So far, with the Jedi Guardian we’ve only covered the very basics, including leveling, builds, rotations, and tactics. Now it’s time for itemization. Note that for the current build, 1.1.x, end game itemization is greatly limited by the amount of gear available from the tier system. There is only one tank set for Tionese, Columi, and Rakata gear, as well as Centurian, Champion, and Battlemaster gear. Though you may not be able to itemize as you choose now, familiarity with the system and how you can manipulate it will help you for later builds, such as the upcoming 1.2 patch. The only stat I will not cover in this article is armor, which is a stat that you have virtually no control over. We will start with the most basic stats.
Strength and Endurance:
As far as primary stats go, even in 1.2, your ability to manipulate these will be severely limited. This is due to the fact that most of the items that contain these base stats either only contain these two stats or contain a secondary stat that we don’t really want, like critical or power. In general, you should always choose armoring and mods that have more endurance than strength, often labeled as “Guardian” mods. This is because survival is your most important priority. The goal of the tank is to absorb damage, and the more HP you have, the more effectively you can perform that role. Strength affects your melee and force bonus damage as well as your melee and force critical chances. Though these stats help you hold aggro from your targets, taunts and other threat modifiers help compensate for your lack of strength. Strength and endurance can both be found on armorings and mods while only endurance is found on enhancements.
Defensive Secondary Stats:
There are three defensive secondary stats in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Defense, Shield, and Absorb. Defense is your parry/dodge chance. It is straight damage avoidance. Deflected/parried/dodged attacks are mitigated entirely. Shield and Absorb are a coupled pair. Shield determines how often your personal shield generator absorbs and incoming attack and Absorb determines how much of that attack is mitigated. Intuition tells us right away that Defense is better than Shield and Absorb. 100% damage mitigation vs. a percentage of that damage. Also, Shield and Absorb are worthless without one another. You have to build both stats to make the mitigation truly useful. The hit roll system for weapon based damage in the game also has something to do with this priority. Defense is always rolled against first.
Shield is not rolled on until the attack has already been determined as a hit. Critical hits can not be shielded. Because Absorb only works if the shield procs in the first place, the over all priority for all three defensive stats is Defense > Shield > Absorb. All three stats are normally found on enhancement modifications, but some can be found on mods.
Offensive Secondary Stats:
Because the Defense Guardian has no critical chance or damage modifiers to speak of, critical and surge are unwanted stats for a tank build. The only real offensive stat that gives the tank Guardian any real boost is Accuracy. Accuracy can be built up to more than 100%, reducing your miss chance to 0 and lowering your targets defensive bonuses. Power is another option is Accuracy is not available or already well stacked. For the most part, you should forgo offensive stats for defensive ones. The only exception would be if your current Accuracy is less than 100%.
Soft and Hard Stat Caps:
SWTOR secondary stats have no real soft caps, but they all have a hard cap. Shield, for example, can not exceed a 50% proc. The same goes for Absorb. Defense can not exceed 30%.
This graph displays the total benefit each stat provides vs. how much of that particular stat you would have to stack up. As you can see, there is a diminishing return curve after stacking so much of each stat. Some stats also tend to curve faster than others.
How This Applies to Your Gear:
Right now, the main source of stat modifying in the game is enhancements. Since you can not pull out armoring modifications and since mods carry very little secondary stats, enhancements will determine most of your defenses. Even though most tier gear has enhancements already placed in it, not all tier gear carries the same enhancements. As such, you can rip the mods out of one piece of gear and place them over your old ones. This can be expensive, but also beneficial if you find yourself over stacked with one particular stat over another. One thing end game tanks will also find is that tier 3 gear, or Battlemaster or Rakata gear, is very poorly itemized. The Rakata boots, for example, carry Defense and Surge on their enhancements while the Columi boots carry Defense and Shield. Given that a tank Guardian has a very low critical chance, Surge does not strike me as all that useful. As such, I pulled the old enhancements from my Columi boots out and put them in my Rakata boots. This way I can still enjoy the extra strength, HP, and armor from my Rakata set without sacrificing a large chunk of my shield chance. In patch 1.2, you will be able to pull all of your mods out of your tier gear, as well as craft orange, modable gear with augment slots. This will open your itemization choices greatly, which I will discuss in a later article. You should also note that since many stats have a hard cap, your choice of relic should always reflect which secondary stat you have the LEAST of. If you’re pushing 25% Defense, choosing a relic with a +300 Defense ability will provide minimal benefits. Choosing a Shield/Absorb relic will give your character a better over all bonus.
Another way to add to your characters stat sheet is to collect all of the relevant datacrons for your advanced class. While it seems simple enough to determine which datacrons to get, you’ll find that primary stats from some other advanced classes also benefit yours. The Guardian benefits from strength for its melee critical and damage bonuses, but its force damage and critical bonuses are modified by both strength and willpower. Since the Guardian has its share of force based attacks, picking up the willpower datacrons is also worth while.
The Guardian tank should pick up as many of the strength, willpower, and endurance datacrons as possible. Presence can also be helpful if you find yourself soloing a lot with your companion, particularly while leveling up. The Guardian should also collect all of the yellow matrix shard datacrons in order to construct the strength/endurance/defense relic. A list for all of the datacrons on the Republic side, Guardian relevant or not, and where to collect them can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Maniac742
That’s all for now. With the patch notes for 1.2 already posted, I will have an article on how this patch will affect the Jedi Guardian coming soon! Stay tuned to the Guardian Angel!