Quorra's AoE Hybrid Build (2/21/18)
Note: Following is the rationale and explanation of how to play this build that I received from Quorra (with light editing and changes to format). I suggest using the build as designed if you intend to try playing it!
The design goal of this build is to maximize damage output for PVE with a little bit of mobility and a lot of AOE potential. For PVP I want a few extra tools like snares and again a strong AOE. When I pvp I enjoy softening up a whole group of enemies a lot more than focusing on killing a single player, but I obviously need to have that capability too.
Basically I go high enough in Engineering to get EMP Discharge and stop there. I pick up every AOE-related skill along the way. EMP Discharge is what makes this build viable from an energy standpoint, without it you'd be screwed -- you need that Adrenaline Probe every minute.
Interrogation Probe is the centerpiece of this build so I max it out with Inventive Interrogation Techniques (for PVP) and Efficient Engineering (for energy management).
In the Lethality tree I go up high enough to get Corrosive Grenade but I specifically AVOID getting Cull. Cull is too much energy to use in this build so do NOT take it. It may work in a full Lethality build, but not in this one.
Other skills I grab in Lethality are centered around boosting my DOT damage and crit chance as well as boosting my grenade damage. Slip Away is taken to allow me to move up the tree and is useful for PVP. Adhesive Corrosives was really tempting to get, but when I saw that the duration was only 6 seconds I opted for the higher crit chance on my DOTs instead. Lethal Purpose does not make sense to get due to already having 1 minute Adenaline Probes from EMP Discharge.
The last two points go to MM to buff Snipe and Series of Shots.
- I'm pretty sure I have every possible AOE-improving talent in our tree, it doesn't get any better for AOE damage for a Sniper. The only AOE skill missing is Pillbox Sniper in the MM tree to let me use OS more often. My grenades and Orbital Strike bring down a world of hurt. In my gear Orbital Strike will crit for 4700+ per enemy THREE times. Frag grenades regularly crit for 2700+.
- I have 3 different DOTs: Corrosive Dart, Interrogation Probe, and Corrosive Grenade (AOE DOT), they all have increased chance to crit. ALL of these can be used instantly AND out of cover.
- Sustained damage is high and very consistent due to all the DOTs. If I have to LOS my target, my DOTs continue to tick (missile phase on 1st boss in EV comes to mind).
- Has a few more abilities to use out of cover if needed than other specs (mainly MM).
- It's FUN AS HELL!
- Not as much burst as other specs which is certainly a negative for 1v1 PVP.
- Very squishy. I pretty much avoid all the survival skills in favor of purely DPS ones. I compensate for this by running with a good healer and a tank with solid threat.
- EMP Discharge helps to keep the energy management reasonable, but it is very tight at times. A few other skills help out with energy as well.
- Give up Plasma Probe in favor of Corrosive Grenade, PP is often better for PVP defense (Voidstar doors).
Vengeful Malice Guild
Keller's Void (PVE-East)
This is a sound build accompanied by a thoughtful rationale. I was most convinced that this could work precisely because it's an AoE/DoT-focused build and constructed entirely around skills that benefit that theme. Although I personally have not used Interrogation Probe as a primary damage ability in any of my builds, I can see how the increased DoT crit from Lethal Dose could transform that into a marquee damage skill. I agree that the damage from Lethal Dose is of higher priority than the energy regeneration (and consequent damage decrease) from taking Lethal Purpose. A full Lethality build takes both skills, but here we're forced to make a choice between them.
The choices made in terms of energy management (cost reductions, losing Cull, improving damage to "base" Sniper abilities) are also sound.
I find myself agreeing with Quorra on the strengths and weaknesses as well. AoE and DoT abilities tend to be energy hogs. EMP Discharge, combined with Energy Tanks and the cost-reduction skills taken in the build, is the only energy regeneration tool with enough potential power to support this kind of hybrid. I suspect that resource management will still pose a challenge to being successful. Running with a group in PvP (i.e. the mentioned tank and healer) would compensate for the relative lack of survivability.
I agree that Plasma Probe can occasionally be a stronger defensive tool in Voidstar because it allows you to guard an objective "remotely" without being present yourself. Although DoTs may be stronger overall tools in preventing caps, they still require you to apply them to targets individually and can be cleansed -- the stationary Plasma Probe cannot be dispelled and, when placed correctly, is difficult to outright avoid.
The damage in the screenshot is also consistent with what I would expect from a good player with an AoE-focused build. Often it is not as easy to hit high numbers with a pure Marksmanship spec for the simple fact that you kill people too fast for healers to get them (and thereby give you more hitpoints to demolish).
This is not something I would have built precisely because I have a strong bias toward single-target DPS. Even my Cover and Cull spec, though it has AoE components, is meant to kill targets one at a time.
If you've been looking for a strong pure-AoE build, though? You might consider using this. Enjoy.
In case you missed it, the build's author:
Quorra | Vengeful Malice Guild | Keller's Void (PVE-East)
Thanks for the writeup! I imagine there are no few Snipers who will enjoy trying this out.