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SWTOR: A Day In the Life of Assassins and Shadows: the 6.0 Experience Explained
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September 28, 2019
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Soeren Kamper

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The upcoming SWTOR Expansion – ‘Onslaught’ – will introduce a many changes for each Class in the game. Players will among other things experience new abilities, Set Bonuses, and Tactical items.


To help explain it all, The developers over at BioWare are releasing a series of articles featuring each Advanced Class’s new ability, as well as new Set Bonuses and Tactical items.

They will also present various combat scenarios to show how these changes will mesh together.  Just like in the previous article covering Sorcerers and Sages. In today’s article they will be showcasing the Assassin and Shadow Advanced Classes!

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Assassin


Let’s take a look at the new ability for Assassins!


Severing Slash - Strikes targets in a cone, dealing weapon damage and slowing their movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds.


Alongside a new ability, Assassins will receive a bevy of Set Bonuses and Tactical items. Set Bonuses are extra effects players can get for equipping a certain armor set. For instance, wearing two, four, or six pieces of a set will grant players progressively more powerful boosts. These can be in the form of increased ability potency or an added effect.


Tacticals are slightly different from Set Bonuses. While Tacticals also change how some abilities function, they come in the form of a new gear type. They don’t have actual stats on them like Power, Mastery, or Critical Rating; instead, they augment how an ability will function. Let’s look at some examples of how a Set Bonus and Tactical combination can alter the gameplay of the three Assassin Disciplines: Darkness, Deception, and Hatred.


Darkness


“In darkness, there is protection. A Darkness Assassin acts in defense of their allies, using the dark side of the Force to ward off attacks and launch powerful channels of Force lightning while standing their ground against even the most formidable enemies.”


Everyone benefits from pulling a big group of enemies in between bosses of Player vs Environment (PvE) content. It makes the run faster, the DPS Classes are elated with the numbers, and it keeps the healers on their toes. With this scenario in mind, let’s take a look at how a Darkness Assassin could withstand the onslaught of a large group of enemies


Set Bonus: “Rebuking Assault”


(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Endurance
(4 Piece Bonus) Each target hit by Severing Slash reduces the cooldown of Mind Control and Mass Mind Control by 1 second.
(6 Piece Bonus) Each target hit by Severing Slash extends Deflection's duration by 1 second.


Tactical: “Ancient Tome of Wrath”


Wither generates Redirected Wrath stacks per enemy it hits, increasing your damage reduction by 2.5% per stack for 10 seconds.

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As soon as the fight starts, the Darkness Assassin uses Mass Mind Control to taunt all eight nearby enemies. So that our tank doesn’t immediately die, they use one of their defensive abilities, Deflection. This increases their ranged and melee defenses by 50% for 12 seconds. By following up with Severing Slash, our Assassin gets two perks from the “Rebuking Assault” Set Bonus: each enemy hit by Severing Slash will not only reduce the cooldown of Mass Mind Control by one second, but also extend the duration of Deflection by one second. Talk about getting a bang for your buck!


With their defensive measures engaged, it’s time for our Assassin to go on the offensive and take advantage of their Tactical item--“Ancient Tome of Wrath”. Wither is an area-of-effect ability that damages and slows all nearby enemies, and thanks to the Tactical item’s effect, using Wither will also increase the tank’s damage reduction. Remember the eight enemies we mentioned earlier? Each enemy hit increases the damage reduction by 2.5% - making this an additional 20% in total. Now it would take multiple incarnations of Kephess himself to kill our tank! With this substantial amount of threat, the rest of the group can go crazy with area-of-effect damage abilities and bring this encounter to a close.


Deception


“From the murky depths of the dark side, the Deception Assassin emerges with a calculated plan. As the Assassin presses the attack, Force lightning accumulates within their double-bladed lightsaber and culminates in a massive discharge that can ravage the Assassin’s opponent before they even know what hit them.”


Every class loves to see a critical hit, but there’s just something special about seeing that happen as a DPS class. What if you could get a guaranteed critical hit every time you used one of your core abilities? Sound too good to be true? Let’s put our hypothetical Deception Assassin in a boss fight with the Set Bonus/Tactical combination listed below and watch that carnage ensue!


Set Bonus: “Death Knell”


(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Mastery
(4 Piece Bonus) The cooldown of Recklessness is reduced by 15 seconds.
(6 Piece Bonus) Whenever you consume a charge of Recklessness you gain a stack of Reckless Slaughter, increasing melee damage bonus by 5% for 20 seconds. Stacks up to 2 times.


Tactical: “Blade of the Elements”


The critical hit chance of Reaping Strike is increased by 50% per Voltage stack. Critically hitting with Voltaic Slash reduces the cooldown of Reaping Strike by 1.5 seconds.

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After giving the tank some time to build threat, our Deception Assassin lets loose a flurry of abilities. They start with Recklessness, increasing the chance of the next two Force abilities to critically hit (crit) by 60%, which serves as the springboard for the rotation. Our Assassin follows with the Ball Lightning and Discharge abilities, both of which crit! Luck is on our Assassin’s side this time--not only does this give our Assassin a 10% damage bonus for 20 seconds thanks to the “Death Knell” Set Bonus, but Reaping Strike can now be used! Although, that won’t be used just yet...


With the 10% damage buff, now is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the “Blade of the Elements” Tactical. By firing off two Voltaic Slashes, our Assassin gets two Voltage stacks, giving Reaping Strike a 50% increased chance to crit per stack. Because of our Set Bonus and Tactical combination, we’ve guaranteed our Reaping Strike to crit with a 10% damage boost. After using Reaping Strike, our Assassin continues to use other damage abilities in their rotation. Using Voltaic Slash at least every 15 seconds will refresh the Voltage buff, guaranteeing that every Reaping Strike used in this fight will be a critical hit! Soon enough, the boss lays defeated in front of our Assassin and their group, spoils ready for looting.


Hatred


“Hate fuels the dark side of the Force, and no one knows this better than the Hatred Assassin. Able to command dark Force powers that assault many targets at once or sap an enemy’s very essence from a distance, the Hatred Assassin can also stand face-to-face against any foe.”


Player vs Player (PvP) matches can get very intense—slows, stuns, and immobilizes are thrown around faster than credits in Nar Shaddaa. Using these mechanics properly can easily turn the tide for a team, so with that in mind, let’s pick out a Set Bonus and Tactical for our Hatred Assassin that reinforces picking off enemies in a bad position.


Set Bonus: “Shadow Purger”


(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Endurance
(4 Piece Bonus) Severing Slash immobilizes the target for 2 seconds.
(6 Piece Bonus) Using Severing Slash while under Force Shroud lowers the target’s accuracy and extends the duration of Force Shroud by 2 seconds.


Tactical: “Sever Field”


Death Field does more damage to slowed targets and finishes the cooldown of Severing Slash.

Image Enlarger


Both teams run toward each other right out of the gate. Our Hatred Assassin notices that a member of the enemy team has fallen behind the others. Moments like this don’t come often, so now is the time to keep the enemy player isolated! Launching an ambush with their new ability, Severing Slash, our Assassin damages and immobilizes the enemy. Without missing a beat, they immediately follow up with Death Field, doing increased damage and refreshing the cooldown of Severing Slash thanks to the “Sever Field” Tactical. Before using Severing Slash again, our Assassin has another idea.


They use Force Shroud, increasing the chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 200% for three seconds. Just as the enemy is recovering from being immobilized, they get hit by another Severing Slash, freezing them in place again. Thanks to the “Shadow Purger” Set Bonus, using Severing Slash under the effect of Force Shroud not only reduces the target’s accuracy, but the overall duration of Force Shroud is increased by two seconds. In just a matter of seconds, our Assassin has gained a very strong edge over their opponent.Shadow


Let’s take a look at the new ability for Shadows!


Cleaving Cut - Strikes targets in a cone, dealing weapon damage and slowing their movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds.


Alongside a new ability, Shadows will receive a bevy of Set Bonuses and Tactical items. Set Bonuses are extra effects players can get for equipping a certain armor set. For instance, wearing two, four, or six pieces of a set will grant players progressively more powerful boosts. These can be in the form of increased ability potency or an added effect.


Tacticals are slightly different from Set Bonuses. While Tacticals also change how some abilities function, they come in the form of a new gear type. They don’t have actual stats on them like Power, Mastery, or Critical Rating; instead, they augment how an ability will function. Let’s look at some examples of how a Set Bonus and Tactical combination can alter the gameplay of the three Shadow Disciplines: Kinetic Combat, Infiltration, and Serenity.


Kinetic Combat


“A powerful connection to the Force allows the Kinetic Combat Shadow to draw the opposition’s attention while also warding off their attacks. Add to that a formidable Force-based offense, and it becomes clear that the Kinetic Combat Shadow can serve as an effective bulwark against any foe.”


Everyone benefits from pulling a big group of enemies in between bosses of PvE content. It makes the run faster, the DPS Classes are elated with the numbers, and it keeps the healers on their toes. With this scenario in mind, let’s take a look at how a Kinetic Combat Shadow could withstand the onslaught of a large group of enemies.


Set Bonus: “Rebuking Assault”


(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Endurance
(4 Piece Bonus) Each target hit by Cleaving Cut reduces the cooldown of Mind Control and Mass Mind Control by 1 second.
(6 Piece Bonus) Each target hit by Cleaving Cut extends Deflection's duration by 1 second.


Tactical: “Ancient Tome of Wrath”


Slow Time generates Redirected Retribution stacks per enemy it hits, increasing your damage reduction by 2.5% per stack for 10 seconds.

Image Enlarger


As soon as the fight starts, the Kinetic Combat Shadow uses Mass Mind Control to taunt all eight nearby enemies. So that our tank doesn’t immediately die, they use one of their defensive abilities, Deflection. This increases their ranged and melee defenses by 50% for 12 seconds. By following up with Cleaving Cut, our Shadow gets two perks from the “Rebuking Assault” Set Bonus: each enemy hit by Cleaving Cut will not only reduce the cooldown of Mass Mind Control by one second, but also extend the duration of Deflection by one second. Talk about getting a bang for your buck!


With their defensive measures engaged, it’s time for our Shadow to go on the offensive and take advantage of their Tactical item--“Ancient Tome of Wrath”. Slow Time is an area-of-effect ability that damages and slows all nearby enemies, and thanks to the Tactical item’s effect, using Slow Time will also increase the tank’s damage reduction. Remember the eight enemies we mentioned earlier? Each enemy hit increases the damage reduction by 2.5% - making this an additional 20% in total. Now it would take multiple incarnations of Kephess himself to kill our tank! With this substantial amount of threat, the rest of the group can go crazy with area-of-effect damage abilities and bring this encounter to a close.


Infiltration


“Planning a coordinated attack from a position of stealth and striking at the most opportune of times, the Infiltration Shadow is a master of surprise. By adopting special Force techniques, the Shadow’s attacks can become even more effective, building to a powerful crescendo that the opposition won’t even see coming.”


Every class loves to see a critical hit, but there’s just something special about seeing that happen as a DPS class. What if you could get a guaranteed critical hit every time you used one of your core abilities? Sound too good to be true? Let’s put our hypothetical Infiltration Shadow in a boss fight with the Set Bonus/Tactical combination listed below and watch that carnage ensue!


Set Bonus: “Death Knell”


(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Mastery
(4 Piece Bonus) The cooldown of Force Potency is reduced by 15 seconds.
(6 Piece Bonus) Whenever you consume a charge of Force Potency you gain a stack of Audacious Potency, increasing melee damage bonus by 5% for 20 seconds. Stacks up to 2 times.


Tactical: “Blade of the Elements”


The critical hit chance of Vaulting Slash is increased by 50% per Clairvoyance stack. Critically hitting with Clairvoyant Strike reduces the cooldown of Vaulting Slash by 1.5 seconds.

Image Enlarger


After giving the tank some time to build threat, our Infiltration Shadow lets loose a flurry of abilities. This may seem unconventional, but they open with Force Potency. Force Potency increases the chance of the next two Force abilities to crit by 60%, which serves as the springboard for this rotation. Our Shadow follows with the Psychokinetic Blast and Force Breach abilities, both of which crit! Luck is on our Shadow’s side this time--not only does this give our Shadow a 10% damage bonus for 20 seconds thanks to the “Death Knell” Set Bonus, but Vaulting Slash can now be used! Although, that won’t be used just yet...


With the 10% damage buff, now is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the “Blade of the Elements” Tactical. By firing off two Clairvoyant Strikes, our Shadow gets two Clairvoyance stacks, giving Vaulting Slash a 50% increased chance to crit per stack. Because of our Set Bonus and Tactical combination, we’ve guaranteed our Vaulting Slash to crit with a 10% damage boost. After using Vaulting Slash, our Shadow continues to use other damage abilities in their rotation. Using Clairvoyant Strike at least every 15 seconds will refresh the Clairvoyance buff, guaranteeing that every Vaulting Slash used in this fight will be a critical hit! Soon enough the boss lays defeated in front of our Shadow and their group, spoils ready for looting.


Serenity


“The Serenity Shadow is ever mindful that the Force ebbs and flows, and uses this knowledge to great advantage. Able to wield the Force against multiple targets while wresting vitality from the enemy, the Serenity Shadow can even stand up to opponents in close combat.”


PvP matches can get very intense—slows, stuns, and immobilizes are thrown around faster than credits in Nar Shaddaa. Using these mechanics properly can easily turn the tide for a team, so with that in mind, let’s pick out a Set Bonus and Tactical for our Serenity Shadow that reinforces picking off enemies in a bad position.


Set Bonus: “Shadow Purger”


(2 Piece Bonus) +2% Endurance
(4 Piece Bonus) Cleaving Cut immobilizes the target for 2 seconds.
(6 Piece Bonus) Using Cleaving Cut while under Resilience lowers the target’s accuracy and extends the duration of Resilience by 2 seconds.


Tactical: “Sever Field”


Force in Balance does more damage to slowed targets and finishes the cooldown of Cleaving Cut.


Both teams run toward each other right out of the gate. Our Serenity Shadow notices that a member of the enemy team has fallen behind the others. Moments like this don’t come often, so now is the time to keep the enemy player isolated! Launching an ambush with their new ability, Cleaving Cut, our Shadow damages and immobilizes the enemy. Without missing a beat, they immediately follow up with Force in Balance, doing increased damage and refreshing the cooldown of Cleaving Cut thanks to the “Sever Field” Tactical. Before using Cleaving Cut again, our Shadow has another idea.


They use Resilience, increasing the chance to resist Force and tech attacks by 200% for three seconds. Just as the enemy is recovering from being immobilized, they get hit by another Cleaving Cut, freezing them in place again. Thanks to the “Shadow Purger” Set Bonus, using Cleaving Cut under the effect of Resilience not only reduces the target’s accuracy, but the overall duration of Resilience is increased by two seconds. In just a matter of seconds, our Shadow has gained a very strong edge over their opponent.


We’ve revealed the new ability, discussed Set Bonuses and Tactical items, and painted a picture of how these two systems merge together to augment different styles of gameplay for Shadows and Assassins. These Set Bonuses and Tacticals are a small sample of what players can expect in ‘Onslaught.’ With that, four Advanced Classes are down, and only twelve to go! In the next article of this “Day In The Life Of” series, we will cover Mercenaries and Commandos. Stay tuned!

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