[Top 5] SWTOR Best DPS Class

Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars, SWTOR, 2020, best DPS
Star Wars: The Old Republic offers a wide array of classes and specs to choose from. With eight different classes, you're bound to find the one that's perfect for you.


The question that resounds in the mind of every new and old player alike: “What’s really the best class to play?”

Lots of veteran players, myself included, will tell you there is no “best” class – Star Wars: The Old Republic is about finding an advanced class that suits your playstyle and running with that. Whether you want to shock your opponents with a flurry of showy Force lightning, or stick to a good old reliable blaster, any class can be viable! However, numbers don’t lie, and if you’re looking for the cold hard facts about what really performs best within the game, you’ve come to the right spot. 

    Let’s start off with some of the basics: the advanced classes themselves. As an MMO, SWTOR offers the player eight different class stories that they can choose from, each with their own unique storyline and abilities. Four of these classes belong to the Empire, while the other four belong to the Republic: each side’s classes are mirrored in the other faction’s. So, if you’re playing, say, an Imperial Agent, you could easily create a Republic-aligned character and know how to play its mirror-class, the Smuggler. This simplifies the advanced classes, making it a little less overwhelming for new players just dipping their toes into the game. 

Here’s a quick list of every advanced DPS class in the game, complete with its mirrored counterpart and their more specific specializations:

  • Sith Assassin / Jedi Shadow

    • Deception / Infiltration
    • Hatred / Serenity
  • Sith Sorcerer / Jedi Sage
    • Lightning / Telekinetics
    • Madness / Balance
  • Sith Juggernaut / Jedi Guardian
    • Vengeance / Vigilance
    • Rage / Focus
  • Sith Marauder / Jedi Sentinel
    • Annihilation / Watchman
    • Carnage / Combat
    • Fury / Concentration
  • Operative  / Scoundrel
    • Concealment / Scrapper
    • Lethality / Ruffian
  • Sniper / Gunslinger
    • Marksmanship / Sharpshooter
    • Engineering / Saboteur
    • Virulence / Dirty Fighting
  • Mercenary / Commando
    • Arsenal / Gunnery
    • Innovative Ordnance / Assault Specialist
  • Powertech / Vanguard
    • Pyrotech / Plasmatech
    • Advanced Prototype (AP) / Tactics

Each of these advanced classes can easily get the job done, whatever it is, but there’s several among their number that tend to pump out larger parsed numbers in the hands of capable players. It’s hard to pinpoint the actual “best” within SWTOR – it’s one of the few games I’ve played where the classes actually feel quite well-balanced, so there isn’t a huge discrepancy in what each of them can achieve. There’s also a plethora of factors that go into deciding which class is “best”: how easily they can take care of themselves (survivability), how hard they can hit, how easy they are to master, how relevant that specific class and their subsequent specs’ movesets are within different kinds of content (raiding or casual play or Player-versus-Player). However, if we’re going to ask which is best, let’s focus on their overall damage. That’s what a DPS is supposed to do, afterall!

As a general rule of thumb, we know that melee classes will typically outperform ranged classes, with Damage over Time (DoT) specs generally parsing higher than burst classes, as insane as that sounds. This in part, is due to game design. Burst classes and ranged classes both have a much easier time swapping targets and pumping out DPS than a melee or DoT-oriented class, so to keep things balanced, the classes that have to work a bit harder for their output can usually blow those that don’t out of the water. This isn’t to say that a ranged class will never beat out a melee for top damage – above all, it usually depends on the person behind the character, and how well they know how to utilize that class’ unique kit. 

If we take a look at parsely.io, the go-to for parsing, recording and reviewing DPS, healing and tank outputs (also known as StarParse in the community), there’s plenty of statistics to review in the DPS leaderboards. With this in mind, let’s talk about five of these advanced classes and their best performing spec that are standing out in the current meta:

 

5. Mercenary / Commando (Top Parse: 28,203 damage per second)

Specialization: Arsenal / Gunnery

A job’s a job: Equipped with all the best tech, the Mercenary and Commando both jump into a fight, guns blazing.

    Previously the advanced class and spec to play before update 6.0, Arsenal’s DPS output has been rebalanced since its glory days of being the meta. Even so, it’s still a heavy hitting DPS spec, with reliable burst, an easy to learn rotation and outstanding survivability. 

  • Mercenary has one of the best defensive cooldowns within SWTOR: Responsive Safeguards, which reflects direct damage done to the player while healing them with each hit. Watch out for AOEs when using this ability, as they’re the only way to penetrate this powerful defensive.
  • Equipped with off-heals, this class can take care of itself when things get messy.
  • Highly mobile with few channeled abilities allows this class to easily kite while still dealing high amounts of damage.
  • Mercenaries and Commandos come with one raid buff (of which there are 4 in total), Supercharged Celerity. If you’re planning to take up raiding, having access to one of these is a bonus.
  • Generally good AOE and single-target damage output, which makes this spec and class highly adaptable.

4. Sniper / Gunslinger (Top Parse: 28,751 damage per second)

Specialization: Virulence / Dirty Fighting

Don’t come too close: Keeping your distance as a Sniper or Gunslinger means you have your eyes on the whole battlefield.

    A ranged DoT spec, Virulence Sniper is ever so satisfying to play once all your DoTs have been applied and begin to cascade on their target. Sniper is definitely one of the more challenging advanced classes to learn, taking into account positioning, movement restrictions and resource management, but given proper placement and awareness, can easily take down targets from far away without breaking a sweat.

  • Now with a new class-specific ability, snipers and gunslingers are able to place down a marker that will return them to that position when the ability is activated a second time. It works in the same way that Phase Walk does for Sorcerers and Sages, but comes with a new snazzy name: Hololocate. This is great for regaining a favorable position or getting yourself out of trouble.
  • Excellent AOE coverage across several abilities, making the sniper and gunslinger superb candidates for controlling large groups of enemies.
  • Though they don’t have a raid buff, this advanced class offers something called a Ballistic Shield, which reduces the damage done to all your friends standing under it – this is a great thing to have for some raid bosses or even in PvP.
  • Being a completely ranged class has its own challenges, though it makes it easier to keep a bird’s eye view of your surroundings. Many groups tend to prefer having a sniper along to hold a certain position while dishing out damage to many different targets without changing locations.
  • The only advanced class able to strategically crouch, the sniper can roll behind objects within the area or use their own portable cover-shield to fire from safety. A certain utility will also allow you to become healed periodically while in cover, which helps with survivability.
  • The second of Sniper and Gunslinger’s three DPS specs, Marksmanship / Sharpshooter also tops DPS leaderboards with 28,597 DPS.

3. Operative / Scoundrel (Top Parse: 31,071 damage per second)

Specialization: Concealment / Scrapper

Now you see me…: Masters of subterfuge and mischief, the Operative and Scoundrel both delight in catching their opponent off-guard.

    A favorite class of mine, Concealment is just plain fun. Complete with sinister laughter to go with your brutal stabbing animations, Concealment allows the player to strike from the shadows and rack up huge damage on its opponents with a quick, easy-to-learn rotation. As a bonus, Concealment has off-heals (which helps with survivability), stealth utility and a raid buff. 

  • Operatives and Scoundrels have plenty of group utility. A class-specific ability called Infiltrate allows the Operative to smuggle in their entire group with a stealth field past enemies!
  • As mentioned above, Operative and Scoundrel are another advanced class which has access to one of the four raid buffs, Tactical Superiority. While it’s not required to have a raid buff within a raid, it definitely helps to have all four if you can manage it.
  • All stealth classes in SWTOR have an ability that allows them to put a foe to sleep for a set amount of time from stealth. This can allow your non-stealther friends to pass by an enemy without engaging them in combat!
  • A well-played Concealment Operative can easily and efficiently burst down even the most adept healers in PvP, making them a versatile and deadly choice. Their vicious nature for sure carries over into PvE content, as well.
  • One of the more unique things about Concealment and Scrapper is its partial dependency on positioning when engaging with an enemy. Your heavy hitting ability, Backstab, is only able to be used from behind the target (and does extra damage if you use it from stealth!), meaning you’ll have to be a little more sneaky than the other classes.
  • Operative and Scoundrel are an all-around good choice, with the other DPS spec (Lethality / Ruffian) performing well in the leaderboards with around 28,505 DPS. 

2. Sith Assassin / Jedi Shadow (Top Parse: 31,825 damage per second)

Specialization: Deception / Infiltration

One with the Force: Equipped with a stylish double-bladed lightsaber, the Assassin and Shadow show off their abilities with a flurry of elegant movesets.

    Deception is my all time favorite class, and the one I first started off as in SWTOR. It’s easy to learn, feels amazing to use when you get the rotation down, and deals out chunks of damage that can stagger any raid boss. It’s beautiful to watch, fast-paced, and even provides you with an armor breaking ability, a thing any raid group is sure to like! Much like Concealment, Deception relies on attacking from stealth and dealing burst damage. 

  • Assassin and Shadows have access to one of the best abilities within SWTOR, Force Shroud. This particular ability is unmatched when dealing with certain raid mechanics, acting as a self-cleanse and allowing the player to resist tech and Force attacks by 200%! 
  • Though the Assassin doesn’t exactly excel in AoE utility, it’s outstanding as a single-target class.
  • Assassins and Shadows have access to a fun ability called Phantom Stride, which when it works correctly (you know exactly what I mean if you’ve ever played Assassin!) teleports you to your target, somewhat like the Juggernaut or Powertech’s leap, but with its own unique style. With the Reaper’s Rush utility, Phantom Stride also allows you to Assassinate your target on approach, while also resetting the cooldown on Phantom Stride when that enemy dies. This means you can zip around the battlefield, taking down enemies before they even know what hit them.
  • Deception and Infiltration are one of SWTOR’s priority specs – meaning that their rotation is based more so on procs than on a set-in-stone pattern. This makes this spec easier to pick up and adapt with, as you won’t lose too much DPS if you somehow fumble your rotation mid-fight.
  • Visually, Deception is perhaps the most beautiful spec. All the moves are very acrobatic, something you would expect of Darth Maul himself. 

1. Powertech / Vanguard (Top Parse: 33,737 damage per second)

Specialization: Pyrotech / Plasmatech

Handle with caution: Fire is this spec’s best friend, engulfing the field with explosives and flame sweeps to stagger even the toughest foe.

    Here, we have our aforementioned rule laid out exactly as described: melee DoT classes have the potential to outperform all others, and that’s just what Pyrotech is. With showy bursts of fire, Pyrotech manages to steal the leaderboards easily. In fact, both of Powertech’s specs are topping the leaderboards currently (with only about a 1k reduction in parse for the Advanced Prototype spec), making it a smart choice if you want to dish out the highest damage.

  • Though Powertech survivability is lackluster, if you want a spec that is in-your-face and a show-off, Pyrotech is perfect! Getting up close and personal with a jet-pack powered leap, the Pyrotech charges into a fight face-first, flames at the ready.
  •  Powertech is also capable of providing raid group support with an advanced class utility called Sonic Rebounders, which allows for some pretty fancy cheeses within a raid setting. 
  • Powertech and Vanguards are the only DPS class in SWTOR to have a “yank” ability, called Grapple. This move usually pairs itself with tanks (Powertech tanks have the same ability, while Assassin tanks have Force Pull), but the DPS Powertech is lucky enough to also have it! This is a good move for helping out your healer, as you can pull an enemy off of them and smack it in the face for good measure.
  • Pyrotech and Plasmatechs are excellent at dealing with large groups of enemies, as they can easily spread their DoTs between opponents to rack up huge numbers. Their single-target damage isn’t bad, either!
  • Powertechs (and Mercenaries, for that matter) are unique in the fact that their resource management is a little bit different than the rest of the classes. Instead of having a full yellow bar of either Energy or Force, they begin with an empty bar that fills up with Heat as they use abilities. Having too much Heat means you can’t use any more abilities, so it becomes a balancing act between Heat management and ability usage. 

There you have it, the best of the best! Remember: regardless of which class you decide to pick, it’s completely up to your personal preference on playstyle and utility! One class and spec might be the “best” in one area, but could easily be trumped by another class who outshines it in a different way. Since SWTOR is also an MMO that is still being updated by the developers, all classes are subject to be changed in the future, as well. What tops the charts today, might not tomorrow. All of these classes and specs are completely viable, even in raid settings – what really matters is the player behind them! 

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A druid where one would least expect it -New Jersey- Morgan is happiest when immersing herself in the magic of another world, whether in the pages of a book or the technicolor of a beloved video game.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Top 3 Favorite Games:Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide, Sea of Thieves, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic


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