I finally got around to playing with the skill trees for Sentinel. Yeah, I know, I’m behind. SHUT IT. I used the Swtor Spy PTS calculators.
At first glance, it looks like Combat gets a good headstart, because dual wield mastery is now in the second tier of that tree. I can’t imagine a spec without that talent, but maybe some theorynerds know something I don’t know. In both the Focus and Watchman specs, 8 of 10 out-of-tree points would be spoken for to get dual wield mastery.
In getting dual wield mastery (which, again, I’m assuming will be totally worth it in this brave new world) you might as well take the accuracy talent, which is now in the first row. We won’t know how desirable that is until we see how easily soft cap on accuracy can be achieved through gear.
Moving on to my spec picks. Unfortunately I can’t embed or get popup links to the new talents at this time. I tried. You’ll just have to open the trees in another tab/window.
Inexhaustible Zeal is a must-have. Let’s see, increases Juyo stacks to 6 (yes please). Increases Merciless slash stacks to 4! That means (1) you can use Merciless slash more often because the cooldown is even shorter AND (2) the time for reapplication is longer. With a 3-stack you have a 7.5 sec CD and a 4.5 sec window for reapplication. Now it’s 6 sec CD, 6 sec window for reapplication! The only problem I see with this is finding the focus for this hog every 6 seconds. (Ohnoes!)
Weakening Wounds is an interesting concept and goes nicely with watchman’s group utility. Instead of healing people, it mitigates damage by making the boss do less damage (for single target, anyway). I’m not sure how much it will be up on the boss in practice Does application of a burn mean the initial application or a tick?
Zealous Ward is a neat idea but usually if I’m popping Saber Ward I’m either (1) getting attacked, in which case it would proc, and then I’d also be dead regardless or (2) taking AOE damage, which I’m not sure triggers the self-healing of Zealous Ward. Seems lackluster. Better to take force fade and use force camo like those dirty consulars use force speed.
Nerfs: Seems like some burn damage was nerfed, but the merciless slash change may compensate for that.
This spec has really interesting new abilities and doesn’t have difficult choices about what to take in the other trees.
Hand of Justice… holy shit guys, this is so awesome, and I understand why it can only occur once every 20 seconds because it’s a cooldown reset on Precision Slash (which, admittedly, might not come at the most opportune time) but ALSO you can use dispatch on targets at high health. Dispatch is hawt.
Saber Screen looks like it will be up all the time and help combat’s survivability (as this tree’s version of the Watchman trickle of self-healing).
Contemplation is interesting, because you’ll start your fight with 15 stacks of centering (halfway to being able to trigger something useful), and I can live with that! I wouldn’t spend points there if there were any other good place to put them, but I think it’s the best place given the other choices. Of course, with coordinating 8-16 people on a raid, don’t be surprised if the first pull countdown is paused and your stacks drop off… or they start up when you’re mid-meditate and only at 5 stacks or so.
I can easily pick up anything I would ever want in the other two trees with my remaining points.
Zen has been changed pretty heartily. Instead of getting a WTFPWN of decreased cost on blade rush, it’s just a craptastic alacrity boost. Basically it allows you to cram 1 extra attack into the window after hitting Precision Slash. Whoopdie. Sorry, with computer latency and whatnot, small alacrity boosts don’t really do it for me. Because there is no longer a focus cost reduction coupled with Zen, you will now need to pool focus more before Zen. I’m not sure how much this change will affect overall dps, but it definitely limits our burst awesomeness.
Focus is my weak point, since I just started dabbling in it for dailies recently – admittedly I might be missing something but what the fucknuggets? Singularity only stacks to 3 and its bonus damage is seriously reduced. There seem to be more crit bonuses and a handful of buffs to single-target dps and defensive cooldowns. Overall, I’m underwhelmed.
Momentum – this is pretty cool and gives a sorely-needed single-target boost.
Force Health – this makes guarded by the force a lot more viable to use in situations other than “ack we’re all going to die!” without the healers completely KILLING you. I can see it being more useful in PvP, but sometimes for big, unavoidable AOE in PvE.
As for secondary trees, I’m not sure what to do. I consider Valor and Focused Slash mandatory. I also consider dual wield mastery mandatory, but that’s now in the second tier of combat tree, so clearly something has to be sacrificed.