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BW, do you ever plan on addressing Shield Vanguards/Pyrotechs PvP-wise?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > PvP
BW, do you ever plan on addressing Shield Vanguards/Pyrotechs PvP-wise?

Vornox's Avatar

02.09.2013 , 03:19 PM | #1
First of all, I want to say that unlike many people on the forums, I feel that PvP is relatively balanced. I do agree that certain advanced classes are a little weaker than others, but in general I feel like this is within an exceptable margin of error. After all, it wasn't that long ago when this forum was filled with complains of how tracer missle/grav round spam was so easy and strong.

I play a variety of different classes and specs on my characters, but one stands above (or perhaps "below") the rest in terms of how it fairs compared to other trees with the same role. I'm talking, of course, about the Shield-Specialist Vanguard/Shield-Tech Powertech trees and how they fair at PvP tanking. Recent, new information has been very disappointing for me and other shield-specialist vanguards in my guild because it has shown that Bioware has no plans in the foreseeable future to address the severe survivability and utility imbalance which this tree faces in PvP when compared to the other tanking trees.

It is clear to me that most Vanguard/Powertech players on the forums (and ranked PvP teams) agree with this conclusion:
However, most non-Vanguards/Powertech players on the forums seem to be screaming for nerfs because they mostly see the Assault-Specialist/Pyrotech tree in PvP (as most Vanguard/Powertech players have respecced to this tree by now). The problem is that I rolled my Vanguard character to be a tank and do not feel that I should be forced to reroll to be a viable tank in PvP.

What Bioware does not seem to understand is that additional DPS talents and abilities are not going to solve the problem with this tree (unless it is a huge boost which brings the tree to the point where it is as strong as DPS spec, but that seems unbalancing and very unlikely). What is the problem then exactly? Let's compare activated survivability abilities between the tanking classes/trees. Vanguards/Powetechs have 3:
  • Reactive Shield/Energy Shield - is absolutely fine and comparable to the other classes survivability abilities. It has advantages and disadvantages vs Saber Ward (lower cooldown but not as good melee & ranged damage reduction) and Deflection (useful vs force & tech but not as strong vs melee & ranged).
  • Adrenaline Rush/Kolto Overload - is by far the worse 3 minute cooldown in the game (2 minutes with the Shield talent admittedly). For such a long cooldown to provide less healing than a medpack is very poor. Additionally, the healing is slow so it won't keep you alive significantly longer if you use it when you are low on health like a health pack would, and risks overhealing if you use it when you are too high. I would say it is the worse survivability ability in the game if not for...
  • Smoke Grenade/Oil Slick - terrible in PvP for the simple fact that most classes use primarily force & tech attacks. Additionally, it is easily countered by Illegal Mods/Target Acquired by the Gunslinger/Sniper (which is one of the few classes which might actually care about it) and it is the only activated defensive ability which is cleanse-able. Even if the enemy uses melee/ranged attack and straight up ignores it, it is so weak that the chance of them getting a string of attacks to connect is still very high. Look at Resilience/Force Shroud (also a 1 minute cooldown); it is pretty much the same thing except it is 100% instead of 20%, force & tech instead of melee & ranged, provides stun/mez immunity, and removes all debuffs. The only upside which Smoke Grenade/Oil Slick has over it is how long it lasts.
It is clear that Tanking Vanguard/Powertechs have less and weaker activated defensive abilities than Tanking Shadows/Assasins and Guardians/Juggernauts.

Let's look at passive mitigation next. This is touted as the big advantage that tanking Vanguards/Powertechs have over the other tanking trees/classes, so let's compare:
  • Vanguard/Powertechs have slightly stronger armor than Guardians/Juggernauts (only because of their talents; they both wear heavy armor), and much stronger armor than Shadows/Assassins. I concede that this is an advantage. However this advantage is lessened significantly when % armor penetration abilities (which most classes can get in one or more of their trees) come into play and levels the playing field between the classes. Before someone argues against this, think of how the most extreme case (100% armor penetration provided by Precision Strike/Gore) would work to best understand.
  • Vanguards/Powertechs and Guardians/Juggernauts have less internal & elemental damage reduction and health than Shadows/Assassins. This is a slight advantage for Shadows/Assassins. Less attacks use internal & elemental damage than those that can be mitigated by armor (kinetic & energy), but there is also no "internal & elemental penetration" so this advantage is more static.
Conclusion: Tanking Vanguard/Powertechs have only a slight advantage in passive mitigation, because armor penetration is percentage-based and some attacks go through armor.

Finally, how do the tanks stack up in utility?
  • All 3 tanks have 2 of the following: A push, a pull, and a leap. They all have advantages and disavantages. Since this is very subjective, I'll call it a wash.
  • Stun/mez options are also very subjective. Vanguards/Powertechs have the least (Cyro Grenade and Neural Surge) and they are short but both are stuns and there are times when the AOE stun is very strong. Shadows/Assassins have the most (Force Stun, Spinning Kick, Mind Maze, and Force Lift) but some are situational. Tank Guardians/Juggernauts are in the middle of the road with number and usability (Hilt Strike, Force Stasis, and Awe). Though I personally believe that Vanguards/Powertechs and Shadows/Assasins are at a disadvantage compared Guardians/Juggernauts, I'll call this a wash.
  • Shield Vanguards/Powertechs have the worst slow option. Their only choice is the Neural Overload talent. This talent is a single target proc and lasts way too short (2 secs) to be useful. Both Shadows/Assassins and Guardians/Juggernauts have much better options.
  • Other utility: Vanguards/Powertechs have little to no other utility (Stealth Scan I guess but it is rarely useful), whereas Shadows/Assassins have stealth (which is great for node guarding, node attacking, surprising enemies, etc.) and Guardians/Juggernauts have Sunder Armor (increases damage for allies) and Force Leap/Intercede (extra mobility, and reduces damage to target which is a Guardian-only way to get extra protection score).
It is clear that the lack of a good slow and "other utility" hurts Vanguards/Powertechs compared to other tanks.

So what do I recommend to fix the issue? Here are a couple suggestions:
  • Make Smoke Grenade/Oil Slick work on force & tech as well as melee & ranged, and award protection score for damage it prevents to others. It would still not be great, but it would atleast feel useful in PvP. I feel like this is the easiest, most non-invasive change which would help balance this tree compared to the other tanking trees, and would not unbalance PvE.
  • Alternatively, you could make Smoke Grenade/Oil Slick remove all debuffs on the Vanguard/Powertech.
  • Give Vanguards/Powertechs more utility which the other tank classes cannot do so ranked teams have a reason to bring them.

Bioware, I'm not asking for the world here. All I want is you to bring the Shield-Specialist Vanguard/Shield-Tech Powertech more inline with the other PvP tanks.

ArchangelLBC's Avatar

02.09.2013 , 03:37 PM | #2
Well said.

To be honest I think BW needs to look at tanking in PVP period. Granted with a really good healer a good healer/tank combo is ridiculously good to kill, but that makes solo queuing with either a losing proposition.

Good changes I think you're suggesting. Vanguards could definitely use another tank specific DCD, and this would help BW avoid the massive rebalancing that fixing tanking in PVP would result in.
In update 2.9 the game will simply uninstall itself for you.


ARagingNoob's Avatar

02.09.2013 , 03:50 PM | #3
I would be happy if they just made Ironfist viable again, great post though. Our PT tanks need some love, believe it or not not ALL of us enjoy playing 4 button Pyro :\
Jedi Covenant
Yül 50 Sniper Pálla 50 Powertech
Selva 50 Sith Assassin Briánna 50 Operative

DOCSMonkey's Avatar

02.09.2013 , 03:56 PM | #4
Bounty Hunter? I prefer "Well-Compensated Establishment Provocateur."
Crestker LvL 55 Powertech
Tafahlia LvL 55 Sorcerer

foxmob's Avatar

02.09.2013 , 04:06 PM | #5
the suggestion about oil slick for force & tech attacks is an excellent barometer question. as the op says, it will not have any effect whatsoever on pve, AND PT/VG tanks are the rarest in the game by far, so if BW has any concern whatsoever for pvp/balance/player concerns, I think they'd at least respond to such a suggestion...if for nothing else, at least to explain why they WOULDN'T implement such a thing.
JC -- Harb -- TEH

Monterone's Avatar

02.09.2013 , 04:24 PM | #6
Yeah, Iron Fist was so much fun! I wish they'd make that viable again.

I might even have to dust off my PyroPT and respec to good ol' huttballin' spec.
<DMG Ctrl> <Purple Cog>

Taerrik's Avatar

02.09.2013 , 06:13 PM | #7
I kinda miss carolina parakeet

KillaDeuce's Avatar

02.09.2013 , 08:17 PM | #8
Well said, I agree with the OP. It really does deserve a "Dev" reply.
Situational Awareness: improve your Unranked WZ experience
Charric - sniper - POT5 / Bastion
Verbäl - PT - POT5 / Bastion

Glower's Avatar

02.10.2013 , 01:05 AM | #9
SWTOR goes F2P:
A: "They’d love to do that at some point, but technically very challenging and unlikely to happen in the near future." (c)
PvP FAQ, A: "We have no plans at this time" (c)

af_raptura's Avatar

02.10.2013 , 04:12 AM | #10
Pretty much everything that the OP said. I really wanted to pvp tank with my powertech, and I did in the lowbie bracket, but when I switched to Advanced Prototype, I felt a LOT more useful. Let that sink in a little. AP is not generally considered viable for pvp, but that said, it is a lot stronger than Shield Specialist. Please, BW, any buff for PT/Vanguard tanks!

PvE theorycrafting has really loosened their standards.
Quote: Originally Posted by karlwaite View Post
As for the skill changes to benefit pvp likes of the fly by damage reduction they suffered and reducing focused defence by 200% is a joke they are affecting pve to benefit pvp.