BioWare has announced nerfs for Rage Juggernaut / Focus Guardian. This article will cover their current standing in the meta, BioWare’s announced changes for SWTOR 7.1, an analysis of the changes, and my own additional recommendations for improving the discipline.

Rage and Focus’ Current Standing

Rage Juggernaut / Focus Guardian is currently one of the strongest DPS disciplines in the game. The discipline does suffer from viability issues in some fights thanks to Obliterate / Zealous Leap’s animation while being one of the most important abilities in the discipline because you need to use it on cooldown in order to get the autocrit for Raging Burst / Focused Burst. It is referred to by some players as a “self-root” because the leap animation prevents you from moving for the entire duration of the GCD.

In phases where precise positioning is important, Obliterate / Zealous Leap can cause your character to move somewhere that you don’t want to, like into a very dangerous red circle. This forces players to choose between losing a significant amount of DPS or not following a mechanic.

It’s particularly strange that BioWare didn’t attempt to properly mitigate this issue with the introduction of ability trees in 7.0 while they opted to introduce similar gap-closing functionality to specific abilities in Carnage / Combat and Vengeance / Vigilance.

I suppose you could view Rage Juggernaut / Focus Guardian’s higher DPS and the Seething Defense / Zealous Defense ability tree buff as efforts to mitigate this issue, but there are many solutions that would work far better that theoretically shouldn’t have taken more work to implement than other changes made in 7.0.

BioWare’s Announced Change

  • Reduced critical chance and critical damage dealt provided by the Dark Synergy / Zenith ability tree buff from 20% to 15%.

Practical Implications and Analysis

Dark Synergy / Zenith

The nerf to Dark Synergy / Zenith corresponds to a little over 5% reduction in DPS contributed by that ability tree buff, which should correspond to a nerf of almost 1500 DPS for Rage Juggernaut / Focus Guardian, which should be just enough to bring it down into strong, but more acceptable territory.

It also helps to bring down the power level of that specific ability tree buff, making it slightly more reasonable to take one of the other options instead.

Recommendations for BioWare

BioWare appears to want to adjust Marauder / Sentinel mobility including nerfing Fury Marauder / Concentration Sentinel. Since Rage Juggernaut / Focus Guardian is structurally extremely similar, it’s practically impossible to change one without affecting the other, so the changes I recommend for this discipline factor in what I recommend BioWare do for Fury / Concentration that incorporates what everyone wants.

Alternative Changes

I propose that BioWare’s announced nerf is incorporated, but the places of Obliterate / Zealous Leap and Force Crush / Force Exhaustion should be swapped the rotation. This is necessary to retain ability parity for my proposed changes for Fury Marauder / Concentration Sentinel essential.

These changes enable BioWare to offer a more balanced and unified mobility experience for Marauders / Sentinels while fixing the core viability issue that has plagued both disciplines for a long time. The list is a bit longer than what BioWare has announced, but these changes are comprehensive such that they could literally be copied directly into the game’s patch notes.

  • Reduced critical chance and critical damage dealt provided by the Dark Synergy / Zenith ability tree buff from 20% to 15%.
  • Reduced the damage dealt by Obliterate / Zealous Leap by ~20%.
  • Reduced the damage dealt by Force Crush / Force Exhaustion by ~10%.
  • Reduced the damage dealt by the Cauterized Coronary tactical by ~30%.
  • Obliterate / Zealous Leap now has an 18s cooldown, triggers Shockwave / Singularity instead of Dominate / Felling Blow, and no longer benefits from Overpower / Zyphyrian Slash.
  • Force Crush / Force Exhaustion now has a 12s cooldown, triggers Dominate / Felling Blow instead of Shockwave / Singularity, and now benefits from Overpower / Zephyrian Slash.
  • Force Charge now triggers Shockwave / Singularity instead of Dominate / Felling Blow.
  • The Indignant Rumination / Focused Meditation ability tree buff has been tweaked and now has the following effect:
    • Rage / Focus-spending attacks have no cooldown while Enrage / Combat Focus is active. In addition, dealing damage with Force Crush / Force Exhaustion generates 1 Rage / Focus.
  • The Subjugate / Unstable Focus ability tree buff has been redesigned and now has the following effect:
    • “Raging Burst / Focused Burst now deals damage to up to 4 additional enemies within 5m of the primary target.”
  • Seething Defense / Zealous Defense now lasts 20 seconds up from 10 and absorbs twice as much damage.
  • Rage Engine / Focus Engine now reduces the cooldown of Enrage / Combat Focus by 6 seconds instead of 3.

Rationale

The purpose of these suggested changes is to effectively swap the role of Obliterate / Zealous Leap and Force Crush / Force Exhaustion in the rotation where Obliterate / Zealous Leap is only used every other rotation cycle opposite of Enrage / Combat Focus while Force Crush / Force Exhaustion is used in every single rotation cycle.

The direct damage nerfs to Force Crush / Force Exhaustion, Obliterate / Zealous Leap, and Cauterized Coronary are meant to negate the potential DPS increase that would result from swapping Force Crush / Force Exhaustion and Obliterate / Zealous Leap while preserving the relative power of each attack and making it transferrable to Rage Juggernaut / Focus Guardian. (Force Crush / Force Exhaustion currently deals about 50% more damage than Obliterate / Zealous Leap)

The main tweak to Indignant Rumination / Focused Mediation is meant to compensate for the additional Rage / Focus that would be generated by the additional Force Crush / Force Exhaustion activation. It is no longer necessary for Force Lash to generate Rage / Focus.

The change to Subjugation / Unstable Focus gives the ability tree buff a use case in solo content without making Smash / Force Sweep completely useless. The changes to Obliterate / Zealous Leap ability tree buffs are meant to provide the same benefit they do now while compensating for the halved number of activations.

You can check out the overview and analysis for all other Class Changes coming with SWTOR 7.1:

Author Lokzmir
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Categories SWTOR News
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