SWTOR Vigilance and Focus Guardian DPS Class Guide

A guide to SWTOR Guardian Vigilance and Focus DPS specs for PvE. Written and edited by Rydarus of The Ebon Hawk. Adapted from Rydarus’ Vigilance Guardian Compedium and Jedi Guardian Focus guide on Dulfy.net

Introduction to the Guardian DPS
Tired of those idiots who think you can only tank for YOUR raid group? Don’t like wielding two lightsabers like one of those pesky sentinels? Do you actually want to kill things?! Fear not! I, Rydarus of the Ebon Hawk,  am here to show you how to turn your benevolent protective neighborhood Guardian or Juggernaut Tank into a vicious murdering killing machine! Ready to have some fun? GREAT! Let’s get started!

The Guardian class shares some inherent skills with the Vanguard, such as wearing heavy armor and having access to a few basic tanking abilities, but requires the Guardian to stance dance in order to Area of Effect, or AOE Taunt, much like a Jedi Shadow, making Vanguard the only tank class capable of using an AoE Taunt as a DPS in DPS stance. That being said, Guardians have significant survivability advantages compared to other DPS specced tank classes, and the excellent defensive cooldowns work for different aspects of every fight, and Saber Reflect can be used to easily avoid some lethal hits, including examples such as Orbs in Brontes or explosions from Subteroths. With Force Leap, single target and AoE taunts, an AoE incapacitate, high DPS, Guardians are a great choice. Guardians have 2 viable raiding specs.

  1. Vigilance is a Dot/Burst Hybrid spec with some situational singular GCD AOE. It centers on Master Strike, the primary damaging ability of Vigilance, a ruthless set of dot applications driven by cooldowns, an automatic critical hit for light burst damage, and consistent RNG based procs, with useful utility talents for different situations. It also has a very high Damage Reduction, and makes it highly favorable for offtanking. Although the single target damage output of Vigilance is far higher than Focus, it is a substantially more difficult spec to play.
  2. Focus is currently capable of dealing decent single target dps, however generally speaking is not quite as high as Vigilance (on Single Targets). However, it deals enormous sustained AoE damage, and tends to be used in fights where there are multiple targets in the same vicinity. The rotation is also far more simplistic than Vigilance.

Offensive Cooldowns:

  1. Combat Focus: Immediately generates 6 Focus.

Note: While in Focus spec, Combat Focus also has a reduced cooldown, generates an additional 6 Focus over 6 seconds, and grants 3 stacks of Singularity.

Defensive Cooldowns:

  1. Enure: Increase your maximum HP by 30% for a short while. The extra HP is lost when the effect wears off.
  2. Saber Ward: Increase user melee and ranged Defense chance by 50%, and reduce all Force and Tech damage taken by 25% for a short while. First two seconds have a 100% Defense Chance via the buff “Blade Turning”
  3. Saber Reflect: Reflects any targeted ranged, Force or Tech abilities back at the attacker for a few seconds. Effective on multiple different situations such as Subteroths or Brontes Orbs.
  4. Focused Defense: Grants 10 charges which are consumed upon taking damage. Lasts 10 seconds. Each charge heals you for a significant amount. Cannot be activated while above 70% HP. It is also a complete heal to full when used correctly. Effective in Draxus, Nefra, Titan 6, or any fight with heavy AOE or Damage over Time Effects or other intensive raid damage.
  5. Guardian Leap: Leap directly to a friendly target, lowering their threat (by a VERY significant amount, possibly equivalent to a full aggro drop) and reducing their damage taken by 20% for a few seconds

Vigilance

(4 / 36 / 6 ): http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#500MMZcGMRMosRrfczZf00z.3

Spec

Rating
  • Single Target Dps: 8.5
  • AoE Damage: 6.5
  • Group Utility: 5
  • Rotation Difficulty: 8
  • RNG Dependant: Somewhat on a few abilities
  • Burst: 7.5
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: No (Execute available before 30% and execute very marginal in increase of damage)
Gearing & Stats Priority:
  • **Must Have** Accuracy: 110% Force – 110% special melee attack – 100% melee (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 6% from Gear)
  • **Must Have** 0 Alacrity
  • 68-74% Surge (1% from companion)
  • 180-290 Critical Rating (1% from companion)
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Strength (Might)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Set Bonus: 2 piece Vindicator’s & 2 piece Weaponmaster’s
  • Shien Form
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. Also, considering that your resource pool does not regenerate over time, that aspect of Alacrity is wasted.
  • In Underworld to Dread Forged Gear, the Power base is strong enough to allow higher, but not EXTREMELY high amounts of crit. Stacking an implant to a few mods of critical rating is reasonable.
  • Choice of relics should be Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution. 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. Take note that you will require 2 Guardian set pieces and 2 Sentinel set pieces for your ideal set bonuses.
  • For enhancements, make sure to get LOW ENDURANCE enhancements. Your priority should be Initiative and Adept Enhancements, all other enhancements have too much endurance.
  • Augment with Might Augments.
What you need to know beforehand!

Before we begin to learn the rotation of the Vigilance rotation itself, you first have to commit to memory the various “Procs” that generate various outcomes and abilities in Vigilance. There are 3 Major Procs in Vigilance.

Major Procs

  1. Force Rush: grants 50% critical chance increase to Blade Storm. Force Rush is generated by Overhead SlashPlasma Brand, and Dispatch
  2. Zen Strike: Overhead Slash and Plasma Brand both have a 100% chance to grant Zen Strike, which at TWO stacks automatically resets the cooldown on Master Strike!
  3. Keening: Periodic Damage Effects (DOT’s or Damage over Time Effects) and Master Strike both have a 30 percent chance to generate Keening. Keening allowsDispatch to be free and used at any health level. Only occurs once every 20 seconds.
  4. Unremitting: Force Leap has a 100% chance to generate Unremitting. Unremitting makes the Guardian immune to all physics and interrupts including Knockbacks, Stuns, Mezzs, and all other forms of crowd control. While a popular PVP talent, it’s also amazing for PVE (allows the Guardian to cheese mechanics that otherwise are not cheeseable, like that AOE knockback in Kephess!

Abilities (NOTE THIS IS NOT A PRIORITY SYSTEM)

  • Overhead Slash:  Does high Melee Kinetic damage with a 6 second Force Elemental Damage over Time effect that does moderate damage. Generates one stack of Zen Strike and one stack of Force Rush. Each tick of the Damage over Time effect has a 30 percent to generate Keening. 9 second cooldown. 0m-4m range. Overhead Slash uses 4 focus, but due to Shien Form, it refunds one, so you’re actually using 3 focus!
  • Plasma Brand: Does high force elemental damage on initial application with a 12 second Elemental Damage Over Time Effect that deals high Damage. Generates one stack of Zen Strike and one stack of Force Rush. Each tick of the Damage over Time effect has a 30 percent to generate Keening. 0m-4m range. Plasma Brand uses 5 focus, but due to shien form refunding 1, you’re actually only using 4 focus!
  • Blade Storm: Does moderate Kinetic Force damage on initial application with an elemental force damage over time effect of 6 seconds. Each tick of the Damage over Time effect has a 30 percent to generate Keening. 9 second cooldown. 10m-0m range. Blade Storm uses 4 focus, but because of shien form, it actually uses 3 focus!
  • Master Strike: Master Strike is the cornerstone of the Vigilance Guardian. Two stacks of Zen Strike reset the cooldown on Master Strike. The original cooldown of Master Strike was 30 seconds, but with a perfect rotation, Master Strike can be used once every 10.5 seconds. Master Strike deals all it’s damage in Kinetic Melee Damage via 3 separate discrete ticks over 3 seconds, with the final tick being the strongest. Skillful Vigilance Guardians clip their Master Strike at the roughly 2.7 mark. There will be an advanced section lower in the guide explaining this. 0m-4m range, but upon activation the target can run around the 10m range and still be hit by the channel.
  • Dispatch: Dispatch is used both in the execute (sub 30% phase) and every 20 seconds after Keening is procced. It deals high kinetic weapon damage and is reinforced by multiple talents, including a critical chance boost in the Focus Tree. 0m-10m Dispatch uses 3 focus, but Shien Form refunds 1 focus, and Keening proc refunds 3 focus, making the total an actual gain of one focus!
  • Sundering Strike: Sundering Strike is your primary filler. It’s a core rotational ability in the fact that it’s the quickest method for generating Focus you have in a single GCD. Sundering Strike generates 7 focus.
  • Combat Focus: Instant ability off the GCD. Generates 6 focus. Should be used only when Sundering Strike is on Cooldown and you NEED focus.
  • Force Sweep: Force Sweep is your primary AOE and secondary filler. It is reinforced by Effluence, and in Vigilance is used as a filler that generates one focus. Sweep is free due to Effluence, but Shien Form refunds 1 focus, making the total an actual gain of one focus!
  • Saber Throw: Saber Throw generates 3 focus. It is a very effective filler, and applies an armor debuff in Vigilance.
  • Strike: Terrible filler, use extremely sparingly. Generates 2 Focus
  • Force Push: Filler for usage when the Guardian does not need focus, but should not spend any.
  • Force Leap: Gap Closer. Grants Unremitting. Grants 3 focus.
  • Slash: Terrible filler, only used sparingly in boss fights, never use on dummy AT ALL. Dispatch replaces this attack in the execute phase. Uses 3 focus but refunds 1.
The Rotation

 This section features openers, priority, rotation strategy, clipping master strike, tips and tricks, and AoE priority

Openers

Since 2.6 and the major Vigilance improvements, the Vigilance rotation is far more set in stone. Vigilance has very little RNG besides crits, but most players have an inaccurate or simplified rotation. The BiS (best in slot) opener in Vigilance is:

swtor-vigilance-guardian-dps-class-guide-opening-rotation

After the opener, you then flow into the priority system.

Priority System

1: Plasma Brand, Overhead Slash, and Blade Storm all ABSOLUTELY on cooldown, no questions asked. You should be using Plasma every 12 seconds, Overhead Slash and Blade Storm every 9 seconds. This means that occasionally Blade Storm will be used with only 1 stack of Force Rush. That is fine. The additional DoT uptime means the occasional missed autocrit is not noticeable in the grand scheme of things, plus even with one stack you still have a 70+ chance of critting! The very best Vigilance Guardians keep all 3 on CD. If you delay one by a GCD, what happens is the one that was delayed will collide with another, forcing you to delay one DOT again in order to realign the rotation. If you use all 3 abilities, you spend 8 focus, therefore the magic number of Vigilance is 8. Make sure you have 8 focus every time you start a DoT cycle.

2:  Master Strike is the second most important ability on the list if you are following the above priority system down to the very millisecond. If you can keep all 3 dots on cooldown with no delay, WHILE using Master Strike every 10.5 seconds, and making sure to use Dispatch every time Keening is up, you have officially accomplished the main goal of the spec.

3:  Dispatch with Keening is very important. When getting the proc, you have 20 seconds to use it, so while you don’t need to activate it immediately, as there are other more important abilities, you need to make sure you don’t accidentally drop the buff.

4: Sundering Strike is your highest priority filler. Use it on CD as long as you don’t cap out. In certain situations, Sundering Strike is the most important ability in your rotation, at least in priority. Consider this situation: Sundering Strike is off cooldown, and Master Strike is off cooldown,and you have 4.5 seconds until you need to use Plasma Brand. Following the priority system verbatim, would mean this ability queue would occur:

  • Master Strike->Sundering Strike->Plasma Brand

But this isn’t optimal! Because you can reset the CD of Master Strike anyway, you can actually push it back a little farther! Therefore, the actual optimal rotation prioritizes Sundering Strike in this particular pass of the rotation, because you can’t reset sundering strike, and it’s your primary focus builder! The actual optimal rotation would be:

  • Sundering Strike->Master Strike->Plasma Brand

Same outcome, but the next time you do Sundering Strike, you get it 3 seconds earlier!

5: Combat Focus should be used when you absolutely need focus and Sundering Strike is on CD or you don’t have another GCD to spare.

6: Saber Throw is your ranged filler and one of your better focus generation abilities.

7: Force Sweep should be used to top off your resource, and it does moderate damage, plus the high force crit chance of Vigilance makes it an effective filler.

8: Strike is a mediocre filler. Use sparingly

9: Force Push mediocre filler but has a range, also useable as a knockback. Good when topped out on focus.

10: Dispatch (Non Keening) and Slash These two are absolutely your last priority fillers on a dummy, as it damages the stability of your rotation. Using either of these will ruin your DoT application. The only time this is good to use is in heavy AOE phases that guarantee you receive 2 focus every 6 seconds (6 seconds is the CD on Dispatch.)

Rotation Strategy:

The Vigilance / Vengeance Rotation lasts 12 seconds for a minor rotation, and every Major Rotation is 36 seconds assuming the rotation is carried out perfectly. Every major rotation, the DoT’s realign in a way similar to the opener for another pass at the rotation.

In every Vigilance/Vengeance minor rotation, you will perform:

1 Plasma Brand/Shatter

1.3 Overhead Slashes/Impales (The decimal is because the cooldown for Overhead Slash / Impale and Blade Storm ‘/ Force Scream is 75% of the CD of Plasma Brand / Shatter, every few Plasma Brands / Shatters there is an extra Overhead Slash / Impale and Blade Storm / Force Scream inside the cooldown of Plasma Brand.

1.3 Blade Storms/Force Screams

1.14 Master Strikes/Ravages (The Decimal is because you can use master strikes every 10.5 seconds, as such every so often you will have TWO Master Strikes inside a Plasma Brand cooldown.)

1-3 filler GCDs, 1 of them being Dispatch/Vicious Throw when it procs Due to the nature of Dispatch drifting in the rotation, SOMETIMES you will use it, sometimes you will not. The reason for the variable number of filler GCDs is due to the way Overhead Slash / Impale and Blade Storm / Force Scream drifting inside the CD of Plasma Brand

In addition, every 12 seconds of a Vigilance / Vengeance rotation requires 8 or more to a maximum of 12 focus. 8 is the magic Vigilance / Vengeance number. Usually, a Sundering Strike/Sundering Assault or Combat Focus/Enrage with a Force Sweep/Smash or Saber Throw will fulfill this purpose. Combat Focus/Enrage can also be used while using an ability (besides Master Strike/Ravage) so that a filler in the filler window can consume resource rather than burning it.

Clipping Master Strike:

Congratulations! If you are reading this section, I assume you are ready to advance into the final frontier of Vigilance skill: The Master Strike/Ravage Clip.

Due to a function of latency on the part of Bioware, our main ability Master Strike/Ravage, while having a full 3 second channel, the final damaging tick comes out at around 2.7-2.8 seconds. This means, with enough skill, a good Vigilance/Vengeance guardian can shave off the last few fractions of a second, and attain a higher APM than normally possible. The dangers are ripe however, as clipping at the wrong time robs you of dps and potentially 1 or more ticks of master strike/ravage.Clipping Master Strike/ravage requires an intuitive feel of the class. Very few are able to achieve the level of control and precision to the level of the highest parsers, such as Kishekzun, who are able to achieve a level of insane precision in order to clip master strike/ravage at the same point every time.

(note to Uriaces/Kishekzun, I wasn’t able to find out whether I had permission to link this, if you have a problem with it I will upload my own, apologies if this is an issue.)

The trick to the clip is not to button mash when Master Striking/Ravaging. Normally, button mashing increases APM for single gcd abilities, due to shortening potential gaps between abilities, but due to the precision required in clipping Master Strike, and due to the way the GCD system works, button mashing DELAYS the clip. The best way to perform a crisp clip is to tap the button precisely once to break the channel cleanly. You will then notice that you tend to have sometimes a WHOLE GCD in order to spend on different attacks!

Hitting a Boss (Tips and Tricks!)

The most important factor of dps, is UPTIME, often determined by APM, or actions per minute. Just because a sentinel does better on a dummy doesn’t mean he or she does better than you on the boss. If the sentinel isn’t leaping back to boss he will do less dps than you, and vice versa.

Ask yourself:

  • When leaping to kill an add like the Jealous Male in TFB, how often do you Force Push and leap back to boss to keep your uptime seamless?
  • When DPSING, do you often have points in time where you don’t know what to do?
  • Know your abilities and their ranges and cooldowns, and use these abilities to get around faster.
  • Do you know when to Guardian Leap out of AOE’s?
  • Do you know when to use Blade Storm/Force Scream at two stacks or forgo it and use 1 stack?
  • Do you know that a basic attack is better than no attack, DPS is always better than nothing.
  • Do you know when to ignore your own DPS and use utility talents? (Taunt the boss when tank dies or guardian leap to a dps with threat or use stasis to stun an add?)
  • Do you know when AOE is better than Single Target?
  • Don’t be a Rydarus, don’t stand in cleaves 
  • Use your aggro drop when you get threat(Challenging Call/Threatening Scream ONLY in Shien and Shii-Cho Stance in 2.7)
  • Use Focused Defense/Enraged Defense as your first defensive CD in these situations: Heavy AOE, Dots, etc. Think of it as a trauma probe, if you are taking damage in the next 30 seconds, this CD is the bomb.

AOE ability Priority

  1. Force Sweep
  2. Cyclone Slash
  3. Single target rotation
How to analyze a parse?

For those who have problems with Vigilance and the hallmarks of a good parse, I have included a list of simplistic equations to determine how to know whether your Vigilance Rotation is good:

  • Convert the length of your parse into seconds (5 minutes is 300 seconds)
  • Be in the Damage dealt tab of torparse and be looking at “Damage Dealt Broken Down By Target”

Time Conversion equations

  • D= Duration of Parse
  • A=Abilities amount of times used
  • G=Gap Between Use

Equation for detection of abilities usage per second:

  • D/A=G

Example: Ability A was used 34 times in 300 seconds. Using D/A=G we end up with: 300/34=8.8235 second gap between ability activation.

Master Strike/Ravage/other 3 tick ability Specific equation:

  • D/(1/3*A)=G

In this case, if D=300 and A=99, the equation would be 300/ (1/3*99)=9.09 second gap between ability activations.

Effect gain method

  • Go into logview on torparse and type CTRL-F.
  • Then enter: (Player Name) gains (Effect Name)
  • Apply ability usage per second code: D/A=G

What to Check for?

  1. Plasma Brand/Shatter every 12 seconds
  2. Overhead Slash/Impale and Blade Storm/Force Scream every 9 seconds
  3. Master Strike/Ravage every 10.5 seconds (fully achievable, check my personal parse, which is at 10.5)
  4. Dispatch/Vicious Throw every 19-20 seconds. (Keening/Destroyer procs and Dispatches must match.
  5. APM at 35-36

 How to Practice?

The former highest skill Vigilance/Vengeance Guardian, Westfall, claims to parse for the duration of the “Today Show.” This generally means he parses for a grand total of 20 minutes a day in one straight parse.

“In order to fully commit your rotation to memory for usage on a boss, you must first learn every single way to screw up your rotation” (Credit to Antonica/Daharel)

This means you go through with every parse you have regardless of mistakes to learn your rotation inside out. Vigilance is an easy to learn but hard to master spec, and the rotation SEEMS easy to pick up but has some of the most ruthless dot reapplication rotations in the entire game.

Sample Parse and Video:

Here is a Parse demonstrating the tips from above. http://www.torparse.com/a/734480/3/0/Overview

3841 on the 1.5 Million Training Dummy

swtor-vengenace-guardian-dps-parse

Here is a Sample Parse for Vigilance. The parse was 6 minutes and 30.098 seconds long. Translating it into seconds, that’s 390.098 seconds long. Observe the following:

  • Master Strike was used once every 10.54 seconds (round to tenths cause torparse rounding) for a total of once every 10.5 seconds. When done correctly, Master Strike should dominate about 30-32 percent of your damage. Any lower and you either have very bad critical hit rates OR are performing the rotation incorrectly.
  • Overhead Slash was used 42 times or once every 9.28 seconds. This is pretty much on CD besides a few tenths of a second due to latency.
  • Blade Storm was used 42 times or once every 9.28 seconds. This is also pretty much on cooldown. A hallmark of a good Vigilance parse is around a 1-0 usage difference between Overhead Slash and Blade Storm but keeping both on CD. ALSO note that the ability crit 100% of the time, so the parse sacrificed no damage for keeping the ability on CD. Note that because you are occasionally launching Blade Storm with one stack, you might get a less than 100% critical rate on Blade Storm, but don’t expect anything lower than 95. This is a worthwhile tradeoff for the majorly increased DoT uptime.
  • Plasma Brand was used 33 times or once every 11.82 seconds. Account for rounding and that is 12 seconds. That is absolutely on CD and completely perfect.
  • The parse gained keening 19 times, and used Dispatch 19 times. However the player LOST keening 18 times, therefore the player still had Keening when the dummy died.

Video of another parse, some latency but should provide general info.

Focus

 (0 / 10 / 36 ): http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#500ZcGMZfrMkbGkRffz.3 swtor-focus-guardiant-dps-class-guide-build

Rating
  • Single Target Dps: 6
  • AoE Damage: 10
  • Group Utility: 6
  • Rotation Difficulty: 4
  • RNG Dependant: No
  • Burst: 8
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes
Gearing & Stats priority:
  • **Must Have** Accuracy: 110% Force – 100% melee (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 6% from Gear)
  • **Must Have** 0 Alacrity
  • 68-74% Surge
  • 0-120 Critical Rating
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • **Must Have** Augments: Strength (Might)
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
  • Set Bonus: 2 piece Vindicator’s & 2 piece Weaponmaster’s
  • Shii-Cho Form
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. Also, considering that your resource pool does not regenerate over time, that aspect of Alacrity is wasted.
  • The difference in overall dps between 0 Critical rating and 290 Critical rating is minimal. There are benefits to both, but a higher critical rating means higher DPS in general due to secondary rotation abilities like dispatch having a higher crit chance. Do remember though, is that most single target fights, if not all, you will run Vigilance, and in fights where you run focus, you will focus on AOE damage, where full power is more effective. Crit is mainly effective in single target fights for focus, as in those situations the non sweep, and therefore non autocrit abilities matter more. But since Vigilance is superior in single target in every way, in this Guardian’s opinion BiS focus players should run full power. That being said, having 15% surge is
  • Choice of relics should be Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution.
  • 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. Either the 4pc Guardian or the 2pc Guardian and 2pc Sentinel will be fine.
Ability Explanation:
  • Force Sweep is your hardest hitting ability in this spec, as it has significantly buffed damage as well as being a guaranteed crit. In addition, it gets a reduced CD from your ability use, is free, and your rotation cycles between reducing its CD and buffing it, so using as soon as it’s available and fully buffed is necessary for maximum dps.
  • Combat Focus is one of your Force Sweep buffing abilities, as well as your primary method of generating Focus. Thanks to some of your talents, its cooldown is also significantly reduced. As such, the rotation for buffing your Force Sweep alternates between Force Exhaustion and Combat Focus. Due to Combat Focus’s immense Focus gain, spamming abilities to remain under 12 Focus while reducing Force Sweep’s CD is generally a good idea, and keep in mind that Combat Focus doesn’t have to be used immediately before Force Sweep, as the buff it provides won’t expire before Force Sweep comes off CD. If, for whatever reason, Force Exhaustion and Combat Focus are both available in the same Force Sweep window, never use them together, as it’s a waste of your Singularity stacks and will lower your dps.
  • Force Exhaustion is your second Force Sweep buffing ability, but it also deals high damage itself, so using this ability during the Heightened Power window whenever possible is ideal. Its damage is spread over 3 seconds, so to properly capitalise on the Heightened Power buff, you have to use it immediately following Force Sweep.
  • Blade Storm is one of your filler abilities. As with several others, it reduces the active CDs of Combat Focus, Zealous Leap and Force Sweep, however Blade Storm additionally gains a buff from your Zealous Leap and Force Leap that makes it free. As such, using this as your primary damage filler is a must, and it’s also an ideal ability to use during your Heightened Power window.
  • Zealous Leap is a core part of your rotation due to the significant buff it gives Force Sweep, as well as dealing high damage and leaping towards the target. Keep in mind that this charge has the potential to get you killed in certain situations due to AoE or movement mechanics, so ensuring you use it at the right time is imperative. Just like Force Exhaustion and Combat Focus, using this ability correctly and in synergy should always result in an Zealous Leap between each Force Sweep.
  • Dispatch is your sub 30% ability, and whenever this ability is available it should replace Slash. When available, it should also be your first priority to use during Heightened Power.
  • Master Strike deals great damage, however it is of much less significance than for Vigilance. Using it during Heightened Power is ideal. The best uses for Master Strike are during Heightened Power. Master Strike will gain the most benefit from Heightened Power out of all of your abilities.
  • Slash is the most important filler in this spec, as it reduces the CD of your most important abilities, as well as dealing improved damage. Spamming this ability as much as you can when everything else is on CD is necessary to reduce the time until your next Force Sweep, however it will always be low on your priority list, and partially replaced by Dispatch when it becomes available.
  • Sundering Strike is your Focus-building filler. It generates a large amount of Focus and should only be used during the Force Exhaustion section to sustain you until you can use Combat Focus.
  • Force Leap is your gap closer, and should be used to initiate fights. It has the same effect as Zealous Leap, buffing your next Force Sweep and Blade Storm. Whenever your cooldowns are all refreshed due to a transition phase, consider it as a fresh start to the fight, opening with Force Leap if feasible and delaying Zealous Leap for the second Force Sweep window.
  • Saber Throw is a really optional ability, as it’s not required to perform your opener, but not having the extra Focus it generates can leave you slightly Focus starved during the first few rotations, forcing you to use either Strike or Sundering Strike during a Heightened Power window, which is less than ideal. Also consider that an empowered Force Sweep happens very quickly in your rotation, creating a lot of aggro very early on. Having that extra GCD at the beginning can give your tanks some extra room to hold threat as well as giving you a benefit in the long run, maximising on your dps.
  • Strike is used as a filler to reduce the CD on your main abilities. Use sparingly.

What to Check for on your Quickbar (Procs)

  • Felling Blow: Makes your next Force Sweep critical chance 100%. Procced by Force Leap and Zealous Leap
  • Singularity: Increases Damage from Sweep by 33.3 percent. Stacks 3 times. Procced by Force Exhaustion or Combat Focus
Rotation Priority:

1. Force Sweep (with Singularity)

2. Force Exhaustion (Always under Heightened Power)

3. Blade Storm (proc, under heightened power unless ranged attack is needed or other takes precedence)

4. Zealous Leap: (Use between sweeps, but never delay a Sweep with Zealous Leap)

5. Dispatch: (Use to replace slash when possible, very powerful under heightened power)

6. Master Strike: (Place under heightened power)

7. Slash: (Use as filler)

8. Sundering Strike: (Use on cooldown unless at heightened power, in that case use other abilities if possible)

9. Strike (Last Resort)

10. Force Leap (gap closer)

11. Saber Throw (while moving, last resort, only use in boss fights))

Offensive Cooldowns: Combat Focus: CF (Generates Singularity stacks)

Heightened Power Ability Priority:

How Heightened Power functions: Heightened Power is a buff triggered by your Force Sweep and lasts 6 seconds. That’s 4 GCDs, but the last GCD often clips, and only Blade Storm is good in the final GCD. The buff looks like this: Heightened Power

Your priority under heightened power is:

  1. Force Exhaustion
  2. Master Strike
  3. Dispatch
  4. Blade Storm
  5. Zealous Leap
  6. Slash
  7. Saber Throw
  8. Sundering Strike

Examples

Heightened Power Rotations

Opener
Focus Openers Paint Version
Rotation Strategy:

The Goal of focus is to keep Force Sweep on cooldown, whilst using Zealous Leap to grant the Felling Blow buff, Combat Focus and Force Exhaustion to generate Singularity Stacks (alternating), in order to buff sweep and use it again. After every sweep, the 4 GCDs after are used to follow the on demand burst with more sustained burst in the form of the Heightened Power rotation.

Sample Parse Analysis:

http://www.torparse.com/a/608372/1/0/Damage+Dealt

Here is a sample parse from Antonica of the Ebon Hawk. 3340 on the 1.5 million dummy.

swtor-focus-guardian-sample-parse

  • Blade Storm / Force Scream is used every 14.4 seconds, this is close to the 12 second CD but not quite.
  • Force Sweep / Smash should be used roughly 9-9.5 seconds, it varies due to the intervening various non cooldown proc abilities. The critical hit chance should always be 100, and the minimum and maximum hit range should not vary by more than 2k, so if your highest Smash/Sweep hit was 10000, it should be around 8000 at minimum. If it’s something like 5000, 6000, or 4000, it means your rotation was done incorrectly at some point.
  • Zealous Leap / Obliterate should be used the same frequency as your Force Sweep, or with 1 as a margin for error assuming you end the parse at a very specific point.
  • Slash/Vicious Slash should be a very high part of your damage.
  • Master Strike should be used nearly on CD (within 2-3 seconds). This parse here showed it at 31.8 seconds between uses. See heightened power priority.

About the Author

If you don’t know me ingame, my name is Rydarus. My main is a Vigilance Spec Jedi Guardian (Go Figure) on the RP server The Ebon Hawk (Don’t ask why I’m on an RP server I like KOTOR XD). I’m currently in the most awesomest guild ever, Aisthesis, and I like raiding and love Guardian DPS. I’ve played this spec since 1.4 and it was the first character I leveled. I was one of those knuckleheads addicted to autocrit dispatch and really liked the animations of a Guardian.

I wrote this guide to help myself by keeping track of what I learned while playing the spec and to help me when I took hiatuses from the game. I was inspired to write the guide on the forums when Mattmonkey, a Guardian theorycrafter, quit the game. With months of no updates to the guide I took matters into my own hands and took his guide and put my own spin on it. A few months of rampant forum PVP and parse experimentation and repeated “Holy jesus I’ve been doing this wrong the entire time” moments and we arrive at this guide!

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

  • bigvlada dark one

    Great guide, as usual. I’m eagerly waiting for the sentinel one. :) btw. The second pie is in French, it might confuse certain number of readers.

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      Ya a translation is provided and sentinel guide is coming sometime this week, they trying out a hybrid spec and once they finished that it will be published.

      • Errtai

        A little bit of nitpicking from me too: At the Overview part, the ability’s name is Enure and not Endure Pain.

      • jozopucik

        Great!! I really cant wait for the Sentinel Guide, since we now were doing dps parses on the training dummy and mine (Sentinel Focus) sucked, so I need help :)

  • Magnus

    Can you tell me the difference between Overkill +Power Augments and +Strength Augments?

    • Eric

      Might = +Strength which is the main stat for your character responsible for more than just DPS numbers.
      Overkill = +Power which is a secondary stat for DPS numbers only

      Typically get more bang for the buck overall out of your Main Stat Augments.

      • Magnus

        I was hoping for a more statistical reply.

        • Quish’ian’adur

          I’m only in a break at Work, but I’ll try to explain it as good as possible.

          1 Point Power = 0.23 Bonus Damage
          1 Point Mainstat = 0.2 Bonus Damage

          But the Mainstat gives you also small boosts in most of your other stats.
          Also: You have a 5% Bonus on your Mainstat from the Consular Buff, plus an additional 6% or 9%, depending on the class, Bonus from your Skill Tree. So your Mainstat gets boostet by either 11 or 14 Percent. If you calculate that to your Augments, wich are limited to 14 Slots, youll see that your Mainstat gives you, with the class Buff and Skill Tree Buff Bonuses, almost as much Bonus Damage as Power, BUT its still boosting other Stats too.

          This is something people often have own oppinions to. I know DPS who swear on their Power Augs, in my opinion, Mainstat is always the way to go.

          Hope that clears it up a bit

    • Konoha the Wiper

      1 Power = 0.23 damage
      1 Strength = 0.20 damage + 0.007 crit
      + If your a knight you can get the 3% strength which will increase the total a little bit

  • Shallsnuffit

    Again a good guide with several interesting tips.
    What I’d like to see are more precise gearing hints. i.e. “what are the best ways to get your 110% acc / which slots should you use ist for”.
    The further you are in the content the less you need “slots” to fill with accuracy because the values are higher.
    But thats just a minor wish – all in all very good – thanks again :)
    greetings from germany

  • Konoha the Wiper

    With vigilance I would rotate
    Saber Throw -> Force Leap -> Master Strike -> Dispatch (proc, clip straight after third hit of MS, and you make 2 hits at the same time) -> Plasma Brand -> Overhead Slash -> Blade Storm (tis way all the CDs on PB, OS & BS all end roughly same time as well as their burns ending same time).
    after that if dispatch procs only use if MS CD hasnt finished, otherwise use MS and then dispatch (unless it didnt proc) then go back to sunder -> PB -> OS -> BS.
    Save combat focus for a time when all your main rotations are on CD, pop it and use Slash for single target or Sweep then Cyclone Slash.
    As I am mostly PvP I wear full PvP gear and use the 10% bonus after leap for MS and have a hybrid (PvP/PvE) Vigilance Build.
    I also never have to use strike with this rotation so I just removed it from my skillbar.
    Self Proclaimed Number 1 Vigilance User.

  • Ancaglon

    How will the Vigilance changes in 2.6 affect the rotation?

    • Konoha the Wiper

      just throw in masterstrike after every plasma brand, overhead slash, blade storm rotation

  • Jabo

    What does RNG mean?

    • rippled

      Random Number Generator

      Basically things have less than 100% chance to proc so it’s a bit of a lottery.

  • rippled

    Minor issue, the talent tree is out of date. The vigilance spec has had a debilitation added. Sure it’s the pvp MS immobilizes talent but still, looking at the tree and seeing a thing missing might put some people off/make them question everything else.

  • Soliu

    Hi I like this guide, thanks for your nice work!, Only have few questions. You are recommending to use 2 pieces of 2 different campaing sets for the bonus. Is the same idea with the Black Market sets (Pummeler and Foestopper)? Or should we use only a set? In both cases, the legs has alacrity.
    Thanks in advance.

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      Black Market sets have no set bonus, do you mean Arkanian?

      • Soliu

        Black Market. My bad. Let me do the question in another way. It is good to get all the set of BM or is better a mix? Still both have alacrity in the legs armos. Thanks!

  • Shaun-Dur

    hey great guide just a quick question. ..do you have a recommendation when it comes to companion selection I have a lv55 vigilance Gaurdian and im currently using Doc as my main companion I like t the fact he heals but in some encounters I have the feeling that another companion would be better suited for my build.

  • Trieze Havok

    I haven’t played much since launch, at the time the adaptive armor didn’t exist, and the orange gear was bugged and wouldn’t give the full set bonuses. Anyway, I guess I have 2 questions, first does adaptive armor show the set bonuses when you hover over it now?
    Also, pretty much every Guardian guide I have read says to use the weapon master 2 piece set bonus; however I was under the impression that was a medium armor set (correct me if I am wrong), so my question is, if you put it in adaptive armor does it become heavy armor for a guardian? Or do we just rock medium armor?

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      Adaptive armor just change to whatever class you are now. So if you are guardian it automatically become heavy

  • GLM

    Rotation is outdated. The guide recommends that BS be used with 2 stacks, but BIS parsers in general are approaching the usage of BS on CD regardless of force rush stacks.

    Notice how Overhead Slash and Blade Storm has the same or similar usages while maintaining a near 100 percent crit on BS, and they are both used every 9 seconds. This ensures a 100 percent dot uptime and allows for maximum DPS.

    1.5 mil BIS 78 parses:
    http://www.torparse.com/a/610007/5/0/Damage+Dealt (No Adrenals!)

    http://www.torparse.com/a/622789/7/0/Damage+Dealt

    http://www.torparse.com/a/638248/2/0/Damage+Dealt

  • martin

    would be great to have a pvp section

  • Rydarus

    I’ve considered it.

  • edgfvergewrg

    what happened with carl?

    • http://dulfy.net/ Dulfy

      He quit?

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