SWTOR 4.0 Mercenary DPS PvE Guide by Marisi

SWTOR 4.0 Mercenary DPS PvE Guide by Marisi. This guide covers both Arsenal and Innovative Ordnance.

Intro to 4.0 Mercenary DPS

As is the case with most classes, Mercenary DPS has remained fundamentally the same during the transition from 3.X to 4.0 in terms of rotations and priorities, but while Arsenal has remained as a stable and reliable mid-range DPS discipline, Innovative Ordnance has suffered greatly in terms of its DPS potential and has dropped from amongst the highest parsing disciplines to barely outputting more than its burst counterpart.

Innovative Ordnance

For the two 3.0 tier operations; The Ravagers and Temple of Sacrifice, this discipline was optimal for the majority of the boss fights during progression and more than adequate for the remainder once your group was sufficiently geared and comfortable with the fights.

Innovative Ordnance, however, received a large number of nerfs for the 4.0 launch; the removal of the crit buff from Relentless Ordnance, the reduction of the elemental damage buff from Flaming Wound from 5% to 3%, Superheated Gas now increases damage dealt by your Combustible Gas Cylinder by only 10% instead of 30% and reduces its chance to trigger from 10% to 5%, Supercharged Gas only lasts for 8 seconds instead of 10 and Supercharged Burn’s duration is down from 5 seconds to 4, all of which mean that there are very few instances, if any at all, where this discipline is optimal for any boss fight.

The only positive change for this discipline is the new level 64 talent called Surging Shots which causes your periodic damage to give you a stacking buff (up to 10) which increases the damage done by your next Power Shot or Sweeping Blasters by the number of stacks you have but this in no way offsets the vast loss of DPS by the aforementioned nerfs.

Arsenal

Arsenal provides the same benefits as it has previously had over Innovative Ordnance; better AoE, easier resource management, easier target swapping and more reliable burst but now with the nerfs Innovative Ordnance received, it is now almost equal in sustained DPS and with these benefits it has even become the preferred DPS discipline in virtually every boss fight.

Arsenal received very little changes with 4.0’s launch, both of which are passive and don’t change how it plays at all; Supercharged Gas’s duration is down from 10 seconds to 8 and Tracer Lock now not only increases the damage done by your next Rail Shot but it also increases its critical chance by 3% per stack.

Fight Specific Roles

Unlike previous iterations of content where it was beneficial to swap between disciplines depending on the fight, Innovative Ordnance’s nerfs have reduced its DPS capabilities to the point where even though it retains a slight edge over Arsenal, it is in no way enough for it to be a recommended DPS discipline in operations. Arsenal has better AoE, it has easier resource management and mistakes are easier to recover from, it has better target swapping and it has better burst and as both disciplines currently stand, it is recommended for all operation fights.

Utilities

The bolded utilities have an important use in Operations; with Improved Vents, Power Barrier, Custom Enviro Suit, Torque Boosters, Thrill of the Hunt and Stabilized Armor being taken on almost all fights, if not all, with the seventh one changing depending on the fight; Boresights is great for fights with multiple targets for the increased damage on Sweeping Blasters, particularly for Arsenal, for example.

Skillful

  • Jet Escape – Reduces the cooldown of Jet Boost by 5 seconds and Determination by 30 seconds.
  • Afterburners – Rocket Punch immobilizes the target for 4 seconds. Direct damage caused after 2 seconds ends the effect. In addition, Jet Boost’s knockback effect is stronger and pushes enemies 4 metres further away.
  • Custom Enviro Suit – Increases Endurance by 3% and all healing received by 3%.
  • Gyroscopic Alignment Jets – You vent 10 heat when stunned, immobilized, knocked down or otherwise incapacitated.
  • Improved Vents – Vent Heat now immediately vents an additional 15 hear and grants 10% alacrity for 6 seconds.
  • Power Barrier – Power Shot, Tracer Missile, and Rapid Scan generate a Power Barrier that increased damage reduction by 1% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times.
  • Boresights – Increases the damage dealt by Sweeping Blasters by 25%.
  • Adhesive Supplements (NEW) – Power Shot and Tracer Missile reduce the movement speed of targets they damage by 40% for 6 seconds. In addition, the slowing effect applied by Kolto Residue lasts an additional 3 seconds.

Masterful

  • Torque Boosters – Increases the duration of Hydraulic Overrides by 4 seconds.
  • Pyro Shield – When activated, your Energy Shield ignites in a blaze, lashing attackers for X elemental damage when it remains active. This effect cannot occur more than once each second.
  • Infrared Sensors – Increases stealth detection level by 2, melee and ranged defense by 2%, and reduces the cooldown of Stealth Scan by 5 seconds.
  • Suit FOE – When you activate Cure on yourself, a Foreign Object Excisor reduces all periodic damage taken by 30% for 12 seconds.
  • Protective Field – Increases all healing received by 20% while Energy Shield is active.
  • Power Shield – Energy Shield now further decreases ability activation pushback by 30% and makes you immune to interrupts.
  • Heat Damping – Eliminates the heat generated by Jet Boost, Concussion Missile, Cure, and Electro Dart.
  • Supercharged Defense (NEW) – Activating Supercharged Gas increases your defense chance by 15% and grants immunity to interrupts for 8 seconds.

Heroic

  • Energy Rebounder – When you take damage, the active cooldown of Energy 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.
  • Power Overrides – Reduces the cooldowns of Concussion Missile and Power Surge by 15 second charge, making your next two abilities with an activation time activate instantly.
  • Stabilized Armor – Reduces damage taken from area effects by 30%. Additionally, while stunned, you take 30% less damage from all sources.
  • Jet Rebounder – Increases the damage dealt by Jet Boost by 30%. In addition, taking damage reduces the active cooldown of Jet Boost by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
  • Supercharged Reserves – Reduces the cooldowns of Cure 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.
  • Kolto Jets – Jet Boost heals you and up to 7 other allies within range for X – Y.
  • Thrill of the Hunt – Allows Unload, Blazing Bolts and Progressive Scan to be activated while moving.
  • Smoke Screen (NEW) – Rocket Out generates a Smoke Screen when used, keeping you from being leapt to or pulled and making you immune to interrupts and ability activation pushbacks for the the next 4 seconds.

Gearing

  • Accuracy: The amount of accuracy required to reach 110% has dropped to 684 which can be reasonably obtained with 1 224 enhancement and 7 accuracy augments (this gives 679 or 109.95%), 2 220 enhancements and 5 accuracy augments (this gives 685 or 110.01%) or 4 216 enhancements and 1 accuracy augment (this gives 681 or 109.97%). 2 of these combinations leads to the potential for some rare misses but they are the closest to the cap without wasting points.
  • Alacrity: 850 – 900
  • Crit: 1200 – 1250
  • Augments: Up to 7 accuracy depending on the level of your gear and the rest split across alacrity and crit
  • Crystals: Crit

With the reduction in potential DPS from mainstat and that power no longer competes with other stats such as alacrity and crit, these have become a lot more beneficial to maximising your potential DPS. Accuracy from gear is far less useful than it once was as the bulk of your accuracy now comes from augments meaning you just need a single piece of gear that contains accuracy. Unfortunately, 3 of the 7 set piece / MH / OH tokens contain accuracy whereas only one is required.

Conversely, alacrity is only available in the Headpiece so it is recommended to get Earpiece and Implants with alacrity and then supplement the remainder of the target with alacrity augments.

Despite the set bonuses mostly remaining the same, the 192/198 and 216+ sets do not count as a single set so it is recommended to keep your old set bonus armorings until you get the full 6 before swapping over.

Arsenal

Rating

  • Single Target DPS: 7
  • AoE Damage: 6
  • Group Utility: 3
  • Rotation Difficulty: 5
  • RNG Dependent: No
  • Burst: 8
  • Sub 30% Talents or Buffs: No

Discipline Changes

Arsenal plays identically to how it did during 3.X with a few passive differences:

  • Supercharged Gas now lasts 8 seconds instead of 10
  • Tracer Lock increases the crit chance of your next Rail Shot by 3% per stack

Abilities

blazingbolts

Blazing Bolts (BB): Not only your highest damaging ability but it also vents more heat than it costs over the duration and causes your next HSM to crit automatically once every 60 seconds. Replaces Unload and costs 16 heat.

tracermissile

Tracer Missile (TM): Your basic filler attack; builds stacks of Tracer Lock, procs Barrage and builds stacks of Supercharged. Should be used if no other higher priority abilities are available and you have heat available. No cooldown, costs 15 heat.

heatseekermissile

Heatseeker Missiles (HSM): The highest hitting ability in Arsenal and should only be used if the target is affected by the heat signature from your TM. 15 second cooldown, costs 15 heat.

railshot

Rail Shot (RS): Deals a large amount of damage particularly with 5 stacks of Tracer Lock, each of which increases this ability’s damage dealt by 6% and its crit chance by 3%. 15 second cooldown, costs 5 heat.

primingshot

Priming Shot (PS): The third highest of Arsenal’s instant abilities, this one also makes your next TM activate instantly. 18 second cooldown, costs 12 heat.

electronet

Electro Net (EN): One of the highest damaging abilities per heat cost and should be used as regularly as possible. Due to its lengthy cooldown, however, delaying it for a few GCDs if higher priorities are available is not damaging. 90 second cooldown, costs 10 heat.

rapidshots

Rapid Shot (Rapid): Heat management overall is much smoother in Arsenal now and while this still does need to be used to effectively manage your heat, it is definitely less than before.

superchargedgas

Supercharged Gas (SCG): Requires and consumes 10 stacks of Supercharged to increase armor penetration by 15% for 8 seconds. Additionally, damage dealt by HSM, TM, BB and PS temporarily increase alacrity by 2% for the duration with a maximum alacrity boost of 6%.

tso

Thermal Sensor Override (TSO): Your next ability generates no heat. Should be used with Blazing Bolts where possible simply because it costs the most heat. 90 second cooldown.

Key Discipline Talents

tracerlock

Tracer Lock: TM grants Tracer Lock which increases RS damage by 6% per stack with a maximum of 5. RS should be used with 5 stacks wherever possible. Received at level 12

blazingbarrels

Blazing Barrels: Increases the critical chance of Sweeping Blasters by 15% and its critical bonus damage by 30%. Very useful for AoE heavy situations particularly when paired with the Boresights utility. Received at Level 16.

lightemup

Light ‘Em Up: TM applies an additional stack of both Tracer Lock and the Power Barrier utility if relevant. Received at Level 28.

barrage

Barrage: The Arsenal rotation revolves around proccing this talent as close to every 8 seconds as possible as it not only finishes the cooldown on BB but also increases its damage dealt by 10%. Received at Level 40.

burstmode

Burst Mode: Supercharged’s armor 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

Ironsights: Increases damage dealt by PS and dart and missile attacks by 10% and places a debuff on the target which increases ranged damage dealt by 5% for 45 seconds. Received at Level 48.

decoy

Decoy: Grants your chaff flare a 100% chance of completely absorbing the next 5 direct force or tech attacks within the next 10 seconds. Received at Level 52.

honedluck

Honed Lock: Tracer Lock increases the crit chance of your next Rail Shot by 3% each stack. Received at Level 64.

Rotation

The rotation for Arsenal does not have a static rotation compared to Innovative Ordnance. 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 Gas is procced plays into the rotation and alters the timing of Barrage, depending on where you popped Supercharged Gas. Depending on the timing of when you used Supercharged Gas, either before or after Barrage was procced, the bonus alacrity may omit the usage of 1 additional GCD to proc Barrage, circumventing the non-integer 8 sec proc timer. Below is the opener where you can see that popping Supercharged Gas right after Barrage 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 heat management is extremely light, the priority list can be followed for quite some time before Vent Heat is required.

Opener

(pre-cast) TM, SCG + Adrenal + HSM, EN, PS, BB, TM, BB, TM, RS, HSM, TM, BB….

swtor-4.0-arsenal-mercenary-rotation

From there it follows this priority list:

  1. Blazing Bolts (proccing Barrage every 8 seconds)
  2. Heatseeker Missiles
  3. Electro Net
  4. Rail Shot (5 stacks)
  5. Priming Shot
  6. Tracer Missile
  7. Rapid Shot

Maximizing Your Damage

The key to maximizing your damage in Arsenal is following the priority system. If you have to delay the usage of such abilities like Heatseeker Missiles or Rail Shot to proc Blazing Bolts, do so, and just use those abilities the gcd after Barrage is procced. The usage of Rapid Shots is EXTREMELY light, and the only time you will be using Rapid Shots is when the two next subsequent gcds will put you over 40 heat while maintaining the rotation, this would only truly apply for a Tracer Missile to a Heatseeker Missiles because it builds the most heat within 2 gcds in this discipline. However, with low heat costs to most abilities and the amount of talents and skills that benefit heat management, the amount of Rapid Shots you will have is minimal.

One thing to note about Priming Shot is that since it makes the next Tracer Missile cast instantly, if that Tracer Missile procs Barrage, 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 Tracer Missile to proc Barrage will be at the end of that gcd, while an instant Tracer Missile, either instant by Priming Shot or by using Power Surge, 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 Innovative Ordnance does not suffer from this due to constant dot uptime, the single tick damage of many abilities in Arsenal may cause Advanced Targeting to not be up, or cause it to fall off due to bad rng.

The last important thing is the usage of Vent Heat in the rotation. Ideally, Vent Heat should be popped one gcd before Barrage is procced, and/or used in conjunction with Supercharged Gas. This way, even if you cap on heat, using both Vent Heat and Supercharged Gas while channeling Blazing Bolts would vent nearly all your heat.

Innovative Ordnance

Rating

  • Single Target DPS: 7
  • AoE Damage: 4
  • Group Utility: 3
  • Rotation Difficulty: 10
  • RNG Dependent: No
  • Burst: 6
  • Sub 30% Talents or Buffs: Yes (Missile Blast execute, increase in dot ticks)

Discipline Changes

Innovative Ordnance has undergone a number of changes including:

  • Relentless Ordnance no longer passively increases crit chance
  • Flaming Wound buffs elemental damage by 3% instead of 5%
  • Supercharged Gas lasts for 8 seconds instead of 10
  • Supercharged Burn lasts for 4 seconds instead of 5
  • Superheated Gas increases damage done by Combustible Gas Cylinder by 10% instead of 30% and its chance to trigger by 5% instead of 10%
  • Unload now has a 15 second cooldown instead of 12
  • Periodic damage now gives a stacking buff (up to 10) that increases the damage done by your next Power Shot or Sweeping Blasters

Abilities

magshot

Mag Shot (MS): Does high weapon damage, vents 5 heat if it hits a burning target and is free with IPA. Replaces Rail Shot.

unload

Unload (UL): Costs more than previously at 24 heat but also does more damage and also causes your next MS to crit automatically once every 60 seconds. 15 second cooldown.

powershot

Power Shot (PS): Due to IPA not requiring 2 PS or UL/PS in one block this ability is no longer used as often but due to it building stacks of Supercharged should still be used fairly regularly. No cooldown, costs 15 heat.

serratedshot

Serrated Shot (SS): The stronger of your primary dots and also increases all ranged damage done by 5% for 45 seconds. Should be kept on the target at all times where possible. Costs 15 heat.

incendiarymissile

Incendiary Missile (IM): The weaker of the primary dots and increases all elemental and internal damage done by 7% for 45 seconds. Should be kept on the target at all times where possible. Costs 15 heat.

thermaldetonator

Thermal Detonator (TD): It no longer has a dot attached but the damage has been increased accordingly. Use it as often as your heat allows as a filler. 15 second cooldown, costs 15 heat.

electronet

Electro Net (EN): One of the highest damaging abilities per heat cost and should be used as regularly as possible. Due to its lengthy cooldown, however, delaying it for a few GCDs to fit better into the rotation or for Supercharged is not damaging. 90 second cooldown, costs 10 heat.

missileblast

Missile Blast (MB): Sub 30% this ability’s heat cost is halved and the damage increased by 75% every 15 seconds. Should be used as often as your heat allows as a filler. Costs 10 heat.

rapidshots

Rapid Shot (RS): Heat management is much more costly to manage effectively than prior to 3.0 so unlike previously where you didn’t have to auto attack much or at all to manage heat, this now needs to be used quite often when your heat management abilities are not available.

superchargedgas

Supercharged Gas (SCG): Requires and consumes 10 stacks of Supercharged and increases all dot damage for 8 seconds and applies an additional 4 second dot.

tso

Thermal Sensor Override (TSO): Your next ability generates no heat. Should be used with Unload where possible simply because it costs the most heat. 90 second cooldown.

Key Discipline Talents

collateraldamage

Collateral Damage: Increases Explosive Dart and Fusion Missile damage but more importantly spreads your SS and IM 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.

superheatedshot

Superheated Shot: Increases armor penetration on MS and grants it a 100% chance of applying CGC and venting 5 heat. Received at Level 20.

swelteringheat

Sweltering Heat: Makes IM applying a debuff on the target which increases internal and elemental damage dealt by 7% for 45s. Received at Level 24.

ipa

Innovative Particle Accelerator: The cornerstone of your rotation. Using UL, PS or Sweeping Blasters makes your next MS free and should be procced every 7.5s. Received at Level 28.

volatilewarhead

Volatile Warhead: Periodic damage below 30% makes your next MB cost 10 less heat and deal 75% more damage. Received at Level 40.

ordnanceexpert

Ordnance Expert: 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

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.

speedtoburn

Speed to Burn (STB): MS makes your next SS or PS 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 60.

surgingshots

Surging Shots: Periodic damage grants a stacking buff up to 10 stacks that increases your next Power Shot or Sweeping Blasters by 1% per stack. Received at Level 64.

Rotation

Opener

(pre-cast) SS, IM, Adrenal + MS (proc STB), UL, SCG + EN, TD, MS, PS (use STB), MS, IM, SS, PS, PS, MS (proc STB)

swtor-4.0-IO-mercenary-opener

Heat Ramping

TSO + UL, TD, PS (use STB), MS, IM, SS, PS, PS, MS (proc STB), UL, TD, PS (use STB), MS, IM, SS + VH, PS, PS, MS (proc STB)

swtor-4.0-IO-mercenary-heat-ramping

General

UL, EN/TD/MB/RS, PS (use STB), MS, IM, SS, PS, PS/RS, MS (proc STB)

swtor-4.0-IO-mercenary-general-rotation

Essentially the rotation can be outlined as:

  • Opener
  • Heat Ramping
  • Cycle through the General rotation until TSO is off CD at which point it moves back into the Heat Ramping variation.

It is possible to use Sweeping Blasters on a non-target prior to entering combat to proc IPA and make your first MS free and vent heat but while this makes your starting heat lower, it makes no overall difference to your rotation.

Maximizing Your Damage

The key to maximizing damage potential in IO is making the most of your available heat through not just knowing what you can and can not use at any given moment but also knowing how long until your heat management abilities are available again and planning around that.

If Supercharged is or will be available after the next PS then you can use an additional TD or MB in place of an RS without worrying about overheating and if TSO is coming off cooldown then you can ignore RS entirely in place of your higher priority abilities as the way the rotation is structured both TSO and VH 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 heat to afford it, it can severely hamper your output as you will need to replace several abilities with RS in order to get your heat in a manageable enough state to continue with your rotation.

You can delay EN to combine it with SCG to maximize its usage but you should not delay SCG 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 SCG becomes available or can be used may differ depending on how many PS / RS you did as well as any external factors in the fight such as the previously mentioned downtimes.

The new level 64 talent, Surging Shots, gives a stacking buff from each tick of periodic damage up to a maximum of 10. Each stack gives a 1% damage increase to your next PS or Sweeping Blasters. In a single target situation, IM and SS each tick 5 times over 15 seconds and CGC ticks a minimum of 4 times per application which means over 15 seconds you’ll have a minimum of 18 stacks which requires 2 PS every 15 seconds in order to circumvent wastage. When using this buff on Sweeping Blasters, it is consumed at the end of the channel and it is applied to every tick on every target and with the potential for multiple dots on multiple targets reaching 10 stacks is incredibly quick.

Speed to Burn should be kept on the PS in the UL 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 Shot and then you can simply move the 4th GCD filler to anywhere from 1 to 3 and have PS as the 4th to proc IPA and then continuing the UL block as normal.

Care must be taken with VH usage to ensure it is used directly before the ability you are going to use to proc IPA 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 IPA cooldown and you will need to use another ability to proc IPA which will affect your overall heat 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 heat going into it. If you have heat available or if you have TSO or VH coming off CD soon, but you won’t be getting 10 stacks of SCG before the target dies, you can swap out the PS from the first block with a MB to maximise both it and TD’s usages during the final portion of the fight. If SCG is nearing 10 you are better continuing to use that space for an additional PS until you reach the 10 stacks.

In order to maximise their damage, your primary dots shouldn’t be reapplied when there is less than 60k HP left on the target per as under this substituting a PS in their place is more effective. This can be extrapolated to 60k 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 30k.

About the Author

The original guide was written by Fascinate and Marisi of <Zorz> and was updated and revised by Marisi, now of <Provectus> and <Four of Five>, to reflect the most recent 4.0 changes.

Any comments, questions or concerns you may have about the content of this guide can be asked here.

  • yo

    in the rotation, mag shot instead of missile blast

    • My mistake, should be fixed now

  • SupRun

    So the optimal gear for both disciplines is the same, regardless of the fact that one is a burst spec and one is a DoT spec?
    Also, if you can be at I believe 110.06% accuracy with 4 216 accuracy enhancements, 1 220 accuracy enhancement, and 1 accuracy augment. (If you are getting unlucky on drops, or don’t want to be below the cap. Missing your auto-crit Demolition Round is loads of fun.)
    Is this going to be translated to Commando?

    • Vendrine

      The crit helps IO due to the large number of dot ticks and helps arsenal with super crit, so there is little to no stat change necessary.

      • SupRun

        I played a bit of Assault before 4.0 and you need a LOT more alacrity on Assault over Gunnery because MOAR DOTS! With Assault not losing any DoTs I would still think Assault would want more alacrity, at least ~150 more.

    • Shepard

      According to Bant’s theorycrafting, the difference between his suggested stats for IO vs Arsenal is a difference of moving around 22 points between alacrity and crit (in all 224 gear). So I imagine that Marisi was not going to bother suggesting 2 different gear set ups since they are so close together.

      Also she gives ranges that encompass both distributions from Bant’s thread. The difference between 22 more alacrity vs 22 more crit is negligible. Arguments can be made that being within ~100 of the target isn’t going to change your dps except by maybe a small percent.

      • SupRun

        I don’t know about you, but I don’t see everyone rolling around in all 224 gear. I assume if you made it to get all 224 gear in a Mando, I don’t need to tell you how to play.

        • Blackstar

          If you’re running in less than 224 gear, then the stat budget difference would be even less, making the swap even more unnecessary.

          • SupRun

            Like I said, if you got full 224 gear playing on a Mando, you don’t need my advice on gearing.

            • GI’Barbie

              the numbers just don’t make sense or is that just me for gear why can you add the numbers all up for 220s and get 200 points less in your gear? the math here makes sense but in game dose not

              • SupRun

                Bant’s stats (which are accepted as divine by about everyone) call for 1160 crit and 859 alacrity for IO/Assault in 220, ~300 points difference. Personally, I think the difference should be smaller, maybe ~175-200, give or take about 50 or so.

  • silencer

    shouldn’t blazing bolts be your opening ability? You lost a bit of pre-cast time on tracer missile but gain an entire blazing bolt cast, since your first tracer immediately procs another.

    • SupRun

      It’s not buffed by Curtain of Fire though, so you lose out on +10% damage or whatever it is. Sometimes I do lead with it, but only when I’m on purpose not trying to pull threat.

    • John Dullebawn III

      No Tracer Missile proc’s Barrage, thats a damage increase on your BB. If your using a SCG between your tracer missile and your BB this will speed up your barrage proc and allow you a very fast second proc’d BB. If you want scroll up and look for the opener I posted

  • SupRun

    Also I have a question about utilities. Why do you take Pyro Shield instead of Protective Zone? If you have to pop your Reactive Shield as a DCD you obviously took (or are about to take) a massive spike. This utility makes it much easier on your healers, especially them scoundrels, who couldn’t spell ‘burst heals’ if you carved it into their skulls. I know it’s not totally their fault, but I didn’t tell them to bring a scoundrel on a spike heavy fight.

    • Shepard

      You could do that if the fight and your healers required it. However you are a dps (if in arsenal or IO) and Pyro shield is a dps increase whenever you are taking a steady amount of damage (e.g. Underlurker). You have to decide what is more important: more dps? Or catering to healers? Imo, protective field is a VERY situational PVE for dps and mostly a PVP talent for healers.

      • SupRun

        The DPS increase is very small, compared to having you go down when you pop your shield as a DCD but your healers can’t quite get to you fast enough and you have to burn battle rez or hit enrage. Especially in situations when DPS have to stay alive as long as possible (Titan 6 burn, Last phase Council, Lase phase Styrak, Last phase TFB)

        • LittlePinch

          If i know im going to take a lot of spike dmg and my healers may not be able to keep me up i just use my rail shot procs for a big instant heal and save my own ass. I pug a lot and never trust my healers to save me when shit hits the fan.

          • SupRun

            When I used to main DPS on a Mando in 3.0 (been doing mostly Slinger since 4.0) I would run progression with a team that’s been together for a couple years. We all knew when to pop DCDs and therefore I knew how to mitigate spikes and I had good raid-aware healers.
            I don’t really pug much except in SM ops and I don’t really care if I die all that much tbh because I know it’s not my fault by standing in stupid but it is my fault when I pull aggro.

  • NeedToKnow

    Why don’t you lead with PS for the extra 5% damage?

    • Shepard

      You typically want to start off with an ability that you can pre cast before combat begins. This enables you to essentially get a “free” ability in your opener. Since priming shot is not a casted ability, you wouldn’t want to start off a fight with it if your team is taking the time to do a countdown before the tanks pull or you have warning when the fight will start. If someone face pulls or you don’t know when the fight will start, starting with PS wold be acceptable, especially if you weren’t expecting it and need to get into position.

  • William Barbour

    what about an aoe rotation?

    • Shepard

      If in arsenal, use DFA and spam Sweeping blasters. Possible that given like 5+ targets fusion missile or explosive dart might be worth it, although those are gcd’s that could be used on sweeping blasters. Make sure to take Boresights in skillful to increase dps of sweeping blasters.

      For IO, put both dots on, spread with FM and ED then DFA and spam SB. Track when dots come off to reapply and spread again if needed. If the adds are going to be alive for a while (e.g. all the trash in ToS) then make sure to not burn out your heat. Make use of rapid shots. Priority would be to keep dots rolling on all targets, and DFA. Can also just do your single target rotation and put FM and ED as fillers to spread dots, but again watch your heat.

      • chameleon2000

        “Possible that given like 5+ targets fusion missile or explosive dart
        might be worth it, although those are gcd’s that could be used on
        sweeping blasters.”

        <- That's exactly the question I'd like to know the definitive answer to 🙂

        • John Dullebawn III

          For AOE I prefer to precast a Fusion missile for the DOT effect then DFA then spam sweeping blasters. So its FM(precast), DFA, SB.

  • Xzelsius

    IO General Rotation –> Rapid Shots instead of Rail Shot

  • Zombwing

    The IO rotation is good for never having to move. People should really look up Kwerty’s rotation for a much more mobile playstyle that does comparative damage.

  • Zluke Skyrocker

    What about Power Surge ability (next ability activate inst +1 with Power Overrides utility) in Arsenal rotation? Its very useful to activate TM instantly.

  • Zluke Skyrocker

    What about Power Surge ability in Arsenal rotation (next ability activate inst +1 with Power Overrides utility) ? Its very useful to activate TM instantly.

    Always using on CD

    The rotation is something like

    precast TM > adr+SCG > EN > BB > PS > TM > BB > PO > TM > RS > TM > BB …

    • There’s no real added value in making 1.5s abilities instant, except for when you have to move. So save Power Surge for when you have to move, I’d say.

      • SupRun

        Not necessarily. Maybe for high movement fights (Bulo, Lurker, Raptus Kiter on Council, The TFB, Dash) yeah, use it only for movement. But many fights you stay in literally one spot or move very very little (Torque, Tyrans, Raptus) I use it on CD. Plus the set bonus gives it a reduced CD (which is not really all that helpful, but still)

        • Shepard

          4 pc Eliminator set bonus was changed in 4.0 to have 15 sec CD reduction on Energy Shield instead of he 5 sec CD reduction on Power Surge. So unless you are using the old 4 pc set bonus, there is nothing about Power Surge in the new set bonus.

          I don’t think it matters that much at all. Use it on CD; use it when you have to move. I personally only use it when I have to move, or when I have been keeping track of the ICD of barrage and know that using an instant TM will proc it so the proc doesn’t keep getting delayed.

          • SupRun

            I have my rotation down where I can hit Boltstorm as soon as the Curtain of FIre proc is ready. I use Tech Override on CD. I was just answering the question about the situtational use.

            • johnsmith

              Instant does play a role in the proccing of barrage. For example very often I have 2gcds available for proccing barrage, you can do anything > T or anything > Priming > T and get the barrage proc at the same time but fitting priming in the rotation and putting it on cd.

        • Just because you can push a button on cooldown doesn’t mean you should, especially when that button has exactly zero effect on your dps. You might as well use the party Jawa on cooldown.

          • SupRun

            So the double insta-cast on Grav Round has no effect on your DPS?
            Please YouTube/Google ‘burn phase’ and/or ‘boss enrage’ and let me know what you find. Tech Override is a HIGHLY useful offensive CD for Mandos.

            • It really has no effect. Without the instacast you cast 1.5s, then cast 1.5s, doing 2xgrav over 3 seconds. With it, you insta-cast, wait for a 1.5s gcd, instacast, wait for a 1.5s gcd. You still do 2xgrav over 3 seconds, dps is unchanged.

            • silencer

              Tech override doesn’t increase dps, because you still have to wait out the GCD before you can cast again. The only difference is whether you spend that ~1.4s actually casting the tracer missile, or just waiting until your GCD has finished.

      • John Dullebawn III

        not at all you can fire off 2 TM’s in less or equal time than you normally can use 1 TM without Power Surge( with power overrides prof) which increases not only your APM but you can get a BB much faster as you are getting more TM’s out faster, Its also a faster way to proc SCG. Check the high parses on parsely mine included every single one uses Power Surge on CD.

        • The casting time of TM and the GCD scale the same, so alacrity is not a factor, the time spent per cast is still exactly with or without PO.
          For using off-GCD abilities like adrenals the window is nice, but then again, you need to use an off-GCD ability (PO) first to create the instant TM cast, so you might as well use the adrenal or whatever where you would use PO.

          PO is useful, but it’s useful situationally for moving, or shifting a proc, or creating an off-GCD window for optimizing your adrenal windows. Using PO on cooldown is still useless, and just takes away that flexibility.

          And don’t forget that increasing APM isn’t useful by itself. Replacing one blazing bolts with two basic attacks also increases APM, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. PO doesn’t increase the number of _useful_ actions you can do, it’s a tool for time-shifting procs and enabling movement, nothing more.

    • John Dullebawn III

      You need to fit 2 HSM’s in 1 Adrenal. Opener should be more of :: TM, SCG, ADR, HSM, PS, BB, TM, EN, BB, PS, TM, HSM, RS. Sometimes you can even get the railshot in during the ADR. Another thing is you can add an Advanced V-9 Pyro Grenade right after the 1st BB. Using this opener I can pull 6.4 to 6.6K DPS on a 1.5 million HP dummy kill. And remember when using you adrenal alway use HSM directly after that way you can fit 2 HSM’s and always use GSC right after the Barrage Proc as you can get 2 proc;d BB;s in a much shorter time(adds more to your APM). Good Luck

  • chameleon2000

    Hey Marisi, thanks once more for the update.

    I tried Arsenal once 4.0. hit, since I suspected what you are writing about spec balance and will stick to it.

    Being new to the spec, I’m unsure as to AoE priorities, though: Is it really just spamming Sweeping Blasters (you’d surely use it for the proc) or does it make sense to also include Mortar Volley or even Flame Thrower, and if so, how? And what about Fusion Missile (I suspect it’s good for precasting at least) and Explosive Dart (not good I suspect)?

    Thanks for helping 🙂

  • Фролов Денис

    I’m a bit surprised by masterful utilities. Why no protective field? Why pyro shield?

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    • Ken Hamlin

      Have you read up on pyro shield? It does damage while activated. However, it IS personal preference. This is just a simple guide by no means is this how you have to set up your merc/trooper.

  • Justin Melendez

    Merc Arsenal is still my preferred spec. It’s a beast in PvP too!

    • Drool Bear

      Any chance you could fill me in on what gear and stats I should aim for? I can’t find any guides for Merc Arsenal PvP 4.0. What ear and implants should I get. What should my Acc/Crit/Ala/Pwr stats be?

  • CRYPT from CATACOMBZ

    I have different rotation for arsenal and want to ask, if is it proper. – Electro net – Priming Shot – Tracer Missile – Heatseeker Missile – Blazing Bolts – 2x Tracer Missile – Rail Shot – Blazing Bolts – and again (Priming Shot etc…)

    • Ken Hamlin

      That’s pretty much how it goes, just use PS as much as possible when it’s up, to get TM and BB to be instant fire.

  • Samforte87

    I think that having 800 alacrity for this IO rotation does not work. I think you end up missing a lot of procs. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Jara Swtor

      Your right! IO Rotation need around 600 Alacrity index not more

      • Samforte87

        I think I have mine at around 670 for what it’s worth .

  • Alexandar Cel Mic

    with all due respect to all dps & tanks who play powertech, I have tried but found it not my style, still over all I did enjoyed its sheer brute strength & damage out put, but its was not something I enjoyed in its play style, while I’m all up the close & personal as it goes with the Mando traditional fighting style as they see it the most honorable way of fighting & I support it, but when it come to range attacks I like being the sniper rather heavy gunner, still I play Trooper Commando with the same fighting style as Gunnery, my thanks for your helpful aid to the class. Cheers! 😀

  • Wallachia Dracon

    with all due respect to all dps & tanks who play powertech, I have tried but found it not my style, still over all I did enjoyed its sheer brute strength & damage out put, but its was not something I enjoyed in its play style, while I’m all up the close & personal as it goes with the Mando traditional fighting style as they see it the most honorable way of fighting & I support it, but when it come to range attacks I like being the sniper rather heavy gunner, still I play Trooper Commando with the same fighting style as Gunnery, my thanks for your helpful aid to the class. Cheers! 😀

    • WarNerve

      My IQ fell about 50 points after reading that.

      • Alexandar Von Carstein

        Troll!?

      • My head got thrown into maze cause of it didn’t have even single dot on it.. Almost worse to read than huge Chunk of Text.. Y Chunk of text as of result for not using Sections / Paragraphs. It never hurts to use dot and & also sections if novel msg.

  • Smow

    So guys, how’s Arsenal/Gunnery now after the 4.03 nerfs on other classes?

    • Secrus

      Much lower than IO now.

      • kilomo

        How? Commando hasn’t been touched in 4.03.

  • Tykè

    So for Arsenal what’s the actual rotation I can’t comprehend is fully. To me I only see an opener.

    • Leefty

      Arsenal has no rotation, only a priority list as mentioned above.

  • Alexandar Von Carstein

    Could any one tell how they feel personally about this advance class specialization /7 its game play, fun or not?

  • Jaddus

    The dot spread in IO really sucks. Surely make it one ability for less set up time? Sweeping Blasters would be a better choice for dot spreading.

  • Jim

    I tried the above rotation but I think my rotation is better which is EN, BB,HSM, PS, TM, BB, TSO, TM, TM, RS, BB, HSM, PS, TM..repeat, without a doubt this formula will provide the highest DPS results. My CD’s and heat always fall into place with this rotation and there is no need for the ole pew-pew while waiting for a CD or heat cool down.

    • Ken Hamlin

      EN is the better way to start your rotation, followed by PS, you need PS to “proc” TM, and BB, the rest is fine. This guide isn’t the guide to end all guides, just points you in the right direction.

  • Rotation difficulty 10 ?

    It’s easier than Ann Mara. You practically stay CiH and press compared to melee.

    • Vendrine

      Anni mara can make up mistakes, while if you mess up IO you need to basic attack for 10+ seconds straight.

      • Agreed, but most of the time there is no reason for you to mess rotation. Same goes for commando. And with the fire-while-move abilities…

    • guest

      Perhaps the most punishing spec heat management wise, and messing up your procs can also be very very punishing. Annih mara does have much more complicated rotation, but you can also recover much quicker from a mistake.

  • Tykè

    After i finish the opener and did the priority list once where do i start again to continue if the mb isnt dead yet like on a Operation Boss

  • Nelly

    I have 110.6% accuracy (not optimal i know, but that’s not the issue), and yet i still see ‘miss’ notes and mobs ‘dodge’, ‘resist’ etc… Am i missing something about how accuracy works? Cause i was under the impression that shouldn’t happen?

    • Ken Hamlin

      you can have 112% or higher and still have “misses”. Those misses are from blazing bolts. It’s just how it is unfortunately.

    • Paulo Gomes

      That should probably be because of your off-hand, even with 110% Acc. That hand still misses.

  • Pacer

    I tried arsenal on a dummy and my APM is 36-37 but should be around 41,8 I think. I have 800+ alacrity and I don’t know what am I doing wrong. Any tips how to improve it? pls note, with PT AP and carnage mara I can do almost full APM.

    • Where have you seen Arsenal do 41.8 APM? Looking at a few top logs on parsely, and they do 37-38 APM: http://parsely.io/parser/view/136046/23

      • Pacer

        It’s from this thread http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=847112 . Optimal stats for all classes, fully geared 224 dps merc should have 42 APM in theory. As I stated before with AP PT and carnage mara I can reach APM from that thread, but for merc I’m far from that, so how can one reach that APM, any ideas?

        • Havran

          I actually do have an idea – try not using Blazing Bolts. The channel takes almost 3 seconds and using it several times in a minute totally destroys your APM.

  • Nat

    So.. for operations and such IO has the lead right? with the current patch and all

    • Vendrine

      IO takes the lead for fights with little target swapping/aoe. Arsenal wins hands down for burst damage though, and can be viable for every fight, even single target ones.

    • Reeberus

      IO is still usefull and can put up huge numbers on single target fights like Nefra, Bulo, Malaphar, Tyrans, etc. Other than that, Arsenal is the way to go right now. Even in those single target fights, like Vendrine said, Arsenal can put up very good numbers as well.

  • Glen Viraj

    Has anything changed in 4.1? If so could you please help me out since I’m trying to get my Arsenal merc sorted out

    • Vendrine

      Merc is one of the classes that has received no changes since 4.0.

  • Attila Petre

    What changed in 4.2 ? my energy run out quickly…. i have a commando, gunnery, when use grav round, runs out my energy…. any usable rotation ?

  • Seb
  • Jkhilly

    What accuracy do you need for pvp

    • Catherine

      You do not need Acc for pvp, just a waste of stat.

      • Hugo A Sanchez

        You seem familiar. Do we know each other?

        • Catherine

          If you have played on Jung Ma, Ebon Hawk, Jedi Covenant or TOFN, there is possibility.

          • Udesi

            Jedi Covenant but that was a long time ago haha
            Currently on Harbinger

    • Space

      I think acc at 105,0% is good for pvp with legacy buff + 1 enhancements(208) and 2 augments(40 purple)

  • Hugo A Sanchez

    Any guides for pvp gearing? I’m guessing no acc. Some alacrity and mostly critical/power stats.

    • Drool Bear

      I have been looking everywhere for a 4.0 PvP guide for Merc Arsenal and I can’t find anything.

      • Just a friendly merc

        JSharp Tutorials and Zachariah PvP have decent guides on Youtube if you Google them…

        • Drool Bear

          Okay thanks I’ll look them up.

  • guest

    Thanks for the guides. My I/O rotation is a bit different. I use thermal detonator on cooldown rather than a 3rd power shot. its about a 3000 dps gain per 15 seconds over an unbuffed power shot. you generate one less stack of SCG, i figure that is a loss of about 1000 dps per 15 seconds. Energy management is so tight in this spec I feel it simplifes it a lot to only use electro net and missile blast (sub 30% only) as “heat ramping” filler abilities. I also move IM by one GCD to make sure there is always a burn on for Mag Shot (if you put IM in front of MS and are you slow in your rotation there is a small chance you will not hit a burning target which will cost you 5 extra heat). So here is my rotation: They put TD in our discipline path, I figure it is meant to be used as more than a filler ability.

    TD>IM>PS>SS>MS (proc IPA) > UL>(filler)>PS (consume IPA)>MS

    normal filler: rapid shots
    heat ramping filler: Electro Net or Missile Blast (sub 30% only).
    use TSO on the unload in front of a heat ramping filler, or have Vent Heat available or coming off cooldown shortly.

    If your rotation gets messed up and IPA gets procced off of the 2nd Mag Shot instead of the one in the first block, simply switch SS and PS in the first block, consuming IPA with Serrated Shot. This should allow you to keep the IPA procs lined up properly, continuing the rotation with the SS/PS swap. If power shot doesnt proc IPA you will have to follow up with an extra power shot to keep IPA in line.

    As others in the thread have said too much alacrity can screw up IPA procs as can the utility that gives an alacrity boost from activating vent heat. The next time they are tweaking specs they need to account for that and either have the lockout on IPA be affected by alacrity or give us more wiggle room by reducing the lockout on IPA from 7.5 seconds to 6.5 or 7.0 seconds.

  • NunyadangbusinessDOS

    I’ve read that for Arsenal, Pyro Shield is actually a bit of a wasted Utility, especially when you could opt for Protective Field and have your healing received increased overall by 20% – I’d think that would stress your healers a lot less in raids. The minimal damage the Pyro Shield does doesn’t seem worth it unless you’re in some seriously tight DPS situations where every little bit counts.

    I’m curious to hear the reasoning behind that particular utility choice.

    • Vendrine

      There are some bosses where pyro shield can provide a rather decent dps increase. An example of this is Tyrans, where you can pop the shield when he puts affliction on you. This can help a pretty good deal over the fight, which is a fairly tight dps check in NiM. Another example would be the core burn in Revan HM.

  • BakoBoomer

    Great guide!
    Question for Dulfey and all those who work so hard posting guides.
    I’d like to see Commando guides. I’ve searched and there no guides for Commando (PVE, PVP, DPS, Heals). Thanks all!

  • Almei

    Hey folks! I found out some rotation for Arsenal by myself and want to share.

    Primary schedule:
    Power Surge (advanced by talent) > Tracer Missile x2 > Blazing Bolts (proc from TM) > Priming Shot > Tracer Missile (proc from PS) > Heatseeker Missiles > Rail shot

    Secondary schedule (while primary on cd):
    Sweeping Blasters > Blazing Bolts (proc from SB) > Priming Shot > Tracer Missile (proc from TM) > Heatseeker Missiles > Rail shot

    Had between shedules 1-3 sec delay… you can use it for heat down with Rapid Shots or use something else by demand, just to cover gap.

    Supercharged Gas – by stacking baff to 10 and better use it before Primary schedule.

  • Macleod

    My new campaign slogan…Make IO great again. I always prefer DoT specs, it’s just my thing…but I can’t freaking stand IO…two main reasons…Energy Management = Not Fun, and Button Bloat.

    • Reeberus

      Energy Management has always been tough on IO. So even if they would un-nerf it, it would still remain. I do miss playing IO aswell tho.

      • Macleod

        You’re right, energy management has always been bad for “IO”…I guess I was more referring to the days when it was still known as Pyrotech (when each advanced class had a shared spec of the same name). Pyro was always my main spec on my merc and I don’t remember there being any energy management issues back then…I sure miss those days. 🙁

  • Nelly

    Not that i am complaining or anything, but i NEVER seem to get overheated with Arsenal during normal rotation, as in NEVER EVER and i never find myself needing to use rapid shots either. only times i may get overheated is if i am spamming AoE for adds burn.
    This makes me wonder if i am doing something wrong and maybe losing some DPS as a result?
    I follow this priority system very closely and on a dummy i can keep this up indefinitely.

    • Martin

      you should never overheat with arsenal

  • Vikayu

    I made this parse as a commando in gunnery spec, but I can’t get higher than 6,2k dps. Gear is 220/224 and I see alot parses around 6,7k and more. Maybe someone can drop me a hint how to get there. http://parsely.io/parser/view/210731/5

  • Danijel Cesar

    Which armor set to use with Mercenary?

  • francois

    what is the new rotation after the patch 5.0 can you help us because some stat and ability change

  • Saša Ranđelović

    I would also like to know about rotation. Is it same or something changed?

  • Tim

    Will we see your guide in 5.0 Marisi?

  • Miriam

    Hello Marisi,

    We have missed your input on this guide.
    Are you going to be able to update your rotation and priorities for the 5.3a for the Pve Arsenal? Alot if changes and some nerfing had happened since the new update.
    Players who’ve followed your guide from day one are still waiting for your return.
    Hoping to see you update soon when you find the time. Thank you!

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