Guide Preview: Introduction and Table of Contents

This first part is a preview for the people who've already been watching my stream (thanks!). The rest will be released as a "thank you" for following my channel on twitch.tv/fentanyl213. No part of this guide has been written for or previously posted in the SW:TOR beta forums.

Hey. I've beta tested SW:TOR since February of 2011 (though I was part of the first beta weekend in June of 2010) and had a great time. My primary testing class and area of focus has been Sniper/Gunslinger combat mechanics and balance. I have leveled to cap (whatever that level was at the time) in every build I have tested. My understanding of the "pure DPS" ranged ACs has evolved as the class has evolved. This guide is not my attempt to tell you how to play Sniper or Gunslinger.

Instead -- I hope I can clear up some misinformation, maybe encourage people to try new or offbeat tactics to push the class to its limits, and share a little of what I enjoy about playing Sniper. Above all I hope I can make your experience a little more fun at live.

NB: Content difficulty and mechanics are subject to change before launch! Post-launch you can expect some more comprehensive commentary from me. This guide reflects the current "state of the game" and the way Sniper/Gunslinger is playing in beta.

Table of Contents
01 Core Class Mechanics (aka. Should I play Sniper? What can I expect from this class?)
02 Stats and Ratings and Mods, oh my!
03 Cover: Don't hate the shield.
04 IA Energy Usage
05 Sniper Companions and Crew Skills
06 Marksmanship
07 Engineering
08 Lethality
09 PvE Tactics
10 PvP Tactics
Each section represents ten followers. You're welcome to request additional information or comment either here or on my stream. Also: feel free to repost the guide in whole or in part. I would appreciate credit and a link back to the original content (either straight here or to my channel on twitch). Thanks! 

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!

Beta Disclaimer: Any and all systems may change before launch. Although I have done my best to describe tactics that have applied in multiple builds and continue to be usable today, there is no guarantee that anything I say now will be correct at launch. I will endeavor to revise and correct this guide at live, but until this disclaimer is removed from every section of my guide, ALL information in EVERY section is subjective!


  1. Great blog. Played Sniper this weekend because I figured I'd never play it at retail. I ended up really enjoying it. Hope you keep up this blog, it is the mist thoughtful commentary out there

  2. Have to agree, great blog. I went into the beta weekend certain i'd be a Bounty Hunter, but then I tried the Sniper, and really enjoyed it so now I think that will be my main. The one thing holding me back is that the Sniper's levelling process looks like it might be a bit harsh/dependent on cooldowns. Can you maybe give us some info on how levelling/questing felt with the Sniper, and as what spec you levelled?

  3. There's a bit about my leveling spec in 01 of the guide. Most builds I level as Marksman. I like using the cover system and I enjoy the strong early game defensive bonuses in that tree. Sniper is almost never as strong a soloist as a hybrid class that can heal. There are only a few truly frustrating moments in solo gameplay, and I believe that those may change in the launch build. Sometimes solo content may require you to be a bit more creative in your choices of tactics as well. For what it's worth, I've been 95% solo in all my PvE gameplay -- and I've enjoyed playing Gunslinger/Sniper in many builds of the game.

  4. I see you are Currently Marksman, I am going to go with Engineering. I was just wondering if you tried a Hybrid spec yet?
    Like :
    20/21 Hybrid spec ( Lethality/Eng)

    or something like the 3/18/20 Hybrid spec


    I hope the links work, as I am thinking the top tier talents are not a must have and the energy regeneration will help the DPS in a PVE situation.

  5. Hybrid specs miss out on the key damage abilities (all high-talent) in all three trees. The energy regeneration talents (and the reduction to energy costs) in each tree generally suffice for each unique spec to keep its energy high. While leveling, I would suggest picking a tree and gradually moving higher in that tree as you progress.

  6. Hello Fentanyl, what can you say about damage(burst and sustained) of 50 lvl Mercenary(Arsenal) compare to Sniper(Marksmanship)?

  7. Nothing! Haha. No, really. I am most comfortable discussing my damage as a level 50 Sniper.

    The best comparisons I can give apply only to PvP and the different playstyles (and the fundamentally different characteristics of certain abilities). The problem is that PvP damage is not a good comparison for PvE damage.

    I actually never played BH past level 15. I have seen them perform quite well in Warzones and PvE, though!

    Without a combat log or some other way of evaluating DPS (aka: without anecdotal or subjective evidence) all I can tell you is that every "Pure DPS" spec is supposed to be able to match the damage of every other "Pure DPS" spec.

    This is true of a "DPS" spec in any advanced class. If it is not working that way yet, expect it to be pretty close as SW:TOR continues to develop after launch.

    That's probably not the answer you were looking for, but I hope it helps.


Commenting? Thanks, I appreciate it! -Fen