Beginner’s Bounty Hunter FAQ and Guide

Beginner’s Bounty Hunter FAQ

and Guide:

This guide is a basic, beginner’s guide aimed at players who aren’t familiar with the mechanics of the Bounty Hunter class. This guide will try to answer some of the commonly asked questions about the Bounty Hunter and its two advanced classes the Powertech and Mercenary. This guide also has some basic, suggested build guides both for PvE and PvP.

Ultimately this is just a guide to some of the class mechanics. It’s not going to discuss crafting, the Bounty Hunter’s story or companions.

1: Frequently Asked Questions

2: Resource System

3: Advanced Classes



4: Talent Build Suggestions

5: Miscellaneous

Frequently Asked Questions:

Shield Specialist vs. Juggernaut or Assassin: Which tank is the best?


Shield Specialist vs. Mercenary: Which Advanced Class does the most DPS?

One common misconception that keeps popping up is that the Mercenary does more damage than the Powertech. It doesn’t; remember that there is no auto-attack in the game. Each ability does a set amount of damage. Mercenary abilities require 2 pistols, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily do more damage than a Powertech. A Merc ability might require two guns and deal 400-500 damage. A Powertech ability would only require gun, but could do the same amount damage.

The Powertech is more of a melee DPS while the Mercenary is a ranged DPS. Further, the Mercenary is fairly stationary – many of its attacks have activation times, so you’ll need to stand still and cast them for extending periods. In contrast the Powertech is more mobile. Almost all of its attacks are instant.

Overall, if a Powertech and Mercenary are both specced into a DPS tree, neither will have any major advantage over the other. Finally, Bioware made it very clear that it wants all DPS trees for every AC to be within 5% DPS of one another. If the Mercenary does end up radically out-damaging the Powertech, expect that to change very quickly.

What stats does the Bounty Hunter use?


Can you become a Mandalorian?


Can Mercenaries function as end game healers?

What is the best talent build?

Does Kolto Vents work whenever you vent heat for any reason? Also, why do people think Kolto Vents is a waste of a talent point?

Does Jet Charge work like Force Leap?

Resource System:
Of special note is the Resource system that the Bounty Hunter uses. This system is called Heat. It operates a little differently from the sort of resource system that you see in most MMOs. As you use attacks, you gain heat. Once you reach 100% heat, you won’t be able to use any of your attacks, other than your Rapid Shots, and you will only be able to use a few other heatless abilities such as Neural Dart.

Your Heat slowly bleeds off over time. If you stop using attacks that generate Heat, your Heat will eventually return to zero. Where this system gets complicated is, the more Heat you have, the slower it dissipates.

From 0-39% heat, you’ll be dissipating 5 points of Heat every second. From 40%-79% you’re dissipating 3 heat per second. From 80%-100% heat, you’ll only be dissipating 2 points of Heat every second. Barring cooldowns or talents, it takes just over 30 seconds for your Heat to go from 100% to 0%. Clearly, it’s better for you to try and keep your Heat low for as long as possible rather than spamming a bunch of abilities at once, overheating, and then having to sit there and wait.

You do get Vent Heat, which lowers your current heat rating by 50 every 2 minutes. And many specs get an ability or two that can proc heat venting. Still, it’s a resource that you’ll need to pay attention to, especially in PvP. Overheating can cause major problems, and a big part of the Bounty Hunter class is to maximize your efficiency while juggling your Heat mechanic.

Advanced Classes:

On reaching level 10 the Bounty Hunter can pick one of two Advanced Classes after arriving on the Imperial Fleet – those classes are the Powertech and the Mercenary. It’s important to note that, while the Mercenary uses two guns, it does not necessarily do more damage than the Power Tech.

The Bounty Hunter is a powerful class. Like the Sith Inquisitor, one of its Advanced Classes, the Powertech, is capable of tanking while the other Advanced class, the Mercenary, is capable of healing. In addition, both the Powertech and Mercenary are fully capable of fulfilling DPS roles in raids and PvP.

The section below takes a closer look at the two Advanced Classes as well as a general overview of their three talent trees. Specific talents are mentioned if there’s anything that needs to be noted.

The Powertech is a class with close ranged attacks and a moderate amount of long range capability. It has a tank tree and two DPS trees. Its DPS trees are fully competitive with the DPS trees of the other seven classes.

One of the Powertech’s signature moves is Grapple, which grabs an opponent and drags it to the Powertech. This is handy in PvP, since you’ll want to be in melee range, but it will be especially useful in Huttball for dragging enemy ball carriers. You can also use it to drag people through the hazards, often killing them.

Another ability Powertechs get is Quell, which is a melee range 4 second interrupt on an 8 second cooldown which can be reduced down to 6 seconds.

Shield Specialist:
This the tank tree for the Powertech. This tree is fully capable of tanking all of the end game raid content. During the beta, Powertech tanks successfully tanked all of the Heroic Flashpoints, as well as all Normal, Heroic and (non-bugged) Nightmare bosses in Eternity Vault.

While there were some developer quotes from last year suggesting that the Powertech would be a long-range tank, the reality is a bit far from that. The Powertech does have access to long range attacks and can, in theory, briefly tank an enemy at range. But ultimately the Powertech will want to be in melee range – Rocket Punch, a melee attack, is the most important attack for the Shield Specialist, and so you’ll want to be using it as often as possible.

Most of the Shield Specialists’ mitigation comes from their ability to Shield attacks, and they get several bonuses in their talents that give them procs for shield or that increase their chance to shield. The Cylinder that Shield Specialists will want to use is the Ion Gas Cylinder. They cannot use their Guard ability without having the Ion Gas Cylinder equipped. For more information about Guard, see the Miscellaneous section at the bottom of the guide.

Talent Skill Notes:

Jet Charge: This works just like Force Leap. If you use it on someone who is within range but at a higher elevation, you will jump up and land next to him.

Heat Blast: This looks like a underwhelming ability at first glance. It does pretty insignificant damage and has a 15 second cooldown. On the plus side, it instantly depletes 8 points of Heat when you use it. This comes out to a total depletion of around .53 points of Heat every second. If your Heat is in the 0%-40% range, that’s an increase of just over 10% on your average Heat depletion. If you’re in the 80%-100% Heat range, that’s an increase of over 20% on your average Heat Depletion.

Further, it’s on-demand Heat depletion. If you are sitting at 46% heat, you’ll be in the lower Heat depletion tier. You could pop Heat Blast to instantly get back down to 38% and be in the fastest depletion tier. While Heat Blast isn’t an amazing ability, it’s not completely worthless.

Rebraced Armor: Your armor rating only reduces the damage of Kinetic and Energy attacks. Internal and Elemental attacks bypass your armor completely. As such, while Rebraced Armor is a fine talent for PvE tanks, it’s not quite as good in PvP where Internal and Elemental damage is much more common.

Advanced Prototype:
This is one of the two DPS specs for the Powertech and it has a bit more of a focus on melee range. One of the abilities that this spec gets is Retractable Claw, which gives the Advanced Prototype Powertech an additional melee range attack to use. The Cylinder that this spec uses is the High Energy Gas Cylinder.

Talent Skill Notes: 

Retractable Blade: This is a quick hitting, on demand DoT. Keep in mind that if someone has a DoT on them in PvP they often won’t be able to cap turrets or bombs. Also, the DoT component is internal so it bypasses armor.

Kolto Vents: First, despite what the talent description says, this ability only works when you use your Vent Heat ability – not whenever you vent heat for any reason. It also doesn’t heal for a lot. Sure it looks good at first glance; you heal 7% of your health each time you use your two minute Vent Heat ability. But, 7% health is incredibly underwhelming. Consider that if you have 12,000 health it will only heal 840 points. That turns into 84 points per second. Most damage abilities in PvP will be doing several hundred damage, if not in the thousands. The rate of healing is barely noticeable.

You’re probably better off putting your talent point into an extra attack or CC skill rather than in Kolto Vents. Even for PvP it’s really not that great of an ability. Maybe if the healing were 7% instantly it might be a bit more useful. Write a nasty letter to Bioware and maybe they’ll change it. 

This is the second DPS tree that the Powertech gets. It has an additional DoT and focuses primarily on procs, using Rocket Punch and Flame Burst to reset the cooldown on Rail Shot. The tree is pretty damaging, though it’s top tier ability is somewhat controversial. The Pyrotech will be using Combustible Gas Cylinder.

Talent Skill Notes:

Integrated Cardio Package: Not a great talent, even for Shield Tech tanks. Consider that 3% extra health from 14,000 is only an extra 420 hit points; that’s barely 1/3rd of a weak hit from a raid boss. There are better places to spend 3 talent points than here. If you’re a tank spec, it’s probably better to pick up a few extra DPS talents so that you can push your threat higher and the other members of your group can go full out DPS without as much worry about pulling aggro.

Thermal Detonator: This ability shares a cooldown with Explosive Dart. It costs the same amount of Heat and has the same range. It also does more damage. But! Thermal Detonator only deals damage to one target – it’s not an AoE! So while this ability will replace Explosive Dart on bosses, you’ll most likely still be using Explosive Dart in your AoE rotation.

Degauss: During the beta I tried Pvping with a Pyrotech, both with Degauss and without it, and my playstyle caused me to not quite like Degauss as much as you might think. You may like the talent and want to take it; that’s fine. It’s a good talent, just one that I found to be a bit awkward to use.

As I said in the Powertech vs Juggernaut/Assassin section, Powertech cooldowns need to be used proactively rather than reactively. I don’t think that this idea changes in PvP. Energy Shield is a good ability, but it’s a bit subtle. It reduces damage you take by 25% for 12 seconds. That is a difference but only significant once at least eight seconds have passed. If you use it and die five seconds later, or use it and finish the fight 5 seconds later, it would have been better to have popped the ability earlier.

If you wait until you get below 50% health to activate it, you very well might not live through the full duration. Often times in group PvP, even in PUGs, people naturally tend to target players with lower health. So, ideally you want to try to keep your health as high as possible for as long as possible. Popping Energy Shield while you’re at <80% health means that you’ll probably get the full duration, unless you have 5 or 6 people attacking you at once.

During the beta, when I had Degauss, I found myself using Energy Shield less for the protection and more for the extra mobility break. I tended to hold off on using the ability, because I felt that I needed to use it at the “right” time – and there were several fights where I waited so long to use it, it didn’t make much of a difference when I finally did. I was already so low on life even with the shield and break free I died not too long afterward.

Furthermore, in group PvP you’re going to be frequently getting hit with stuns, knockdowns and immobilizers. I felt that getting Heat dissipation from Gyroscopic Alignment Jets, and getting the freedom to pop Energy Shield early in the fight rather than holding off, was a bit more useful than taking Degauss.

But, that decisions was very much a “Your Mileage May Vary” section of the build, and if you would rather take Degauss, then by all means, feel free to do so! I certainly don’t think it’s a bad talent at all. I just found that it turned Energy Shield from a pro-active cooldown into a reactive one, and I didn’t like the way that that changed my PvP playstyle.

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The Mercenary is the other Advanced Class that the Bounty Hunter can spec into. Its’ most noticeable trait is the fact that this class uses two pistols. The class has a Heal tree and two DPS trees. While the Powertech is ultimately a melee and close range class, the Mercenary is definitely a ranged class; you don’t want people to get into melee range with you.

Contrary to expectations, the Mercenary is actually a fairly stationary class. Many of its more important attacks have activation times. This means that the class doesn’t have as much mobility as many people tend to think it does when they first imagine the class.

As for mechanics, instead of Grapple, the Mercenary gets Jet Boost, which knocks up to 5 enemies away and then slows them for 6 seconds. It’s very useful for pushing people away from you, as well as forcing them into tactically disadvantageous positions.

Further, instead of getting an interrupt they get a long duration crowd control ability, Concussion Missile, which can incapacitate NPCs for a long period of time, though PC’s will be incapacitated for a much shorter time period.

This is the healing tree for the Mercenary. The Mercenary is a fully capable healer, able to successfully heal in PvP, Flashpoints, Raids and World PvP. The Bodyguard needs to be a little more proactive as a healer as compared to the Sorcerer or the Operative. Most of the Bounty Hunter’s heals tend to have long cast times, requiring him to stand in place. If the Bodyguard falls too far behind in healing, it can be a bit difficult for him to “catch up”. Alacrity is an important stat for a Bodyguard as it will let you cast your heals faster.

Bodyguard specced Mercenaries have successfully healed throughout the end game in beta. They do have a few problems – namely their primary focus in longer, powerful heals. This makes them fairly stationary. They also tend to run into problems if you “fall behind” on your healing; it’s not as easy for them to catch up as it is for other classes.

The two major benefits for the Bounty Hunter healer are that first, if you manage your Heat correctly, you will always have the ability to heal, and second, your Combat Support Cylinder changes your Rapid Shots so that shooting your allies will heal them. This gives you a quick, no-Heat cost heal and is useful in times where you are required to be extremely mobile. Of all the “free heals” that the healer classes get, this is certainly the best one.

Many people suggest that the Sorcerer is the best healer, and in some ways they’re right. Their Resource system is a lot more forgiving than the Bounty Hunters. If a Sorcerer has to spam burst heals, it’s not a big deal. If a Bounty Hunter has to do the same, he will drive his Heat meter up into the slow dissipation zone and have difficulty regaining his tempo.

But, a Sorcerer will inevitably run out of Force points for healing, whereas if a Bounty Hunter is careful with his Heat, he can potentially heal forever; still, this might not be a huge benefit. Most end game bosses have strict enrage timers, so even if a Mercenary could heal for 20 minutes straight, it doesn’t mean that he’ll ever realistically be able to do so.

Still, as pointed out earlier, Mercenaries have successfully healed all of the content in the game. If you want to play a Bodyguard, more power to you. Don’t let people tell you that you’re going to be a fail healer or useless at end game. You won’t be.

Talent Skill Notes:

Kolto Missile: It’s not a fantastic AoE heal. You won’t be able to get by in instances just spamming this ability. You’ll frequently find yourself using it more for the +10% buff on targets than the actual heal. You’ll generally want to keep the buff up on the tank at all times.

Supercharged Gas: An important ability for the Bounty Hunter, Supercharged Gas changes your playstyle a bit when you activate it. Getting 30 charges of your Combat Support Cylinder isn’t too difficult. You can shoot allies during downtime between pulls or before the start of a PvP match. Knowing when you use this ability is very important, especially in PvP. While it does allow you to spam Healing Scan, keep in mind that you’ll overheat very quickly if you try to do that.

The Arsenal tree tends to obviously be the most popular one for DPSing Mercenaries. This is a ranged spec that boosts many of your attacks but more importantly grants you some new ones. The signature ability in this tree is Tracer Missile, which can reduce the target’s armor by up to 20% if you keep the debuff up. This spec will be very popular in raiding environments due to this particular debuff. This spec will be using High Velocity Gas Cylinder.

Talent Skill Notes:

Tracer Missile: Get used to the animation. You’re going to be spamming it. A lot. This is by far the most important ability for an Arsenal Mercenary – you need to use it every 15 seconds in order to keep the debuff going.

Basically everything about the Powertech’s Pyrotech tree applies here, except that the Mercenary Pyrotech is a long ranged DPS class instead of short ranged. Rather than using Rocket Punch and Heat Blast to proc Rail Shots, you’ll be using Power Shot and Unload.

Talent Build Suggestions:

Making a good build is not too hard – the talent trees in SWtOR are not particularly difficult to get a handle on. Generally speaking, if you’re looking to DPS, pick a talent tree and put 31 points into it. If you want to DPS in PvE then focus on talents that increase your raw statistics and the damage that your abilities do. Talents that increase your crowd control abilities are usually not worth it in a PvE spec.

If you’re looking to DPS with a PvP spec, then you’ll want to pick up some of the crowd control talents while sacrifice the “worst” damage talents. That’s a bit trickier to balance.

I’m not going to claim that these are the “best” builds you can make for a Bounty Hunter, but, they’re definitely not going to be ineffective. These builds will be useful at whatever they’re supposed to do (tank, heal or DPS) and if you use one of these builds or a similar one, you shouldn’t have anybody complaining about your spec. Not that they will; nobody can look at your spec right now anyway.

Without parsers or DPS meters it’s impossible to say what build will do the most damage. There are also frequently places in each build where you have to put points into a skill that may or may not be overly useful for your talent spec. If you want to move some points around, feel free; again, these are just some suggestions.

Keep one important thing in mind – the Bioware developers said that they do not want to see hybrid builds viable for end-game PvE. I’ve primarily focused on “pure” builds because I figure that if a particular hybrid build ends up becoming particularly powerful at end-game, Bioware will nerf or buff the trees to make finishing the tree more attractive than jumping into another.

So if you do end up liking a particular hybrid build, don’t get too attached to it, it might not be viable in another month or two.

Powertech Builds
Mercenary Builds



This section breaks down some of the abilities for the Bounty Hunter, with things that I happened to notice during the beta. I posted this earlier on the forums before the wipe, so you might have already read this section.

Special thanks: AnubisXy