SWTOR 5.3 Class Changes: Arsenal Merc and Gunnery Commando


The progress continues on Star Wars: The Old Republic and it’s 5.3 update. BioWare are hard at work on the update, even amid the expansive and entertaining Summer Event season. The last round of balance changes landed for the Assassin and Shadow, which you can see here. This time though, The Mercenary and Commando are betting worked on. Specifically, the builds for Gunnery Commando and Arsenal Mercenary are getting rebalanced in 5.3. With the 5.2.2 update having just been released, 5.3 is still at least a few months away from the PTS. No firm release date is known at this time.

These new balance changes are not yet final! So if you disagree with these nerfs, head over to the discussion thread and voice your opinion.

Note: All changes below are currently in development and are subject to change before being released.

Mercenary – Arsenal

  • Blazing Bolts deals 4.89% less damage and costs 20 heat (up from 16)
  • Barrage no longer increases the damage dealt by Blazing Bolts, but still finishes its active cooldown
  • Riddle no longer improves Unload
  • The critical damage bonus provided by Target Tracking is now 15% (down from 30%)
  • Decoy now has 2 charges (down from 5)


Commando – Gunnery

  • Boltstorm deals 4.89% less damage and costs 20 energy cells (up from 16)
  • Curtain of Fire no longer increases the damage dealt by Boltstorm, but still finishes its active cooldown
  • Rotary Cannon no longer improves Full Auto
  • The critical damage bonus provided by Deadly Cannon is now 15% (down from 30%)
  • Decoy now has 2 charges (down from 5)
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With these changes, BioWare hoped to address some overpowering issues that they felt made these Disciplines a bit too easy. A decent nerf to DSP was the goal here, with there also being a moderate increase in the difficulty of managing heat/energy. Class abilities like Blazing Bolts and Boltstorm have been nerfed in terms of damage as well.

Target Tracking and Deadly Cannon have had the Crit Bonus reduced a bit to function as an overall nerf to burst damage with crits from abilities like Demolition Round and Railshot.

Decoy has been severely nerfed, this will now make tanking and damage mitigation with the classes that rely on this ability much more difficult. Let’s be honest, the PvE and PvP with these disciplines were felt by some players to be too easy. The burst damage on crit builds was actually quite high. But the nerf to abilities like Boltstorm might be a bit too much. Boltstorm and Blazing Bolts are two of the most important abilities in the rotation for these Disciplines, and players will have to get used to a pretty substantial shift in terms of the actual usage of the rotations they’re used to.

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