Class Changes In SWTOR Update 2.0: Trooper

Hey there TORWarriors! Troopers, you have some changes! BioWare Senior Designer Austin Peckenpaugh gives you the details to changes of your class in Update 2.0. Read carefully!

"We don't show people our 'cards', we have these little guns to prove our point!"

“We don’t show people our ‘cards’, we have these little guns to prove our point!”

Hello everyone. My name is Austin Peckenpaugh, and I’m a Senior Designer on Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, responsible for class design and combat systems. As such, I’m here to shed some light on the changes to the Trooper class in Game Update 2.0.

We’ll be writing about recent class changes coming to The Old Republic, but this time we’re going a little more in depth and taking on one class (for both factions) at a time. If we haven’t covered your class yet, do not despair; it will be covered in the coming days.

Combat Systems

Alacrity Improvements: One of the big changes to combat systems is the way that Alacrity works. Prior to this update, Alacrity came with a tradeoff for some classes, and it was nearly useless to other classes. The faster you attacked, the more resources you would spend, and that only worked if you had channeled abilities or abilities with activation times.

Now, Alacrity will increase the activation speed of all abilities, including instants. We haven’t just shortened the global cooldown, either. When activating any ability quicker, its animation will also play quicker. This makes some attacks look and sound very cool. Furthermore, Alacrity increases resource regeneration by the same rate, helping you to recuperate resources more quickly as you spend them more quickly. Now more Alacrity is strictly a good thing.

DoT Improvements: We’ve changed the way we evaluate damage over time effects, so it should now be less costly to keep your DoTs up and to spread them around.

Shield Improvements: We’ve changed the way shields work to allow them to absorb any incoming kinetic or energy damage regardless of the source (melee, ranged, Force, tech – doesn’t matter). This has significantly increased the importance of shields, and the game has been rebalanced to account for such a major adjustment.

Accuracy Matters: In 2.0, all Elite (gold star) and tougher enemies will have additional defense chances against Force and tech attacks. As a result, Accuracy Rating will play a pivotal role in optimizing your sustained damage in boss fights. Prior to 2.0, Accuracy Rating was valued very differently from class to class (or even spec to spec), and while it’s still different for each class or spec, that difference is now much smaller. In effect, all damage-dealing roles will find Accuracy Rating much more useful than before.

Trooper

A big “behind the scenes” change for Troopers in 2.0 is the new resource system, which effectively puts Troopers on the same “energy system” as Bounty Hunters. Prior to 2.0, the Trooper’s resources functioned similarly to and effectively emulated the Bounty Hunter’s heat, mechanically speaking, but they were functionally quite different. Now in 2.0, the Trooper’s energy cells are on a 100-point scale instead of a 12-point scale. You will notice that your abilities have new, higher costs, but do not despair – they are proportionately the same as before!

What this new system has done (aside from making development on the Trooper a lot simpler for us) is to finally put the Trooper and Bounty Hunter on the same scale, affording both classes the same level of granularity. Hopefully you won’t notice a difference as players, but the new system will require Trooper players to think of their resource costs on a different scale.

  • Hold the Line for Everyone!: Hold the Line is now trainable at level 26 for all Troopers. This ability grants immunity to slows, immobilizes, and knockbacks and increases movement speed by 30%. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Diversion for Everyone!: Diversion is now trainable at level 30 for all Troopers. This ability reduces the Trooper’s threat to all enemies that he or she is currently engaged in combat with.
  • New Adrenaline Rush: Adrenaline Rush has been redesigned. We want this ability to be a powerful survivability tool and give Troopers something totally unique. The previous Adrenaline Rush just wasn’t doing it, so we’ve changed it. Now when you use this ability, you get Fired Up for 1 minute. While Fired Up is active, when your health is reduced to 30% or less, Fired Up is replaced by Adrenaline Rush, which rapidly heals you up to 30% health but will not heal you above 30% health. Once Adrenaline Rush is triggered, you become very difficult to kill for its duration. The Adrenaline Rush healing effect lasts 8 seconds once triggered.

Commando

We have a few simple goals for Commandos in 2.0. From a PVE perspective, we want to ensure their rotations are fun and effective. Beyond rotations, we want Commandos to have better group support and self survivability. These goals translate into PVP as well, where we also want Commandos to be more mobile and have better utility. In short, we’ve heard your complaints, and there are a lot of new goodies in store for Commandos.

  • Kolto Bomb for All Commandos!: This ability is now trainable for all Commandos at level 20. Kolto Bomb is no longer restricted to the Combat Medic skill tree (although Combat Medics can improve it with unique skills).
  • Mortar Salvo: This is a new passive ability gained at level 10 upon becoming a Commando. When Commandos fire Explosive Round, two rounds are fired for a combined increase in damage. This increase in damage is not enough to make Explosive Round alter anyone’s rotation, but it will now serve as a much more effective on-the-run utility skill. Also, double knockdown against weak and standard enemies is neat.
  • Charged Bolts: This ability now has a 1.5-second activation speed.
  • Armor Piercing Cell: Now additionally increases Alacrity by 3% while active.
  • Plasma Cell: Now deals less damage but has a higher chance to be triggered.
  • Electro Net (New ability): Electro Net is a powerful new ability that slows and shocks the target for energy damage over time. Additionally, Electro Net grows more powerful over time. Player targets can avoid Electro Net’s increasing damage by holding still and refraining from movement (although it’s still safe to attack without triggering this effect). Finally, Electro Net applies a brand new debuff effect to the target called Hindered. While Hindered, the target cannot use high mobility actions and escapes such as charges, vanishes, and speed boosts. Capturing a target in an Electro Net effectively turns it into a sitting duck.

Below are some additional details on changes made to the Commando’s skill trees. Many more skills than the ones mentioned here have changed; these are really just the highlights.

Combat Medic

Our intentions with the Combat Medic skill tree fall in-line with our overarching goals for the Commando. Combat Medics get cool new utility, a better arsenal of healing abilities for different situations, and some improvements to existing abilities.

  • Kolto Pods: This new skill causes your Kolto Bomb to deploy a pool of kolto over the target area, healing allies that remain within.
  • Kolto Wave: This new skill causes your Concussion Charge to also heal yourself and all affected allies within range when triggered.
  • Probe Medic: This new skill greatly improves Trauma Probe by increasing the amount it heals, increasing its max number of charges, and reducing the rate limit by which it can heal the target.

Gunnery

In addition to great new baseline abilities, Gunnery now has less reliance on setup, better mobility, and better on-the-run utility.

  • Grav Round: This ability now has a 1.5-second activation speed. Furthermore, the Gravity Vortex applied by Grav Round no longer stacks, reducing the target’s armor by 20% all at once. Also now lasts 45 seconds.
  • Demolition Round: This ability now packs an even bigger punch than before. Damage has been increased by approximately 15%. In addition, Demolition Round now simply deals 25% additional damage when striking a target affected by your Gravity Vortex. Demolition Round’s projectile speed has been slowed slightly to ensure that it properly benefits from your Gravity Vortex if fired immediately after a Grav Round.
  • Advance the Line: This new utility skill increases the duration of Hold the Line by 4 seconds, giving it a total duration of 10 seconds.
  • Decoy: With this new utility skill, your Diversion intercepts and completely absorbs the next immediate incoming Force or tech attack. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Overclock: This skill now reduces the cooldown of Tech Override and Concussive Round. In addition, Tech Override now makes your next two abilities activate instantly.
  • Reflexive Shield: This skill has been moved into the Gunnery skill tree from the Assault Specialist skill tree. Now this skill reduces the active cooldown of Reactive Shield when taking damage. In addition, when taking damage, you have a chance to deploy an Energy Redoubt, which absorbs a small amount of incoming damage. Lasts 6 seconds and cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.
  • Charged Launcher: This new skill increases the damage dealt by High Impact Bolt, Grav Round, Demolition Round, and Electro Net.

Assault Specialist (Commando)

  • Assault Plastique: Now when Assault Plastique explodes, the target is set on fire for the next 12 seconds.
  • Assault Trooper: This skill now increases the critical damage dealt by Plasma Cell, High Impact Bolt, Charged Bolts, Incendiary Round, and Assault Plastique.
  • Electro Shield: With this new utility skill, activating your Reactive Shield additionally deploys an Electro Shield. When attacked, Electro Shield retaliates by zapping attackers with a significant amount of elemental damage.
  • Hyper Assault Rounds: Reduces the cost of Explosive Round and makes your second Explosive Round in your Mortar Salvo trigger your Plasma Cell.
  • Suit FOE: With this new utility skill, activating Field Aid triggers an onboard Foreign Object Excisor, which reduces all periodic damage taken by 30% for the next 6 seconds. This effect only triggers when activating Field Aid on yourself.
  • Reflexive Battery: With this new utility skill, getting attacked reduces the active cooldown of Concussion Charge. This skill additionally causes Concussion Charge to deal additional elemental damage.
  • Hyper Barrels: This new skill reduces the cost of Charged Bolts and Full Auto and increases the damage dealt by High Impact Bolt, Charged Bolts, Full Auto, and Assault Plastique.

Vanguard

  • Into the Fray: This new passive ability is gained at level 10 upon becoming a Vanguard. This ability increases the duration of Reactive Shield by 3 seconds, and whenever you suffer direct damage from an area attack, you generate 2 energy cells and heal for 2.5% of your total health.
  • Shoulder Cannon (New Ability): Deploys a Shoulder Cannon that loads missiles over time. Once deployed, the Shoulder Cannon can be used again to fire a missile at the current target. Both deploying the Shoulder Cannon and firing its missiles ignore the global cooldown. Once all missiles have been loaded and fired, Shoulder Cannon goes on cooldown for 90 seconds.

Below are some additional details on changes made to the Vanguard’s skill trees. Many more skills than the ones mentioned here have changed; these are really just the highlights.

Shield Specialist

For 2.0, we wanted to make sure Shield Specialist’s active abilities were very attractive. Both Riot Gas (previously Smoke Grenade) and Energy Blast have been overhauled to be more universally awesome. We also wanted to boost up Shield Specialist’s utility and group support by way of giving them some area denial and area slows.

  • Riot Gas (previously Smoke Grenade): This ability has been slightly redesigned. Now activating Riot Gas disperses a gas cloud over the ground beneath you for the duration. Enemies within the gas cloud suffer a loss of accuracy and move slower. Effectively, Riot Gas now functions as an area control/denial tool in addition to a tanking/survivability tool.
  • Energy Blast: This ability has been slightly redesigned. Energy Blast now requires and consumes 3 Power Screens to deal elemental damage, generate 8 energy cells, and increase shield absorption by 25% for 6 seconds. This ability is still off the global cooldown.
  • Power Screen: Stacks of Power Screen are now gained slightly differently than before. Shielding an attack or triggering your Ion Cell generates a Power Screen, increasing shield absorption by 1% for 20 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times. Furthermore, each time you build a Power Screen or refresh your Power Screen stacks, the active cooldown of Energy Blast is reduced.
  • Pulse Engine: This new skill gives your direct damaging attacks a chance to trigger Pulse Engine, which makes your next Pulse Cannon cost no energy cells and channel and tick twice as fast.
  • Guard Cannon: This new skill increases the damage and threat dealt by Explosive Surge and Shoulder Cannon and causes Shoulder Cannon to heal you for 5% of your health with each missile fired.
  • Charge!: Storm still grants Charge!, which increases your movement speed by 30% for 4 seconds. However, while Charge! is active, getting attacked now refreshes its duration back to 4 seconds.
  • Shrap Satchel: This new utility skill causes your Explosive Surge to slow all affected targets by 50% for 6 seconds.

Tactics

  • Triumph: This new skill increases all damage dealt to bleeding targets.
  • Charged Loaders: This new skill increases the damage dealt by Shoulder Cannon and causes Shoulder Cannon to immediately load additional missiles.
  • Combat Tactics: This skill has been slightly redesigned. Now Combat Tactics has a 100% chance to trigger when activating Stockstrike, but triggering this effect requires High Energy Cell to be active.
  • Advance the Line: This new utility skill increases the duration of Hold the Line by 4 seconds, giving it a total duration of 10 seconds.
  • Reflexive Shield: This skill has been moved into the Tactics skill tree from the Assault Specialist skill tree. Now this skill reduces the active cooldown of Reactive Shield when taking damage. In addition, when taking damage, you have a chance to deploy an Energy Redoubt, which absorbs a small amount of incoming damage. Lasts 6 seconds and cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds.

Assault Specialist (Vanguard)

  • Assault Plastique: Now when Assault Plastique explodes, the target is set on fire for the next 12 seconds.
  • Assault Trooper: This skill now increases the critical damage dealt by Plasma Cell, High Impact Bolt, Ion Pulse, Incendiary Round, and Assault Plastique.
  • Electro Shield: With this new utility skill, activating your Reactive Shield additionally deploys an Electro Shield. When attacked, Electro Shield retaliates by zapping attackers with a significant amount of elemental damage.
  • Hyper Assault Cell: Reduces the cost of Explosive Surge and makes your Explosive Surge trigger your Plasma Cell on affected targets.
  • Assault Frame: With this new utility skill, you suffer 30% less damage from periodic damaging effects.
  • Riot Augs: This new skill increases the damage dealt by Stockstrike, Incendiary Round, and Assault Plastique by 6%.

Game Update 2.0: Scum and Villainy and the Digital Expansion: Rise of the Hutt Cartel are now live with the changes above. Please keep in mind that we are always looking at class balance so let us know how you like the changes we have made. I hope the information I could share with you today has helped shed some light on what’s changed and why we changed it. Thanks for reading!


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