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  1. #1
    Mechagnome bloodwulf's Avatar
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    Tanking with Fire: A Powertech Overview

    Obligatory Introduction:
    Hello.
    I play Bryn’le a Powertech Bounty Hunter on the server Prophecy of the Five-US, I am 41 at the time of this posting and have run every flashpoint up to this level. I have tanked each one, and with a few different healers. I was a DK tank previously in WoW, and I really enjoy tanking in every game I play. I decided to take it upon myself to create the starting point with what I hope will be the center for discussion on Powertech tanking. I do not pretend to know everything, but I do know what has worked for me from experience in flashpoints. I intend to update the thread as I discover new information or if someone else discovers something that I missed.

    Mandatory Disclaimer:
    I do not claim to be the best tank, and I am sure someone else out there will be able to correct me in many different areas. I just had the desire to create a single location to provide the basis of a guide to tanking and a discussion location. I am open to any discussion focused toward improving the guide. This guide is focused toward Flashpoint and Operation play, as to such it will have no focus on companions.

    Special Thanks
    Thanks for the invaluable input from the following:
    Finangus and Billybumbler and Grintogg

    CLASS OVERVIEW:
    Powertechs are heavily armored tanks that wield a single blaster pistol, what they lack in obvious weaponry they make up for in hidden gadgets and advanced shields. Despite the common misconception we are NOT a Ranged Tank, most of our abilities are melee range or short range. We don’t carry glow sticks because we play with real fire. O and our backpacks have jets.

    SPEC
    Obviously a tank bounty hunter will be a Powertech Advanced class.
    My 50 build:
    This is a PVE tank build, a few points can be changed to make it a stronger PVP build.
    (31/7/3)
    http://db.darthhater.com/skill_calc/...f2ef12ef9ef11:

    OR

    Threat build (thanks to Finangus).
    http://db.darthhater.com/skill_calc/...f2ef12ef4ef16:
    This build gives up Oil Slick and Advanced tools in favor of making Rail Shot a more powerful threat ability.

    KEY ABILITIES
    Ion Gas Cylinder – In WoW terms this is your tank stance. This increases your threat 50%, Armor Contribution by 60%, Decreases all damage taken by 5%, and increases shield activation chance by 15%. This Cylinder will be active at all times for tanking.
    Guard – This ability is a single target buff that protects a target by causing the target to take 5% less damage and generate 25% less threat, in addition 50% of incoming damage is redirected to you. I generally place this on a high threat melee or the healer. Melee if they are persistently pulling agro and healer if I got a controlled group and there is lots of adds and aoe.
    Neural Dart/Sonic Missile – These are your taunts (single/aoe respectively). Neural Dart has a 15 second cooldown while Sonic Missile has a 45 second cooldown. If possible save Sonic Missile for add phases.
    Flame Burst- Single target nuke with synergy among some skills.
    Flame Sweep - Aoe nuke with synergy among some skills.
    Rocket Punch - Single target nuke with synergy among some skills.
    Rail Shot - Single Target High Damage Nuke only usable on incapacitated targets or targets with with a periodic damage effect on them.
    Unload - Heat efficient channeled nuke.
    Heat Burst - Single target nuke that disappates heat instead of causing it, has a 15 second cooldown.
    Jet Charge – Strong initiator and gap closer. Interrupts and stuns target on a 15 second cooldown.
    Grapple – High threat ability that pulls the target towards you. 45 second cooldown (35 with tier 2 Advanced Prototype talent Advanced Tools).
    Oil Slick – This is one of your tank survival abilities. It has a 1 minute cooldown and an 18 second duration, and during this time it causes all enemies in it to have their melee/ranged accuracy reduced by 20%. I use this ability right after I get the boss (and adds if applicable) situated at the beginning of the fight and then reuse it any time there are a lot of adds needing to be tanked at the same time.
    Energy Shield – Very simple cooldown that provides 25% damage reduction for 12 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown.
    Kolto Overload – A mediocre selfheal. 15% max health over 10 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown. It won’t save your life but it could help the healer in heavy damage phases.
    Vent Heat – reduces heat level by 50 over 3 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown. On trash I use any time I come close to maxed heat, but on bosses I often wait til there is a time I need to run survival abilities or build snap threat.
    Thermal Sensor Override - Your next ability generates no heat. 15 second duration with a 2 minute cooldown.

    SYNERGY AMONGST SKILLS
    In the Shield Tech tree several abilities interact with flame burst, flame sweep and rocket punch.
    Example:
    Tier 1 skill Combust causes Flame burst/Flame Sweep to reduce affected target(s) damage by 4% for 15 seconds.
    Tier 4 skill Flame Shield increases the critical chance of flame sweep and rocket punch by 30% and shield an attack has a 50% chance to reset the cooldown on rocket punch.
    This synergy is part of our key threat building “rotation”. Flame burst and Rocket punch are high threat single target abilities while flame sweep is an aoe threat ability.
    I will generally start a pull by firing an Explosive Dart at a weak/standard enemy hoping to tie them up briefly and then Jet Charge the strongest enemy. I save Grapple for any enemy that refuses to get into position or if my healer or range somehow get agro. Use Heat Blast on cooldown as it does decent damage and discharges 8 heat. Do not spam your abilities, because the Bounty Hunter class is all about heat management and using the right abilities at the right time. I attempt to stay around heat dissipation levels 3-4 if at all possible (the fastest dissipation rates). This is so I can save Vent Heat for critical times. If you have no need to use any of the above abilities use Rapid Shots for damage with no cost.

    ROTATION BREAKDOWN:
    Start with explosive dart on Weak/Standard target (though don’t forget about them).
    Jet Charge primary kill target.
    Apply Flame Burst or Flame Sweep (if multiple mobs) Combust debuff.
    Rocket Punch (to apply Ion Gas Cylinder debuff)
    Heat Blast if past 40% heat.
    Unload if you can finish the channel.
    Rapid Shots when you have nothing else to do or are waiting to lose some heat.

    Priority Breakdown (thanks again to Finangus and Grintogg)
    Rocket Punch > Rail Shot > Flame Burst* > Explosive Dart** > Unload > Heat Blast > Rapid Shots***
    * if Combustion has or is about to fall off Flame Burst is priority.
    ** Higher priority if a stun is expected soon to provide threat while stunned.
    *** Moves up the priority chain when at higher heat levels.

    For mob packs that are primarily Weak/Standard mobs use Death From Above/Flame Sweep/Flamethrower.

    HEAT MANAGEMENT

    Heat Dissipation Breakdown (thanks Grintogg):
    0-20 Heat: 5HpS
    20-40 Heat: 4HpS
    40-60 Heat: 3HpS
    60-80 Heat: 2.5HpS
    80-100 Heat: 2HpS

    ****This entire section came courtesy of Finangus.****
    Managing heat can be tricky, and it's not uncommon to see PTs heat-locking themselves. At first, I was had this happen alot, but now I feel that I've figured out how to manage heat efficiently. These are the general rules I force myself to follow:

    1) Try to keep heat below 40%.
    2) Save Heat Blast so that when you do go over 40%, you can use it to quickly get below it again. The earliest you should use it is at 30% heat. Any earlier is a waste.
    3) If heat is > 25%, use Rapid Shots. Your cheapest attack generates 16 heat, so using one above 25% will push you over 40%. The only exception is for Flame Burst debuff.
    4) Avoid interrupting Unload, if possible. Unload is one of your most Heat efficient abilities, in that it only costs 16 heat and allows you to lose heat while it is channeled. Interrupting it is a waste of a global and heat.
    5) Only use AoE abilities (Flame Sweep, DFA, Flamethrower) on AoE packs. They all cost 25 heat, so use them wisely.
    6) Only use Vent Heat when your heat is > 60%.

    STATS
    Primary
    Endurance > Aim
    But all our gear has those stats on it so they will come inevitably.

    Secondary
    Shield Rating > Defense Rating = Absorption
    Shield Rating increases our chance to shield (shield reduces damage taken, chance to reduce heat, and reset Rocket Punch).
    Defense Rating provides a chance to avoid incoming attacks.
    Absorption determines how much damage is reduced by our shield.
    To my knowledge a crit cannot be shielded therefore that is why defense (total avoidance of the hit) is valueable.

    TIPS
    Most dps will not be one shot by a mob or boss, so if it comes down to healer or dps, save the healer first.
    Don’t initiate with a taunt. In pugs, most dps will go full force at the beginning and you will need the taunt to save them.
    Our survival cds are relatively weak, but they can help.
    Mark targets. Discuss a kill target and cc target mark at the beginning. Most people will attempt to follow your targets.
    Use keybindings wisely. We have a lot of abilities and they all have a use, keep the important ones like taunts and survival cds close.
    Watch your heat, if you are maxed heat you will be unable to perform any major actions.
    Interrupt anything you can. Reduces your damage taken most of the time.
    Threat is not so bad, use guard wisely on a dps IN RANGE or if the situation calls for the guard to be on the healer ask them to come in range (30m). Guarding a Range or Healer outside of 30m causes the Guard buff to go into "idle" mode with no damage or threat sharing. If you follow the above posters rotation single target threat will not be an issue.
    Stuns will happen alot. You will have to rely on periodic damage effects such as Ion Gas Cylinder are going to be your only threat effects when you are stunned. (thanks Billybumbler for the last 2)
    While we are NOT a range tank we do have some range abilities. If a boss is using some sort of melee range aoe run out and use unload/rapid shots/explosive dart to keep aggro and reduce incoming damage.
    To do list:
    Gear discussion.
    Further stat theorycrafting.

    Thanks for reading this brief guide. Feel free to leave any comments or criticisms in response. I will do my best to update and address as necessary.
    Last edited by bloodwulf; 2012-01-06 at 09:09 PM.
    "Allons-y!" - David Tennant - 10th Doctor.
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  2. #2
    Pit Lord HBpapa's Avatar
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    Awesome write up and thank you! I was just looking for something to this effect online earlier today.
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  3. #3
    Mechagnome bloodwulf's Avatar
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    Thanks, I hope it was not too difficult to understand. I intended to maintain this thread for as long as necessary and would love if anyone else has some suggestions for it.
    "Allons-y!" - David Tennant - 10th Doctor.
    "Bow ties are cool." - Matt Smith - 11th Doctor.

  4. #4
    Play a PT on Rakata and i love it. Until I get bored with the plateau I've reached thus far and have to really start crunching digits, your overview was pretty much bang on with what I figured out thus far. Good read.

  5. #5
    Mechagnome bloodwulf's Avatar
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    Again I appreciate the compliment, and I already know i missed a thing or two and will have to correct in the morning, and please if anyone has any suggestions of what to add please post it.
    "Allons-y!" - David Tennant - 10th Doctor.
    "Bow ties are cool." - Matt Smith - 11th Doctor.

  6. #6
    Mechagnome Finangus's Avatar
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    My build: http://db.darthhater.com/skill_calc/...f2ef12ef4ef16:

    This build is obviously a threat build, in that I sacrificed Oil Slick in order to maximize Rail Shot and Rocket Punch damage.

    I've personally found that the rotation is more of a priority system. For example, on a single target, this is what I normally do:

    Jet Charge kill target (or Grapple on a pat)-> Flame Burst (for Combustion debuff)-> Rocket Punch (for IGC dot)

    After that, the priority is:

    Rail Shot > Rocket Punch > Flame Burst* > Unload > Heat Blast **

    * = If Combustion is about to fall off or has fallen off, Flame Burst takes top priority.
    ** = I recommend that you don't use Heat Blast on cooldown. Explanation below.

    Heat Management and You:
    Managing heat can be tricky, and it's not uncommon to see PTs heat-locking themselves. At first, I was had this happen alot, but now I feel that I've figured out how to manage heat efficiently. These are the general rules I force myself to follow:

    1) Try to keep heat below 40%.
    2) Save Heat Blast so that when you do go over 40%, you can use it to quickly get below it again. The earliest you should use it is at 30% heat. Any earlier is a waste.
    3) If heat is > 25%, use Rapid Shots. Your cheapest attack generates 16 heat, so using one above 25% will push you over 40%. The only exception is for Flame Burst debuff.
    4) Avoid interrupting Unload, if possible. Unload is one of your most Heat efficient abilities, in that it only costs 16 heat and allows you to lose heat while it is channeled. Interrupting it is a waste of a global and heat.
    5) Only use AoE abilities (Flame Sweep, DFA, Flamethrower) on AoE packs. They all cost 25 heat, so use them wisely.
    6) Only use Vent Heat when your heat is > 60%.

    Oh, and damn you for making this guide before I was able to get off my lazy ass and make one! lol
    Last edited by Finangus; 2012-01-01 at 07:17 AM.

  7. #7
    Great Guide!

    And good post on heat management above!

    I've been playing and tanking with my powertech for a while now at 50 and have a couple of suggestions.

    1) Threat is not so bad. As the OP guide says with Guard use it wisely on a dps IN RANGE or if the situation calls for the guard to be on the healer ask them to come in range (30m). Guarding a Range or Healer outside of 30m causes the Guard buff to go into "idle" mode with no damage or threat sharing. If you follow the above posters rotation single target threat will not be an issue.

    AoE threat can be challenging as Flame Sweep seems to have a very low threat modifier so like stated above pull them together and spread the love.

    2) CANNOT DO THAT WHILE STUNNED - Welcome to SWTOR Tanking you will be stunned lots! This is why I prefer a build maximising Ion Gas Cylinder shock damage. The DOT applied by IGC is your only damaging "filller" between GCD's so when you are stunned/kiting/indisposed IGC is the only thing generating threat for you. IMO it's totally worth dropping points out of rail loaders or elsewhere to pick up prototype cylinders.

    3) We're not in Kansas anymore. SWTOR PvP is much closer to Warhammer PvP than WoW (Mythic developers work on SWTOR also) meaning that Tanks are a valued member of any pvp group so do not be put off by it!

    You can have a tonne of fun as a Powertech Shield Tech. Sacrifice Steely Resolve and Rail Loaders entirely and pick up Jet Speed - Neural Overload and Advanced Tools and you will be one of the most mobile utility packed powerhouses on the field. Sure your damage wont be the hottest thing out there but you can easily 1vs1 any class through attrition but more importantly support your team with Guards - Taunts - Charges - Grapples all of which will see you topping the leader board consistently.

    As with Guard the Player taunt system also comes from Warhammer. Taunting a player causes them to deal significantly less damage against other players unless they detaunt by attacking you! Considering most dps go tunnel vision mode when they see someone on low life you can AoE taunt the pack of wolves, Guard the focussed player and pull 3 commendation medals in a matter of moments.

  8. #8
    Mechagnome bloodwulf's Avatar
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    Thanks for the sticky mods!!!!!!!!!

    Also thanks for the input Billybumbler and Finangus, I went ahead and updated the first post with the input you two provided.

    Also modified the default tanks spec based on suggestions.
    "Allons-y!" - David Tennant - 10th Doctor.
    "Bow ties are cool." - Matt Smith - 11th Doctor.

  9. #9
    thank you very much for this as some have said before.

    i just started my shield tec bounty hunter and am at lvl 21 cant wait to get him goin and get up in lvls

  10. #10
    Bloodsail Admiral Galm's Avatar
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    Excellent overview! I believe this is the first proper Powertech tanking "guide" I've seen so far.

  11. #11
    thanks for credit!

    On gear I've noticed a few things with the sets we have so far, you can argue the point champion>tionese but that would be arguing over a few stats and is best left to theory crafting later

    Here's the set bonuses for our pvp and pve sets:

    Battlemaster Supercommando's Gear (5/5):

    The set bonuses are granted by all pvp sets in any mixture (Centurion, Champion, Battlemaster)

    2 Set: Reduces the Cooldown of Heat Blast and Jet Charge by 1.5 Seconds
    4 Set: Increases your damage dealt to players by 5% while you Guard another player.

    Rakata Supercommando's Gear (5/5):

    The set bonuses are granted by all pve sets in any mixture (Tionese, Columi, Rakata)

    2 Set: Increases the duration of Oil Slick by 2 seconds and the duration of Energy Shield by 3 seconds.
    4 Set: Increases Melee, Range, Tech and Force defence by 2%

    Personally I find the pvp 2 set to be the greater of all the bonuses even in pve. Jet charge is a fantastic mobility power so any cooldown reduction is appreciated there but the 1.5 seconds off Heat Blast is fantastic as we know from the guide that Heat Management is #1 priority.

    Couple that with the fact (again as the guide says) that our defensive cooldowns are rather weak at the moment (Oil Slick and Energy Shield). I think im going to find it very hard to give up on the pvp 2 set bonus.

  12. #12
    Mechagnome bloodwulf's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Billybumbler, your input has been very useful and I will add the info about the gear in once we get a little bit more a discussion rolling.

    Yeah, I am waiting to pass judgement on the gear until i myself hit 50 and am able to start comparing it a little bit better. (to bad the 2 piece and 4 piece PVE set bonuses were not flipped...that defense by 2% is pretty nice).

    One thing i do think is one set could be used as a "threat" set (pvp set) and the other as a survival (pve set), but it is impossible for me to decide which is superior until I actually get into the operation situations. I have been enjoying the storyline so far and will hopefully be 50 in a week or so.

    If we have anyone in this thread who is at 50 and running operations, any input on what you think the fights require more (threat vs survival) would be greatly appreciated, and once we start getting the info flowing i will update the OP with more info for gear.
    "Allons-y!" - David Tennant - 10th Doctor.
    "Bow ties are cool." - Matt Smith - 11th Doctor.

  13. #13
    Me again! (Yawn I know)

    We started Eternity vault tonight, cleared normal and did 2 of the hards. I main tanked it all.

    Threat: No problems at all following the above rotation pretty much and guarding our #1 melee dps. Our OT was guarding a range who fell out of the 30m range and had threat issues so that reinforces the guard section of the guide.

    Ive found its possible to have quite a nice burst of threat and dps by timing Vent Heat, Explosive Fuel and Thermal Sensor Override to coincide with one another. This is lovely at a phase change just to ensure you're well ahead of the pack, you can also pre apply these buffs just before you charge the boss to allow for powerful threat at the start.

    All of this is using a spec ignoring Iron Fist and Hot Iron and taking Advanced Tools and Prototype Cylinders.

    To be honest I didnt find that much use for grapple in Eternity Vault as the trash is pretty simple regardless of mode. So if Grapple is not so useful and threat is fine without the 2 dps talents that leaves more endurance...

    Survivability and DPS: In my mixture of Champion and Columi our healers had no trouble keeping me up in the hard modes even with keeping a melee with me and guarded. Where we fell short at the moment is dps since Hard and Nightmare modes have enrage timers so this swings the talent debate towards the dps way (Iron Fist > Advanced Tools).

    Anyway from very early observations id say Survivability stacking is preferential over threat stacking considering accuracy comes with nearly all our gear anyway (hit rating).

    My stats for tonight:
    19.8k hp
    8044 armor (51.69%)
    15.22% defense
    40.22% Shield
    40.13% Absorb
    99.09 accuracy

    Quick Edit:

    Like people are pointing out on the Sithwarrior site putting Explosive Dart into the rotation is a pretty good idea. It's a high damaging single target/aoe and weak knockdown and best of all if fired off at a good moment (pre stun/knockback) it will help you tide the boss over with IGC dot until its over.
    Last edited by Billybumbler; 2012-01-03 at 12:28 AM.

  14. #14
    Mechagnome bloodwulf's Avatar
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    Good to hear Billybumbly. I was feeling that threat shouldn't be a terrible issue. I have heard that dps is tight, and i think any way to up our dps is just beneficial to the group. I may play around with different specs.

    Were there any particular tips or tricks that you found useful for EV as a Powertech? If so I can create a section for Operations specific tricks if you have.

    About Explosive Dart, i already use it, and i will edit the rotation into the OP.

    Thanks again Billybumbler.
    "Allons-y!" - David Tennant - 10th Doctor.
    "Bow ties are cool." - Matt Smith - 11th Doctor.

  15. #15
    As a Powertech, I've been wondering, which abilities are considered "fire effects"? Is it only the obvious ones(Flame Burst/Sweep/Thrower) or are there more?
    Quote Originally Posted by Miatela View Post
    Does Batman complain about The Joker being recycled?

  16. #16
    Mechagnome bloodwulf's Avatar
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    I like how Buckwald placed all the guides in one thread, this makes our top section look less cluttered, as long as people don't forget about the guides :P

    Now to your question Blood Knight Reyson:
    I believe the following are:
    Heat Blast/Flame Burst/Flame Sweep/Flame Thrower
    I can't say if there are more and i will look into tonight when i can log in, servers are down at the moment and that is something I just took for granted when I was playing the game. I believe any ability that says elemental damage can most likely be assumed to be fire damage unless it outright states otherwise. Now I wish the skills that modify fire damage explicitly stated which ones, but because they do not, it is only guessing until we have someone actually attempt to determine which is modified and which are not (but that is unlikely to be anytime soon do to the lack of parsing measures to simplify the process).
    "Allons-y!" - David Tennant - 10th Doctor.
    "Bow ties are cool." - Matt Smith - 11th Doctor.

  17. #17
    Pandaren Monk ZeroWashu's Avatar
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    These guides need to list the opposite factions name for each ability either using a / to separate or putting it in parenthesis.
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  18. #18
    Dreadlord Vexies's Avatar
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    Fantastic info! Always glad to read up on peoples approach to Powertech tanking. Looking forward to seeing more on this topic. Keep it up.

  19. #19
    Mechagnome bloodwulf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZEROWASHU View Post
    These guides need to list the opposite factions name for each ability either using a / to separate or putting it in parenthesis.
    While the classes are relatively mirrored, i don't know how well that would work. I believe Troopers use a completely different resource system than we do.
    "Allons-y!" - David Tennant - 10th Doctor.
    "Bow ties are cool." - Matt Smith - 11th Doctor.

  20. #20
    Id say a good tip for any fight really is remember that we do have ranged abilities!

    Ill use EV Boss 1 as an example he has a aoe phase where he launches rockets on the ground (red circles) it's a good idea here for the Powertech to retreat to range a little and hold the boss with unload/dart/rapid shots/whatever and give your melee dps extra space to move around. This applies to any boss really and once the phase is over your jet charge will be ready to go so you can instantly re-position.

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