SWTOR: DPS Shadow musings

I'll talk generalities for now, and add in actual spec trees later when not at work.  Not to mention i cant remember ability names worth a damn.  This is what i've noticed getting to lvl 50.

You have 2 damage trees as a shadow.  

1st is Infiltration (focus on melee) and 2nd is Balance.(focus on force)

What i run with at level 50 is a mix of both.

Personally while leveling i think it's best to go up just 1 tree.  The decision on which depends on the play style you like.  

Balance is more AOE and force driven.  A normal encounter with all cool downs refreshed.  Damage boost used and then AoE dropped.  This AOE causes your target to take more dmg from your dots.  Force breach.  Double Strike while stunning/interrupting when needed until you get the proc to instant cast mind crush.  Should be done and able to use your finishing move.

Balance leveling spec:

Infiltration is go in stealthed, pop black out, shadow strike, shadow strike, stun, shadow strike, shadow strike.  Main strike to build back force, double strike, double strike, project. stunning/interrupting as need Project. Main strike, double strike, force breach.  In shadow stance you're building up your shadow procs that stack up 5 times that allows your force breach to do serious damage.  Double strikes reduce the force costs of your project, and crit force abilities increase your chance to crit with melee.

Leveling Infiltration spec:

My level 50 spec is a bit different.  While my focus is on pvp i find that it works very well in pve too.  Big difference is that i dont worry about any abilities that channel or have cast times.  Everything is instant cast.  I have serious damage output with instant cast range with force breach, force in balance, project, mind crush(proc).  Deadly up close with shadow strike, double strike (reduces projects force costs), and the main attack.  I have additional 10 force plus extra regen with blackout.  Everytime my force spells crit my melee crit chance goes up.  I also have an array of cc with force wave, force stun, mind snap, mind maze (sap), force lift (which will stun for 2 extra seconds when it breaks), slash, force slow, spinning kick.  

Plus with being shadow you can also swap over to combat stance and get damage reduction and able to guard/taunt.

Lvl 50 spec:

I would like to subscribe to your newsletter, as I just picked the Shadow line on my Counselor. I was looking for something to Tank/CC with in PvE. I played around with the JK in beta but didn't get very far.

Edit to add questions:

If I want to run PvE with the mixed spec you show for your lvl50; how would you build while leveling? Still run up one tree or mix between them every few levels? I am more interested in the CC at the moment.

Tigerbill wrote:

I would like to subscribe to your newsletter, as I just picked the Shadow line on my Counselor. I was looking for something to Tank/CC with in PvE. I played around with the JK in beta but didn't get very far.

Edit to add questions:

If I want to run PvE with the mixed spec you show for your lvl50; how would you build while leveling? Still run up one tree or mix between them every few levels? I am more interested in the CC at the moment.

You still have plenty cc going up just one tree or the other. I think you get 1 extra at around lvl 30 with infiltration if i remember correctly.

Still if you wanted to end up with that spec at 50 i'd start on the balance side first and then move up the other.

Thing is reason i go up just one side or the other while leveling is that you had more mitigation or extra heals that made a big difference while soloing.

I really like the idea of not having to wait for cast times; I'm just young enough at hear the I still crave instant gratification. Plus it would be that many fewer skills I needed to keep track of. Will definitely be playing around with this as I level my Shadow. Thank you for putting the time into researching and writing this up.

Is there any good resource for a list of abilities for the advanced classes?

fangblackbone wrote:

Is there any good resource for a list of abilities for the advanced classes?

db.darthhater.com
torhead.com

Played my Shadow for a few minutes last night. I have one question for your lvl 50 Spec; In the Infiltration tree why did you put two points in Shadow's Respite instead of Shadowy Veil. It would seem to me that the extra Armor Rating would be of more benefit. My thinking is your Force regen with Shadow's Respite is only boosted while Stealthed (and shortly after); am I missing an in combat Stealth somewhere?

Tigerbill wrote:

Played my Shadow for a few minutes last night. I have one question for your lvl 50 Spec; In the Infiltration tree why did you put two points in Shadow's Respite instead of Shadowy Veil. It would seem to me that the extra Armor Rating would be of more benefit. My thinking is your Force regen with Shadow's Respite is only boosted while Stealthed (and shortly after); am I missing an in combat Stealth somewhere?

Yea you get a 'vanish' around lvl 30, and even without that you want as much force regen as possible because those backstabs are very force hungry. without that you'd only be able to do 3 max.

Gotcha, never even realized you would get an In combat stealth through normal class training.

Tigerbill wrote:

Gotcha, never even realized you would get an In combat stealth through normal class training.

use it all the time against sorcs in pvp. You get an ability that clears effects and makes you immune for awhile. So you use that to clear DoTs, then vanish.

new build

This is my build now after the last patch.

Couple of points on this:

Patch changed that you couldnt get the procs needed when in Shadow stance anymore.
You have to be using Force Technique instead of Shadow now to take advantage of procs.
This is primarily for pvp and gives me an extra intterupt with low slash and instant cast force lift.

Can you explain the shadow proc change/nerf?

Badferret wrote:

Can you explain the shadow proc change/nerf?

They require you to be in force stance and using force breach to get the instant cast proc of mind crush. Mind Crush is a significant part of my dps, and require it to be instant cast.

Before i was able to do any melee damage it would proc even in shadow stance. With shadow stance not in the picture anymore i moved the 2 extra points to increase force breach while in force stance.

I think over all it's a dps drop but maybe a few 100. Force breach is on a 6(?) second cool down so it's almost always ready to cast after a single rotation.

I like casting it first now to get the proc ready after i do my force strikes.