[Top 10] SWTOR Best Builds for PvE DPS

SWTOR Best Builds for PvE DPS, SWTOR Best Builds DPS
Tackle any PvE content in Star Wars: The Old Republic with the proper builds (and the Force) on your side!

    Now that you’ve chosen a class and playstyle that works best for you in Star Wars: The Old Republic, the next big thing to worry about is how to build that to its fullest potential. Many different classes and specs have different utilities and Tacticals to choose from these days. At the end of the day, it’s best to choose what works for you – maybe one Tactical or utility is considered the best, but it might not be your best. Try different things out and experiment! That’s really the only way to figure out what suits your playstyle. 

    A big thing about the way DPS are built in SWTOR is the gear. Gear that drops from crates, Flashpoints or raids typically has armorings, enhancements, and mods already in it, but it’s up to the player to minimize and maximize the stats on that gear for optimal performance. As a general rule, all DPS classes and specs follow the same footprint for stat allocation at the highest level. There’s a few exceptions across certain specs (some require a touch more alacrity to feel smooth, while others might not), but for the most part, they all want to hit these thresholds when gearing up:

  • 1590 accuracy (110% is a must): this threshold ensures that you won’t be missing on attacks, so it’s crucial to have this percentage of accuracy. You won’t be doing your optimal damage if you’re missing!
  • 1213 alacrity (7.12%): this stat mostly depends on your preferred playstyle. I’ve seen some people take it up to 1895. Both are viable, so I would say to pick whichever threshold works best for your playstyle.
  • 3300 crit (42.00%): this is an important stat for a DPS. The larger your critical rating, the harder your abilities will hit. Remember however, that there are diminishing returns if you go too far over 3500, which will cause your outgoing numbers to be decreased in their values.
  • The rest of your stats like Power, Endurance and Mastery should all naturally be taken care of as you take care of these other stat thresholds. Each mod and enhancement has tertiary stats, which include these, so as long as you’re hitting the above three markers, you should be fine in every stat department!

There’s a little wiggle room with these numbers, but these are just the general places to aim for when you’re gearing up. Each of these classes and specs should be using a Proficient Stim as well, which has critical and accuracy rating on it. This helps with allocating points into both of those stats, as it’s basically a “free” bit of points. All DPS specs should also use Eviscerating Crystals in their mainhand and offhand items, as these provide another free +41 to your Critical rating with each crystal. 

    Gear isn’t the only thing that goes into a build, however. When we talk about building a class or spec, we’re actually talking about several different factors that go into the whole picture. On the one hand, you have the gear, which is for sure important if you’re doing end-game content. Alongside that gear, is also a choice of set bonus, amplifiers and your Tactical (which doesn’t exactly count as a piece of gear, but it is equipped on your character, so that’s how I’ll classify it here). On the other hand, you have your utility points, of which there are 24 in total that must be split across three different tiers. 

Let’s also do a quick rundown of some terms we’ll be talking about below:

  • Set bonus: When gearing up, you will have access to different armor sets that will have certain effects attached to them. In SWTOR’s case, there will be piece thresholds, where “x effect will take place” when 2 pieces are worn, 4 pieces are worn, and 6 pieces are worn. Having a full set bonus (6 pieces equipped) is usually the most advantageous choice, but you can always experiment with these to see what suits you best. The bonus itself is usually tailored to the class, advanced class or the specific spec, and will provide a benefit to some ability within your kit. It’s important to have a set bonus, because they can provide amazing buffs to your abilities that can help you perform better during an encounter, or even give a current ability another purpose. 
  • Tactical: These are relatively new items that were introduced with 6.0! These are an extra slot in your character sheet that is currently unable to be augmented like your base gear. A Tactical is only usable at level 75, and can wildly change how your class is played. Somewhat like a set bonus, this single item can change how abilities interact, or buff certain others. They’re also tailored to your class or spec, though there are a few which are considered General Tacticals that can be used by any class (these however, are not ideal picks, since the ones that deal directly with your class or spec provide a much larger benefit).
  • Amplifiers: These are also new with 6.0, and allow you to further optimize how your class and spec perform by providing your gear with essentially an extra bonus stat. Amplifiers are attached to armorings and mods (the items that go into your gear to give it the proper stats), but can be separately re-rolled within changing anything else about the specific modification or armoring they are attached to. This is nice, because it gives you a chance to get the amplifiers that would benefit your spec the most. 

10. Sorcerer - Madness

    Mirror Class: Sage - Balance

“The Dark Side is a pathway to many abilities, some considered to be… unnatural.”: Leech the life from your opponents with the devastating power of the Madness Sorcerer.

    A unique spec in the fact that it heals itself through some of its damaging abilities, the Madness Sorcerer for sure embodies the idea of an unnatural Dark Sider! While quite a bit squishier than its other DPS spec – Lightning – Madness is still a viable choice. It will easily outperform in the right conditions (lots and lots of adds), but when it comes to single-target combat, it tends to fall a bit behind. Regardless, it’s still a fun spec to play, with satisfying DoT spreads. It’s easy to feel like a true Sorcerer when playing Madness.

  • This spec excels in AoE utility, as most of its abilities are tailored toward controlling large amounts of adds with its DoTs and spreader. All Sorcerers also provide a raid buff as part of their kit, which makes them an excellent choice for raiding.
  • As mentioned above, Madness is unique in the fact that it is able to heal itself through a few of its damaging abilities, taking life from its target and redistributing it into the player. This is great for its survivability, as it gives you a bit of passive healing throughout entire fights.
  • Gathering Storm is the best set bonus to take, not just for Madness but for Lightning as well. At 6 pieces, this set bonus reduces the cooldown of your Polarity Shift (your alacrity buff) when you use Force Speed, and makes Polarity Shift last for a few more seconds. With only 4 pieces of this set, Force Speed also allows your next Force attack to hit harder, which also doubles while your Polarity Shift is currently activated. It’s strong no matter how you look at it.
  • The Tempest of Rho and Slow Mercy Tacticals are your best choices for a Madness Sorcerer, depending on which situation you find yourself in. If you’re dealing more so with single-target situations, the first might suit you better, while the second is much better for AoE situations. Both of these Tacticals basically just allow your DoTs to do more damage due to another ability’s effect. Your DoTs ticking more often or harder, or on more enemies, is never a bad thing!
  • Amplifiers: Madness Sorcerers should be taking Force Sensitivity amplifiers, as all of your abilities are based in Force-type damage. 
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://vulkk.com/2020/01/11/swtor-6-0-madness-sorcerer-pve-guide-by-endonae/ 

9. Marauder - Carnage

    Mirror Class: Sentinel - Combat

Blades out: Dish out dizzying damage with the burst-based Carnage Marauder’s lightsabers.

    With two lightsaber blades in each hand, the Marauder is usually quick to charge into battle. In the hands of a proficient player, Carnage can perform extremely well, but because it relies so heavily on excellent timing and a deeper understanding of how the spec works, it’s a bit harder to learn compared to the other Marauder specs. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice for an average player however, as even then, it performs on-level with Annihilation. 

  • Carnage is amazing when it comes to burst damage, and your build should reflect this. While being lethal is a priority, Marauders also have access to one of the four raid buffs available in SWTOR, as well as access to a useful raid-wide ability called Predation (which can act as a group-cleanse and speed buff).
  • Descent of the Fearless is a solid choice for your set bonus, because it provides you with a damage increase once you use a charge of Furious Power. With the full 6-piece set, it also gives you a chance to build up a charge of Furious Power, which again increases your potential damage output. More damage is never a bad thing to have.
  • Fanged God Form is a great choice for a Carnage Marauder when it comes to Tacticals. This Tactical changes your rotation somewhat and increases your overall DPS output by buffing your critical chance by 10% and reduces the cost of your Massacre. 
  • Amplifiers: For a Carnage Marauder, you should be taking Weapon Expertise amplifiers, which increase the damage dealt by your weapon attacks. Most of your damaging abilities rely on your lightsabers themselves, so buffing their effectiveness is very useful.
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://mmobits.com/2020/01/07/carnage-marauder-pve-guide-by-dantiko/

8. Mercenary - Arsenal

    Mirror Class: Commando - Gunnery

“Watch those wrist rockets!”: Like the spec name suggests, you’ll come into any fight armed to the teeth with the best tech money can buy.

    If you’ve ever wanted to experience the Bounty Hunter lifestyle, Mercenary is a good pick for you! With twin pistols, the Mercenary can provide decent AoE coverage while also dishing out excellent single-target damage, all while highly mobile. Super survivable, the Arsenal Mercenary has an easy-to-learn rotation that is forgiving to even the newest player.

  • The Arsenal Mercenary is perfect for firing on the move and providing not only single-target utility but AoE utility as well. Though your AoE potential is for sure not as impressive as a Sorcerer or a Sniper’s, you can still control groups of enemies with ease all on your own.
  • As a Mercenary, you are able to easily target-swap without losing too much damage output, making this class and spec a great choice for raids or even just casual play. Mercenaries also have access to another of the four raid buffs, which gives any group an edge.
  • Apex Predator is the best set bonus to take, providing you can acquire it (it only drops from the newest Operation – The Nature of Progress – currently, and can’t be bought from the vendor). If you can’t get this set bonus, Concentrated Fire is another excellent choice. You won’t suffer if you can’t get your hands on Apex Predator, so when in doubt, choose Concentrated Fire.
  • Primed Ignition is the best single-target Tactical to take, as it causes your Priming Shot (a main ability used in the Arsenal rotation) to burn the target, which in turn causes your next moves in the rotation to tick that existing damage. If you’re looking for a more AoE based Tactical however, I would go with Thermonuclear Fusion, as it buffs outgoing AoE damage and causes your Heatseeker Missiles to become an AoE when used correctly. 
  • Amplifiers: Armor Penetration is pretty useful as a DPS buff and should be your top choice when picking amplifiers. However, you can also pick Weapon Expertise or Periodic Intensity if those work better with your specific playstyle.
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://sites.google.com/view/merlyn-swtor/imperial/bounty-hunter/mercenary/arsenal-mercenary 

7. Sorcerer - Lightning

    Mirror Class: Sage - Telekinetics

“Unlimited Power!”: Channel your inner Palpatine as lightning arcs from your fingertips!

    Lightning is a Sith’s best friend. Equipped with a brilliant array of flashy lightning abilities, the Lightning Sorcerer is a light-show all their own. Many people who play Lightning will deviate a bit from the regular stat thresholds on DPS gear, and will opt to take a bit more alacrity (2125, or around 11%), to get the fullest uptime on their casted abilities. This is a spec specific choice based on playstyle. 

  • Lightning has amazing AoE potential, able to dizzy a group of enemies with a plethora of showy lightning abilities. Stun weaker enemies with your lightning field AoE, or stagger them with Chain Lightning, all while keeping up the pressure with single-target abilities. Though unable to DoT spread, Lightning is still a formidable spec that can easily top the numbers charts in PvE content.
  • Gathering Storm set bonus is the best for a Lightning Sorcerer, and… all DPS Sorcerers, for that matter, as you’ve likely seen above. There just isn’t a set that is better than this one for a DPS Sorcerer. You can definitely play around with the others to see if they suit you better, but for best in slot, Gathering Storm is a must.
  • The go-to Tactical for a Lightning Sorcerer is definitely Stormwatch. This amazing Tactical causes your Lightning Flash (one of your heavy hitters) to apply Stormwatch to the intended target, which in turn causes that target to take extra damage from both of your DoTs and your hardest hitting ability, Thundering Blast. It’s just a straight-up DPS increase that you get for doing pretty much nothing special, so it’s a must-have.
  • Amplifiers: Like Madness, a Lightning Sorcerer’s damage comes from its abilities, which are all Force-based attacks. So to increase your DPS, you’ll want to take Force Sensitivity amplifiers here, as well.
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://vulkk.com/2019/12/01/swtor-6-0-lightning-sorcerer-pve-guide-by-endonae/ 

6. Juggernaut - Vengeance

    Mirror Class: Guardian - Vigilance 

“Careful not to choke on your aspirations…”: The Juggernaut is a ruthless combatant, primed to take on any foe without even breaking a sweat.

    If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you have the raw, intimidating power of Darth Vader himself, the Juggernaut is the class for you. Complete with Vader’s signature Choke move, the Juggernaut is amazingly powerful in any situation, with excellent survivability and superb damage potential.

  • The Vengeance Juggernaut has amazing potential in PvE. Easily able to shrug off incoming damage, it is perfect for acting as a DPS with a Taunt (DwT) for sticky situations.
  • Vengeance is great for bursting down large groups with its Vengeful Slam and DoT spreads, while also providing excellent single-target utility. The Juggernaut is also able to bring a sunder to the group with the right utility point, which is invaluable for a raid setting.
  • Descent of the Fearless is the best set bonus for Vengeance, and really, can’t be beat for any Warrior advanced class (as seen with the Carnage Marauder).
  • Hemophilic Slash is by far the best Tactical for Vengeance. It doubles the damage of Force Scream and Impale (one of your main DoTs), which means more damage overall. 
  • Amplifiers: Juggernauts have a plethora of amplifiers that can work out for them. The best to take would have to be Weapon Expertise, just like the Marauder, though as a DoT spec, Periodic Intensity might help you with your damage output as well. Amplifiers are really up to player taste, so test them out and see what works best for you.
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://vulkk.com/2019/11/25/swtor-6-0-vengeance-juggernaut-guide-by-anatessia/ 

5. Sniper - Virulence 

    Mirror Class: Gunslinger - Dirty Fighting

Death from afar: Sit back and rain down the pain from the safety of your Cover Shield as a Virulence Sniper.

    As the Sniper’s dedicated DoT spec, the Virulence Sniper excels at laying down heavy fire as its poison cascades on the enemy. Like Madness, many people who play Virulence will tell you that more alacrity is better for this particular spec. More alacrity means your DoTs tick faster on the target. It’s recommended to take around 3200 alacrity for Virulence, which will drastically decrease the amount you can put into your critical chance, but with Virulence’s unique kit, it actually works a bit better for them to have a lower critical chance and a higher alacrity. In the end, it’s up to what feels good to you. If you feel like you aren’t hitting hard enough, you can go with the general DPS build – both work. 

  • Virulence is excellent for single-target damage on bosses, with high up-time on your DoT usage. While not as proficient as Engineering or Marksmanship when dealing with adds, it still has a lot of tricks up its sleeve to deal out large amounts of AoE damage.
  • With the right utility point, Snipers gain passive healing from their cover-shield, which provides them with better survivability. They also bring a huge shield AoE with them to any group setting, which allows their entire group to become protected while under it, absorbing a small amount of incoming damage.
  • Established Foothold set is the best to pick, because it allows you to use your Entrench much more frequently by reducing its cooldown. For a class that performs its best when it is stationary, being able to use Entrench to basically stop anything from smacking you out of cover is a must-have. At 6 pieces, this set allows Entrench to also increase your damage reduction, which as we’re well aware by now, is a smart decision. 
  • Exploited Weaknesses is a must-have Tactical for single-target situations. It buffs the damage of your Weakening Blast and lets your Lethal Shot apply another DoT, so it’s another case of a Tactical providing a plain and simple increase to your overall DPS. In the case of AoE, Airborne Agents is a good selection, but is situational to the need of the scenario. All it does is basically make your AoE more powerful. 
  • Amplifiers: Periodic Intensity is the best amplifier choice for a Virulence Sniper, as all their abilities are centered around applying DoTs. Tech Wizardry is also viable, but for this particular spec, a buff to your DoTs can’t be beat. 
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://vulkk.com/2020/01/05/swtor-6-0-virulence-sniper-pve-guide/ 

4. Operative - Lethality

    Mirror Class: Scoundrel - Ruffian

Poison gets the job done: Bring about a swift end to unsuspecting foes with a cascade of poison. 

    Somewhat similar to the Virulence Sniper, the Lethality Operative also deals its damage via poison. Quite unlike Virulence however, is its melee nature. Rather than casting from the backlines, a Lethality Operative will be right in the thick of things, slicing and stabbing away with its poisoned blades. While usually overlooked when placed side-by-side with Concealment, the other DPS spec Operative offers, Lethality can hold its own fairly well, with better self-healing and DoT spread. 

  • Lethality’s claim to fame is their instant-cast self-heal after a successful Exfiltrate, which lets their Kolto Infusion be used while on the move. Because of this, their survivability is amazing, and their DPS is nothing to scoff at, either.
  • Operatives as a whole bring the fourth and final raid buff to the group. In addition, they can provide access to Infiltrate, which allows them to smuggle their group members into any area through an AoE stealth field. 
  • Tactician is the best set bonus to take. With 4 pieces, this set bonus allows your Sever Tendon and Toxic Scan to be reset when you use Tactical Overdrive, while also increasing your overall critical chance when you gain a Tactical Advantage. With a 6-piece set, you gain an extra stack of Tactical Advantage. Since those stacks are required to utilize many of your abilities, having more of them is always a good thing.
  • Synox Shots is by far the best Tactical to use for PvE. Your Toxic Blast will do up to 75% more damage, and restores some Energy (your class resource) when it critically hits. This is another case of a Tactical providing a DPS increase. 
  • Amplifiers: Like Virulence, Lethality is going to benefit from using Periodic Intensity amplifiers. However, Tech Wizardry is also a solid choice, and makes it easier to use the same gear if you decide to swap to a Concealment Operative at any point, which means less work and less credits spent. If you absolutely love Lethality though or aren’t worried about trying out Concealment, Periodic Intensity is your best bet. 
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://vulkk.com/2019/12/03/swtor-6-0-lethality-operative-guide/ 

3. Operative - Concealment

    Mirror Class: Scoundrel - Scrapper

A dangerous game of hide-and-seek: Get in and get out before your opponent even knows what hit them with the Concealment Operative.

    Have a blast positioning yourself behind enemies to hit them with a sneaky backstab, and laugh while doing it. The morbidly amused Concealment Operative is a master of stealth and ambushes, with off-heals for excellent survivability, tactical rolls for amazing mitigation and an efficient rotation that can stagger any opponent.

  • Concealment works best when it is used as a single-target spec, though there are some Tacticals out there that can boost your AoE potential. It’s highly mobile with both its Exfiltrate and Holotraverse abilities, and can dish out huge burst damage with ease.
  • Like Lethality, Concealment also has access to the fourth raid buff and Infiltrate!
  • Tactician is once more the best option for this class and specific spec. You really can’t go wrong with having access to an extra Tactical Advantage.
  • Acid Lash is a strong Tactical, causing Acid Blade damage to become triggered when you use Lacerate, while also doing 60% more damage. Again, a simple DPS increase. Acid Blade would normally only happen by Backstabbing, and due to its cooldown and the duration of the DoT itself, it typically meant that the uptime on Acid Blade would only be about half of the time. With this Tactical, you can pretty much have nearly 100% uptime, since Laceration is one of your spammable moves as a Concealment Operative. That’s a huge DPS increase. 
  • Amplifiers: Tech Wizardry is the best choice for Concealment when it comes to amplifiers. All of your damage is tech-based, which means that your abilities will be slightly buffed by using Tech Wizardry.
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://sites.google.com/view/merlyn-swtor/imperial/imperial-agent/operative/concealment-operative 

2. Sith Assassin - Deception

    Mirror Class: Jedi Shadow - Infiltration

“I am one with the Force, the Force is with me.”: The Force is your ally as a Deception Assassin, with you every step of the way as you move elegantly throughout the field of battle.

    An insanely fun class to play, the Deception Assassin is a highly mobile burst spec that delights in taking down its foes with a surprise stealth attack. Elegant and easy-to-learn, the Deception Assassin performs well in almost any situation, whether it be PvE or PvP. 

  • Perhaps the best single-target spec, the Deception Assassin excels in controlling targets with highly adaptable movesets and extreme mobility. Though you may be chasing enemies around more often as a melee class, you won’t notice it as a Deception Assassin – you’re faster than them all!
  • Death Knell is the best set bonus to take for the Deception Assassin. With 4 pieces, the cooldown of your Recklessness will become reduced. When you use a stack of Recklessness, your next Maul or Assassinate will critically hit. At 6 pieces, your Recklessness will increase your melee damage per stack when consumed. This is extremely powerful for a spec that uses Recklessness pretty much on cooldown as part of its rotation, and is a huge DPS increase. 
  • The Awakened Flame is the best Tactical for single-target damage. It allows your Ball Lightning to apply a DoT to your target, with a near 100% uptime, making it very powerful in almost any situation. May Cause Injury helps with AoE utility, as it turns your Discharge into an AoE after Severing Slash is activated (akin to how a Darkness Assassin’s Discharge behaves), but since Deception excels with single-target damage, it’s recommended to take Awakened Flame first and foremost. 
  • Amplifiers: Armor Penetration amplifiers work the best for Deception, and pairs very well with The Awakened Flame Tactical. 
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://vulkk.com/2019/11/22/swtor-6-0-deception-assassin-guide-by-zak/ 

1. Powertech - Pyrotech

    Mirror Class: Vanguard - Plasmatech

Flames cleanse all!: Heat up the battlefield with explosive displays of fiery death.

    The Pyrotech Powertech (PT), is solidly in the meta as of 6.0. Numberswise, it is currently the best performing DPS, with some great group utility that can benefit nearly any fight. While it doesn’t have the best survivability compared to the other classes, and is a little lacking on defensives, it’s easy to make up for this shortcoming with the damage it pumps out.

  • As mentioned, this spec is topping in damage output currently, allowing for some huge numbers during almost every encounter and ensuring that all your enemies fall quickly and efficiently. However, PTs in general also bring some excellent group utility to a raid, namely Sonic Rebounders (which is probably the first thing you hear when someone mentions PTs), which allow for excellent cheeses for many raid encounters. 
  • Meteor Brawler is an excellent choice for the Pyrotect PT. With 6 pieces of this set up to seven different rotational moves can give you stacks of Firefall if used while Explosive Fuel is active. When Explosive Fuel finishes, you’ll deal damage to eight enemies, which scales accordingly with the amount of stacks you have. Because it hits so many enemies and can stack up to seven times, it can quickly become your hardest hitting ability. It doesn’t end here, though. Meteor Brawler also gives you a damage buff after you use your Flaming Fist on a target, which is again, a baseline DPS increase. Furthermore, once your Explosive Fuel finishes, the rest of your abilities produce 75% less Heat (your class resource) for a small window, meaning you can pump out damage without worrying about your Heat generation. Remember, like the Mercenary, the PT’s class resource works backwards when compared to the other class’ resources. So, you want your yellow bar to be empty, rather than full. 
  • The Superheated Fuel Tactical buffs every ability in your rotation (besides one or two) when your Explosive Fuel is active. You guessed it, it’s a DPS increase!
  • Amplifiers: Tech Wizardry amplifiers are the best choice for the Pyrotech PT, since the PT deals tech-based damage. The good news is, if you don’t like Pyrotech and would rather try the Advanced Prototype spec for PT, both specs benefit from using Tech Wizardry, so it’s also a versatile choice!
  • Further details regarding utility selection and ability descriptions: https://vulkk.com/2020/01/04/swtor-6-0-pyrotech-powertech-pve-guide/ 

    There’s obviously a lot of nitty gritty details about what excels the best for each class and spec, and it certainly takes a long time to fully grasp the in’s and out’s of their unique kits. It’s not really something you can learn completely in a night. The best you can do is read, experiment and see what works for you as a player! As long as you’re having fun, then it’s working as intended.

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A druid where one would least expect it -New Jersey- Morgan is happiest when immersing herself in the magic of another world, whether in the pages of a book or the technicolor of a beloved video game.
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