Categories
Class guides DPS SWTOR

SWTOR Balance and Infiltration Shadow DPS Class Guide

A guide to SWTOR Balance and Infiltration DPS specs for PvE. Written and edited by Invinc and Vindrik of Harbinger. Infiltration guide written by Evolixe (ToFN).

[toc]

Overview

The Shadow class is the only melee dps that wears light armor, making them generally less durable, however they also have Force Speed to quickly maneuver in a fight, as well as being able to stealth to avoid some direct damage. Due to their light armor, even though Shadows have access to taunt and some decent defensive cooldowns, they are less reliable offtanks than their heavily armored counterparts. Currently, Shadow dps is one of the lackluster DPS classes, but they do have some good utility to lend to an ops group and can perform well in the hands of a skilled player. Shadow dps can choose between two different specs:

  1. Balance functions in a similar manner to its Sage counterpart. This spec is highly dependant on ensuring that your dots get maximum uptime, however Shadows do gain access to a sub 30% buff to dots that Sages do not, as well as generally using instant abilities instead of casting.
  2. Infiltration is a complicated spec that has been altered several times in recent patch history. It relies heavily on phases of very high burst damage, but unfortunately suffers from rather low damage output between these periods.

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Force Potency: Gives your Force attacks an extra 60% chance to critically hit, and consumes a charge when they do. Has 2 charges.
  2. Battle Readiness: Doubles the damage done by saber charges for a short while, and also increases their chance to activate by 35%.
  3. Blackout (Only as Infiltration): Immediately restores 15 Force and triggers Shadow’s Respite, increasing Force regeneration by 50% for a few seconds

Defensive Cooldowns:

  1. Battle Readiness: Immediately restores 15% of your maximum health, and heals you for a small amount whenever the effects of your saber charge are activated for the duration.
  2. Deflection: Increases melee and ranged Defense chance by 50% for a short while.
  3. Resilience: Gives a 100% chance to resist all Force and Tech attacks for a few seconds.
  4. Blackout (Only as Infiltration): Reduces all damage taken by 25% for a few seconds

Tricks of the Trade:

  1. Single target and AoE taunts
  2. Force Wave: Frontal AoE knockback
  3. Force Speed: Massive speed boost for a few seconds
  4. Stealth: You become difficult to detect and gain access to some stealth-only abilities
  5. Force Cloak: Removes you from combat and places you into stealth
  6. Stealth Rez: Force Cloak and a manual rez while out of combat
  7. Phase Walk: Drops a beacon on the ground that can be activated while within 60m. When triggered, you are teleported to the beacon’s location.

Balance

Balance (8 / 2 / 36 ) http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/shadow#3000320-20-1012232211202212230223

swtor-balance-shadow-dps-class-guide-build

1.1 Rates (1-10):


  • Single Target Dps: 5
  • AoE Damage: 5
  • Group Utility: 8
  • Rotation Difficulty: 2
  • RNG Dependant: No
  • Burst: 5
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes

1.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:


  • **Must Have** Accuracy: 110% Force – 100% melee (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 6% from Gear)
  • 0 Alacrity
  • 68-74% Surge
  • 200-400 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Willpower (Resolve)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set Bonus: 4 piece Stalker’s
  • Force Technique

1.3 Gearing Overview:


  • Reaching the Accuracy cap should be your highest priority
  • The dps bonus given by Alacrity rating is low enough that, even with the high amount of diminishing returns it will suffer, Surge rating will always be better
  • The difference in overall dps between 200 Critical rating and 400 Critical rating is minimal, and having a little bit will benefit your overall dps, stacking it is never a good idea due to high diminishing returns
  • Choice of relics should be made on a fight-to-fight basis. Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution will give you a greater overall damage increase, while Boundless Ages will allow you to focus your burst into a short window for fights with tight burn phases
  • Getting your set bonus as quickly as possible is highly recommended. It will increase your dps substantially enough that having lower item level armorings with the set bonus is still a better option than higher item level armorings without it

1.4 Ability Explanation:


  • Force in Balance is the most important ability in your rotation; it should always be used on CD, and draining all the Force Suppression charges before the cooldown expires is imperative. It is one of the few abilities in any class’ single target rotation that hits multiple targets, making it excellent for fights with multiple targets in relatively close proximity. Exploiting this whenever possible and multi-dotting, should it not hamper your strategy for the fight, is a great dps buff. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Mental Potency: Reduces the cost by 20
    2. Force Suppression: Leaves 15 charges of Force Suppression on the target. Each charge is consumed to increase the damage dealt by a periodic ability by 20%
    3. Mental Scarring: Increases critical damage by 30%
    4. Psychic Absorption: Increases its healing component by 100%
    5. Crush Spirit: Increases damage dealt by 15% to targets under 30% HP
  • Force Breach as Balance spec applies one of your dots to the target, making it the equivalent of Weaken Mind for Balance Sages. It deals significant damage, with a low cost and long duration, and should be kept up on your target at all times. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Focused Insight: Each critical strike restores 1% HP
    2. Drain Thoughts: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    3. Force Strike: Melee attacks on targets affected by your Force Breach have a 60% chance to finish the CD of Mind Crush, and causing the next Mind Crush to be instant and cost no Force
    4. Mental Scarring: Increases critical damage by 30%
    5. Crush Spirit: Increases damage dealt by 15% on targets under 30% HP
  • Sever Force is one of your most important dots to keep on the target. It has a low cost and deals high damage, but also has a 9 second CD, making it difficult to dot multiple targets with. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Focused Insight: Each critical strike restores 1% HP
    2. Drain Thoughts: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    3. Mental Scarring: Increases critical damage by 30%
    4. Crush Spirit: Increases damage dealt by 15% on targets under 30% HP
  • Mind Crush is another important dot to maintain. However, unlike the other two, it deals immediate damage on cast and has a faster duration of 8 seconds, as well as a CD that should be refreshed by the Force Strike talent. Mind Crush is usually used to burn the majority of Force Suppression charges, not because it is a more powerful effect, as it is not, but because you need to burn all 15 charges before using your next Force in Balance to maximise its damage potential. Holding a Mind Crush to allow for the previous dot effect to expire should not cause a dps loss, considering your next procs may be delayed as well. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Focused Insight: Each critical strike restores 1% HP
    2. Drain Thoughts: Increases damage dealt by 9%
    3. Force Strike: Melee attacks on targets affected by your Force Breach have a 60% chance to finish the CD of Mind Crush, and causing the next Mind Crush to be instant and cost no Force
    4. Mind Warp: Increases the duration by 2 seconds
    5. Mental Scarring: Increases critical damage by 30%
    6. Crush Spirit: Increases damage dealt by 15% on targets under 30% HP
  • Spinning Strike is your sub 30% ability. It is the most powerful ability you have, and with such a short cooldown, should be used as often as possible to capitalise on its excellent damage output. It is only affected by one talent:
    1. Psychokinesis: Reduces cost by 2
  • Double Strike is your filler and spam ability, and as such it will be the ability that you will be using for most of each fight between Force in Balance cooldowns and dotting. It decent damage, with a moderate Force cost, but importantly triggers some of your talents. While using this ability, you have to be careful not to drain too much Force, as delaying your more powerful abilities while waiting for your Force to regenerate will cause you to suffer a significant dps loss over time. It is affected by multiple talents:
    1. Psychokinesis: Reduces cost by 2
    2. Adjudication: Increases critical damage by 50%
    3. Applied Force: Increases damage dealt by 6%

1.5 Ability Nomenclature and Rotation Priority:


  1. Force in Balance: FiB
  2. Force Breach: FB
  3. Sever Force: SF
  4. Mind Crush (proc): MC
  5. Double Strike: DS
  6. Spinning Strike: Spin
  7. Saber Strike

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Force Potency: FP
  2. Battle Readiness: BR

1.6 Opening Rotation:


Note: Force Potency is one of the few cooldowns in the game that gives you charges to use over time instead of a passive bonus. This means that the cooldown of the ability will start running as soon as you activate it, so the trick for opener is to pop Force Potency before the pull happens (maybe during ready check) and by the time the fight starts, you will still have enough time to use both your stacks before they expire, and will have drained 10-15 seconds of the cooldown timer already.

Pre-cast FP + Stealth + Adrenal / Relic / BR / FiB + FB + SF + DS + MC (proc) + DS + Force Cloak + DS spam + MC (proc) + FiB + SF

swtor-balance-shadow-dps-guide-opening-rotation

1.7 Rotation Strategy:


Balance Shadows rely heavily on their dots and fast Mind Crush procs, with a very simple rotation. Force Breach and Sever Force should always be up on your target, Force in Balance should be used on CD and so should Mind Crush due to Force Strike procs. There may be cases where your Mind Crush procs and you still have a few seconds remaining on the existing Mind Crush dot on the target, in which case you should refrain from casting it until the previous instance wears off. Force Suppression charges are also an important part of the rotation, as not only do they increase your dps but they also help regenerate Force. Double Strike is your filler ability, and you should be spamming it when everything is else on CD. Spinning Strike should also be used on CD when your target is below 30% HP.

15-20 second rotation (10-14 GCDs, no opener). Considering 2 possible cases:

Above 30% HP, full ability rotation:

FiB + DS + FB + DS + SF + MC (proc) + DS spam + MC (proc) + FiB

swtor-balance-shadow-dps-guide-rotation-1

Below 30% HP, full ability rotation:

FiB + DS + FB + Spin + SF + MC (proc) + DS / Spin spam + MC (proc) + FiB

swtor-balance-shadow-dps-guide-rotation-2

1.8 AoE Rotation:


The AoE capabilities of a Shadow are unfortunately pretty terrible, and one of the worst out of any class. Balance gets an advantage through Force in Balance, which you should be using anyway, and provides a good boost when multiple targets are nearby. Beside that, however, the rest isn’t very good. Force Wave can be used if you want to do some instant damage against a group of targets that are immune to physics, and considering Whirling Blow’s awful damage output and high cost, sometimes it’s best just to Force Wave to do some quick AoE to help finish off some adds, rather than burning all of your force for little return. Whirling Blow does have a talent that will trigger your lightsaber Technique on a different internal CD to your other attacks, so with luck you can get multiple procs to help boost your dps. Unfortunately, your Technique doesn’t do much damage by itself, so this small buff to an already weak ability is not particularly fantastic. You are often better off just using Force in Balance and focusing a single target.

1.9 Sample Parse Analysis:


swtor-balance-shadow-dps-class-guide-sample-parse-analysis

  • Double Strike is your most common ability, and as such will generally be your highest overall damage dealing ability as well. Although its individual damage is not amazing, it’s really the only thing you’ll be using between dots and Force in Balance.
  • Crushed is the dot component of your Mind Crush. It has an improved duration in this spec and deals considerably higher damage with Force Suppression, so it should be in second place for damage dealt.
  • Sever Force is one of the two dots you should have on the target at all times, and considering it has a 30 meter range, there is rarely an excuse to not have it active.It should be taking the third spot in your damage dealt.
  • Force in Balance is your most important ability, not only due to its own high damage, but also due to the Force Suppression charges which will buff your dots. Its long CD reduces the amount of damage it can deal throughout a fight, however on a single target fight it should usually be in fourth place.
  • Crushed (the second instance of this name) is the dot effect of your Force Breach, and is your second dot that requires consistent uptime. This dot, however, can be applied to multiple targets, as it has no CD. Since this ability will always have constant activity, it should generally be doing around the same percentage of damage. Used on a single target boss fight, it should be taking fifth place in your overall damage.
  • Saber Strike is your only free ability other than a Mind Crush proc, so it’s usually used between Double Strikes to conserve Force for more important abilities. The utility of this ability is key in your rotation, because having higher Double Strike damage and lower Saber Strike damage usually means that you spent Force on Double Strike that you should have been conserving for more important abilities, often causing dots or Force in Balance to also have a lower damage percentage, and your dps being lower. It should be dealing a low amount of damage, generally taking sixth place.
  • Mind Crush damage dealt should be in sync with your Crushed damage. If your Crushed damage is where it should be, then the initial damage from Mind Crush should be too. It is usually above Spinning Strike, depending on the duration of the fight and mechanics.
  • Spinning Strike is a necessary ability once your target is below 30%, and it replaces Double Strike whenever it’s available. Even with its limited use, it’s a hard hitting ability and very important in any Shadow rotation. In a regular single target fight, it should be under Mind Crush damage, but above the damage dealt by your final two abilities.
  • Force Technique and Rippling Force are your last two components, and there is nothing you can really do to alter their damage, as they are from passive proc chances through your lightsaber Technique and talents. They usually deal around the same percentage of damage each fight, and you cannot improve their damage dealt as they are purely based off of procs.

swtor-balance-shadow-dps-class-guide-sample-parse-analysis-2

You can observe that the majority of your damage should be dealt by Energy / Kinetic sources, which is mitigated more by boss armor and gains more benefit from an armor reduction debuff, while the remainder comes from Internal damage dealt by Force in Balance and Sever Force, so this is a spec that gains a significant benefit from an armor reduction debuff. It is also worth noting when comparing parses between Assassins and Shadows that there will be disparity between sources of Energy and Kinetic damage, due to their ability mechanics, however this doesn’t impact on mitigation, as both are mitigated by boss armor in the same manner. It is also worth noting that close to half of your damage dealt is done by melee attacks, and the remainder comes entirely from Force attacks.

1.10 Tips And Tricks:


  • Force Suppression is the most important part of the Balance rotation, and it should be used properly, consuming all charges before re-applying. The 3 dots work differently from one another; Sever Force ticks on use and does the highest damage per tick, Force Breach also ticks on use but does slightly less damage per tick than Sever Force, and Mind Crush does the lowest damage, but ticks every second for 8 seconds. As such, the theory to optimize damage would be that Force Breach and Sever Force should burn as many Force Suppression charges as possible to gain a larger damage buff, but they will not be able to use all 15 stacks, so Mind Crush will help drain the remaining stacks of Force Suppression while letting the other two dots consume the majority. Since Mind Crush has an 8 second dot, but the internal cooldown on its proc is only 7.5 seconds, make sure that you allow your previous Mind Crush to finish ticking before applying your next one, as well as attempting to drain all of the Force Suppression charges before your next Force in Balance becomes available.
  • Force Cloak and the Shadow’s Respite buff that it grants is a useful trick for the initial rotation, however its benefit is significantly less substantial as part of your regular rotation during a fight. It is wiser to hold the cooldown on your Force Cloak in case the group needs a stealth rez, which is a large part of your utility as a Shadow.
  • Phase Walk can be a really useful travel mechanic to move you around the room quickly to avoid mechanics and transitions, as well as to maximise your dps by significantly decreasing travel time. If you don’t know whether or not you will use it, try to drop it somewhere you think is smart location, and it may still grant you some benefit. You are better off taking the chance and perhaps not using it than dying because you couldn’t avoid a mechanic in time.
  • Force Cloak is a fantastic defensive CD that you should maximise your use of, as you can completely avoid some of the most devastating attacks and mechanics in a boss fight, which can give a significant helping hand to your healers when they need it most.

Infiltration

Infiltration (5 / 36 / 5 ) http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#601bcZfrfRkGbRrb0zZcM.3

swtor-infiltration-shadow-dps-class-guide-build

2.1 Rates (1-10):


  • Single Target Dps: 6
  • AoE Damage: 3
  • Group Utility: 7
  • Rotation Difficulty: 10
  • RNG Dependant: Yes
  • Burst: 10
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes

2.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:


  • **Must Have** Accuracy: As close to 440 Accuracy rating as possible
  • 0 Alacrity
  • 70-77% Surge
  • 350-530 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Willpower (Resolve)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set bonus: 4 piece Stalker’s
  • Shadow Technique

2.3 Gearing Overview:


  • Reaching the Accuracy cap should be your highest priority
  • The dps bonus given by Alacrity rating is low enough that, even with the high amount of diminishing returns it will suffer, Surge rating will always be better
  • The difference in overall dps between 350 Critical rating and 530 Critical rating is minimal, and having a little bit will benefit your overall dps, stacking it is never a good idea due to high diminishing returns
  • Choice of relics should be made on a fight-to-fight basis. Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution will give you a greater overall damage increase, while Boundless Ages will allow you to focus your burst into a short window for fights with tight burn phases
  • Getting your set bonus as quickly as possible is highly recommended. It will increase your dps substantially enough that having lower item level armorings with the set bonus is still a better option than higher item level armorings without it

2.4 Ability Explanation:


  • Force Breach while in Shadow Technique has a different mechanic from Balance, so instead of being a dot it is an instant damage ability, however its damage depends on how many Breaching Shadows you have built, up to a maximum of 3 charges. Using it while at 3 stacks is a must, and delaying it will often lead to a dps loss. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Shadow Technique: Each time Shadow Technique deals damage, it builds 1 stack of Breaching Shadow
    2. Potent Shadows: Force Potency has a 100% chance to build 3 Breaching Shadows on use
    3. Judgement: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP
    4. Deep Impact: Increases critical strike damage dealt by 50%
  • Shadow Strike is one of your most important abilities. It should only be used with a Infiltration Tactics proc, increasing its damage done and reducing cost. However it is very low on the priority list due to the fact that you cannot override one proc with another. Since the internal cooldown is exactly the same length as the duration of the proc.:
    1. Shadow’s Mark: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    2. Circling Shadows: Increases critical strike damage dealt by 30%, and grants Circling Shadows, reducing the cost of your next Project by 25%, up to 2 stacks
    3. Infiltration Tactics: Direct damage attacks have a 30% chance to proc Infiltration Tactics, reducing the cost of your next Shadow Strike by 75% and increasing its damage by 30%, with a 6 second internal CD
    4. Judgement: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP
  • Project is considered to be your most important ability, in combination with Force Breach, and should be used whenever you have 2 Circling Shadows proc unless you already have 3 Breaching Shadows. It deals decent damage, procs your lightsaber Technique, essentially improving its damage and giving you Breaching Shadows, and can be quite low cost. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Upheaval: 45% chance to trigger a second Project that deals 50% damage
    2. Circling Shadows: Each stack reduces its cost by 25%, up to 2 stacks
    3. Judgement: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP
    4. Deep Impact: Increases critical strike damage dealt by 50%
    5. Clairvoyant Strike: Each Clairvoyant Strike generates a stack of Clairvoyance, giving Project a 50% chance to trigger your Shadow Technique off its normal rate limit, up to 2 stacks
  • Clairvoyant Strike is your general filler ability, allowing you to buff your Project with Clairvoyance, which should be up as often as possible, triggering Circling Shadows to lower Project cost, and dealing decent damage. It is affected by a variety of talents:
    1. Judgement: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP
    2. Circling Shadows: Grants Circling Shadows, reducing the cost of your next Project by 25%, up to 2 stacks
    3. Applied Force: Increases damage dealt by 6%
    4. Psychokinesis: Reduces cost by 2
  • Spinning Strike is your sub 30% damage ability, and should replace Clairvoyant Strike whenever it’s available. The only reason it’s below Clairvoyant Strike on the priority list is because you have to keep the Clairvoyance buff up permanently, meaning that eventually you may have to delay the use of Spinning Strike by a GCD to refresh your Clairvoyance buff. The only abilities that should be used ahead of Spinning Strike are Project, a 3 stack Force Breach, and Clairvoyant Strike (only to maintain Clairvoyance). If Spinning Strike is up during a Infiltration Tactics proc, Spinning Strike should be used first and Infiltration Tactics delayed, due to its long internal cooldown. It is affected by several talents:
    1. Circling Shadows: Grants Circling Shadows, reducing the cost of your next Project by 25%, up to 2 stacks
    2. Judgement: Increases damage dealt by 6% to targets under 30% HP, and reduces cost by 10
    3. Psychokinesis: Reduces cost by 2      

2.5 Opening Rotation:


I personally prefer to open with Stealth  + Force Potency / Adrenal + Force Breach + Project + Clairvoyant Strike + Clairvoyant Strike + Shadow Strike (proc) OR Clairvoyant Strike  + Force Breach (proc) + Project +  Blackout + follow rules (see below)

swtor-infiltration-shadow-dps-guide-opening-rotation-alt1

Another opener would be Stealth  + Clairvoyant Strike +  Clairvoyant Strike  + Force Potency / Adrenal + Force Breach + Project +  Clairvoyant Strike + Shadow Strike (proc) OR Clairvoyant Strike + Blackout + Clairvoyant Strike + Project +  follow rules (see below)

swtor-infiltration-shadow-dps-guide-opening-rotation-alt2

2.6 Rotation Strategy:


Now let’s talk “Rotations”

The reason for using the quotes is because there isn’t really much of a rotation for Shadows. It’s all about interpreting your momentum the right way. I will explain exactly what I mean by that now.

For Shadows, I like to explain the damage sequence as a set of rules that you should follow but you CAN “cheat” them if you find yourself in a unique situation.

The first rule, ALWAYS use Force Breach the moment you get 3 Breaching Shadows. Not doing so might result in procs that will only retrigger the duration of the 3 stack proc. But they are effectively “lost” This can still be a good thing though, if you need to save your burst for a couple of seconds for example. You might want to hold off on using your Force Breach. But only then.

The second rule, ONLY use your Project with 2 Circling Shadows procs. Not doing so will result in force starvation before Blackout is back. Forcing you to use more Saber Strikes than you should.Once again this rule can be cheated if you find yourself in a massive overflow of force. For example at the opener.

The third rule, keep your Clairvoyant Strike buff up at all times. This rule should not be cheated and is pretty much a holy grail. Sometimes you will find yourself using extra Clairvoyant Strikes to ensure you do not overcap force. This is when you are in the middle of a Project cooldown and havn’t got anything more force consuming to use. If however you find yourself overcapping and Force Breach becomes available, Force Breach still has priority.

The fourth rule, use your Shadow Strike only with an Infiltration Tactics proc. It is also at the bottom of your priority list because while the proc is up, another cannot trigger due to internal cooldown. It replaces one of your Clairvoyant Strikes in between Projects cooldown when it triggers. Allowing you to save 13 force. Which you will need to last the entire 45 seconds of Blackout cooldown.

The fifth rule, Spinning Strike on cooldown. The only ability that takes priority over Spinning Strike is Force Breach. Once you enter the burn phase, you will pretty much stop using Saber Strike entirely and switch to using Spinning Strike, Clairvoyant Strike and Shadow Strike in between every Shock cooldown. However you should delay Project for Force Breach/Spinning Strike if it comes to that.

Now before we continue I wish to add a little explaination as to how Project really works in conjunction to the rest of your abilities. Basically, when you use Project, you have EXACTLY 3 GCDs to get 2 Circling Shadows and once you have that you should stop using attacks that trigger Circling Shadows.

For example: You are at 60 force, you have an Infiltration Tactics proc and need to refresh Clairvoyance.You use the Infiltration Tactics proc and you refresh Clairvoyance.After that you Saber Strike to ensure you don’t lose more force than you have to. The order isn’t important unless either buff is prone to expire before you can get the second GCD off. In that case whatever is about to fall off has priority.

This rule is overridden once you get to the burn phase. At that point you just hammer for as long as you have force. Only using a Saber Strike if you think you will run out of force. 

2.7 AoE Rotation:


AoE abilities in the Infiltration tree are the worst in the game, as you don’t have Force in Balance to compete with Balance, so your only real AoE ability is Whirling Blow, which has an extremely high cost and deals poor damage. It is often recommended to avoid Whirling Blow wherever possible, and the only reason Force Wave is a better choice is because it isn’t expensive. The general AoE rotation is just your single target rotation, using your burst to your favor, pick something that can be easily killed and burn it quickly to reduce your group’s incoming damage.The non-existent setup time gives you an excellent advantage, allowing you to quickly swap targets and damage them straight away.

2.8 Sample Parse Analysis:


swtor-infiltration-shadow-dps-class-guide-sample-parse

  • Clairvoyant Strike is your most common ability throughout a fight, and its high critical chance gives it an edge on damage dealt above the rest of your abilities, making it generally your highest damaging ability for the duration of a fight.
  • Project is also used frequently and deals great damage, in addition to the various talents that improve it. It should be taking the second spot in your damage dealt.
  • Shadow Strike also hits particularly hard thanks to Infiltration Tactics, however it’s less frequently used due to Infiltration Tactics’ longer cooldown, though it should still be in third place for your overall damage.
  • Force Breach has a similar problem to Shadow Strike, as it can only be used after your Breaching Shadows have been built. There should only be a minute difference, a few percent at most, between Project, Shadow Strike and Force Breach, giving the spec a nice balance. It often takes fourth place in your damage dealt.
  • Shadow Technique is an excellent Technique, with a low proc chance for high damage, but thanks to Clairvoyance Projects, it is forced to proc more often than it should naturally, despite its long internal cooldown. Depending of course on RNG, the exact percentage will vary, but will often take the fifth spot for your damage dealt.
  • Spinning Strike is a powerful and cheap ability that gains great benefit from talents. It should be used as often as possible, and its damage essentially depends on how long the fight actually lasts for with targets under 30% HP. On an average single target boss fight, it should do lower damage than your other hard hitting abilities, but higher than Saber Strike and any fillers.
  • Saber Strike, is the final components of your parse. Depending on the fight and your play style, Spinning Kick and Low Slash may or may not have any damage dealt at all, but either way they should not exceed 1% of your damage. Saber Strike is used the most during the two long delays between Blackout and Force Cloak cooldowns, since you won’t regenerate Force as quickly, so accounting for between 2-5% of your damage dealt is often a good number.

swtor-infiltration-shadow-dps-class-guide-sample-parse-2

You can observe that at least half of your damage dealt is done by melee attacks from your Clairvoyant Strike, Spinning Strike, Shadow Strike and Saber Strike, while the other 50% comes from Force abilities such as Project and Force Breach. A high proportion of your damage dealt, usually around 70%, is done by Energy / Kinetic damage which is highly mitigated by armor, making your armor penetration talent and any armor reduction buffs very useful. The other 30% is Internal damage from Force Breach and your lightsaber Technique. It is also worth noting when comparing parses between Shadows and Assassins that there will be disparity between sources of Energy and Kinetic damage, due to their ability mechanics, however this doesn’t impact on mitigation, as both are mitigated by boss armor in the same manner.

2.9 Tips and Tricks:


  • Phase Walk can be a really useful travel mechanic to move you around the room quickly to avoid mechanics and transitions, as well as to maximise your dps by significantly decreasing travel time. If you don’t know whether or not you will use it, try to drop it somewhere you think is smart location, and it may still grant you some benefit. You are better off taking the chance and perhaps not using it than dying because you couldn’t avoid a mechanic in time.
  • Force Cloak is a fantastic defensive CD that you should maximise your use of, as you can completely avoid some of the most devastating attacks and mechanics in a boss fight, which can give a significant helping hand to your healers when they need it most.
  • Using Blackout and exiting stealth both trigger Shadow’s Respite, and exiting stealth also finishes the CD on Blackout, so if you time it and use your abilities correctly in your opening rotation, you can have 24 seconds’ worth of consecutive Shadow’s Respite regeneration, and 12 seconds during a regular rotation.
  • The cooldown on Force Potency drops by 1 minute each time you exit combat, which is triggered whenever you use Force Cloak. Because of this, the increased Force regeneration, the cooldown reset of Blackout and the ability to use Spinning Kick to cause an Infiltration Tactics proc, Force Cloak becomes a very important part of your rotation.
  • Remember that while Project buffed with Clairvoyance will trigger Shadow Technique and guarantee a Breaching Shadow stack for Force Breach, Project without Clairvoyance does not have a separate rate limit for Breaching Shadow gains. This means you can get Breaching Shadow from all of your other attacks, plus from Project’s buffed separate rate limit. This make it possible for Project to trigger 2 Breaching Shadow procs on its own. One from the rate limit and one from Clairvoyance..

How Taunts and Threat Drops Function:


It is unfortunately common for decent dps to not have a proper grasp of how taunts and threat drops work, which leads to mistimed use of abilities and a far more difficult job for the tanks. Although tanks should be capable of holding threat against any dps regardless of their skill, in some fights where taunts need to be strategically held for other mechanics, the dps understanding the mechanics behind threat helps a great deal. There are 4 types of threat drops in the game, and knowing which you have access to and when to use them is key to a successful raiding career.

  • Single-Target Threat Drop (E.g. Cloud Mind): This type of threat drop specifically functions only for your threat against your current target. If you use your Cloud Mind on a target, your threat on all other enemies will remain the same. Each use will lower your threat by a percentage of your total.
  • AoE Threat Drop (E.g. Chaff Flare | Diversion): Unlike targeted threat drops, using these abilities will lower your threat on all enemies and not only your current target. Similarly to single-target threat drops, each use will lower your threat by a percentage of your total, but calculated individually based on each enemy’s threat meter.
  • “It Wasn’t Me” Threat Drop (Force Camouflage): Marauders | Sentinels don’t have access to a standard threat reduction ability. Instead, they have a more powerful threat drop that will essentially reset your threat, making it very difficult for you to steal aggro again. This mechanic, however, only works for enemies that have previously targeted you at some point of the fight. Because of this, using Force Camouflage as a conventional threat drop is not suggested, and it should instead be saved until you either pull aggro and require an immediate threat drop, or to utilise its damage reduction utility.
  • Removal From Combat (E.g. Force Cloak): This is the most powerful threat drop in the game, and is subsequently one of the reasons why classes with this kind of threat drop should never steal aggro, taking advantage of this ability’s strength as part of their opening rotation. Activating this type of ability will remove you from combat, resetting your current threat on all targets to 0.

All taunts function in the same way; any target affected by a taunt will cause the user’s threat level to become 10% higher than the target’s highest current threat, in addition to forcing them to attack the user for the next 6 seconds. It will always put the user of the taunt at the top of the threat meter, but gains significantly more power as threat levels improve due to the 10% extra threat generated. Although the target is forced to attack the taunter for the next 6 seconds, threat generation continues regularly, and should another person have the highest threat level when the debuff wears off, they will become the new target

Dps knowing when to drop threat is an important skill. Whenever a tank taunts, the taunt icon will appear as a debuff on the target (the icon is always the same, regardless of class), so you will always know when a taunt has been used. A well timed threat drop is not necessarily used immediately after your best CDs or at the end of your opening rotation. You should always wait to use your threat drop until after you see that the tank has taunted the boss, and not necessarily the first time that they do (remember that they often use 3 taunts in a row as part of their opening rotation), as this signifies that their threat gain has been maximised. If you use your aggro drop as soon as you pull aggro on the boss but before the tank can taunt, their taunt will therefore become less effective and you may put yourself, or another player, at risk of pulling aggro again immediately afterwards. Also keep in mind that the higher your own threat is when you use your threat drop, the more significant the amount of threat lost will be.

Combat removal abilities such as Force Cloak should of course be used according to their place in your opening rotation, and not when you pull aggro, for the same reason as above. For Marauders | Sentinels, while it is also not recommended that you use Force Camouflage once you steal aggro in your first rotation, you have a slightly different timing window. Your threat drop will only actually work if you are being targeted when you use it, so you should save it until such time as you are targeted a second time and the tank can no longer instantly taunt off of you. Doing so will still help to maximise the tank’s threat, and will also drop your threat significantly enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about pulling aggro for the remainder of the fight.

About the Authors


Invinc and Vindrik are both members of <Hatred> on Harbinger, an endgame progression guild with world 3rd clear of Nightmare S&V, World 2nd clear of Nightmare TFB, world 1st speed clear (under 2 hrs) of Nightmare S&V, and numerous server firsts at the 8m level.

Invinc is the guild leader of <Hatred> and mains an operative DPS but plays pretty much every and all classes for operations. He currently leads the parses on operative lethality DPS on multiple boss fights and dummy parses. Also known as Carlenux, Carlenix (sniper), Carlenx (Sorcerer), Pyrotec (Powertech)

Vindrik mains an operative healer and is the raid leader for group B in <Hatred> (World 5th speed clear of Nightmare S&V). He is the former raid leader of <Notorious Synergy> on Dalborra, one of the world top guilds pre-2.0 (World 4th).

While the information here are mostly written by these two players, numerous other Hatred raid members and guides were consulted. Questions, comments, concerns will be answered by Invinc, who goes by the name of Carlos Eduardo Mata in the comments section below.

Evolixe is a well known Shadow/Assassin player residing on Tomb of Freedon Nadd. Mostly known for PvP experiences, recently joining into the PvE scene and quickly picking up Nightmare level raiding. Currently recordholder of multiple Infiltration/Deception DPS world records on latest content bosses.

By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

97 replies on “SWTOR Balance and Infiltration Shadow DPS Class Guide”

“Currently, Shadow dps is the most lackluster of all dps classes, and … it is difficult to justify using an Shadow when other classes are available, especially when dps and enrage timers are an issue. .” ????
I understand this is the author’s opinion. But given such a strong statement would have been nice to see some proof of that. Moreover imho it is just blatantly wrong!

http://www.torparse.com/statistics
grab 8 man rankings
neffra= 1 in top 40

gate: none
grob: 1, fail parse, it is a wipe 185 secs
corrupter: none
brontes: 3 fail parse, all of them are wipes.

16 hm DP
bestia: none
tyrans: none
calph: 2, 1 is a wipe fight, fail parse.
raptus: 1, on first spot 74 seconds fight, it is an early wipe.
council: none.

surely knightrider have showed us they “can be there” and eventually on the top spots, maybe 1-2 more, but thats it, 3 people playing a class to be just there, just because obviously they are incredible above average players to do this, doesnt make the class “really viable”, i u were to be a raid leader, and you have a random player for your last spot, he has a sniper/op/mara/merc vs ssin, i dare you to choose a ssin over those classes, that wont happen, because you, i, everyone know anyone that havnt spent 1-2 years playing the class and have above average skills, wont be able to outperform with the class.

off the top of my head i know two Shadows on my Server I’d take to DP/DF HC if they were in purple 66s rather then looking further trough my Friendslist for someone else, don’t even mention Randoms. Player>Class&Equippment

the player is easily Reason enough to bring a Shadow to HC.

might be different for NIM but that isn’t out, jet.

Yes I know one supreme Shadow as well. But that’s really just another way to tell I and Carlos are right. When you need a beyond exceptional player of a certain class (2-3 per server) to be just a *mediocre* DPSer then you know that class is a waste of a spot for *every* less exceptional player. OK if you are so lucky to have one of those 2-3 guys per server as a member of your guild, please be my guest and have them with you all the time! But for everybody else this does not apply.

Parses on training dummies are far from the reality of what damage a class can really do in an operation.
1. Shadows have the highest DPS when mobs are bellow 30% which in case of boss fights often coincides with burn phases. (untill recently impossible to show on trainign dummies)
2. Along with Guardians and Vanguards are one of rarest played dps classes (most of these advanced classes spec into the defense tree) so also one of the least understood.
3. In real operation fights they put up competitive dps numbers.
4. It can be difficult to put large dps numbers up with a Shadow unlike it is with the turret slingers and commando’s or the sentinel (and their empire counterparts) but not impossible and requires more movement and awareness and understanding of the class.

the under 30% is not anymore an excuse with new operation dummys unfortunately :S, they get a high buff but not as high as you would think.

point number 2 i completely agree, and this is also because their dps specs are not optimal for dps and overly complicated (some of them) so people prefer going tank than wasting time when they can lvl another alt to do that job, when any of this class become FoTM buffed, u will see them all going dps :P, happend with ops in 2.0, happened with pyro merc, will happen with these classes.

Real operation fights the rotation gets harder, therefor making even harder to do numbers, there are many plus on an assassin rotation to say in a boss fight they do more dmg, there are also many downs on it, and like all classes, it is dependent on fight and mechanics :).

4. u are giving me the reason, u are saying, its diffictul to put high numbers, a different way to say, only incredibly skilled people do high numbers, and they are not that high in comparison either cmopared to slingers commando or sentinel. “requires more movement and awareness and understanding of the class” AKA its way harder, so my point is sniper, being simple, standing there, being ranged, doing 3800 dps… marauder standing there, with same movement and awarness needed, with bloodthirst and better defensive CDs doing 3800 dps, commando being simple, standing there, being ranged, great defensive CD, doing 4000 dps… assassin requiring” more movement and awareness and understanding of the class” doing 3550 dps… which one you choose?, of course shroud can cheese some mechanics, also there are many other factors and utility for a ssin dps to be valuable in a raid, but have to compare to perspective, Shroud vs bloodthirst, Shroud vs Ballistic shield, Shroud vs 450 dps more and off heals… Stealth rez vs predation, Stealth rez vs orbital, Stealth rez vs AoE koltobomb / battle rez … i can keep going, so yeah bottom line an assassin is hardly comparable to the classes that are on “top” of the performance right now, they can be in the group of sorcerer, jug, maybe Pt (debatable), concealment ops, rage mara, but not in the top group for performance 🙁 until they get a buff.

The explanation for Mind Crush (especailly for Balance build) is misleading. It should say that mind crush should only be used when your melee attacks proc the ability to insta cast it free of cost (as offered by the Force Strike talent). Otherwise the ability is not worth using in rotaition. They way it is explained now is somewhat confusing.

Another useful Tip: Force regen for shadows does not depend on the amount of force left unlike Troopers or Smugglers. However it is usefull to keep force at above 35 so as to have enough energy left to cast FiB and the dots without wasting time. So use saber strike if you ever get bellow 35.

i know that should be somewhere in the guide honestly, ill have to take a look at it again as i remember explaining that.

TL;DR – There were a few mistakes in the guide. I mostly point to the Infiltration spec, which I know much better.

Force Resilience is the Defensive Cooldown ability that provides 3 seconds of “immunity” to Force/Tech attacks with a 5% failure rate.

Balance:
Relic/Adrenal is better saved for when all DoTs are rolling, in order to squeeze out a little bit of damage. A slight delay still results in higher overall damage.

Infiltration:
Crit % for Infiltration Shadows is a little bit low. We have such very large surge bonuses, and hit so very poorly on non-crits that the extra crit both stabilizes damage and increases average damage. I can provide a few hundred parses if you need the raw data to analyze.

Low Strike is WAY more expensive than Spinning Kick, and has no place outside of PVP. Sure, it does a little more damage, but it’s not worth the extra force in such a force starved spec.

Project has second highest priority, as the 9 second rate limit on Infiltration Tactics gives you plenty of time to use Shadow Strike. Delaying Shadow Strike by 2 to even 4 GCDs will not hurt your dps at all, though you won’t usually have to wait so long. Also, delaying Project delays time between 3 stack Breaches, and thus reduces DPS. In a spec so heavy on RNG, you need to do what you can to fight it at every point.

In the opener, you should double Clairvoyant Strike before using Project. This should reduce the time to your next Breach, and delaying that, like I said earlier, is a DPS loss. Also, the way your opener is set up, there’s only a very low chance to have 3 stacks of Breaching Shadows by the second FB. Battle Readiness should also be used immediatly after the first FB, in which case you may get lucky on the first project, and build a stack of Breaching Shadows. Also, if you’re going to use spinning kick (which is lower dps if shadow strike does not crit), you don’t need a second CS, as SK takes up a GCD while you wait for Project.

You also pretty heavily assume that you’ll get at least 1 natural Shadow Technique proc per FB round. I know in an ideal world this will work every time, and it usually does. But there have been so many times it hasn’t worked out while I’ve been dpsing that I think you should discuss what happens when it doesn’t…. which is going about the rotation as normal.

Low Slash is not really an ability that has a place in PVE. It costs more than 1/4 of our total force for a risk that SS won’t crit. If it doesn’t crit, then CS + CS is better damage per force. You also need to go back and replace many of your instances of spinning kick with low slash, as SK can’t be used outside of stealth.

The damage %s for Infiltration are typical, but you should note that crit % for each ability can change where they end up pretty significantly, even with no change in priority or rotation that isn’t caused by RNG.

As demonstrated in the parse you used for an example, using Low Slash and Spinning Kick are usually a dps loss, which is why M-Knightrider didn’t use them at all. They’re situationally useful in real boss fights, against adds, usually, but shouldn’t be used against the boss.

A side note: Upheaval can trigger Shadow Technique, and is actually really nice when it does.

I’m wondering why you used one of M-Knightrider’s parses for Infiltration, but not his best (or even close to it) for Balance, his chosen spec. Just an oddity I noticed.

I know that Shadow DPS are lackluster in terms of our maximum potential, but the amount of Shadow/Assassin bashing from this site is staggering. I have the highest damage output of anyone in my guild, though it’s small and we’re not very hardcore about raiding. It’s difficult, but we can put up some fantastic numbers, and Infiltration Shadows can clear individual adds impressively quickly.

“I know that Shadow DPS are lackluster in terms of our maximum potential, but the amount of Shadow/Assassin bashing from this site is staggering”

completely agree.

I mean, it takes a lot of work to write up a guide like this, and I’m grateful someone did and I can just contribute to it. I just don’t think it’s wise to bash a class in its own guide.

unfortunately saying the true is not bashing, you guys want me to lie so you guys are happy but i wont do that, maybe it is a bit harsh the way it is said and can be re-written somehow, but it is the true, there is almost no room for you to choose as ssin, over another class.

let me put an example of me as a raid leader, if i were able to recruit knightrider, i would, without thinking, the guy is impressive and his skills are way higher than most assassins and probably most players, the thing is, does this justify the class? just because he is playing a relative bad class to really high capacity, would i choose him over my merc/sniper/mara/op dps composition, i probably wouldnt, i would put him in a raid group and 100% sure i would him useful in 2-3 progressions fights for being the best assassin and have some nice tricks, but there is no way “my raid group” not talking about regular raid group, i would choose him between the classes available just for numbers, i am 100% sure he can go in 99% of the raid groups and kick the ass of everyone, beat any marauders, sniper you want, the thing is, probably compared to top players of other classes, the numbers would be a bit behind, not becaues of him, becaues of the class has a top, and they need to buff it eventually like they buff/nerf any class, they will get buffed, the thing is this is knightrider, and maybe 2-3 other assassins in the world (as far as people can notice), grab any average, good assasssin that cant pull such high numbers, and pretty sure he wouldnt have a chance to fit in, because 3400 dummy, and 250 behind other classes in a boss fight PLUS being harder to play, wont be good enough.

Like i posted on another comment, go to all hm
rankings and find shadows in them, they are not there, neither they are
really high in dummy, assassin, juggernaut dps, arsenal merc, madness
sorc, are way under performing against other, and we know this, dont try to justify something that is true because you like the class. one good rider wont make up for the other 500 assassins that are holding back their raid groups.

like it is said, it has high skill ceiling to
play good, this is so high that there are barely a few 1-5 realgood
assassins out there, to not say 1-2 that are actually comparable to other top players from other classes . in a raid, a spot should never be taken by a class but by numbers, this mean if i ahve to choose between 8 dps, if they are 3 sniper 3 mara 1 op and 1 ssin, and the one with highest dps is a ssin, hes in, idc of the class, neither should someone else, the sad true is that is really unlikely to happen unless one of those 1-5 players are in there. if you want me and dulfy wants, i can write a how to guild lead / raid lead a group, that i am even better than doing this guide, so people can stop thinking “low class capabilities” = not being taken to a raid, after all it comes down to, who does more dmg, however they play, whatever they play.

in other words, the overview is
directed probably for anyone that wants to learn a class, not to anyone that plays it or knows it, saying this, do you want me, to tell a new lvl 55 with 4 alts, that playing assassin dps will give him the best benefits and should gear it first if he wants to easily get into end game raiding, vs his other 3 alts (merc, op, mara for example), we all know this is false, we all know half the raidgroups wouldnt grab an average assassin, because the average assassin often doesnt do as much dps, for many reasons, there wlil be the time where assassins will get buffed again and we have to edit the class but it is not now.

if you play in the harbringer have a geared ssin, and you app to my guild regardless of the class and show me in raid how u can at least compete with my raid group dps or beat them, i dont care if u play assassin madness, deception, tank spec as dps, without skill points, clicking, binded, with 1 eye, watching tv… you are in, because your numbers back it up whatever you do.

An overview of the class is not directed to someone that “happen to know his class and love it or play it all the time” is to give objective information on how the class performs, if you write a guide, and you say an assassin dps will perform in equally conditions, with equally average raiding player (not knightrider) and assassins shuld be in their first choices for dps, you are lying to them.

if a person has 5-10 hours weekly, to gear up to some HMs
and raids, and want to get in to a guilde quickly to have some fun
raiding, saying somethings thats not true could destroy his game,
because if he waste 2-3 months gearing up an assassin (considering the guy has limited time to practice, play and gear up which i would say is the GREAT majority of the subscribers) to then not be taken into a raid group because of his numbers, or not being able to beat other classes, because the guy that wrote the guides on dulfy.net said they are “just as good as any other dps class” because people cant accept reality :S.

for
example my main is operative, CONCEALMENT, has always been, i was the only operative concealment that ever was in any chart pre 2.0 for Nightmare torparse, and i know how it feels reading your class is not optimal, this is why i had alts, if my class really wasnt optimal, i brought my PT pyro or my sniper, and then went back to playing my op, eventually we got buffed in 2.0, but Leth, i dont like leth, is not my main spec, but i have to play it because i have no other choice, i wont force my way into concealment to hold my raid group back, eventually we got a buff now and so will assassin, the thing is just because i can do it, or knightrider can do it, doesnt mean the class is viable or justifyits use, yeah of course i can grab my concealment op right now next
week and rank on every torparse fight probably, or at most, will that make concealment operatives less bad? will that give me any reason to say they are “just as good as other specs/classes like leth or mara, sniper” nop, thats why my concealment guide says even if a bit better than other because numbers back it off a bit against certain classes, it is still not a preferred class to play with, neither i will encourage anyone to go play an overly complicated spec for subpar dmg.

bottom line, you can have a ssin, i do have a ssin, i am waiting for that buff, but i wont lie to anyone that dont have one, or wants to pick 1 class to choose, to play something that “right now” is below the rest, anyone can do what they want, but for anyone thats not in the group of 1-5 assasssins that i said are incredibly exceptional playing them, i would always recommend them having an alt or two of other class, becauseall classes get nerf, and buff, Pyro merc was the WORST class 2 months ago, the worst even worst than ssin, they are overpower now, anyone witha merc changed chars to play, assassins, will have their time soon
enough, so will juggernaugt and sorcerers hopefully.

if anything of what is explained here is a lie or wrong, please let me know, but being objective, not being fanboy or defending your class, i said my main class is bad compared to other dps, concealment op ATM is not viable at all, and me with maybe 1-2 other operatives could be the only ones that “maybe” could be good enough to play it to barely compete with others… i said it about my main class, can u say it about yours now? ir should i lie to the people reading the guide :(.

All I meant was that it was a pretty harsh opening to the guide. I know my favorite class (and favorite spec more specifically) can’t really hold up in comparison to most of the other classes. I guess I just don’t like hearing the sad truth about my favorite, and main, class that I’ve worked on for many months now to gear up. :/

As far as not reading my suggestions yet, I honestly don’t blame you. I wrote a lot 😛

Also, I think it’s awesome that you’re taking the time to go through and respond to everyone’s comments. Kudos to you for that.

Hey we changed the opening paragraph to be a bit less harsh due to feedback from you and others. Hopefully it is less controversial now and doesn’t deter others from trying out the class 🙂

It is better now, thank you! And thank you for all the efforts, all the guides are very good! 🙂

yeah its been a harder work than expected, dulfys website gets A LOT of comments :P, however we changed the description as the results it gave was not the ones expected, we were just trying to be objective in reality, so now it express that but clarify the situation of completely viable hopefully being a more friendly approach for it :D.

anyways your comment seems like somehow u get what i told not to be intentionally disrespectful with the class but trying to say the true as i cant send a new player wanting to get a raid to play with a ssin without knowing what they getting into 😛 lol.

and yeah as u can see just like being 1-3 people writing this guide, is also 1-3 mostly me and dulfy asnwering all gudies, so there are manyyyyyyyyyyy stuff to answer, ill read yours now and take a look.

Thank you for all the hard work. and for the cahnge ot the opening paragrpah. Is more “politically correct” now 🙂

the Problem is that it sounds as if Shadows/Sins weren’t justifiable as DPS but that’s not true you have to work twice as hard to get 95% of the numbers some other DPS get but you can get easily enough for HC Content in the recommended Gear.

it has to be said to the people that want to play DPS sins that they have to work harder, but it also has to be said to the People leading raids that a good Shadow out damages average players of any other class.

thank you for the hard work, now lets hope BW throws the Balance part out the window soon, and some small alterations to Infiltration won’t hurt either :P.

It is better now, thank you! Of course we want you to tell the truth and the truth really is this adv. class does less dps than others so that should be said.
However, for taking the player on a raid or not, there are so many other variables to consider! If the raid is doing progression or trying to be at the top charts, then sure you must bring the players with the highest numbers. But there are many raids out there that only want to have some fun and gather some comms clearing a SM ops and for those a player that knows what they’re doing and is well geared is more than enough and need not to be put behind even if there are other players that do bigger numbers.

Thank you for all the efforts, all the guides are very good! 🙂

the failure rate is for everything, as it is 5% accuracy on boss, so is the same for shroud reflect invincible etc, either way that 5% accuracy wont make any difference if you use or not the ability, so after doing the research on that, i dont believe it is really important for anyone to somehow “know” that and then believe it is not worth using it because it might miss, and give the wrong idea to a new player :S.

i might have to dissagre on the adrenal maybe, using with dots = no FiB, delaying = less possibly utility, also all your dots tick on dmg, so there is no actual Delay on the tick dmg, it is debatable what causes more lost dleaying dots 1 GCD of adrenal eventually only SF last tick might not happen depending on how the split second u used it + FiB, or no fiB with adrenal, thats interesting to analyze.

yeah i totally agree with infiltration, actually i tried it long time ago even with crit augments, which gave me an improve, however i did not see any shadow using it until now, so didnt want to say something that was at the tmie not used by the best, because my ssin is undergeared and as far as it was a dps increase for me in comparison, my parses were low >_> lol.

low strike only utility is stated as dependent and in boss fight, as exploiting it well has some utility, take not the example i gave, 1 add that needs 1 GCD to die followed by boss / burst phase, killing or helping it get killed with LS for an instant maul on the incoming important part, might not be a dps increase, but not everything are numbers 😛 boss has to die.

as far as maul / shock yeah i agree with you, it is only above priority for few reasons explained there in the ability explanation if u have not read it :), in my opinoin and ability that buff other can not be below its priority otherwise that would mean the buff is useless, somehow like putting Cull above dots on a leth op, it is true Cull is way more important, but its also true cull without dots is nothing, so it shouldnt be above them :S.

for the opener yeah and the cases yeah that can happen, but just like those there are 15-20 cases more that could happen :S, our idea is to give simple information considering ideal procs, thats what should happen in a perfect rotation, now anyone that read that should understand the priority, and adjust themselves for the cases, usually telling someone anything “perfect” and practicing up to that (considering half the time it will fail and they will have to adjust) will not only give them more practice time but also help them become smarter with their class ro adjust the situation, as you cant grab a raider by the hand and explain every detail, and unfortunately even if i write the 15-20 possible cases for each rotation, i doubt he will write them down on paper and read them between GCD as soon as it is happening :P, but yeah i “totally” agree with you on everything you say, i just believe a guide is better when you somehow push the people to do the “hard thing” if they go dummy 10 fights, 4/10 this will happen, the other 6 they will adjust and find themselves what is better often helping them improve as players, thats my opinion on that point at least, maybe people disagree.

low lash explained above, is just situational and has use in very specific parts of some fights, jut about that, as it is explained and just like you say.

dmg % on all specs can vary on crit %, thats nothing you can do, almost all classes, not to say all classes have high Surge boost to their abilities, not only ssins, actually most classes per spec have 2 abillities surge boost, deception has 3, madness has 4 so that gets an edge of course, but any class vary on crit % of course :S.

i took the top parses available, regardless of who it was, at the point madness might have been someone elses parse :).

Hmm, you have some really good points. I hadn’t thought of some of that.

I still think that holding off on the adrenal just a little bit might produce more damage, as long as you don’t delay by more than 2 or 3 GCDs. In most fights, an extra 4.5 seconds of a small chunk of more damage probably won’t even crop up, and if it does, is not the most likely thing to wipe a raid if it’s not there. Then again, the surge bonus on FiB probably should be enough to make up for a couple missing ticks. I guess I’ll have to test it when I find new reason to go back to parsing. It may end up being pretty RNG dependent 🙁

All I meant about a lot of my comments is that you may want a slight disclaimer, as when things go wrong, they can go very far south. From when the Huge Grenade on Titan 6 HM was mildly relevant, I took the damage through resilience when I was tanking twice in the same fight.Things went pretty far south that second time 😛 I’ve also eating Force Execution with it up while dpsing. That really hurt, even through Masked Assault going (thank goodness I was low on Force at that point).

I really hope at some point they make Infiltration less RNG dependent. 200-300 dps swings are crazy when I parse with almost religious adherence to the rotation. I had a pretty radical suggestion to help smooth it out in the Assassin forums, but have had 0 responses to it.

“Force Suppression charges are also an important part of the rotation, as not only do they increase your dps but they also help regenerate Force”

they don’t regenerate Force since 2.0

about the shadow’s are lowest DPS (or rather the people saying that that isn’t true) very few Shadows can even get decent numbers against the dummy (the updated one)
what do you think happens in an actual Raid that has (worst case fore balance spec) target switching?
then there’s Burst or rather the complete lack thereof, any target that dies in less then 18sec is an substantial DPS loss if you have to do more then just FIB.

on the other hand the People that actually stick with shadows as their Mainchar in HC Raids tend to be exceptional ones that out damage anyone who isn’t trying his/her hardest.

Hello Invinc

I cut out on the big compliments, done them in other comments 😉

I have a suggestion for the balance starting rotation. I basically started intense Parsing on my shadow, analysing Riders Parses and so on, just to find out how viable the class is. (My parses are on Torparse, Jasis is the charname) As i found out, a shadow can really be as viable and strong as any other DPS in an Operation, but the amount of skill needed, boss knowledge and so on is huge. I guess that an average Gunslinger would do more damage than a good shadow, only a really very very good shadow commiting to parsing and perfection can do numbers as riders.
I for myself dont think I’m one of those now, since I almost never get to the interesting Operations as a DPS with my shadows. But on the Dummy (now with health module and armor debuff) i reach nice numbers, such as almost 3000 DPS with 72 Gear, the Obroan PVP Relics and a 78 Offhand Armoring and mod. THese logs clearly show that a Balance Shadow:
a.) is relying on the armor debuff. Around 150-200 DPS come from that thing.
b.) gets a huge buff under 30% due to the under 30% Buff and the Execute Move.

So, now i wanted to show you a better rotation, cause your rotation doesnt match de CDs of the abilites. The simple Idea behind my rotation is: You need the DoTs fully, with the last ticks to do their potential, and you need Force in Balance on Cooldown. Force in Balance has a 15 Second Cooldown, so its usable after 10 GCDs (1GCD=1.5 Seconds) counted with its own. The two DoTs each last 18 Seconds, so they need to be reaplied after 12 GCDs. What I do now is assigning certain skills to a certain number between 1 and 12 and i always count my GCDs from 1 to 12 then start again with the 1. That guarantees that a short instant after the last DoT Tick came and the dot dissapears, it will be reapplied. Heres how:

Start with Stealth and activate the Cooldowns either now or wait till your DoTs are applied. Start counting with the 12, as Force in Balance moves downwards in numbers.

12: FiB
1. Force Breach
2: Double Strike
3: Sever Force
4: Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike
5: Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
6. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
7. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
8. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
9. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
10. Force in Balance
11. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
12. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
1. Force Breach

This goes on and on. Force in Balance will move from 12 to 10 to 8 to 6 to 4 to 2 (careful with your force there) back to 12. Mind Crush is only allowed to be reapplied when the old one wears out. Usually i have the new procc ready by then. Under 30% use the finisher every time it is available instead of Double Strike.

This rotation is very simple, needs a little practices in Tearms of Force Managing and Procc Managing, but it is very, very effective. Hope to help some folks with this 🙂

Keep up the great Work Invinc and Guys!

Cheers

I already said this in the Assassin post, but I’ll bring it here for the Shadows that will read…

I believe it is a very strong affirmative to say “it is difficult to justify using an Shadow when other classes are available”. Although it is really difficult to reach the same dps numbers that other classes can do, it is more than enough dps to clear any content in the game, except maybe for Nightmare operations. And it is a fun class to play!

So, if you like the Shadow class, play it and have fun! 🙂 And don’t worry too much about the numbers…

I kind of disagree, you should worry about the numbers I don’t know about deception but if you play Balance halfhearted your DPS drop to a point where I would feel shame even in an SM run.

worry about the numbers, that’ll motivate you searching for ways to get better numbers with small changes like the difference between clipping and not clipping the two long Dots

do your best, just don’t let others crap on your class, Shadows can and do DPS any content.

You’re right, but then all players need to know their classes well for end game content. I mean that for 99% of the game, Shadows don’t need to worry more than any other adv. class IMO. But of course, anyone should take a look at their numbers and practice their class for end game, but after you did that, play a Shadow or any other class and don’t sorry too much! 🙂

“The dps bonus given by Alacrity rating is low enough that, even with the high amount of diminishing returns it will suffer, Surge rating will always be better
The difference in overall dps between 200 Critical rating and 400 Critical rating is minimal, and having a little bit will benefit your overall dps, stacking it is never a good idea due to high diminishing returns”
neither of these statements are fact. in higher teirs alacrity will almost certainly be taken over surge due to the fact that in current stat budgets we are already “overstatted” in surge far beyond its hard DR curve.
as well the difference between 200 and 400 crit is much larger than you think. shadows have some of the highest surge talents in the game including a 50% surge talent to Double strike, and 30% to all your Dots and FiB.

also the rotation your using is slightly wrong.

the best opening rotation is fiB>FB>DS>SF>MC(if it procced)>DS (spam till next proc)> (and force cloak right before your seccond dot aplication which will go as follows) FB>DS>SF>

the reason for putting double strike inbetween FB and SF is so that you have that space to put: FiB, MC, or DS for a better chance to proc. if you follow FB>SF or SF>FB (even worse) its almost impossible to get too force strike procs per dot winder and to keep MC up 100% aswell if you follow the FB>SF/>SF>FB setup it IS impossible to both use FiB on cooldown and maintain your DoTs 100% not doing either of which is a DPS loss. Also you may want to point out that Spinning Strike should be used as close to on CD as possible in the sub 30% range. such that it should replace any single DS that you would use.

also a ongoing trend in all of these guides which is pretty unprofessional is your injection of your personal opinions of the classes. also yes shadows arent in the best of places right now it is not your job to turn people away from them by saying in your guides that they are the worst and there is no reason to bring one in ever. thats the kind of ignorance that funnels everyone into 2 classes in MMO’s. my advice is to remove your opinions on the matters such as that and stick to guiding people on how the class is played. not on which class to play.

Source:
My Main is Jaberse whom can be found on the world leaderboard.

jesus took me a while to go with all the pub mirrors, heres where i need some explanation: using DS in between those, what if it doesnt proc? you just wasted 1 GCD?, also delaying the use of SF (1 instant proc) for deathmark (FiB debuff) is not a dps increase either, since you want DS and SF to get as many of those as possible since MC hits for small dmg and quick hits, +15% on 500 tick is less than +15% on 1200 tick, therefor FiB + FB (instant tick 1) + SF (instant tick 2, ) + (FB 3) DS +(SF 4) MC (5) this gave you 5 ticks = 10…. MC + FB + MC + SF + MC + MC + FB + MC + SF + MC
FB= 4
SF=4
MC= 7

this is the highest dmg u can get from a FiB Debuff.

with yours FIB + FB (1) + DS + (FB 2) SF ( 3 ) + MC (4)… 4 ticks = 11…. FB + MC + SF + MC + FB + MC + MC + SF + MC + FB + MC

FB= 5
SF= 3
MC= 7

Judging by the Parse analysis of that, SF does slightly more min/max and obviously avg dmg, so SF > FB > MC for FiB debuff, so my dot rotation will give a small dps increase as well as DS is all RNG.

on the other hand i dont understand your explanation on the use of DS earlier for FiB / Mc use, as if it doesnt proc from that DS it will always be delayed, and the internal CD happens upon trigger, not activation, so usually have to be used asap, however one good thing about ssin dots is that both of them Tick on use, which cause clipping dots not a dps lost as far as dots itself, just like lethality op or sniper, clipping one of your dots eventually (preferably FB) from its last tick would fix the disparity between CDs / dot duration so u can keep them uptime 100% with FiB on CD and MC procs (RNG) as much as possible, just like clipping corrosive grenade actually helps Leth rotation on operative otherwise you delay your other two GCD.

the assassinate comment on the end its good you are right more emphasis should be done on that thanks.

anyways thx for the comment, read it up and let me know what you think, or try it out and let me know 🙂

I’ll have to test that later but I’m 90% sure Sever Force (shadow Creeping Terror) doesn’t tick on placement could well be wrong though
but that doesn’t really matter for the buffed damage except for the first they’ll tick continuously so you can’t influence which dot gets the damage buff

the point about the filler between the two Dots is that Force in balances CD doesn’t align with the Dots and thus about once every Minute you would have to delay either a Dot or FIB

go ahead and try and let me know, since i am maybe 99% sure of this 🙂 but either you or i am wrong, so lets take a look, i am sure Sorcerers Creep shadow tick on use 100%, assassin might be different.

and yeah as far as the filler between, when you mean a dot you mean delay a MC or anything else, because like i said, this gets fixed just doing FB clipping its duration when you see the situation coming, like lethality agents, not sure if this is the same case, if what u say is u delay it because eventually your FiB debuffs will still be on target that make sense, however with RNG from MC, i am not so sure u can specifically control that, 1-2 secs delay on the usual sure RNG would make this happen, or am i wrong?

the filler choice is mainly Double Strike or FIB

Lethality dots don’t work like Shadow dots I play Leth as offspec (dirty fighting to be precise) leth dots are there to buff Cull shadow/sin Dots are there in their own right.

if i play scoundrel as DPS i clip Shrap Bomb (Corrosive Grenade) almost every second round of dot applications
and Vital Shot (corrosive dart) often enough as well but at the end of the fight there’s no notable Difference(if i bothered to move the missing 3% accuracy from my Slinger to my Scoundrel and get two set pieces it would probably make more of a difference then clipping does), it doesn’t work that way for Shadows.

Quish’ian’adur wrote it in one of the early replies better then I ever could here’s a quote

“So, now i wanted to show you a better rotation, cause your rotation doesnt match de CDs of the abilites. The simple Idea behind my rotation is: You need the DoTs fully, with the last ticks to do their potential, and you need Force in Balance on Cooldown. Force in Balance has a 15 Second Cooldown, so its usable after 10 GCDs (1GCD=1.5 Seconds) counted with its own. The two DoTs each last 18 Seconds, so they need to be reaplied after 12 GCDs. What I do now is assigning certain skills to a certain number between 1 and 12 and i always count my GCDs from 1 to 12 then start again with the 1. That guarantees that a short instant after the last DoT Tick came and the dot dissapears, it will be reapplied. Heres how:

Start with Stealth and activate the Cooldowns either now or wait till your DoTs are applied. Start counting with the 12, as Force in Balance moves downwards in numbers.

12: FiB
1. Force Breach
2: Double Strike
3: Sever Force
4: Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike
5: Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
6. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
7. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
8. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
9. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
10. Force in Balance
11. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
12. Mind Crush (If proct) / Double Strike / Saber Strike (if low on Force)
1. Force Breach

This goes on and on. “this is the important part->” Force in Balance will move from 12 to 10 to 8 to 6 to 4 to 2 (careful with your force there) back to 12.”<-" Mind Crush is only allowed to be reapplied when the old one wears out. Usually i have the new procc ready by then. Under 30% use the finisher every time it is available instead of Double Strike."

There is a small mistake in the Infiltration Under 30% HP, full ability rotation.
You want to use Spinning Strike, not Spinning Kick.
Spinning strike = Assassinate, Spinning kick = Spike.
When converting the attacks to Pub side you switched them for this rotation only.
The text is correct but not the attack images and names.

Hi!
My main character is a jedi shadow. In pve I am tanking with him but in pvp I use the infiltration dps.
I have a question.
If I can learn the balance dps I can earn bigger dps in pvp or the infiltration is better?

I get higher overall damage as Balance but that’s cause it’s all DoTs and AoEs. Infil is better for bursting down individual targets.

I’ve got a few skills different on the Balance Shadow, and I was wondering for the motivation of some choices…

1 balance) Instead of lambaste (which in the text is also explained as useless) I purchased 1 rank of mental defense. Stuns are pretty common, and 15% less damage some odd times is better than 1 skill I never use. No?
2 infiltration) Why shadow’s respite? The text says you should save your force cloak (which I also do). Is this just for the 6 sec 50% force regen out of stealth. As opener. If so, seems pretty weak for bossfights to me. I’ve taken Celerity myself (usually combat involves moment, speed helps, being less stunned helps, and does interrupting assistance). Am I missing something here too?
3 kinectic) I’ve picked double-bladed saber defense for additional force regeneration. Seems pretty effective, even with a tank around. Or is your experience otherwise?
3b) Why expertise? The Force Technique damage is so small, wouldn’t points be better spend elsewhere to improve DPS for stuff that actually does a bunch of damage? Or recover more force? Or is it really just dump-points, and that was the best location imaginable?

Hope I can get some answers to the questions why our choices are different amongst these topics (not to say either is better or worse). 🙂

Re Lambaste: yes, it’s poor, especially if you just spam it, but if you hit 5 targets with it, 1 second later you get a decent amount of force back from it (from Rippling Force). Better than doing nothing else on a trash pack, or stuff like the Subteroths in Draxus.

This guide is massively outdated and needs urgent updating. Wrongful information needs removing and lots needs adjusting. I would advise anyone reading this guide to take it with a grain of salt right now. I have already contacted dulfy administators to make an update on this guide and the Assassins.

I was hoping the same thing. Actually, I would think that having the current patch that the builds are accurate for at the top of the page would be worthwhile on all the guides.

in the dps shadow balance build I was trying it has Sever Force skill listed in the rotation of skills which is a sage only skill

look again… unless you use noxxic (since the geniuses there skip the final talent in the Balance Tree) you should be able to find it 😉

(i just checked it, they updated for 2.8.2 (trolllolol) and it seems the point is now in there nothing else changed though, since they still have Shadow strike and Project in there)

It is only ever used if you are cut off from a distance where you have it available and pretty much nothing else to do. Anyone could figure for themselves it would be better than standing around and doing nothing.. But it’s hardly something mentionworthy.

For example the times when the boss is immune most of the time and u only got small windows of time (or burn phases) to damage it
Good example would be EV last boss, last phase when tank has to drop a pyramid on the boss’s head to be able to damage him, otherwise he goes around chasing the tank and is immune to damage

Generally people refer to a Burn phase as a moment in a fight where the boss requires a high damage output from the raid in order to succeed.

It is also often used to refer to the Execution Phase.
Meaning when the target is below 30% HP.

there is some contradiction in the infiltration guide.

when describing spinning strike you write: “The only abilities that should be used ahead of Spinning Strike are Project, a 3 stack Force Breach, and Clairvoyant Strike (only to maintain Clairvoyance).”

but then in the 5th rule of rotation strategy you write: “The only ability that takes priority over Spinning Strike is Force Breach. Once you enter the burn phase, you will pretty much stop using Saber Strike entirely and switch to using Spinning Strike, Clairvoyant Strike and Shadow Strike in between every Shock cooldown. However you should delay Project for Force Breach/Spinning Strike if it comes to that.”

only the one or the other can be true.

I tried to explain myself in the best way possible hoping that people could fill in the (super narrow, give me some credit :p) gaps themselves.

Clair takes priority over EVERYTHING if it is about to fall off. Other than that it’s pretty much at the back of the priority list for induction generators.

sure clair takes priority over everything if it is about to fall off obviously. what i meant is the priorities after clair. the senctence where you describe spinning strike implies:
clair (if fall off) > 3 stack FB > project > spinning strike > everything else

while the 5th rule of rotation strategy implies:
clair (if fall off) > 3 stack FB > spinning strike > everything else

or just simply asked: do you favour project over spinning strike in the 30% phase?

The list of ratings says that Balance has “Single Target Dps: 5”, even though (afaik) it’s the highest single target dps spec in the game. Might want to fix that? 😛

Exactly 😛 But well, this guide was written before some buffs to Balance. Even though even then I would have never given Balance 5, at least 8. Now it’s like 9-10. And AoE is also not that bad. I would say Single Target: 9. AoE: 6.

I would absolutely give them a full 10 for single target, they have the highest sustained dps in the game currently. Poor burst, of course, but that’s a separate category.

I don’t understand the Force Cloak, in the Balance Rotation. I used it and the mob…”reset” so i don’t know how that would be beneficial. Is is only for Raids to keep your threat down?

Rotations here are more for raid bosses etc that involve multiple players. You can them while solo as well but don’t use Force Cloak as you have mentioned it will reset the mobs

You mean on swtor.com? Na.

I am still in contact with Shinarika though, perhaps she’d be willing to update it if she can find the time. But I don’t see that happening right now, she is very busy with irl stuff.

Yea i mean on swtor.com We could do with putting a pvp one together when it hits. seems to be lacking in guides for pvp.

The thing with PvP is that it is completely dynamic. There isn’t much to it class specifically, PvP guides are much better when they cover the general thing and people fill in the little empty gaps for their own classes themselves. Which is why I don’t really do Shadow PvP guides. It’s basically PvE guide + Common sense + General PvP knowledge.

Hmm good point, maybe a warzone guide would help their as a lot seem to be lacking with any warzone knowledge.

Sure;

Serenity PvE:
http://i.imgur.com/HBohJ9b.jpg

Serenity PvP:
http://i.imgur.com/MRqS6v4.jpg

Infiltration PvE:
http://i.imgur.com/lP8R4Q7.jpg

Infiltration PvP:
http://i.imgur.com/hPtuSWP.jpg

Note that for the PvP specs, Cloak of Resilience can be interchanged for Containment.
I expect this will be most advisable under 4v4 and small scale combat. Like ninjaing nodes and stuff.

Otherwise, Cloak of Resilience will reign for 8v8 and general brawling.

Hi, @Evolixe. Any suggestion in gearing? Just hit level 60 and the utilities were very useful. But the 186 set only have 408 in accuracy (four pieces), I thin it is too low. Thanks in advance!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.