State of the Game

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.

Personal Updates

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

PvP Tactics
PvE Tactics
Gearing at 50
Why "What's Better?" is Difficult to Answer
Sniper Volley
Marksmanship, Rotations, Rapid Fire, and You
16m Nightmare Eternity Vault
16m Nightmare Karagga's Palace

Crew Skills
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.


  1. Have you tried full Lethality in PvE? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

    Joined a new raiding guild a few weeks back and of my 4 (soon to be 5) 50s they requested my Sniper for hard modes. Their champion DPS is a full Lethality Sniper and he, the GM, and most of the core raiders are all pretty convinced it's the OP spec. I've been sticking to Marksmanship, mostly because there's a wider array of available theorycrafting data (see http://sithwarrior.com/forums/Thread-Marksman-Sniper-Compendium#III.1), but I decided to bite the bullet and give Lethality a try earlier today.

    I've only run it through dailies thus far, and I can see the potential, but I'm not sure I'm convinced yet barring any kind of damage meters or simulationcraft to back it up.

    1. I raided as lethality for awhile and recently switched to marksmanship. I didn't notice any real difference in DPS (I was killing my infernal council member at around the same times I was before).

      The big issue with lethality is energy management. Cull takes a whopping 30 energy, and your talented regen comes from getting crits on your dots, so you never really know where your energy will be after any given attack. I had gotten pretty good at it, but I still had to pay a lot of attention to my energy on every boss fight, as it's extremely easy to drop into the danger zone. When I switched to marksmanship I was amazed at how easy it was. I could completely ignore my energy for entire fights and would never drop below 60%.

      The other thing I don't like about lethality is how long it takes to do damage on a new target. Before you cull, you need to use your grenade, dart, and weakening blast, which is 3 GCDs and 50 energy, assuming all of them are even off cooldown. This is a problem if you need to quickly bring down an add or a Soa mind trap. With marksmanship you can quickly switch to a new target and start doing great damage immediately.

      If you are unsure, definitely try lethality out yourself, it's still a great spec and I had a lot of fun with it. But I would have to give the edge to marksmanship as I found it more suited to raiding. Only downside is that I can no longer PvP on my sniper as I find the damage mitigation and lack on mobility too frustrating as a marksman. :)

  2. Thanks for the Update Fen!

    On a side note, will you still review/accept Submissions?

    1. Yes to both. Submissions can include opinion pieces, guides to mechanics, questions you'd like to pose to the blog/other readers in general, and other items of interest to Sniper/Gunslinger players.

  3. Hello and thank you for you great comment for the sniper class.
    about statistic, you said power is recommended instead of crit and surge, so for now, what are you stat on this 3 items ? (power critical rating and surge rating)
    it would help to see the choice you made with modding too.

    thanks !


Commenting? Thanks, I appreciate it! -Fen