit chance in your passive gear upgrades, while picking up a bit of Surge rating here and there incidentally. Around 5% accuracy from gear is useful - much more and you are subject to diminishing returns that reduce the value of the gear. Your adrenals and active-use relics will prefer to be Surge Rating and Power so that they can be used in conjunction with your Recklessness. Accuracy Rating is of minimal importance, and I would strive to minimize it in your gear whenever possible. In PvP, Expertise Rating will be your single most important statistic.


--------------------------------
JEDI SHADOW

You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

AstralFire's Avatar


AstralFire
12.13.2011 , 07:12 AM | #2
MADNESS ASSASSINS

"Power... Unlimited power."

Playstyle: Periodic damage, self-healing; versatile range.
Mode: Lightning Charge
PvE Builds: Standard (7/3/31)
PvP Builds: Survivability (7/2/32), Chain Shock (5/0/31+5), Madness Stab (0/10/31)
Which spec should I pick?: For PvE, there is only one choice up there. For PvP, I recommend Survivability, which deals a good amount of AoE pressure damage, can solo annoy at nodes best, and has a strong and easy single target damage. Chain Shock is the more traditional Madness PvP and - with 4pForce Master - allows for the best kiting. The last has the highest burst damage available to Madness, but is the hardest to play.
Which spec should I pick?:

Overview of Recent Changes:
Spoiler


The Madness Assassin is the only Melee/Range hybrid out of all six Sith specializations; obviously, Balance Shadows hold the same distinction among their kin. It's notable for being the only type of Assassin that doesn't want to hurl a big rock or piece of scrap metal at someone every single possible cooldown; as you can see, it uses the largest range of completely unique skills as part of its damage rotation.

It's also unbelievably complicated to play compared to the other Assassin specs in PvE; maximizing your damage as a Madness Assassin involves very careful proc watching, managing your Force carefully, timing your cooldowns and a constant game of positioning. If you're familiar with the Wrath of the Lich King simplified feral druid DPS flowchart, it's like that. Especially if you do the Mad-Deception build, which is higher damage than the Standard, but is extremely complicated to play and monitor. By contrast, it's also probably the easiest Assassin specialization in PvP, as several moves are reserved for situational moments or used on CD rather than at specific times to maximize DPS. And no Maul.

ABILITY OVERVIEW

Priority List (Standard):
1. Death Field (Even single target, every CD)
2. Shock (If Unearthed Knowledge is not active, or about to expire)
3. Assassinate (Target at 30% health or less)
4. Maul (Exploit Weakness, behind target)
5. Crushing Darkness (Raze buff, preferentially on an unafflicted target)
6. Creeping Terror (On a target not currently afflicted, or about to expire)
7. Discharge (every CD)
8. Thrash
9. Saber Strike (Conserving Force)
Thrash: You have the strongest Thrash of all three specializations, and it's worth noting that your Thrash is better for you than Shock.

Spike: This ability is most notable in PvP; it causes less than half a bar of resolve. Do not open with this ability at the start of the fight, but save it to disorient the opponent after vanishing with Force Cloak, particularly if the opponent is in mid-activation of a non-instant ability. You can also use Spike to buy you time to set up for a Maul backstab.

Death Field: Use it on cooldown. It deals a lot of armor-bypassing damage and heals a moderate amount on each usage. Deathmark allows it to return Force to you, but you will always lose more Force than you gain on a cast unless you're using a Razed Crushing Darkness. It's particularly effective for breaking enemy attempts at capturing an objective - you can use it to blast someone around a corner - but beware its three person target cap.

Discharge: In Lightning Charge, it's your strongest damage DoT, and a basic part of your cycle. In Dark Charge, it functions like a cheaper (20 cost versus 30 cost) and weaker version of Wither that bypasses standard armor-based damage reduction. It has double the cooldown length, and deals less damage even against heavily armored targets. -5% accuracy is also a significantly weaker debuff than -5% damage in PvP, though it's the other way around in PvE. It's useful and necessary, but not very fun or compelling. Reserve it for cap breaking or very large crowds.

Creeping Terror: In PvE, you simply use this ability on rotation - note that its cooldown is much shorter than its duration, so be careful of over-early reapplication. In PvP, its thirty meter range is your best friend; it can be used to stop opponents for two seconds, and does not respect Resolve; a well-timed Creeping Terror handles most of your anti-kiting needs and when well-timed, can kill a ball carrier over a fire pit, or prevent successful enemy capture of a point until you're able to return from the dead. However, if you suspect that you will need to use Whirlwind on a target soon, do not use this ability on that target.

Electrocute: It has a much longer CD than Spike, but is also a much longer stun. In PvP, when used on kill targets it should be reserved for targets who are already near their maximum resolve bar. It's also very handy to use on non-kill targets, of course, to prevent enemy ranged artillery and healers from freecasting. In PvE, it should be used similarly to Spike.

Whirlwind: The primary incapacitate basically gives the opponent a full grey resolve bar from nothing. If the target has any grey on their resolve bar prior to casting, they will get a white resolve bar, granting them CC immunity until the bar drains completely. Any damage will break a Whirlwind, but you will then get a secondary two-second stun. If the target did not already have a white resolve bar, this second stun will trigger and give them one. All in all, Whirlwind is a risky and situational ability and I only recommend using it in PvP on a target you have no intention of killing or can guarantee that you will kill in 2-3 global cooldowns. In PvE, its benefits are slim.

Force Shroud: Any ability that doesn't deal 'weapon damage' in its description is affected by this ability. Use it together with Force Cloak to make a successful escape, use it offensively when you anticipate a cast, use it to remove all healer-removable enemy effects on you... It's on a short cooldown and grants you five seconds of near-immunity. It's particularly useful for running the ball in Huttball, or surviving boss damage traps like those on the final boss of Athiss or Eternity Vault. Force Shroud is not affected by nor causes a global cooldown. Jedi Knights and Scoundrels have some immobilizes and snares which Force Shroud does not grant immunity to.

Force Cloak: Obviously, a very useful defensive escape tool - but you cannot be healed while in it. You can use it offensively to lead into a Spike when it's absolutely vital.

Overcharge Saber: The additional damage increase is fairly large - it can easily pan out to an additional 2000 damage while it's active, by itself - and gets even larger when timed with other cooldowns. Use it early, use it often. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Deflection: Amazing survivability CD in PvE. The 2 minute cooldown is short enough that you can use it multiple times in long boss fights like in operations: once early on, once in the middle, and then once towards the end. Most boss fights of any kind will allow at least two uses if the first is cycled early, so don't be too shy about saving it. In PvP, it's of limited function; it will provide a decent survivability bonus against specializations that rely heavily on weapon damage, such as the Infiltration Shadow, Sentinels and some Gunslingers; it is of less useless against those that primarily rely on tech or force damage, such as the Commando, and completely useless against a Sage. This ability does not respect the global cooldown.

Recklessness: Death Field and Force Lightning are your best candidates to maximize the damage done by this ability, especially since in unison they allow you to briefly fight from well beyond the 10 meter range. Shock benefits very little for a Madness Assassin.

Force Lightning: Most situations where you think you might want to use Shock, use Force Lightning instead unless you absolutely need to keep moving, need to refresh Unearthed Knowledge, or are not likely to get at least one second of channel time with this ability. It is more efficient for damage and can never accidentally consume two Potency charges.

Shock: Ideally, you should only use Shock with Recklessness or when Twin Disciplines is about to fade. It's Force inefficient and hard to set up with your slow regeneration rate. In PvP, Shock should be reserved for dealing with opponents when attempting to kite or gap close - the damage added by Unearthed Knowledge is unfortunately minor for PvP, as you need very high and consistent melee range uptime to make good use of it..

Crushing Darkness: Only when Raze is active. Instant, no-cost Crushing Darknesses will give you a significant amount of burst, as well as regen from Deathmark charges. The only bad part is that you'll have to watch your buff bar closely as there is no easily noticed visual indicator of this somewhat rarely activated ability.

Lacerate: This move is terrible and should only be used when you can guarantee you'll strike at least four targets, or if you like spinning in place like a pretty ballerina. In PvP, it can also be useful for preventing objective caps, but watch out for the Force Cost.

Unbreakable Will: Your CC breaker as a Jedi Consular. In PvE, just use it any time you're stunned for more than a second. Your speed should be used for breaking immobilizes and snares instead. In PvP, try to reserve it for when you have a white bar of resolve, unless you absolutely need to break an objective cap by the enemy or something.

Force Speed:You can do it every 30 seconds, and it increases speed enough to basically ignore most snares (though not immobilizations.) Use it judiciously to avoid hazards (like in Hard Mode Directive 7), sprint right through hazards (in Huttball, but this is risky even when paired with Force Shroud), close gaps, etc.

Mind Control/Mass Mind Control: PvE, their usage is simple: don't. You're not a tank. In PvP, refer to the Darkness Shadow overview.

Overload: There's about a 0.5s delay in activation on this ability, which can make prediction hard unless paired with a target who is already immobile. Overload is also the weakest KB in the game, with the least momentum behind it. Aside from the obvious 'knock someone into hazards or down cliffs' component of all knockback abilities, Overload should be used judiciously to some breathing room in PvP, such as immediately before a Cloak.

GEARING

As with all Inquisitors, Willpower is your primary stat, and you use both physical and Force abilities. Your gear priority in PvE and PvP is identical; you want Critical Rating and Surge Rating until the diminishing returns get too high. (Usually around 400 each.) Around 5% accuracy from gear is useful - much more and you are subject to diminishing returns that reduce the value of the gear. Your adrenals and active-use relics will prefer to be Surge Rating and Power so that they can be used in conjunction with your Potency. In PvP, Expertise Rating will be your single most important statistic.

The problem is gearsets. You can simply use the Stalker sets for PvE, but for PvP, you will want to use modified Force-Master item sets, taking out the Alacrity bonuses for Accuracy instead. The 2 piece bonus is immense. Depending on whether you use Project kiting regularly or prefer to slow to melee range more often, you may stick with Force-Master for the 4 piece bonus, or switch to Stalker for its 2 piece bonus.


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ASSASSIN COMPANIONS

To assist you in your missions, you'll build a small team of helpers over time. While they will remain with you regardless of how you treat them, making sure that they like you is important; a companion who likes and respects you will craft faster and perform skill missions more successfully. To avoid accidental spoilers, each companion is listed in a dropdown beneath their planet.

KORRIBAN
Spoiler


DROMUND KAAS
Spoiler


TATOOINE
Spoiler


TARIS
Spoiler


HOTH
Spoiler


VOSS
Spoiler


SECRET COMPANION
Spoiler



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EQUIPPING AN ASSASSIN

Handling your way across your starter world of Korriban as a Sith Inquisitor should be pretty simple, for the most part. However, your masters and lessons do not really explain a lot about gearing, and I feel that it is useful to have a reference list available here. If you're looking for specific gearing instructions per specialization, look back at the final paragraph for each specialization instead. This is general information.

All characters use one primary ability score of Aim, Cunning, Strength or Willpower. All four of these abilities has a specialized purpose. Aim will only increase your ranged damage and critical chance, Cunning will only increase your tech damage and critical chance, Strength will only increase your melee damage and critical chance, and Willpower will only increase your Force damage and critical chance. Normally, anyway.

Each base class has a different primary ability score. A primary ability score equally improves both of the damage vectors which your class will use. Through the Force, all things are possible; Willpower is the primary score for Consulars and Inquisitors, and grants both Melee Damage and Force Damage, as a result. This holds true for the Shadow and Assassin advanced classes, but the Sage and Sorcerer advanced classes uniquely lose this dual benefit.

Presence measures your ability to inspire, lead, and guide your companions. A higher presence score will increase your companion's health, damage and healing. Companions take up the party slot of a player, but are less effective than a player; if you intend to do a lot of content which requires full or nearly full groups, it's not wise to invest much into presence.

Endurance, simply enough, improves one's raw health.

Secondary stats are available, which add more complexity to the matter.

Absorption Rating: Increases the amount of damage blocked by a successful shield reaction. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Accuracy Rating: Grants additional hit, and then reduces the opponent's defense once past 100%. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels. It's not typically a very useful stat.

Alacrity Rating: A secondary stat which improves the speed of activation time for non-instant abilities. It does not affect the Global Cooldown for instant abilities. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Critical Rating: Improves the chance of a critical hit. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Defense Rating: Improves the chance of a avoiding an attack. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Expertise Rating: Increases damage and healing done, and reduces damage taken, but only in PvP. A maximum of 20% effectiveness. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Force Power: A secondary stat which improves Force Ability damage and healing only.

Power: A secondary stat which improves damage and healing from all sources.

Shield Rating: Increases the chance that a shield reaction is triggered against an attack. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Surge Rating: Improves the effect of a critical hit. Base Surge is +50%. More rating is required to achieve the same percentage bonus at higher character levels.

Tech Power: A secondary stat which improves Tech Ability damage and healing only.


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CREW SKILLS

Money can get you everything.

Those of you coming from World of Warcraft post-Classic are familiar with the skill layout of that game, where every single craft skill had to have a mechanically advantageous thing that it 'owned' (each of them being roughly as good as the others). Several of the crafting skills in that game effectively were worthless to anyone besides the wielder, to boot.

That is not how this game works, mechanically. Every single crew skill mechanical perk originates from the fact that you're getting the benefit cheaper or earlier than someone who does not have your craft skill. For example, anyone can use medpacks; only a Biochem producer can get a reusable medpack, which costs more to craft but will never get used up. You do not need to be an artificer to upgrade your lightsaber; artificers make the upgrades, you just buy them and insert them into the lightsaber yourself. Etc. The other thing is that all of the crafting skills have some sort of aesthetic option which is unique to them, and these are among the rare bind-on-pickup items that cannot be given to anyone else.

Therefore, there are three approaches to take when choosing your Crew Skill layout: Do I want to get something that will save me money on a reusable I want a lot of, do I want to get something that will make me a lot of money, or do I want to get something that will give me a unique visual perk? It cannot be stressed enough that crafting of any kind while leveling up will only be of limited use; you will always end up ahead in credits while leveling by not crafting anything. It becomes a question of time and money spent now, versus time and money spent later to either level up your own craft skill or constantly purchasing everything you need.

To make your decision, you need to have a good grasp of what can be made by each craft skill. You have access to three crew skills per character; a maximum of one may be a craft skill, and it's recommended that the other two be a gathering skill and a mission skill which support that craft skill. Everything is oriented around the crafting skills; mission skills provide a nice little bit of flavor, but are essentially a second gathering skill oriented around the rarer materials that cannot be obtained through direct gathering.

It's important to note that you will not automatically get all of the important recipes for Craft Skills from the skill itself, even by reverse-engineering; you will need to get some of these schematics from the Galactic Trade Network. It's also important to note that you will always lose money by sending crew members to do missions, as the point is more to raise your skill and gain materials while not being out in the field yourself. If it was strictly superior to self-gathering, no one would ever do it.

I'll go over each of the Crew Skills in brief - each section will contain the Crew Skill's codex entry, followed by my input.

CRAFTING SKILLS
You may only have one of these skills on your character. If you take one of these, it is your most important skill. As noted above, once you get to endgame, you are not getting unique mechanical perks from what you make via these skills; you're just getting it cheaper, easier, prettier, faster, or reusable. For leveling content, they do create some unique stuff for lower levels, so rich rerollers will make purchases from dedicated crafters a lot.

Spoiler


GATHERING SKILLS
Gathering skills are skills which you or your companion may employ in the field, when you see an appropriate resource. They supply the basic materials used in crafting skills. You may send your companions on gathering missions which cost money, but provide you with skill-point appropriate resources. There is a chance for your companion to fail when deployed on missions (I believe it is related to their affection), but it will always give you a skill point even if they fail. Out of your maximum of three crew skills, all three may be gathering skills.

Spoiler


MISSION SKILLS
Mission skills function identical to Gathering skills which cannot be personally collected; you need your companion to do them. They provide the rare resources used in crafting skills as well as providing a host of other benefits, such as giving you companion gifts to raise their affection, rare schematics, and sometimes rare equipment. Out of your maximum of three crew skills, all three may be mission skills.

Spoiler


If you read all that and are confused still - or didn't read all of that, because it's a lot to chew through, that's okay. You just want the bottom line on which three crew skills I recommend, right? I've arranged them into sets of three based on what your main selling market is.

PvE Endgame: Synthweaving, Artifice, Treasure Hunting
PvP Endgame: Biochem, Bioanalysis, Diplomacy == Cybertech, Scavenging, Underworld Trading
Self-Leveling: Biochem, Bioanalysis, Diplomacy == Cybertech, Scavenging, Underworld Trading >> Artifice, Archaeology, Treasure-Hunting
Simple Money-Making: Pick any three: Slicing, Investigation, Diplomacy, Bioanalysis, Scavenging, Biochem

Do not pick: Armstech


--------------------------------
JEDI SHADOW

You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

AstralFire's Avatar


AstralFire
12.13.2011 , 07:13 AM | #3
APPENDIX: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How do I become a Sith Assassin?
A: Reach level 10 as a Sith Inquisitor, and find Lord Lokar in the Imperial Fleet or on Dromund Kaas. He'll give you a mission that will further your class training.

Q: I just became a Sith Assassin. When do I get a Double-Bladed Lightsaber?
A: You should already have one. Look in your inventory for a bag item that contains a small starter kit full of things any growing Assassin needs. Be forewarned: The shield generator is useless (does not offer a shield chance) unless you are in your tanking stance, Dark Charge, which is not available until level 14.

Q: I just became a Sith Assassin. Where do I train my Shadow skills?
A: Same trainer as your base class. Click the tab at the bottom to select your list of trainable Adv. Class abilities.

Q: Where can I respecialize my character?
A: There is a respecialization trainer standing in the banking area of Dromund Kaas, as well as in the Class Trainer area of the Imperial Fleet, with the subtitle <Skill Mentor>. He's near the person who accepts Guild Charters.

Q: When can I get my speeder?
A: After turning level 25, purchase Speeder Piloting from your trainer for 25,000 credits, then go to your fleet. In the shopping area, there should be a vendor who sells vehicles. You can also purchase them on Tatooine. Your first speeder will cost you 8,000 credits; you can get upgrades at level 40 and 50.

Q: I'm coming from WoW. Do these skill specializations have any resemblance to stuff from there?
A: The Darkness tree resembles Paladin or Bear tanking, loosely. Deception is somewhat similar to a Mutilate Rogue. Madness is a cross between an Affliction Warlock and an Enhancement Shaman. None of them are identical, but these should help to give you an idea of whether or not you'll like the playstyles.

Q: I'm coming from Star Wars Galaxies/other MMO. Do these skill specializations have any resemblance to stuff from there?
A: I am not sufficiently familiar with most of those games to say. If someone would like to suggest things for me, I'd appreciate it. Games like City of Heroes are too different from your average MMO, and thus don't really bear comparison well.

Q: Do I have to use a Double-Bladed Lightsaber?
A: If you want a lightsaber, yes. Not all of your abilities require it - most don't, in fact. But your Charges and Discharge do, and every single spec relies heavily on its techniques. Sorry to break it to you. The Electrostaff is an alternate weapon intended for Jedi Shadows and their Imperial mirror, the Sith Assassin; however, it faces the exact same issues as the single-bladed Lightsaber. So yes, you are stuck with a DBLS.

Q: Do we have to wear robes? Can we wear pants?
A: Pants are rare, but exist. If you want to keep the pants look, find a moddable pair and you'll be able to keep them all the way up into endgame.

Q: Can we really keep stuff the whole game and just keep modding it?
A: Yes and no. As soon as you find a chestpiece, pants, hat, weapon, gloves, and shoes - the most important stuff - with four upgrade slots, you can keep modding it for the whole level up game. It is rumored that Endgame, however, starts getting items with extra slots, and PvP gear has its expertise as a built-in, rather than a mod granted, stat. So you can keep it for most of the game. Endgame is where you will have more difficulties.

Q: Do the lightsaber animations ever look better?
A: Yes, at higher levels, particularly as Deception.

Q: What's the best Skill Specialization for leveling?
A: Deception is, without question, the best Skill Specialization until about level 22-ish. Energize and Dark Ward for Darkness, and Death Field for Madness, are lynchpin skills. Deception is good right off the bat. Madness is the weak link until you're in your 30s, in my opinion, though it's still quite tolerable to level with.

Q: What's the difference between Sith Sorcerer and Sith Assassin in the Madness tree?
A: They are both proc-heavy, DoT self-healing builds. It's a question of whether you want to use your lightsaber and Shock, or Force Lightning and Lightning Strike. The Assassin gets better procs to compensate for its lower range and smaller Force Pool.

Q: Is the Sith Assassin a main tank or an off-tank?
A: The Sith Assassin is a main tank; it can off-tank, but there are no skill specializations devoted towards becoming an off-tank among any class. Fully developed, it has roughly the same standard survivability as a Sith Juggernaut or Powertech who was specialized to tank. The only guild in the general beta to test endgame operations used a Jedi Shadow main tank, however, and are quite happy with the Jedi Shadow's performance there.

Q: What's the difference between the three types of tanks?
A: Sith Warrior tanks have the most survivability cooldowns, and once they get rolling, they have the most forgiving resource mechanic. They have the most issue generating threat, especially in ranged or AoE situations. Sith Assassins have the fewest and weakest survivability cooldowns, but have the ability to self-heal regularly, a very high block chance, strong AoE threat and okay ranged threat. Shield Tech Powertechs have a moderate amount of survivability cooldowns, okay AoE threat, great ranged threat/battlefield mobility, and the best straight mitigation. Their resource mechanic is very punishing if mishandled. The two force-users have more apparent flaws at lower levels, but grow into the role fully later.

Q: Should I play a Sith Marauder or a Sith Assassin?
A: I assume that if you're asking this question, tanking is not seriously on the table as a primary interest for you, in PvE or PvP. The Marauder offers the three different types of specializations: the ability to play a survivable, elite-killer melee damage, an erratic high-burst melee damage specialization, and the ability to increase its battlefield control and mobility as a melee damage dealer. In comparison, the Assassin's damage trees offer a steady pressure melee/range hybrid with minor erratic burst, or a controllable burst melee class with target lockdown options, along with both Assassin specializations having minor tanking options.

Q: Should I play an Operative or a Sith Assassin?
A: That depends. The Operative is a more stealth-dependent class - while they both have multiple Stealth abilities, the Operative is flatout dependent on Stealth for specific tactical openers, while the Assassin is more willing to engage in straight-up combat. The Operative has more control, the Assassin has more survivability under fire. Someone seeking more traditional Rogue control-and-combo-based play may prefer the Operative. Also, the Operative has the ability to respecialize as a healer or throw out tactical support as a striker, while the Assassin has the ability to respecialize as a defender or throw out tactical control as a striker.

Q: I'm going to do PvE. Does the Madness or Deception tree do higher max DPS?
A: Until we have damage meters or extensive theorycrafting of some kind, we cannot actually say with too much certainty which is the higher damage spec. Generally, they're accepted to be competitive with one another in PvE. In PvP, they perform different roles - Madness is a steady pressure build, and Deception is a burst kill build.

Q: Madness?
A: Forgive me if my response is spartan.

Q: What's the difference between an Assassin and a Shadow?
A: There are the obvious ones - different stories, companions, and titles. Visually, an Assassin's Force Powers are centered around violet lightning, while a Shadow is reliant on golden energy and rocks or other environmental elements. Late game, the Shadow obtains Unity, which works great for Balance and Kinetic, while the Assassin gets Sacrifice, which is more suited to Kinetic and Infiltration.

Q: I want to play a Movie Sith; is this the class for me?
A: You can get fairly close to the Cinematic Sith. Darth Vader is represented well by the Sith Juggernaut. Palpatine as of Return of the Jedi works well for the Sith Sorcerer. The Assassin itself, however, is slightly off on its portrayal of Maul; Maul never used Force Lightning. You're outta luck for Count Dooku. Asajj Ventress, though not from the movies but from the shows, maps very well to the Sith Marauder.

Q: What's the story like?
A: I haven't tried it myself, this is a conversion of a Jedi Shadow guide.

Q: Why don't tanks take the Insulation skill?
A: That passive skill does not apply when an Assassin is in Dark Charge, which is our defender mode; it's meant to improve the durability of an Assassin in Lightning Charge or Surging Charge, our striker modes.

Q: Who is the best target to Guard, as a tank?
A: Pretty much anyone who's going to get focused. This is usually the healer or a ball carrier in PvP; in PvE, the healer is probably the wiser option at low level, but as you get more AoE threat tools, you should instead be guarding the most effective DPS, in order to give them a higher threat ceiling while damaging. An AoE focused DPS is often a good choice.

Q: Which abilities are off of the Global Cooldown?
A: Recklessness, Overcharge Saber, Dark Ward, Jolt, both taunts, Blackout, Force Cloak, Force Speed, possibly others. Need to test more later.

Q: Does Force Lightning qualify as a periodic damage ability?
A: No.

More questions to be added as needed later.


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APPENDIX: MMO GLOSSARY

Activation Time: The amount of time used before an ability finishes its animations and triggers. Generally, being attacked during an activation causes pushback, and movement will cancel the activation.

AoE: Area-of-Effect ability. Refers to an ability that strikes an area, hitting all targets within that space. AoE abilities which only affect targets in melee range of the user are called Point-Blank Area-of-Effect, or PBAoE.

CC: Crowd Control. In the MMORPG context, it is used to refer to abilities which can reduce the number of opponents being faced at a given moment, without actually defeating one of them. Several abilities have crowd control effects which only trigger on Weak and Standard enemies, and will not work on Strong, Elite or Boss NPCs, or enemy players.

Channeled Ability: An ability of this kind begins triggering immediately, but does not finish until the activation bar is entirely depleted. If this ability is ended early for any reason, then you will not get the full effect of the ability, even though you have paid the full cost. Pushback on a channeled ability will cause the ability to end early. Moving, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, will always end a channeled ability prematurely. Alacrity does not affect channeled abilities.

Defender: See TANK.

DOT: Damage-over-time. See PERIODIC DAMAGE.

DPS: Literally, damage-per-second. It is also commonly used to refer to those characters who have damage-dealing as their primary mechanical mission. See STRIKER.

Global Cooldown: A 1.5 second delay after activating any instant ability, preventing you from activating the majority of other abilities. Successfully triggered non-instant abilities do not induce a global cooldown (or if they do, they generate one that is too low to reach via current alacrity values.) A rare few abilities are not affected by the Global Cooldown.

Interrupt: Broadly, any reason that an ability with an activation or channeling time is suddenly cancelled. More specifically, an ability that always causes cancellation of the target's non-instant ability, and adds a cooldown before the target can attempt that ability again. They are sometimes sorted into the mutually exclusive categories of Soft Interrupt (which does not add a cooldown to the targeted ability) and Hard Interrupt. Mind Snap is a Jedi Shadow's interrupt, and Jolt is a Sith Assassin's.

Kiting: Using abilities and careful positioning to force a melee-primary opponent to follow another person at a distance like a kite - a successful example of kiting minimizes the amount of close-range time the melee-primary character is able to get.

Knockback: Not the same as pushback, knockback refers to a character being forcibly moved by another character (usually backwards).

OOF: Out of Force (points.) When you've exhausted your resource bar.

Periodic Damage: An effect which causes damage over time on a regular basis, such as every second or every three seconds, without further input from the user.

Proc: A "Programmed Random Occurence." Essentially, a proc is any ability which activates randomly. If you have an ability which has a 10% chance to heal you in addition to its primary effect, that heal effect would be considered a proc.

Pushback: Not the same as knockback, pushback refers to an unexpected delay during the activation of a non-instant ability, or causing a pulse on a channeled ability to fail. Pushback is caused by taking damage from any hostile source during the activation of the ability. Several skills mitigate or remove pushback on specific abilities.

Resolve: A bar which fills up whenever a character is incapacitated or moved against their will in anyway by another player. It slowly depletes when not recently increased. When the bar is completely filled, the character becomes immune to all player stuns, pulls, knockdowns and knockbacks for the next eight seconds, before the bar drains entirely. Snares and roots ignore Resolve completely.

Root: An ability which forces a character to remain stationary.

Snare: An ability which slows down a character's movement speed, but they are still capable of moving.

Striker: A character whose primary role in a group setting is to deal damage to the opponents. See DPS.

Tank: A character whose primary role in a group setting is to attract the enemy's attention and keep harmful damage away from other squad members.

Utility: Reference to abilities which do not directly relate to healing, damage dealing, or tanking but are combat-useful nonetheless.


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KEYBINDS

ASTRALFIRE'S BINDS

Warning: I have a Razer Naga mouse, which has a NumPad on the side of the mouse, so my bind layouts will not be that useful to someone without the same mouse. If someone would like to offer their own bindmaps with common mice (incl. the standard two-button), I might post them.

These binds were designed for a PvP Darkness Assassin.

Spoiler



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CHANGELOG

v1.1.2b: Major overhaul to Balance/Madness that better reflects the reality of current data.
v1.1.2a: Updated Crew Skills section. Deleted hybrid specs and addressed the significant buffs to Balance and Kinetic.
v1.1.1b: Fixed numerous small issues, updated the introduction, added the 0/13/28 DPS build.
v1.1.1a: Major overhaul to all specs to reflect current realities and such. Will remirror Sith version soon.
v1.0.0a: Minor fixes throughout; added a new spec to the Madness tree.
v0.0.0h: Cleared up some clutter in the tanking guide segment. Added a blurb at the top explaining about reproduction. 12/6/2011.
v0.0.0g: Accuracy stat corrected, as it no longer gives armor penetration. Crew Skill information overhauled. Minor PvP updates to gearing guides. 12/1/2011 || Added voice actor information. 12/2/2011 || Reorganized and summarized Crew Skill stuff for clarity. Updated the PvP tank builds to reflect new thoughts on Harnessed Shadows. 12/3/2011
v0.0.0f: Major overhaul of all spec analysis, as it was pretty cluttered with a bunch of useless babbling on my part, as well as some outright incorrect information. More companion data added. Changelog added. 11/29/2011
v0.0.0e: Prettified and cleaned up formatting. 11/25/2011
v0.0.0d: Translated to Sith Assassin equivalent and posted. 11/20/2011
v0.0.0a: Original versions up to v0.0.0c. Very rough internal documents in beta. Unknown date.


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ADVANCED READING

Tanking: A Primer is an essential guide to the comparative abilities of tanks. End-game PvE tanks should consider this a must-read.
The Jedi Shadow's Handbook, the Republic (and original) version of this thread.
MainTankasin.net is a Jedi Shadow and Sith Assassin-oriented tank discussion site.
Sith Warrior is quickly turning into the numbers place for Star Wars: the Old Republic, if you want the people who do the real hardcore thinking I can only paw at.
The Consular's Codex is a resource for Jedi Sage Healers run by a friend of mine, if you're looking to run another Consular or find that the Shadow isn't for you.
TORHead is always full of good information.
CitizenSnipe has a useful channel that contains a lot of video of infiltration PvP, some balance hybrid PvE, and some tank hybrid PvP. (deception, madness and darkness respectively, for you Sith.)
Powerr's Jedi Shadow PvP Tanking Guide.
Powerr's Infiltration Burst Damage Guide.

JEDI SHADOW

You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

AstralFire's Avatar


AstralFire
12.13.2011 , 07:14 AM | #4
Get in there you big furry oaf
I don't care what you smell
JEDI SHADOW

You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

AstralFire's Avatar


AstralFire
12.13.2011 , 07:14 AM | #5
I take orders from only me
Maybe you'd like it back in your cell? (Your highness, your worshipfulness)
JEDI SHADOW

You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

Oceanemotion's Avatar


Oceanemotion
12.13.2011 , 07:15 AM | #6
nice to see this guide going up again, was a very good read on the "old" forums =)

defilerr's Avatar


defilerr
12.13.2011 , 07:27 AM | #7
thanks for the post. this guide has always been a good starting place.
Battlemaster Vandall ( Assassin)
The Ghosts of War
Guild Site
Bondar Crystal

AbhiX's Avatar


AbhiX
12.13.2011 , 07:33 AM | #8
A very helpful guide indeed

Dathil's Avatar


Dathil
12.13.2011 , 08:10 AM | #9
Something to think about, which worked great for me in the beta, was to pick two gathering skills. You can level them both while questing and flashpointing, and if your crafting prof can't use both, at least you can GTN the extras. Cybertech/Scavenging/Slicing was really nice.

Darth-M's Avatar


Darth-M
12.13.2011 , 09:13 AM | #10
Thanks for posting this again, I had it saved just in case