SWTOR 4.0 Vigilance Guardian DPS guide written by Rydarus of The Ebon Hawk.
NOTE TO JUGGERNAUTS: Vengeance guide isn’t up yet due to finagling with the tables.
Introduction to the Vigilance Guardian
Hey, Rydarus here, rewriting this guide for another go around. You’ll notice a lot of information remains the same, but I’ve adjusted a lot of crucial points that I feel I failed to bring up in prior versions of the guide, and solidified my mentality in running the spec.
A few notes:
I’m now focusing full time on an “Alacrity” based guide. It may very well be not the only way to run this Discipline, but it’s the way I do it, and it’s what I’m going to teach. Guardians have transitioned from being a very decent Melee dps in 3.0, to being more of a Focus Sentinel during the 2.0 tier. We have amazing AOE, but weak single target and higher immobility. We have mediocre burst and mediocre sustained DPS, but again, we have very strong AOE. The spec is still immensely fun to play however, and with a bit of upkeep and work, you too can bring it into HM and NiM raiding.
||Challenging Call (Commanding Awe)
Utilities can vary, but these are a few recommended basic builds. You will never need a build outside of these. None of the new 4.0 utilities are useful at all for PVE. Not a single one.
Skillful / Masterful / Heroic
Traditional Build (Sparky, Malaphar, Sword Squadron, Revanite Commanders, Underlurker SM, Master Blaster, Revan SM, Coratanni SM)
Republic: Battlefield Command, Unremitting, Narrowed Focus, Trailblazer / Purifying Sweep / Through Peace, True Harmony
Empire: Warmonger, Unstoppable, Deadly Reprisal, Pathcarver / Crushing Fist / Through Passion, Through Power
The Reflector (Bulo, Torque, Karraga The Unyielding)
Republic: Battlefield Command, Unremitting, Narrowed Focus, Trailblazer / Purifying Sweep / Daunting Presence, True Harmony
Empire: Warmonger, Unstoppable, Deadly Reprisal, Pathcarver / Crushing Fist / Intimidating Presence, Through Power
The Slayer of the Ruined World (Colossal Monolith)
Republic: Battlefield Command, Unremitting, Narrowed Focus, Second Wind / Purifying Sweep / Daunting Presence, True Harmony
Empire: Warmonger, Unstoppable, Deadly Reprisal, Payback / Crushing Fist / Intimidating Presence, Through Power
Avenger (Underlurker HM)
Republic: Battlefield Command, Unremitting, Narrowed Focus, Trailblazer / Purifying Sweep, Gather Strength / True Harmony
Empire: Warmonger, Unstoppable, Deadly Reprisal, Pathcarver / Crushing Fist, Pooled Hatred / Through Power
Revanchist (Revan HM)
Republic: Battlefield Command, Unremitting, Narrowed Focus, Defiance / Purifying Sweep, Gather Strength / True Harmony
Empire: Warmonger, Unstoppable, Deadly Reprisal, Unyielding / Crushing Fist, Pooled Hatred / Through Power
- Single Target Dps: 6
- AoE Damage: 10
- Group Utility: 6
- Rotation Difficulty: 7.5
- RNG Dependant: Somewhat on a few abilities.
- Burst: 6
- Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: No (Execute available before 30% and execute very marginal in increase of damage)
My gearing method is upon which my guide is based. I make no claims that it is optimal, it’s just how I play. (However I highly suspect it’s close to optimal if it isn’t already.)
- 6PC VINDICATOR Set Bonus from 4.0 (The old bonus is NOT WORTH KEEPING). No other set bonus is superior, keep it, love it.
- 684 Accuracy is the cap, not 682. 685 gets you to 100.01% Accuracy.
- I dislike going under the accuracy cap because it’s not raid realistic, as such I do not use Bant’s numbers. (Though otherwise I think they are fine.) Note that one lucky crit will more than make up for the difference between Bant’s numbers and my numbers, but my gear gets you raid security.
- This gear is for RAIDING, not DUMMY PARSING. I don’t give two shits if your gear gets you 8k DPS, if you can’t pull good numbers in a raid, that dummy parse is meaningless to me. Capeche?
- No Alacrity isn’t bad, yes, Mastery Augments are shit. No I’m not doing a Basic gearing build this time around.
- Crit isn’t bad. Seriously. It’s amazing. No Power or Mastery Augments.
- Please no defense mods. Should be self explanatory but people ask me these things. All mods are power. Plz.
- Unlettered Lethal Mods, Adept, Initiative, and Quick Savant Enhancements are all the modifications you should ever have. If you have ANYTHING else, you’re doing it wrong.
- About the Suggested Setup: Only the 224 and the 220 are actually optimal, the goal is to get you to the optimal gear ASAP with minimal hairpulling and pain on your part. If you get different drops and stuff, adjust your gear accordingly, but as long as you are approximate to these ratings, you’re fine. (except for accuracy, that needs to be what it is in the guide).
Enhancements and Augment Setup to get to BiS in 224s:
2 Initiative Enhancements + 6 Accuracy Augments = 712 Accuracy Rating
3 Quick Savant Enhancements + 6 Alacrity Augments= 849 Alacrity Rating
5 Adept Enhancements + 2 Critical Augments = 831 Critical Rating
2 Initiative Enhancements+ 6 Accuracy Augments = 742 Accuracy Rating
3 Quick Savant Enhancements + 6 Alacrity Augments = 894 Alacrity Rating
5 Adept Enhancements + 2 Critical Augments = 902 Critical
2 Initiative Enhancements + 5 Accuracy Augments =685 Accuracy Rating
3 Quick Savant Enhancements + 5 Alacrity Augments =845 Alacrity Rating
5 Adept Enhancements + 4 Critical Augments = 1092 Critical Rating
2 Initiative Enhancements + 5 Accuracy Augments = 701 Accuracy Rating
3 Quick Savant Enhancements + 6 Alacrity Augments = 869 Alacrity
5 Adept Enhancements + 2 Critical Augments = 1132 Critical Rating
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 4 Major Procs and Passive Effects in Vigilance and 1 Minor Proc.
Major Procs and Passive Effects
Plasma Brand has a 100% chance to reset the cooldown on Blade Dance.
Grants 50% critical chance increase to Blade Storm. Force Rush is generated by Overhead Slash, Plasma Brand, Vigilant Thrust, and Dispatch and stacks up to two times. Lasts 15 seconds.
Periodic Damaging Effects and Blade Dance both have a 30% chance to generate Keening. Keening allows Dispatch to be free and usable on a target regardless of health level. Can occur only once every 20 seconds.
Vigilant Thrust spreads your periodic damaging effects, provided that at least one victim of Vigilant Thrust is affected by your damage over time effects. However, if the target affected by your damage over time effects dies from Vigilant Thrust, your Damage over Time effects will not be spread to the other victims.
Abilities (Not a priority system. Cooldowns are an approximation and ARE AFFECTED by Alacrity)
This section features openers, priority, rotation strategy, clipping master strike, tips and tricks, and AoE priority
Since 2.6 and the major Vigilance improvements, plus the changes made in 3.0, 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 general BiSRAID opener in Vigilance is:
You can always do this opener of you experience downtime, provided they are all off cooldown, so for example if you have downtime on the boss, afterwards, you want to use some combination of the pre Overhead Slash abilities, generate enough focus, then Overhead Slash, Master Strike, Plasma Brand, etc.
After the opener, you then flow into the priority system.
|5: Saber Throw is your Secondary Filler/Ranged Move|
|6: 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.|
|7: Force Stasis is a weak damage filler but should be used when you need more than 1 resource in the next GCD due to abilities coming off CD and none of the above focus generating fillers are available.|
|8: Force Push mediocre filler but has a range, also useable as a knockback. Good when topped out on focus and Vigilant Thrust is NOT AVAILABLE.|
Full Boar AoE Priority (3+, preferably 4+)
AOE in Vigilance is fairly simplistic, and contrary to popular belief, is NOT based on a priority system, NOR a set rotation. This system is designed to swap all damage towards AOE. The principle behind this is to increase your cyclone slash / sweeping slash damage using your DoTs, and keeping at least one DoT on all encountered enemies at once.
As Plasma Brand / Shatter is your longest DoT, you use Plasma Brand / Shatter to maintain the Cyclone Slash / Sweeping Slash Damage Buff. Alternate with Plasma Brand / Shatter with Overhead Slash / Impale to maintain the debuff the entire time, use Vigilant Thrust / Vengeful Slam on cooldown, and Cyclone / Sweeping spam for days. It’s important NOT to delay Vigilant Thrust / Vengeful Slam for Plasma Brand / Shatter, as this lowers your aoe, this is why you cycle Overhead Slash in to cover the alternate DoT cycle, because Vigilant Thrust / Vengeful Slam does not actually refresh DoTs, only spreads them if they are not already present.
The Vigilance / Vengeance Rotation lasts 11 seconds for a minor rotation, and every Major Rotation is 32.616 seconds long, and a full circuit is 65.232 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 Master Strikes/Ravages
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 11 seconds of a Vigilance / Vengeance rotation requires 8 Focus/Rage throughout the entire cycle. 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.
Also, every 32.3 seconds or so, there’s a double Overhead Slash window and a double Blade Storm window. These windows are far more resource intensive, and the latter window spends 2 more Force Rush than they normally do.
Hitting a Boss (Tips and tricks)
Many players, especially players who aren’t raiding in bleeding edge content, are told that “Dead DPS do no damage.” This is WHOLLY TRUE. However, there is one caveat: A DPS that is not doing as much effective damage as he or she can, is less than optimal.
Myth 1: You will never be able to translate your dummy DPS to boss. FALSE. Every iota of damage you do on a dummy is POSSIBLE on a boss. Every DPS should do as much damage as possible without endangering the health of the group, and on most boss fights you should be losing very little DPS when compared to dummy, and if there are adds, you should be GAINING DPS!!!
Myth 2: Melee DPS useless FALSE. Melee are disadvantaged, however, we are fully capable of doing competitive damage. Great MDPS can match or exceed their RDPS cousins, it’s all in the uptime. Uptime must be seized and taken advantage of. Every DPS must learn how to stick to the target, adjust to the circumstance, and flow back into combat smoothly and seamlessly.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
– Bruce Lee
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? (Sometimes Guardian Leap is better, NEVER USE ON A TANK. Healer is best)
When DPSING, do you often have points in time where you don’t know what to do? ALWAYS. BE. PUSHING. BUTTONS.
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? (NEVER USE IT ON A TANK)
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 15 seconds, this CD is the bomb.
- Uptime is the absolute most important thing about this build. You must learn to think in combinations and DPS bosses with low downtime, if you perform singular attacks, the benefits of alacrity are wasted. Always chain abilities together. EVERY BOSS BECOMES ALL ABOUT HOW MUCH UPTIME YOU CAN GET. APM. IS. LIFE.
- Blade Dance has a shorter channel with Alacrity. TAKE ADVANTAGE.
Saber Reflect Tips and Tricks:
- Malaphar: Red Circle
- Revanite Commanders: Purple Circle
- Revan: Heave, Core, Overcharge Saber
- Bulo: Mass Barrage, Scatter Blaster
- Torque: Turrets, Shoots Lasers, Dangerous Fire Devices
- Master & Blaster: Rain of Pain
- Karraga: Everything fire related, Exploding Mouse Droids
- Foreman Crusher: Circles
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 parsec and be looking at “Damage Dealt Broken Down By Target”
Time Conversion equations (Outdated, just use Parsely’s Ability Usage Tool)
D= Duration of Parse
A=Abilities amount of times used
G=Gap Between Use
Equation for detection of abilities usage per second:
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:
In this case, if D=300 and A=99, the equation would be 300/ (1/3*99)=9.09 second gap between ability activations.
What to Check For?
(Note that it is impossible to actually meet these numbers due to lag, but getting within .1 seconds is a good target)
- Plasma Brand / Shatter every 11 seconds
- Overhead Slash / Impale and Blade Storm / Force Scream every 8.3 seconds
- Master Strike every 11 seconds
- APM at 39-39.5
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 (Analyzed and highest)
Sample Parse (Note: Gear used was optimized 216 and 220s with 216 left side and a Revanite Relic. I also had a 224 offhand.
(Note2: I have a higher parse available, but as dissecting each parse I put up, which is relatively frequent, for a parse analysis is fairly inefficient, I will always analyze a parse of my own every month, but keep a link or image of my ABSOLUTE MOST RECENT parse.)
Note 3: Parsely can misround a lot, don’t be shocked if there’s .1 or .2 seconds off in your usages.
6400 on the 1.5 million health dummy.
Blade Dance/Ravage every 10.86 seconds
Plasma Brand / Shatter every 11.2 seconds
Overhead Slash / Force Scream every 8.392 seconds
Blade Storm / Force Scream every 8.392 seconds
APM at 39.34
twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/rydarus/profile (3.0)
1.5 mil dummy parse: http://www.twitch.tv/rydarus/v/12856552
HM Underlurker (3.0)
HM Torque (3.0)
About the author (and special thanks)
If you don’t know who I am, I’m Rydarus, AKA “Alácrity.” I was one of the more outspoken proponents of alacrity as a stat in 3.0, and 4.0 has only solidified my obsession with the stat. I’ve perfected and tinkered my approach to Vig/Veng under the principles of DoT uptime, and I hope to spread the “proper” way to run Vigilance/Vengeance to other players. I hope you find the guide useful.
This guide has and will always be written about how I play this spec.
I’d like to thank many people for helping me write this guide:
- Fedara, for carrying me (Those dank rescues in Core Phase).
- Gyrfalcon, for being the first person who saw me raid in Alacrity Augments.
- Mattmonkey, for inspiring me to write a guide all those years ago.
- Westfall/Westfaller from Underworld Alliance, for being to this date the most precise and skilled Vigilance Guardian this game has seen. He may not have cleared much, but for his time he revolutionized the way the spec was run and was the only person I’ve ever met who performed the perfect rotation for Vengeance.
- A’jantis, for /ginviting me and putting me on a raid team.
- Tam/KBN, for being… well… KBN…
- Bioware, for making Alacrity a not useless stat
- PVP, for teaching me to be a better DPS
- Training Dummies, for teaching me to be a better DPS for a longer period of time.