Author: Illian Amerond
Greetings all the TOR fans, and welcome to Illian's Musing as I explore the art of Theory Crafting.
In this second edition I will be taking on the Imperial Agent. This was another popular class I seen running around and had personal experience playing during one of my many tests. The class itself suggests some kind of Splinter Cell meets Star Wars hybrid yet I can assure you it has deep lore. Like the Republic Smuggler this class also wields the cover abilities that allow them to escape the brunt of many attacks that are not effective against players under cover. Currently the Imperial Agent has the longest range in the game aside from the Trooper and can take full advantage of this with many slows, ranged and melee stuns as well as a specialized barrier that can be used at higher levels.
Lets dive right in and take a look at the basic skills one would be working with. The Imperial Agent core skill set is:
- Snipe - Charged + requires cover.
- Rifle Shot - Instant, standard weapon attack.
- Explosive Probe - Instant + explodes on damage; no aggro on placement does not break stealth. Requires cover.
- Coordination - Instant, self/party critical hit buff; lasts 60 minutes.
- Shiv - Instant, melee attack.
- Fragmentation Grenade - Instant AoE damage, with primary target knock down.
- Debilitate - Instant, stun with damage.
- Corrosive Dart - Instant, DoT internal damage.
- Flash Bang - Instant, grenade that blinds up to 5 targets.
- Overload Shot - Instant, powerful weapon attack.
- Slice Droid - Instant, incapacitates one droid for 60 seconds.
- Adrenalin Probe - Instant, regenerates 50 energy over 3 seconds.
- Distraction - Instant, interrupt plus lock out for 4 seconds.
- Evasion - Instant, increases dodge rate to 100% for 4 seconds.
- Eviscerate - Instant + requires incapacitated target.
- Countermeasures - Instant, lowers threat.
- Shield Probe - Instant, soaks 100% of all damage over 15 seconds; does not break stealth.
- Headshot - Instant + requires incapacitated target.
- Orbital Strike - Charged AoE.
There are 19 core skills that make up the foundation for the Imperial Agents Theory Crafting set. I took the liberty to give brief descriptions for a quicker read. There are some basic combinations that stand out from the beginning and they are:
Debilitate + Eviscerate/Headshot
Shiv + Debilitate + Explosive Probe + Eviscerate/Headshot
Debilitate + Orbital Strike
These are just some basic combos that are immediately apparent. The Debilitate opens up the requirements for Eviscerate/Headshot and some really high critical/DPS. These will likely form the foundation for future combos I discuss later on.
Imperial Agents share a tree called Lethality which covers a wide range of improvements on the existing skill set and adds a few neat tweaks as well. Lethality is also a deep tree so it takes some commitment to use. The basic structure of the Lethality tree should look like this.
Regardless if your going Operative or Sniper, in the Lethality tree these are the suggested core skills that you go for to flesh out the character. Here one picks up greater utility to the Corroded dart with a duration increase and potency for damage increase. Debilitate has a greatly reduced GCD and increases movement when used, along with Evasion and Escape which also gain high GCD reductions. The Agent picks up Corrosive Grenade that hits target + 5 additional if in range. In addition all DoT effects gain damage increase as well as critical chance increases. Cull becomes the finisher and Weakening Blast is our trump card with its moderate GCD.
The Lethality tree would play as a run and gun specialist working to DoT up as much as they can and Culling them over time. Tanks would fall to the Weakening Blast with little effort. Escape, Debilitate and Shield Probe would work to keep the incoming damage to a minimum as the Imperial Agent controlled the field.
The Sniper adds a variety of interesting skills to the pallet of the Imperial Agent. One of the most interesting skills is called Takedown. One can basically target any one under 30% health and attempt to take them out with one shot... that is awesome!
Let us examine some of the skills we will incorporating on the Sniper side of the tree:
- Ambush - Instant + requires cover.
- Laze Target - Instant, 100% critical next snipe.
- Hold Position - Instant, increase ranged defense 20% and immune to interrupts/push-back.
- Leg Shot - Instant, target immobilized 5 seconds with damage break after 2 seconds.
- Cover Pulse - Instant, push back with up to 5 target immobilization for 5 seconds; damage break after 2 seconds.
- Takedown - Instant + target must be under 30% health.
- Entrench - Instant + requires cover; immune to all controlling effects.
- Suppressive Fire - Channeled, up to 3 targets within 5 meters; Connal.
- Shatter Shot - Instant; Armor reduction 20%.
- Series of Shots - Channeled + requires cover.
- Ballistic Shield - Instant + requires cover; includes allies in 10 meters, increases ranged defense 20%.
- Target Acquired - Instant, increases Alacrity 20% for 10 seconds.
Digging in to Sniper allows one to see this class shine brightly. Here one can easily determine that this is likely one of the most powerful single point DPS classes in the game. Already the core skill set is enhanced, not even going into the Marksmanship tree, and many new combinations spring to life right here. A Lethal Sniper tree would look something like this.Here a easy combination to finish most targets in PvP would be:
Laze Target, Ambush/Snipe, Flash Bang, Target Acquired, Cover Fire, Series of Shots, Cover Pulse/Leg Shot, Scatter Shot, Snipe/Ambush and Takedown.
Here I grabbed the Gear Head for the Cunning increase then continued to round out Ambush, Snipe, Series of Shots and Cull. Corner stone elements of this build. From cover the Imperial Agent under this build would lay out DoT poison damage while leg shooting enemies that threaten the agent directly.
Considering the wide range and versatility of the Sniper advanced class, the Engineering helps to round out the hang out in the background style of player. The general feel I get from the tree and in play was that Engineers are best suited for action from behind cover, exiting from one cover to another in pursuit of their prey, or falling back as they detour the advance of a group. A Sniper Engineering tree would look something like this.
Interrogation Probe would be the key element in this arsenal and would be placed on the target with the highest mobility and threat, followed closely with Leg Shot and a series of grenades with Explosive Probe tossed in to tick off cluster bombs. For some of the other classes it is important to stay behind cover as Force Leap, the Jedi Push/Pull and other similar control skills can not be used on people in cover. Getting into cover and to another strategic cover during play will be critical to this tree’s success.
Probably one of the best ranged DPS trees I have seen in the game, Marksmanship allows the Imperial Agent the chance to unload some serious heat with peak bursts over time. Another tree that is heavily Cover dependant, the Marksmanship tree allows a wider range of single point DPS to lead into Takedown. A Sniper Marksmanship tree would look something like this.
Now that this tree is fleshed out Imperial Agent gains a neat little ability called Diversion, this not only lays down a smoke screen lowing the targets accuracy, yet it also exposes them from cover. This skill is similar to the Smugglers skill and is very handy against targets under cover in both PvE and PvP.
The standard rotation moves to become a little more complex yet much more deadly. One would likely use: Take Cover, Leg Shot, Laze Target, Ambush, Flash Bang, Target Acquired, Series of Shots, Rapid Fire, Series of Shots, Leg Shot, Laze Target, Snipe, Followthrough, Takedown... Anything still standing after that should likely receive a Cover Pulse/Ambush, Hold Position and Entrench followed by a Ambush/Cover Pulse to push them back for Rinse and Repeat.
On the Operative side of things the Imperial Agent picks up some very useful tools. One being Stealth and the other being Healing. Like the Republic Smuggler the Imperial Agent gains the unique mass stealth skill as well. The skills that Operative add to the basic tool set are as follows:
- Tactical Advantage - Instant + requires other skills to trigger.
- Kolto Injection - Instant, heal self or other.
- Backstab - Instant + requires stealth.
- Stim Boost - Instant, energy regeneration for 45 seconds, consumes Tactical Advantage; does not break stealth.
- Diagnostic Scan - Channeled, ranged heal 30 meters.
- Kolto Infusion - Instant, requires and consumes Tactical Advantage.
- Carbine Burst - Channeled, requires/consumes Tactical Advantage; hits up to 5 targets.
- Sleep Dart - Instant, sleep for 60 seconds; does not effect droids. Requires Stealth.
- Cloaking Screen - Instant, exit combat and enter stealth.
- Toxin Scan - Instant, purge negative tech or physical debuffs.
- Sever Tendon - Instant, damage plus speed reduced for 12 seconds.
- Hidden Strike - Instant, requires stealth.
- Infiltrate - Instant, out of combat cloak for all party members in 10 meters.
- Resurrection Probe - Instant, revive a fallen ally in combat; prevents similar action for 5 minutes.
Continuing with the Lethal Operative side of things one finds some interesting developments. Not only is the Operative able to heal themselves and others, yet the damage output of the poison effects climb another 18%. A Lethal Operative tree would look something like this.
Here the focus has shifted to a more prolonged sustainability with the addition of Adrenalin Probe refunding an additional 16 energy each pulse. One could easily maintain a higher degree of DPS rotation during Raid or PvE with this build. The original strategy of nuke them with all the poison one has still stands, yet now one can sustain that high level of output over a longer period of time.
Moving on into one of the awesome stealth classes on the Imperial side, I will take a moment to explore this one a little more deeply. The main idea behind stealth classes is lethal striking from hiding to kill or severely damage the opponent before there is time to react, and in most cases return to hiding to let their pray die. A Operative Concealment tree would look something like this.
Any one comfortable with the standard sneak and strike style of combat will easily find this class build a good fit. The key elements of this build is entering Tactical Advantage at every stage you can, from concealment, during combat and exiting combat. One can have up to 2 Tactical Advantages active at any one time.
A good stacking build would follow: Steatlh, Acid Blades, Hidden Strike, Laceration, Sever Tendon, Backstab, Explosive Probe, Shiv, Cloaking Screen.
One would easily maintain 2 Tactical Advantages and could pop off Stim Boost to regain energy while the target dies off or attempts to recover. If hunting in a group Diversion could easily prevent healing by the target for up to 4 seconds, yet at the cost of stealth.
Digging into the Imperial Agents healing tree was a real treat as I learned that many aspects of this class are similar in essence to the Smuggler; In this the class is very viable as a party healer and long term Raid healing support. A Operative Medicine tree would look something like this.
Kolto Probe is the signature element here, it can stack up to 2 times and heals over 18 seconds. The follow up is Surgical Probe which consumes Tactical Advantage yet burst heals a target, and in some cases restores Tactical Advantage if the target was under 30% health. Recuperative Nanotech is the burst AoE-HoT with a 10 meter range, which is close for healers yet may prove interesting in PvP situations like Huttball. If under fire one could easily pop off Shield Probe, Kolto Probe, Adrenaline Probe and get right back into the action.
In all the Imperial Agent is one Jack of all Trades except Tanking. There is a lot of mitigation yet the critical hit absorption and armor is just not there for taking boss hits over time. In the best of times it would be best to run an Imperial Agent in a 2 man party at range or from stealth.
In contrast to all the information that I have visited, I would like to say one thing. There is no real Max/Min build out there that will please everyone all of the time. In this understand what I can achieve in my suggested builds one can achieve the same thing plus and minus elements we hold differing values in.
One can not say that either build is better than the other, yet speculate as to the value of ones play style and personal taste. This being said, feel free to experiment and go with what you feel is right for you. In the end the many hours of game time you will be paying for is your own money not any one else’s. So spend your money how you enjoy the game!
Good luck with your class building and always remember to have fun :3