SWTOR 4.0 Advanced Prototypes Powertech PvE Guide by Kwerty
Introduction to Advanced Prototype
Boasting some ridiculous burst, mobility, and range (for a melee spec), Advanced Prototype is an excellent choice for a Powertech to spec into, despite recent nerfs.
On top of that, it also comes with some very good defensive capabilities for PvE. Boasting 30% damage reduction from AoE sources, heavy armor, 30% damage reduction while stunned, and more, AP is more than capable for off-tanking multiple times in a fight
Single Target Damage: 5/10
While it may have suffered from a major nerf with the loss of most of its bonus critical damage, AP Powertechs still aren’t the ‘worst’ spec out there. Though when you add in bonus damage from Reflective Armor and Pyro Shield (Utilities that rely on taking damage) and consider the benefits of high mobility, AP is more than capable of keeping up with the top specs like Marauders and Mercenaries.
AoE Damage: 6/10
AP’s AoE damage isn’t as good as its single target damage, relying mostly on the very large number of filler CDs available to it and the ridiculous amount of AoEs available to a powertech. Be warned though, that a large portion of your heat management comes from using Rail Shot on a bleeding target, so without proper management that 7/10 can quickly become a 4/10.
Burst Damage: 10/10
Even though the critical damage bonus was almost completely removed, AP Powertech’s still boast the best burst damage in the game, thanks to the supercrit mechanic for energy burst, the delay on Thermal Detonator, and the off-the-global-cooldown mechanic behind Shoulder Cannon. This, combined with your high mobility, is the #1 thing you are bringing with you into a raid.
Raid Utility: 8/10
With the large number of DCDs and access to a taunt, AP has the ability to off-tank in a number of fights. Not only that, but it can utilize a sonic rebounder every 45 seconds to negate a huge hit on at least 1 raid member, taking pressure of the healers. You also provide the armor + tech debuffs for the DPS in your raid, which are some of the best debuffs to currently have.
- Heavy Armor? Check
- AoE damage reduction? Check
- Damage reduction while stunned? Check
- Stupidly high mobility? Check
- Extra defensive cooldowns provided by the tree? Check
Basically, if it weren’t for the stance locking on the rail shot reset + energy burst, AP PTs could be one of the best tanks in the game. And its a DPS discipline.
Stance and basic gear overview
As a DPS, one of the biggest things that inflences your output is how you set up your character beforehand. As such, you should ensure you have the following:
- Make sure your character is using High Energy Gas Cylinder. This will increases your Kinetic/Energy damage by 3%, and enable your procs.
- Get your accuracy to 100%. This requires slightly more than 680 rating
- Make sure you are using a set bonus. The higher the rating the better, but you definately need the 6-piece combat tech’s set bonus due to the huge increase in potential it provides. Worst case scenario, grab a set bonus from the PvP vendor (rating 204), as the bonus can fill remaining slots from the 216/220/224 gear.
- Avoid using enhancement from MK-4 gear (Common/Glowing/Radiant data crystals gear). THESE ARE A TRAP. The extra health is not worth the loss in power. 198 enhancements that are properly itemized are better than the enhancements from the rating 220 gear for radiant data crystals
- With all that in mind, use Critical, Alacrity and Accuracy Augments. These are better than Mastery or Power augments.
- As for relics? Get yourself a Serendipitous assault relic, and a Focused retribution relic. The crafted rating 186 stuff is actually better than the stuff from the Radiant Data Crystals vendor, so go looking for those if you can’t get a better one. You can try for a Devastating Vengeance, though as it doesn’t have as big a boost as the SA/FR, it is slightly worse and requires a significantly different gearing strategy I haven’t really looked in to.
- Finally, you want to have approximately 2 alacrity to every 3 Crit Rating you have. Doing so will give you approximately the amount of Crit and Alacrity that you want
More detailed Gearing
Normally, i’d have some graphs here to explain how to properly gear and how the crit/alacrity curve. However, as i’ve been procrastinating like crazy to get this out, those graphs are coming Soon™. So, have some numbers.
These numbers were generated by Bant over on the SWTOR forums, and he uses a similar method to what I did with previous iterations of the guide.
Note that these numbers assume all the gear is obtained through Tokens (not data crystals!), which means its actual best-in-slot gear, as opposed to the traps offered by data crystal gear.
Also note there is a fair bit of leeway in these numbers, being able to go around 200 points in either direction for Crit/Alacrity before a noticable change happens to DPS.
- 2639 Power
- 1183 Critical (1xE, 13xA, 2xC)
- 760 Alacrity (5xE)
- 681 Accuracy (4xE, 1xA)
- 2779 Power
- 1202 Critical (7xE, 2xC)
- 817 Alacrity (1xE, 9xA)
- 685 Accuracy (2xE, 5xA)
- 2931 Power
- 1243 Critical (3xE, 9xA, 2xC)
- 840 Alacrity (5xE)
- 701 Accuracy (2xE, 5xA)
- Pneumatic Boots – Increases movement speed by 15%
- Gyroscopic Allignment Jets – Whenever you are stunned, imobilized, knocked down or incapacitated, you vent 10 heat
- Reflective Armor – Whenever close and personal activates within 10m of the individual who activated it, you deal minor elemental damage as recoil
- Supressive Tools – Magnetic Blast and Flame Sweep slow all enemies they hit by 30%
- Bracer Propellant – Increases the range of Magnetic Blast by 2m and the radius of flame sweep by 1m
- Engulfing Flames – Flame Sweep does 25% more damage
- Iron Will – Reduces the CD of Hydraulic Overrides by 10 seconds and the CD of determination by 30 seconds
- Neural Delay – Neural Dart slows the target for the duration of the taunt.
- No Escape – Stealth Scan has its CD reduced by 5 seconds. In addition, Grapple will root the target it pulls for 3 seconds, and Stealth Scan roots anyone it reveals for 3 seconds.
- Pyro Shield – Deals recoil damage to enemies while Energy Shield is active.
- Torque Boosters – Increases the duration of Hydraulic Overrides by 4 seconds.
- Accelerated Reel – Grapples cooldown is reduced by 15 seconds.
- Sonic Rebounder – Sonic Missile puts a shield on nearby allies, causing them to reflect the next direct attack fired at them. Does not effect yourself.
- Prototype Electro Surge – Reduces the cooldown on Electro Dart by 10 seconds.
- Hitman – Reduces the cooldown on Quell by 2 seconds.
- Explored Area – Using Stealth Scan will cause allies in the area to gain a 50% speed boost. Does not affect yourself, and persists for 6 seconds on leaving the area.
- Shield Cannon – Each time you fire shoulder cannon, you are healed for 3% of your health.
- Enhanced Paralytics – Electro Dart and Carbonize’s stun effects last 1 second longer.
- Automated Suit – Adrenaline Rush will purge hard-stun effects from players.
- Liquid Cooling – Thermal Sensor Override will vent 10 heat over 5 seconds, and drop a minor amount of threat.
- Fuel Additives – Explosive Fuel will reduce damage taken by 5% when not in Ion Gas Cylinder, and increase damage by 5% when you are.
- Overdrive – Hydraulic Overrides provides an additional 45% move speed bonus while active (75% total)
- Efficient Suit – Grapple and Shoulder cannon now have 20m range, and Electro Dart and Carbonize no longer generate heat.
- Jet Speed – Jet Charge grants jet speed, which increases your move speed by 30% for 4 seconds. This duration is refreshed if you get hit while it is active.
Now most of these utilities are massive traps, but it is recommended that you take:
- Bracer Propellant- You would be surprised at how much extra movement you get from 2m. Its not the 5m it used to be, but it is still one of the best utilities here
- Iron Will – The reduced cooldown on Hydraulics is great for negating certain knockback mechanics, and also running around in non-mount zones of the operation.
- Engulfing Flames – Is there a million adds and no AoEs going out? Take this!
- Reflective Armor – Is there any AoE going out at all? Take this!
Every other talent is either a trap (e.g. Pneumatic Boots, which isn’t as good as Iron Will because you rarely need a constant speed boost, and the reduced CD on the temporary one is better), or a PvP focused talent.
- Sonic Rebounder- This is your #1 raid mechanic benefit. It is able to negate a huge amount of big hits, and not taking it is letting your team down. Take it!
- Torque Boosters – The increased duration on Hydraulics is nice to have, so there is pretty much no downside to taking it.
- Pyro Shield – there is a LOT of raid damage in the operations now. This enables you to take Pyro Shield with piece of mind, knowing you are going to get huge benefits out of it. And with Jet Charge reducing the need for Hydraulics as a mobility tool, there is no better time to take Pyro Shield.
Other talents are definately traps. Hitman, for example, doesn’t reduce the amount of people you need to keep a target interrupted, and pretty much everything else is entirely for PvP.
- Overdrive – Yeah I know we don’t have the 40% uptime on hold the line we used to, and we’re even not recommending Torque Boosters much anymore. The point is though, this is still a ridiculous boost to the extra speed provided by Hydraulic Overrides. The burst of speed it provides is exactly what you need for dodging specific mechanics, without going overboard, and it is, in my opinion, a must have with only 1 exception: If you never have to move, ever, then dont take it (e.g. Nefra with an RDPS pulling the droids away)
- Liquid Cooling – The top priority for choice, this gives you an extra magnetic blast every 90 seconds or so. Never a bad idea to get more heat to play around with.
- Shield Cannon – The less priority choice, take it when you need the extra healing because your healers are struggling. Not a top priority though.
Now while other talents may not be a trap or PvP focused (well, there are a couple), the other uses are on a per-fight basis, such as Enhanced Paralytics for Revanite Commanders, but you can’t really go wrong with the choices recommended above.
The AP discipline has the following talents gained by level up:
The following opener is your best bet for maximum damage, as well as perfect cooldown synergy. Try to always keep to it.
Note: Jet Charge isn’t used because you can usually Hydraulics -> TD -> run in, and get there by the time you use Retractable Blade.
[FS before pull to pre-proc] -> [Jet Charge if necessary] -> TD –> RB -> RS -> RP -> MB –> [Offensive Cooldowns] EB -> RS -> MB -> RS –> RP -> TD -> MB -> RS –> Rotation
While this does waste a single energy lode, the alternative is to miss out on either:
- Susceptible with your stupidly powerful auto-crit energy burst
- Sundered with your stupidly powerful auto-crit energy burst
- The auto-crit + 2% damage boost for your stupidly powerful auto-crit energy burst
- The 2% damage boost from your 2-piece set bonus to combo with an adrenal + battle focus.
As an added bonus, delaying the OCDs to Energy Burst gives the tanks a bit of time to build up aggro, as well as a key point for when the big burst hits (~10 seconds into the pull). And by following this opener to the letter, your RP and TD are synched up perfectly to never interfere with each other or with the Prototype Particle Accelerator Proc.
Prototype Particle Accelerator Proc
This is the key to the whole rotation. You will get this every 6 seconds when doing the rotation correctly, and it will result in you getting every 4th GCD replaced with a hard-hitting attack, that is not only free, but will prevent you from having to ever use Retractable Blade again, and gives you extra resources. The easiest way to see you’re screwing up the rotation is when this is not activated every 6 seconds.
The basics of ensuring PPA always happens is to think of the rotation as 3 seperate 4GCD blocks, ending with PPA. Most of that is quite fluid, with a lot of options to go into it, but the 3 blocks will always have these basics:
[FILLER] -> [FILLER] -> [FILLER] -> Rocket Punch
[FILLER] -> [FILLER] -> [FILLER] -> Magnetic Blast
[FILLER] -> Rocket Punch -> [FILLER] -> Magnetic Blast
Always go from Block 1 to Block 2 to Block 3. By doing so, you always have PPA used, and Rocket Punch is always available.
Advanced Notes About the Rotation
So, how do the fillers work? Every time you reach a filler, you should look at this priority list:
- Thermal Detonator
- 4-stack Energy Burst
- Rail Shot
- Magnetic Blast or Rapid Shots
The first 3 are easy. Use them whenever the situation is available. Its the 4th point that can kill you.
Magnetic Blast and Rapid Shots are a judgment call for if you’ll have the heat to use them. Since there are approximately 30 different cases for when to use rapid shots or magnetic blast, it would take too long to go through all of them. To begin with, try starting without using Magnetic Blast as a filler, only using it as you get more used to the rotation, as to not waste resources and end up in a ditch. In fact, getting into a resource ditch is the last thing you ever want to do, because outside of Vent Heat, you’ve got pretty much no way to recover from it – and that has a 90 second cooldown.
But what about Vent Heat/Thermal Sensor Override?
Well, if you followed the opener I provided, keep using Magnetic Blast over Rapid Shots as a filler until right around the time you use the next Thermal Detonator. Then, use Vent Heat then, and once again continue to use Mag Blast over Rapid Shots for about 18 more seconds, and then Thermal Sensor Override. Doing so should get you an almost perfect amount of heat used, with only minor levels of wastage as time goes on.
After that, once the rotation hits a point of:
Thermal Detonator -> Rail Shot -> Rapid Shots -> Rocket Punch ->…
You’ve come full circle with the 90 second rotation (Energy Burst sadly doesn’t fit into this), and you can once again throw caution to the wind and spam Magnetic Blast again. Before that though, take a note of how many seconds are left on the CD of vent heat – this is important to remember for later in this fight.
Then its as simple as using your resource cooldowns immediately when they come up, and stopping for rapid shots once they’re all gone again. And when vent heat has its cooldown at the same amount as it was when you started spamming Magnetic Blast, that is the time to revert to Mag Blast spamming once again.
So what if there are multiple enemies? That’s where your overubundance of AoEs come in.
The only thing to remember from the ST rotation is that you have to proc PPA every 4th GCD. What you use for it doesn’t matter. But the more stuff you can hit with your AoEs, the better.
In terms of power:
Death from Above > Flamethrower > Explosive Dart > Flame Sweep
Of those 4, Death from Above and Flamethrower are harder to hit, as they are channeled attacks in specific areas, whereas Explosive Dart and Flame Sweep are much more consistant, being instant abilities that don’t require you to put excessive effort into aiming. The instant abilities can also be used to proc PPA, which means that the rotation is able to mostly translate into AoE abilities.
A typical AoE rotation might look something like this:
DFA -> Explosive Dart -> Rail Shot ->Flamethrower -> Flame Sweep -> Rail Shot ->
Putting that block into your standard rotation while adds are up is usually enough to kill all of them, and allow you to return to your single target rotation. This isn’t always the case though, and you may require more time to spam AoEs like Explosive Dart or Flame Sweep while the adds are still alive.
If the fight does have extensive uptime for AoE, it is recommended that you swap to Pyrotech.
With that huge amount of information out there, you now have everything you need to become a top-tier AP Powertech.
While I understand there are a few things still missing from this guide (Graphs showing Crit vs Alacrity, a video with a demonstration of the rotation, an example parse, some images to utilize for an easier understanding of stuff), this is the first draft of quite a few.
You can still find a video of the rotation here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2eaBfXq5MU), though note the video is from the 3.X cycle of the game, so you wont see the debuff for Energy Burn show up on the enemy, or the stupidly high critical hits that energy burst can achieve.
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone for my patience in getting version 1 of this guide out. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming updates to it over the coming weeks, as well as the Tactics translation.
About the Author
I’m Kwerty, the guy who wrote the 2.6+ Assault Vanguard/Tactics guides that used to be found on swtor.com, as well as the 3.X Vanguard and Powertech guides here on dulfy.net.
I’ve been an avid Star Wars fan for years, and have been playing this game for around 3 years, coming in at the time of NiM SnV/TFB, and moving on to progression raiding in late 2.7
I’d like to thank everyone in my raid team (currently raiding Imp Side on the Harbinger) in Dei ex Machina for all the loot, and putting up with my constant purchases of Combat Medic’s gear because the names are similar, and all the time I’ve stood in fire to get more damage out.
Enjoy the guide!