This is a preliminary guide that provides details on abilities and skill changes and initial recommendations for skill tree choices and an overview on the changes to the rotation. I suggest reading this guide in combination with the 6.0 class guide to understand the previous rotation to then adapt to 7.0 as discussed briefly herein. More detailed guides will be forthcoming after preliminary guides are posted for all disciplines.
Combat Style Abilities & Passive Skills
Discipline Passive Skills
Utilize an offensive lightsaber form, increasing all damage dealt by 6%, melee damage by an additional 5%, damage reduction by 5% and movement speed by 15%. All attacks that consume focus will refund 1 focus when used.
Plasma Brand finishes the active cooldown on Blade Barrage and generates 3 Focus. Blade Storm causes the target to burn for elemental damage over 6 seconds.
Force Sweep and Vigilant Thrust spread your burning effects to all targets they damage, if at least one of the targets is already affected by your burns. In addition, Cyclone Slash deals 25% more damage to burning targets.
Overhead Slash sets the target ablaze for elemental damage over 6 seconds and beats the target down for 45 seconds. Beat Down targets take 5% more damage from melee attacks.
Force Leap grants Robust, providing immunity to interrupts, stuns, knockdowns and incapacitating effects for 4 seconds. Additionally, during this time, damage reduction is increased by 20%.
Plasma Brand, Overhead Slash, Whirling Blade and Vigilant Thrust increase the critical chance of your next Blade Storm by 50%. Lasts 15 seconds. Stacks up to 2 times.
Increases the damage dealt by your burning effects by 15%. In addition, your Blade Barrage and burning damage has a 30% chance to trigger Keening, which finishes the cooldown on Whirling Blade and makes your next Whirling Blade free and usable on a target with any health level. This effect cannot occur more than once every 20 seconds.
Increases the critical chance of Plasma Brand, Vigilant Thrust and burning effects by 10%.
For each of your burning effects active on an enemy target, you deal 5% more burn damage, up to a maximum of 15% more burn damage while Plasma Brand, Burning Blade, and Burning Purpose are each burning a target.
Blade Storm (modified)
Now also causes the target to burn for elemental damage over 6 seconds.
45s cooldown. Immediately reduces threat towards all current enemies by a moderate amount. Player targets deal 30% less damage for 6 seconds when attacking anyone other than you.
10m range, 1.5s channel, 60s cooldown. Subdues the target, stunning it for 4 seconds. Deals kinetic damage and builds 3 focus over the duration. This ability can be channeled while moving.
60s cooldown. Temporarily increases your maximum health by 30% for 20 seconds and removes all cleansable effects. When the effect ends, the health is lost.
Discipline Skill Tree
Cauterizing Brand seems to be the better option for single target damage than Branding Smite though more testing is needed to verify Branding Smite is working as intended.
Branding Burst is very powerful for AoE situations and together with Cut to Pieces makes Vigilance even stronger than in 6.x for AoE encounters.
Debilitating is preferred for the extra energy, which is not much but over a fight will add up and lead to more fillers. Blade Burst will be better for AoE though with Branding Burst and Cut to Pieces Vigilance does not any help in that department.
More testing is necessary. Burning Pommel is good for higher guaranteed damage and the energy generation synergizes with Searing Meditation to require very few uses of Sundering Strike for energy.
More testing is necessary. Burning Offense deals more direct damage so is a safer choice if energy is capping or not being used effectively.
More testing is needed. Searing Meditation is powerful to provide burst windows with higher DoT damage and overall fewer uses of Sundering Strike per encounter. The code is inconsistent with the tooltips for Vigilance and Vengeance, so it’s unclear if this is working as intended right now or if it will be optimal. For the moment I feel like this is the better option for single target.
(Update - testing indicates Searing Meditation is adding around 20% damage to DoTs during Burning Focus instead of 50% crit chance. That makes Critical Conditions better for now but hopefully this will be fixed in 7.0.1. If so, I expect Searing Meditation will be better for single target.)
More testing is needed. My initial thoughts are that Searing Meditation should be better because pretty high uptime on guaranteed DoT crits is stronger than the damage dealt by Burning Focus. This may come down to playstyle choice to some degree and the self heal could be pretty powerful in some multi-target situations.
All are situational but Battlefield Command is most likely to be useful for movement purposes.
Stalwart Defense is a great choice since most fights have predictable AoE damage.
War Master adds a damage buff through extra uses of Dispatch so should be taken anytime you can live without AoE DR and are using Force Charge regularly.
Saber Reflect is situational for damage disciplines as it is typically not needed as a defensive cooldown, so Blade Blitz is the better option for movement and wider range of applications to mitigate damage.
Saber Reflect should be preferred in encounters where it can be used to increase damage.
All are situational. Gather Strength can add damage on some fights so it is the default choice for me. Purifying Sweep is useful for multi-target fights for the AoE sunder. Through Peace is good for fights with steady group damage.
Level 15 - Gain 2 Abilities
4m range, 10s cooldown, costs 5 Focus. Engulfs your lightsaber in fiery plasma, instantly dealing elemental damage, with further elemental damage over 12 seconds.
45s cooldown. Ignites your burns on all targets within 10m of you, dealing a portion of their damage and generating 6 focus.
Level 23 - Pick 1 Upgrade for Plasma Brand
Branding Burst (passive)
Killing a target with direct burn damage while affected by Plasma Brand causes it to explode, hitting nearby targets.
Cauterizing Brand (passive)
Increases initial damage of Plasma Brand by 50% and reduces its cooldown by 2 seconds.
Branding Smite (passive)
While Plasma Brand is on a target, the critical hit chance of all your burn attacks on that target are increased by 10%.
Level 27 - Pick 1 Ability or Passive Skill
Debilitating Slashes (passive)
Blade Barrage immobilizes the target for 3 seconds and generates 1 focus.
Cyclone Slash (ability)
5m range, costs 3 Focus. Slashes up to 8 enemies within 5 meters in front of you for weapon damage.
Blade Burst (passive)
Blade Storm does damage to additional enemies in a cone in front and slows them by 50% for 6 seconds.
Level 35 - Gain Ability
4m range, 9s cooldown, costs 4 Focus. Executes an acrobatic attack that deals weapon damage.
Level 39 - Pick 1 Upgrade for Overhead Slash
Leaping Strike (ability)
Replaces Overhead Slash and triggers any of its effects. Leaping Strike is identical to Overhead Slash except with 10m range and immobilizing its target for 3 seconds.
Burning Pommel (passive)
Overhead Slash deals 10% additional damage and generates 1 focus for each of your periodic burn effects on the target it hits.
Burning Offense (passive)
Overhead Slash does additional critical burn damage when it hits and Overhead Slash’s critical hit chance is increased by 20%.
Level 43 - Pick 1 Ability or Passive Skill
Force Clarity (ability)
30s cooldown. Consumes all ability charges of Force Clarity and applies Force Clarity stacks to you. Each stack increases your next direct single target melee attack by 25% and is consumed whenever you deal damage with these attacks. Recharges 1 ability charge every 30 seconds.
Searing Meditation (passive)
Burning Focus no longer generates Focus. Instead, activating Burning Focus grants Searing Meditation, increasing the critical hit chance of all your periodic burn effects by 50% and generating 1 focus each time you critically hit with an elemental burn effect for 20 seconds.
Critical Conditions (passive)
Critically hitting with a burn attack reduces the cooldown of your Burning Focus by 1 second. Activation Burning Focus purges movement impairing effects and heals you for 2% of your max health for each burn effect it triggers, up to 20%.
Level 47 - Gain Ability
30m range, 10s cooldown, costs 3 Focus. Hurls the main-hand lightsaber at a target, dealing weapon damage and slowing its movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds. Only usable on targets at or below 30% max health. Replaces Dispatch.
Level 51 - Pick 1 Passive Skill
Increase the range of Blade Storm to 30 meters, but Blade Storm deals reduced damage beyond 30 meters. Additionally, Force Push deals 20% more damage and grants Unyielding Justice, allowing your next Blade Storm to deal full damage regardless of the distance from the target.
You generate 4 Focus when stunned, immobilized, put to sleep, or knocked around.
Getting attacked reduces the active cooldown of Force Leap by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds.
Level 60 - Gain Ability
5m range, 9s cooldown. Thrusts your weapon into the ground, causing a Force-empowered shockwave that deals energy damage to up to 8 enemies within 5 meters. Stuns weak and standard enemies for 3 seconds. Replaces Force Sweep.
Level 64 - Pick 1 Passive Skill
All area effect damage is reduced by 60% for 15 seconds after Challenging Call is activated.
Force Leap grants Unremitting, granting immunity to movement-impairing effects and effects that push or pull you around for 4 seconds. In addition, Force Leap enables your next Dispatch or Whirling Blade to be used against a target with any percentage of health. Lasts up to 4 seconds.
Lowers the cooldown of Resolute by 30 seconds. Resolute also has a chance to heal you for 10% of your maximum health.
Level 68 - Pick 1 Ability
60s cooldown. Confounds up to 8 nearby enemies, preventing all action for up to 6 seconds. Damage ends the effect prematurely.
60s cooldown. Reflects all single target ranged, Force and tech attacks back to the attacker for 5 seconds. The damage done by each reflect is capped, and the cap rises with each new rank of the ability. In addition, Saber Reflect generates a high amount of threat on all engaged enemies within 30 meters when activated.
35s cooldown. Quickly rush forward 20 meters, dealing weapon damage to enemies in your path and increasing your defense chance by 100% while blitzing. Can be used while immobilized and purges movement-impairing effects when activated.
Level 73 - Pick 1 Passive Skill
For the Defense discipline, Force Sweep slows the targets it damages by 60% for 10 seconds. For the Vigilance and Focus disciplines, Force Sweep and Vigilant Thrust sunder the targets they damage for 45 seconds.
Whenever your movement is impaired, you gain a 10% damage bonus to your next ability that consumes focus. This effect can stack up to 5 times and lasts 15 seconds.
Reduces the cooldown of Focused Defense by 30 seconds.
Gearing in 7.0
Please see my initial 7.0 Gearing Guide for more information on gearing.
Preliminary gearing targets for Vigilance Guardian should be as follows:
Legendary: Fearless Victor and Champion's Precision
Tactical: Hemophilic Slash (single target), Cut to Pieces (multi-target)
Relics: Focused Retribution and either Serendipitous Assault or Devastating Vengeance
Crystal: Eviscerating or War Hero
Stim: Proficient stim (Versatile works too but Proficient is more convenient for Accuracy)
Adrenal: Critical or Attack adrenal
Regarding Relics and Crystals, Critical Rating will be more valuable in lower tiers of gear or gear that has not yet been augmented. As the player moves through Rakata gear up to item rating 330 and beyond, it is expected that Mastery will be preferred. As such, I'd mostly suggest using whichever is most convenient as the impact on performance will be relatively low.
Tertiary stats and augments should be allocated as follows:
Accuracy Rating: 2,694 (110% accuracy)
Alacrity Rating: 2,250 - 2,400 (1.4s GCD assuming no Zeal perk)
Critical Rating: All remaining tertiary stats
Fearless Victor Package
Whenever you use a focus spending damage ability, your melee damage is increased by 10% for 10 seconds. Package contains Critical Rating.
Comments: Fearless Victor is a simpler and better version of the 6.0 Descent of the Fearless 10% damage buff. This bonus is really good and should have very high uptime so is a must take for damage disciplines and tank builds prioritizing damage.
Champion's Precision Package
Activating Combat Focus, Burning Focus or Challenging Call grants Champion’s Precision, increasing your critical hit chance by 20% for 8 seconds. Package contains Critical Rating.
Comments: Champion's Precision is a new gear bonus that adds a new offensive cooldown element to the combat style's energy generation and AoE taunt / threat drop abilities. Good synergy between burst damage windows and this bonus will provide a nice overall damage boost. Great option for damage disciplines.
Blade Barrage refreshes the duration of Blade Storm, Overhead Slash and Plasma Brand burns on the target and ticks their damage.
Comments: Hemophilic Slash is unchanged from 6.x and has the same impact on the Vigilance rotation where timing the use of Blade Barrage with as many DoTs active as possible will maximize DoT uptime and overall damage.
Cut to Pieces
When a burn critically hits it reduces the cooldown of Vigilant Thrust by 1 second.
Comments: Cut to Pieces remains a great option for multi-target fights and lets Vigilance deal very high sustained AoE damage.
The core rotation and priority for Vigilance Guardian has not significantly changed from 6.x. The core rotation revolves around using Overhead Slash, Plasma Brand, Blade Storm and Vigilant Thrust on cooldown to maximize damage. Hemophilic Slash continues to impact the rotation to time its use to maximize the extra DoT ticks and overall DoT uptime.
The changes to Vigilance in 7.0 relate primarily to changes to Combat Focus (now Burning Focus), energy generation and potentially making Vigilance even more overpowered in multi-target encounters.
Burning Focus is an upgraded Combat Focus that still generates energy but also triggers your DoTs to deal damage. It can also be modified to have other effects by Searing Meditation, which changes the cooldown to generate energy passively via critical DoT ticks and boosting periodic burn damage. Regardless the goal will be to use Burning Focus nearly on cooldown without wasting energy.
Regardless of passive skill choices, the player will get a lot more energy generation through uses of Burning Focus. The player can then use Sundering Strike less often and use more fillers like Slash and Riposte to deal more damage. Choosing Burning Pommel and/or Searing Meditation will allow for passive energy generation while taking Critical Conditions will allow Burning Focus to be used more frequently to actively generate energy.
With Cut to Pieces, Branding Burst and Critical Conditions or Searing Meditation, Vigilance is really really REALLY powerful for multi-target encounters. If taking the Critical Conditions skill then Vigilance will also be able to use Burning Focus regularly to deal even more group damage and get up to a 20% self heal on a very short cooldown. If taking the Searing Meditation skill then Vigilance will be guaranteed crits and be able to spam Vigilant Thrust even more easily.