The Skinny on the SWTOR Class Balance Changes on PTS 1.2


The patch notes for PTS 1.2 are up: http://www.swtor.com/test-center/patchnotes/313976

Simply put, the number and degree of class changes are significant.

I’m an advocate of the approach of tweaking fewer things, putting them on Live, and seeing how  balance is impacted. That has been the working mode of BioWare up through Patch 1.1.5. However, in 1.2 many classes are being changed in significant ways, and it’s hard to tell whether the changes will collectively bring classes into the desired balance.

After talking with my Maven guildees on Vent, below are our thoughts on the notable initial changes in 1.2. For brevity, I do not cover every single change.

Summary

  • Overall
    • Sustained healing for 2 of 3 ACs nerfed
    • Instagib / burst DPS nerfed
  • By AC
    • Guardian / Juggernaut significantly buffed
    • Sentinel / Marauder significantly buffed
    • Sage / Sorc healing took an arrow to the knee, for DPS no more proc to insta-cast AOE
    • Shadow / Assassin basically untouched
    • Commando / Mercenary sustained healing nerfed. Grav Round / Tracer Missile damage nerfed
    • Vanguard / Powertech can’t hybridize tank with right-hand DPS tree, and the RNG burst has been lowered for that tree
    • Gunslinger / Sniper buffed
    • Scoundrel / Operative healing buffed, DPS instagib nerfed

Sentinel (Marauder)

  • The Focus / Rage cost for CC abilites is being removed. I think this is a fair change, because previously you’d have engage in combat before having the resources to use CCs.
  • The “Execute” ability is usable at 30% HP instead of 20%
  • The healing debuff can’t be cleansed
  • Watchman tree
    • Can no longer talent the in-combat stealth to provide 100% damage mitigation. A nerf, since damage will break you back out of stealth
    • Cauterize can be talented to snare at 50%, so this removes the GCD contention with the “Hamstring” ability
    • Valor is now in Tier 1 of the tree, which is great as any spec can take it
  • Combat tree
    • Fleetfooted now buffs the Transcendence buff. This change keeps the Combat tree consistent with being about mobility and anti-kiting
  • Focus tree
    • Inner Focus causes Zen to provide up to 4 stacks of Singularity. This is consistent with the philosophy of being able to generate resources immediately (or not need them) to do something you want to do
    • Improved AOE damage via the Swelling Winds talent

Guardian (Juggernaut)

  • The Focus / Rage cost for CC abilites is being removed. I think this is a fair change, because previously you’d have engage in combat before having the resources to use CCs.
  • The “Execute” ability is usable at 30% HP instead of 20%
  • Finally, Guardian gets a CC effect early: Charge stuns at level 10. However, some players are concerned about building Resolve on the target, whereas the existing root effect does not build Resolve
  • Defense tree
    • Blade Barrier was moved down a tier. This fantastic ability will become reachable for Vigilance / Defense hybrids
  • Vigilance tree
    • Single Saber Mastery damage buff no longer tied to stance. Everyone will likely take it
  • Focus tree
    • Inner Focus causes Zen to provide up to 4 stacks of Singularity. This is consistent with the philosophy of being able to generate resources immediately (or not need them) to do something you want to do

Sage (Sorcerer)

  • Seer tree
    • Conveyance buffs have been nerfed. The fast-cast, mana-inefficient flash heal is having the mana cost reduction replaced by increased Crit Chance. The greater heal is having the cast-time reduction replaced by reduction in mana cost. Both are bad changes for PVP
    • Resplendence no longer removes the HP cost from Noble Sacrifice. Per Ryndar, this change is crippling. Right now NS is the only way to regain mana, which regens slowly, and in 1.2 it will cost HP to use again
  • Balance tree
    • Presence of Mind proc now only usable on spammable single-target spells. Significant nerf. No more insta-cast AOE

Shadow (Assassin)

  • No noteworthy changes

Gunslinger (Sniper)

  • Can finally enter Cover while rooted
  • Healing debuff effect added to the armor debuff ability
  • Sharpshooter tree
    • Burst Volley may be worth taking, as it will not only boost Alacrity but mana regen as well
  • Dirty Fighting
    • Crit Chance talent nerfed from 6% to 3%

Scoundrel (Operative)

  • The backstab ability’s cooldown increased from 9s to 12s
  • The opener from stealth now has a 7.5s cooldown. This is probably being added to prevent instagibs (Shoot First -> vanish -> Shoot First). In practice most of the better Scoundrel / Op players I know don’t rely on the instagib technique, but it is funny
  • Sawbones tree
    • Upper Hand limit increasable from 2 to 3
    • AOE heal amount increased and made more compact, cooldown increased from 12s to 15s
  • Scrapper tree
    • Not sure why they’re making the changes
  • Dirty Fighting
    • Crit Chance talent nerfed from 6% to 3%

Commando / Mercenary

  • Channeled ground-target (DFA / MV) AOE diameter nerfed from 16m to 10m – probably a good change
  • Full Auto attack animation timing fixed
  • Base cost for cast-time nukes reduced
  • Combat Medic tree
    • Crit Chance talent nerfed from 6% to 3%
    • Net-higher mana costs for healing
    • Healing buffs and damage mitigation buffs nerfed
  • Gunnery tree
    • Grav Round damage nerfed 10%

Vanguard / Powertech

  • Interrupt costs no mana
  • Shield tree
    • Some abilities moved off GCD
    • Mitigation tweaked (can’t tell whether it’s net-buff or net-nerf)
  • Tactics tree
    • Melee DoT can be talented to snare 30% for 6s
  • Assault Spec tree
    • The proc cooldown reset talent for High Impact Bolt now requires a specific stance to work. No more Carolina Parakeet (21/2/18) hybrids
    • The proc cooldown reset talent has a 45% / 60% change to proc but has an internal 6s cooldown – which is a net-nerf due to loss of RNG burst

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Posted in Commando / Mercenary, Guardian / Juggernaut, Gunslinger / Sniper, PVP, Sage / Sorcerer, Scoundrel / Operative, Sentinel / Marauder, Shadow / Assassin, SWTOR, Vanguard / Powertech
111 comments on “The Skinny on the SWTOR Class Balance Changes on PTS 1.2
  1. […] case – the class balance gaps are too significant to ignore from a mechanics standpoint. With the sweeping changes to classes in 1.2, PVP outcomes are now heavily influenced by which classes your group […]

  2. […] case – the class balance gaps are too significant to ignore from a mechanics standpoint. With the sweeping changes to classes in 1.2, PVP outcomes are now heavily influenced by which classes your group […]

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