Developer Blogs

04.18.2013

Developer Update: Bounty Hunter Class Changes

Hello everyone. My name is Austin Peckenpaugh, and I’m a Senior Designer on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, responsible for class design and combat systems. As such, I’m here to shed some light on the changes to the Bounty Hunter class in Game Update 2.0.

We’ll be writing about recent class changes coming to The Old Republic, but this time we’re going a little more in depth and taking on one class (for both factions) at a time. If we haven’t covered your class yet, do not despair; it will be covered in the coming days.

Combat Systems

Alacrity Improvements: One of the big changes to combat systems is the way that Alacrity works. Prior to this update, Alacrity came with a tradeoff for some classes, and it was nearly useless to other classes. The faster you attacked, the more resources you would spend, and that only worked if you had channeled abilities or abilities with activation times.

Now, Alacrity will increase the activation speed of all abilities, including instants. We haven’t just shortened the global cooldown, either. When activating any ability quicker, its animation will also play quicker. This makes some attacks look and sound very cool. Furthermore, Alacrity increases resource regeneration by the same rate, helping you to recuperate resources more quickly as you spend them more quickly. Now more Alacrity is strictly a good thing.

DoT Improvements: We’ve changed the way we evaluate damage over time effects, so it should now be less costly to keep your DoTs up and to spread them around.

Shield Improvements: We’ve changed the way shields work to allow them to absorb any incoming kinetic or energy damage regardless of the source (melee, ranged, Force, tech – doesn’t matter). This has significantly increased the importance of shields, and the game has been rebalanced to account for such a major adjustment.

Accuracy Matters: In 2.0, all Elite (gold star) and tougher enemies will have additional defense chances against Force and tech attacks. As a result, Accuracy Rating will play a pivotal role in optimizing your sustained damage in boss fights. Prior to 2.0, Accuracy Rating was valued very differently from class to class (or even spec to spec), and while it’s still different for each class or spec, that difference is now much smaller. In effect, all damage-dealing roles will find Accuracy Rating much more useful than before.

Bounty Hunter

  • Hydraulic Overrides for Everyone!: Hydraulic Overrides is now trainable at level 26 for all Bounty Hunters. This ability grants immunity to slows, immobilizes, and knockbacks and increases movement speed by 30%. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Chaff Flare for Everyone!: Chaff Flare is now trainable at level 30 for all Bounty Hunters. This ability reduces the Bounty Hunter’s threat to all enemies that he or she is currently engaged in combat with.
  • New Kolto Overload: Kolto Overload has been redesigned. We want this ability to be a powerful survivability tool and give Bounty Hunters something totally unique. The previous Kolto Overload just wasn’t doing it, so we’ve changed it. Now when you use this ability, you gain a Health Monitor for 1 minute. While Health Monitor is active, when your health is reduced to 30% or less, Health Monitor is replaced by Kolto Overload, which rapidly heals you up to 30% health but will not heal you above 30% health. Once Kolto Overload is triggered, you become very difficult to kill for its duration. The Kolto Overload healing effect lasts 8 seconds once triggered.

Mercenary

We have a few simple goals for Mercenaries in 2.0. From a PVE perspective, we want to ensure their rotations are fun and effective. Beyond rotations, we want Mercenaries to have better group support and self survivability. These goals translate into PVP as well, where we also want Mercenaries to be more mobile and have better utility. In short, we’ve heard your complaints, and there are a lot of new goodies in store for Mercenaries.

  • Kolto Missile for All Mercenaries!: This ability is now trainable for all Mercenaries at level 20. Kolto Missile is no longer restricted to the Bodyguard skill tree (although Bodyguards can improve it with unique skills).
  • Missile Salvo: This is a new passive ability gained at level 10 upon becoming a Mercenary. When Mercenaries fire Missile Blast, two missiles are fired for a combined increase in damage. This increase in damage is not enough to make Missile Blast alter anyone’s rotation, but it will now serve as a much more effective on-the-run utility skill. Also, double knockdown against weak and standard enemies is neat.
  • Power Shot: This ability now has a 1.5-second activation speed.
  • High Velocity Gas Cylinder: Now additionally increases Alacrity by 3% while active.
  • Combustible Gas Cylinder: Now deals less damage but has a higher chance to be triggered.
  • Electro Net (New ability): Electro Net is a powerful new ability that slows and shocks the target for energy damage over time. Additionally, Electro Net grows more powerful over time. Player targets can avoid Electro Net’s increasing damage by holding still and refraining from movement (although it’s still safe to attack without triggering this effect). Finally, Electro Net applies a brand new debuff effect to the target called Hindered. While Hindered, the target cannot use high mobility actions and escapes such as charges, vanishes, and speed boosts. Capturing a target in an Electro Net effectively turns it into a sitting duck.

Below are some additional details on changes made to the Mercenary’s skill trees. Many more skills than the ones mentioned here have changed; these are really just the highlights.

Bodyguard

Our intentions with the Bodyguard skill tree fall in-line with our overarching goals for the Mercenary. Bodyguards get cool new utility, a better arsenal of healing abilities for different situations, and some improvements to existing abilities.

  • Kolto Pods: This new skill causes your Kolto Missile to deploy a pool of kolto over the target area, healing allies that remain within.
  • Kolto Jets: This new skill causes your Jet Boost to also heal yourself and all affected allies within range when triggered.
  • Bodyguard: This new skill greatly improves Kolto Shell by increasing the amount it heals, increasing its max number of charges, and reducing the rate limit by which it can heal the target.

Arsenal

In addition to great new baseline abilities, Arsenal now has less reliance on setup, better mobility, and better on-the-run utility.

  • Tracer Missile: This ability now has a 1.5-second activation speed. Furthermore, the Heat Signature applied by Tracer Missile no longer stacks, reducing the target’s armor by 20% all at once. Also now lasts 45 seconds.
  • Heatseeker Missiles: This ability now packs an even bigger punch than before. Damage has been increased by approximately 15%. In addition, Heatseeker Missile now simply deals 25% additional damage when striking a target affected by your Heat Signature. Heatseeker Missiles’s projectile speed has been slowed slightly to ensure that it properly benefits from your Heat Signature if fired immediately after a Tracer Missile.
  • Torque Boosters: This new utility skill increases the duration of Hydraulic Overrides by 4 seconds, giving it a total duration of 10 seconds.
  • Decoy: With this new utility skill, your Chaff Flares intercept and completely absorbs the next immediate incoming Force or tech attack. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Power Overrides: This skill now reduces the cooldown of Power Surge and Concussion Missile. In addition, Power Surge now makes your next two abilities activate instantly.
  • Energy Rebounder: This skill has been moved into the Arsenal skill tree from the Pyrotech skill tree. Now this skill reduces the active cooldown of Energy Shield when taking damage. In addition, when taking damage, you have a chance to deploy an Energy Redoubt, which absorbs a small amount of incoming damage. Lasts 6 seconds and cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
  • Power Launcher: This new skill increases the damage dealt by Rail Shot, Tracer Missile, Heatseeker Missiles, and Electro Net.

Pyrotech (Mercenary)

  • Thermal Detonator: Now when Thermal Detonator explodes, the target is set on fire for the next 12 seconds.
  • Firebug: This skill now increases the critical damage dealt by Combustible Gas Cylinder, Rail Shot, Power Shot, Incendiary Missile, and Thermal Detonator.
  • Pyro Shield: With this new utility skill, activating your Energy Shield additionally deploys a Pyro Shield. When attacked, Pyro Shield retaliates by lashing attackers with a significant amount of elemental damage.
  • Volatile Warhead: Reduces the cost of Missile Blast and makes your second Missile Blast in your Missile Salvo trigger your Combustible Gas Cylinder.
  • Suit FOE: With this new utility skill, activating Cure triggers an onboard Foreign Object Excisor, which reduces all periodic damage taken by 30% for the next 6 seconds. This effect only triggers when activating Cure on yourself.
  • Jet Rebounder: With this new utility skill, getting attacked reduces the active cooldown of Jet Boost. This skill additionally causes Jet Boost to deal additional elemental damage.
  • Power Barrels: This new skill reduces the heat generated by Power Shot and Unload and increases the damage dealt by Rail Shot, Power Shot, Unload, and Thermal Detonator.

Powertech

  • Close and Personal: This new passive ability is gained at level 10 upon becoming a Powertech. This ability increases the duration of Energy Shield by 3 seconds, and whenever you suffer direct damage from an area attack, you vent 2 heat and heal for 2.5% of your total health.
  • Shoulder Cannon (New Ability): Deploys a Shoulder Cannon that loads missiles over time. Once deployed, the Shoulder Cannon can be used again to fire a missile at the current target. Both deploying the Shoulder Cannon and firing its missiles ignore the global cooldown. Once all missiles have been loaded and fired, Shoulder Cannon goes on cooldown for 90 seconds.

Below are some additional details on changes made to the Powertech’s skill trees. Many more skills than the ones mentioned here have changed; these are really just the highlights.

Shield Tech

For 2.0, we wanted to make sure Shield Tech’s active abilities were very attractive. Both Oil Slick and Heat Blast have been overhauled to be more universally awesome. We also wanted to boost up Shield Tech’s utility and group support by way of giving them some area denial and area slows.

  • Oil Slick: This ability has been slightly redesigned. Now activating Oil Slick sprays the ground beneath you and leaves the ground slicked for the duration. Enemies within the slick suffer a loss of accuracy and move slower. Effectively, Oil Slick now functions as an area control/denial tool in addition to a tanking/survivability tool.
  • Heat Blast: This ability has been slightly redesigned. Heat Blast now requires and consumes 3 Heat Screens to deal elemental damage, vent 8 heat, and increase shield absorption by 25% for 6 seconds. This ability is still off the global cooldown.
  • Heat Screen: Stacks of Heat Screen are now gained slightly differently than before. Shielding an attack or triggering your Ion Gas Cylinder generates a Heat Screen, increasing shield absorption by 1% for 20 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times. Furthermore, each time you build a Heat Screen or refresh your Heat Screen stacks, the active cooldown of Heat Blast is reduced.
  • Flame Engine: This new skill gives your direct damaging attacks a chance to trigger Flame Engine, which makes your next Flame Thrower generate no heat and channel and tick twice as fast.
  • Shield Cannon: This new skill increases the damage and threat dealt by Flame Sweep and Shoulder Cannon and causes Shoulder Cannon to heal you for 5% of your health with each missile fired.
  • Jet Speed: Jet Charge still grants Jet Speed, which increases your movement speed by 30% for 4 seconds. However, while Jet Speed is active, getting attacked now refreshes its duration back to 4 seconds.
  • Firestorm: This new utility skill causes your Flame Sweep to slow all affected targets by 50% for 6 seconds.

Advanced Prototype

  • Blood Tracker: This new skill increases all damage dealt to bleeding targets.
  • Power Loaders: This new skill increases the damage dealt by Shoulder Cannon and causes Shoulder Cannon to immediately load additional missiles.
  • Charged Gauntlets: This skill has been slightly redesigned. Now Charged Gauntlets has a 100% chance to trigger when activating Rocket Punch, but triggering this effect requires High Energy Gas Cylinder to be active.
  • Torque Boosters: This new utility skill increases the duration of Hydraulic Overrides by 4 seconds, giving it a total duration of 10 seconds.
  • Energy Rebounder: This skill has been moved into the Advanced Prototype skill tree from the Pyrotech skill tree. Now this skill reduces the active cooldown of Energy Shield when taking damage. In addition, when taking damage, you have a chance to deploy an Energy Redoubt, which absorbs a small amount of incoming damage. Lasts 6 seconds and cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.

Pyrotech (Powertech)

  • Thermal Detonator: Now when Thermal Detonator explodes, the target is set on fire for the next 12 seconds.
  • Firebug: This skill now increases the critical damage dealt by Combustible Gas Cylinder, Rail Shot, Flame Burst, Incendiary Missile, and Thermal Detonator.
  • Pyro Shield: With this new utility skill, activating your Energy Shield additionally deploys a Pyro Shield. When attacked, Pyro Shield retaliates by lashing attackers with a significant amount of elemental damage.
  • Volatile Igniter: Reduces the cost of Flame Sweep and makes your Flame Sweep trigger your Combustible Gas Cylinder on affected targets.
  • Flame Suit: With this new utility skill, you suffer 30% less damage from periodic damaging effects.
  • Power Bracer: This new skill increases the damage dealt by Rocket Punch, Incendiary Missile, and Thermal Detonator by 6%.

Game Update 2.0: Scum and Villainy and the Digital Expansion: Rise of the Hutt Cartel are now live with the changes above. Please keep in mind that we are always looking at class balance so let us know how you like the changes we have made. I hope the information I could share with you today has helped shed some light on what’s changed and why we changed it. Thanks for reading!