A Mercenary, when used effectively, can be one of the deadliest, most versatile classes on the battlefield. While they may lack some of the mobility, gap-closing ability, and burst damage like other Advanced Classes, their steady, sustainable output of ranged damage makes them a versatile option in almost any Operation or Warzone group. In this guide, I will be covering the Arsenal specialization. I will highlight how best to equip your Mercenary, cover the important skills on your talent tree, and discuss the viability of the myriad abilities Mercenaries possess. Let the hunt begin!
Welcome back to yet another installment of the Darth Hater PvP column, where we’ll collect and update the news about PvP that matters to the PvP community. This thread will be updated periodically as necessary throughout the week, so you can refer back to it for new information. If you have any tips on current content that should be featured, or if you think your PvP video or PvP guild should be featured in a future column, send them to email@example.com.
This week we discuss a huge update on the upcoming PvP-driven changes to abilities and to the resolve system, we look at an explanatory video that provides strategies for Alderaan Civil War, and we get your reactions on the incoming PvP changes. Hit the jump for more PvP news!
We've heard a few things about incoming class changes, balance, gear, and more to Game Update 1.4 but now with Austin Peckenpaugh joining the discussion, it's a bit more solid. In a developer post on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic website, BioWare Senior Designer Austin Peckenpaugh gives fans an idea of what is coming in Game Update 1.4 in regards to class and balance changes.
In Game Update 1.4, you’ll notice the following changes:
- Electro Dart and Cryo Grenade now have a 10-meter range.
- Electrocute and Force Stun now have a 10-meter range.
- Overload and Force Wave have been redesigned. These abilities now knock back all targets within a 15-meter 120-degree cone in front of you. Furthermore, these abilities now knock back all potential targets instantly; they no longer wait for an animation note at the end of the ability animation.
Mercenaries and Commandos:
- Mercenaries and Commandos now have a 30-meter interrupt, Disabling Shot. This ability interrupts the target's current action and prevents that ability from being used for the next 4 seconds. This ability can be trained at level 18.
- Afterburners/Concussive Force: Rocket Punch/Stockstrike now immobilizes the target for 4 seconds instead of knocking it back. Damage caused after 2 seconds ends the effect. The knockback previously caused by this skill generated enough Resolve that it was actually detrimental to the Mercenary/Commando’s ability to further escape the attacker.
- Tracer Lock/Charged Barrel: Now each stack additionally reduces the activation time of your next Healing Scan/Advanced Medical Probe by 20% per stack.
- Kolto Residue: Now additionally snares enemies struck by your Kolto Missile/Kolto Bomb by 50% for 3 seconds.
- New Bodyguard/Combat Medic skill, Peacekeeper/Frontline Medic: While protected by your own Kolto Shell/Trauma Probe, firing Rapid Shots/Hammer Shot at an enemy triggers your Kolto Shell/Trauma Probe to heal you on a separate 3-second rate limit.
Sorcerers and Sages:
- Force Speed now has a 20-second cooldown (down from 30) for all Consulars and Inquisitors.
- New Sorcerer/Sage ability, Unnatural Preservation/Force Mend: Heal yourself for a moderate amount. Only usable on yourself. Instant, costs no Force, 30-second cooldown. This ability is trainable at level 18.
- Dark Resilience/Valiance: Now additionally increases the healing dealt by Unnatural Preservation/Force Mend by 15% per point.
- Fadeout/Egress has been redesigned. Now causes Force Speed to remove all roots and snares and grant immunity to roots and snares for the duration.
- Polarity Shift/Mental Alacrity now additionally grants immunity to interrupts for the duration. Improved visual FX to demonstrate this effect.
- Backlash/Kinetic Collapse: The incapacitation effect caused by this skill no longer breaks on damage.
Scoundrels and Operatives:
- Disappearing Act/Cloaking Screen now has a 2-minute cooldown.
- Energy Screen has been renamed to Ghost. Fight or Flight/Ghost: Now this skill finishes the cooldown on Sneak when you exit stealth mode. Furthermore, this skill allows Sneak to be used out of stealth mode, increasing movement speed by 50% for 6 seconds. This skill still removes the healing done and healing received penalty caused by Disappearing Act/Cloaking Screen.
- Flee the Scene/Advanced Cloaking now additionally reduces the cooldown of Sneak by 7.5 seconds per point. Now reduces the cooldown of Disappearing Act/Cloaking Screen by 15 seconds per point (down from 30 seconds per point).
Shadows and Assassins:
- Force Cloak now has a 2 minute cooldown.
- Infiltration Tactics/Duplicity: Now when triggered, your next Shadow Strike/Maul deals 30% more damage and costs 75% less Force. This cannot occur more than once every 15 seconds, but each rank after the first reduces this rate limit by 3 seconds.
- Celerity/Avoidance now additionally reduces the cooldown of Force Speed by 2.5 seconds per point.
- Masked Assault/Darkswell: Now additionally finishes the cooldown of Blackout when you exit Stealth mode. In addition, Masked Assault/Blackout causes Shadow's Respite/Dark Embrace to reduce all damage taken by 25% while active.
- Fade now additionally reduces damage taken from area effects by 15% per point. Kinetic Field/Entropic Field no longer provides this effect. Now reduces the cooldown of Force Cloak by 15 seconds per point (down from 30 seconds per point).
- Kinetic Field/Entropic Field has been redesigned. Now critical hits cause you to build a Kinetic/Entropic Field, increasing damage reduction by 1% per point per stack. Stacks up to 3 times.
- Humbling Strike/Magnetism is a new 1-point skill. Causes the target of your Spinning Kick/Spike to be slowed by 70% for 3 seconds when the knockdown effect ends.
- Clairvoyant Strike/Voltaic Slash: Using Project/Shock no longer consumes the buff provided by this ability. This change was made to better synergize with Spinning Strike/Assassinate during execute phases.
The developer blog has a bit more to it beyond the above mentioned items. Should you want to see the entire thing from start to finish, head over to the post.
Now that BioWare has announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be going free to play, we can expect an influx of new players to the game. For some, it will be their first time playing. For others, this will be their first time playing an MMO. As it is a vast and complex title, playing can be daunting for any first timer. Therefore, instead of spending hours trying to explain the game’s various systems and intricacies and getting frustrated to the point of head butting your best friend, we have put together a primer for beginners detailing just that. If this is your first time traveling to a galaxy far, far away, hit the jump.
The Imperial Agent relies on cunning and stealth to serve the Empire in a wide variety of roles. The Operative advanced class focuses on technology and concealment tools and abilities in order to provide healing and unleash damage from close range. Imperial Intelligence is known for quickly and quietly doing their job without being seen, and the Operative is an important piece of this covert organization. The abilities and suggested specs for Operatives in these roles are examined after the jump.
Upon reaching level ten, Imperial Agents will be directed to choose their permanent advanced class. The Sniper advanced class is limited to a damage dealing role and is most effective at long range. Alternatively, the Operative can heal or deal damage and is most effective at short to medium range with several effective melee attacks. This guide takes a look at the Medic specialization of the Operative advanced class.
When BioWare first announced Star Wars: The Old Republic, they released a video explaining the collaboration between LucasArts and BioWare as well as some of the key features of the game. One of these features was the lack of a save button. Traditionally in BioWare games, players could see the result of their choices in-game and then load up a prior save to see what happens when they make a different choice. However, in Star Wars: The Old Republic, there is no save button; the decisions you make are the decisions you live with. As more information about the game comes to the surface, the key feature of making decisions that last seems to have fallen by the wayside.
It's only been a week since Comic-Con 2011 and BioWare is already preparing for Gamescom and PAX in this week's DevTracker Highlights. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller talks about weapons mods, testing, healing, boss strategies, and Advanced Class respecs. Chris Collins, the new European Community Manager, introduces himself to everyone on the forums. Hit the jump to see all the highlights.
The first day of Darth Hater's coverage of Star Wars: The Old Republic activities at San Diego Comic-Con kicks off at 3:30p PT with our live blog of the "Join Us, It Is Your Destiny" panel, and we'll burn up the servers again at 7p PT for a live blog of the Q&A session at BioWare Base. Please note this post will contain all of our on site coverage for today.
Make sure to refresh this post for the most up-to-date information coming out of the panel. We will transcribe the audio and update with direct quotes as soon as possible after the conclusion of each event. Live blog follows the jump.
Note: Please keep in mind that all of quotes are rough and should not be taken as 100% accurate until we get the audio transcribed. ;)
Most of the classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic are strongly represented in both the movies and the Expanded Universe. However, the Imperial Agent is a mysterious anomaly; they work in the background and rarely make their presence directly known. While BioWare did not invent the concept of Imperial Intelligence agents, they are the first to explore this role as part of a dedicated storyline. Last week we examined that Bounty Hunter, now join us in taking a closer look at the spies and snipers of the Sith Empire.
Today's Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday Update features a character progression video for the Bounty Hunter. Highlights include the general characteristics of the Mercenary and Powertech Advanced Classes, glimpses of various species, and a Jedi getting stabbed in the head.
Our working dissection is available in the media gallery below. As with all of our dissections, items noted in prior dissections will not be mentioned here again unless otherwise important. Make sure to check back throughout the day for more. Feel free to add your thoughts and items you noticed in the video. If we decide to use your find, we will credit you in the dissection.
Video embed and yellow text after the jump.
This week's Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday Update is E3 Details, new Advanced Classes Page, and on The Lost Suns with an interview Alexander Freed. As BioWare Austin's Community Manager Stephen Reid hinted at this morning, there are three updates today about SWTOR. This is all in preparation for the Electronic Entertainment Expo that starts June 6 and expectations are massive on the news coming out of the event. Stated in the E3 details post is a tidbit about what fans can expect from E3:
- More to share regarding the stories from the CG trailers
- Belsavis raid content
- Alderaan political intrigue
- Tatooine -- sandpeople and something unknown
As part of this week's Friday Update, MMORPG.com interviewed Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller about the Advanced Classes we will see in Star Wars: The Old Republic. He covers abilities from almost every class including the Jedi Knight's Force Leap, the different stances of the Sith Warrior, the Bounty Hunter's helpful Kolto Missile, and the Smuggler's explosive Shrapnel Bomb.
The Old Republic: The Lost Suns previewed earlier this week on StarWars.com, and today an interview with Senior Writer and Managing Editor Alexander Freed. He covers a brief overview of the comic that follows Theron Shan, a Republic spy set out to discover what the Sith Empire's plans are for the planets newly acquired in the Treaty of Coruscant. The comic canonically at the start of the game, about 10 years after Threat of Peace and 40 years after Blood of the Empire.
Included a bit after the rest of the updates went up was a new Advanced Classes page. The page is a newly redesigned page to fit the place of the older updates. It contains new information about the trees and abilities of the Advanced Classes.
Official Dev Tracker posts follow the jump. Images from today's Friday Update are contained in the Media Gallery below. If higher resolution versions of the images become available, we will update them. Aurebesh Working translation follows the jump as well as in the Media Gallery.
It is a week before E3 2011 and BioWare is in overdrive preparing for the event. However, they still managed to respond to some posts in this week's DevTracker Highlights. Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert points out that players will be unable to switch weapons or gear while in combat. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller continues the discussion of changing load-outs during combat, as well as compares the amount of human to alien voice-acting, gives an example of the variations in combat depth, and confirms the ability to improve your characters chance to hit enemies, positional attacks, and Advanced Class in class stories. Hit the jump to see the highlights.
This week's DevTracker Highlights covers everything from skill trees to keyboards. Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert dips behind the scenes and explains a normal day for him at the BioWare Austin studio. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller discusses dual specs and their place in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Associate Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi answers questions from the French community about item colorization, dark-side healing, and the fate of the Sith soldier class. All of this and more after the break.
This week, Darth Hater attended the much talked about Fan Site Summit. Sado and Dover joined the rest of the fan sites down at BioWare Austin on April 24 through the 26th. The list that follows below is Darth Hater's up to date coverage of the event. Images of us at the event are contained in the media gallery at the bottom of this post. Update: New high quality images are now available in the media gallery below after image 45.
- General Things Learned
- Black Talon Flashpoint Impressions
- Bounty Hunter Impressions
- Imperial Agent Impressions
- Question and Answer Session Audio
- Gabe Amatangelo Interview
- PVP Information Learned
- Gabe Amatangelo Q&A
- PVP Impressions
As many of you know, Darth Hater was invited to join a special fan summit this week at BioWare's Austin campus. In addition to presentations and live Q&As, we were able to get more solid hands-on with Star Wars: The Old Republic. While sado was traipsing through Nal Hutta with his Bounty Hunter, I was finally able to get some serious time with a class Ive followed closely since November of 2009: the Imperial Agent. After spending many hours bringing an Agent from level one to Advanced Class and beyond, I finally feel like I can report on this enigmatic, elusive class.
We have many topics to cover in this week's DevTracker Highlights so let us get right to it. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller talks about swimming, finding Datacrons, and the combat styles for pure damage Advanced Classes. Senior Writer Alexander Freed explores the viewpoint of the average Imperial citizen. Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert discusses the design philosophy of swimming in MMOs and it compares to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Writer Randy Begel points out that both the dark and light path can lead to romances. All of this and more after the break.
This week's Star Wars: The Old Republic Friday Update is the Advanced Classes Update Developer Blog by Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller. The update includes a deep dive from Georg Zoeller on the Advanced Classes in general, talent trees, abilities, and a few interesting tidbits from the testing program. Developer Blogs normally are not huge updates but this one is definitely not a normal Developer Blog.
Two choice quotes from the update:
Jedi Shadow (Roles: Close - Mid Range Damage Dealing, Tanking)
Sith Assassin (Roles: Close - Mid Range Damage Dealing, Tanking)
Plenty more is covered in the Advanced Classes Update. Be sure to check it out and let us know your feedback on it in the comment section of this post. The Official DevTracker post follows after the jump.
The last time we spoke to James Ohlen, Star Wars: The Old Republic Creative Director, it was back at last summer's Gamescom in Germany. He granted us an opportunity to catch up with him at PAX East, and we discussed a bunch of topics ranging from Game Testing and Space Combat to Advanced Classes... and blowing up Alderaan.
Hit the jump for more.
BioWare does not disappoint in their post count for this week's DevTracker Highlights. Lead Writer Daniel Erickson talks vague narrative timelines and how the Sith don't see themselves as evil, but everyone else does. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller dives into Flashpoints, weapon flourishes, the use of instancing on planets, misconceptions about base class and advanced class abilities, and the MMO design with concerns to testing and feedback. Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert explores how real world economics translates to in-game economies. All this and more continued after the jump.
Last Friday, Star Wars: The Old Republic's Principal Lead Systems Designer Georg Zoeller provided some insight regarding how BioWare and LucasArts designed the combat aspects of the Advanced Class system. We decided it was time to take a look back at the roles we speculated about prior to the Developer Blog and update our charts with the information gathered.