Aerro's Arsenal DPS Guide
This guide is for ENDGAME Arsenal DPS only. I will be updating it on a continuous basis, as I have been doing in the past. Thank you for the pleasure of serving such a great Bounty Hunter community! As always, any questions and/or suggestions are greatly welcomed. This guide is a compilation of all the knowledge I have attained through countless hours of theory crafting and research. I do not claim to be better than any one of my potential viewers, so do not think that my guide is definite. There are always mistakes, and I am susceptible to them.
Just a little tidbit about Aerro!
I come from Terentatek back at launch. The majority of my SWTOR career has been with <Chosen>, a top World progressed guild now on Prophecy of the Five. Although rankings in 16man don't necessarily matter due to it only being a handful of us, the idea of competition is what keeps us striving to excel in this game. I pride myself in representing the elite of the Arsenal Bounty Hunters within this game. This guide is merely to pass my knowledge on (and hopefully learn too!) so we can all succeed together.
Keep in mind, this guide isn't strictly just from me. While I may be the one relaying the information- I have had quite a bit of help from other fellow Mercs who want to help as much as I do, so special thanks to:
These three have been exemplary in their undertakings of achieving high parses as well as their knowledge and feed back in regards to Arsenal Bounty Hunter. The community should be thankful to have such a crew taking their time to help you!
Lets start off with how to properly spec your Arsenal Mercenary for uber DPS! As always, we Bounty Hunters lead the pack in DPS, giving others to strive to be at our level. We are the leaders, and as leaders, need to do our research to continue pushing out our numbers
~Your Talent Build~
There have been many debates as to whether which builds gave you the most DPS. Obviously, this is a common debate among all classes. Thanks to our great community, the answer came quite simply after a couple raid nights were spent testing different specs- using multiple individuals with different gear setups. The dominant spec which grants the user the MOST DPS is the "Double-Dipping Alacrity" build.
~Proper Rotation Etiquette~
Some viewers who are new to the Arsenal Mercenary theorycrafting field may have questions as to why these talents were chosen. With the talent changes in 2.0, [Advanced Targeting] became a much more preferred talent. Its original form gave you 1% Accuracy for every point (3). With 2.0 it now increases armor penetration of Unload and Rail Shot by 10% for every point (3) ontop of the 1% Accuracy for every point (3). That is 30% armor penetration to one of your main abilities (Unload).
There are multiple other changes such as the [Improved Vents] talent. Its old form was just an additional 16 heat being vented, but it now adds a 10% Alacrity boost which lasts for 12 seconds. This is a great change for many reasons. When we used Vent Heat before, we would gain back more heat than we could spend. With 10% Alacrity, it allows us to spam more Tracer Missiles (or other abilities) faster than we can regen, giving us the option to overextend our boundaries. This represents quite a DPS change and adds Vent Heat to the list of abilities to be used during Burn Phases.
There are multiple other talents that are pretty much self explanatory but not necessarily worth noting. The Talents marked with white arrows are talents that can be swapped between depending on what you are doing. All of them do not provide more of a benefit over the other.
Some people make the joke that we are just a one-button-turret-class because there are many Bounty Hunters out there that tarnish our names. However, Tracer Missile *only* makes up around 75% of our rotation... all joking aside that isn't a joke.
~How To Look Cool~
When DPSing, we will be using our High Velocity Gas Cylinder. This allows us to get our 8% heat back GUARANTEED every 6sec, as well as giving us our 35% Armor Penetration ontop of the Armor Penetration supplied by Tracer Missile.
We are a priority based class. Some like to compare us to a heavy armored Arcane Mage, but I do not believe that is the case. Right now, our priority in subject to Damage : Heat (ratio) is as follows--
Now, that list is a bit skewed because it is based on how much damage an ability does per heat that is costs. Rail Shot no longer costs 0 heat with end game gear, so it loses its position as first on the list. That is not our priority system, in fact. That is just a list of abilities to show that Tracer Missile is no where near our highest damaging attack, especially after its nerf by 10% patches ago. Now onto the actual priority system.
Our REAL priority system is the following:
This is all assuming that there is the Heat Signature debuff on the target. Now, after stating all of that- our rotation is pretty baseline and extremely easy to manage. Some people do have issues with it because they do not understand the significance of following a priority system that is solely based around heat management. Our heat is our lifeblood and if it gets too high we are useless.
Depending on the fight, we will open up with different things. Since most fights seem to be pretty similar in length, I will just talk about one rotation that basically works with every fight in the game and move on to more interesting matters.
Now, this does look a bit odd but let me explain.
With the new heat dissipation changes and the fact getting Heat capped as quick as possible is necessary, I've came up with this rotation that has benefited me well.
At the end of this segment, depending on your heat level, you will be using Vent Heat for the 10% Alacrity. From there, your standard priority rotation follows. Tracer is used when HSM, Net, Unload and RS are on Cooldown.
I will add in nifty little pictures later to pretty it up.
Unfortunately (again) in 2.0, we will not be looking cool with the new gear, so scratch that off... .
Anyways, your soft caps are actually pretty easy to hit with the current gearing. A fresh 55 should follow this stat priority when looking to maximize DPS while looking for gear upgrades:
Accuracy: This is your top priority. You need to get as close to 100% Accuracy before you move on. Yes your Tech abilities will never miss, but you do NOT want to see Unload ticks appear as misses because that is an extreme DPS loss.. In our BiS gear, we are looking at being a little under 100% Accuracy, which is fine. We have a limited stat pool to work with so grabbing more surge instead of wasting stats and going over 100%.
Crit: In 2.0, Crit is now the stat we avoid like the plague (just like Alacrity on items). All of our mods and enhancements will be WITHOUT this stat.
Surge: Your Critical Multiplier goal is whatever you can gain from your Power/Surge enhancements. We're at the mercy of stat allocations at this point.
Power: There is *no cap* for Power. You will not suffer any sort of diminishing returns when stacking this, however it will be the last stat you stack. More explanations to come.
Alacrity: The only Alacrity you should have are those gained from [System Calibrations](or double dipping) and the Vent Heat talent.
At this point, I am sure you're wondering why these 'soft' caps are what they are. I have been questioned a lot about my stance on crit, but it is very justifiable through many parses as well as spread sheets. I can give a very thorough explanation on why these caps are where they are at so continue reading if you are interested.
In current end-game gear, Accuracy is easily gained so hitting 100% can be taken out of the equation since you don't actually have to move enhancements and mods around for it. You will continue to gain more and more accuracy as more tiers come out. Hitting 108% Accuracy is near impossible unless you augment for it and gear for it, which in the end is not worth it since your overall stats will just be... bad.
Surge Rating has an extremely high diminishing return, so anything past 75% means you're sacrificing another stat for a minor increase.
Once those caps are hit- you WANT to go all out on power. The bonus damage conversion for Power is .23 per 1 power. Your main stat is currently .20 bonus damager per 1. So it is more of a damage increase, except you do not get a crit bonus from it- which isn't necessary.
That means you will want to swap out different enhancements. Right now, our enhancements have more endurance on them, and less power. You grab the enhancements that give more Power and less Endurance. We're DPS! We don't need extreme health pools!
The very last thing, which is great if you enjoy getting codex entries:
~Datacrons And Why You Need Them~
That link will take you to the site that I have used in order to find all of the Datacrons that I needed. I suggest grabbing ALL of the Aim datacrons, Endurance AND cunning.
Grabbing Aim means more of your mainstat, which equates to adding in an entire new piece of gear basically. I also went for the Endurance ones because I am sacrificing health for power, and more health to sacrifice means more power!
Also, last but definitely not the least- Cunning. I'm sure you're like 'uhhh wtf' but seriously, this isn't a joke. Cunning increases your overall Tech Damage AND Tech Crit. If you grab all of the Cunning datacrons, you will notice that your Tech Crit Chance will be 1% higher than your Ranged Crit Chance. It is a damage increase and almost like grabbing more aim.
The following list is for gearing purposes only. It will contain in-depth information regarding enhancement, mod and armoring usage. It is my personal gear setup so use only if you feel it will be beneficial for you and your guild.
I have chosen to augment all of my gear with Aim. There have been discussions whether or not to Augment for Power or Aim, but Aim remains superior. With our talents, we gain 9% additional Aim plus an additional 5% ontop of that from buffs.
That is a 14% increase to our overall Aim, which outweighs the bonuses Power gives us.
ALSO: Max out companion affection. Doing so will yield improvements in your DPS and allow the distribution of stats to favor a DPS increase.
Through maxing out your companions, you gain:
1% Crit Rating
And of course some other things like more health and more healing taken (which doesn't affect our DPS unless you consider it survival).
Thank you for the continued support! I hope you enjoyed this updated guide- there will be more to come in the future. I look forward to continuing my work with all of you who have taken the time to converse with me in and out of game.