05 Sniper Companions and Crew Skills

I’ve tried my best to keep this section free of spoilers. Tackling some companion basics first, then proceeding to Crew Skills. I have removed the original beta disclaimer and now consider Biochem a required craft to maximize Sniper DPS potential. See this post for the explanation.

Companion Basics

Every companion has two “modes/stances” that you can toggle between. Some of these toggles represent different roles (i.e. tank vs. dps). On the companion command bar to the left side of your screen (next to your companion’s portrait), there is “+” sign that will allow you to expand your companion’s ability bar. Where that expansion happens (i.e. where the companion bar goes) can be set in UI preferences. I have mine set to the bottom center quickslot, but you can use whatever you like.

The expanded “companion abilities” toolbar allows you to look at the different abilities your companion can perform. Although there aren’t advanced settings for ability usage, you can toggle the automatic use of certain abilities off and on. A green circle on an ability means that it is currently turned on, an empty circle means that ability has been disabled and is unavailable for automatic usage. For example, if your companion is taking too much threat or using AoE abilities and disrupting your CC, you can toggle off those threat and AoE abilities to solve the problem.

You’ll notice that your companions gain more abilities as you level. A basic low-level companion like Kaliyo will gain many new abilities, while high-level companions like Temple have most of their abilities already unlocked.

Helpful Tip: Your codex updates with information about each of your companions as you unlock them while progressing through your story. For the Sniper, these are often “Intelligence Dossiers” or other files. You can find them by hitting “L” (the mission log hotkey) and clicking on the “Codex” tab at the bottom of that window. Codex entries will give you insight into a companion’s personality and their preferences in gifts.

The Affection System and Companion Gifts

You can win the affection of your companions (or earn their enmity) through your responses to conversations in the world. Your main/summoned companion is the only one who will experience these gains and losses while you are questing in the open world. If you have a class quest conversation on your ship, however, it is possible to gain and lose amounts of affection with all of them (i.e. because they are part of the larger audience).

It is possible to be negative on the “affection bar” (it’s part of your crew skills window, use the “N” hotkey), but never fear – you can give your companions gifts in order to win them over. Different companions like different gifts. The best source of information for who likes what is the codex. Usually a companion will take three different types of gift, but they may not be intuitive. If you aren’t sure, experiment with a “Rank 1” gift and see how they react (right-click on a gift in your inventory to use it). Note that this test only works at low affection levels.

At higher levels of affection, be aware that lower ranks of gifts will no longer have any impact. It is impossible to lose affection with your companions when you give them a gift. The worst that happens is that you gain nothing and learn a little more about what your companion likes and doesn’t like.

Which companion is best for Sniper?

All companions are useful, but their individual capabilities vary. Which companion you use will depend on the difficulty of a fight and what you might need your companion to do.

Sniper Companions

Each of these individuals play an important role in your story. Organized by unlock order:

Kaliyo Djannis (Hutta)

Summary: Heavy Armor with Tank/DPS modes, uses a Blaster Rifle main hand and a Shield offhand, Aim stat primary

Uses: Kaliyo will be your companion throughout most of the early and midgame until you reach Alderaan. This means that it is to your advantage to keep her geared. Be sure to equip her with a shield rather than a generator. It can be difficult to distinguish the two by item icon, alone. A shield will provide Kaliyo with significant defense bonuses, while a Generator will not. Kaliyo is most useful for tanking tough fights. In the most difficult instances, you will want to toggle her threat abilities on or off so that she is not getting focus-targeted. It is often better to share damage between yourself and your companion (two health pools are better than one!). The longer both you and companion are alive, the more damage you can do.

Vector Hyllus (Alderaan)

Summary: Light Armor with Melee DPS with Armor Penetration and Internal Damage modes, uses an Electrostaff main hand and a Focus offhand, Willpower stat primary

Uses: Vector is great for clearing normal quest areas and speeding up the leveling process. He does respectable melee DPS and is quite survivable under the right circumstances. Try switching between his DPS modes to see which you like better.

Doctor Lokin (Imperial Taris)

Summary: Medium Armor with Heal/DPS modes, uses a Blaster Pistol main hand and a Vibroknife offhand, Cunning stat primary

Uses: I prefer to use Lokin for very difficult fights (i.e. gold elites) and higher-level class quests when I expect to be fighting a long time. Lokin also has a DPS mode (but I prefer Vector and Temple for DPS). At higher levels, I use Lokin almost exclusively for the reduction in downtime from his heals.

Ensign Temple (Hoth)

Summary: Medium Armor Ranged DPS with Single Target / AoE modes, uses dual Blaster Pistols, Cunning stat primary

Uses: Temple is a fit companion for any Sniper. With her single-target ranged DPS mode on, it’s quite easy to focus down targets with her help. Most normal questing in the world can be completed using either Temple or Vector, whoever you prefer. I still tend to turn to Lokin for longer fights and I start to use him more often after I’ve improved my gear at level 50.

??? (Belsavis)

Summary: Heavy Armor (WARNING: can only be equipped with droid armor upgrades) with Tank/DPS modes, uses Techstaff (note, this may be Cybertech-only) main hand and Shield offhand, Aim stat primary

Uses: Makes an excellent tank when geared. Unfortunately, that usually means buying expensive droid armor from Cybertech crafters. If you are a Cybertech, yourself, this companion might be your new best friend.This is the last companion you get and I haven't done much testing. I may do some more as I level Cybertech. Name withheld for story reasons.

Crew Skills

IMPORTANT: Only one of your three crew skills may be a “crafting” skill, but you can have as many mission skills or gathering skills as you want until you reach the three-skill limit. 

This section focuses on players attempting to choose a crafting skill to master. Your “crew skills” tab can be reached with the “N” hotkey. After you’ve acquired your skills from a trainer, you will then be able to access them by clicking on the appropriate image next to a companion’s portrait.

Update: If your goal is to maximize your DPS output, Biochem is REQUIRED.

Every other craft is optional in comparison.

Be warned that prototype-grade (and above) materials now come only from mission skills and not gathering nodes. Leveling a mission skill is essential if you want to craft prototype quality products (and I assure you, you do).

All of this information is also available in the in-game codex as well (find your codex in a tab at the bottom of your mission log, using the “L” hotkey).

Armstech (Optional)

Associated skills: Scavenging (gathering) and Investigation (mission)
Crafts: Weapons of all types and weapon modifications (specifically barrels)

Biochem (Required for Max DPS)

Associated Skills: Bioanalysis (gathering) and Diplomacy (mission)
Crafts: Consumables

Armormech (Optional)

Associated Skills: Scavenging (gathering) and Underworld Trading (mission)
Crafts: Armor of all types and levels

Cybertech (Optional, PvP applications)

Associated Skills: Scavenging (gathering) and Underworld Trading (mission)
Crafts: Modifications, droid armor, earpieces, grenades, and other miscellaneous stuff.

NB: Slicing, another gathering skill, provides unique schematics. You may find it easier to level Cybertech by taking Underworld Trading (and you can always talk a friend into taking slicing for the steady bonus to income).

How to Level Crew Skills

Get your skills as soon as possible, either on your Fleet Station or your Capital world (Dromund Kaas for Snipers). In the case of gathering skills I’d just pick up every resource node you find while you’re leveling in the open world. That’s a pretty safe way to be sure you’ll have enough materials to level your craft skill. As far as crafting skills are concerned, use the schematics that take the least amount of materials first. You may also prioritize crafted greens that are upgrades to your current gear and then follow up with schematics that “cost” less. Be sure to Reverse Engineer everything you craft in order to recycle materials and potentially learn new and higher quality schematics.

The only way to level Mission Skills is by sending your companion away, which can at times be a prohibitive barrier to entry for Snipers (your craft skills will level slowly until you get your second companion on Alderaan). Mission skills also tend to be both credit- and time-intensive.


There’s a “resource” indicator on your main map (“M” hotkey, left sidebar). You can toggle this on while you’re traveling in order to more easily find gathering nodes.

Modifications often require fewer materials to craft than weapons, armor, and other gear.

Your gathering skill, in the case of Scavenging (I have most personal experience with this one), can be a valuable source of the “additional” materials you need to craft at higher tiers. For Scavenging and Armstech, these materials are known as “Fluxes.” They’re an extra component to craft higher-tier schematics. You can also buy these materials at “Crew Skills Vendors.” I have found that sending my companions on gathering missions to retrieve these saves money (though the missions can take a fair bit of time at higher levels).

You can queue up to five items for your companions to craft. You cannot, however, queue up actual crafting missions.

You can now sort crafting missions. This means that a level 400 (max) Scavenger can send companions to collect any grade of resource. It used to be that you’d have to go gather them yourself if you needed more low-level materials.

You can also sort your known schematics by level, difficulty, and name.

Permissions: This guide may be reproduced in whole or in part. If you do, please give me credit and link back to the original content either here on my blog (imperialsniper.com) or to my stream: http://twitch.tv./fentanyl213 Thanks!


  1. I just want to thank you for this incredible blog! I only managed to get into the universal beta but had decided on rolling a Sniper months ago. This blog is extremely helpful while I'm getting ready for launch! Thanks again!

  2. Great BLOG, your live streaming helped me decide that the Sniper playstyle is the one I want. Had trouble between Op and Sniper but as I prefer ranged, Sniper it is.

  3. Would it hurt much to swap out Underworld Trading for Slicing as the mission skill?

  4. In my experience, you'll have a hard time finding Prototype and Artifact materials from mission skills unless you level the mission skill yourself and choose which to harvest/obtain. I plan to take my primary "material-gathering" skills on my main and take Slicing on a same-faction alt. No schematic I've seen so far has been unable to fit in a mailbox.

    You can level using Slicing if you really want (I can't stop you), but if you plan to be a dedicated crafter you may get more use out of Underworld Trading.

  5. Thanks, you have backed up other guides I have read aout this. Still tempted with Biochem but I think I would enjoy Cybertech more. :)

  6. Quick note, technically you get a 2nd companion that can be used for crafting as soon as you get your ship. When you leave Dromand Kaas I found my crew skills shooting up because I had my droid always gathering and crafting.

  7. Why is Biochem so important?

    1. Biochem Adrenals act as an additional cooldown you can use to maximize your DPS. BWA has recently been nerfing the top-tier Biochem reusables (Rakata) to put them more in line with the regular blue crafted (Exotech) stuff. If you are DPS and you want to participate in a progression environment, my particular group requires its members to bring their own stims, medpacs, and adrenals.

      Biochem saves me a lot of money.

      "Pure DPS" classes like Sniper and Marauder tend to gain the most from the additional healing and damage options provided by Biochem -- despite the recent nerfs.


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