SWTOR: A Day in the Life of Powertechs and Vanguards: the 6.0 Experience Explained

The upcoming SWTOR Expansion – ‘Onslaught’ – will introduce a many changes for each Class in the game. Players will among other things experience new abilities, Set Bonuses, and Tactical items.To help explain it all, The developers over at BioWare are releasing a series of articles featuring each Advanced Class’s new ability, as well as new Set Bonuses and Tactical items.

They will also present various combat scenarios to show how these changes will mesh together  just like in our previous article covering Mercenaries and Commandos In today’s article they are showcasing the  Powertechs and Vanguards Advanced Classes!

Check it out:

Powertech

Let’s take a look at the new ability for Powertechs!

Power Yield – Increases your armor by 40% and your damage done by 2% for 10 seconds. Getting attacked during this time adds an additional stack, up to 5 times, for 200% armor and 10% damage done.

Alongside a new ability, Powertechs will receive a bevy of Set Bonuses and Tactical items. Set Bonuses are extra effects players can get for equipping a certain armor set. For instance, wearing two, four, or six pieces of a set will grant players progressively more powerful boosts. These can be in the form of increased ability potency or an added effect.

Tacticals are slightly different from Set Bonuses. While Tacticals also change how some abilities function, they come in the form of a new gear type. They don’t have actual stats on them like Power, Mastery, or Critical Rating; instead, they augment how an ability will function. Let’s look at some examples of how a Set Bonus and Tactical combination can alter the gameplay of the three Powertech Disciplines: Shield Tech, Pyrotech, and Advanced Prototype.

Shield Tech

“Launching into the fray with jetpack-propelled attacks and able to withstand powerful offenses the Shield Tech is trained to take the brunt of an assault while employing a wide range of tech-based attacks to scorch and trip up even the most formidable adversaries.”

It takes a certain skill set to make it as a tank, especially in Master Mode level Operations. Threat management, positioning, and proper ability usage can make or break a boss attempt. Previously, we highlighted an example of Master Mode Dread Palace from the perspective of a healer; now let’s see things from the viewpoint of a tank. For a nice change of scenery, we’ll be paying a visit to our good old friend Warlord Kephess in the Explosive Conflict Operation. This Operation encounter is a bit easier compared to Dread Council, so our tank is opting to equip a more offensive Set Bonus and Tactical combination.

Set Bonus: “Right Price”

(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Critical Rating
(4 Piece Bonus) Explosive Fuel increases damage done by 5% while Ion Gas Cylinder is active and increases damage reduction by 5% while Ion Gas Cylinder is not
active.
(6 Piece Bonus) Each time you take damage while under Power Yield, the cooldown of Explosive Fuel is reduced by 3 seconds.

Tactical: “Thermal Screen”

Heat Screen now stacks up to 6 times. Activating Power Yield immediately generates 6 Heat Screen stacks and finishes the cooldown of Heat Blast.

We’re starting this example in the middle of the encounter. Kephess just retreated for the first time, and our Powertech knows that packs of enemies are about to appear. This moment is exactly what our Powertech planned for: as soon as they reach three stacks of Heat Screen–which is passively built in combat–they follow up with Heat Blast. Heat Blast consumes the three charges of Heat Screen and accomplishes two things: shield absorption is increased by 25% and additional threat is generated. As soon as Heat Blast’s effect runs out, our Powertech activates Power Yield, immediately building six stacks of Heat Screen and, thanks to the Thermal Screen Tactical, refreshing the cooldown of Heat Blast.

Without skipping a beat, our Powertech follows up with Explosive Fuel, increasing the critical chance of ranged and tech abilities by 25%. Thanks to the Explosive Yield Set Bonus, any time our Powertech takes damage while Power Yield is active, the cooldown for Explosive Fuel is reduced by three seconds. With all the enemies throwing punches at our Powertech, this will add up quickly!

At this point, our Powertech uses a combination of damage abilities like Firestorm to help burn the enemies down. They make sure to always use Heat Screen as soon as it’s available for that extra absorption. The Tactical they chose also helps our Powertech use Heat Blast as soon as it’s ready for the entire encounter. Since they can store up to six stacks with this Tactical, and Heat Blast only uses three, this gives our Powertech some extra leeway. With the other enemies swiftly defeated, our Powertech and their group can go back to wrapping up the encounter.

Pyrotech

“Need a light? The Pyrotech-style Powertech adds fuel to any firefight with an abundance of vivid and searing flame attacks. From fistfuls of fire to missiles loaded with highly combustible compounds, the Pyrotech’s arsenal allows them to never back down while making sure their enemy burns out in a blaze of destruction.”

While Pyrotech Powertechs are already known for a barrage of flames, what if we could augment their ability rotation to end in an even bigger fire-fueled crescendo? With the Set Bonus and Tactical combination below, our Pyrotech Powertech can really add some heat to Player vs Player matches!

Set Bonus: “Meteor Brawler”

(2 Piece Bonus) 2% Endurance
(4 Piece Bonus) Flaming Fist and Rocket Punch’s heat are reduced by 2.
(6 Piece Bonus) Activating Energy Shield gives you Firefall for the duration of Energy Shield. During this time, dealing damage with Searing Wave, Flame Burst, Magnetic Blast and Rocket Punch or Flaming Fist builds stacks of Firefall. When Energy Shield ends or Firefall reaches 10 stacks, Energy Shield detonates, dealing elemental damage to all surrounding enemies that scales with Firefall stacks.

Tactical: “Superheated Fuel”

Explosive Fuel increases all Flame attacks’ critical chance by 100%.

With their Blaster Pistol primed and ready, our Powertech rushes their opposition and comes out of the gate swinging. A giant dogpile erupts in the middle of the arena, which is a golden opportunity for our Powertech. The first step in their plan is to lead with Energy Shield. While the 25% damage reduction is nice in the middle of the slugfest, the Meteor Brawler Set Bonus provides Energy Shield with an added advantage: our Powertech can now start building Firefall stacks. First, they make sure to use Explosive Fuel which, thanks to the Superheated Fuel Tactical, increases the critical hit chance of all flame attacks by 100%.

This is where the real fun begins! With everything primed, our Powertech actively works on building Firefall stacks. A stack is added every time a flame-based ability hits, and once Firefall reaches ten stacks, Energy Shield will explode, dealing area damage to any enemy nearby.

Let’s get this inferno started! Flaming Fist and Searing Wave are used back-to-back. Keeping the barrage going, Flame Burst is then used four times, putting our Firefall counter at eight stacks. This is perfect timing since Flaming Fist, which grants two stacks of Firefall, is now off cooldown. Right as our Powertech is about to reach their flame-filled finale, they use Grapple to pull another enemy into the explosion radius and gives them a fiery uppercut with Flaming Fist! The ensuing eruption deals massive damage to every nearby enemy player. In case you forgot, all of these fire abilities, including the area explosion, were critical hits because our Powertech used Explosive Fuel at the beginning of the rotation. Only smoldering cinders are left in this Pyrotech’s fiery wake!

Advanced Prototype

“When stalking dangerous prey, a selection of powerful, high-tech armaments can be a hunter’s best friend. The Advanced Prototype Powertech’s thermal detonators, gauntlet blades, and magnetized bracers devastate their intended target while ensuring the Powertech remains on the bleeding edge of any engagement.”

In this example, we have a seasoned Advanced Prototype Powertech wanting to clear some Master Mode Flashpoints. Being the veteran that they are, they know these areas like the back of their hand. In order to help maximize the number of Flashpoints they can complete in an afternoon, our Powertech selected a Set Bonus and Tactical combination with the goal of quickly clearing out bosses and all the enemies that come between them.

Set Bonus: “Veteran Ranger”

(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Mastery
(4 Piece Bonus) Searing Wave makes all targets vulnerable to Shoulder Cannon for 5 seconds.
(6 Piece Bonus) Each Shoulder Cannon rocket has a 25% chance to trigger an additional rocket.

Tactical: “Flame Detonation”

Dealing damage with Searing Wave or Flame Sweep to a target affected by a pre-exploded Thermal Detonator causes it to explode, dealing damage to all nearby enemies.

Before groups can take on the various challenges of bosses in Master Mode Flashpoints, they have to prove their mettle against the packs of enemies scattered about. This is where the Flame Detonation Tactical really shines. By leading with a Thermal Detonator and using Searing Wave before it explodes, it causes area-of-effect damage to any enemy nearby, taking out a hefty chunk of health.

Time for the boss! While the Tactical came in handy for clearing all the previous enemies, this is where the Autocannon Set Bonus will carry its weight. Our Powertech starts off with Searing Wave, making the boss take increased damage from Shoulder Cannon. Shoulder Cannon initially grants our Powertech four rockets, and it generates more over time. Each of these rockets has a 25% chance to grant an additional rocket—continuing the barrage—and because our Powertech led with Searing Wave, each rocket does bonus damage! Between the area-of-effect explosions and the barrage of rockets, our Advanced Prototype Powertech tears through Master Mode Flashpoints like there’s no tomorrow.Vanguard

Let’s take a look at the new ability for Vanguards!

Power Yield – Increases your armor by 40% and your damage done by 2% for 10 seconds. Getting attacked during this time adds an additional stack, up to 5 times, for 200% armor and 10% damage done.

Alongside a new ability, Vanguards will receive a bevy of Set Bonuses and Tactical items. Set Bonuses are extra effects players can get for equipping a certain armor set. For instance, wearing two, four, or six pieces of a set will grant players progressively more powerful boosts. These can be in the form of increased ability potency or an added effect.

Tacticals are slightly different from Set Bonuses. While Tacticals also change how some abilities function, they come in the form of a new gear type. They don’t have actual stats on them like Power, Mastery, or Critical Rating; instead, they augment how an ability will function. Let’s look at some examples of how a Set Bonus and Tactical combination can alter the gameplay of the three Vanguard Disciplines: Shield Specialist, Plasmatech, and Tactics.

Shield Specialist

“Storming to the front line with a powerful charge, the Shield Specialist Vanguard can withstand any incoming offensive. The Shield Specialist boldly takes the brunt of the attack while employing a wide range of tech-based attacks to gas, blast and jolt their enemies into oblivion.”

It takes a certain skill set to make it as a tank, especially in Master Mode level Operations. Threat management, positioning, and proper ability usage can make or break a boss attempt. Previously, we highlighted an example of Master Mode Dread Palace from the perspective of a healer; now let’s see things from the viewpoint of a tank. For a nice change of scenery, we’ll be paying a visit to our good old friend Warlord Kephess in the Explosive Conflict Operation. This Operation encounter is a bit easier compared to Dread Council, so our tank is opting to equip a more offensive Set Bonus and Tactical combination.

Set Bonus: “Right Price”

(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Critical Rating
(4 Piece Bonus) Battle Focus increases damage done by 5% while Ion Cell is active and increases damage reduction by 5% while Ion Cell is not active.
(6 Piece Bonus) Each time you take damage while under Power Yield, the cooldown of Battle Focus is reduced by 3 seconds.

Tactical: “Thermal Screen”

Power Screen now stacks up to 6 times. Activating Power Yield immediately generates 6 Power Screen stacks and finishes the cooldown of Energy Blast.

We’re starting this example in the middle of the encounter. Kephess just retreated for the first time, and our Vanguard knows that packs of enemies are about to appear. This moment is exactly what our Vanguard planned for: as soon as they reach three stacks of Power Screen–which is passively built in combat–they follow up with Energy Blast. Energy Blast consumes the three charges of Power Screen and accomplishes two things: shield absorption is increased by 25% and additional threat is generated. As soon as Energy Blast’s effect runs out, our Vanguard activates Power Yield, immediately building six stacks of Power Screen and, thanks to the Thermal Screen Tactical, refreshing the cooldown of Energy Blast.

Without skipping a beat, our Vanguard follows up with Battle Focus, increasing the critical chance of ranged and tech abilities by 25%. Thanks to the Explosive Yield Set Bonus, any time our Vanguard takes damage while Power Yield is active, the cooldown for Battle Focus is reduced by three seconds. With all the enemies throwing punches at our Vanguard, this will add up quickly!

At this point, our Vanguard uses a combination of damage abilities like Ion Storm to help burn the enemies down. They make sure to always use Power Screen as soon as it’s available for that extra absorption. The Tactical they chose also helps our Vanguard use Energy Blast as soon as it’s ready for the entire encounter. Since they can store up to six stacks with this Tactical, and Energy Blast only uses three, this gives our Vanguard some extra leeway. With the other enemies swiftly defeated, our Vanguard and their group can go back to wrapping up the encounter.

Plasmatech

“Vanguards adamant on burning their way through hostile forces can do so effectively with the latest in weaponized plasma technology. The Plasmatech Vanguard stands their own, striking their enemy with waves and rounds of raw incendiary power that persist in their searing destruction.”

While Plasmatech Vanguards are already known for a barrage of plasma, what if we could augment their ability rotation to end in an even bigger plasma-fueled crescendo? With the Set Bonus and Tactical combination below, our Plasmatech Vanguard can really add some heat to Player vs Player matches!

Set Bonus: “Meteor Brawler”

(2 Piece Bonus) 2% Endurance
(4 Piece Bonus) Shockstrike and Stockstrike energy cells are reduced by 2.
(6 Piece Bonus) Activating Reactive Shield gives you Ionfall for the duration of Reactive Shield. During this time, dealing damage with Ion Wave, Ion Pulse, Tactical Surge and Stockstrike or Shockstrike builds stacks of Ionfall. When Reactive Shield ends or Ionfall reaches 10 stacks, Reactive Shield detonates, dealing elemental damage to all surrounding enemies that scales with Ionfall stacks.

Tactical: “Superheated Fuel”

Battle Focus increases all elemental and kinetic attacks’ critical chance by 100%.

With their Blaster Rifle primed and ready, our Vanguard rushes their opposition and comes out of the gate swinging. A giant dogpile erupts in the middle of the arena, which is a golden opportunity for our Vanguard. The first step in their plan is to lead with Reactive Shield. While the 25% damage reduction is nice in the middle of the slugfest, the Meteor Brawler Set Bonus provides Reactive Shield with an added advantage: our Vanguard can now start building Ionfall stacks. First, they make sure to use Battle Focus which, thanks to the Superheated Fuel Tactical, increases the critical hit chance of all elemental attacks by 100%.

This is where the real fun begins! With everything primed, our Vanguard actively works on building Ionfall stacks. A stack is added every time a elemental-based ability hits, and once Ionfall reaches ten stacks, Reactive Shield will explode, dealing area damage to any enemy nearby.

Let’s get this barrage started! Shockstrike and Ion Wave are used back-to-back. Keeping the barrage going, Ion Pulse is then used four times, putting our Ionfall counter at eight stacks. This is perfect timing since Shockstrike, which grants two stacks of Ionfall, is now off cooldown. Right as our Vanguard is about to reach their flame-filled finale, they use Harpoon to pull another enemy into the explosion radius and gives them an electrifying jolt with Shockstrike! The ensuing eruption deals massive damage to every nearby enemy player. In case you forgot, all of these elemental abilities, including the area explosion, were critical hits because our Vanguard used Battle Focus at the beginning of the rotation. Only smoldering cinders are left in this Vanguard’s electrifying wake!

Tactics

“The Tactics Vanguard is a pro at executing a focused line of attack on a hostile target with great efficiency. From up-close vibroblades in the gut, to deadly charges of explosive plastique thrown from a distance, all manner of effective strategies for eliminating enemies are at the Tactics Vanguard’s disposal.”

In this example, we have a seasoned Tactics Vanguard wanting to clear some Master Mode Flashpoints. Being the veteran that they are, they know these areas like the back of their hand. In order to help maximize the number of Flashpoints they can complete in an afternoon, our Vanguard selected a Set Bonus and Tactical combination with the goal of quickly clearing out bosses and all the enemies that come between them.

Set Bonus: “Veteran Ranger”

(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Mastery
(4 Piece Bonus) Ion Wave makes all targets vulnerable to Shoulder Cannon for 5 seconds.
(6 Piece Bonus) Each Shoulder Cannon rocket has a 25% chance to trigger an additional rocket.

Tactical: “Flame Detonation”

Dealing damage with Ion Wave or Explosive Surge to a target affected by a pre-exploded Assault Plastique causes it to explode, dealing damage to all nearby enemies.

Before groups can take on the various challenges of bosses in Master Mode Flashpoints, they have to prove their mettle against the packs of enemies scattered about. This is where the Flame Detonation Tactical really shines. By leading with an Assault Plastique and using Ion Wave before it explodes, it causes area-of-effect damage to any enemy nearby, taking out a hefty chunk of health.

Time for the boss! While the Tactical came in handy for clearing all the previous enemies, this is where the Veteran Ranger Set Bonus will carry its weight. Our Powertech starts off with Ion Wave, making the boss take increased damage from Shoulder Cannon. Shoulder Cannon initially grants our Vanguard four rockets, and it generates more over time. Each of these rockets has a 25% chance to grant an additional rocket—continuing the barrage—and because our Vanguard led with Ion Wave, each rocket does bonus damage! Between the area-of-effect explosions and the barrage of rockets, our Tactics Vanguard tears through Master Mode Flashpoints like there’s no tomorrow.

We’ve revealed the ability charge, discussed Set Bonuses and Tactical items, and painted a picture of how these two systems merge together to augment different styles of gameplay for Powertechs and Vanguards. These Set Bonuses and Tacticals are a small sample of what players can expect in ‘Onslaught.’ With that, eight Advanced Classes are down, and only eight to go! In the next article of this “Day In The Life Of” series, we will cover Operatives and Scoundrels. Stay tuned!