SWTOR 3.0 Commando Gunnery and Assault Specialist DPS guide by Fascinate and Marisi.
Introduction to 3.0 Commando DPS
Commando DPS has undergone some changes with the transition to 3.0 but fundamentally the two disciplines function the same as before; Gunnery is suitable for multiple targets and/or frequent target switching whereas Assault Specialist is suitable for sustained single target.
This discipline is optimal for fights where target switching is prevalent and/or there are periods where high burst is needed in a short amount of time. The basics of this discipline has not changed with its newest iteration; Curtain of Fire (proc for Boltstorm, which replaces Full Auto in this discipline) still procs every 8 seconds and because cell management is extremely light, it makes this discipline very forgiving. A couple of changes have been made that is of importance, Curtain of Fire now ONLY procs off of Grav Round, whereas before it procced off both Charged Bolts and Grav Round. Another change that is worth noting is the inclusion of Supercharged Cell into the rotation, where the usage of it may either accelerate or hamper your rotation due to the alacrity bonuses you gain from it. A new ability, Vortex Bolt, which was added into the newest iteration also plays a vital role, as it deals a good amount of damage, and makes the next Grav Round activate instantly.
For the most part when you want to use this discipline in operations content has not changed; if there is considerable sustained single target focus or there are multiple targets with relatively high HP pools then this is probably the more optimal spec. This discipline is currently the highest parsing discipline in the game and is thus capable of putting out very high sustained numbers.
The basics of this discipline have not changed too much with its newest iteration; the overall goal still is to proc Ionic Accelerator (IA) every 7.5 seconds (up from 6) and because the cell management is still quite tight, deviating from your rotation can lead to depleting quite quickly, and unlike Gunnery, this is still quite punishing. One of the larger quality of life changes received is that now IA has a guaranteed proc with Full Auto, Charged Bolts and Hail of Bolts instead of a pseudo guaranteed chance which frees up the rotational blocks for additional abilities and allows your periodic effects to remain on the target much more than was previously possible.
While Assault Specialist is optimal for pure single target fights, two AOE combos have been added which spread your two primary dots to all affected targets; Sticky Grenade spreads Serrated Bolt and Plasma Grenade spreads Incendiary Round, which means that in fights where there are lots of high hp targets in can be beneficial to focus on AOE instead of single target.
The bolded utilities we feel have an important use in an Operation; with Cell Capacitor, Charged Barrier, Heavy Trooper, Advance the Line, Forced March and Shock Absorbers being taken on almost all fights, if not all, with the seventh one changing depending on the fight; Concussive Force is useful in more reliably dealing with blades in Revan and Chain Gunnery is great for fights with multiple targets for the increased damage on Hail of Bolts, particularly for Gunnery, for example.
- Parallactic Combat Stims – You recharge 10 cells when stunned, immobilized, knocked down or otherwise incapacitated.
- Cell Capacitor – Recharge Cells now immediately recharges 15 additional cells and grants 10% alacrity for 6 seconds.
- Charged Barrier – Charged Bolts, Grav Round, and Rapid Scan generate a Power Barrier that increased damage reduction by 1% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.
- Tenacious Defense – Reduces the cooldown of Concussion Charge by 5 seconds and Determination by 30 seconds.
- Concussive Force – Rocket Punch immobilizes the target for 4 seconds. Direct damage caused after 2 seconds ends the effect. In addition, Concussion Charge’s knockback effect is stronger and pushes enemies 4 metres further away.
- Heavy Trooper – Increases Endurance by 3% and all healing received by 3%.
- Chain Gunnery – Increases the damage dealt by Hail of Bolts by 25%.
- Advance the Line – Increases the duration of Hold the Line by 4 seconds.
- Suit FOE – When you activate Field Aid on yourself, a Foreign Object Excisor reduces all periodic damage taken by 30% for 12 seconds.
- Med Zone – Increases all healing received by 20% while Reactive Shield is active.
- Combat Shield – Reactive Shield now further decreases ability activation pushback by 30% and makes you immune to interrupts.
- Electro Shield – When activated, your Reactive Shield charges with electricity, zapping attackers for X elemental damage when it remains active. This effect cannot occur more than once each second.
- Efficient Conversions – Removes the Energy Cell cost of Concussion Charge, Concussive Charge, Field Aid and Cryo Grenade.
- Nightvision Scope – Increases stealth detection level by 2, melee and ranged defense by 2%, and reduces the cooldown of Stealth Scan by 5 seconds.
- Reflexive Shield – When you take damage, the active cooldown of Reactive Shield is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. In addition, when taking damage, you have a 20% chance to emit an Energy Redoubt, which absorbs a low amount of damage and lasts 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
- Reflexive Battery – Increases the damage dealt by Concussion Charge by 30%. In addition, taking damage reduces the active cooldown of Concussion Charge by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
- Kolto Wave – Concussion Charge heals you and up to 7 other allies within range for X – Y.
- Forced March – Allows Full Auto, Boltstorm and Successive Treatment to be activated while moving.
- Shock Absorbers – Reduces damage taken from area effects by 30%. Additionally, while stunned, you take 30% less damage from all sources.
- Supercharged Reserves – Reduces the cooldowns of Field Aid and Disabling Shot by 3 seconds. In addition, you build up to 10 stacks of Supercharge over the course of using Recharge and Reload. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds.
- Overclock – Reduces the cooldowns of Concussive Round and Tech Override by 15 second charge, making your next two abilities with an activation time activate instantly.
- Accuracy: As close to 100/110 as possible; ~750 with companion bonus which equals 7 186 pieces + 1 augment, 7 192 pieces or 6 198 pieces + 1 augment. These combinations take you slightly above 100 so you can take off an augment if you wish.
- Surge: With the high number of periodic effects in Assault Specialist keeping the 10% surge bonus from the Advanced Targeting passive is almost a guarantee. Gunnery, however, has a chance of this effect dropping off but it still enjoys this the vast majority of the time, so maintaining pre 3.0 levels can be done with as little as 2 pieces in either discipline.
- Alacrity: While alacrity can be useful now, no significant difference can be noticed between 0 to 2 pieces
- Crit: Both Gunnery and Assault Specialist have always benefitted from above-average crit levels so 400+ is recommended
- Augments: Aim, with up to 1 accuracy depending on the number of accuracy pieces
While Accuracy used to be obtainable in several pieces of Commando DPS gear prior to 3.0 it now can only be found in the Chest and the Vanguard Main Hand which makes your Implants and Earpiece the primary sources of Accuracy. The accuracy Implants, however, come with crit instead of power which means you only need either a single mod or enhancement to supplement the crit from both Implants to reach the crit target.
In regards to set bonuses, the old 4 piece no longer has much benefit with Assault Specialist as Charged Bolts is no longer used as often as it used to be and High Impact Bolt is not used at all which makes replacing the old armorings a high priority particularly as you can replace several of them with non-set piece armorings, losing the old 4 piece set bonus in the process of doing so, and gain DPS from the increased Aim you get from the newer ones.
On the other hand, Gunnery still uses both Grav Round and High Impact Bolt frequently in the rotation which means that both set bonuses are still quite useful in increasing damage which puts a higher priority in obtaining the new belt and bracer set piece armorings before replacing the old set bonus.
- Single Target DPS: 7
- AoE Damage: 6
- Group Utility: 3
- Rotation Difficulty: 5
- RNG Dependent: No
- Burst: 9
- Sub 30% Talents or Buffs: No
For the most part Gunnery plays the same now as it did previously but there still are a few changes to how it plays:
- A new ability to replace Full Auto – Boltstorm
- A new ability – Vortex Bolt
- Cell Charger now regenerates 2 energy cells every 1.5 seconds instead of 8 every 6 seconds
- The addition of Supercharged Cell as an offensive cooldown
- High Impact Bolt now costs 5 cells instead of 10
- Grav Round and Demo Round now cost 15 cells instead of 16
Key Discipline Talents
- Charged Barrier: GR grants Charged Barrier which increases HIB damage by 6% per stack with a maximum of 5. HIB should be used with 5 stacks wherever possible. Received at level 12
- Blazing Barrel: Increases the critical chance of Hail of Bolts by 15% and its critical bonus damage by 30%. Very useful for AoE heavy situations particularly when paired with the Chain Gunnery utility. Received at Level 16.
- Gravity Surge: GR applies an additional stack of both Charged Barrier and the Power Barrier utility if relevant. Received at Level 28.
- Curtain of Fire: The Gunnery rotation revolves around proccing this talent as close to every 8 seconds as possible as it not only finishes the cooldown on BS but also increases its damage dealt by 10%.
- Burst Mode: Supercharged’sarmor penetration is increased by 5%, damage dealt provides a 2% alacrity bonus and the maximum bonus is increased to 6%. Received at Level 44.
- Ironsights: Increases damage dealt by grenade attacks, round attacks, and VB by 10%. VB also places a debuff on the target which increases ranged damage dealt by 5% for 45 seconds. Received at Level 48.
- Decoy: Grants your Diversion a 100% chance of completely absorbing the next direct force or tech attack within the next 10 seconds. Received at Level 52.
The rotation for Gunnery does not have a static rotation compared to Assault Specialist. However, it follows a simple priority system that should be followed for the highest possible dps. Additionally, the bonus alacrity that is given when Supercharged Cell is procced plays into the rotation and alters the timing of Curtain of Fire, depending on where you popped Supercharged Cell. Depending on the timing of when you used Supercharged Cell, either before or after Curtain of Fire was procced, the bonus alacrity may omit the usage of 1 additional GCD to proc Curtain of Fire, circumventing the non-integer 8 sec proc timer. Below is the opener where you can see that popping Supercharged Cell right after Curtain of Fire is procced gives you enough alacrity with the following skills so that the proc timer is as close to 8 seconds as possible, instead of 9 seconds. Additionally, since cell management is extremely light, the priority list can be followed for quite some time before Recharge Cells is required.
(pre-cast) GR, SCC + Adrenal + DR, EN, VB, BS, GR, BS, GR, HIB, DR, GR, BS….
From there it follows this priority list:
- Boltstorm (proccing Curtain of Fire every 8 seconds)
- Demo Rounds
- Electro Net
- High Impact Bolt (5 stacks)
- Vortex Bolt
- Grav Round
- Hammer Shot
Maximizing Your Damage
The key to maximizing your damage in Gunnery is following the priority system. If you have to delay the usage of such abilities like Demo Rounds or High Impact Bolt to proc Boltstorm, do so, and just use those abilities the gcd after Curtain of Fire is procced. The usage of Hammer Shots is EXTREMELY light, and the only time you will be using Hammer Shots is when the two next subsequent gcds will put you under 60 cells while maintaining the rotation, this would only truly apply for a Grav Round to a Demo Rounds because it depletes the most cells within 2 gcds in this discipline. However, with low cell costs to most abilities and the amount of talents and skills that benefit cell management, the amount of Hammer Shots you will have is minimal.
One thing to note about Vortex Bolt is that since it makes the next Grav Round cast instantly, if that Grav Round procs Curtain of Fire, you must keep in mind that the proc occurred at the START of the gcd, not at the end of it. In other words, hard casting Grav Round to proc Curtain of Fire will be at the end of that gcd, while an instant Grav Round, either instant by Vortex Bolt or by using Tech Override, will be at the start of the gcd.
Another important thing to note is that, while highly unlikely, Advanced Targeting (10% surge bonus) may fall off due to bad crits. While Assault Specialist does not suffer from this due to constant dot uptime, the single tick damage of many abilities in Gunnery may cause Advanced Targeting to not be up, or cause it fall off due to bad rng.
The last important thing is the usage of Recharge Cells in the rotation. Ideally, Recharge Cells should be popped one gcd before Curtain of Fire is procced, and/or used in conjunction with Supercharged Cell. This way, even if you emptyyourcells, using both Recharge Cells and Supercharged Cell while channeling Boltstorm would recharge nearly all your cells.
Sample Parse Analysis + Video
*Disclaimer: Due to neither of us having commandos, this portion is taken from the merc guide.
For this part, two parses will be analyzed due to certain inconsistencies. The main differences in these two parses is the APM for both of them. There is a difference of about 1.6 APM between both parses and it highly impacts the results of the parse. The parse that should have been higher is the one with higher APM, but due to crits, the lower APM parse was higher.
As you can see though, both parses follow the priority system for maximum damage, and minimal cell management. These numbers were achieved with a mix of 192/198 gear, and 2 186 acc/pow enhancements.
- Single Target DPS: 10
- AoE Damage: 4
- Group Utility: 3
- Rotation Difficulty: 10
- RNG Dependent: No
- Burst: 7
- Sub 30% Talents or Buffs: Yes (Explosive Round execute, increase in dot ticks)
Assault Specialist has undergone a number of changes including:
- A new ability to replace High Impact Bolt – Mag Bolt
- A new dot – Serrated Bolt
- Decrease in Incendiary Round’s dot time from 18 to 15 seconds
- Removal of the dot attached to Assault Plastique
- Mag Bolt can be used on any target instead of one suffering from periodic damage
- Increase in IA’s internal cooldown from 6 to 7.5 seconds
- Decrease in Scorching Bolt’s cell refund from 8 to 5
- An added execute – Explosive Round
- The addition of Supercharged Cell as an offensive cooldown
- Charged Bolts, Assault Plastique and Incendiary Round now costs 15 cells instead of 16
- Full Auto costs 24 cells instead of 16
Key Discipline Talents
- Explosive Dissemination: Increases Sticky Grenade and Plasma Grenade damage but more importantly spreads your SB and IR dots respectively to all affected targets as long as one of the affected targets has it already applied. This skill isn’t particularly useful in most encounters but is incredibly useful when there are lots of grouped targets with high HP pools. Received at Level 16.
- Scorching Bolts: Increases armor penetration on MB and grants it a 100% chance of applying CGC and recharging 5 cells. Received at Level 20.
- Sweltering Heat: Makes IR applying a debuff on the target which increases internal and elemental damage dealt by 7% for 45s. Received at Level 24.
- Ionic Accelerator: The cornerstone of your rotation. Using FA, CB or Hail of Bolts makes your next MB free and should be procced every 7.5s. Received at Level 28.
- Hyper Assault Rounds: Periodic damage below 30% makes your next ER cost 10 less cells and deal 75% more damage. 15 second cooldown. Received at Level 40.
- Assault Trooper: Increases crit damage of the bulk of your rotation and applies a debuff on the target which increases ranged damage dealt by 5% for 45s. Received at Level 44.
- Degauss: Increases defense chance by 25% for 6s; not particularly reliable for single large hits but can be very useful to resist numerous smaller hits. Received at Level 52.
- Blazing Celerity (BC): MB makes your next SB or CB activate instantly. As it’s on a 15s CD like your rotation it should be kept on the same ability at all times where possible for overall consistency. Received at Level 56.
(pre-cast) SB, IR, Adrenal + MB (proc BC), FA, SCC + EN, AP, MB, CB (use BC), MB, IR, SB, CB, CB, MB (proc BC)
Heat Ramping/Cell Emptying
FA + RPC, AP, CB (use BC), MB, IR, SB, CB, CB, MB (proc BC), FA, AP, CB (use BC), MB, IR, SB + RC, CB, CB, MB (proc BC)
FA, EN/AP/ER/HS, CB (use BC), MB, IR, SB, CB, CB/HS, MB (proc BC)
Essentially the rotation can be outlined as:
- Heat Ramping/Cell Emptying
- Cycle through the General rotation until RPC is off CD at which point it moves back into the Heat Ramping/Cell Emptying variation.
It is possible to use Hail of Bolts on a non-target prior to entering combat to proc IA and make your first MB free and Recharge Cells but while this makes your starting cells higher, it makes no overall difference to your rotation.
Maximizing Your Damage
The key to maximizing damage potential in Assault is making the most of your available cells through not just knowing what you can and can’t use at any given moment but also knowing how long until your cell management abilities are available again and planning around that.
If Supercharged is or will be available after the next CB then you can use an additional AP or ER in place of a HS without worrying about depleting and if RPC is coming off cooldown then you can ignore HS entirely in place of your higher priority abilities as the way the rotation is structured both RPC and RC come off cooldown right when they are needed.
The downside to this approach is that if something goes awry such as using an ability when you don’t have the cells to afford it, it can severely hamper your output as you will need to replace several abilities with HS in order to get your cells in a manageable enough state to continue with your rotation.
You can delay Electro Net to combine it with SCC to maximize its usage but you should not delay SCC unless you know there will be a change in the fight which will cause you to stop DPSing within the 10s window, i.e. Revan phase transitions, Blaster shielding. During these downtimes you should build or maintain your stacks by using Kolto Shot, which comes with the added benefit of healing your target. When SCC becomes available or can be used may differ depending on how many CB / HS you did as well as any external factors in the fight such as the previously mentioned downtimes.
Blazing Celerity should be kept on the CB in the FA block wherever possible but it is also possible that it can shift to the 1st half of the rotation because of things like messing up the rotation, getting stunned, interrupted, LoS’d etc., in which case it should be used on Serrated Bolt and then you can simply move the 4th GCD filler to anywhere from 1 to 3 and have CB as the 4th to proc IA and then continuing the FA block as normal.
Care must be taken with RC usage to ensure it is used directly before the ability you are going to use to proc IA because of the way alacrity works in that it does not adjust cooldowns retroactively and if you use it too soon the combined length of the regular rotational abilities will fall under the remaining time of your IA cooldown and you will need to use another ability to proc IA which will affect your overall cell position as well as pushing everything in the rotation by an additional GCD.
Your rotation during the final 10% of the fight can vary considerably depending on your cells going into it. If you have cells available or if you have RPC or RC coming off CD soon, but you won’t be getting 10 stacks of SCC before the target dies, you can swap out the CB from the first block with an ER to maximise both it and AP’s usages during the final portion of the fight. If SCC is nearing 10 stacks, you are better continuing to use that space for an additional CB until you reach the 10 stacks.
In order to maximise their damage, your primary dots shouldn’t be reapplied when there is less than 50k HP left on the target per as under this substituting a CB in their place is more effective. This can be extrapolated to 50k per target in an Operation’s fight although this number will vary depending on the composition of your group. EN is slightly different in that it ticks once every second instead of every three like the other two applied dots and therefore should not be applied below 25k.
Sample Parse Analysis + Video
*Disclaimer: Sample parse and video are created by Nepthen from Old Republic Dads
This parse was done with the exact same gear as Gunnery, mix of 192/198, and 2 186 pow/acc enhancements. As you can see, the three biggest damaging abilities are all your main weapon damaging abilities, where the next three biggest damaging abilities are all your dots. The priority for the parse is to have constant dot uptime, while proccing IA every 7.5 seconds, and remaining above 60 cells while RC is on cooldown.
Fight Specific Roles
Like the previous iteration of Operations content, no one Discipline is ideal for all fights and both have their places.
- Sparky: Assault; most of your focus should be on him and can use FA/CB/AoEs on adds where needed
- Quartermaster Bulo: Assault; your entire damage output should be on the boss as killing adds is the tank’s duty
- Torque: Assault; if you are focusing on him and Gunnery if you are tasked with cleaning up adds
- Blaster: Assault; fight revolves around two targets with no frequent swapping between them
- Coratanni: Assault; see above
Temple of Sacrifice
- Malaphar: Assault; most of your focus should be on him and can use FA/CB/AoEs on adds where needed
- Storm Squadron: Assault; #1 is up long enough between shields for your dot applications to get their full effect
- Underlurker: Gunnery; easier to burst down the adds between Collapses although they do have a large enough HP pool for Assault to work also
- Revanite Commanders: Gunnery; a large portion of this fight involves killing adds and none of them have enough HP to warrant the usage of Assault’s dot spreading
- Revan: Assault; with long sustained damage phases there is no reason to run anything else
About the Authors
We are Fascinate and Marisi, both members of <Zorz>, an endgame progression guild that has claimed multiple world-firsts since its creation, including Nightmare Dread Fortress speed title, Nightmare Dread Palace clear and speed title, and most recently, Hard More clears of the two newest Operations: The Ravagers and Temple of Sacrifice.
We both created Mercenaries during early access and have used them as our main progression character through every tier of content and and are always looking to expand on our knowledge of the class and to find new ways of pushing its capabilities as far as they can go through experimentation.
Any comments, questions or concerns you may have about the content of this guide can be asked either here or addressed to our SWTOR forum users, BreakingNews and Kinslayer, respectively.
Thank you for reading our guide!