Oct 032012
 

By Geldarion

Briefing

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 discussing the roles in PvP, and which classes are best for the job.

More after the Jump…

 

What I want to do in this post is to outline the class roles and how to effectively use them in Warzones. Two things that I will not be discussing: every single team composition and an end-all solution for every situation. Keep in mind that these are general ideas, and they are useful for categorizing classes to decide group compositions. Let’s get to it. I will break down the roles into the classic MMO-Trinity definitions.

Healers

Node Healer

This type of healer stands on the highly-focused node. Node Healers tend to be focused pretty hardily, so a Healer-Tank should be assigned to them. The Node Healer needs to be in the limelight and bring attention to themselves, because they should be well-protected with a good team.

All of the healing classes are good at this role, but Sages, Sorcerers, and Commandos attract the most attention, so they are good for drawing fire.

Floating Healer

The Floating Healer is basically a node-hopper. With good communication, this healer is wherever the tide is shifting in battle. This class needs to be able to heal on the run. Also, due to the fact that it will arrive at the battle later than everyone else, it helps if they have a speed boost of some kind. Finally, escape skills are really important for this class, to make it easier to move around with little support from the team.

The best class for this job is a Scoundrel or Operative, but Sages and Sorcerers have a speed boost as well, so they are also good choices.

DPS

Focus Target

The Focus Target DPS is the person that every other DPS has on Focus Target, so they can use the keybind “Acquire Focus Target’s Target” to instantly focus-fire the enemy. This person may be the team leader, or just a very experienced player.

The absolute best classes for this are the Gunslinger and Sniper. The reason for that: Flourish Shot/Shatter Shot. This skill debuffs the target with a 20% armor reduction and a 30% incoming healing reduction. With a small energy cost and a low cooldown, this can prep a target virtually instantly for the team to take down. If a Gunslinger or Sniper isn’t available, then Sentinels and Marauders also have a healing debuff and thus make a decent Focus Target, but it is on a longer cooldown and it has a shorter range.

Sturdy DPS

Sturdy DPS players play tank classes in a DPS spec, while using taunts and the occasional stance-switch to facilitate guarding. Oftentimes, the player will equip a shield, even though it is less damage output. These classes make excellent “in-the-fray” type fighters, as their AoE taunts can really take the edge off the enemies’ attacks.

The ideal classes for this are Guardians and Juggernauts. While Shadows, Assassins, Powertechs, and Vanguards all can switch stances to guard if they need to, the Guardian and the Juggernauts can do it more efficiently. There is a penalty for stance-dancing for each of the advanced class types. For Shadows and Assassins, the cost is 100 Force, which is most if not all of the entire bar. For Powertechs and Vanguards, there is an induction, so it cannot be done on the run. For Guardians and Juggernauts, you lose all Focus/Rage pips that you currently have, but they are always building it and expending it anyway, so it really doesn’t affect gameplay that much.

Support DPS

Support DPS players fall into a number of categories, depending on the groups composition and particular strategy. You might have a Gunslinger or Sniper specced into the Saboteur/Engineering tree for lots of AoE and area denial. You might have a Sentinel or Marauder specced Combat/Carnage to get the 80% runspeed boost from Transcendence/Predation. Or you might have a Deception Assassin, an Infiltration Shadow, a Scrapper Scoundrel, or a Concealment Operative to specifically attack certain nodes or to stand behind the line in Huttball. There are many possibilities on what a “support” DPS can do, but it is good to tailor your composition to your strategy by including one or two classes focused on the general idea of helping the group.

Healer-Interrupting DPS

This kind of DPS has one job: to stick to the other team’s main healer and interrupt the big heals, while simultaneously putting pressure on the other team’s healing by doing as much damage as possible to the main healer. The more the other healers have to worry about that healer, the less they are healing everyone else.

Sentinels, Marauders, Powertechs, and Vanguards are all ideally suited for this job. Sentinels and Marauders need to take the Watchman/Annihilation talent Watchguard/Subjugation to reduce the cooldown on their interrupt to 6 seconds, and should also consider taking the talent Close Quarters (same name for both classes, also from the Watchman/Annihilation trees). Close Quarters reduces the minimum range on your leap, making it another interrupt. Powertechs and Vanguards wanting to spec for this specifically should take the talent Hitman/Riot Strike from the Advanced Prototype/Tactics tree. It is not a bad idea to do a hybrid spec that incorporates Jet Charge/Storm from the Shield Tech/Shield Specialist tree, as this gives you another interrupt as well, though it will always have a minimum range.

Tanks

Healer-Tank

The Healer-Tank stands with the Node Healer and basically makes it difficult for people to kill them.

All tank classes are capable of this job, but they need to be tank specced, in tank gear, and have plenty of shield and absorption stats. You might say, “but Geld, Force and Tech attacks aren’t shieldable, so why have shields at all in PvP, when Force and Tech attacks are primarily what we’ll see?” Guard damage is shieldable, regardless of the source, so since your job is to protect the healer, you will be taking a lot of guard damage.

Solo Guard

The solo guard stays at a node or a door by themselves, ready to call out if there are any incoming enemies. The sturdier, the better.

Vanguards and Powertechs are the best for this job, since they have Stealth Scan, which can detect stealthers that try to attack lone guards. Typically, tank specs work best, but shield and absorption aren’t as necessary when soloing. Power may be more helpful, to whittle their life down quickly when they attack.

Possible Compositions

Here are just a few suggestions for team compositions. Again, depending on what classes you have, these may or may not work for you. There are many ways to do this.

Example 1: Alderaan Civil War
2 Node Healers
1 Floating Healer
1 Healer-Tank
1 Focus Target
1 Support DPS
1 Sturdy DPS
1 Solo Guard

A possible class composition for this would be:

Node Healer – Sage
Node Healer – Commando
Floating Healer – Scoundrel
Healer-Tank – Shadow
Focus Target – Gunslinger
Support DPS – Sentinel
Sturdy DPS – Guardian
Solo Guard – Vanguard.

Hmm, weird, that is one of each. Interesting.

Another possible class composition:

2 Node Healers – 2 Sages
Floating Healer – Scoundrel
Healer-Tank – Vanguard
Focus Target – Gunslinger
Support DPS – Sentinel
Sturdy DPS – Vanguard
Solo Guard – Vanguard

There, only 5 classes needed. You are missing out on some interesting cross-class play though. Each class has good support features which can help the team in different ways.

Example 2: The perfect Huttball team

1 Node Healer
1 Floating Healer (with a friendly pull)
1 Healer-Tank
2 Sturdy DPS
2 Support DPS
1 Focus Target

Class-wise, you might see the following:
Node Healer – Scoundrel to keep people alive in the middle and run around using LoS to mess with people.
Floating Healer (with a friendly pull) – Sages are perfect for this. They need to stay on the other side of the first fire, to pull people who get the first pass.
Healer-Tank – Guardians are especially good, as they can Force Push people into the acid, and they can run the ball really easily in any spec because of their leap.
2 Sturdy DPS – Guardians are again my first pick for this. These players will typically be the ones running the ball. Vanguards and Shadows can be worked into strategies, especially if you want to have a stealther to pass to.
2 Support DPS – Sentinels, two of them. Combat specced for the 80% Transcendence speed boost. This is fantastic for running the ball quickly, and coordinated Sentinels can stagger their buffs so they don’t overlap.
Focus Target – Still a Gunslinger. A Saboteur-specced Gunslinger has a lot of CC for trapping people in the fire, and a Sharpshooter Gunslinger has a lot of burst power for quickly dropping a ball carrier. The job of the Focus target is to play defense or play first pass target, so they can get pulled across the fire by the Sage. (see how it interconnects? It is lovely.)

 

Again, these are just some of the group compositions that you can play, and my thoughts on the various roles in PvP are only just musings of a theorycrafter with a healthy dose of “this is what I have seen work.” Any roles that you think I missed? How about your favorite group compositions?

 

Use this information well, soldier. Fight for victory and die with honor. Till our next briefing, DISMISSED!

  2 Responses to “Tactical Strike: PvP Roles”

  1. I really like this article, especially since winning in ranked is based on like you said, team cohesiveness.

    I ran a few warzones this weekend on my leveling marauder (after taking a pvp hiatus) and became aware very quickly to the new changes to resolve. I’m hoping in one of your next articles you might give us your impression of the new changes to resolve.

    I find that I am stun-locked longer than before, and by the time my resolve bar is full, I’m nearly dead. I understand why they did the changes, but I tend to agree with the phrase “Stun Wars” after this resolve change.

    Do you think it is wise to wait until your resolve bar is full (in general) before breaking cc? Do you prefer the change to the old system? If not, what would you suggest be changed?

    Thanks!

  2. Thanks for commenting! Yeah, I am definitely planning a CC article on the resolve changes!

    To answer your question, before this change, I would definitely have said to wait to use your CC-breaker until you were completely resolved. Now, since you can be subjected to up to 10 seconds of CC at a time (more if they wait a hair before CC-ing you again), it is really important to go ahead and break CC against classes like Assassins and Operatives, because they have multiple stuns that allow them to pound on you for a long time. The reason you break it is to instantly pop your defensive cooldowns, because yes, you will be CC’d again, but at least you might survive.

    Bioware essentially said, “hey, classes with multiple CCs now can kill you before you can respond to it, that’s what the community wanted, right?”

    grrr

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