Mercenary Arsenal- Are YOU doing it right?

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By Aerro at 2012-03-08 17:22:17


-This guide is also a guide that I made SPECIFICALLY for my guild forums. I am just copying and pasting it here with minor additions. This is for min/maxers, and maybe something for those wishing to be the best they can be. I have used a wide varieties of spreadsheets that can be available if those are interested.

Whew. Now that I got that out of the way, let me begin with this very simple introduction. As you may have read, this is just a GUIDE to help you min/max to your fullest potential. Some ideas in this guide are very debatable, but only because they are borderline questionable. Everything in here will be SOLELY based off of my own Bounty Hunter because I -feel- it will give the highest possible DPS output. Yes there have been quite a few numbers thrown around in order to come to that conclusion (which I will add in later on) but just trust me on this one as well. Without further adieu... lets get this show on the road!

To start off, lets visit the proper way to spec your Mercenary for uber deeps!

-Your Talent Build- This is a direct link to the current build I personally use for PVE.

Now, after looking at that I'm sure you're asking, "Aerro... why are you grabbing alacrity? ...and ACCURACY!"

Let me explain:

[Advanced Targeting] for the 3% additional accuracy is one of those 'questionable' ideas I was ranting about early on. At the moment, we do not have any sort of meters or programs to run sims on. On top of that, we do not know how much base defense, armor or really anything basic about the typical boss fight. For our ranged attacks, anything OVER 100% reduces the targets defenses. What exactly does that mean? I honestly have no idea. For our tech abilities, anything over 100% reduces the targets RESISTANCE to said attacks. Again, we do not know how much that matters due to not having any data or feedback to depict an actual DPS gain/loss. Later on I will explain the significance of having that additional 3% because we will be losing it due to min/maxing. Speccing into an additional 3% accuracy will allow us to gain more Power and Surge rating.

However, what we DO know is that we need our tech abilities at a certain percentage in order to not miss. Through multiple scenarios and thorough testing, our tech abilities will not miss past 108%. That being said, if we hit the 100% mark for our basic ranged abilities, our tech accuracy will be at 110%. Now, the reason why I am specced into the additional 3% accuracy (which puts me at 114.86%), is that we do not know how much of a DPS gain we get for going past our mark... but what we do in fact know is that there IS some sort of DPS gain.

For talent selection, we really have no where else to put those points. Sure, you could put those points for more endurance... but we are already at 20,000+ health in our best in slot gear. I found it more viable to just stick with being a little over the cap because knowing it still is some sort of a DPS gain (even if its small) makes it better than nothing.

Sorry for these long, drawn out explanations. Not only am I trying to explain to you why I made these choices, but I also want to open your minds to help you learn more about why we do certain things for our class.

As for the [Critical Reaction] talent which increases our alacrity by 5% for 6sec every time we crit- this is a must. There are a lot of guides out there that say it ruins the flow of your '8 heat return on crit proc' but in fact it doesn't. With 5% alacrity at basically all times, your Tracer Missile will have a 1.42 cast time. Adding in Latency plus minor delays, .08 faster casts does not mess with anything. The reason behind grabbing that talent is because it will make your Unload channel at 2.85 seconds, rather than a full 3.0 seconds. This gives more time throughout a 4-6 minute fight to add in another few attacks. Yes, .15 seconds does add up over time, and rather fast at that.

That basically summarizes why that spec seems to be more worthy. I am sure some of you will be tweaking yours to better suite your needs, but keep in mind you are not the only person in the raid. Grabbing [Integrated Systems] and [Custom Enviro Suit] can help your healers more than you realize. With the amount of mercenaries we seem to be running the raid, we all should be specced into those talents. With those talents, we are gaining an additional 8% of heals from our healers. A consistent 8% healing increase on ourselves is quite astonishing and rather OP in my mind. If any healers are reading this thread- I am sure you didn't realize we have such a thing and will threaten us if we aren't specced into it.

Everything else in this spec is quite irreplaceable and mandatory to spec into. Heck, we can't even progress through the talents without speccing into most of them so I see no reason for me to continue in this area. Since we have been talking about abilities, I might as well move onto proper rotation etiquette!

-Proper Rotation Etiquette-

Some people make the joke that we are just a one-button-turret-class because there are many bad Bounty Hunters out there that tarnish our names. However, Tracer Missile *only* makes up around 80% of our rotation. ....all joking aside that isn't a joke.

We are a priority based class. Some like to compare us to a heavy armored Arcane Mage, but I do not believe that is the case. Right now, our priority in subject to Damage : Heat (ratio) is as follows--

-Rail Shot (5 stacks ONLY)
-Unload (with Barrage Proc)
-Heatseeker Missiles (with 5 stacks of Heat Signature)
-Tracer Missile

Now, that list is a bit skewed because it is based on how much damage an ability does per heat that is costs. Rail Shot costs 0 heat with end game gear, so it makes it first on that list. That is not our priority system, in fact. We seem to be running pretty heavy on Mercenaries now so let me change up a few things. I was just showing to others that may be reading it that Tracer Missile is not our highest damaging ability and is not AS over-powered as some may think.

Our REAL priority system is the following:

-Heatseeker Missiles
-Unload (with Barrage Proc)
-Rail Shot (5 stacks ONLY)
-Tracer Missile

This is all assuming that there are indeed 5 stacks of Heat Signature on the target from using Tracer Missiles. Now, after stating all of that- our rotation is pretty baseline and extremely easy to manage. Some people do have issues with it because they do not understand the significance of following a priority system that is solely based around heat management. Our heat is our lifeblood and if it gets too high we are useless.

Depending on the fight, we will open up with different things. Since most fights seem to be pretty similar in length, I will just talk about one rotation that basically works with every fight in the game and move on to more interesting matters.

When we start a fight, we instantly want to put on 5 stacks of Heat Signatures. Not only does this boost our damage, this will boost raid damage AS WELL as every other Mercenaries damage by '*!@# loads'. This will only require you to cast three Tracer Missiles off of the bat. Barrage will most likely proc, and what I do is actually USE Unload because rarely do I see every single HS stack at 5. After Unload I immediately drop into a Heatseeker Missile which takes advantage of all of the HS stacks and hits for 100% more damage (dependent on how many Mercenaries are present). From there, you just go with what is available. It is hard to predict when certain talents will proc (I.E. 8% Heat Reduction / Barrage Proc) so I trust that you all know effectively what to do. If not, just ask me and I will go further into this explanation. Now, onto the most fun part of all... GEARING!

-How To Look Cool... I Mean, How To Be The Best-

For proper gearing, I will be linking our BEST IN SLOT items (and a simple explanation if necessary). Since we are clearing this content in a single raid night, gearing will not be an issue. It is only reasonable to expect everyone to follow this guide and gear to their fullest potential in preparation for the new content coming very shortly. Even if it is a slight increase, we will need all the help we can get in order to maintain our Top World position as a guild. After all, we are a hardcore progression guild- and that requires us to be hardcore in every aspect.

Now, I will provide simple links from Torhead to easily show you what will be needed. Some of these will need additional modifications and enhancements swapped out to fully utilize its potential, which I will be adding directly under the links.

-Ear Piece and Implants-

These are obtained through dailies, which I expect EVERYONE to be doing. They do not take much time to do and you even get a nice amount of credits for repairs in upcoming progression raiding.




Now, this is one of those 'debatable' topics. I will provide the current ones I feel that are best for us and my reasoning behind it.

(Damaging attacks have a 30% chance to deal 224 additional kinetic damage.)

Okay: My reasoning behind it... Right now for those of you who have the crafted Rakata Power relic WITH an augment slot (additional 28 aim), I would keep that. In order to obtain that relic, you will need to be an Artifice and crit making that relic. Through various websites I have visited and forums I have browsed, there is still no consistent playerbase that states which is better (Relentless Winds or Rakata crit relic). That being said, I stand by what I use for multiple reasons.

My main reasoning for using the Matrix Cube in THIS content is the base 58 aim that is consistent as well as the 24 crit rating. We, as Bounty Hunters, want to be as close to 30% unbuffed as possible. If I were to drop my Matrix Cube, I would lose out on a lot of base stats such as more Power in other areas- which I believe since it is a static increase, it makes up for the Power cooldown on the Artifice relics.

Also, Relentless Winds has a chance to proc additional 224 damage. If you look at the other damaging relics, they do not do as much damage as this relic for one reason: It is kinetic damage. That means it is mitigated by the bosses armor. HOWEVER, we as Bounty Hunters actually hit 100% armor penetration due to the Sith Warrior armor penetration debuff, the Sniper debuff, and our very own debuff stacking. That coupled with our High Velocity Gas Cylinder puts us above 100% armor penetration (the excess amount does nothing for us). I do not know if this is working as intended but this is how it works. That means, Relentless Winds being Kinetic damage does more damage for us as Mercenaries than any other class out there. We fully utilize the full 224 damage which slightly scales with us anyways, so you can see numbers as high as 450 crits sometimes.

With all of that logic being said: Do what YOU think is best, but only with proper research. Like I said, if you already have the Artifice crit Relic-- keep it. I do not know the difference in damage due to no viable way to test but since it is so close you might as well not waste your time switching around professions and whatnot. Now onto our offpieces.

-Waist and Wrists-


In that tooltip, there is an augment slot. That is mandatory. Yes I understand people do not have time to level up professions - but if content is scaling as much as it seems to be, then the next raid to come out is going to be quite intimidating and we need all of the help we can get. So no, I am not demanding everyone go level up armormech right this instant, but please be prepared to do so in the next content patches.


The same goes for these bracers. They will provide an additional augment slot through armormech. In the next patches, I do not know how much more augments will scale, but I expect it to be more than +28 aim. Lets say it is 30 additional aim: That is +60 aim JUST from an additional slot in bracers and your belt that are already best in slot.

Now for your weapons!

-Your Babies: Peace and Quiet-


The current enhancement will be replaced with:


The current enhancement will be replaced with:

-Your Armor-



Replace current enhancement with:



Replace current mod with:
Replace current enhancement with:

My reason for choosing those legs are because of the Aim increase. You will gain an additional +10 aim choosing those legs but still maintain the Eliminator's 4-piece set bonus.


Replace current enhancement with:

Now, I have gone over quite literally everything for our class and spec. To give you insight on why I have made these decisions, I will tell you the 'soft caps' for our class.

Right now, we want our crit to be around 30% unbuffed. I was questioned last night because of it (not in a negative way) so I thought I would iterate why this is the case. With an Operative buff, we get a 5% crit increase. With the Sorc buff we get a 5% Aim increase. This will bring our crit up approximately 6%. With that, we are at 36% crit. Now, our 2 piece set bonus gives us 15% crit to our Tracer Missile which we use the majority of the time. Now we are looking to be over 50% crit with our Tracer Missiles.

So, our soft caps are as follows:

Crit: 30%
Critical Multiplier: 70%
Accuracy: 98% (108%)

After those caps are hit, we are able to go straight for Power. My current gear setup is fully utilizing all of those soft caps and now stacking power.

As reference, my stats are as follows:

Aim: 2100

Accuracy: 112.41%

Crit: 35.5%

Power: 499

Critical Multiplier: 69%

Yes, this is full raid buffed. This is just an example and since this gear is readily available to us, you should all have similar stats come next major content patch.

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