7.0 Gearing Guide


This guide is a preliminary effort to summarize relevant data to gearing in the 7.0 content update in SWTOR. Please understand this information is as accurate and updated as possible but may ultimately not fully accurate or need updates later as more information is known and/or as the developers make continuing updates to the game. I will keep it up to date as much as I can.

In some cases I have also relied on the work and analysis of other players and theorycrafters I respect and have listed references and links to their work as applicable. Please check them out. Theorycrafting and guide writing is a group effort of the community to find the information that is more relevant and useful to each of us.

Table of Contents

End Game Summary Gear Recommendations

For those who want a TLDR for specific tactical and legendary recommendations, here is a summary table with that information. See below for more discussion about how to gear up and stat allocations. This list is subject to change as more testing is done by myself and other players in the community, as well as any potential updates from the game developers.

How to Gear up at Level 80

Gearing up is very different at Level 80 in the 7.0 patch update. The summary is that now players have parallel gearing paths for different types of content (Operations, Flashpoints, Solo, Conquest, PVP) and use currency earned from that content to purchase gear and/or upgrade gear obtained by playing that content. Different gear paths have different maximum item levels and the highest item level can only be obtained from completing Master Mode Operations.

I do not plan to give advice on gearing details, process and strategies apart from a few thoughts. I highly suggest checking out other content creators who have already released some really great resources. I particularly recommend the resources summarized and linked below, please check them out.

My gearing approach (for now) in 7.0 is going to proceed as follows to reach i326 and beyond:

  • Complete conquest and run Story Mode operations and Master Mode flashpoints to get 320 gear.

  • Complete Daily Area, Heroic, Flashpoint and Operation weekly missions and Conquests to stockpile currencies needed to upgrade gear (Tech Frags, Medals of Commendation, Aquatic Resource Matrices and Hazardous Matter Catalysts).

  • Purchase relevant Legendary Implants with Tech Frags and steadily upgrade them as possible.

  • Store and do not open any weekly reward boxes.

  • Purchase upgrades for one set of gear from 320 to 322 to 324.

  • Open weekly reward boxes and equip each 326 I get until I am fully geared to 326.

  • Run Master Mode operations to obtain Rakata i326/328 gear. Continue running Master Mode operations and using currencies and weekly rewards to reach 330 gear.

As with the 6.x gearing system, once you have one set of gear at the maximum item rating available (330 for Master Mode Operations, 326 for everything else), then running content with that gear and choosing an alternative loot discipline will obtain drops of a similar item rating or the highest available rating of that content. This process should enable players to rapidly obtain lateral gear for alternative disciplines and Combat Styles.

This is very simplified list and I am still getting comfortable with the new gearing system. To be very honest, I am not a huge fan of this new system. It is however the system we have right now and the good news is that as long as you run content you will steadily get gear and currencies with which to buy and upgrade gear further.

Elssha's Gearing Info Sheet

A SWTOR content creator named Elssha (@alortania on Twitter) posted a really great one page info sheet with nearly all the relevant info about gearing including currencies, how to obtain them, gearing paths and where to find the right vendors. I highly recommend this as a quick reference chart as it is awesome. Separately, Elssha is a fantastic content creator who is a highly skilled end game raider so check her out on Twitter and I think also from time to time on Twitch!

Xam Xam's 7.0 Legacy of the Sith Gearing Guide

For players who want a deep dive into the gearing process and how it interacts with all the content in SWTOR, content creator Xam Xam who runs the MMOBits website wrote a really great and comprehensive guide. I suggest giving it a read as well as checking out all the awesome content on her site.

MMO Bits - 7.0 Legacy of the Sith Gearing Guide

Vulkk Gearing Guide & Gear Chart

Content creator Vulkk also made a very nice in depth gearing guide for 7.0 that is linked below and includes a really great summary chart of how the tertiary stats are expected to be allocated between different gear sets. Vulkk has a ton of great content and is one of the most prolific content creators by partnering with various players to create class guides, content guides and news for SWTOR and other games.

Vulkk 7.0 Endgame Gearing Guide

SWTOR Stats & Gear


Gearing in SWTOR involves the following stats:

  • Mastery: Increases bonus damage by 0.20 per point, bonus healing by 0.14 per point and slightly increases critical chance

  • Endurance: Increases maximum health by 14 per point

  • Power: Increases bonus damage by 0.23 per point and bonus healing by 0.17 per point

  • Defense: Increases the chance to dodge or resist an attack

  • Critical: Increases chance to critically hit with a damage or healing ability and increases the bonus critical damage or healing for any ability that critically hits

  • Alacrity: Increases base energy regeneration rate and reduces cooldown on most abilities

  • Accuracy: Increases chance to hit target

  • Shield: Increases chance to shield an attack

  • Absorb: Increases the amount of damage that is absorbed by a shield

Stats in SWTOR are separated into three categories: primary, secondary or tertiary stats.

This classification governs how stats are found on gear. Some gear pieces have only primary and secondary stats (armoring, mods, hilts, barrels) while others (enhancements, earpieces, implants, some augments) will also have tertiary stats.

  • Primary: Mastery, Endurance

  • Secondary: Power, Defense

  • Tertiary: Critical, Alacrity, Accuracy, Shield, Absorb

This discussion is very high level. For a much deeper dive on SWTOR stats, please see Stats and Damage Calculations in SWTOR . This is a slightly outdated but still really great guide talking about stats in SWTOR. I highly recommend it as a supplement to this guide.

SWTOR Gear Slots

Gear pieces contain stats as follows:

  • Earpieces and Implants each contain Mastery, Endurance, Power or Defense, and a tertiary stat.

  • Relics contain either Mastery and Defense (tank relics) or Endurance and Power (DPS/healer relics). Some tank relics may also contain tertiary tank stats in lieu of a passive or active temporary buff to a stat.

  • Wrist and Belt gear pieces each contain modification slots for

    • Armoring: Mastery, Endurance

    • Mod: Mastery, Endurance, Power (Lethal Mod) or Defense (Warding Mod)

  • Head, Chest, Hands, Legs and Feet gear pieces each contain modification slots for

    • Armoring: Mastery, Endurance

    • Mod: Mastery, Endurance, Power (Lethal Mod) or Defense (Warding Mod)

    • Enhancement: Endurance, Power or Defense, Tertiary stat

  • Mainhand and Offhand gear pieces each contain modification slots for the following

    • Armoring, Hilt or Barrel: Mastery, Endurance

    • Mod: Mastery, Endurance, Power (Lethal Mod) or Defense (Warding Mod)

  • Enhancement: Endurance, Power or Defense, Tertiary stat

With respect to each gear piece or gear piece modification (hilt, barrel, armoring, mod, enhancement), many versions of each item are available that have different total stat pools and stat pool allocations between each stat category. This allows for significant customization and diversity in stats between players.

So what does this all mean? No matter how you gear, you will get a lot of Mastery, Endurance and either Power (DPS or healer) or Defense (tanks). Between enhancements, earpiece and both implants, you will have the equivalent of 10 enhancements to provide your base budget of tertiary stats. Augments can be added to each gear item as well, which will be discussed later.

Your choices will primarily be whether to prioritize Power or Defense in your Secondary stat budget, how to prioritize Tertiary stats and the overall mix of stats for your role/class/discipline.

Gearing Changes at Level 80 v Level 75

Level Sync is gone!!!! (mostly...)

For endgame PVE content, the 7.0 patch update boosted all operations to level 80. We no longer have to separately gear for synced and unsynced content as all content is effectively unsynced. This changes gearing approaches from the 6.x patch cycle somewhat as is discussed below.

What is the key takeaway from ops being synced? We care a lot about Master, Power and Endurance again! Those stats were capped or fixed in most operations in 6.x so we typically geared away from them with regards to relics, crystals, adrenals, etc. No more!

One important caveat to this section is that PVP and some other PVE content like flashpoints, planetary quests, etc. are level and/or item rating synced. PVP will sync players at 326 even if they are geared at 328 or 330, for example. There may be marginal gearing benefits ultimately for these modes of play, though with the exception maybe of PVP it's unlikely you will notice a difference. I understand the devs do not intend for the sync/bolster system for PVP to allow for gearing advantages, though I am not a serious PVPer and given the bugs we have seen early in 7.0 I am trying not to assume anything. For now I would suggest gearing around endgame PVE as long as you are not a solely PVP-focused player.

Legendary Implants

A new feature in 7.0 are Legendary Implants. These replace your old set bonuses and consist entirely of implants that contain regular stats and a set bonus. Nearly all these items consist of one of the bonuses available on set bonuses in the 6.x patch cycle.

Legendary Implants can be purchased on the fleet in the Supplies section. There is a quest you must complete to unlock access to the vendor droid. However, you only need to complete this quest on one character since any character can view all implants for all combat styles. You have two implant gear slots so you can equip two Legendary Implants. Testing shows you cannot double up on any benefit so those should be different.

Another feature to note is that all Legendaries are only locked by Base Class, which is an odd feature given the Base Classes are no longer a thing and were moved to Origin Story. A Juggernaut can buy a Legendary Implant that only benefits a Marauder, for example. The point is to be careful that you buy a Legendary that is relevant to your Combat Style and preferred discipline(s), as it is possible to buy ones that you cannot use due to lacking the applicable ability.

Legendary Implants contain stats are noted above. Each item has a predetermined tertiary stat and could be Alacrity Rating, Absorb Rating, Critical Rating or Shield Rating. No Legendary Implants contain Accuracy Rating.

Gearing approach should work around the tertiary stat on your preferred Legendary. The bonus is far more important than its stats. Gear swapping and augments should enable reasonable balancing until we eventually get moddable gear again and can more easily customize gear stats.

Veteran’s Edge is GONE!

Veteran's Edge is gone. Why do I mention it then?

I would like to remind players that the lack of Veteran's Edge in legacy content that predates patch 6.0 may feel significantly more difficult for a while in 7.0.

The overall difficulty of endgame operations remains to be seen until players finish gearing up and we completely figure out class balance. The developers have messaged that they intend difficulty to be similar or slightly easier, as evidenced by removing the NiM crystals with the 7.0 patch. We will see but early on with players undergeared they should be prepared to take more damage, deal less damage and struggle more to heal (at least for a little while).


Amplifiers are gone! This is much appreciated change in the 7.0 patch to remove amplifiers from all gear. No more credit roulette trying to get good amplifiers and building multiple sets of gear for one class to min-max for each discipline. Hurray!

All relics are useful

Relics are a lot simpler as of 7.0. We no longer need to have a set of relics for capped content that provide weaker but relevant buffs and another set of relics for uncapped content. Now we will typically only need one set of relics for a given role.

DPS and Healers will typically prefer Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution though a few alternative options are available and might be preferable depending on playstyle and preference.

Tanks will likely prefer Relics of Avoidance and Shield Matrix for their significant raw absorb and shield stats, respectively. Some tanks may prefer the Shrouded Crusader relic to provide an additional defensive cooldown. I expect to use the raw stat defensive relics for now pending more testing and theorycrafting.

All stims/adrenals are useful

Stims and Adrenals are also back to their pre-6.0 days, also due to the returning emphasis on Mastery and Power over Critical Rating.

The preferred adrenals for each role will likely be Attack adrenals for DPS, Triage adrenals for Healers and Absorb adrenals for tanks.

For usage of stims, healers can return to using Versatile stims in most content unless they really want to gear some accuracy for damage or to reduce chances of a miss interrupt. DPS may prefer to use Proficient stims for extra Accuracy Rating given the expected challenge in meeting Accuracy Rating targets given gear options. Tanks can return to using Fortitude stims for the Endurance and Defense or may opt for Versatile stims for damage.

Mods/enhancements are gone!

The 7.0 patch update changed gearing and removed moddable gear from the initial gearing progression path. All gear has fixed stats prior to augments, so there are no gearing decisions to be made for Mods or Enhancements.

The developers indicated higher rated gear in the future may feature moddable gear slots again, so at some point this may become relevant again. If so, the gearing will likely feel similar to 6.x for most players in that unlettered Lethal Mods (or their equivalent) will be optimal to maximize the Power buff to damage/healing while tanks would be choosing between unlettered Warding Mods (or their equivalent) to maximize Defense or B Warding Mods to stack Endurance. We will see...

All crystals are useful

Crystals also benefited from the 7.0 patch update in that more of them are relevant again. In 6.x players only benefited from using Eviscerating crystals for the Critical Rating tertiary bonus. Now players can use and benefit from all crystals.

As a reminder, here are the potential options:

  • Eviscerating: +41 Critical Rating

  • Hawkeye: +41 Power

  • Indestructible: +41 Endurance

  • War Hero's: +41 Mastery

Healers and DPS will typically prefer either the Hawkeye or War Hero's crystals for either Mastery or Power. Both are typically better than Critical Rating assuming gear levels allow for players to each an inflection point of diminishing returns, which has always been the case in previous content updates and is assumed to be the case in 7.0 as well. Power gives you slightly more bonus damage/healing than Mastery but Mastery also slightly buffs our critical chance. I would suggest running whichever is available in the color crystal you prefer for your character's outfit and do not worry too much about it.

Tanks will usually prefer the Indestructible crystal for higher health pools though some tanks may want to run something else for more damage. Overall 41 stat points is not noticeable in performance so the net impact is nearly invisible.

Augments did NOT change

Augments did NOT change or get any new versions in the 7.0 patch update. All the augments you have and can craft now are still relevant (mostly)!

See below for more discussion on Augments. The short version is that the higher rating you can get the better and i300 gold augs are the best. Thankfully they are more slightly more accessible. Just remember that you will need a lot of Mk-11 kits to augment new gear.

With respect to which augments to equip, your role will play a big part in how much (or little) flexibility you have. Early indications are that DPS will need to use most or all of their augment slots on Accuracy Rating to reach the 110% accuracy target. Healers can choose between Alacrity Rating and Critical Rating to hit their alacrity target and then stack critical. Tanks will likely prefer Shield Rating over Absorb Rating given initial mitigation formula analysis but will have some flexibility as necessary.


The 7.0 patch updated gearing formulas and stat budgets so Alacrity changed in terms of stat targets though the overall analysis is expected to be very similar to 6.x.

Testing in 6.x showed that most players would receive a benefit from gearing a few hundred points over the mathematical breakpoint for Alacrity Rating to reach a given GCD. That is expected to be true in 7.0 as well.

The chart below shows the mathematical breakpoints for Combat Style Disciplines that receive an Alacrity bonus passive ability and then the general breakpoints for all other classes.

Based on expected stat budgets for available gear at 7.0, the majority of players should target the 1.4s GCD as the 1.3s GCD will not be beneficial due to taking up too much of the stat budget. The classes that get an alacrity buff generally should be looking to reach the 1.3s GCD if possible.

More analysis is needed and will take place around specific gearing.

My Alacrity Guide should still be a good primer on what alacrity is, how it works, what we've observed and why it's a good idea to over gear slightly. I intend to eventually update that guide to reference the target Alacrity percentages so that it will be more easily applied to 7.0.

As a reminder, the best way to check your GCD and whether alacrity is behaving for you is to use Starparse and upload your parse to Parsely. The website now has a great GCD tab feature to let you easily see how consistently you were reaching a GCD threshold.

Here is a much better graphic on Alacrity Thresholds made by my good friend Kreth. She runs Grophets.com which is a SWTOR fan website that primarily focused on guides to operation bosses and world bosses along with other helpful content for gearing and other game information. Please check her site out!


You should augment your gear, period. That is just about the end of this section (just kidding!) Seriously though, augments are hugely beneficial and should be utilized by anyone who is serious about improving their performance in any level of content.

As discussed at length above, for the most part gearing is focused on tertiary stats (Accuracy for DPS, Critical/Alacrity for DPS and healers, Shield/Absorb for tanks), so augments should nearly always be selected among these stats for PVE content.

Which augments should you buy/craft? This is a nuanced question. As of the date this guide was written, the options mostly come down to the following augment item rating options:

As of the 7.0 patch update, augment choices are simplified because now Endurance and Power are relevant in most game content. The higher the item rating of the augment the better it is for you. 276 blue augments are very cheap to craft and are fairly inexpensive on the GTN. 286 purple augments are a good step up and take quite a bit more materials to craft and are much more expensive to buy on the GTN. 300 gold augments are the best and require very rare and expensive materials to craft or cost a lot of credits on the GTN.

The optimal path will be to steadily work your way towards 300 augments. Players who run Master Mode operations and/or Ranked PVP will likely complete this process faster as the rare materials drop in these modes. Alternatively or in addition to these methods, players can purchase those materials directly with Tech Fragments on the fleet.

Class/Companion Stat Buffs

Class Buffs

An important feature to mention are the legacy class buffs, which are assumed to be active in any discussion around gearing. The legacy class buffs are unlocked when a player levels a character from a given base class to level 50.

As of the 7.0 content update, all unlocked buffs should be applied automatically to your player as the old ability has now become a passive skill.

Force Might (Republic)

Unnatural Might (Imperial)

Melee, Ranged, Force and Tech bonus damage and bonus healing increased by 5%

Unlocked by leveling a Jedi Knight (Guardian or Sentinel) or Sith Warrior (Juggernaut or Marauder) to level 50.

Force Valor (Republic)

Mark of Power (Imperial)

+5% Mastery, +10% internal/elemental damage resistance

Unlocked by leveling a Jedi Consular (Sage or Shadow) or Sith Inquisitor (Sorcerer or Assassin) to level 50.

Fortification (Republic)

Hunter's Boon (Imperial)

Endurance increased by 5%

Unlocked by leveling a Republic Trooper (Vanguard or Commando) or Bounty Hunter (Powertech or Mercenary) to level 50.

Lucky Shots (Republic)

Coordination (Imperial)

Critical chance increased by 5%

Unlocked by leveling a Smuggler (Scoundrel or Gunslinger) or Imperial Agent (Operative or Sniper) to level 50.

You can check which buffs you have unlocked via the Legacy menu per the below screenshots:

Companion Affection Bonuses

Another source of free stat bonuses that impact endgame gearing relates to companion affection. This system categorized the companions each player receives from completing the Chapter 1-3 storylines into a defined role (Melee/ranged tank, melee/ranged DPS, healer) and completing those companion storylines.

The buffs received are in the below table and are achieved by completing all companion conversations and quests for that character. Generally this requires completing all or nearly all of Chapters 1 through 3 to unlock all the quests and conversations for that character.

For purposes of endgame gearing, all are desirable but the 1% accuracy buff is by far the most important to gearing targets.

A player only has to unlock the companion “slot” once in order to get the benefits on all characters in your legacy. For example, completing all conversations and quests on Lord Scourge will unlock the +1% accuracy “melee tank” companion bonus for all characters on my legacy, so I do not need to complete all conversations and quests with Qyzen on my Sage to receive the benefit.

For those curious regarding the companion role classification in 6.0 where every companion can fill every basic role, this was not the case prior to 4.0 where each companion had a fixed role as a tank, DPS or healer.

Gearing for DPS

DPS Gearing Objectives

Gearing for DPS generally follows a simple gearing strategy for your tertiary stat points:

  1. Reach 110% Accuracy rating. As of the 7.0 game update, reaching 110% accuracy requires 2,694 accuracy points in your gear. Operations bosses typically have a default 10% defense chance, so having less than 110% accuracy can lead to missed attacks. It is usually preferable to go very slightly over 2,694 rather than have less though in most cases getting close either way is fine.

  2. Reach target GCD Alacrity breakpoint. See the table above for the number of alacrity points required for your discipline to reach the desired GCD breakpoint. It is very important to reach and preferably go 200-400 points over, as coming close to but less than the breakpoint will result in wasted alacrity stat points.

  3. Place remaining tertiary stats into Critical. There is no benefit to surpassing the targets for Accuracy and usually little or no benefit to doing so for Alacrity either, so the remainder should go to critical.

DPS Gearing Strategy

Gearing choices are very straightforward in the 7.0 patch update due to all gear drops being nonmoddable. Set bonuses were also moved to Legendary Implants. This design lets players swap between gear pieces to target the tertiary stats they need. Further optimization will depend on augments and upgrading to better gear pieces and item rating.

DPS should use either Versatile or Proficient stims and attack adrenals. I expect the Proficient stim will be more useful given the challenge many players will face in gearing for Accuracy Rating and Alacrity Rating targets and still having meaningful Critical Rating.

DPS Gearing & Alacrity

It is also worth noting that various approaches exist for gearing for alacrity for DPS disciplines. All DPS disciplines should gear for at least the 1.4 second GCD. Disciplines with a passive or rotational alacrity buff will likely benefit from gearing to reach the 1.3 second GCD.

For PVP, Master Mode Operations or parsing, the majority of disciplines will see the best benefit from gearing for the 1.4 second GCD. There are a few common exceptions as noted below:

  • Telekinetic Sage / Lightning Sorcerer: Gearing for the 1.3 second GCD is very common due to these disciplines already having a +5% alacrity passive ability. However, most theorycrafters seem to agree that the discipline performs well across a spectrum of alacrity points so while this seems the most common gearing approach it is not mandatory by any means. Another common approach is to overgear in alacrity slightly to achieve an incremental GCD reduction of 0.1 seconds while under the effects of Mental Alacrity / Polarity Shift.

  • Combat Sentinel / Carnage Marauder: Receives a +3% passive alacrity buff, these disciplines can easily opt to either a 1.3 or 1.4 second GCD. This seems to be largely a matter of playstyle, as the discipline plays very fast with a 1.3 second GCD when combined with the alacrity buff applied by Zen / Berserk.

  • Gunnery Commando / Arsenal Mercenary: Receives a +3% passive alacrity buff, these disciplines can easily opt to either a 1.3 or 1.4 second GCD.

  • Ranged Tech Disciplines: Most ranged tech DPS disciplines (Gunslingers, Snipers, Assault Specialist Commando, Innovative Ordnance Mercenary) can benefit from various alacrity breakpoints below the 1.4s GCD to improve energy management and target certain rotational breakpoints for receiving extra DoT ticks or proccing certain passive skills. Some of these would benefit from reaching the 1.3s GCD if gearing allowed for it, though current estimates are that it will not be beneficial at current stat budget levels.

Grophets.com Accuracy Info Sheet

Here is a fantastic info graphic on Accuracy made by my good friend Kreth. She runs Grophets.com which is a website that primarily hosts guides on operations and world bosses in SWTOR. I highly recommend checking out her site as it has some amazing info sheets for operations and lots of helpful tips, tricks and guides.

Gearing for Healers

Healer Gearing Objectives

Gearing for Healers generally follows a simple gearing strategy for your tertiary stat points:

  1. Reach target GCD Alacrity breakpoint. See the table above for the number of alacrity points required for your discipline to reach the desired GCD breakpoint. It is very important to reach and preferably go 200-400 points over, as coming close to but less than the breakpoint will result in wasted alacrity stat points.

  2. (Optional) Add Accuracy Rating. Some healers may opt to add Accuracy Rating to assist with dealing damage in progression or especially when interrupts are necessary for encounter mechanics. Interrupts can miss without 110% accuracy so some Accuracy Rating can help healers more consistently get interrupts. I do not recommend healers add Accuracy Rating in their gear until they are ready for "Hardmare" Veteran Mode operations or Master Mode operations.

  3. Place remaining tertiary stats into Critical. After reaching the desired level of Alacrity Rating and any desired Accuracy Rating (generally should be none), the remainder should go to critical.

Healer Gearing Strategy

Gearing choices are very straightforward in the 7.0 patch update due to all gear drops being nonmoddable. Set bonuses were also moved to Legendary Implants. This design lets players swap between gear pieces to target the tertiary stats they need. Further optimization will depend on augments and upgrading to better gear pieces and item rating.

Healers should generally use a Versatile and triage adrenals. A Proficient stim and/or attack adrenal may be situationally useful in specific fights with difficult DPS checks or where healer interrupts are necessary for encounter mechanics.

Healer Gearing & Alacrity

With respect to alacrity breakpoints, most healers should always gear for the 1.3 second GCD when the Zeal perk applies. When the Zeal perk does not apply, healers should generally stick to the 1.4 second GCD with tech-based healers perhaps adding more to reach energy regeneration breakpoints.

Gearing for Tanks

Tank Gearing Objectives

Gearing for Tanks generally follows a simple gearing strategy for your tertiary stat points:

  1. Reach target Shield/Absorb stats. See discussion below over Shield/Absorb stat balancing, which varies by approach (minimize average DTPS or spike damage gearing) and by class.

  2. Reach target GCD Alacrity breakpoint (if offensive gearing). See the discussion below over offensive tank gearing strategies. If the Guild Zeal Perk applies, then reaching the 1.4s GCD is viable with 560 points of Alacrity Rating. If the Zeal perk does not apply or in content where it is removed then most tanks are not recommended to gear Alacrity Rating since it will cost a significant amount of mitigation.

  3. Place extra stats into Critical (if offensive gearing). Any remaining points can be placed into Critical Rating to further increase tank DPS. For players who do not benefit from the Zeal perk or who primarily run content that removes the Zeal perk, any offensive gearing should generally be done through Critical Rating without any Alacrity Rating due to the very high stat cost of reaching the 1.4s GCD.

Please note that if you are not building any offensive gearing in your tank build, then your gearing objective is solely to balance Shield and Absorb tertiary stats.

For 7.0 I recommend players only focus on mitigation gearing until reaching the maximum item rating (326 for most content, 330 for Master Mode Operations) then experiment with offensive gearing as applicable. All disciplines lost mitigation through fewer offensive cooldowns and in some cases other movement and utility skills and abilities that can increase survivability, tanks included. As such, players will be less able to rely on skillful defensive cooldown use to "cheese" mechanics and keep damage taken at an acceptable level despite being significantly under geared in mitigation stats relative to the content difficulty.

Does this mean offensive gearing is not an option? Definitely not. If anything it seems that tanks may deal more damage in 7.0 given the greater range of passive skill tree options that increase damage.

Early analysis of shield and absorb stat formulas suggest that Shield Rating will be more beneficial for most tanks than Absorb rating. As such and assuming this holds true upon further testing, the early indications are that the most effective method to offensively gear will be to swap Absorb Rating for Critical Rating. Maintaining a high Shield Chance but lower Absorb will lead to higher average damage taken but without a higher probability of taking spike damage, which is the biggest danger to tanks.

Tank Gearing Strategy - Offense or Defense?

Gearing for tanks is simple but has enormous diversity in practice. Thankfully, tanks care very little about breakpoints in gearing so their gearing practice is across a spectrum for mitigation and damage/threat generation, meaning that tanks are much freer to experiment with what feels comfortable than DPS or healers.

The first determination comes down to whether you are gearing defensively or offensively. Defensive gearing seeks to minimize damage taken per second but typically has diminishing returns on points invested in shield, absorb and especially defense, whereas offensive gearing seeks to still maintain acceptable mitigation levels but otherwise maximizing damage to ensure sufficient threat generation and to help meet DPS checks.

For less experienced players, I highly recommend defensive gearing at first before experimenting with offensive gearing approaches.

For defensive gearing strategies, tanks should generally look to maximize their tertiary stat points and invest all of them in shield and absorb. For offensive gearing strategies, tanks should still invest the majority of their tertiary stat budget in shield and absorb but should seek to add in some alacrity and critical stat points also.

Tank Gearing Strategy - Balancing Shield & Absorb

So how should tanks balance the points invested in shield and absorb? It depends! First, let’s briefly recap how these stats work.

Shield points increase the tank’s chance to shield eligible attacks (see below, not all attacks can be shielded), while Absorb points increase the amount of damage absorbed when a tank successfully shields an attack. Shield is more important because you need to successfully shield an attack in order to absorb any damage!

The early indication are that 7.0 will continue the trend of high Shield Rating builds being the most popular and effective in progression raiding, and if anything might even favor Shield Rating more heavily than before with Vanguard/Powertech tanks needing little or no Absorb Rating to optimize mitigation.

Gearing for shield and absorb also has two philosophies.

Average Mitigation

The first is trying to minimize average damage taken over the course of a fight. This gearing focused on reducing the average healing pressure on healers, with hopes that by optimizing their average mitigation that healers will have more energy available to deal with burst damage. Gearing by tank discipline mostly works out something like the following and is focused on having average shield chance and the average absorb chance be equal with a discipline’s passive active:

  • Defense Guardian / Immortal Juggernaut: Shield and Absorb should be relatively close with Shield slightly higher. A stat distribution around 60/40 or 55/45 for Shield/Absorb is very reasonable. These disciplines have a wide range of mitigation passives that do not lean heavily in any direction so the passive shield and absorb chance are good metrics for balancing stats.

  • Kinetic Combat Shadow / Darkness Assassin: Shield and Absorb should be relatively close with Absorb slightly higher (i.e., anywhere from around the same to maybe a few hundred points higher). These disciplines get very strong rotational buffs to both Shield (Kinetic Ward / Dark Ward provides +15% shield chance) and Absorb (up to +8% as stacks of Kinetic Ward / Dark Ward are consumed), but the buff to Shield is much higher and constant. As such, the discipline generally benefits from proportionally more points to Absorb Rating.

  • Shield Specialist Vanguard / Shield Tech Powertech: These disciplines have lots of passive and rotational buffs to shield absorption so need much higher Shield Rating to maximize the mitigation benefit.

Spike Damage Mitigation

The second philosophy focuses on gearing for spike damage. With few exceptions, most healers should not struggle with average sustained healing requirements if they have the requisite skill for the content being run. The concern for tanks and healers is surviving spike damage. Tanks have defensive cooldowns to help mitigate predictable spikes but for fights with heavy spike damage potential they can be heavily reliant on RNG where a few bad shield rolls can kill a tank.

Gearing for spike damage mitigation focuses on significantly higher shield points than absorb. This gearing leads to tanks shielding more attacks but each successful shield absorbing slightly less damage. Put differently, this makes tanks take slightly higher average damage but with fewer spikes in damage. I highly recommend this gearing approach as it is far more important in Veteran and Master Mode content. There is no perfect answer but I usually look to gear around 1,000 or so extra points in Shield versus Absorb as compared to the recommendations above for average mitigation gearing.

I highly recommend gearing for spike damage as a tank running any progression Hard / Veteran Mode or Nightmare / Master Mode content.