Star Wars: The Old Republic's 1.3 patch, currently rolling out on the public test servers, is bringing a host of class changes. Prominently, issues of AoE threat generation are being addressed, which will make me and my fellow Jedi Guardians breathe a Force Sigh of Relief. Read on for details.
The biggest news related to the patch is that server transfers will be coming ahead of it. In a surprise move, BioWare announced that server transfers will be available starting next Tuesday , June 12.
Initially, players will only be allowed to move to designated "destination" servers to help funnel the population into larger communities. Guilds will not be able to transfer over together and will need to be reformed on the other side, although guild banks will be restored manually by Customer Service reps.
Changes to AoE Tanking
- Threat generation for all tanking stances has been increased to 100% (up from 50%).
- Cyclone Slash/Sweeping Slash now apply an accuracy debuff with the Dust Storm/Quake skills.
- Guardian Slash/Crushing Blow have been slightly redesigned to deal AOE damage when striking a target with 5 sunder stacks (and now spread those stacks). This AOE damage is “smart” and will not hit enemies affected by control that breaks on damage.
- Single Saber Mastery now offers effects based on your current Form. In Soresu Form, Cyclone Slash/Sweeping Slash and Force Sweep/Smash deal increased threat.
- Force Breach (Combat Technique)/Discharge (Dark Charge) now generate increased threat.
- The AOE damage dealt by Slow Time/Wither is now “smart” and will not hit enemies affected by control that breaks on damage.
- Supercharged Ion Cell/Gas now cause High Impact Bolt/Rail Shot to trigger your Ion Cell/Cylinder on the target and on up to 4 additional nearby targets. This AOE damage generates a high amount of threat and is “smart,” meaning it will not hit enemies affected by control that breaks on damage.
As if Guardian Slash wasn't already the best button in Guardian/Juggernauts' arsenals, they're going and making it even better. I expect Patch 1.4 to include: "Fixed a bug where Jedi Guardians sometimes had to use an ability other than Guardian Slash."
The idea of "smart" AoE is also an interesting one, and I'm curious to see how it changes the dynamic of Operations trash fights (which are always my least favorite thing to tank.)
Nerfing Shadow/Assassin Tanking
- The healing generated by Combat Technique/Dark Charge has been reduced by approximately 50%.
- The healing generated by Harnessed Shadows/Harnessed Darkness has been reduced to 8% in total (down from 12% in total).
- The armor provided by Combat Technique/Dark Charge has been reduced to +115% (down from 150%).
Biased Guardian tank is biased, but obviously I think this is a step in the right direction as far as giving all classes equal tanking capability. The devs say that as of now, the Force Master tanks have equal passive survivability to other tanks in addition to their self healing. These changes are meant to bring them closer to the intended concept of a lower survivability tank that makes up for slight squishiness with said self-healing. Although I'm not sure that explanation jives with their strategy: "Rather than hit armor or self-healing too hard, we've opted to adjust both by a much smaller amount."
Gunslinger/Sniper DPS Changes
- Rapid Fire is no longer the capstone ability for Sharpshooter/Marksmanship. Rapid Fire is now a 3-pt passive skill that reduces the cooldown of Aimed Shot/Ambush and Speed Shot/Series of Shots.
- Blaster Volley/Sniper Volley is the new capstone ability for Sharpshooter/Marksmanship. This is now an active ability that finishes the cooldown on Speed Shot/Series of Shots and greatly increases alacrity and energy regeneration for about 10 seconds.
My Imperial main is a Sniper, and he's liking the sound of these changes. Compared to some of the other tree-topping abilities, Rapid Fire just wasn't as much of a game changer. I'd like to see some similar love given to the capstones for DPS Vanguards and Powertechs, which also feel fairly lame at the moment.
Commando/Mercenary DPS Changes
- Cell Charger/Terminal Velocity has been redesigned to passively restore 1 energy cell/vent 8 heat every 6 seconds.
- Gravity Surge/Light 'Em Up now additionally grants an extra stack of Charged Barrel/Tracer Lock and Charged Barrier/Power Barrier, if applicable, with each Grav Round/Tracer Missile fired.
- Target Lock/Advanced Targeting has been redesigned. Now gives Full Auto/Unload and High Impact Bolt/Rail Shot 10% armor penetration per point.
I can't speak as a player of either of these Advanced Classes, but anecdotally I've seen that they have spikier damage and trouble keeping up with resource management in longer fights versus, say, a Gunslinger. BioWare says these changes should also help getting said classes "into their core gameplay faster and more seamlessly," which sounds like a welcome improvement. In TOR's fast-paced encounters, it can be a bummer to have to spend a lot of time building up to doing what you want to be doing.
Read the full developer dispatch on the SWTOR community site.