Welcome to the war, comrades. You have been selected to receive the latest training and tactics fresh from the warfront. The tried-and-true strategies you are about to hear are extremely effective and CLASSIFIED. Let’s get to the briefing. Today, we are going to make sure you are playing with your head as well as your weapons. That’s right: we’re talking about Situational Awareness. This will be part 2 of a two-part series. Check out part 1 here.
More after the Jump…
Today we will look at the last four strategies for being more situationally aware: Buffs and Debuffs, Healers and Tanks, Support Skills, and To Kill or Not to Kill.
Number 4: Buffs and Debuffs
Is Your Target Immune to Damage?
This can be really annoying. You blow all of your cooldowns and nothing happens to his health bar. It stays up very high, you are out of energy/ammo/force/what-have-you, and he kills you with 80% health left over. This is what happens when you don’t notice the tiny little buffs that make him invincible. There are some tell-tale signs of defense cooldowns. One sign is any bubble-like effect. This can be any number of colors, depending on the class, but they generally mean that your target is gonna have more defenses. A more detailed list comes from my Sentinel/Marauder Advanced Class Guide on my website:
Watch for damage-absorbing bubbles. Don’t blow all of your cooldowns on enemies that are using bubbles. You can usually spot them because they glow a certain color.
- Look for green bubbles on Smugglers/Agents. This is actually a +100% Dodge buff, so melee and ranged attacks are the only attacks affected by it. Feel free to use Force or Tech attacks.
- Look for dark-blue bubbles on anyone. This is probably a guard bubble. There is more than likely a tank nearby guarding the target. If you can spot a grey honeycomb pattern under the feet of a nearby tank, they are the one guarding. Try to separate them.
- Light-blue/light-purple bubbles are usually from Force Armor/Static Barrier from a Sage/Sorcerer. This buff has a long duration, but does expire after taking a certain amount of damage.
- Saber Ward looks like a blue/red bubble. On other Sentinels/Marauders, this is not such a big deal, but on Guardians/Juggernauts, the first couple of seconds of this are huge defenses. Don’t blow your big attacks.
- Guarded by the Force/Undying Rage doesn’t look so much a bubble as it does an aura. It is blue for Sentinels and red for Marauders. During this buff, they are immune to 99% of all damage. Wait about 6 seconds, then kill them.
Is Your Target Gonna Hit You Hard?
I love it when I am on my Commando when someone picks up an Expertise Damage Buff. My favorite thing to do is to Concussive Round their butt and let them sit there and cool off (that is Concussion Shot for you Mercenaries). Being aware of when people pop damage boosting buffs is also important. There is an attack from the Sniper/Gunslinger that makes it look like a target is on you. This attack has a semi-long cast time, depending on spec, but it can be avoided by popping things like Dodge/Evasion and Saber Ward right before it goes off. This is one of the Gunslinger/Sniper’s hardest-hitting attacks, so it is nice to stymie its use.
Have You Debuffed Your Target Recently?
This is sometimes neglected in the heat of battle. Make sure you keep debuffs on your target, like Chilling Scream/Freezing Force for Juggernauts/Guardians and Flourish Shot/Shatter Shot for Gunslingers/Snipers. These oftentimes have low resource requirements, but they have potent effects.
Number 5: Healers and Tanks
Did Your Target Get A Huge Heal?
What could this mean? I think it might mean he is getting heals…but all joking aside, if you see your target is getting healed, it means three things:
- A healer is within range
- They are watching the health of your target
- They just used a large heal, which usually runs high in resource-cost
If you want to really be effective at this moment, find that healer and focus fire them! The fact that they are within range and just used an expensive heal (probably) helps your following attack on them immensely. Really, you should be attacking the healer anyway.
Is Your Target Guarded?
If they are, they will have a little torso icon on their buffs bar. Here it is on the far right on the second row.
This icon means that the target will be taking 5% less damage off the top. If there is not a little blue version of the icon right next to it, then the tank that is guarding your target is within 15 meters, and the target is taking 52.5% less damage. You want to separate the guardee from the guarder, reducing that defense back down to 5% only.
Number 6: Support Skills
I am always surprised when experienced tanks in PvE think that they are useless in PvP. The fact that every tank has a single-target taunt and AoE taunt makes them worth their weight in dactaries. Each of those taunts provides a -30% outgoing damage debuff to every target affected. This means that they should always be on cooldown. Watch for really awesome opportunities to use these on big crowds.
Shields are available on several classes. I am specifically talking about skills that prevent damage to allies. For example, the Gunslinger/Sniper has an AoE shield called Scrambling Field/Ballistic Shield, and the Sage/Sorcerer has a single target bubble called Force Armor/Static Barrier. These can be extremely useful when used at the right time. Try to notice when there is about to be a rancor’s worth of damage hitting your team, and use these bubbles to mitigate that a little.
Sages/Sorcerers can use the skill Rescue/Extrication in Huttball to help traverse the large expanse of the arena. Positioning yourself ahead of teammates that have the ball is crucial, and it is remarkable how people forget to do this.
Slows, Roots, and Interrupts
There is nothing quite like a well timed root in a fire to kill a ball carrier. You want to be aware of this and not attack ball carriers in the fire. If you do, you can break the root and they will shrug off the tiny bit of damage you did, when you could have let them die in the fire instead. Being aware of other teammates’ strategies is important. Using your slows and interrupts to help other players is also a good idea.
Number 7: To Kill or Not to Kill
In Voidstar, has there been a huge wave of defenders that respawned recently? Then finish off that target, because the force field is recently up. If there are people waiting to come out, it might be better to CC for a bit, then kill them.
In Huttball, is your team near the enemy goal line? Then don’t kill an enemy in a 1v1, because it will put them back at the goal where they can do far more damage than they can chasing you around pillars.
In Alderaan Civil War, do you know you have a teammate trying to solo a lone side turret defender? Then hold off on killing people for the moment, because they can respond much faster to the pleas for help coming from that turret if they die and take the speeder over.
I hope this series helps you be more aware of your surroundings, and I encourage you to leave comments on strategies you use to be more situationally aware.
Use this information well, soldier. Fight for victory and die with honor. Till our next briefing, DISMISSED!