Home > General, PvE, PvP, SWTOR, SWTOR Advice > Attacks, Damage, Buffs, and Debuffs in SWTOR

Attacks, Damage, Buffs, and Debuffs in SWTOR

December 29, 2014

UPDATED: 12/29/14 for Update 3.0.1

With Update 3.0 came a lot of combat changes, and I have been wanting to write a post on Attack Types and Damage Types for about 3 years now (I know, lazy). Here are some of the most recent changes, along with the Attack and Damage Types for reference, so people can more effectively create Ops groups and Ranked PvP teams.


Combat Basics

Attack Types

All attacks fall into four basic categories: Melee, Ranged, Force, and Tech. In actuality, depending on what class you are playing, you only have to worry about two at a time. Your class is either a Jedi/Sith class, in which case you use Melee and Force, or your class is a Trooper/Bounty Hunter or a Smuggler/Agent, in which case, you will be using Ranged and Tech.

You can tell which skills are which type by opening your skill panel and looking at the text next to each skill. If it doesn’t say Active or Passive (which are just general skills and buffs), it will say the type of attack it is.


Ranged and Melee attacks are always at risk of being shielded, but Tech and Force are only sometimes shielded, depending on the Damage Type.

Damage Types

Further dividing the skills are the Damage Types of each. Damage Type doesn’t actually line up with the classes the way Attack Type does. There are four Damage Types: Energy, Kinetic, Internal, and Elemental. Really, there are only three types in practice, as Elemental and Internal are really just aesthetic, theme-based damage that come from DoTs, fire-based attacks, and other special, spec-based attacks. I’ll usually refer to them as Internal/Elemental.

The Damage Type for each skill is listed on the skill’s tooltip. Energy typically goes with Melee and Ranged attacks (anything that says “Weapon damage” means Energy), Kinetic typically goes with Tech and Force, and Internal/Elemental typically goes with Tech and Force.

I say “typically” because there are examples of crossover, such as the Gunslinger’s Shock Charge, which is Tech, but does Energy damage or the Sentinel’s Clashing Blast, which is a Force attack, but does Energy damage. Also, Internal/Elemental damage can be applied as a DoT from a number of Melee and Ranged attacks, but the direct application of DoTs typically falls under the realm of Tech and Force attacks.

One important thing to understand about the Damage Types is how they interact with armor. Energy and Kinetic damage is mitigated with armor, whereas Internal and Elemental attacks are not.

Another important distinction comes with how shielding works. Tanks can shield against all Ranged and Melee attacks, and all Tech and Force attacks that deal Kinetic or Energy damage. Internal/Elemental damage is exempt from shielding.


With the Update 3.0 came new debuffs for each of the classes, especially for the DPS specs. This was for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most obvious reason was the fact that stacking the same class in an Ops group is no longer optimal (here is looking at you, Gunslingers).

Some of the debuffs already existed in one form or another, but now they have been standardized in values and names. This is a good thing, as it makes it so players can plan their damage more consistently, multiple classes have similar debuffs and so can be swapped out, and they can’t stack the same effect in a FOTM style (meaning that developers can more easily balance content).

I will try to summarize the debuffs, what they do, who has them, etc.

Damage Taken Debuffs

These debuffs are ones that directly increase the damage taken by the target by a certain percentage, but only for certain type of damage. They are as follows:

  • Marked: +5% incoming Ranged damage
  • Beat Down: +5% incoming Melee damage
  • Susceptible: +5% incoming Tech damage
  • Vulnerable: +5% incoming Force damage
  • Assailable: +7% incoming Internal/Elemental damage
  • Overwhelmed: +10% AoE damage
  • Sundered: -20% armor rating

The following PDF shows what classes have these debuffs:

Damage Debuffs Chart Republic

Damage Debuffs Chart Imperial


Trauma (-20% healing received) still exists with Gunslingers/Snipers and Sentinels/Marauders in all specs (although the latter had it moved from the now-defunct Crippling Throw/Deadly Throw to Leg Slash/Crippling Slash). It was also given to the tank classes.

Offense Debuffs

Accuracy and damage dealt debuffs already existed, but they were standardized and given to tanks more consistently. Each tank has two of the debuffs, so to get all three of the debuffs, you just need to bring two different tank classes, and you’ll be covered. The three debuffs are as follows:

  • Impaired: -5% Force and Tech Damage
  • Weakened: -5% Melee and Ranged Damage
  • Unsteady: -5% Melee and Ranged Accuracy

Here is a chart with the tanks and their debuffs, as well as healers and their buffs (see next section for descriptions).

Offense Debuffs and Heal Buffs Chart Republic

Offense Debuffs and Heal Buffs Chart Imperial


Along with the debuff changes came the new buff skills to try to equalize the classes with less raid utility.

Class Utility Skills

Sentinels and their Inspiration we a little too useful in raids (hence stacking), so they decided to increase the raid utility of the other classes as well. These came in the form of new class-specific raid-wide buffs. They are as follows:

  • Scoundrel: +10% critical chance
  • Commando: +10% alacrity
  • Sage: +10% mainstats and endurance (and presence, but who-the-heck cares about presence?)

Sentinels maintain their Inspiration buff for +10% damage and healing, Gunslingers kept their defensive shield that gives -20% damage reduction, and Shadows’ now can have their healing-boosting puddle regardless of their spec. Guardians and Vanguards have their AoE taunt damage shields they can give to allies, and Vanguards have an additional debuff of Ranged and Melee Accuracy with Riot Gas.

Healer Buffs

More tweaks went into the healers as well, trying to make them all equally good at healing raid groups, and giving each of them two out of three healing-based buffs. The buffs are as follows:

  • Invigorated: +3% healing received
  • Protected: +10% armor
  • Resistant: -3% Internal/Elemental Damage received

The healers can be found on the same chart as the tanks, posted again here:

Offense Debuffs and Heal Buffs Chart Republic

Offense Debuffs and Heal Buffs Chart Imperial

I hope this helps you to plan your raids and PvP ranked teams! Let me know if you notice any discrepancies or if you have any comments or feedback!

  1. savae
    December 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Not all jedi/sith r mêlée is Sage/Sorc, and not all tech are ranged vanguard/pt and to a large part scoundrel and op

    • December 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Not exactly sure what you mean, but only Jedi classes can do melee and Force damage, and only Troopers/Smugglers can do ranged and Tech damage

    • December 29, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Even if Scoundrels are melee classes, their “melee” skills do Tech damage

  1. January 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: