The Trooper is a very tactical class, with an exceptional amount of tools available to take down opponents, mitigate damage and heal allies. The Commando advanced class makes use of the Assault Cannon, an over-sized blaster that requires two hands to wield, for both damage and healing. We have created a guide detailing this advanced class, its roles and how to play them most effectively after the jump.
Note: Audio quality on the following videos is not ideal. Companions list could possibly be deemed spoiler territory, if that's a problem, don't scroll down to the bottom of the post.
Troopers who reach level ten will be prompted to contact their advanced class trainer and select their permanent advanced class. Unlike the Vanguard, who can both tank and deal damage, the Commando can either deal damage or heal. Additionally, where the Vanguard is most effective at close to medium range, the Commando is ideal at long range, yet not completely shut down in melee encounters.
Primary Attribute: Aim
Secondary Attribute: Endurance
Combat Ratings: Alacrity (Cast/Channeled Time Reduction), Power (+Damage/Healing), Critical Rating, Surge Rating (+Critical Damage/Healing), Accuracy Rating (+Hit Chance)
Aim affects all Commando abilities, including both standard ranged damage and tech power. Tech power affects bonus damage and healing. Currently, both damage and healing Commandos will wear essentially the same gear, especially at the early levels. Where this will differentiate is on what Combat Ratings are preferred.
When in comes to Skills Trees in SWTOR, options are fairly limited. There is not much room to differentiate. Below are standard builds for each tree and role, along with their use.
The Gunnery tree is best used for maximum PVE damage. Skills such as Charged Bolt and Full Auto require extended cast times, which typically are not conducive to PVP as they can be pushed back and interrupted. However, when given free reign to unload at range, the Gunnery tree provides an incredible balance between damage output and resource sustainability, ensuring that players can output consistent damage throughout a long boss fight and will not need to rest as often while leveling. Gunnery uses the Armor-piercing Cell, and its primary damage skills are Full Auto, Charged Bolt/Grav Round, High Impact Bolt, Demolition Round, Hail of Bolts and Plasma Grenade. A video detailing Gunnery rotations and combat scenarios is below.
The Commando uses a combination of direct heals and, strangely enough, Combat Support Cell augmented Hammer Shots to heal his allies. Commandos who choose not to fully explore the Combat Medic tree will only gain access to the Medical Probe, Advanced Medical Probe and Field Aid abilities.
However, those who do specialize as a Combat Medic will receive access to Kolto Bomb, an instant cast AoE heal, Bacta Infusion, an instant single target heal, and Trauma Probe, a reactive healing buff that is placed on the Commando or an ally. A video detailing how to use these heals in specific situations is below.
In PVP, urgency is the name of the game. Casted and channeled abilities are easily slowed and interrupted, and are generally difficult to use in the heat of battle or while escorting an ally. In the interest of both mobility and burst damage, the Assault Specialist tree reigns supreme. This is the shared PVP tree for both the Vanguard and the Commando.
While the Assault Specialist tree does make use of both Charged Bolts, Hail of Bolts and Full Auto, it supplements these casted/channeled abilities with Sticky Grenade/Assault Plastique, Incendiary Round and Plasma Cell. The Assault Specialist tree is designed to increase the damage over time affects of Plasma Cell, and causes victims of Plasma Cell’s damage over time affect to receive a debuff or take additional damage from the Commando. The Assault Specialist tree augments several abilities to increase their critical chance and damage, and gives the Commando several options when it comes to mitigating crowd control effects.
Combat Ratings are usually applied to gear via Augments, which are obtained through Slicing or loot. Equipment with Augment slots are a product of either critically crafting an item or looting an item that inherently has an augment slot. Below are Combat Rating preferences on a per role basis and their justifications:
Critical Rating, Surge Rating
Burst damage is imperative in PVP, so focusing on both Critical Rating and Surge Rating will increase the frequency and damage of critical strikes.
Power, Critical Rating, Surge Rating
Power will provide a consistent increase in damage, which is important during boss encounters, however, some players may prefer Critical and Surge Rating instead to generate higher damage per shot.
Critical Rating, Surge Rating, Alacrity
The Combat Medic skill tree has several skills available that reduce casting push back, meaning castable heals will come out more consistently. In this case, Alacrity is a viable choice for PVP, allowing castable heals to come out faster than usual. Beyond that, most healers will only be able to get so many heals off on an ally that is being focused down, so Critical and Surge Rating will help those heals operate at their maximum potential.
For PVE Healing, Power will provide a consistent increase in the amount each ability heals, and Critical Rating should generally be avoided in favor of Power to ensure players do not overheal their targets — an effective waste of resources. Some players may prefer to supplement their Power Combat Rating with Alacrity as well, reducing the amount of time required to push out a healing ability.
Aric is a damage dealing companion. He is a Trooper that utilizes Assault Cannons and Heavy Armor, and is effectively a Gunnery skilled Commando. Like the Gunnery Commando, Aric uses many casted and channeled shots to do his damage.
For Gunnery Commandos, toggle off Aric’s casted shots to ensure he does not clip your own (You both wind up a 2.5 second cast shot, Aric’s goes off and kills the mob, your cast is cancelled right before it completes)
For tougher mobs, send Aric in first and let him get a couple abilities off, then begin your damage rotation. You can effectively trade aggro with Aric back and forth to virtually double your health pool.
Combat Medic Commandos may enjoy using Aric to level due to his high damage per second and heavy armor.
Elara is a healing companion who uses blaster pistols. She is effectively a Combat Medic without the Assualt Cannon and uses several casted and instant heals. She has a damage stance, but her damage per second is not as effective as Aric’s.
Gunnery Commandos annoyed with Aric’s shot clipping may find Elara more useful, as her damage and healing skills do not mirror their own.
Some players may want to toggle off Elara’s damaging abilities to ensure her resources are spent exclusively on healing the player.
M1-4X is the Commando’s ranged tank companion. He uses droid parts, shield generators and blaster turrets, and his class is listed as a Trooper. M1-4X has several abilities to draw aggro from NPCs and mitigate damage to himself.
Combat Medic Commandos may choose to use M1-4X due to his damage mitigation, allowing them more freedom to output both damage and healing, and to avoid healing aggro from multiple mobs.
Gunnery Commandos will find that using M1-4X reduces casted and channeled shot push back due to mob aggro, and may find it easier to take down more difficult mobs, but M1-4X will require the Commando to stop shooting and start healing on occasion.
Tanno Vik is the Commando’s melee tank companion. He wears Heavy Armor and uses a Shield Generator to mitigate damage while wielding a Techblade. Similar to M1-4X, Tanno has several abilities to draw aggro and mitigate incoming damage.
Players who wish to keep the action as far away from them as possible may choose to use Tanno Vik over M1-4X, as melee mobs will be further away from the player due to Tanno’s melee preference.
Players may find Tanno slightly more difficult to heal than M1-4X, as there is no travel time between initiating the fight and melee mobs closing on him.
Yuun is the Commando’s melee damage companion, serving as an alternative to Aric Jorgan’s range. Yuun uses Tech Staves and Heavy Armor, and has bonuses to Investigation and Slicing. Yuun uses instant abilities to deal his damage, as opposed to Aric’s casted and channeled shots.
For Gunnery Commandos, Yuun will likely be one of the better choices for maximum damage output, as his abilities will not clip your casted shots.
Combat Medic Commandos may find Yuun an effective alternative to Tanno Vik if they prefer to be more involved in healing their companion — as opposed to switching back and forth between damage and healing — due to Yuun’s lack of damage mitigation and high damage output.
Obviously, Crafting Skills that focus primarily on force users are going to be wholly ineffectual for Commandos, especially considering the Trooper has no force using companions. With that in mind, there are a few Crafting Skills that stand do out.
Cybertech crafts item modifications, earpieces and droid parts. Commandos, regardless of spec, can make effective use of all of these items. Item modifications can be used to upgrade newly acquired gear, earpieces can be used to equip themselves and their companions, and Commandos who prefer to use M1-4X can craft upgrades for him as well.
Armstech crafts all non-force weaponry, even weaponry that is companion exclusive. Higher quality item schematics can be discovered by reverse engineering a standard quality item several times. This allows a Commando to focus on developing Assault Cannons and Barrel modifications, along with weaponry for their preferred companion.
Armormech allows the Commando to ensure they have the most up to date gear equipped in each available armor slot. Much like Armstech, players can reverse engineer basic quality items to discover high quality schematics. As the Commando’s companions all wear heavy armor, this crew skill is one of the most useful available.
Able to craft stims, medpacs and implants, Biochem provides some of the most universally useful items in the game. Beyond that, reverse engineering these items can leave the player with high quality reusable versions fairly early, allowing the player to save massive amounts of credits while staying exceptionally buffed and augmented with additional healing.
For those who enjoy long range combat, healing with an interesting dynamic, or wielding a gun as big as themselves, the Commando does not disappoint. It will be interesting to see how the Commando stacks up against the other advanced classes when it comes to damage, healing and PVP at end game. Expect more guides of this nature now that the game is live.