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Gunslinger/Sniper Advanced Class Guide

March 14, 2012

Welcome to the Gunslinger/Sniper Advanced Class Guide! This is the go-to compendium of knowledge for The Fanatical Swordsman on the Gunslinger and Sniper advanced classes.

LAST UPDATE: Updating to 3.0.1, please pardon our dust


Note from Geldarion: The Gunslinger is my main, and I find it an extremely fun playstyle, especially if you like ranged DPS. While difficult to play well in PvP, the Gunslinger/Sniper can be a potent force if played correctly. For readability sake, since it is my main, I will use the term Gunslinger as the overall descriptor of this class-type, especially for things that are true of both classes, such as discussions of general tactics. However, I will refer to the specializations by both their names, and I will show builds for both the Smuggler and the Agent, and I will refer to skills in a manner as such: Smuggler skill name/Agent skill name.

Roles and Overview

The Gunslinger is a DPS class, pure and untainted. The class is primarily focused around using the Cover mechanic and is somewhat dependent on it. When a Smuggler chooses the Gunslinger as its advanced class, it gains some important upgrades, the greatest of which is increased range on most, if not all, blaster attacks. This range is the largest in the game, at 35 meters. Another bonus is Portable Cover (the energy shield on the ground). This grants 20% ranged defense even when in the open, and it makes attacks uninterruptable by damage.

Cover

For a Gunslinger/Sniper, cover comes in two varieties. Use of actual cover (the kind you “roll” into, like rocks, crates, etc.) grants the ability for ranged attacks against you from enemies standing in the cone of cover to actually be completely mitigated, at least while you aren’t firing shots of your own (which is when you will get the 20% ranged defense). Portable Cover simply gives you 20% ranged defense. However, rolling into actual cover can lose some positional advantage. Use each wisely.

Portable cover in use, plus Hunker Down/Entrench

Energy

The Gunslinger/Sniper’s resource is called Energy. Starting out, thanks to a passive skill acquired with the class called Bravado/Energy Tanks, Gunslingers and Snipers have 110 Energy. The Energy regeneration rates decrease as Energy levels go down. The Energy regeneration rates are as follows:

0%-19% 2 energy per second
20%-39% 3 energy per second
40%-59% 4 energy per second
(tooltip says 3, but I think it is a typo)
60%-100% 5 energy per second

There is a talent in the Sharpshooter/Marksmanship tree called Foxhole/Sniper’s Nest (level 32) that increases Energy regen by 1 while in cover. This is certainly a talent one would want for PvE, and perhaps even in PvP, if you are generally good about staying in cover for extended periods of time, which the mobility demands of PvP don’t usually allow. Regardless, this doesn’t actually increase energy regen by 1 across the board, but rather at the top end, then proportionally down the line, like so:

0%-19% 2.4 energy per second
20%-39% 3.6 energy per second
40%-59% 4.8 energy per second
(tooltip says 3.6)
60%-100% 6 energy per second

 

The 3 Disciplines

With the coming of Update 3.0, massive changes to the talent system made hybrid builds impossible. The talent trees were hacked apart and restructured to have the best talents for each specialization made exclusive to that specialization. Talents that were more universal were made into Utility Skills.

This section will cover the Disciplines, the differences between them, and which ones are best for which content. The Utilities will be covered in the next section.
NOTE: I will sometimes use the word “specialization” when I mean “Discipline.” This is because I am lazy and don’t want to change all the times I used it pre-Update 3.0.

 

Sharpshooter/Marksmanship

 

The first specialization, Sharpshooter/Marksmanship, is heavily Energy damage-based with high burst and sustained DPS. Though most of the skills have cast times, there are some skills that can be used on the move, and none of the skills require cover anymore (since Update 3.0). This has been deemed by the community a more PvE-based spec, but it can be used quite effectively in PvP. The key is making the most of movement and using terrain efficiently so as to minimize the movement required.

This specialization has four active skills available that come from speccing into the Discipline track.

The first, available at level 10, is Aimed Shot/Ambush, which used to be a base skill given to all Gunslingers/Snipers. This is a hard-hitting skill that does Energy damage, and it is especially powerful when combined with Smuggler’s Luck/Laze Target, which increases the critical hit chance by 100%. It has a normal cast-time of 2 seconds, but it can be reduced to 1.5 seconds after two uses of Charged Burst/Snipe once you reach level 16 and get the talent Charged Aim/Zeroing Shots.

The second active skill is obtained at level 26 and is called Penetrating Rounds/Penetrating Blasts, which is an Energy attack that channels over 2 seconds. This skill shares a cooldown with Speed Shot/Series of Shots, effectively replacing it. Not only does it do more damage than Speed Shot/Series of Shots, but it also adds a Sundering effect (see my debuffs article here for more discussion of Sundering). All of the talents that used to apply to Speed Shot/Series of Shots now only apply to Penetrating Rounds/Penetrating Blasts.

The third active skill is available at level 41, and it is called Trickshot/Followthrough. This instant-cast, Energy damage skill becomes a regular part of the Gunslinger’s rotation, costing very little energy, doing a lot of damage, and on a relatively short cooldown. It can only be used within 5 seconds of a Charged Burst/Snipe, Aimed Shot/Ambush, Quickdraw/Takedown, or a complete Penetrating Rounds/Penetrating Blasts, but it can be used on the run even out of cover.

The fourth and final active ability in the Discipline track is available at level 57. It is called Burst Volley/Sniper Volley. This skill immediately ends the cooldown on Penetrating Rounds/Penetrating Blasts, and grants 2 energy/sec extra regeneration as well as 10% bonus Alacrity for 15 seconds. On a 45-second cooldown, this is a great skill for use in high-demand scenarios, especially when paired with Illegal Mods/Target Acquired.

 

Saboteur/Engineering

 

The second spec is the Saboteur/Engineering Discipline. This is a more mobile playstyle that relies on DoTs and AoEs to do damage. The combo of both make it an extremely powerful PvP tool for preventing the taking of objectives. Fair warning, if you liked this spec for its defensive bonuses before Update 3.0, those are now gone or moved to Utilities.

This specialization has four active skills available that come from speccing into the Discipline track.

The first skill you get at level 10 is one that used to be standard with the Smuggler/Agent base class, and that is Sabotage Charge/Explosive Probe. This Tech skill does kinetic damage and upgrades nicely throughout Saboteur/Engineering for more damage, energy returns, and better crits. This skill is also buffed by Smuggler’s Luck/Laze Target to have a 100% critical chance.

The second skill, available at level 26, is called Shock Charge/Interrogation Probe (SC/IP). This is a large Energy damage DoT, single target, that has no cooldown and 18 second duration. It becomes a useful stun when paired with Incendiary Grenade/Plasma Probe, and it is required for the damage that Sabotage/EMP Discharge does (see below).

The third skill is available at level 41 and is called Incendiary Grenade/Plasma Probe. This skill has a 9 second duration, and it is an AoE DoT and slow over a certain area for up to 8 enemies. This is great for preventing captures of objectives. If a target has SC/IP on them, this skill combos with it to give Sabotage/EMP Discharge the longest-ranged stun in the game.

The fourth and final skill is available no earlier than level 57 and is called Sabotage/EMP Discharge. Sabotage does Energy damage to the target of SC/IP, and if they have Incendiary Grenade/Plasma Probe under them as well, they are also stunned. This not the kind of stun you just do whenever you want, however, since it requires two global cooldowns to actually execute. You have to prep and plan, just like an actual Saboteur.

Sabotage used to reset the cooldowns on Cool Head/Adrenaline Probe, Defense Screen/Shield Probe, Hunker Down/Entrench, and Hightail It/Covered Escape. It also healed you for 5% of your total health with a talent. This is unfortunately no longer true.

 

Dirty Fighting/Virulence

 

This is the shared Discipline with the other advanced class (sort of). The Dirty Fighting (DF)/Virulence tree focuses on CC, single-target and AoE bleeds, and mobility, making it a powerful spec in PvP, as well as when soloing. It is arguably the highest-parsing spec, if nothing else for its uptime of DoTs regardless of the situation.

This specialization has four active skills available that come from speccing into the tree. They work well together, with a lot of synergy.

The first skill is available at level 10 and is called Shrap Bomb/Corrosive Grenade. This skill is an AoE, 8-target bleed for 24 seconds, making it a sustainable way to keep the damage flowing. Other abilities in the track modify this to have a 30% slow as well. With no cooldown, it is easy to spread out a lot of damage on multiple targets with this skill. Also, this skill spreads Vital Shot/Corrosive Dart to any targets it hits as long as it hits a target with VS/CD on it. Finally, it also debuffs Internal damage through the Assailable debuff.

The second skill, available at level 26, is called Wounding Shots/Cull. This skill is ideal to use after bleeding up targets, as it makes DoTs tick extra while channeling. The only downside is that it is channeled over 3 seconds. In PvP, be in Cover while using this; even though this is a more mobile spec, you don’t want to get interrupted while using this skill. With the talent Dirty Shot/Lethal Takedown (level 52), Wounding Shots/Cull resets the cooldown of Quickdraw/Takedown and makes it usable on targets with more than 30% health. Also, Wounding Shots/Cull has an additional 100% chance to crit while using Smuggler’s Luck/Laze Target.

The third skill is available at level 41 and is called Hemorrhaging Blast/Weakening Blast. This is also an ideal skill to use right after loading up DoTs on a target, since it deals weapon damage for each DoT tick. It costs no energy, and it also refreshes if a target dies with it on them, if you have the talent Cold Blooded/Devouring Microbes (level 48).

The fourth and final skill is granted at level 57, and it is called Dirty Blast/Lethal Shot. This skill shares a cooldown with Charged Burst/Snipe, and it adds an Internal damage component to CB/Snipe’s Energy damage type. This is helpful, because you are debuffing Internal damage resistance while in this spec with Shrap Bomb/Corrosive Grenade.

 

Utilities

Most of the defensive, mobility, CC, and quality-of-life talents were moved to the Utilities section. The way it works is you get to pick up to seven Utility talents, and you get Utility points to spend at levels 11, 19, 27, 35, 43, 51, and 60 (every 8 levels until the stretch from 51 to 60).

The Utility talents are sorted into three tiers called Skillful, Masterful, and Heroic. You must pick at least three talents from Skillful to be able to pick any in Masterful, and you must pick at least five in either Skillful or Masterful to open up Heroic. Therefore, the highest number of Heroic talents you can have is two. I will summarize and rate each of the talents below.

Skillful

 

Ballistic Dampers – 5/5

This functions exactly the same as pre-Update 3.0, and I still love it. Basically, it gives you three charges of 30% damage reduction when going into Cover. Effectively used, it is one of your best defensive tools. Check out my Ballistic Dampers guide for the strategy of how to use this. Even three years later, it is still relevant.

Cool Under Pressure/Vital Regulators – 2/5

While in cover, you get 1% of your health back every 3 seconds. This is about 405 health every 3 seconds for me in augmented Exhumed PvP gear, so not fantastic. Could help in 1v1 situations, but not to be counted on for any significant aid. I’d skip it for PvP. It can help take a bit of pressure off of the healers, so for that reason, you could take it for PvE.

Cover Screen – 1/5

Leaving cover gives 20% ranged defense for 6 seconds. Basically, this takes your Portable Cover’s ranged defense bonus with you for 6 seconds. Terrible skill, never liked it. Skip it.

Snap Shot – 5/5

After going into cover, makes it so your next Charged Burst/Snipe or Dirty Blast/Lethal Shot activates instantly. Love this skill, makes your burst better. Most Slingers I know have developed a little dance they do every 6 seconds to get this buff.

Flash Powder – 3/5

Decreases accuracy of a target waking up from Flash Grenade/Flash Bang by 45% for 8 seconds. This was pretty good until our Flash Grenade was nerfed to be single-target. Skip it, except for 1v1s.

Efficient Ammo/Imperial Efficiency – 2/5

Increases damage done by Sweeping Gunfire/Suppressive Fire by 25%, which pairs well with Sharpshooter/Marksmanship’s Accurized Blasters/Accurized Rifle talent (level 12), which buffs Sweeping Gunfire’s crit chance by 15% and crit damage by 30%. I would say this is a great talent for dailies and leveling, but not for serious content. Skip it most of the time.

Reset Engagement/Reestablish Range – 4/5

Blaster Whip/Shiv increases movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds, which is great for getting away from melee. This also makes the final shot of Speed Shot/Series of Shots and Penetrating Rounds/Penetrating Blasts also now knock back the target if they are within 10 meters, which is what Aimed Shot/Ambush used to do. Pretty good for arenas and PvP, especially if you think you’ll get focused (hint: you will).

Masterful

 

Heads Up/Seek Cover – 5/5

Hunker Down/Entrench provides a 50% speed buff when Hunker Down ends or if you leave cover while Hunker Down is active. And it gives immunity to movement impairing effects. Now, keep in mind that Hunker Down “ends” when you leave cover, but if you go back into cover shortly after, you will regain Hunker Down. This means that you can basically keep a 50% speed boost/immunity to slows and roots going for 23 seconds out of every 45 seconds (if you take Lay Low/Pillbox Sniper’s cooldown reduction, otherwise it is 60 seconds). And with Hightail It/Covered Escape giving Hunker Down in Sharpshooter, you could get another 3 seconds, making it 26/45 seconds.

Hot Pursuit/Calculated Pursuit – 4/5

A fun little talent, this gives you four Quick Shots/Overload Shot for free after leaving cover. There are terms and conditions so read the fine print.

Pandemonium/Stroke of Genius – 3/5

Pandemonium gives an instant Charged Burst/Snipe or Dirty Blast/Lethal Shot after using Pulse Detonator/Cover Pulse, and it is actually pretty fun, IF you take Hold Your Ground (decreases cooldown) from the Heroic talents and Snap Shot from the Skillful talents. I will say that this is a great PvE skill, though. It also doesn’t get in the way of the two-in-a-row Charged Bursts that are needed to reset the cooldown on Trickshot/Followthrough in the Sharpshooter Discipline, so you can go into cover -> instant Charged Burst -> Pulse Detonator (off GCD) -> instant charged burst -> Trickshot.

Dirty Trickster/Counterstrike – 4/5

This is an awesome PvP skill, since it makes Surrender/Countermeasures cleanse roots and slows. It is a good thing for Dirty Fighting/Virulence Slingers/Snipers to take, since they are moving around a lot. This is also nice because it makes Surrender actually useful for PvP.

Trip Shot/Imperial Demarcation – 3/5

Leg Shot is fantastic in PvP, and you could pair this 3-second cooldown reduction with Kneecappin’/Debilitating Shots in the Heroic talents for a really good Leg Shot.

Hotwired Defenses/Augmented Shields – 4/5

Increases damage absorbed by Defense Screen/Shield Probe by 30%, which basically means that whatever Defense Screen would absorb gets absorbed 30% better, not that you absorb 30% of incoming damage. Subtle wording there. For example, if you get hit with a skill for 10000 damage, and Defense Screen would absorb 5000, you’ll absorb (0.30 x 5000) + 5000 = 6500 with this talent. Not (0.30 x 10000) + 5000 = 8000.

Lay Low/Pillbox Sniper – 5/5

Reduces the cooldown for Hunker Down/Entrench by 15 seconds, which is 1/4 of the cooldown time, so not too shabby. This also makes Pulse Detonator/Cover Pulse knock back enemies by 4 more meters, which is good for arenas and when using Hold Your Ground to get a lower cooldown on Pulse Detonator.

Heroic

 

Plan B & C/Evacuate – 4/5

Reduces cooldown of Flash Grenade/Flash Bang and Dirty Kick/Debilitate by 15 seconds. This is especially good in combo with Flash Powder from the Skillful section. A 30-second cooldown on your stun is also amazing.

Hold Your Ground – 5/5

Lowers the cooldown on three of your best defensive skills: Defense Screen/Shield Probe, Escape, and Pulse Detonator/Cover Pulse. A great skill for PvP and PvE.

Holed Up/Siege Bunker – 3/5

Decreases AoE damage taken by 60% while Hunker Down/Entrench is active. Be aware that some boss damage that looks like “AoE” isn’t actually considered AoE for this skill. This is a good skill in concert with other Hunker Down buffs, but it is a little situational.

Kneecappin’/Debilitating Shots – 4/5

Increases the duration of the Trauma debuff from Flourish Shot/Shatter Shot, as well as making Leg Shot a 70% slow for 3 seconds after the target breaks the root. Great for PvP, skip for PvE.

Compounding Impact/Series of Snares – 3/5

If you like slowing enemies, then this is a great skill, since it makes Penetrating Rounds/Penetrating Blasts or Speed Shot/Series of Shots slow a target with each hit, from 20% up to 80%. The only downside is it is only for 3 seconds.

Riot Screen/Deployed Shields – 5/5

Decreases cooldown on Scrambling Field/Ballistic Shield by 30 seconds and reduces the damage you take while in cover by 6%. This is absolutely necessary in PvP, in my opinion. It is also really good in PvE, since Scrambling Field is one of your best skills in a raid situation.

Crippling Diversion – 2/5

Makes Diversion an AoE 50% slow. Not a bad skill for PvP, terrible for PvE. Definitely not worth one of your only two Heroic points. I would love for this to be in Skillful, get rid of Cover Screen, and put in a new talent that makes Cool Head/Adrenaline Probe reset the cooldowns of Defense Screen/Shield Probe, Hunker Down/Entrench, and Hightail It/Covered Escape (basically the old functionality of Sabotage/EMP Discharge).

Builds

 

With builds now being restricted to Utilites only, there aren’t as many variations. That being said, I do have some that I like. Some of my favorite combos work off of various synergies, as well as trying to get a more defensive situation for my defensively-strapped Gunslinger. Here are my favorites.

NOTE: I am going to use Gunslinger terms. I’m sorry to my Sniper readers, but I have defined all of these talents and skills above for you. It just reads so much better without all of the this/that nomenclature.

PvP Mobility Build

Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting

  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Reset Engagement
  • Masterful: Heads Up, Lay Low, Dirty Trickster
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground

This build takes advantage of the speed boost/movement-impairing effects immunity from Hunker Down and the speed boost from Blaster Whip. Hold Your Ground gives us the CC-breaker cooldown reduction, and Dirty Trickster helps break us out of roots and snares if Hunker Down is on cooldown.

PvP Survivability Build

Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting

  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Reset Engagement
  • Masterful: Hotwired Defenses, Lay Low
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Riot Screen

This build takes my favorite talent, Ballistic Dampers, which gives us frequent 30% damage reduction. We get a better Defense Screen with a lower cooldown, thanks to Hotwired Defenses and Hold Your Ground, respectively. Riot Screen makes cover a 6% shield, as well as giving us more use of our Scrambling Field, which is 20% damage reduction. Dirty Fighting also gives DoT protection with Concussion/Toxic Regulators (level 56).

PvP Arena Build

Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting or Sharpshooter

  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Flash Powder
  • Masterful: Hotwired Defenses, Lay Low
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Riot Screen

In Ranked PvP, Gunslingers are perceived as weak and easy to kill. Because of this, people focus them, and go figure, they die. We can boost our defenses and help our teammates by using Ballistic Dampers, Hotwired Defenses, Lay Low, Hold Your Ground, and Riot Screen just like in the Survivability Build, but I also take Flash Powder to debuff the hardest hitter of their side.

PvP 1v1 Build

Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting or Sharpshooter

  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Flash Powder
  • Masterful: Hotwired Defenses, Lay Low
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Plan B & C

Low cooldowns on defense skills and CC’s is the name of the game for this build. 1v1s tend to be more focused on surviving and out DPS-ing, so it has similar parts to previous builds, but it has a low cooldown on the debuffing power of Flash Grenade.

Anti-CC Build

Recommended Discipline: Sharpshooter

  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Reset Engagement
  • Masterful: Heads Up, Lay Low
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Holed Up

Hunker Down and Escape are the primary focuses of this build. Everything that buffs those two skills is taken.

CC Build

Recommended Discipline: Dirty Fighting

  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Snap Shot, Reset Engagement, Flash Powder
  • Masterful: Trip Shot
  • Heroic: Plan B & C, either Compounding Impact or Kneecappin’

Buffing Flash Grenade, along with Leg Shot, is the focus of this build. The final point can either be used to buff the slow from Speed Shot/Penetrating Rounds or used to buff Leg Shot so it has a slow when you break the root. With the former, you’ll be using Speed Shot/Penetrating Rounds anyway, and with Reset Engagement, it will knock back melee and they’ll be stuck with an 80% slow. On the other hand, with Kneecappin’, the already great skill Leg Shot has a lower cooldown AND a slow. Muy bueno.

PvE DPS Build

Recommended Discipline: Sharpshooter

  • Skillful: Ballistic Dampers, Cool Under Pressure, Snap Shot
  • Masterful: Pandemonium, Heads Up
  • Heroic: Hold Your Ground, Riot Screen

We’ll talk more about rotations in a bit, but for now, think of this as your double-instant-cast Charged Burst build. About every other time you do Charged Burst x2 -> Trickshot to get the cast-time buff for Aimed Shot, you can do two instant-cast Charged Bursts. Also in here are Cool Under Pressure to help healers a bit, as well as Riot Screen for a more frequent Scrambling Field. Heads Up is nice so you can move around fast in moving phases.

Notable Skills

The Gunslinger has some unique skills that can change the way you think about the class. Some changes that came in recent patches also make it worth reexamining some of the skills you have grown to love.

Hunker Down/Entrench

Hunker Down has always been a favorite of mine, but it is just insane how many buffs you can get for it. The fact that you can use it as a high-uptime 50% speed boost, plus mitigate 60% of AoE damage, is just amazing.

Let’s also take a moment to think about how many skills there are in the game that actually make you immune to CC on command. I can think of one, and that is the Shadow/Assassin’s Resilience/Force Shroud, and that only lasts for 5 seconds max. We can have 26 out of 45 seconds of un-CC-able time, if we use all the buffs. We can spend over half our time CC-immune. Huge tactical tool.

Vital Shot/Corrosive Dart

Vital Shot is our DoT, and it is fine damage-wise, but the newest, coolest thing about it is that it has a Ranged damage debuff attached to it now. Thanks to the passive skill Crack Shot/Imperial Targeting, you apply the debuff Marked to the target for 45 seconds (see this article for more info on debuffs).

Scrambling Field/Ballistic Shield

One of our best raid-utility skills, Scrambling Field gives a 20% damage reduction buff to allies within the area. You no longer lose it when you get knocked out of cover too, so you can not worry quite so much about moving around under it.

Smuggler’s Luck/Laze Target

Smuggler’s Luck/Laze Target is a straightforward skill. It used to give Charged Burst/Snipe a 100% chance to crit, but now it is way better. It gives a 100% chance to crit to Aimed Shot/Ambush, Sabotage Charge/Explosive Probe, and Wounding Shots/Cull, so there is one skill for each Discipline that is buffed. The tier 6 PvP gear bonus gives you two charges as well, so you can get two big crits as fast as the skills come off cooldown.

Flourish Shot/Shatter Shot

A good skill, this basically just debuffs the target for -20% incoming healing. Instant-cast, low energy, good results in PvP.

Illegal Mods/Target Acquired

This is your “time to kick butt” skill. It increases Ranged and Tech accuracy by 30% and armor penetration by 15% for 10 seconds.

Diversion

The former level 20 Sharpshooter/Marksmanship skill (pre-Update 3.0) was called Diversion (both the Smuggler’s skill and the Agent’s skill have this name). It was an anti-cover skill to use against other cover-users, as it knocked the target out of cover and prevented them from re-entering cover for 6 seconds. It also reduced the accuracy of the target by 45% for 9 seconds.

The new-and-improved version of Diversion is a skill given to Gunslingers as a base skill at level 22, and is now a ground-targeted AoE ability that removes anyone in the area from Cover for 8 seconds, as well as debuffing anyone in the area for -45% accuracy for 8 seconds. This won’t work against Operation bosses.

Hightail It/Covered Escape

The Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion brought a new skill at level 51 called Hightail It/Covered Escape. This skill is a 18m roll in the direction of your camera that deposits you in Cover at the end. While rolling, you have 100% chance to dodge incoming attacks. Each of the three specs buffs this skill differently.

Sharpshooter/Marksmanship: With the talent Stay Low/Portable Bunker (level 52), after landing in Cover at the end of Hightail It/Covered Escape, you get 3 seconds on Hunker Down/Entrench, which can grant a speed buff if you immediately run if you have the Masterful utility talent Heads Up/Seek Cover.

Saboteur/Engineering: With the talent Scatter Bombs (level 52, same name for both classes), Hightail It/Covered Escape drops five bombs behind you as you roll. If you time a roll correctly or roll into a wall next to your enemy, you can drop up to two of them on one target.

Dirty Fighting/Lethality: With the talent Incendiary Mine/Corrosive Mine (level 52), Hightail It/Covered Escape will drop an AoE effect in the place you were before you used the skill. This effect will also slow the targets affected.

 

Rotations

Sharpshooter

For this spec, I like to do the following rotation in PvE:

Opening:

Vital shot
Penetrating Rounds -> Trickshot -> Burst Volley
Penetrating Rounds -> Trickshot
Charged Burst -> Charged Burst -> Trickshot
Aimed Shot -> Trickshot

Standard rotation following opening:

Vital Shot
Penetrating Rounds -> Trickshot
Charged Burst -> Charged Burst -> Trickshot
Aimed Shot -> Trickshot
Flurry of Bolts ( or Quickdraw -> Trickshot if available)

You do the standard rotation twice total then you go back to the opening rotation.

You should pop Smuggler’s Luck on cooldown.

On burn phases, use Smuggler’s Luck + Illegal Mods at the end of the Standard Phase right before Aimed Shot, skip Flurry of Bolts, and head right into the Opening Rotation, except skip the Vital Shot at the beginning. The Marked debuff should still be present from the most recent Vital Shot, as it lasts for 45 seconds. You should be able to get through the last Trickshot after the second Penetrating Rounds in the Opening Rotation with the Illegal Mods buff still present.

For PvP, there is more of a priority system. You want to wear them down a bit, then hit a auto-crit Aimed Shot -> Trickshot -> Quickdraw -> Trickshot right after that.

I often start with a Vital Shot, two Charged Bursts to get the buff, then head into a double Penetrating Rounds -> Trickshot combo, and by then, they probably have popped their bubbles or what have you, so take the time to use Flourish Shot to make it difficult for them to heal, maybe a Charged Burst to keep the buffs up, then Smuggler’s Luck -> Aimed Shot -> Trickshot -> Quickdraw -> Trickshot. If they never pop their bubbles, go ahead and launch right into the finishing rotation, but that is just in case.

Saboteur

For Saboteur, you want to keep your Blazing Speed DoT on the target, as well as using Sabotage Charge and Speed Shots on cooldown. I would recommend the following rotation.

First, start with a Vital Shot for the Marked debuff, but it doesn’t go here in the normal rotation, it is just an opener.

Sabotage Charge
Speed Shot (or Flurry of Bolts + Charged Burst if hurting for energy)
Shock Charge
Incendiary Grenade
Vital Shot
Hightail It and Flurry of Bolts alternating
Speed Shot
Sabotage
Incendiary Grenade
Thermal Grenade

Then start over with Sabotage Charge.

If you aren’t exactly on with the second Speed Shot, then you will not keep the three stacks of Blazing Speed up on the target.

During burn phases, you can work in XS Freighter Flyby in place of Hightail It.

If you are hurting for energy, throwing in a Flurry of Bolts after Sabotage Charge to space out your energy-draining attacks can help.

Quickdraw and Smuggler’s Luck should be used on cooldown. I would recommend Quickdraw to blow up Sabotage Charge.

 

Gearing

PvE Strategies

  • Cover placement should be in range of all the mobs you are going to need to kill, because you don’t want to have to move.
  • Ideally, use Scrambling Field/Ballistic Shield when your group is about to take a ton of damage. Strategic use of this skill can save the group from a wipe.
  • Diversion is useful to debuff accuracy on all mobs in PvE except for Operation Bosses, as of Patch 1.1.2.
  • Vital Shot/Corrosive Dart’s Marked debuff increases Ranged damage taken by the target, and so should be kept up on the target at all times.
  • Quickdraw/Takedown has a low energy cost and is very damaging. As soon as a mob gets below 30% health, it should always be kept on cooldown.
  • Remember that your energy regenerates more slowly at lower levels. Keep it above 50%, and you probably won’t find yourself in a hole you can’t get out of.

PvP Strategies

  • Hunker Down/Entrench should be used immediately after going into Cover when in the middle of a firefight, and especially when going 1v1. The first thing people like to do is take you out of the fight by using a CC skill. Hopefully, they blow its cooldown and can’t use it when you aren’t actually CC-immune anymore.
  • Watch the Resolve meter above your opponent’s head. When it is all white (i.e. full), the target can no longer be CC’d, and that includes knockbacks. Leg Shot can still go through, but is subject to shielding.
  • Use Defense Screen/Shield Probe when you are out of CC skills and knockbacks, or when your opponent has a full Resolve bar. You want that mitigating as many attacks as possible, so the sooner you pop it after starting to take consistent damage, the better. If you are dead and you still have the little probe guy around you, you waited too long to pop it, because it could have been protecting you longer.
  • In Huttball, save your roots for when the ball carrier is crossing the fire. Also, having your knockback ready is a good way to give your team more time by knocking the carrier off of the higher ramps into the pit.
  • Remember that when you are in cover, Warriors and Knights cannot Force Jump to you and Troopers and Bounty Hunters cannot grapple pull you.
  • Remember that you have no auto-attack, so be spamming that Flurry of Bolts/Rifle Shot when running around. Be tabbing around for enemies under 30% health to make use of Quickdraw/Takedown, which is a great skill to use on the move for a high amount of damage.

Crew Skill Selection

Crew skill selection can be important to a class’ progression. Only one crafting skill may be trained at a time, and the options that are really useful for a Gunslinger/Sniper are Armstech, Cybertech, Armormech, and Biochem. Artifice and Synthweaving are mostly useless, though Artifice can make Enhancements and Color Crystals and Synthweaving can make medium armor Custom armor pieces that a Gunslinger/Sniper could mod with Cunning mods. You will find that Armormech has more class-specific equipment, though. For a Smuggler, the best two options are Armstech and Cybertech, as their companions have the best bonuses in the game for those two. Agents are best suited for Armormech and Slicing, due to their companion bonuses.

Update Log

04/23/12 – Updated for 2.0.0, added Update Log

01/05/15 – Updated for 3.0.1

01/06/15 – Added rotations for Sharpshooter and Saboteur

01/07/14 15 – Traveled back in time, apparently. Eliminate talk of trees and talent points in strategies section

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