Star Wars: The Old Republic offers up eight different classes, and each of these classes can split off into two different Advanced Classes. This design allows for a lot of flexibility and you'll soon realize you're able to specialize in either a damage or a support role no matter what Advanced Class you end up picking, well, almost. Enter the Sith Marauder, a dual-wielding Advanced Class available to the Sith Warrior. The Marauder is all about damage -- regardless of what specialization you pick. You're all about dealing death, and you can pick from three different ways of doing it!
The Marauder uses the Rage resource as its main mechanic. As the Marauder attacks, he builds Rage, and certain abilities can be activated to spend that Rage. Additionally, Marauders build stacks of Fury when using Rage spending abilities or killing enemies in combat. You can gain up to 30 stacks of Fury and can spend all 30 stacks on a variety of short duration self or team-wide buffs.
- Annihilation is a spec that focuses on Damage-over-Time bleed effects and offers increased survivability through bits of self-healing.
- Carnage is a direct-damage spec that focuses on lightsaber attacks and Force Scream. If you want to feel like a Dovahkiin with lightsabers, this is your spec.
- Rage is a shared tree that is all about controlling the movement of your enemies as well as increasing your own mobility. Generally suited more for PvP.
Playing as Annihilation:
- Rupture: Your main source of bleed damage. Deals damage upfront and then a significant amount of damage over 6 seconds. 2 Rage, 15s cooldown. This should be ticking on your target at all times.
- Deadly Saber: Grants a 15s buff that allows your next three melee attacks to cause a 6s bleed. The bleed can stack up to three times, but cannot occur more than once every 1.5s. 12s cooldown. Uptime of this ability should be one of your highest priorities.
- Annihilate: Deals a massive amount of burst damage. 5 Rage, 12s cooldown. Grants 'Annihilator' buff for 15s, lowering the cooldown of your next Annihilate by 1.5s. Stacks up to three times.
- Vicious Slash: Your basic spammable Rage spender. 3 Rage. No cooldown.
- Juyo Form: Grants a stackable 2% damage buff for 15s. Stacks up to five times.
- Berserk: While in Juyo form, Berserk will cause each tick of your bleeds to heal 1% of your parties max health and will also buff your bleed critical chance by 100%.
Annihilation is a great set to play in PvE. Early on, when your talent points generally don't make the most impact, Enraged Slash from Annihilation will give you the most bang for your buck no matter what specialization you ultimately end up going down. Obviously, if you plan on actually going down Annihilation it just brings you that much closer to goodies like Deadly Saber and Annihilate. The front-loaded damage is still pretty good early on in Annihilation, but what is great is the extra mitigation provided to you from the bits of self-healing you can do with abilities like Berserk in Juyo form or talents like Hungering. You'll want to open up with the standard Force Charge to Battering Assault to get as much Rage at the beginning of the fight as possible. Keep Rupture up (but let it run its course) on your target and keep Deadly Saber going as often as possible once you pick it up at level 20. Of course, once Annihilate comes into the picture you'll want to keep that going as well. Don't neglect the talent Subjugation, as it will reduce the cooldown of Disruption (your interrupt) to 6 seconds, affording you valuable additional survivability in many solo situations and allowing you to take some of the pressure off the tank in group situations.
Annihilation is a great specialization to go down as a Marauder, but it's really all about juggling cooldowns, both active ability cooldowns and optimizing your passive proc-based cooldowns. Also, be sure to stack Accuracy and Crit/Surge to take advantage of the critical heavy nature of this specialization. Accuracy (up to 110%) should be your first priority. If you can't hit, you can't crit!
Playing as Carnage:
- Ataru Form: Grants a 3% accuracy buff and a 20% chance to deal additional damage on your attacks (1.5s cooldown).
- Gore: Deals damage and grants the Gore buff for 6s, buffing armor penetration by 100%. 3 Rage, 15s cooldown.
- Vicous Slash/Massacre: Vicious Slash is your standard spammable direct-damage Rage spender, but will be replaced entirely with Massacre once you acquire it. Massacre deals similar damage to Vicious Slash, but also guarantees an Ataru form strike and buffs your chance to proc an Ataru form strike by 30% for the next 6 seconds after use. 3 Rage.
- Force Scream: FUS RO DAH! This ability is a ranged force power that does significant damage and can be talented in Carnage to buff its critical strike damage and significantly reduce its cooldown and Rage costs. 4 Rage, 12s cooldown.
- Berserk: In Ataru form, reduces the Rage cost of Vicious Slash and Massacre by 1 and reduces the global cooldown of both these abilities by .5s. Consumes 30 Fury.
- Ravage: Insane burst damage over a 3s channeled melee ability. Targets can move out of the channel, though Carnage offers the Overwhelm talent to get around this. Amazing synergy with Gore. 30s cooldown.
Carnage is a bit more straightforward than Annihilation, but that isn't saying much since Marauders generally have complex skill rotations compared to most classes in the game. With that said, you're mainly concerned with feeding your hunger for Rage as you'll be running near empty a lot of the time with the way you tend to dump Rage. Unlike Annihilation, you'll want to open up with Force Charge into Massacre so that you can benefit from the Ataru strike on Battering Assault. From there, it's a matter of maximizing the use of the Gore buff and Berserk as often as possible. This means Gore to Ravage on cooldown and Gore to Force Scream/Massacre spam when Ravage is down. Like Annihilation, if you time your proc effects and active buff abilities correctly, you'll be putting out some significant damage as a Carnage specialized Marauder.
Playing as Rage:
- Shii-cho Form: Lightsaber stance that increases all damage by 3% and reduces all damage received by 3%.
- Vicious Slash: Your standard Rage spender. With no replacement, you'll be spamming this quite a bit in Rage spec. 3 Rage.
- Force Choke: Channeled ranged ability that stuns your opponent and deals damage over the course of 3 seconds. Builds 1 Rage per second while channeling. 60s cooldown.
- Obliterate: A second charge. Deals damage with both lightsabers. 3 Rage, 15s cooldown.
- Force Crush: Channeled ability that deals damage and slows the target each second over 5 seconds. Slows target from 60% to 10% over the duration of the channel. Deals a burst of damage at the end of the channel. 4 Rage, 21s cooldown.
- Smash: PBAOE Rage spender. Buffed significantly by lower tier talents in Annihilation and a number of talents in Rage. 3 Rage, 15s cooldown.
- Predation: Consumes 30 stacks of Fury to grant a team-wide 10% ranged/melee defense buff as well as a 50% speed buff.
Rage is truthfully more of a PvP specialization than a PvE specialization, but as far as PvE goes it's probably the most standard of the lot. You'll want to use Force Crush and Choke on cooldown. Spam Vicious Slash along with Berserk whenever you can when facing a single target or Smash when facing a group of enemies. Ideally, you'll want to weave Smashes in between Force Chokes and Force Crushes to take advantage of the significant damage buff provided by the Shockwave talent.
The Marauder Wrap-Up
Marauders are a user-intensive class that really brings the pain when wielded in the right hands. They aren't as straightforward as some of the game's other classes, but if you take the time to master this class you'll find it to be a very rewarding experience. However, the major disadvantage to playing a Marauder is the lack of flexibility afforded to other Advanced Classes. Sure, you can pick from a number of different ways to kill things, but if you feel like you might want to alternate between tanking and doing damage, you should definitely consider the Sith Juggernaut instead.