There's a lot to love about the Bounty Hunter in Star Wars the Old Republic. Namely, you get to blow stuff up and set things on fire... a lot. In this first player guide, we'll take a look at the Mercenary Advanced Class and offer some insight on how you should play it. Feel free to add your own thoughts below! The Mercenary is an advanced class of the Bounty Hunter. Its skill trees are Bodyguard, Arsenal and Pyrotech. The Pyrotech tree is shared with the Powertech Advanced Class, but for now we're focusing solely on the Merc. Also worth noting? The Mercenary is the mirror class of the Commando, meaning names and animations of skills may be different, but the class functions exactly the same. We'll visit the Pyrotech Tree and PVP strategies in a later guide.
Playing a Bodyguard:
Bodyguard is a very basic healing spec. Healing Scan, Rapid Scan and Rapid Shots will be your main heals. Rapid Shots heals if used on friendly targets if you have Combat Support Cylinder active. As an instant heal that causes no heat it can be spammed but the amount healed is very low. Healing Scan has a cast time, generates 16 heat and is on a 12 second cooldown and if talented will reduce the heat generated by your next Rapid Scan. Rapid Scan is a weaker version of Healing Scan without a cooldown, but generates 25 heat unless used after a Healing Scan. Rapid Scan will also generate three extra charges of Combat Support Cylinder if talented. Cure removes debuffs, Kolto Shield allows your tank to get hit harder without dying as fast through its damage absorption, Kolto Missiles lets you heal 3 targets at once while increasing the healing they receive by 10% if talented and Emergency Scan is just that, an instant heal for emergency situation.
Playing an Arsenal:
The Arsenal spec is all about reacting to procs and layering debuffs. Unload is your most powerful attack with talents nearly doubling its power, and attacks causing the cooldown to finish much earlier than it would alone. Tracer Missile is your main attack, adding heat signatures to the target, lower its armor and causing your next Rail Shot to do more damage. Heatseeker Missiles also does a large amount of damage but is not prioritized as high as using unload. Its advantage is that it is an instant attack. If everything else is on cooldown, and you have all 5 stacks of Tracer Lock built, throwing in a Rail Shot won’t hurt your damage. Rapid Shot is your filler shot when your heat is too high and vent heat is on cooldown. Using any skill is better than using no skill, but if you can manage, every skill is better than Rapid Shot.
Playing a Pyrotech:
The Pyrotech is a very CC focused spec with lots of dots. For PvE rotation, Incendiary Missile should be your first attack used and used again just before its dot runs out to keep the burning effect up. Besides that Rail Shot will be your strongest attack, ignoring 30% of your targets armor, venting 8 heat after use and refreshing Combustible Gas Cylinders burn effect if active. To get full use of Rail Shot as a Mercenary though, using Unload on cooldown and Power Shot as a filler will reset the cooldown of Rail Shot and make it free. On those occasions where you have too much heal, use Rapid Shots to give it a chance to cool down. Luckily the Pyrotech spec gets 30 seconds off the cooldown of vent heat. To be honest, it's probably the least useful tree of the bunch, but it's great for certain situations.
The Mercenary Wrap-Up
Ultimately, how you play the Mercenary is completely up to you. As both a healer and a DPS class, it can really lay down the hurt and offer up plenty of support when need be. The Powertech is the more tank-appropriate class, but for players looking for a lot of versatility and the ability to step up and heal when their team needs it, there's no better Empire Advanced Class than the Mercenary.