SWTOR 3.0 Engineer Sniper DPS Guide written by Camel of Begeren Colony.[toc]
Intro to Engineering Sniper
*Update for 3.2 Incoming!*
I’ve just finished updating the Gunslinger Guide, and I plan to Update this soon. For now, I’d suggest just glancing at the Republic version and try to translate it to imperial terms.
Out of the three disciplines, Engineering was changed the most, by far. EMP Discharge has been reworked, so now it deals damage, rather than reset CDs of Adrenaline Probe, Entrench, Shield Probe, and Covered Escape. Right there, you can tell that this spec lost a good chunk of its defensive power. The burst is still reliant upon Explosive Probe and Series of Shots, and that isn’t a ton. If you want burst, check out the other specs.
For those of you new to the spec, Engineering is an AoE/Dot based discipline. It relies heavily on Plasma Probe to burn up foes while poking a few people with some Explosive Probe and Series of Shots. On single target, there is a minor ramp-up time, but the results over a long duration fight are fantastic, whether or not you wish to include Covered Escape in the rotation. This discipline competes with others for the highest DPS overall.
Important Changes from 2.0
All of this will be touched upon later in the guide, but here are a few other key things that haven’t been stated yet. The mobility of the spec is wonderful, to say the least. You no longer need to be in cover to use Explosive Probe, Series of Shots, or Snipe. However, this does NOT mean you should use the latter of the two out of cover. Remember, you don’t suffer from pushback penalties while in cover. With that in mind, based off the new(ish) rotation, you only need to be in cover for 3 seconds at a time, every 9 seconds. This is critical, since Marksmanship is entirely stationary and Virulence requires roughly 2/3 of the rotation to channel abilities, such as Cull or Series of Shots. Also, you will find energy easier to come by, thanks to the inclusion of the re-worked EMP Discharge. It gives you a free Fragmentation Grenade every 18 seconds, which is key to energy management.
This is for mostly PvE purposes only. If you want to talk PvP, go talk to someone who PvPs. I’m still a scrub at Engineering PvP. Also, to those returning to the guide, a few edits have been made to explain how to ‘sniper a little bit better.
- Single Target DPS: 9
- AoE Damage: 8
- Group Utility: 7
- Rotation Difficulty: 5, 9
- RNG Dependent: No
- Burst: 5
- Sub 30% Talents or Buffs: Yes
- Ballistic Dampers – Entering cover grants 3 stacks of Ballistic Dampers. Each charge absorbs 30% of all incoming damage. Cannot occur more than one every 1.5 seconds. Cannot gain Dampers more than once every 6 seconds.
- Vital Regulators – While in cover, you heal for 1% of your total health every 3 seconds.
- Cover Screen – Upon exiting cover, you increase your ranged defense by 20% for 6 seconds.
- Imperial Efficiency – Increases damage dealt by Suppressive Fire by 25%
- Seek Cover – When Entrench ends, or when you leave cover while Entrench is active, you gain Seek Cover, which increases movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement-impairing effects. Lasts 6 seconds.
- Calculated Pursuit – Upon leaving cover, you are given 4 charges of Calculated Pursuit, which negates the energy cost of your next 4 Overload Shots. Lasts 15 seconds or upon usage of all 4 charges. Using one charge of Calculated Pursuit triggers a 20 second rate limit on this skill.
- Augmented Shields – Increases damage absorbed by Shield Probe by 30%
- Pillbox Sniper – Decreases the cooldown of Entrench by 15 seconds, and Cover Pulse knock enemies back by an additional 4 meters.
- Counter Strike (Maybe) – Countermeasures now also purges all movement-impairing effects upon activation.
- Deployed Shields – Decreases damage taken while in cover by 6%. Also decreases the cooldown of Ballistic Shield by 30 seconds.
- Siege Bunker – Decreases area of effect damage taken while Entrench is active by 60%.
- Hold Your Ground – Reduces the Cooldown of Escape by 30 seconds, Shield Probe by 4 seconds, and Cover Pulse by 5 seconds.
100% Accuracy is a priority. To reach this, you need a minimum of 750 points into Accuracy.
- 186’s (Dread Master) – 7 Accuracy Enhancements + 1 Augments
- 192’s (Resurrected) – 6 Accuracy Enhancements + 2 Augments
- 198’s (Revanite) – 6 Accuracy Enhancements + 1 Augment
Critical rating is 100% NECESSARY for this spec. Nearly every tech ability in the spec gains a +30% critical damage boost. (Exact points still to be determined.)
- 186’s (Dread Master) – 175 to 350 Crit Rating
- 192’s (Resurrected) – 200 to 400 Crit Rating
- 198’s (Revanite) – 250 to 450 Crit Rating
You should run with 1 to 2 pieces of Alacrity (between 110-220 rating), then put the remaining points (those not fitted into Accuracy or Alacrity) into Surge.
Augments: Overkill (Power) or Skill (Cunning)
- I would recommend Cunning here because this spec will not be useful for all fights. Meaning, often times, you will need to switch to specs such as Marksmanship or Virulence based on the mechanics of the fights. So you would need your gear to be as optimized between the three disciplines as possible, and Cunning seems to benefit all these Disciplines well, so Cunning would be the way to go.
Relics: Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution
Set Bonus: 6-piece Field Tech/Professional
- These set bonuses work together, meaning if you hold one Field Tech set piece, and one Professional set piece, you will obtain the two piece set bonus.
- Adrenaline Probe – This ability grants you 50 energy over a 3 second duration. You should only use this if you are dipping below (or going to dip below) 60% energy. Otherwise, you will be over-generating energy. Also, try to avoid using this during a Sabotage Probe into Series of Shots combo. You will gain about 20 energy over the duration of the Cluster Bombs, plus the 50 energy from Adrenaline Probe. Unless you fall below 40-30%, do not use this combination. Wait until after the channel of Series of Shots. (Be wary of the free Fragmentation Grenade as well.)
- Laze Target – Activating this ability gives you an Auto-Crit on your next Sabotage Probe (in this spec), so it should be used on cooldown for maximum DPS, or saved for important burn phases. The six-piece set bonus grants you another charge of Laze Target, granting you another Auto-Crit Sabotage Probe.
- Target Aquired – Increases ranged and tech accuracy by 30% and armor penetration by 15% for 10 seconds. I would recommend using this immediately after using the first two DoTs in the second GCD block of the rotation. Alternatively, you can save this ability for important burn phases. This is a good ability to use in combination with Laze Target.
- Shield Probe – A basic shield capable of absorbing a moderate amount of damage for 10 seconds. This is almost equivalent to the Sorc/Sage’s Force Armor, so be sure to use when you know damage is coming.
- Evasion – Increases ranged and melee defense by 200%, in addition (New to 3.0), decreases damage taken from force or tech attacks by 75%. This ability no longer acts as a self-purge, but it able to deflect much more direct damage than before, so be sure to use this if massive damage is inbound.
- Ballistic Shield – Decreases all damage taken to all friendly players inside the bubble by 20% (10 meter diameter). Lasts for 25 seconds. This is VERY important to use if massive AoE damage is inbound (Final Phase for Dread Council, for example), and normally can only be used once or twice during a fight, so make sure to use the duration of the ability to the fullest.
- Diversion – Deploys a smoke grenade reducing accuracy to enemies within the 8 meter radius by 45% for 8 seconds. This does not affect operation bosses, HOWEVER, this can be used on hard-hitting adds to counter some damage. Use at a healer’s discretion.
- Entrench – As long as you remain in cover, you are immune to all controlling effects and physics for the 20 second duration. If Seek Cover is taken in the utilities tree, then this also acts as an AoE Defensive ability. Try to anticipate when this ability will be the most beneficial. This is one of the Sniper’s most powerful defensive abilities, so use it wisely.
What you need to know beforehand
The spec is really entirely dependent on the rotation. But there are a couple things to keep in mind.
- Series of Shots should be used on cooldown if possible.
- You can only use EMP Discharge on targets that are being affected by Explosive Probe
- Activating EMP Discharge makes your next Fragmentation Grenade free.
There are two different forms of the Engineeringsingle-target rotation, each with a different priority set, which may be good to know transitioning from one fight to the next.
Standard Engineering: This rotation revolves around the use of Series of Shots. This ability should be used on cooldown if possible. Then the rotation is split into two GCD blocks. This is the priority list:
(Editor note: the numbered list don’t show anything beyond 9 so 0, 1, 2, 3 are actually 10, 11, 12, 13)
- Explosive Probe
- Plasma Probe
- Interrogation Probe
- EMP Discharge (Energy Reasons)
- Corrosive Dart
- Covered Escape (If possible)
- Takedown (If under 30%)
- Fragmentation Grenade (Free)
- Orbital Strike (If energy allows)
- Fragmentation Grenade (Regular)
- Snipe (If Orbital Strike & Thermal Grenade is on cooldown and energy allows)
- Free Overload Shot (With Hot Pursuit Taken)
- Rifle Shot (If none of the above is possible)
Quick Analysis/Pointers: Energy isn’t strenuous in this spec. However, you may wish to toss a Fragmentation Grenade before applying Corrosive Dart (for ex.) in order to maintain energy. Also be sure to use Laze Target on cooldown. Free Crits!
So how does this all fit into the rotation you ask? Simple. This is what we get (with this basic opener):
Opener: (Pre-cast) Orbital + Laze Target + Target Acquired + Adrenals + Explosive Probe + Series of Shots
Rotation: Plasma Probe + Interrogation Probe + EMP Discharge + Filler + Series of Shots + Plasma Probe + Corrosive Dart + Filler + Explosive Probe + Series of Shots
Rotation Analysis: Simple right? Let me just break down a little bit more. As you can see, Plasma Probe was used 1st during each GCD block. If you remember to apply it, your Plasma Probe will ALWAYS ware off at this stage of the rotation. (Oh look, each GCD block + SoS is nine seconds long. What a coincidence.) Then the rest of the rotation is similar. Interrogation Probe will always ware off at the 2nd GCD of the two GCD blocks. EMP Discharge will come off CD at the third… and so on. You have two places you can fiddle with the rotation, which are indicated as fillers. These fillers are indicated as priorities 6-13.
Here’s a tip: The spec is much easier on energy management than it was in 2.0, so now you can effectively use Adrenaline Probe as a mini-dps buff. Which means, if you hit a filler in the rotation, Adrenaline Probe is up, and you feel like burning some energy, you can toss in a Orbital Strike to add in a little additional damage. Doing so will most likely require you to use Adrenaline Probe.
Additional Note: Some fights, using Covered Escape can be a very sketchy DPS move (Revan, for example), so using said ability may not be possible.
Experimental Engineering: This is a rotation I’m still currently working on, but the core idea has been set in stone. The type of rotation is still the same, however the priority list is slightly different:
- Explosive Probe
- Plasma Probe
- Covered Escape
- EMP Discharge
- Corrosive Dart
Then the rest…
So how does this one ability change the rotation? Covered Escape, unlike the rest of its companions, does NOT fall on a 9 or 18 second cooldown. Instead, it is 20. Therefore, abilities have to be moved around in order to use the roll on Cooldown.
The opener is still the same: (Pre-cast) Orbital + Laze Target + Target Acquired + Adrenals + Explosive Probe + Series of Shots
Plasma Probe + Roll + Interrogation Probe + EMP Discharge + Series of Shots + Plasma Probe + Corrosive Dart + Filler + Explosive Probe + Series of Shots
Plasma Probe + Interrogation Probe + Roll + EMP Discharge + Series of Shots + Plasma Probe + Corrosive Dart + Filler + Explsive Probe + Series of Shots
See the difference? Interrogation Probe was moved in front of Covered Escape. It does clip one tick of the dot, however, it is more beneficial later on in the rotation to clip this dot than to apply it later for the sake of simplicity. I won’t go through this whole rotation, but keep this in mind: Think about when each ability is going to be used. If Roll is going to overwrite it, try to think about what to use next.
Experimental vs. Standard:
Experimental is much more difficult than standard, but does pull about 100-150 DPS greater (186’s with 100% accuracy). However, when bringing this to boss fights, it is crucial you know what you are doing BEFORE trying this playstyle. If rolls cannot be used, then Experimental is out of the question. But if it can, and has potential to increase DPS by a large amount, then give it a shot.
AoE Rotation Priority:
- (Pre-cast) Orbital Strike
- Plasma Probe
- Covered Escape
- Suppressive Fire
Orbital still prevails over the three, even with the buffs to Suppressive Fire. It gains the AoE damage boost, and the Crit Boost from the tree, making this ability still a very powerful tool to use. Plasma Probe is a nice low cost AoE, and Covered Escape is free, however needs correct placement to be used effectively. Suppressive Fire wraps up the list here, either with or without the damage boost in the Utilities tree.
Author’s Note: I’m sorry I do not have a Sniper equivalent yet. Too busy leveling other things for Pub side progression. I will get an updated picture as soon as I can.
- This parse was taken using the Experimental method, but it still holds significance for both. Your Series of Shots (Speed Shot) and Plasma Probe (Incendiary Grenade) should take up a good portion of all damage dealt. While it’s not apparent immediately, Sabotage Probe (Charge) also does follow up closely behind. Don’t forget to take into account the Sabotage Probes’sCluster Bomb’s (Contingency Charge’s) as well, which does about half as much as the main ability itself. Damage Dealt with Sabotage Probe will also increase when you earn the 6-piece set bonus (2 auto-crit Sabotage Probes.)
- If your using the experimental method, Scatter Bombs should be following up Sabotage Probe (+ Cluster Bombs), then followed by Interrogation Probe (Shock Charge). If not, then these two abilities should be flipped around. (If you decide to use Covered Escape at all.)
- Your next two DoTs, which are Electrified Railgun (Blazing Speed) and Corrosive Dart (Vital Shot) should be fairly close together. Then the rest are simply the fillers of the rotation. And by looking at the chart, you can tell that there are a lot of them. If you noticed, EMP Discharge (Sabotage) surprisingly does not do a lot of damage itself, however, the ability is still important to use to maintain energy in the spec. Thus why it is prioritized over Corrosive Dart.
About the author
I’m the one known as Camel. I’m the GM of Don’t Worry Bout It on Begeren Colony (Yes it’s a RP-Server… I know), and we are among the few remaining PvE Guilds on the server. I’ve been playing Saboteur ever since I fell in love with it in 2.0, and I’ve used it in pretty much every fight where I don’t accidentally kill myself with the rolls. Even then, I sometimes do it because… why not?
Also lesser known, I’m a very experienced GSF pilot, however, “retired”. I started to re-live the space-sim age ever since I found FreeSpace on Steam, and pretty much dropped GSF after that. And I’m sorry to say that I’ll probably not fly again for a while. For those space-sim lovers out there, Elite: Dangerous releases in just a few days (12/16), so if I’m doing any flying, it will be there.
Said rotation(s) are still in its developing stages. So feel free to make adjustments as you see fit!