SWTOR 5.2 Gunnery Commando PvE Guide by Damian.
Intro to 5.0 Gunnery Commando
With 5.0 commandos finally get some long needed improvements in the defence department. This careful tuning was done with the aid of a sledgehammer.
Anyone looking for hot tips on Gunnery Commando DPS can get a cutting edge guide with the patch number of 3.0 on it because Gunnery has not changed since then.
So what’s new?
Commandos and Troopers in general saw some thinning out of abilities on the toolbars.
- Gone forever are: Stockstrike, Pulse Cannon and all Cells. Cells are now built into the specialisation tree you choose. The default Cell when you have no spec is an invisible Plasma Cell. It is now impossible to detect a Commandos spec by looking for the Cell buffs on their bar.
- Also, Supercharged Cell is now 3 different abilities and the right one is granted to you with your specialisation tree. This apparently is to get rid of the gigantic combined triple description in the tooltip. No big deal but you now need to move that icon about when spec swapping because the ability does change between specs. Your default Supercharged Cell when you have no spec is the Assault version.
- Much nostalgia for lost abilities but the bottom line is Stockstrike was 4m and Pulse Cannon was 10m cone, neither in any rotation or buffed by any talents. Many rants about garbage Commando talents involved the only root requiring Stockstrike.
Which leads on to significant changes to Combat Proficiencies.
- Commandos for years had very fixed choices because the majority of options could be used to fertilise your garden.
- The 5.0 overhaul means that all Commando talents do something in a meaningful way. Some are multiple old talents glued together.
- Saying that, the unchanged talents of Cell Capacitor (extra resources), Shock Absorbers (permanent AOE reduction) and Forced March (Boltstorm on the move) are still very fashionable. What matters is that available points increases from 7 to 8 and you get real choices to customise your Combat Proficiencies for a particular fight or PVP action.
- I mentioned a defensive sledgehammer being used earlier. There are two astonishing 5.0 talents you can choose which double the power of the (normally rubbish) Adrenaline Rush and grant up to a 75% heal after Reactive Shield ends if you survive the duration respectively.
- A new ability is also on the toolbar. Echoing Deterrence is 6s of immunity to direct single target damage and bounces half the damage back to the attacker.
- Developers have finally implemented survival changes for Commandos and have done so with real enthusiasm.
No obvious damage boosters were granted to Commandos in 5.0 so have a second look at the non obvious ones.
- Echoing Deterrence bounces 50% of single target damage back to the attacker, examine your boss fights more closely, things you think are AOE attacks are not always scripted as AOE damage.
- Electro Shield has been around for ages, take predictable damage and the attacker gets hit by your shield. This normally pushes up healing requirements if you literally stand in fire to do it but you can now talent to get your own healing from Adrenal Surge and/or Trauma Stabilisers to cover that health cost.
- Reflexive Shield to reduce Reactive Shield CD was never a bad talent but you only had two points for the top tier in the old system. Forced March and Shock Absorbers were far more valuable. These choices no longer block each other and you have an extra talent point to get Electro Shield out more often.
That’s the essentials of the 5.0 changes. For information on playing Gunnery Commando and more details on Utilities and Abilities read on.
The Gunnery specialisation is excellent at single-target damage, target swapping and burst damage. AOE damage is good but not exceptional. The heavy armour, defensive abilities and light healing makes the class very tanky for a ranged DPS.
Gunnery has always been a strong raiding spec, it provides three buffs and debuffs for the group, passively takes reduced damage and delivers strong ranged damage through an easy rotation with no energy management drama. PVP performance has often been highly suspect over the years but the 5.0 defensive improvements have made it very competitive.
- Single Target DPS: 7
- AoE Damage: 7
- Group Utility: 10
- Rotation Difficulty: 5
- RNG Dependent: YES
- Burst: 9
- Sub 30% Talents or Buffs (Execute): No
- High burst damage
- Quick target swap
- Decent AOE potential
- RNG crit can have a huge negative impact at any gear level
- Mobility is somewhat limited by Grav Round casting
Accuracy is the most important stat for PvE DPS. If you have below 110% accuracy you have a chance to miss attacks of all types. The goal for this at level 70 is 737.
To reach this I suggest you use 1x Advanced Initiative Enhancement (can be found in Gloves or Boots), 3x Advanced Accuracy Augment 45 (96 accuracy) with an Advanced Polybiotic Proficient Stim (240 accuracy).
The next most important stats are your Critical and Alacrity ratings.
Critical rating affects both how often you deal critical damage and how much extra damage a “crit” will cause. For Gunnery Commandos a high critical rating would be over 50%. It is especially important for Commandos because they are the only class with a passive 30% critical damage boost in their DPS trees and a critical hit with your biggest hitting attack of a Demo Round is the massive difference between hitting 10k or hitting over 30k.
Your Alacrity rating decreases the Global Cooldown between ability uses, decreases ability cast times (Grav Round), ability channelling (Boltstorm) and all cooldowns. Your actions per minute or APM have potential to be higher when using higher Alacrity.
So, the stats you can modify as a PvE Gunnery Commando are accuracy rating, critical rating and alacrity rating. Once you have reached >736 accuracy points you should improve your alacrity and critical stats.
Regarding assault cannon and generator crystals, you should use one “Eviscerating” (+41 Critical Rating) and one “War Hero” (+41 Mastery). And no, you cannot change the colour of Med Shot
You would like to have:
- 6 critical enhancements – Adept Earpiece, 1x Adept Implant, Main-hand weapon Enhancement, Chest Enhancement, Gloves Enhancement, Pants Enhancement.
- 3 alacrity enhancements – 1x Quick Savant Implant, 1x Headpiece Enhancement, 1x Off-hand Enhancement.
- 1 accuracy enhancement – 1x Boots Enhancement.
- Augments: 2x Critical, 9x Alacrity, 3x Accuracy.
- The set bonus name is: Eliminator.
- Relics: Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution.
248 rating BiS (Best-in-Slot) gear should provide you:
- 8921 Endurance | 6927 Mastery | 3964 Power
- 1850 Critical | 1557 Alacrity | 759 Accuracy
Many descriptions have been simplified to avoid copy/pasting unnecessary information.
There is a basic for PvE below if you are lazy or not experienced enough.
Skillful: take the energy management and AoE buff to clear trash faster.
Masterful: if you don’t need a longer HTL you can take the 5% damage reduction and Electro Shield to make your Reactive Shield an offensive cooldown.
Heroic: you want AoE damage reduction, buffed Adrenaline Rush and Reflexive Shield to improve your defensive and offensive capabilities.
Legendary: Boltstorm on the move to increase mobility.
Why Adrenal Surge and not Trauma Stabilizers? Only direct damage will build stacks of Trauma Stabilizers, unless you are tanking a mob this won’t work.
Remember: Good players will swap their utilities to suit the fight.
- Reactive Shield – offensive cooldown with Electro Shield utility. Must be modified with Reflexive Shield utility for most uptime.
- Echoing Deterrence – new Commando ability which has 50% reflect. Note it doesn’t work against AOE damage. You can do numbers like these if you know when to use the reflect.
- Hammer Shot – basic filler.
- Explosive Round – expensive AOE filler vs trash. Can be modified with Concussive Force for a root.
- Electro Net – one of the highest damage abilities for a single GCD. Unique for PvP because it slows down and prevents all mobility abilities. For PvE it acts as a powerful DoT. Can provide an alacrity boost with One Man Army utility on targets without Boss Immunity buff.
- Charged Bolts – basic cast attack. Gunnery replaces this with Grav Round after level 10.
- Full Auto – basic channelled attack. Gunnery replaces this with Boltstorm at level 58. Both can be modified to channel on the move with the Forced March utility.
- High Impact Bolt – high damage attack.
- Supercharged Cell – damage booster and grants 10 energy. You can modify it to also be a DCD with the Supercharged Defense utility.
- Sticky Grenade – has a detonation time, does kinetic damage up to 8 enemies when it detonates.
- Plasma Grenade – does kinetic damage up to 8 targets in 8m radius also dealing additional periodic damage to affected targets within 6s.
- Mortar Volley –Commandos highest AOE damage ability which does kinetic damage within 5 meters of the target area over the duration.
- Hail of Bolts – AOE damage ability which does kinetic damage within 5 meters of the target area over the duration. You can buff it with the Chain Gunnery utility.
Defensive Cooldowns (DCDs)
- Diversion – reduces your threat and as Gunnery, it grants the Decoy defensive buff (discussed later)
- Cleanse – cleanses friendly target up to 2 tech or physical negative effects. Can be modified with Suit FOE utility.
- Reactive Shield – increase damage reduction by 25% for the next 12s. Can be modified with Electro Shield, Reflexive Shield, Combat Shield and Trauma Stabilizers.
- Hold the Line – grants 6s of immunity from all movement-impairing effects, knockdowns and physics and increase movement speed by 30%. The most useful ability for Revan. Can be modified with Advance the Line.
- Adrenaline Rush – heals you up to 35% of maximum health for 8s. Can be pre-cast which makes it trigger automatically once you go below 35% of your health. Can be buffed with Adrenaline Surge.
- Tenacity – your stun breaker.
- Med Shot – basic healing ability, as DPS you use it to build stacks of Supercharge for Supercharged Cell before a fight.
- Medical Probe – spammable cast healing ability. Charged Barrel boosts this together with High Impact Bolt but only a single ability can consume the buff. Can be modified with Charged Barrier utility.
- Bacta Infusion – Instant heal for about the same as Medical Probe. Useful for PvP self-heals. Try to use Medical Probe instead if you have time since this goes on a cooldown.
- Emergency Medical Probe – combat revive.
- Supercharged Celerity – Alacrity raid buff.
- Concussive Round – CC. Can be modified with Efficient Conversions and Overclock.
- Disabling Shot – interrupt. Can be modified with Supercharged Reserves.
- Propulsion Round – Commando’s backwards leap. Can be modified with Smoke Screen.
- Concussive Charge – pushback utility. Can be buffed with Concussive Force utility.
- Cryo Grenade – stun. Can be modified with Efficient Conversions.
- Tech Override – makes next 1 (or 2 with Overclock utility) cast abilities activate instantly.
Rotation and Parsing
Gunnery rotation has a priority system not a fixed rotation like Assault Specialist. But no worries, if you make a mistake you don’t need to spam Hammer Shot, you will just loose burst.
Opener is the same as in the 3.0 Fascinate and Marisi guide (remember it hasn’t changed since then) but for the core rotation I use another priority system.
Grav Round procs Curtain of Fire and resets the cooldown of Boltstorm every 8 seconds; 3x Grav Round gives 5 stacks of Charged Barrel for the High Impact Bolt buff and Vortex Bolt allows an instant cast Grav Round.
I prefer to use High Impact Bolt + Demolition Round because it provides the highest burst in both PvP and PvE. Also, Demolition Round is off cooldown almost every time you have 5 stacks of Charged Barrel ready so you don’t need to worry about lining them up.
- Proc “Curtain of Fire”
- Electro Net
- Vortex Bolt
- High Impact Bolt + Demolition Round
- Grav Round
- Hammer Shot
You should proc “Curtain of Fire” (by using Grav Round or Hail of Bolts) on cooldown then move to Vortex Bolt -> High Impact Bolt + Demolition Round -> Boltstorm -> Grav Round -> Boltstorm.
Sustained rotations are not optimal for Gunnery. The only major combos to stick to are using Grav Round before Demo Round for the 25% damage buff and using High Impact Bolt on 5 stacks of Charged Barrel for 30% more damage. Also High Impact Bolt is not usable without a debuffed target, you would usually use a Grav Round for this. In the long run you want to get used to being flexible with using and holding abilities for maximum benefit vs the fight but if you have problems starting off you can try this simple rotation:
Let me explain what you see above. Only two of the Grav Rounds unlock and buff Boltstorm. Grav Round #1 procs Curtain of Fire at the end of its GCD. Grav Round #2 is instant because of Vortex Bolt so it procs Curtain of Fire at the beginning of its GCD. High Impact Bolt is already buffed because of 5 Charged Barrel stacks from Grav Rounds #2, #3 and #1. Grav Round #4 is a filler so you can use Electro Net or Hammer Shot instead or can be skipped at all. Also, you can use Electro Net between Grav Round #1 and Vortex Bolt since the “Curtain of Fire” buff lasts 15 seconds. In addition, you will automatically use the 6-piece Eliminator set bonus every time when it procs (which makes Demolition Round critically hit).
Note that in real combat with target swapping you probably won’t be able to keep rotation above alive. Once you swap targets you need to apply the Armor Debuff from Grav Round and Ranged Attacks debuff from Vortex Bolt (if not on cooldown) then you can move to High Impact Bolt + Demolition Round and Boltstorm as available.
Keep in mind, Gunnery is primarily a single target spec so you need to choose between single target or bursts of AOE damage. It is not the best for long periods of AOE. Your strongest AOE attacks are Mortar Volley and Hail of Bolts. The last one you can spam without cooldown. Use Supercharged Cell when spamming Hail of Bolts to increase armor penetration and help a bit with energy management. Below is a basic example of burst AOE (for example, it would perfectly work on DM Calphayus for seed defending and crystals fluff phases) but don’t forget to take Cell Capacitor and Chain Gunnery utilities. You can also do light AOE with a Tech Override + Plasma Grenade if you have 2 targets near each other (for example, Dread Guards or Jarg&Sorno).
The key of a good Gunnery player is cooldown knowledge. Your main target is to proc Curtain of Fire and use High Impact Bolt + Demolition Round on cooldown and not to use Hammer Shot. If it’s not a dummy fight which is a simulator of “perfect circumstances” you won’t have any energy issues on Gunnery. Just play smart, high DPS comes with experience.
A bit about Hammer Shot on Gunnery. You would prefer not to use this ability. I use it sparingly during sustained combat or to finish low health targets and avoid wasting energy.
Also, during operation boss fights where you need to kill adds (for example, DM Styrak) where targets die quickly you can waste time and DPS with the cast of Grav Round on a target which might die before the Grav Round even gets there. In such situations you should get used to using Tech Override.
Your resource management is not difficult but to get the most DPS you need to be using your energy heavily and rotating through your energy resources of Supercharged Cell, Reserve Powercell and Recharge Cells (with Cell Capacitor talent).
Once happy with how to manage cooldowns and resources your aim should be to increase your APM (actions/abilities per minute) so you’re not wasting time between abilities deciding what to use next.
Sample Parse & Video
Sample Parse: http://parsely.io/parser/view/277386
Reflects with Echoing Deterrence in Operations
The information below does not cover every scenario as I haven’t had a chance to personally test every operation fight yet. Thanks to the author of this document.
IMPORTANT: Leave red circles before reflect runs out (Propulsion Round is good for this).
- KP – Karagga the Unyielding: flaming oil on the ground;
- EV – Eternal Council: Assassin’s channelled attack (Absorbs attacks but does no damage);
- EC – Zorn and Toth: Fearful (do damage during reflect), Baradium Poisoning (NiM/Master – pop reflect and use medpac once reflect ends);
- EC – Firebrand and Stormcaller: you can stand in the electric cones for a few seconds and then Propulsion Round out;
- S&V – Thrasher: stand in fire;
- S&V – Operations Chief: heat beam from the add during Oasis City;
- S&V – Warlords: you can reflect Vilus Garr’s stab while stunned;
- TFB – Dread Guards: it absorbs Doom but does no damage (Decoy is better for this) but to do damage you can reflect 6s of Kel’sara’s beam by standing in melee range then Propulsion Round out;
- TFB – Kephess the Undying: stand in laser beam with reflect;
- DF – Corruptor Zero: pull adds in the beginning and pop reflect (Leeroy Jenkins approves);
- DP – DM Tyrans: flame in the doorway.
- Rav – Quartermaster Bulo: stand in electric purple circles;
- Rav – Torque: stand in fire to reflect Dangerous Fire Device. Note, you won’t kill it just with a single reflect.
Personal thoughts about Echoing Deterrence: The blocking of damage is great. The reflection of damage is extremely cheesy but it can be used with great effect against certain mechanics to boost your damage output.
- Use StarParse, it helps you to track yourself and your raid group
- Use key binds for everything like a PRO
- If you are dummy parsing use Supercharged Reserves (doesn’t proc relics) utility
- If you want the most advantage you should get a proper MMO mouse.
- Modify UI (User Interface) to suit yourself and make important information more visible.
- Play smart
About the Author
am Damian from the Red Eclipse server however my original server was Tomb of Freedon Nadd, currently a member of <Not Good Enough>/<Friendly Fire>. You can catch me on TRE on Damiah (Commando), Damianh (Vanguard), Xaruvoy (Mercenary) and Damiany (Powertech). My enjin profile is here if you’d like to ask any question directly, check a few brainless game screenshots/videos or just add me as friend (moar friends!).
I have enjoyed playing Bounty Hunters/Troopers since 2013. I’ve been raiding on Commando since 3.x expansion but became more serious during the 4.x expansion and have cleared all content.
I am not the best Commando player but I hope this guide can help new and old players improve themselves. Feel free to ask questions or give suggestions but I may not be able to respond often.
Special thanks to my guildmate Hotwired for solving grammar issues in this guide and improving overall quality.
Finally I’d like to thank Fascinate and Marisi for inspiration. Also, I’d like to thank my guildmate Splashie for being better than me in most fights, he always shows me ways to improve. Special thanks to my guildmates and friends who keep me interested in this game also to Dulfy for publishing this guide (she is also a nice person :P).
This guide might be modified. All rights are reserved
– Don’t be a pleb!