Gearing Guide


Welcome!!! This guide is intended to provide a basic introduction and primer for gearing and stats in SWTOR. This guide includes some basic recommendations for gearing targets in endgame content. This guide is primarily intended for PVE content. I will make some brief comments at the end about PVP gearing.

So first a few caveats. This guide is not a complete theorycrafting analysis of gearing and optimal BIS targets. My experience has been that in many cases the true optimal targets are dependent on assumptions that may not always be relevant, ;may sometimes depend on playstyle, and are frequently highly difficult and expensive to reach the exact targets. As such, all gearing recommendations made herein should be taken as general recommendations. The only exceptions are gearing for accuracy and alacrity, as both stats have fairly specific targets.

Table of Contents

End Game Summary Gear Recommendations

For those who want a TLDR for specific gear, tactical and amplifier recommendations, here is a summary table with that information. See below for more discussion about how to gear up and stat allocations.

How to Gear up at Level 75

This guide is focused on endgame gearing and not on the leveling or gearing-up process. For those seeking tips, advice and information on this process, I highly recommend swtorista’s guide to gearing up at Level 75.

With that said, here is a quick summary as a reminder with a few personal tips of mine.

At level 75, SWTOR has 2 different gearing paths that begin with vertical gearing up to item rating 306 and then horizontal gearing to obtain optimal stat distributions according to your discipline and gearing goals.

Vertical Gearing - i270 to i306

Vertical gearing describes the process of increasing your average item rating to the maximum i306 level. SWTOR provides numerous gear drops when completing any content at level 75. The player always gets individual loot drops from content and depending on the level of content some group drops may also result.

Individual loot drops are assigned a gear rating based on the player’s current average item rating. The loot drops will range from one tier below the player’s rating to up to two tiers above. For example, if a player has an average item rating of 300 then the loot drops will generally be between item rating 298 and 304.

The vertical gearing strategy is very simple: equip the highest rated gear in each slot. That’s it. Do not think about which has better stats. If you’re a healer with an i298 belt and you get a i302 belt with defense, equip it. This strategy focuses on raising your average item rating as quickly as possible, which further speeds up your vertical gearing path.

The end goal is to get to full item rating 306 (i306) gear. It’s still possible to get drops of gear rated less than i306 but at this point you have maximized your chance of getting relevant end game gear drops. Now it’s time for horizontal gearing.

MAJOR TIP - Once you get to i306 with any character, equip that gear on a character you are looking to gear up. It doesn’t really matter if you are equipping tank gear on a healer or any other crazy combo.

SECOND MAJOR TIP - There are lots of ways to gear as you get gear from running any content. The most efficient gearing path for me when 6.0 launched was running flashpoints. With a good group that can quickly run the shorter flashpoints, it is highly time efficient to get gear. A particularly efficient strategy is gearing a stealth class first and running flashpoints with other stealthers to skip trash. Red Reaper is an amazingly efficient vertical gearing grind.

Horizontal Gearing - Endgame Stat Allocation

Once you reach i306 on your gear, it’s time to start thinking about stats!!! The goal is to cherry pick the good gear pieces from all your gear drops and renown crates. This is nearly all RNG so just run lots of content to get lots of gear.

That leads nicely into the rest of the guide speaking about how to be efficient and effective in getting your stats configured for endgame content.

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. 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 in Level 70 v. Level 75 Content

As of the game’s 6.0 Onslaught expansion, SWTOR gearing has changed somewhat between different types of content.

Level 75 content functions similarly to all content prior to the launch of Game Update 6.0. There are no stat caps or fixed stats and Veteran’s Edge does not apply.

Level 70 Stat Caps & Fixed Stats

All PVE content that existed prior to 6.0 is level synced down to level 70. The game accomplishes this objective by fixing or capping certain stats, which as of this writing are Mastery, Endurance and Power. Mastery and Endurance are capped, meaning that gear stat points count up to the cap. Power is fixed so players will have the fixed Power amount in an operation irrespective of the points in Power in their gear.

The exact balance of Mastery, Endurance and Power differ between roles (tanks have more Endurance while DPS and healers have more Mastery and particularly more Power) and between operations. The exact mix and cap levels are not relevant for gearing as any player in full i306 gear will easily exceed the capped amounts.

So what does this mean for players? The most important implication is that players seeking to optimize gear for level 70 content do not care about fixed stats and should only seek to maximize/optimize other stats. These stats consist of Defense and all tertiary stats (Accuracy, Alacrity, Critical, Shield, Absorb). This leads to a key goal in level 70 gearing to maximize tertiary stats and to give some consideration to Defense for tanks.

Veteran’s Edge

The caps and fixed amounts imposed on Master, Power and Endurance make it difficult for players to progress in capability as they improve their gear. The developers applied the Veteran’s Edge buff to all level 70 content except for Nightmare / Master Mode operations.

Veteran’s Edge is a stacking buff that increases the following stats by 1% per stack:

  • Endurance / Max Health

  • Force Damage Bonus

  • Tech Damage Bonus

  • Melee Damage Bonus

  • Ranged Damage Bonus

  • Healing Power: Force

  • Healing Power: Tech

So basically Veteran’s Edge increases your health, damage and healing by approximately 1% per stack.

You receive stacks of Veteran’s Edge based on your average item rating per your character screen. If your item rating is i270 or below, you will have 0 stacks of Veteran’s Edge. As you progress from i270 to i306, you receive around 1 stack per item rating level up to a maximum of 30 stacks of Veteran’s Edge.

As such, once you reach i306 average item rating then Veteran’s Edge will buff your health, damage and healing in any level 70 operations by 30% in Story or Hard / Veteran Mode difficulties.


The stat caps are also important for DPS and healers when selecting relics. Most players agree the best relics for both roles are normally Serendipitous Assault (passive proc increases power) and Focused Retribution (passive proc increases mastery). Since these stats are fixed anyway, these relics provide no benefit in level 70 content but are optimal in level 75 content.

Instead, most players running level 70 content should utilize Devastating Vengeance (passive proc increases critical chance) and Primeval Fatesealer (activation increases alacrity) as they buff tertiary stats that are not capped in level 70 content. Some healers also prefer Ephemeral Mending (passive proc to heal target).

Most players should consider having all five relics and swapping between the sets depending on the level of content being run. Tank relics all benefit tertiary stats or provide absorb shields, so this discussion has no bearing on the choice of tank relics.

Stims and Adrenals

Another implication is the use of stims and adrenals. Versatile stims and Attack or Triage adrenals are the most common choices by DPS and healers for level 75 content.

For level 70 content, DPS and healers should generally utilize Proficient stims for the accuracy and critical buffs that are not fixed and either Critical or Efficacy adrenals.

Similar to relics, tanks are less impacted as they should generally continue to take Fortitude stims and Absorb adrenals, though some tanks may prefer a Proficient stim for incremental critical chance instead of excess defense chance.


An interesting nuance to this discussion is what mods you should equip in your adaptive gear modification slot. Normally players would desire Lethal Mods (Mastery/Endurance/Power) for DPS or healers. Since all 3 of these stats are fixed, some players decide to instead equip Warding Mods (Mastery/Endurance/Defense) since Defense is not a fixed stat. Does it matter? Maybe a little. DPS and healers can benefit from defense though even with full Warding Mods the incremental defense is a few percentage points. I usually recommend sticking with Lethal Mods so that you can run PVP or Dxun, as using Warding Mods would require a second gear set to run this content or swapping out mods.

Tanks have a similar though less dramatic decision to make about which mods to equip. Traditionally the decision has been between Warding unlettered mods (maximize defense stat), Warding B mods (maximize endurance) or Lethal B mods (maximize endurance but with power instead of defense). When running primarily level 70 content, unlettered Warding Mods appear to be the clear winner even if Warding B or Lethal B might be preferable in PVP or Dxun.

In Level 75 content, DPS and healers should ALWAYS use unlettered Lethal Mods. See the Tank Gearing discussion further below for more discussion on mod selection for tanks.


Please see my Alacrity Guide for a complete discussion on Alacrity, which makes you faster and lets you deal damage and/or heal faster. The calculations and considerations can be a bit confusing for newer players. Below is my TLDR table that summarizes my current recommendations. I have a few more classes to test and update but it is pretty close to complete and will be finalized soon!


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:

There are a few meaningful takeaways from this information when it comes to augmenting your gear:

  • For level 70 content, 228 augments provide more tertiary stat points than the 276 blue augments and almost as much as the 286 purple augments. Unless you are running PVP, Dxun or parsing, then you are paying a lot more in credits and/or materials for only an extra 12 points of tertiary stat per augment or 168 total points.

  • If you are running Dxun or PVP, you get a big benefit from upgrading to 276 blue augments from the old purple 228 augments. DPS and Healers will get a fair bit more Endurance and a bunch of free Power, while Tanks will get some extra Power and a lot of extra health (yay health for meat shields!).

  • Purple 286 augments are way more expensive than blue 276 augments. I do not recommend the investment to upgrade to purples unless you are swimming in credits or running Veteran or Master Mode content. It’s fine to do so if resources permit but the return on investment is far lower than upgrading to blue 276 augments.

It is worth noting some players may use augments for Power for PVP or some min-maxing for level 75 content. It’s possible though I generally do not take the time to do so, but would like to mention for those interested. If so, seek out a theorycrafter (which I am not) to learn more.

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.

Activating the class buff for a given character will apply the class buff for that character’s class as well as any other legacy class buffs that are unlocked.

Activating a class buff will also apply all unlocked buffs to any friendly player within 30 meters.

The legacy class buffs consist of the following and last for 60 minutes after application:

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 current game update, reaching 110% accuracy requires 1,590 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 1,590 rather than have less.

  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 or go over the target rather than under, 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

DPS should always equip unlettered Lethal Mods and armorings with the lowest Endurance.

As noted above, gearing for level 70 content for DPS is entirely focused on tertiary stats. As such, choose enhancements that maximize your tertiary stat and you do not necessarily need to worry too much about your mods, armorings, hilts, etc. Players should utilize the Proficient stim and Critical adrenal.

Gearing for level 75 content (PvP, Dxun, etc.) is more complicated as all stats are relevant. The simplest approach for balanced gearing is to focus on tertiary stats as discussed above while also minimizing Endurance in your gear. This strategy maximizes your tertiary stat pool and is unquestionably optimal for level 70 content while also maximizing the level of Mastery and Power in your gear for level 75 content. Players may use either a Proficient or Versatile stim and should generally utilize an Attack adrenal.

Some classes may further benefit and min-max for level 75 content by emphasizing Mastery or Power after a certain soft cap for Critical. Given this is only relevant in a narrow section of content, I do not recommend doing so for most players, but please be aware further min-maxing is possible via selecting a narrow selection of mods.

DPS Gearing & Alacrity

It is also worth noting that various approaches exist for gearing for alacrity for DPS disciplines. Nearly all DPS disciplines should gear for at least the 1.4 second GCD if benefiting from the Zeal guild perk. Players with good APM (actions per minute) will generally benefit from gearing for the 1.3 second GCD with the Zeal guild perk.

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, though please note I take no credit for the theorycrafting behind these breakpoints:

  • 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. These breakpoints work out to 1,067 alacrity points with the Zeal perk when gearing for the 1.3 second GCD and 2,128 alacrity points when gearing for the 1.3 second GCD without the Zeal perk. This is less common and may not be necessarily optimal after nerfs to the Gathering Storm set bonus but is still a common approach.

  • Combat Sentinel / Carnage Marauder: Also due to its 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.

  • Dirty Fighting Gunslinger / Virulence Sniper: These disciplines can benefit from extra alacrity due to the timing for Wounding Shots / Cull and Hemorrhaging Blast / Weakening Blast. The common rotation sees Hemorrhaging Blast / Weakening Blast end just before the player activates Wounding Shots / Cull, so some extra alacrity can enable an extra tick of your DoTs into the buff window and derive higher DPS. This gearing approach is highly dependent on having optimal APMs and requires utilizing a 1.4 second GCD with or without the Zeal perk. If so, the breakpoints should be 1,221 points with the Zeal perk or 2,327 points without the Zeal perk.

  • Assault Specialist Commando / Innovative Ordnance Mercenary: Similar to above, these disciplines can similarly benefit from extra alacrity to align DoTs to gain extra DPS. This approach similarly requires utilizing a 1.4 second GCD. The breakpoints work out to 1,117 with the Zeal perk or 2,191 without the Zeal perk. However, my experience has been that this approach is less consistent than the one described above for Dirty Fighting and Virulence, so personally I typically use the base line breakpoints for the 1.3 second GCD if the Zeal perk applies and the 1.4 second GCD if it does not.

Example DPS Build

This is my build for my Guardian / Juggernaut DPS for Hard / Veteran Mode content. I mostly use blue 276 augments since the majority of content is level 70.

I benefit from the guild perk so am running 1,907 alacrity to meet the 1,895 1.3s GCD breakpoint. I also have 1,588 accuracy so am at 109.99% accuracy. The rest of my stat budget is going into critical.

I am running an accuracy/critical stim as well.

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 or go over the target rather than under, as coming close to but less than the breakpoint will result in wasted alacrity stat points.

  2. 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.

Healer Gearing Strategy

Gearing for healers is thankfully much simpler than DPS since healers very rarely want any accuracy in their gear. As such, for level 70 content the gearing approach essentially boils down to gearing for the desired level of alacrity and putting the remaining tertiary stat budget into critical.

Healers should generally utilize the Proficient stim and the critical adrenal similar to DPS. Even though they typically do not need accuracy, the benefit to critical chance is better than the Versatile stim that provides no benefits in level 70 content.

Similar to DPS, healers should always equip unlettered Lethal Mods and armorings with the lowest Endurance.

For level 75 content the same considerations as other roles apply for healers in that Mastery and Power become very relevant to healing output, so when possible gearing should strive to minimize Endurance points.

Further min-maxing is possible in level 75 content to balance points in Mastery/Power to increase baseline healing with critical to increase spike healing. This min-maxing is more relevant for healers than DPS in my experience due to the extra 1,600 or so points of available tertiary stat budget for healers. As such, healers can much more easily hit increasing diminishing returns on points in critical.

My personal approach is to maintain my focus on tertiary stats and put all excess points into critical rather than utilizing other enhancements or augments to increase Mastery or Power. This might be slightly sub-optimal in level 75 content but as 10 of 11 operations are level 70 I view this as preferable. Healers running master mode level 75 operations would be the primary group that should seriously consider this level of min-maxing their gear.

In level 75 content, I usually use a Versatile stim and Triage adrenal.

Lastly, it should be noted that some healers may desire to have some accuracy in their gear. This approach can be very helpful in some specific Veteran or Master Mode operations encounters. A great example is the Veteran Mode Revan encounter where healers are needed to interrupt a cast. With baseline 101% accuracy, there is a 9% chance of an interrupt missing so adding in a few hundred points of accuracy can be helpful.

To do some quick math proving this point, let us consider the Entropic Surprise Probes. Usually the two healers are assigned to collectively interrupt its Entropic Surprise cast. With a 9% chance for each to miss, there is combined a 1% chance to miss the interrupt. Most groups deal with this mechanic 2-3 times per pull, so there is a 2-3% chance of a likely wipe due to missed interrupt. Getting accuracy up to 104% reduces the combined chance to miss to 0.3% just by using an accuracy stim and/or a couple augments. This is a very situational but occasionally very helpful gearing strategy.

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, practices may vary:

  • Seer Sage / Corruption Sorcerer: These disciplines generally should stick to the breakpoints for alacrity (1,895 for 1.3 second GCD with the Zeal perk or 1,213 for 1.4 second GCD without the Zeal perk). However, some healers prefer to gear up to 2,124 alacrity points with the Zeal perk to achieve better results under Mental Alacrity / Polarity Shift and some healers without the Zeal perk will gear up to 3,516 to achieve a 1.3 second GCD.

  • Sawbones Scoundrel / Medicine Operative: The common approach is to gear just past the breakpoints as outlined above. Some healers will gear extra alacrity to target a further breakpoint for energy regeneration that can be noticeably smoother in difficult content. These work out to 2,204 points with the Zeal perk (1.3 second GCD) and 2,201 points without the Zeal perk (1.4 second GCD). These are coincidentally similar, which is a helpful convenience when moving between content with the Zeal perk (SM/HM ops) and content without the Zeal perk.

  • Combat Medic Commando / Bodyguard Mercenary: The common approach is to gear just past the breakpoints as outlined above. These disciplines can similarly gear extra alacrity for incremental improved energy regeneration. These work out to 2,037 points with the Zeal perk (1.3 second GCD) and 2,278 points without the Zeal perk (1.4 second GCD).

Example Healer Build

This is my healer build for my Sage / Sorcerer for Hard / Veteran Mode content. I mostly use blue 276 augments since the majority of content is level 70.

I benefit from the guild perk so am running 1,934 alacrity to meet the 1,895 1.3s GCD breakpoint, with the rest going into critical.

I am running an accuracy/critical stim as well.

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 only 331 points are needed to get to a 1.4s GCD and provide a very cheap and powerful boost to your tank DPS. 1,213 points are needed for a 1.4s GCD without the Guild Zeal Perk and is a much tougher decision as to whether it is worth the loss of mitigation.

  3. Place extra stats into Critical (if offensive gearing). Any remaining points can be placed in Critical to further increase tank DPS.

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.

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.

How much alacrity and critical should you use when gearing an offensive tank? There is no clear cut optimal answer to this question. The higher return on investment is to gear up to the 1.4 second GCD via alacrity stat points. This is really easy if the Zeal perk applies but requires 1,213 points if the Zeal perk does not apply. Moving from a 1.5 second GCD to a 1.4 second GCD should improve your DPS by 7% via faster ability activation, which is far higher than the benefit realized from a similar investment in critical chance. Some critical points can also be helpful though I am usually hesitant to invest more than a few hundred points in critical.

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!

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 more points to Absorb to offset this buff.

  • Shield Specialist Vanguard / Shield Tech Powertech: These disciplines have lots of passive and rotational buffs to shield absorption so need much higher Shield points to maximize the mitigation benefit. I rarely see any theorycrafting recommending less than 1,000 points more Shield than Absorb even for average mitigation gearing approaches.

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.

Tank Gearing & Mods

Okay, one last thing...mods! Tanks have 4 options for mods in approximate order of preference from my perspective:

  1. Unlettered Warding Mods: Unlettered warding mods provide the highest amount of defense. These mods are optimal in all level 70 content since defense is not capped or fixed while Mastery and Endurance are capped. I recommend these for all situations if you are unsure of what to equip since they will be optimal in the widest range of situations.

  2. “B” Warding Mods: B warding mods allocate more of their stat budget to Endurance and less to Defense. These mods are ideal for tanks following a defensive gearing strategy in level 75 content as they provide Defense stat but boost Endurance. These mods are optimal for PVE content at level 75 as the incremental defense is not super helpful while extra Endurance makes it easier for tanks to survive spike damage.

  3. “B” Lethal Mods: B lethal mods provide power but maximize the Endurance buff. These are useful in level 75 content for tanks following an offensive gearing approach to increase damage dealt while maximizing the buff to the tank’s health pool to survive damage taken.

  4. Unlettered Lethal Mods: Unlettered lethal mods provide the highest possible power instead of defense. These should not ever be used for tanks. In level 70 content, power is already fixed so the stats are wasted compared to warding mods. In level 75 content, tanks are better off taking Lethal B mods per below.

So to summarize, for any level 70 content I recommend unlettered warding mods, for level 75 content you can use anything but unlettered lethal mods. I recommend just running with unlettered warding mods since those are optimal for level 70 content that makes up most of the available PVE end game content and will work fine for even Dxun Nature of Progress in Hard / Veteran Mode.

The only situation where I would likely suggest re-gearing around B mods would be for Nightmare / Master Mode Dxun Nature of Progress, where the extra Endurance (and DPS if using Lethal B’s) can be very meaningful to surviving spike damage and beating DPS checks.

Example Tank Defensive Build

This is my standard Guardian/Juggernaut tank gear set. I follow a spike damage mitigation gearing strategy, so my shield points are around 700 more than absorb and I end up with a 52% shield chance versus nearly 48% absorption when I shield attacks.

My defense is really high at 7.2k, which is not very efficient in level 75 content but is the best use of stats in level 70 content.

I am primarily using blue 276 augments since I am mostly running level 70 NiM operations at the moment so the extra cost doesn't really make a noticeable difference.

Example Tank Offensive Build

This is my modified tank build for offensive gearing purposes for content where the Guild perk applies. It uses the defensive build with the following changes:

  • Swap earpiece/implants for Critical pieces.

  • Swap Amplified Champion tank head piece for the head piece from my Descent of the Fearless DPS set that has an Alacrity enhancement.

  • Swap my stim to an Accuracy/Critical stim.

This all leads to me having a 1.4s GCD w/ Guild Perk, +12% critical chance and +11% critical damage. In exchange, I give up 5% shield chance and 7% absorption for >10% increase in tank DPS.

Using Descent of the Fearless would be far better than Lord of Pain for an offensive-geared Guardian tank, but this is still decent based on the gear I use now.