A short update on where I've been and what I've been doing, my views on the current state of the game for snipers (including notes on the surge nerf), and the upcoming posts and revisions I'll be making to my general guide.
I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I'm an undergraduate student in Metallurgical Engineering. Now that my semester has more fully started, I have less general time to post to the blog. The last few weeks I've been writing lab reports, doing my best to make sense of some fairly complex assignments, and spending a lot of time in the library. I appreciate your patience! The outlook is good for increased blog activity.
I raid with the guild Anesthesia on Naddist Rebels (PvP-EST). We have cleared all 16man Nightmare content in the game and have achieved Infernal and Unyielding titles in both instances. We are recruiting. Fun fact: the guild is named in an ironic nod to my name (Fentanyl) being banned on the server. I am still running around as Unfit -- in full Rakata gear, minus some daily-commendation stuff.
State of the Game
I think what most people failed to understand about the surge nerf was that it was designed to slow down killing speed game-wide, in both PvE and PvP. Classes that could successfully stack surge (often sacrificing power and accuracy) were able to move beyond the intended damage curve.
I've said it once before and I'll say it again: BioWare has a history of being fundamentally opposed to stat-stacking in any form. They consistently nerfed my attempts to stack stats to my advantage in beta. Knowing this, I kept all my power mods handy and reinstalled them in my gear post-nerf.
Imperial Assassin is likely a more valuable skill choice than it was in the past. I haven't had an opportunity to test the relative impact on hybrid builds, and I still raid as a pure Marksmanship sniper.
There has been grumbling on my server about Marksmanship now being "inferior" due to the surge nerf. This simply isn't the case. Sure, when you could stack surge, there were measurable benefits to playing Marksmanship over other specs (at least in PvE raiding). It still makes me cringe a bit when people talk about Lethality damage "negating" armor. This is not quite how it works. Look forward to some illustrated examples in a later post.
The first tier of raid content has been largely conservative in terms of mechanics. I'm hoping to see more robust challenges in the future. Gear drops are overly frequent, too often happen in multiples, and many of my guildmates are now leveling or gearing raid alts in anticipation of new content releases. There are three active snipers in our 16man. Our guild officers look favorably on recruiting more (in addition to Sorc and Merc DPS). Snipers make up a fair number of raid alts as well.
In my estimation, Diversion is still worth a point despite the recent nerf.
I am not in favor of the initiative to make 16man content easier than 8man content for a variety of reasons that I plan to cover in a later post. I look forward to additional comments and input from readers.
Notable Dev Posts:
Feb 17th Q&A (Gabe's remarks on 16man vs. 8man Operations difficulty).
Feb 10th Q&A.
I'm sick of Huttball. I'm not primarily a PvP player. Let's just say that everyone I know is looking forward to a new Warzone. Ilum PvP has been getting somewhat (though sporadically) more popular on my server.
Notable Dev Posts:
Georg Zoeller on using Crouch (SHIFT-F) in PvP.
Feb 17th Q&A with general WZ questions.
Feb 10th Q&A.
Upcoming Posts and Planned Revisions
Gearing at 50
Why "What's Better?" is Difficult to Answer
Marksmanship, Rotations, Rapid Fire, and You
16m Nightmare Eternity Vault
16m Nightmare Karagga's Palace
Basics (revising ambiguous wording)
Sniper Guide (various small changes to reflect recent patches)
We are still lacking a combat log and are in sore need of more content at 50. I am generally optimistic on both counts.
Biochem is still a solid crew skill choice, though changes in itemization and a greater variety of available endgame schematics (in a future content patch) will make "crew skills" an area to watch in the future. I anticipate significant changes.