Greetings to you, rank and file of the Imperial Army -- and any Citizens that have heard the call of the 47th!
You may or may not know me well enough to know I absolutely cannot stand the concept of Stat Charts, DPS charts, optimizing builds, etc etc to the beat of anyone's drum but my own.
Somewhat ironically, I'll be making a guide for you about how exactly I go about arriving at my own janky build I've been using across nearly every avenue of play in the game.
NOTE: I am not telling you that you will find the same success I have if you follow this guide. It is merely my hope to show you all how to read a class, identify what you like about it, and how to double down on those concepts so that you can *enjoy* playing your class, which will make you a better player than anything else.
Let's get started with the boring stuff: My stat screen.
The Sha'tek are highlighted on my equipment because I use that brand for all of my accessories. It has, in my opinion, the best distribution of stats for what I want.
Let's talk about the important stats here, and something that might confuse my fellow DPS:
WHAT!? You may ask. Yeah, get on out of here Alacrity. I've got things to time and too many ways to make all my stuff instant cast that I don't particularly care about getting an extra shot off every 12 actions or whatever. Sounds great for Target Dummy DPS charts but Captain Stilar actually plays the game so don't come at me on this one.
Crit: 49.22% -- With sniper self buff, I would prefer it to be 50% but I haven't upped my augments yet so whatever. This is probably the most important stat for a Sniper because of how our abilities work. We'll talk about that more in a second. But to keep it simple let's pretend that says "50%" going forward.
Accuracy: 110% -- this is what you need to participate in operations, and honestly, it's so easy to get you aren't really hurting yourself using it in normal PvE/PvP. Why not? Never worry about missing again.
Ok. Boring part is over. Let's take a look at the armor I'm using:
This is pretty essential to how I play: an energy boost from Target Acquired, it's CD is reduced in line with a lot of your other offensive CDs, and LAZE TARGET GETS 3 CHARGES AND THE CD IS REDUCED BY 15 SECONDS HOW IS THAT EVEN LEGAL.
Why is that so awesome? Have you READ what Laze Target does?
100% Crit on your next Ambush. That means you WILL crit on demand. 3. Times. In. A. Minute.
"But Alach you have a 50+% crit rate anyway" -- my friend, let's look at the crit stat for a second.
Critical hits receive bonus damage from your Crit Rating stat. So my crits will deal an extra 72% damage. That's pretty dope. But did you know? If you have OVER 100% crit rating, your overflow is CONVERTED TO EXTRA DAMAGE. So when I use laze target, my crit chance is 150%, or, a hit that will do 120% damage. Remember that number.
Now that we know why crit is super awesome on the Marksman Sniper, let's take a look at the passives we have.
This is where "reading your class" comes in. If you read each and every one of those, you'll see the whole class centers around "Snipe" "Followthrough" "Ambush" "Penetrating Blasts" and "Takedown" -- that's a very small amount of skills. Basically, reading this, tells you that you should keep your 3 Snipe Stack rolling for the 9% extra Crit and Damage, and 20% damage bonus and armor penetrating on Followthrough. All of your major attacks refresh Followthrough, so you basically just use that between every action you take, while popping your offensive CDs as they cycle (relic, Sniper Volley, Target Acquired, etc)
It's very straight forward! This is the source of the things that light up your hotbar.
But hey we just learned our Ambush is at +130% damage now under Laze target.
So apparently Ambush is pretty important! Let's see if there's a tactical--
By the Emperor! There is. Activating Covered Escape or Hololocate gives you an instant cast Ambush that does 30% MORE DAMAGE. So now we're at 160% more damage. That's pretty cool.
Going to image dump all these abilities now so we can read their text.
So, there's a frame point for you. Not a whole lot of cool stuff going on there. Notably, we can get 2 Covered Escapes and a Hololocate off within 45 seconds. Whatever that means.
So, do we see where this going? I'm going to be bouncing all over the place, setting up 160% damage boosted Ambushes (or whatever, idk how this game maths)
Let's look at these on an Operation Target Dummy:
Above is a "normal" Ambush crit, with the only debuff being Sunder applied from Penetrating blasts (-20% armor, this should be on from either you or another dps pretty much constantly even if you aren't thinking about it because Penetrating Blasts is like 3 snipes in a row for the cost of 1) - No Roll, No Laze. From our base damage of 28k we crit for 40k. Noice.
Let's add Laze Target now! We jumped up 9k! So that's back at the 120% bonus damage or so -- not bad! I think that was a low crit and the other was a high crit, but we can see we're within range of that on an Operation target so it's good enough for me that our math is kinda right. Next!
Here, I Sundered the target and rolled, activating the tactical. No Laze Target. 52k! That's actually quite a bit better than our normal Laze Target Ambush somehow? Clearly there's some math shenanigans at play.
And here we are. Laze Target, Roll buff, Sunder. 71k -- the maximum damage modifiers applied that we can. And we can do this 3 times in 45 seconds (technically, like, 25 seconds for the a full 210k+ burst of damage, which should be some awesome dps unless I have no idea what I'm talking about).
After this you fall back on your standard rotation, favoring the Roll + Ambush until you can lay down another Roll + Laze + Ambush. This will absolutely shred your PvP, PvE, and Operation targets.
Thank you for taking the time to read about how I read classes, apply the logic of the class provided, and bend it to my playstyle. I think this is a very fun and active way to play Sniper than makes up for the relatively simple gameplay you would otherwise have, as you are constantly moving and laying down massive crits on your targets.
For fun, here's my talent layout too:
These are designed for things that provide self healing when I roll, passive healing in cover, and defense bonuses when I leave cover (which I do constantly).
Feel free to provide your fun twists on the sniper class! I would love to see them. I'll provide more info on Virulence and Engineering later, which I don't play nearly as well but I like their twists on the "Standard" spec as I consider Marksman.