SWTOR 4.0 Lightning Sorcerer PvE Guide by Sion

SWTOR 4.0 Lightning Sorcerer PvE Guide by Sion.

Intro to Lightning Sorcerer

The Lightning Sorcerer is a ranged burst dps class that offers some of the best utility for a dps class in the game.  With our ability to self heal, off-heal, and bubble allies, Sorcs are valuable additions to any raid group.  Although Sorcs are not the top parsing by any means, a well played Lightning Sorc is very capable of competing with other dps classes.

Ratings

Single Target Damage: 4/10

Lightning Sorcerer is not the strongest dps class out there being a ranged burst caster spec.  We gained more mobility in 3.0, but in 4.0 we did not gain a new damage passive like most other dps specs (including madness) did. Because of this as well as Reverberating Force getting decreased, our dps is not the strongest, but if played correctly it is still plenty strong.

AoE Damage: 7/10

Although our AoE is not as good as it used to be, Lightning Sorcs still boast some of the best AoE in the game among dps classes.  With Chain Lightning and Force Storm, we have incredible burst AoE, and with very little resource management we can spam Force Storm for a long time without having to worry about running out of Force.

Burst Damage: 8/10

Lightning also boasts some of the best burst in the game. We have an autocrit in Thundering Blast that benefits from Supercrit every 9s, and while we may not have an ability that hits for 20k+, we do have more frequent burst windows in our rotation that make up for this.

Raid Utility: 9/10

Sorcs bring excellent raid utility with them into any group.  We bring with us a copious amount of abilities including our pull (though used almost exclusively for trolling raid members it does have its niche uses), battle rez, cleanse, raid buff, force and AoEdebuffs, self and off heals, bubble, and the ability to completely mitigate some mechanics via our Force Bubble.

Survivability: 7/10

Even the Sorcs have Light Armor, we are not as squishy as one would think.  We have a bubble that lasts for 30s that is refreshable every 15s, our new passive allows us to have 9% additional damage reduction, and we have another shield that gives us invulnerability for 8s.  Additionally we have utilities that make our bubbles stronger and our threat dump grant damage reduction as well. All of this combined with our ability to heal ourselves in a pinch, allows us to survive well in fights.

Gearing

The following numbers are taken from Bant’s Optimal Stats thread on the SWTOR Forums.  In case there is any confusion E=Enhancement (these include implants and earpiece), A=Augment, and C=Crystal.  These stat distributions are based off of token gear.

216 Defiant Gear

  • 4969 Mastery
  • 2639 Power
  • 1213 Critical Rating (6xE, 3xA, 2xC)
  • 730 Alacrity (10xA)
  • 681 Accuracy (4xE, 1xA)

220 Exarch Gear

  • 5158 Mastery
  • 2779 Power
  • 1247 Critical Rating (5xE, 5xA ,2xC)
  • 772 Alacrity (3xE, 4xA)
  • 685 Accuracy (2xE, 5xA)

224 Ultimate Exarch Gear

  • 5372 Mastery
  • 2931 Power
  • 1287 Critical Rating (5xE, 5xA, 2xC)
  • 796 Alacrity (3xE, 4xA)
  • 701 Accuracy (2xE, 5xA)

Although I never doubt Bant’s numbers, I do like to differ a little bit, and since you won’t see a significant dps change within 200 stat either way, my gearing looks like this:

  • 1265 Critical Rating (4xE, 7xA, 2xC)
  • 818 Alacrity (4xE, 2xA)

This is preference, and I am sure there is no real difference between my way and Bant’s, but I tend to lean more towards alacrity than crit with Lightning, which will be evidenced more in the Set Bonus section.

Set Bonus

Ever since 3.0 Sorcs have been a little weird when it comes to set bonus. In 3.0 it was preferable to use the Revanite Force Master 2-piece with the now unobtainable Dread Master 4-piece.  After some preliminary testing, it is my opinion that this still holds true, substituting the Revanite for the Ultimate Exarch of course.  The increase is not crazy. On the low end it is about 50 points higher, but I have also had parses that were a difference of 250 dps with similar crits.  I will continue to test this as I am only currently 75% 224 BiS gear, though I do not expect this to change, and until hard evidence is given to the contrary, I would recommend using the Dread Master 4-piece with the Ultimate Exarch Force Master 2-piece, provided you obtained the Dread Master set pre 4.0 as it is no longer obtainable.  Part of the reason this works, in my opinion, is because of the way the new 6-piece interacts with Thundering Blast, which is to say that it doesn’t.  If Recklessness increased the crit damage of Thundering Blast, there probably would be no reason to not use it, but as it stands that 3rd charge of recklessness is often wasted on a lightning bolt, which is not enough of a dps increase to warrant it.

Utilities

Skillful

image001 Force Suffusion: Overload heals you and up to 7 affected allies for X-X. Situational. An ok utility if not taking Tempest Mastery.
image002 Chain Shock: Shock gains a 25% chance to produce a second Shock that deals 25% damage. Not worth taking, even if encountering long periods of high mobility.
image003 Sith Defiance: Increases damage reduction by 3%. Always take this. With Light Armor any free damage reduction is welcome.
image004 Tempest Mastery: Increases the damage dealt by Force Storm by 25%. Boss fight with adds? Take this utility. Works great with Storm Brewing passive.
image005 Empty Body: Increases all healing received by 10%. Does not affect stolen life. I often take this for the same reason as Sith Defiance.
image006 Sapped Strength:Targets stunned by your electrocute suffer Sapped Strength when Electrocute wears off, which reduces all damage dealt by 25% for 10 seconds. Extremely situational. This is mainly a PvP ability, but it is useful in mitigating damage from energy spheres in Brontes HM/NiM.
image007 Oppressing Force: Lowers the cooldown of electrocute by 10 seconds. In addition, your Whirlwind affects up to 2 additional standard or weak enemies within 8 meters of the target. PvP/leveling utility. Not worth taking.
image008 Dark Speed: Dark Heal increases the movement speed of the target by 50% for 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 12 seconds. This is more of a healer utility, and situational at that. It won’t do much for dps specs.

Masterful

image009 Suppression: Activating Cloud Mind grants Suppression, which increases damage reduction by 25% for 6 seconds. Very useful for mitigating large hits. I use this on most fights as an extra defensive CD.
image010 Corrupted Flesh: Reduces the damage taken from all periodic effects by 15%. Take this on fights with non-cleansable dots.
image011 Emersion: Force Speed grants Emersion, removing all movement impairing effects and granting immunity to them for the duration. Good for fights where you need to break out of slows. Can be helpful in Underlurker or Reaches phase in Brontes.
image012 Dark Resilience: Reduces the damage taken by the target of your Extrication by 25% for 6 seconds. Additionally increases the healing done  by Unnatural Preservation by 30%. Useful because of the increased healing to Unnatural Preservation. I take this on most fights to alleviate some of the healing on myself.
image013 Electric Bindings: Overload binds its targets in electricity, immobilizing them for 5 seconds. Direct damage dealt after 2 seconds ends the effect prematurely. Mostly a PvP utility. It does come in handy for NiMStyrak though.
image014 Lightning Barrier: Increases the amount absorbed by your static barrier by 10%. Very useful, especially if there is not a Sorc healer in your group.
image015 Conspiring Force: Targets affected by your Affliction are slowed by 30% for its duration. Also a PvP utility, but like Electric Bindings it is useful for NiMStyrak.
image016 Dizzying Force: Reduces target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds after Whirlwind ends. PvP utility. Not worth taking.

Heroic

image017 Backlash: Static Barriers you place on yourself erupt in a flash of light when they end, blinding up to 8 nearby enemies for 3 seconds. This effect breaks from direct damage. PvP utility.
image018 Surging Speed: Polarity Shift increases your movement speed by 50% while active. Force Speed lasts 0.5 seconds longer, and when Force Barrier ends, the active cooldown of Force Speed is reset. Even in high mobility fights this is not worth taking. Too little benefit to use a utility point.
image019 Shapeless Spirit: Reduces all damage taken while stunned by 30%. Situational. Useful on fights where the boss will switch targets and stun like Brontes.
image020 Force Haste: Reduces the cooldown of Force Speed by 5 seconds, Force Slow by 3 seconds, and Force Barrier by 30 seconds. The reduced CD on Force Barrier is nice, but I find that there are other utilities that provide more than this.
image021 Force Mobility: Thundering Blast, Innervate, and Force Leach may be activated while moving. This should be taken on every fight. Increased mobility is always a good thing.
image022 Corrupted Barrier: Your Static Barrier, Force Barrier, and Enduring Bastion heal you for 2% of your total health every second for as long as they last.  This healing scales up to 8% with the charges of Enduring Bastion. This is good in fights where Shifting Silhouette’s damage reduction won’t get used. This will help out your healers as well so take this in fights with little AoE damage.
image023 Haunted Dreams: If your Whirlwind breaks early from damage, the target is stunned for 2 seconds. In addition, Whirlwind activates instantly. This can be helpful in fights like Revanite Commanders or Colonel Vorgath (minefield assassin droids) but is not a must take.
image024 Shifting Silhouette: Reduces all area of effect damage taken by 30%. In addition, using Phase Walk to return to its marked location grants Shifting Silhouette, keeping you from being lept to or pulled and making you immune to interrupts and ability activation pushback for the next 6 seconds. With 4.0 Sorcs finally have an AoE damage reduction. Always take this if there is any AoE in a fight. We have light armor, any extra damage reduction is always welcome.

Here are some example utility selections. These are not all of them, but I feel that they illustrate what I often do in fights. Keep in mind that these are my personal preferences. They are only here to give people ideas and starting points and are far from rules by which to live.

w/ or w/o AoE damage

image025image027

Adds w/ or w/o AoE damage

image029image031

Passives and Abilities

Lightning Discipline Passives

image033 Lightning Storm – Lightning Strike, Lightning Bolt, Thundering Blast, and Force Storm grant Lightning Storm when activated. Lightning Storm immediately finishes the cooldown on Chain Lightning and makes your next Chain Lightning activate instantly and consume 50% less Force. Cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
image034 Storm Brewing – Increases the critical chance of Force Storm by 15% and its critical damage bonus by 30%.
lightningeffusion Lightning Effusion – Direct Force attacks grant Lightning Effusion when they critically hit, reducing the Force consumed by your next two non-channeled Force attacks by 75%.
subversion Subversion – Reduces the pushback suffered while activating Chain Lightning, Lightning Strike, Crushing Darkness, Thundering Blast, and Lightning Bolt by 75%. Additionally, you have a 25% when taking direct damage to gain Subversion, which causes your next Lightning Strike or Lightning Bolt to activate instantly.  This effect cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds and lasts up to 15 seconds.
image037 Forked Darkness – Crushing Darkness has a 25% chance to tick twice and makes its targets vulnerable for 45 seconds. Vulnerable targets tak 5% more damage from Force attacks. In addition, when you activate Thundering Blast, there is a 25% chance the ability will produce a second blast that strikes the same target for 25% damage.
image038 Lightning Swarm – Increases the maximum range of your Force attacks by 5 meters. Additionally, Chain Lightning immobilizes all affected targets for 0.5 seconds and slows all affected targets by 50% for 6 seconds.
convection Convection – Force Speed gives 2 stacks of Convection, which allows Lightning Strike and Lightning Bolt to be activated instantly.
image040 Forked Lightning – Lightning Strike, Chain Lightning, Lightning Flash, and Lightning Bolt have a 25% chance to produce a second arc of lightning that strikes the same targets for 25% damage. Additionally, Chain Lightning overwhelms its targets for 45 seconds. Overwhelmed targets take an additional 10% damage from area attacks.
image041 Focal Lightning – Damage dealt by Chain Lightning and Lightning Flash has a 100% chance and damage dealt by Lightning Strike and Lightning Bolt has a 50% chance to grant Focal Lightning, which increases alacrity by 1%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 15 seconds.
image042 Chaos Nexus – Forked Lightning is twice as likely to trigger while Polarity Shift is active. Additionally, increases the duration of Polarity Shift by 5 seconds and reduces its cooldown by 15 seconds.
image043 Reverberating Force – Increases the critical damage dealt by Chain Lightning, Crushing Darkness, Thundering Blast, and Lightning Flash by 10%.
conduction Conduction – Each Forked Lightning and Forked Darkness reduces the active cooldown of Polarity Shift by 1 second. In addition, being interrupted grants unshakable for 4 seconds. This can only occur once every 15 seconds.
image045 Charged Reaction – Direct damage dealt by your Crushing Darkness and Chain Lightning abilities refreshes the duration of your Affliction on affected targets. In addition, Lightning Bolt increases your Force regeneration by 10% for 10 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
image046 Fulgurous Fortification – Lightning Bolt increases your damage 3% for 10 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.

Rotational Abilities

image047 Crushing Darkness [CD]- Summons a dark cloud of energy to crush the target, instantly dealing X-X kinetic damage and an additional X kinetic damage over 6 seconds.

Range: 35m, Activation: 2s, Force: 36, Cooldown: 15s

image048 Affliction [Aff]- Casts a powerful Force affliction that deals X internal damage over 18 seconds.

Range: 35m, Force: 32

image049 Thundering Blast [TB]- Sends a thundering blastwave at a single target that deals X-X internal damage. Thundering Blast automatically critically hits targets affected by your Affliction.

Range: 35m, Activation: 1.5s, Force: 45, Cooldown: 9s

lightningflash2 Lightning Flash [LF]- Blasts the target with a quick flash of lightning, which deals X-X damage and grants Force Flash, which reduces the activation time of your next Crushing Darkness by 0.5 seconds. This effect lasts up to 12 seconds.

Range: 35m, Force: 45, Cooldown: 15s

image051 Chain Lightning [CL]- Delivers an arc of lightning that deals X-X damage to up to 8 targets within 8 meters of the primary target.

Range: 35m, Activation: 2.5s, Force: 45, Cooldown: 6s

lightningbolt2 Lightning Bolt [LB]- Hurls a bolt of lightning at the target, dealing X-X energy damage and slowing the target by 30% for 3 seconds.    Replaces Lightning Strike.

Range: 35m, Activation: 1.5s, Force: 30

Non-Rotational Abilities

image053 Force Storm – Calls down a Force Storm over the target area, consuming 60 Force and dealing 1402 energy damage to up to 8 targets within 8 meters over the duration of the channel. Standard and weak targets have a 33% chance to be stunned by the storm each second.

Range: 35m

image054 Shock – Shocks the target for X-X energy damage. Standard and weak targets are additionally stunned for 3 seconds.

Range: 35m, Force: 36, Cooldown: 6s

image055 Dark Heal – Heals a friendly target for X-X health.

Range: 30m, Activation: 1.5s, Force: 50

image056 Resurgence – Immediately heals the target for X-X, plus an additional X over 9 seconds.

Range: 30m, Force: 27, Cooldown: 6s

image057 Unnatural Preservation – Immediately restores X-X health to you. Cannot be used on others.

Cooldown: 30s

image058 Expunge – Cleanse a friendly target of up to 2 negative mental or Force effects.

Range: 30m, Force: 12, Cooldown: 12s

image059 Extrication – Lowers the target’s threat by a moderate amount and, if the target is a group member, pulls the target to your location.

Range: 30m, Force: 27, Cooldown: 1 minute

image060 Force Speed [FS]- Increases movement speed by 150% for 2 seconds. Does not break stealth.

Cooldown: 30s

image061 Phase Walk – Activating this ability marks your current location for 10 minutes. When this ability is activated again, if you are within 60 meters of the marked location, you instantly return to the marked location
image062 Reanimation – Revives an incapacitated ally. This ability is usable while in combat. When used, all group members can neither use nor be the target of an in-combat revival for the next 5 minutes.

Range: 30m, Activation: 1.5s, Force: 27, Cooldown: 5 minutes

Offensive and Defensive Cooldowns

image063 Polarity Shift [PS]- Your connection to the Force shifts, granting 20% alacrity and immunity to pushback and interrupts for 15 seconds.
image064 Recklessness [Rck]- Grants 2 charges of Recklessness, which increases the Force critical chance of your direct attacks and heals by 60% and increases the ranges of Force Lightning and Depredating Volts to 30 meters.  Each time a direct Force ability critically hits or a channeled Force ability is activated, 1 charge is consumed. Lasts 20 seconds.

Cooldown: 1m 30s

image065 Unlimited Power [UP]- Increases mastery, endurance, and presence for you and your Operation group members within 40 meters by 10% . Lasts 10 seconds

Force: 45, Cooldown: 5 minutes

image066 Force Barrier – Projects a Force Barrier around you, granting immunity to all control, damage, and negative effects while channeled.  This ability does not respect the global cooldown and can be used while controlled.  While you are protected by Force Barrier charges will build up and grant you Enduring Bastion, a shield that absorbs an amount of damage based off the charges that are present when Force Barrier  ended. Enduring Bastion also grants immunity to interrupts.

Cooldown: 3 minutes

image067 Static Barrier – Surrounds the target in a lightning shield that lasts 30 seconds and absorbs a high amount of damage.  The target becomes deionized and cannot benefit from Static Barrier again for 20 seconds.
image068 Cloud Mind  – Wipes enemies’ thoughts, instantly lowering your threat by a moderate amount.

Additionally grants 25% damage reduction for 6 seconds. (with Suppression utility)

Cooldown: 45s

image069 Advanced Anodyne Attack Adrenal – Increases Power by 750 and decreases all healing done by 20%. Lasts 15 seconds.

Cooldown: 3 minutes

Rotation

Opener

This opener applies regardless of whether you are using the Dread Master 4-piece and Ultimate Exarch 2-piece or the Ultimate Exarch 6-piece.

CD -> PS, Aff -> UP, Adrenal, TB -> FS, LB ->Rck, LF -> CL -> LB -> LB -> LB -> TB -> CL -> LB -> CD -> LF -> LB -> TB -> CL -> Priority System

image070

One thing to note is that in the opener I use Polarity Shift before casting Affliction.  This is done because the increased alacrity increases the tick rate of the DoT. This carries over whenever Crushing Darkness and Chain Lightning refresh Affliction as well. This allows us to squeeze a little extra damage out of Affliction. With the increased tick rate, Affliction can now tick right before a refresh from Crushing Darkness and Chain Lightning, which will then cause it to tick again, thus gaining just a little bit more damage from Affliction.

Priority System

The nice thing about Lightning Sorcerer is that it is a priority system. Because of this you don’t have to worry about where to pick up if you experience downtime due to boss mechanics. You simply use the ability with highest priority and work from there.

There are really only 5 abilities that factor into the priority system, but the caveat to that is Affliction must be on your target. That being said, the priority is as follows:

  1. Thundering Blast
  2. Crushing Darkness (with proc)
  3. Lightning Flash
  4. Chain Lightning (with proc)
  5. Lightning Bolt

Thundering Blast must always be used on cooldown. It is an autocrit every 9 seconds (with no alacrity) and therefore must take priority over everything else. This leads us into Crushing Darkness, which should be used only with the Force Flash proc.  Lightning Flash is next due to its decent damage and because of the Force Flash proc. Although Chain Lightning hits rather hard, its proc’s 10s internal cooldown pushes it rather low on the priority provided the proc is not about to fall off, which it never should.  When everything else is on cooldown, Lightning Bolt is your primary filler. I say primary because there are times when movement is a higher priority.  In cases such as these it is acceptable to use Shock while moving provided that none of your rotational abilities are available for use.

AoE Rotation

There are a few ways of going about this depending on the priority of the group of adds that are being killed. However, regardless of the scenario you want to prioritize Chain Lightning and Force Storm. If they will die pretty quickly this is all you want to do. If there is a higher health add in among lower health ones, then you can throw in Affliction and Thundering Blast and the continue with Chain Lightning and Force Storm. You should not be using Lightning Flash, Lightning Bolt, or Crushing Darkness though.

Some Notes on Offensive Cooldowns

Polarity shift is by far your best offensive cooldown.  I always try to use this right before a Thundering Blast. However, I will uses it earlier if a Lightning Flash will benefit from its use sooner than a Thundering Blast would. The reason is a combination of your Chaos Nexus and Forked Lightning Passives. You want to make sure you can fit as many of your hardest hitting abilities into a Polarity Shift block so don’t just use it on cooldown, but never delay it longer than one Thundering Blast cycle.  While talking about Polarity Shift, it is also worth talking about ability usage during the time that it is active. Traditionally, it has been considered important to prioritize Lightning Bolt over Crushing Darkness during Polarity Shift because Chaos Nexus doubles Lightning Bolt’s chance to proc. I have found, however, that it is still not worth delaying Crushing Darkness.  If you look at how much damage is done by each ability, Lightning Bolt would be better, when it procs, as far as instant damage goes. However, when you consider how much additional damage Crushing Darkness does with its DoT, that is still for only a 1 gcd cast, CD comes out ahead in damage even if it doesn’t proc once and Lightning Bolt does. This is under the assumption that they are critting more or less equally. Because of this, and what I have seen in my own parses, I find it more beneficial to never use Lightning Bolt over Crushing Darkness.

Next we come to Recklessness.  I try to use Recklessness when under the effects of Polarity Shift as often as I can, partially because of the reduced cooldown the increased alacrity brings me, but also because with the increased chance to proc on abilities we are making an almost guaranteed crit. As far as ability usage goes, always try to use a Recklessness on Chain Lightning and Lightning Flash. The next highest priority for a Recklessness charge is Crushing Darkness, followed lastly by Lightning Bolt. Always be careful when using Recklessness following Thundering Blaster however. Because of its travel time, Thundering Blast can consume a Recklessness charge even if Recklessness is used after.  This is why I often buffer these two abilities with a Lightning Bolt, as is shown in the opener above.  Using Recklessness is always a little bit of weighing your options with what you will have available. Delaying it for a short time is okay, if you will get your hardest hitting abilities to align, but like all your offensives, too long of a delay will make you lose dps. Each situation is different and it just comes down to knowing the fights and knowing your class in order to determine what to use and when.

Unlimited Power should not be used in the opener if you will need it later for a tight burn phase.  It is always important that you use your offensive cds appropriately for the maximum potential dps, instead of just when they are available. That being said, you don’t want to over delay these abilities either, and some discretion on the player’s part is necessary.

One final note for Force Speed is that there is no dps gain to use it on cooldown since you are simply making the damage of the Lightning Bolts come at the beginning of the gcd instead of the end. Where this does have use though is within proc windows, the most relevant being relic procs. When a casted Lightning Bolt would fall outside of the proc, but an instant wouldn’t, you would use Force Speed for the instant proc.

Sample Parse and Video

Here are links to a parse and the corresponding video for said parse. These are by no means perfect, but they do illustrate what the class can do in decent gear with good crit. I am using the Dread Master 4-piece, but the rotation really doesn’t change either way.

How to Analyze Your Parse

The most important part you should look is if you are using Thundering Blast, Crushing Darkness, and Lightning Flash on cooldown.  The way to check this is to look at the ability usage section and then look at the Avg Time. At the very minimum this should be the same as your abilities cooldown, heavily varying by alacrity. As a note, Thundering Blast’s cooldown only starts once the cast finishes.  This means with no alacrity, the average usage of Thundering Blast should be 10.5 seconds. While talking about Thundering Blast, the crit % should 100%. If it is not you have messed up somewhere.

As far as damage profile goes, Lightning Bolt should be your highest damage because of its high usage, followed by Thundering Blast, Chain Lightning, Affliction, Lightning Flash, Crushing Darkness (crushed) which is the DoT, and Crushing Darkness which is the initial hit per cast. What follows will be your Forked Lightning and Forked Darkness procs. Due to large amounts of rng, the amount of damage, and their occurrences, will vary heavily.

Visual illustration based on the above parse:

image071

Acknowledgements

I just want to thank Bant for his amazing work both on his Optimal Stats, but also in helping me editing this and telling me a few things that I didn’t know about Affliction. A special thanks to Vladishun as well for helping me edit the rambling mess that this guide originally was.

I owe a big thank you to all the other guide writers, without which this guide would have far less structure.

I also want to thank everyone in my raid group in Psy-ops for helping me to become a better player and for putting up with my shenanigans.

Finally, I want to give a special shout out to Apries, without whose particular skills as a test dummy, I would never have learned so many ways to kill someone with Extricate.

  • SupRun

    Do you go with the Kwerty ranking of DPS where heals/tanks rank 1-3 on DPS?
    Regardless, this would make TK/Light among the lowest of DPS. Certainly lower than Bal/Mad and definitely worse than Mandos or Slingers (even post-nerf).

    • Sion

      I based the rating on Bant’s dps rankings. Lightning is 13th out 18, which is way below Madness at 5th. Worse than Mercs/Mandos and worse than Snipers/Slingers except for Marksman/Sharshooter.

      • Dacri

        Madness>Lightning in PVE? I might get back to it so wondering. If so, what should be the global stats for Madness?

        • SupRun

          http://dulfy.net/2015/11/12/swtor-4-0-balance-sage-pve-guide-by-splizza/

          Should help you with the optimal stats question.

        • Sion

          I would recommend looking at Bant’s optimal stats forum post for gearing. I still prefer Lightning for a variety of reasons. Nominally Madness is better, and this can be seen on dummy parsing, but I am not convinced it is the better spec for Ops. I won’t play it so I can’t say for sure though.

      • SupRun

        I’d also argue that it is one of the specs with the least set-up time. The only thing you really need is to set up Weaken Mind, then you can go into Turbulence and then rotation.
        As opposed to Balance, where you need to set up both DoTs, then FiB, then start your TK Throw spam…..

  • DeeKay

    Thanks so much for this guide! Will a mirror guide for Pub side be posted soon?

    • Sion

      I will work on it when I get a chance, but I had to replace my motherboard which decided to fail. Because it’s under warranty it could be up to 3 weeks until I get the replacement though I hope it doesn’t take that long.

      • DeeKay

        No rush. I’m not working on gearing up my sage as of yet, but it’ll be cool have a guide for when I do. Thanks for all your efforts and best of luck with the motherboard.

  • Anyone else find it odd that force lightning, which I would consider to be the most iconic sorceror force power, isn’t used except as maybe a pvp skill?

    • Rancoth

      It may be odd considering the name of skills: force lightning in lightning spec and telekinetic throw in telekinetic spec ;)). But the truth is that it have no place in rotation, because it’s not buffed by any passive and lightning bolt as a spam filler deal much more damage due to the forked lightning proc.

      • I know, but you’d think if any inquisitor spec would be using a long-channel lightning power, it would be lightning spec. And it used to – it used to have a proc that would make the channel time quicker, but somewhere along the way they just decided lightning spec should just stop using this skill @_@

  • Nice guide, good job covering the niche points like 186 set, force speed use and the recklessness/TB bug.

    There are a few things about your opener I don’t get though. Why is there a LB with force speed used at the start? Seems more sensible to either use LF to get the cooldown rolling, or use CL if you want to squeeze more damage into a relic proc window.

    Your point about polarity shift before affliction is interesting, and seems sensible. But as far as I know, alacrity still shortens the durations of abilities, so using polarity shift before the UP and adrenal will cut three seconds off the duration.

    • Sion

      I use Force Speed + Lightning Bolt there because Thundering Blast has a travel time. If I were to skip that gcd and go straight to Recklessness + Lightning Flash I would either waste a charge on TB or have to wait so long that I might as well have used another ability in between.

      As far as Polarity Shift’s interaction with UP and the adrenal, to my knowledge the only thing it affects is the cooldown. This is mute with UP because the debuff still lasts 5 min. It does shorten the cd of your adrenal however which is nice. I do not believe that it affects either’s duration however.

      • Ah thanks, I never noticed TB eating my recklessness, but that makes a lot of sense. I’ll need to adjust my rotation then. If only TB+recklessness worked with supercrit…

        I’ll check the UP/Adrenal thing when I get home. It was a long time ago when I last looked at it, and they did do some alacrity fixes in the meantime, so you may well be right.

        • You’re right about the alacrity too, just checked the rotation video and UP and the adrenal are up for their full normal time. Thanks for the response, seems like an excellent opener now 🙂

        • tempt

          They changed it in late 3.X.

          The Sage ability had a travel time and instead of removing that they made TB more annoying to use as well.

          • Ah sneaky. I was away from the game in late 3.x, so I must have missed the change, thanks for the info!

  • jediguy

    how is this rotation possible? Its a bug or stacking a ton of alacrity or what??

    http://parsely.io/parser/view/116033/0

    somehow he can use twice as many tk wave (chain lighning) than anybody else…

    • Theweaz

      Chain lightning seems to be top prio there.
      Used whenever available with cd or proc.

      It seems he is using less alacrity than the second highest telekinetics parse (looking at APM).

      • jediguy

        the interesting thing that he manage to parse ~350 dps higher than next tk, and ~200 dps higher than any other sage/sorc in balance
        digging into the rotation, now i see that theres no bug, tk wave got procced by turbulence each time, and b4 next turbulence (9 s cd) one unprocced tk wave (cuz its cd only 6 s)
        now trying to figure out what this method sacrifices, theres must be sth, or why i never seen this strategy b4?? 🙂

        • Theweaz

          everybody telling “don’t do it that way” is the reason u never seen this b4 😉

          …and guess i was wrong about alacrity – seems sacrificing crit and stack alacrity

          • jediguy

            but why??
            whats the drawback of it?
            I’m this close to log in and check it out myself, despite i really should focus on learning to my exams….

            • Elianne

              I think he got the same bug i got, i’ve posted it in a comment just above

              • Sion

                It’s a bug that exists in the game that that parse is exploiting. I am not sure how it is caused. I only know that switching instances fixes it. Basically you are able to cast CL/TK Wave instantly without the proc. That is how he has so many.

              • jediguy

                thx for the repsonse both u and eli 🙂

        • Theweaz

          i guess this must be the reason…
          casting 2.5s would be a damage loss (compared to 1.5s TB)

  • Elianne

    Since 4.0 i often have a infinite lightning chain proc. By that i mean that my lightning chain remains instant even after the proc is consummed, wich means that i can cast two lightning chain during the 9s cooldown of the proc : the proc one, and another one 6 s later, when lightning chain cd is finished.

    I don’t know what cause this bug, sometimes i have it, sometimes i don’t. But the bug correct itself each time i change instance.

    If you have any idea how this is caused, so i could avoid it. Even if it’s a dps increase.

    Ps : sorry for my bad english!

    • Лев Сафаров

      Yea, i encounter this and on sage telekinetic too.

      • Elianne

        Sooo, anyone know how to it happens and how i could avoid this? As much as i like the dps increase, i do a lot of PvP and i don’t want to be accused of cheating.

    • Shepard

      I don’t know exactly what is happening (without looking at your logs) but when something that has a proc MISSES the target, it doesn’t consume the proc. If you are seeing it in operations/fp’s and you do a lot of PVP, I wonder if your accuracy isn’t at 110%. If it isn’t, then you could be missing and that is a SUBSTANTIAL dps loss.

  • Alek

    Isn’t 4/10 on Single Target DPS a bit too low than their actual standings compared to other classes?

    • UberSamoyed

      Actually, it’s a smidge high as 27.78% is the exact ranking. But, in reality and not in sustained parses, Lightning holds it’s own in any Op. If you’ve ever ran an op with a polished Lightning Sorc, then you’ll miss them when they are gone…barring the Extricates off cliffs.

      • Sion

        Yeah pretty much this. If I wanted to be more accurate I should have put it at 3/10, but I think that it is better than that. What you have to remember though is that the dps spread right now is not that big, 660 from 1 to 18. That is actually pretty small. I think that it should be smaller, but Bioware doesn’t care what I think. Basically don’t let that number turn you off, Lightning is still very much a viable spec, you will just have to work a little harder to make sure your numbers get there.

        • Alek

          A belayed thank you for the response. Superb guide nonetheless!

      • Alek

        I always appreciate being pulled to death!

  • Evan Karl

    Kicking myself… idk if I kept my 186 armorings… 🙁 I’ll have to check but I doubt it…

    Thank you for the guide, I’ve lost track of what I should use recklessness on, it’s changed so much over the updates. A few edits to what I’ve been doing and I should be on track again 🙂

    Would you reccomend Madness overlightning for DPS? Is it that much better? I’ve stuck to lightning over the course of me playing this game, it’s always been my favorite, but I suppose I could switch to Madness if need be… I’ve only tried Madness in PvP really.

    • Sion

      Madness does 183 dps more, according to Bant’s numbers, on average. I have always played Lightning, and I do not like how Madness plays. Additionally, it can be difficult to maintain Madness’s dps over long fights due to the fact that the rotation is Force negative whereas Lightning is basically Force positive. Madness does have self heals, but Lightning has 9% damage reduction that should be able to be constantly maintained. I also believe that it has more mobility than Madness. All this being said I obviously prefer Lightning, but I can’t say that it is truly better. I have always said that you should play what you enjoy because you will play what you like better than what is the “best”.

      • Evan Karl

        Thank you, this makes me feel a lot better about not switching XD

    • Secrus

      Madness is bit easier and requires less APM. Right now as far as my guildies say, both disciplines play quite ok and choice is between single-target DoT or Burst. Personally always prefered madness for healing addition. Great thing while attempting to solo some stuff. Also healers love me for doing like DPS and 80% of time personal healer

  • Secrus

    What is proc on crushing darkness? In priority list it is mentioned but i don’t know which of those is right one.

    • Sion

      Force Flas proc from Lightning Flash, which reduces the cast time by .5 seconds.

  • FjeldraevenFreiden .

    I did the math, and with the crit changes in 4.0 Force Storm with recklessness is back to being your highest dps ability which might justify using the new set bonus if you can manage to align Lightning Flash –> Chain Lightning –> Force Storm without delaying Crushing Darkness or Thundering Blast

    • Sion

      If Force Storm still had a 6s channel maybe it would be worth it but I don’t think it is a 3s. You may be right, and I will test it out when I can, but I doubt that it will be worth it.

    • tempt

      Mind sharing the math?

      • FjeldraevenFreiden .

        Yeah sorry. Assuming my bonus damage of 2555.4 Force Storm does 6529 dmg over the duration.
        (6529*(1+(38.43%+75%-100%+67.90%+30%)*(1-32%))*(1+(5%+10%)) = 15895.507
        The last 2 % numbers are the force damage and aoe damage debuffs you apply yourself. This is the total damage of the cast equal to 1 Recklessness charge or a dpgcd of 7947.754.
        Compare this to the damage of Lightning Flash (8409.14) and Chain Lightning (9430.206) which still has more dpgcd but less dmg per Recklessness charge. Compare it to a Recklessnessed Lightning Bolt (5927.012) and you have a higher dpgcd.
        My point is that using your 3 charges of Recklessness on Lightning Flash, Chain Lightning and 1xLightning Bolt is far inferior to Lightning Flash, Chain Lightning and 2 ticks of Force Storm.

        Furthermore if you compare the damage of a Recklessnessed Force Storm to other abilities without Recklessness, it will only have lower dpgcd than Thundering Blast (12528.994) and Crushing Darkness (9587.136)

        • FjeldraevenFreiden .

          Just for the people wondering how I calculate the damage of the other abilities:

          EC (Effective Crit) is calculated as follows:

          Without Recklessness
          LF/CL: 1+(38.43%*(67.90%+10%)) = 29.94%
          Lightning Bolt: 1+(38.43%*67.90%) = 26.09%

          With Recklessness
          LF/CL: 1+(38.43%+60%)*(67.90%+10%) = 76.68%
          Lightning Bolt: 1+(38.43%+60%)*67.90% = 66.83%

          Chain Lightning damage: (6355+6513)/2*(1+(6,25%*1))*(EC)*(1-32%)*(1+(5%+10%)) = 6946.235/9430.206

          Lightning Flash damage: (6185+6363)/2*(1+(6,25%*1))*(EC)*(1-32%)*(1+5%) = 6184.497/8409.140

          Lightning Bolt damage: (4594+4772)/2*(1+(6.25%*1))*(EC)*(1-32%)*(1+5%) = 4479.666/5927.012

          Edit: Just realized I had Polarity Shift turned off for these numbers. The result shouldn’t vary too much however.

          • Sion

            Based on my initial testing i think your numbers are off. I am getting anywhere from 11-13k per Force Storm. That amounts to 5.5-6.5k dpgcd. I am not really seeing damage numbers that are better either, they are ok, but I don’t think that putting Force Storm back in the rotation is going to be worth it. I will test some more and confer with some people I know, but I’m not sure I would recommend going back Force Storm.

            • FjeldraevenFreiden .

              You are right. My numbers are indeed off. I forgot to substract the 100% in the EC crit. Indeed the new number is 10789.829 per activation which is still quite decent for AoE, but not so much for single target.

              Let’s try and see what the dps gain on a 240 second long fight with 4 Recklessnes activations is (this time with Polarity Shift on):

              LF+CL+LB/w Reck+LB/wo Reck =
              8903.796+9984.924+6275.660+4743.176 = 29907.555
              LF+CL+FS =
              8903.796+9984.924+10789.829 = 29678.549

              So Force Storm is indeed not worth it on a single target situation. The new set bonus provides 1 additional Recklessness stack which is best used on a Lightning Bolt. Let’s see how much dps that gives:
              LB/w Reck-LB/wo Reck =
              6275.660-4743.176 = 1532.484
              *4/240 =
              25.5414 dps on a 4 minute parse
              plus the benefit of 252/288 mastery (depending on gear level 220/224)

  • Blackstar

    Sion you bastard, you did it!

    • Sion

      😀

  • David Harvey

    What relics do you recommend?

    • Sion

      DPS and Healers should always use Focused Retribution and Serendipitous Assault.

      • David Harvey

        Thanks!

      • Ray Swtor

        isn’t devastating vengeance a better option now instead of focused retribution due to diminishing returns on mastery?

        • Sion

          The major problem with Devastating Vengeance is that it provides less stat on proc than does Focused Retribution. On top of that, we already have so much crit that I think we would be suffering worse diminishing returns on the crit than the mastery. As far as I know Bant has compared them and Focused Retribution is still the better option.

  • Lightsquirrel

    Hey Sion, have you heard any news if BW and the Devs are going to be buffing Sorcs anytime soon? We took a pretty big hit and we are parsing close to 1k lower than other specs…Are they going to buff us or just continue to nerf other classes to better equalize the dps charts?

    • Sion

      I haven’t heard anything regarding anymore buffs or nerfs to any of the classes/specs. I think they need to address the Thundering Blast/Recklessness issue, but I don’t think they have even acknowledged it yet.

  • Bastian Holub

    Am I wrong or does the use of Force Speed increase the overall DPS? I experience a boost in APM when I use Force Speed compared to not using it, resulting also in a DPS increase. To me it feels like the CD between 2 instant Lightning Bolts is just 1 second compared to 1.5 seconds (without Alacrity) when using them without Force Speed.
    I did some parses with Force Speed and some without and I experienced an increase in APM and DPS every single time.
    Correct me if this is wrong…

    • Sion

      Using Force Speed on CD is not a dps increase, though it is an APM increase. Where it is useful, as I state in the guide towards the end, is squeezing in an extra ability or 2 inside proc windows, e.g. relics, 2 piece, old 4 piece, polarity shift, adrenal, and Unlimited Power.

      • Bastian Holub

        I don’t really get your argument that it is an APM increase but not a DPS increase.
        Just making the ability hit at the beginning of the GCD instead of the end doesn’t increase APM..

        When I don’t use Force Speed the 2 Lightning Bolts require 3 seconds (hitting at 1.5 and 3.0 seconds).
        If I use Force Speed though they require just 2 seconds (hitting at 0.0 and 1.0 seconds), allowing me to cast my next ability after 2.0 seconds.

        You can check this on the dummy, the time between 2 instant Lightning Bolts is shorter than a normal GCD. I’d be glad if you could try this on the dummy and share your results.

        After I wrote this comment i did a few trys without Polarity Shift, Adrenal, Recklessness and Unlimited Power to see if is still experience a DPS increase without the possibility of having the instant Lightning Bolts just hitting inside the proc windows of those abilitys and thus increasing my DPS because of that.

        Even without those abilitys I had a DPS increase every single try I did with the use of Force Speed compared to the trys without Force Speed.

        Personally I am going to use Force Speed on CD (at least on the dummy and in boss fights that don’t require Force Speed for movement).

  • Tykè

    Not to be a noob or anything…

    What would be the rotation? I saw your youtube video and I didnt see a parse link or anything so i could see it could you plz do that for me

    • Sion

      The rotation is under the section labeled Rotation, and the parse for the video is directly under the section Sample Parse and Video. Here is my latest parse that I put on parsely: http://parsely.io/parser/view/121555/0. That parse still has some 220s in it, but I don’t plan on doing anymore testing until I am in full 224s.

  • Polychrome

    Awesome guide! Can you please explain the crushing darkness as the first spell in the opening?

    • Sion

      Well it puts a debuff on the target which makes it take 5% more damage from Force attacks so getting that on the target as soon as possible, and maintaining it, is very important.

  • Varak’sas

    Hey Sion, do you know when the Madness PvE guide will come out?

    • Sion

      Sorry for the late response, been pretty busy lately. If you are looking for a Madness guide I would suggest Splizza’s Sage Balanace guide and then just translate it over to Sorc. While I sometimes play it just for the hell of it, there is no fight where I personally can do better damage as Madness over Lightning, which is why I don’t feel qualified to write a guide on it.

  • Mihajlo Torma

    In part about gearing it says for 216 Defiant Gear: 6 x Critical Rating E + 4 Accuracy Е = 10 E, am i missing something here or is there a meaning behing this? Shouldn’t it be 7 E in total?

    • Yallida

      Implants and ear piece is count as enhancement

  • Yallida

    Am I wrong but it seems like goes over 1349 crit (plus 2×44 crit rating from relics after last update) is huge dps loss? IMO there is lot of diminishing returns and so far best results I gain with 1270 crit and 875 alacrity.
    Any other opinion pls 🙂

    • Sion

      The gearing section of this is not updated yet for 4.1. If you want to see my current gearing suggestions, you can find them here
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i7oxtVA0KzIETKRTI2GduQ7lhUx-sKjSHn-iLTwZ9Sk/edit?usp=sharing.
      That being said, you are going to wind up with even more crit now if you follow my suggestions. There is a lot of free crit coming from the relics and Accuracy stim, which I use. I suppose you could take some crit out, and throw it into mastery, but I don’t know why you would. The reason I wouldn’t throw it into alacrity is well because I am now running 1065 alacrity so more would just be kinda pointless. I am seeing improved damage with my current setup compared to that before 4.1. With that being said, I must say that I do not have an equation into which I can plug this, so all I can offer you is anecdotal evidence. Though I have seen very promising results so far.

  • Kooler

    Is Madness higher dps enough for me to look into that spec? Is it better for solo pve content or is Lightning preferable for that?

    • Yallida

      Try both and then decide it’s only your personal preference. And yes Madness is a bit stronger than lighting but it’s harder to achive max dps and has difficult resource management. Besides difference between lighting and madness is around 200 dps so it’s not so high especially in ops encounter so try play both specs’ and make decisions in which u fell better.

    • Paulo Gomes

      Although it seems I’m late to the party, let me give my 2 cents on this…

      Madness performs just about the same in terms of dps, as was stated. The survivability of Madness is superior to Lightning however. Whenever I do group content healers love me, because I provide most of my own healing myself. If you fancy Tacticals I would DEFINITELY advise Madness. I will go as far as saying that Madness can provide for more than 50% of self heal, and that is no mean feat. And although I don’t pvp, I’ve heard Madness is a monster at pvp atm…

      Which brings me to the next point: I sincerely believe Madness will have it’s self healing nerfed. Why? Because every other self healing, Force using class has been nerfed: Watchman/Annihilation was nerfed way back, and Serenity/Hatred was nerfed a bit more recently also. Until it is nerfed (IF it happens), Madness is really cool, a bit of a ramp up time compared to Lightning, but when those DoT’s start chipping away at an enemy it’s awesome…

  • Dustin

    thank you this is an amazing guide, now my problem is trying to find right keybinds for each one and not looking down at keyboard :/ #failingallthetime

    • Xylem

      If you’re comfortable using modifier keys, I find alt-1/alt-2/alt-3 to be very convenient (just be careful not to hit the space bar); ctrl or shift and the same # keys a little more difficult, but also options. I also use R, F, and C regularly; obviously, you would need to reconfigure the defaults for those keys. All the best.

    • Alan Davidson

      Actually i am old fashion and us the 1233456 and alt, cntl and shiftr modifiers. I thin look at the rotations in these guides and drop the abilities in the proper slots on the quick slot bar. Things that proc often go without a modifier in order, things that queue something else, like force speed get a modifer like shift, and things i use that are outside the rotation are bound to alt.

      currently crushing darkness is 1, ploarity shift is shift 1, affliction is 2 thundering blast shift 2, lightenening bolt 3, force speed shift 3, ect.

    • Ahsoka

      Keep an open mind when you read this.

      I changed movement to esdf. It gives you access to qaz for moves, plus opens up further right along the keyboard. Allows you to hit LCtrl, Alt and Shift much easier.

      DPS Classes (and attacks for healing classes) my talents are the num pad keys with right arrow as select next enemy. It’s nice to have your interface quickbar set up with 11 slots 3 wide, 4 long so it looks just like your numpad, it makes it very easy to press your buttons without any second guessing yourself. Put another quickbar above that for the / * – keys (or 3 wide two down so you can also have shift /*-)

      Opening up more of your keyboard is never a bad idea 🙂

    • Nathan Nevlud

      Gaming mouse. Seriously. It took me from almost being unable to play mmo’s, to being VERY comfortable with it. The only keyboard buttons I use now are shift and tab.

    • ssv joker

      I have quite a simple system, if you don’t mind modifiers: use 1-6 (cause further numbers are kinda too far away), r, f, v, and then ctrl+q,e,r,f,v,1,2,3; F1 to F4 for big CDs; and once you get used to it, the mouse wheel is perfectf for mmo shortcuts; if you have extra buttons on your mouse (which I really recommend), don’t hesitate to use them. If you still need more (which only happened to me with the Juggernaut) you can use q and e. For emergency, weird things, like heals in a DPS, I normally use the number pad, 1 to 3, with the mouse hand.

      Hope it helped, even if this comment is close to being a necro

  • Chelle Bennett-Hesla

    I’m delighted to find such a thorough and informative guide for my girl, Novaluna. I created a new 60 Sorcerer on another server with the 60 grant and played through the storyline (which is amazing beeteedubs), so she’s wearing almost exclusively the starter gear and quest rewards. I am current sitting at 324 Alacrity and am curious what, if any, affects this stat. In other words, what is the best way to increase it? I am headed to the Fleet to pick up the weekly dungeons from the kiosk and will probably queue for a few things, so hoping to get some gear and more data crystals.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Xymanek

      You gain alacrity only by actual “Alacrity” stat on your gear.
      It can be found on enchantments (including earpiece and implants) and augments only

      • Chelle Bennett-Hesla

        Thank you, I was thinking that was the case.

        • Whitedragon

          there’s an alacrity stim (Prototype Exotech Efficacy Adrenal)

  • James

    I’m guessing it’s not used, but where’s the ability “Consuming Darkness”?

    • Sion

      Yeah I guess it just slipped my mind because we never ever use it. Even if we go down to really low Force, which shouldn’t happen unless you die and get rezzed or you off heal, the amount of Force regen that we have will see you gaining back Force over the remainder of the fight. As Lightning, Consuming Darkness just doesn’t factor in.

  • Yallida
  • JediMax

    In fact using Chain Lightning hint makes Lightning the 2nd in single-target dps (after Maradeur) with the best AoE and burst in the game. So actually it suddenly becomes one of the top specs in 4.0 PvE.

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