SWTOR Tank Balance Changes in Patch 5.9

Bioware is making some changes to tanks in Patch 5.9.

Tank Balance Changes in Game Update 5.9 | 04.05.2018, 01:35 PM
Hey folks,

Let’s talk about the changes coming to Tanks in Game Update 5.9. There are two things that informed the changes you will find below. First, “skank tanks” are greatly overperforming in PvP. This is a player who is using a Tank Discipline but equipping DPS gear. Second, when comparing all tanks (regardless of gear) against the DPS targets we outlined last year, tanks are doing more damage than intended.

The summary of what we are changing in 5.9 is that tanks across the board will be doing less damage. To ensure that this doesn’t have a negative impact on their ability to tank/hold threat, we are greatly increasing their overall threat generation. This will mean that although they will commit less damage to an encounter, holding threat will not be any more difficult than it is today.

We are going to continue to monitor things beyond 5.9 and see if additional changes are needed.


Below is the detailed breakdown of changes.


  • Dark Charge’s threat generation bonus has been increased from 100% to 150%
  • Dark Charge’s internal damage has been reduced by 50%
  • The damage bonus given to Shock from Electrify has been reduced from 25% to 20%
  • The damage bonus given to Depredating Volts from Harnessed Darkness per stack has been reduced from 25% to 15%
  • The Wither and Discharge damage bonus given from Mounting Darkness has been reduced from 30% to 20%

Shield Tech

  • Ion Gas Cylinder’s threat generation bonus has been increased from 100% to 150%
  • Fixed a bug in Power Armor that wasn’t calculating damage correctly
  • Power Armor now gives a 5% damage bonus to Ion Gas Cylinder (down from 10%)
  • Reduced the base damage of Heat Blast by 18.75%
  • The damage bonus given to Firestorm and Searing Wave by Flame Engine has been reduced from 100% to 40%
  • Reduced Ion Overload’s damage by 50%
  • Reduced Ion Gas Cylinder’s damage by 20%


  • Soresu Form’s threat generation bonus has been increased from 100% to 150%
  • The damage bonus given by Pillar of Strength to Crushing Blow, Ravage, and Backhand has been reduced from 30% to 15%

Kinetic Combat

  • Combat Technique’s threat generation bonus has been increased from 100% to 150%
  • Combat Technique’s internal damage has been reduced by 50%
  • The damage bonus given to Project from Bombardment has been reduced from 25% to 20%
  • The damage bonus given to Cascading Debris from Harnessed Shadows per stack has been reduced from 25% to 15%
  • The Slow Time and Force Breach damage bonus given from Pulsating Force has been reduced from 30% to 20%

Shield Specialist

  • Ion Cell’s threat generation bonus has been increased from 100% to 150%
  • Fixed a bug in Power Armor that wasn’t calculating damage correctly
  • Power Armor now gives a 5% damage bonus to Ion Gas Cell (down from 10%)
  • Reduced the base damage of Energy Blast by 18.75%
  • The damage bonus given to Ion Storm and Ion Squall from Pulse Engine has been reduced from 100% to 40%
  • Reduced Ion Overload’s damage by 50%
  • Reduced Ion Cell’s damage by 20%


  • Soresu Form’s threat generation bonus has been increased from 100% to 150%
  • The damage bonus given by Beacon of Might to Guardian Slash, Blade Barrage, and Hilt Bash has been reduced from 30% to 15%

By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

111 replies on “SWTOR Tank Balance Changes in Patch 5.9”

No they teased an expansion “again”. They did this last summer and fall as well.

You’ll notice there is once again zero official posts on this. That way they can back out of it like they did in the first roadmap of the year. When Kieth said it wasn’t in the works at the time.

The roadmap and all official posts actually talk about a 6.0 update (because they won’t release a traditional expansion, their own words) afaik. Unofficial discussion talk about 6.0 expansion.

It’s the same broken record each time : “we’re so excited about our plans for the future of this game but we can’t tell you anything about it now”. We’ve heard it so much these last three years.

Now is precisely when they should talk about all their plans, because people have lost faith in this game those past few years, and keeping that kind of info only makes it worse.

They didn’t announce shit. Also, at this point, we are getting ZERO content. So we want anything else but this.

Haha no worries the next Update will be About Whale Market of Reskins for sure 😉 *Celebrates & Tingles from Excitement..* 😛 Kindly: Pre Ordered D.Deluxe Edition. Sub Since Launch up to End of 2016. Returned Oct. 2017, but Sad cause Still Lack of Proper MMORPG Content & No Good Plans for it on Sight. Sub Auto Renewal Axed at Dec 2017. #WaitingForSubWorthyNews

well… guess I’m permanently switching all my tanks to dps. soloing as a tank is already a very meh experience (and because you HAVE to be in a spec you want gear for to get upgrades for that spec, you kinda need to stay in tank spec for the most part) and with these changes, it will make it just too damn painful. it wouldn’t be so bad if you could 1. select which spec you want upgrades for even if its not your active spec at that moment and 2. could save skill bar/talent presets. but as you can do neither, constant spec switching, even with free respecs of subscriber are just… too annoying. sigh.

More PvE changes because of PvP…. exactly what the game needed after a series of wrong moves.

All they had to do is buff Powertechs/Vanguards. That’s ALL they had to do.

It isn’t enough that they are not putting out new content, now they also need to be ruining class balance once again, ruining the way that the new augments and economy works, and even ruining the Cartel Market. It’s amusing at this point.

Back when they had coders on the payroll (Prior to 4.0) they totally could have made PVP and PVE only specs but now the new tanks will do even less damage causing PVE to suffer. Sure everyone doing the “new” OPS will love that tanks hit for less. Ugh. I feel ya John Kosto… I feel ya.

PvP is a dead horse at the point. It’d take way more work than they’ll put in to make it enjoyable again.

I run Ops regularly and all pve content and never have I had to rely on my tanks dps to get past an Ops boss or heroic boss, that’s what the dps are for.
And yes even the new ops.

We are not talking about Story Mode operations here abaddonsmummy, don’t get confused. Besides, no one said that operations groups should rely on their tanks to do their DPS for them. But nerfing ANYTHING at this point is just ridiculous, and it does happen only because of PvP, which is even worse.

There have only been nerfs in the last 2 years, and they have affected every class, because these idiots can’t figure out properly how to separate skill trees or specs. There could be way too many solutions to separate PvP and PvE performance, one of which was ALREADY there and they took rid of it, you know, separate gear.

Don’t defend them on this one, they screwed up bad, like they have done with everything.

Glad i knew better than to hope for any other kind of change than “nerf tank dps across the board”. It’s not like doing half the solo content in game with a tank takes forever already…

heh, first u can do solo content quite fast as a tank without any issues what so ever & 2nd , balance of classes has nothing to do with u doing solo content KEK please dont troll this hard >_<

on the off chance you are not a troll and are actualy that deluded. solo content on a tank DOES take forever already. its MUCH faster as a dps. this change will make it unbearable. meanwhile it will do NOTHING to stop skank tanks from being skank tanks. instead – wearing dps gear in pvp is going to become even more of a requirement, since threat generation is pointless in pvp and they didn’t actualy make wearing tank gear in pvp preferable in any way.

fewer tanks for pve groups is going to be just one of the results of this pointless nerfs, you know since some much of the gearing process is solo dependant nowadays, for most people.

It takes longer on a tank but to say that it takes forever is a personal view. I never had a problem leveling as a tank solo, but I agree with your view on skanks. I don’t think this will stop them either. Also in pve people mostly do sm runs and easy HMs and you don’t need the full tank gear either. People might actually be motivated to use skank tanks in pve now to compensate their dps loss. Content has been dumbed down so much that one skank tank is enough for most sm boss fights, so I think people will figure that out soon enough.

Sounds to me like the ever-tiresome tank complaints wanting to output good dps and have massive survivability.

Pick one, not both.

here is the thing. this game has no way to save preset skill bars. this game has NO way to select getting loot for a spec you are trying to gear, while still playing in a spec that is not annoyingly slow to kill things with. you have to switch specs JUST TO OPEN GEAR BOXES. what exactly is there to incentiveze me to quest as a tank? opportunity to tank for dps who are going to be annoyed that now they have to compensate for my reduced damage?

yeah, I’m saying fuck it and chosing dps, because on those heavy armor characters? my defensives are plenty good enough but things die MUCH faster and its actualy much nicer, to run with a dps companion that way.

skank tanks will still skank tank. this fixes NOTHING. but pve queues for anything requiring actual tank? will take even longer.

I do agree that there should be some better system for changing spec and saving layouts for abilities and stuff , but solo content what ur talking about doesnt matter for balance and tanks are not made nor designed in any game for solo content, It’s made for group content, AND this is an MMO game not a singleplayer game kek.

It’s not hard to do the solo content as dps, get the boxes then respec and open as tank, u are just lazy, nothing forces u to do the content as tank so stop complaining.

*Boo-hoo i have to replace some abilities on my bar after a respec CURSE those 30sec it takes to put em in place.*

it. is. annoyance. that. you have to. deal with. constantly. why? should. you. have. to? making something more annoying to play = is the opposite of encouraging people to play it and guess what? this MMO you speak of? that requires group content? should ENCOURAGE people to play tanks instead of discouraging them. these changes? are not even a bandaid. they are a poorly thought out nerf that will not do anything to fix the problem its supposed to be fixing, but instead will exacerbate it. all the while making the game less fun for the people who had nothing to do with this so called problem to begin with.

someone (you) needs to take a good long look into the mirror. mate.

this change fixes nothing for pvp and the threat generation adjustment for pve doesn’t compensate for the fact that playing and gearing a tank for vast majority of pve people have just gotten even less attractive.

but you defending them was pretty funny in a sad way. cheers for the laugh… mate.

Damn True 110% … Many things here that i’ve Complained about to Official Forums for Ages before got Tired of Eaware’s Half Blind Mmorpg Treatment & dropped the Sub. Non Subs can’t post to Forums “lolz” cause it’s Lazy Swtor’s Eaware Crew who’s handling it. Zenimax Studios allows everyone to post into Forum, So Does Cryptic Studios & many other Mmorpg’s that Have Optional Sub.

Haha Imagine if Mucuso with hidden add would have to take care of Forums alone as Only Community Manager.. Kindly: Pre Ordered D.Deluxe Edition. Sub Since Launch up to End of 2016. Returned Oct. 2017, but Sad Cause Still Lack of Proper MMORPG Content & No Good Plans for it on Sight. Sub Auto Renewal Axed at Dec 2017. #WaitingForSubWorthyNews

if you seriously think it takes along time to kill stuff in solo content as a tank, where u have high survivability and a companion u can put on dps cuz u wont need any heals , then u have a massive l2p issue. Does it take longer than a dps? well obviously but forever? kek Like William Fenton said , pick one tank or dps , if u want stuff to die quicker then dont do solo content as a tank. U cant be this narrowminded to think that the game should be balanced and fixed for u to kill stuff as fast as a dps when ur a tank >_< stop please.. just dont..

I don’t PVP unless I absolutely have to for conquest but I hear what your saying about the ‘skank’ tanks in pvp but in PVE I run with my lvl 50 dps comp and can crunch through anything and I’m my Guilds main tank in Ops not for dps but for full 248 tank only gear.
Even Relics.
I love my Tank for being well ‘tanky’ so I’m chill with these changes.

you have full lvl 248 gear. now imagine this in a starter gear, on a tank that just hit lvl 70 and may or may not even have a full 230 gear.

moreover, I didn’t realize the scope of how little this will do to fix pvp issue, only how negatively it will affect the pve, but on official forums actual scanktanks explained why skanktanks are even a thing. and that is because normal tank defensive stats are absolutely positively useless in pvp since they only work against white damage and regular rather then crit hits, so gearing for defense, shield and absorb is essentially wasting stats. pvp tanks are using dps gear because pvp gear is a performance loss in every way. they gain no survivability, in fact they LOOSE survivability in pvp by NOT augmenting for endurance, and they lose general performance by NOT gearing for power.

this damage nerf? does nothing to fix the problem of defensive stats being useless in pvp. so tanks will continue to gear for endurance and power instead of defense, shied and absorb.

the real solution would have been to make defensive stats actualy useful in pvp – scale with defensive use |(like for example – when you taunt in pvp, damage of the person you taunted, is reduced against everyone, BUT the tank that taunted, now imagine if damage reduction scaled of defensive stats? or something like that), have the stats work differently in pvp, etc

NOT nerf damage for all tanks across the board.

You sure? It still seems like skank tank is the best way to tank in pvp. And for pve since a lot of content is dumbed down in ops and people just want to go fight (except the really hard fights), skank tanking could be even more viable because you don’t need the defensive stats so much and so you get good taunting and a bit of damage from stats to compensate the damage loss.

Clearly most of the good players have left this game already so people might not be clever enough but then it only takes one guy to do it and the rest will follow.

I’ll be really interested to see if this really will kill skank tanks or whether it just makes skank tanking a little different.

Same here for “original Master Strike / Blade Dance animation” … Boohoo Clueless half Blind Swtor’s Eaware Crew.. Again.. My fav. Tank spec ruined again.. 😀 Tank Form Threat Gen. increased with 50%.. So that lazy mode Casuals / whatever don’t need to Focus.. Ok.. 😀 😀 Simplifications after Simplifications since 3.0 :/ Unfbelievable.

Kindly: Pre Ordered D.Deluxe Edition. Sub Since Launch up to End of 2016. Returned Oct. 2017, but Sad cause Still Lack of Proper MMORPG Content & No Good Plans for it on Sight. Sub Auto Renewal Axed at Dec 2017. #WaitingForSubWorthyNews

My main was an Immortal Jugg so the change for her would be minimal. I never PvPed but heard all about the dreaded ‘skank tank’ but this seems like a ham fisted way to deal with that.
I was more worried about defense, which Jugg relies on heavily, or at least used to, not working against yellow damage than anything else but I see this hasn’t been addressed. No shock there really considering the track record here.


How is reducing a tank’s damage output to a not-insignificant degree supposed to incentivise not using damager gear, again?

It’s not – it’s just Bioware “looking busy”, because they sure aren’t doing anything else more than fking up this game.

Well, I take that back – they’ve already done that, now they are just looking for a hole to bury it in, because they are too lazy to dig the hole themselves.

seems like RiP Vanguard tank… the weakest tank, compensated only by the fact it has the highest damage… damage nerfed heavily- nothing addedd to boost survivability(it is about PvE)… and about PvP… why to ruin PvE balance for PvP…? just make skills scale different way in PvP/vE, cause it is not really possible to balance both with theese numbers being the same…

Well guys it sucks. I mean my idea is that any class should have a fighting chance against any other class-it’s simple. With all those and previous changes it’s reduced a group action. I was skank tank b4 and had a fighting chance against most disciplines, yet bointy hunters were killing me, well not easy but they were able to. They just keep distance from me, apply the 50% dmg reduction and heal themselves, while firing at me from the distance. Now if I want to play force user – I am screwed. Sorcs were nerfed to impossible. jugs-too, now the only discipline, that had descent survivability and descent dmg (which can compensate for close combat only) is gone
Probably bioware loves bounty hunters, cause they aren’t nerfed at all

Just to make it clear-I am talking about dmg sorcs. His damage was decreased drastically, survavability too. Healing abilities decreased, bubble absorption-too.
Plus he can not run and shoot like bounty hunter. His main damage abilities are either channeled or require charging. Altogether he is done.

This is hilarious I disliked the dmg increase the guardian got in spank tank and now it put it back to how I liked them so basically to me the only classes that got fucked are the other 2 lol gg bioware.

So tanks that were never interested in being “skank tanks” will do even less damage than they already do. It sounds like they are the ones who will suffer the most here. There is already a massive tank shortage in the game to begin with. How many ops groups or ranked groups have given up forming because they haven’t found a tank to join them? A increasingly growing number.

I think it is not that easy, because increasing tank mitigation will in turn “buff” tanks too much in pve (look at what a sin tank already mitigates this expansion it’s crazy) and create another imbalance.
The problem in pvp is that too much damage ignores said mitigation (e.g. internal damage). One solution would be to change the damage types from the playable classes’ attacks that ignore mitigation to damage types that can be defended/shielded to increase the benefit of having tank stats in pvp. As long as this is not fixed, tanks will continue having dps gear in pvp, even if they know do less damage.

But I am sure that they didn’t even consider such a solution, because, as you said bluntly, this is a quick fix without much thought put into it.

Why not simply banned the cheaters SHANKTANKS…why u need to sacrifice PVE for Balancing PVP??? Are u alllowing cheating in the game ??? Just put an script making impossible playe a Tank Discipline in DPSGEAR…its so much difficult…Focus on Message not over Messenger

Producers and developers are not THAT smart, 3 years ago i thought they wanted to empty the game in order to shut it down but no, that wasn’t the case the are just incompetent (they love to troll too IMO) and take bad decisions one after the other.

While I have never done this, and I will never do this, having DPS gear with a tank spec is NOT cheating. Players should be allowed to gear their toons any way they want to.

Skank Tank is not cheating at all can easily take them out if you do it right. Just because they gear there character a little different doesnt mean they are cheating at all. Just saying.

Okay, so they say that tanks are OP in PVP, yet the “balance” is making them weaker in PVP and allowing them to generate more threat (PVE)?! PVPer’s could give two sh*ts about threat generation! How about making tanks more tanky in PVP and more able to mitigate damage taken by guarded players without “melting”, then maybe tanks won’t feel like they have to slot dps mods to help put pressure on players focusing a guarded target. Fully geared tanks that get burned like a dps while they are guarding other players are not real tanks. Fix the sh*t, but be lazy and break it more…

Find me one person in ranked or hm/nim complaing about skanks…nope its the regstar heroes who cry about everything

Here’s a thought, make the skills have two different sets of effects. One for PvP and one for PvE.

I have been playing pt tank for about 4 years now, through the years i have stuck it out through the good and the bad, i do agree that they need some kind of nerf, but this is just fucken stupid on every level. In my honest opinion Skank tanks were never really the problem, just the people who don’t know how to counter them. Alot of people went to skank because bioware cant seem to figure out how to make any tank stats work in pvp. So its either you adapt, or get rolled over and over again. it seems like the more and more they try to make things work they fuck something up.

Exactly. Yeah, the cure for skank tanks in PvP is to take away dps and add bonuses that are worthless in PvP. Morons.

Find me one person doing ranked or hm/nim ops complaining about skanks….its the crybaby regstar heroes.

Find me someone who thinks ranked is relevant in 2018, there are less than 5 competitive teams left in the game if there’s even any at this point. 5 a.m win traders don’t count either

Eric goes into PVP because at work the only game they let him play is SWTOR. He gets owned by a PT Skank tank while probably playing a Marauder. Annoyed by this he releases the buff for Marauders and the Nerf for these pesky hybrid tanks.

yes, because blaming Eric, the guy who has absolutly nothing to do with the Devs decision, is the correct thing to do. righto

right there solution to skank tanks is to nerf tank spec damage, this fixes nothing, Make shield generators work ONLY in tank spec no other spec, and make guard ONLY work in tank spec

atlest i what i said fixes a PROBLEM which is the fact every dps that has tank spec is guarding people so more then 50% dps out there are guarding people with no drawback, before you had to swap to tank spec and lose alot dps to use guard, cause gaurd was tied to tank spec unlike what the propose which fixes nothing and harm legit tank, and some people that play skank tank do it dps spec with tankish gear, there isnt 1 way to be skank tank just like the 1850 alacrity is only correct way to use alacrity

You’re just another person who doesn’t get it, the problem was NEVER DPS guarding people (Though it never should’ve been introduced in the first place) the problem has always been people trying to game the system by attempting to maximize damage on their tanks, the result of stuff like this will always be bioware coming through with a team of chain saws and just chopping down whatever they see fit because they dont care how you feel as long as you foolishly shell out 15/mo to them.

Well…. this is a clear sign that the dev team has no fucking idea what they are doing.

On the bright side… bless is coming out next month. Time to moosy on over to the old add/remove section of my control panel…

So now every other ranked match goes to acid. Hm and nim ops where that extra dps was needed for certain fights is gone. Biofail making the game better again

dont worry, new grind is just around the corner, with the new augments to compensate the dps losses.

The best thing about this all the whinny crappers don’t even do group ranked or hm let alone nim ops.

Hey Bad Devs you need to split PVP and PVE stats. because nerfing tanks Means PVE takes tanks even longer to go thru.

my god I hate cry baby pvpers, if this game wants to bow down to the pvp side then make the changes they cause only be in affect inside warzones and leave the rest of the game alone

Actually, this one is not on the PvPers. If you look at the forum, every PvPer are pretty much against these changes because it doesn’t help in any way. This is all on Bioware for not understanding the problem and then slapping a change that does nothing for anyone.

Funny to see people rage even after almost a decade.
This is how BW does class balance. They nerf in PVP so people in PVE re-roll and continue playing.
Check back in 1 year when they undo the changes and sell it as a buff + we are listening to player feedback :). How many times have we moved from 150% threat to 100 and then back to 150%? *rofl*

First, Paulo Gomes gets it and if you are being so pedantic, the game launched in December 2011, I know I was there waiting 45 minutes to log in Lord Calypo.

Now if we do the maths, carry the two, divide by 5, we end up with Dec 2011 to December to 2017 –> 6 full years! Now we have January, February, March, and today April 11. Take this as Homework and come back with the answer!

lmao, Paulo Gomes and his boy toy Fred are wank stains. If you are citing Paulo then you must be one of his play things…

Dec 20, you douche.
So yeah, cant really count April since its not that deep into the month.
But no matter how you swing your Auntie’s dead cat, It’s SIGNIFICANTLY closer to six years than it is to ten. If thats too much for that feeble jello ball that you call a brain to comprende, than maybe you should go enroll in kindergarten.

It’s amazing, almost 6 months after I quit I have the clarity to see that you’re both wrong and instead of trying to put one another down you should’ve banded together ages ago to fight bioware’s game of BS, but since that never happened this game will die one day never ever coming close to having reached it’s full potential. Sad.

If you stopped playing the game, then stop commenting about the game ass clown. Pat yourself on the back for feeling good about yourself and then go in the corner and spank your meat…

What “balance” ? PT completly ruined because of the stupid PvP? I don’t ever PvP, why am i to be punished and have my PvE PT reduced to a bad joke?

Glad I swapped all my tanks to DPS and stopped playing group content. This game is meant to be played alone, by yourself, in an instanced area. This is NOT an MMO. It is a single player RPG. So long as you keep insisting otherwise, BW will continue to fuck up all the specs until the only thing you can do is replay chapters over and over again, until your eyes bleed.

Funny, wasn’t rolling DPS gear an old-trick that they already tried to address? So people with tank gear now take a heavier dps nerf than they’re originally intending. Bioware’s TOR team hard at work being stupid all over again. What a joke.

When are the Devs going to figure out that PvE and PvP have separate requirements. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that constantly attempting to re-balance one set of requirements inherently imbalances the other set of requirements. Good thing they’re boosting threat, now I can have complete aggro while it takes a year to kill anything. On the upside, I can eat my hot-pocket much easier now while I play…

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