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SWTOR 3.0 Focus Guardian DPS Guide by Artorias

SWTOR 3.0 Focus Guardian DPS guide by Artorias of Ebon Hawk. Last updated: August 2, 2015


  • 1 Introduction to the Focus Guardian
    • 1.1 Utilities
    • 1.2 Rating
    • 1.3 Gearing and Stats Priority
  • 2 What you need to know
    • 2.1 Buffs/Passives:
    • 2.2 Abilities
  • 3 Opening and Rotation
    • 3.1 Focus Opener
    • 3.2 Cycles
    • 3.3 Execute
    • 3.4 What to Check for?
    • 3.5 Sample Parse Analysis
    • 3.6 Video
  • 4 About the Author

Introduction to the Focus Guardian

Introduction: Focus is currently one of the few AOE specs in game, how ever with changes to the spec in update 3.0, the spec is now capable of doing a pure single target rotation to allow for added damage by sacrificing AOE in the rotation. This allows you to swap between a single target burst and an AOE burst depending on the situation. The further change to Focus also has shifted the rotation a bit, making it similar yet also different than the 2.0 iteration you may or may not have played.


The below utilities are outlined to make the most of your Raid Utility and PVE environments. Things such as cleanses aren’t necessary and are better served for speed boosts, damage increases and buffs to your allies.


unwaveringresolve (1) Second Wind: Reduces the cooldown of Resolute by 30 seconds and causes Resolute to heal you for 10% of your maximum health when used. clip_image002[5] Trailblazer: Cyclone Slash deals 25% more damage. clip_image002[1] Narrowed Focus: Taking non-periodic area of effect damage generates 1 Focus. This effect cannot occur more than once every second.


clip_image002[7] Guardianship: Challenging Call protects all allies within range, excluding yourself, granting Guardianship, which absorbs a moderate amount of damage. Lasts 10 seconds. clip_image002[9]clip_image002[11] Inspiring Force: Freezing Force increases the movement speed of all allies within 8 meters, excluding yourself by 50% for 8 seconds.orPurifying Sweep: For the Defense Discipline, Force Sweep slows the targets it damages by 60% for 10 seconds. For the Vigilance and Focus disciplines, Force Sweep and Vigilant Thrust sunder the targets they damage for 45 seconds. Sundered targets have their armor rating decreased by 20%.


clip_image002[13] Through Peace: Reduces the Cooldown of Focused Defense by 30 seconds. trueharmony True Harmony: Enure increases movement speed by 50% and grants immunity to movement impairing effects while active.


  • Single Target Dps: 6
  • AoE Damage: 10
  • Rotation Difficulty: 5
  • RNG Dependant: No
  • Burst: 8
  • Sub 30% Talent or Ability Buffs: Yes, execute available every so often.

Gearing and Stats Priority

  • Accuracy: 100% Melee (110% Force). 1% from Companion, 755 Accuracy Rating from Gear.
  • Surge: Higher Priority than Alacrity.
  • Alacrity: Optional, Rotation benefits from surge
  • 220-330 Critical Rating (1% from companion)
  • All other secondary stats in Power
  • Augments: Strength
  • Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
  • Set Bonus: 6 Piece Vindicator
  • Form: Shii-Cho

What you need to know

Focus revolves around buffing yourself passively in rotation to allow for a massive hit at the end of each ‘cycle’. These cycles remain the same but if you have no idea of your passives then you won’t know how or why the cycles are there in the first place.


riflegrenade Singularity: While Shii-Cho Form is Active, activating Combat Focus/damage dealt by Force Exhaustion grans Singulary, increasing the damage dealt by your next Focused Burst and Force Sweep by 5% and reducing their cost by 34% per stack (Free at 3 stacks). Also lowers the CD of Combat Focus by 15% and additonally generates 6 Focus over 6 seconds. jumping_strike Felling Blow: Force Leap and Zealous Leap make your next Force Sweep or Focused Burst automatically Crit. twinarcs Zephyrean Slash: Strike, Sundering Strike, Slash, Cyclone Slash, Riposte, Blade Storm, Dispatch and Concentrated Slice reduce the active cooldowns of Force Sweep, Focused Burst, and Zealous Leap by 1 second and Combat Focus by 2 seconds. energyrebounder Heightened Power: Increases all damage dealt by 5% for 6 seconds after dealing damage with Force Sweep or Focused Burst. Cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds. forceactivate Gravity Defiance: Increases the Critical strike damage of all abilities by 15%. cc_follow Momentum: Reduces the Cooldown of Zealous Leap by 3 seconds. When Force Leap or Zealous Leap is used, your next Blade Storm deals 5% more damage and generates 1 Focus. clip_image002[15] Concentrated Power: Concentrated Slice enables Riposte and beats down the target for 45% causing them to take 5% more damage from melee attacks.


clip_image002[17] Focused Burst: Deals a massive amount of single target Kinetic damage when buffed fully (this should always be the case.) Procs Heightened Power and consumes Singularity and Felling Blow.Costs: 0 Focus forcesweep Force Sweep: Deals a massive amount of Kinetic damage when fully buffed, though less than Focused Burst, compensates for this by being AOE. Should never be used on Single Target.Costs: 0 Focus clip_image002[21] Concentrated Slice: New ability added in 3.0. Deals high amount of weapon damage and autocrits when utilizing the 6-piece Vindicator Set Bonus making it one of the hardest hitting abilities in game. Also beats down the target, debuffing it for your entire group, making the target take more melee damageCosts: 5 Focus clip_image002[23] Riposte: Deals decent weapon damage. Now on the GCD, only useable after Concentrated Slice and both should be used as a couple, your rotation, if done perfectly will always be capable of doing this.Costs: 2 Focus clip_image002[27] Blade Storm: Deals moderate Kinetic damage. Has a Range of 10m, this ability isn’t used as much as previous Focus to make use of the 6 piece set bonus.Generates: 1 Focus clip_image002[29] Zealous Leap: 10m gap closer and one of the most used abilities due to granting Felling Blow.Costs: 2 Focus clip_image002[31] Saber Throw: Replaces the cost of Riposte in your Combat Cycle 2 with a gain of 3 Focus to allow more use of Blade Storm in future cycles. Also procs your 6-piece Vindicator set bonus, causing your next Concentrated Slice to automatically crit.Generates: 3 Focus clip_image002[33] Master Strike: Used in its own respective cycle. Master Strike had its damage and CD reduced to 18 seconds in 3.0 allowing you to use it more frequently and within Heightened Power windows, meaning it’s always 5% more powerful. clip_image002[35] Dispatch:Used every few cycles thanks to the profit of Focus gained from Saber Throw, a total of two Dispatches can be used in the place of Riposte before burning yourself out. It it is not ideal to use it on CD or to shift ability priority to use it. Resource costs are very strict and getting over zealous can lead to ruining your rotation. Deals more Damage than Riposte and is the 2nd highest powerful critting ability behind Concentrated Slice. clip_image002[37] Force Push: Used rarely if ever as a filler, if you’re doing your rotation flawlessly, you’ll never need a filler. clip_image002[39] Slash: Never used. You should never find yourself having room in your rotation or CD imbalance requiring you to use it.Costs: 3 Focus sweep (1) Strike: Never used as it does terrible damage and has zero benefit to you entirely.Generates: 2 Focus clip_image002[41] Force Stasis: Never used. Minimal damage and will unsettle your rotation.Generates: 4 Focus clip_image002[43] Force Leap: Simple gap closer that allows you to transition to your target in opener or if you need to swap and get to your new target ASAP.Generates: 3 Focus

Opening and Rotation

The opener for Focus is rather simple and never deviates regardless of scenario. Combat Focus frontloads your Singularity and Force Leap grants Felling Blow, allowing the following Focused Burst to crit. Saber throw grants Vindicator’s Critical Bonus, giving your first Concentrated Slice an autocrit.

Focus Opener


As I mentioned above, Focus follows ‘Cycles’. One cycle ends and another begins, each cycle ends with a Focused Burst (or Force Sweep depending on if you want AOE). Each Cycle subsequently bleeds Focus or lack there of into the next cycle, thus meaning you have to preemptively manage yourself or you may find you’re running too low on your next Zealous Leap.

There are 2 types of cycles. I like to call them the “Combat Cycle” and “Master Cycle.” These cycles follow one another, when an Combat Cycle ends, the Master Cycle begins, so you can keep track of which cycle you’re supposed to be doing on the CD of Force Exhaustion as it’s the first ability used in the Master Cycle.



The reason as to why there are 2 Combat Cycles is that the over use of Combat Cycle 1, the one with Riposte will eventually drain your resource due to its cost, meaning an eventual Zealous Leap will fail. To stop this from happening, substituting a 2-Focus cost for 3 Focus gain with the use of Saber Throw means you can proceed with 3 more Combat Cycle 1’s until a Combat Cycle 2 is required. The loss of DPS by subsituting in Saber Throw for Riposte, is more than made up for by the use of Blade Storm being used more frequently.

To know when to use Combat Cycle 2 is easy. Once your Master Cycle finishes and your Focus Bar is entirely empty after your Focused Burst, that’s when to use Combat Cycle 2.



With the large amount of Focus from your Combat Cycle 2 bleeding into your next cycles, this opens up room to allow Dispatch. Rather than subtracting 2 Focus from your current budget, you’re adding 3, this will allow you to add an extra 1 cost to your next 2 Riposte areas in the coming cycles to use Dispatch, so 2/3 Ripostes become Dispatches, the 2nd Dispatch of course is present to due to the CD on Dispatch now allowing it be used frequently. This helps not burn you out and will allow you to increase damage due to how powerful Dispatch is in comparison to Riposte.This how ever means that you will need to use Combat Cycle 2 more often to compensate for the growing cost of your rotation.

What to Check for?

What was the minimum hit of your Focused Burst/Force Sweep? You’ll see a rough deviation of 4000 max due to Relic and Adrenal windows. If you land a 12,500 Focused burst, your minimum should be the low 8000’s. If you have hit far lower than this 4k deviation, you’ve messed up a Singularity window at some point or another.

The Number of Zealous Leaps+Force Leap activations = Number of Focused Bursts+Force Sweeps.

APM (Actions Per Minute) of at least 39.4

Are you clipping Master Strike effectively at the 0.3 second mark? Clipping Master Strike with Concentrated secures it inside the Heightened Power window.

Is your Focused Burst/Force Sweep average output higher than 10secs? If so, you’re delaying it or your rotation is too slow.

Sample Parse Analysis


So looking at the parse, let’s note some things. some are obvious, others are not.

Focused burst makes up the most of your damage, about 20% to 22% and of course has a 100% crit chance due to the rotation being successful, you’ll also notice that the number (24) matches up to the (23) Zealous Leaps in rotation and (1) Force Leap in opener, the dummy died before the 25th Focused Burst, hence why there isn’t a 25th listed.

Looking at the parse, you can see the APM is 40.2, well over the required 39.4. What increases your APM is mostly the use of Adrenal and Combat Focus, both of which do not respect the GCD as such should be pressed at the same time as your following ability, regardless of what it is.

You’ll also notice a lack of Sweep in this parse because it deals weaker damage and its buffs are consumed by Focused Burst, hence there is no reason to use it in single target.

The number of Saber Throws will be roughly half that of Blade Storm, so every 2 Blade Storm Cycles will result in one Saber Throw cycle.

The number of Concentrated Slices is equal to that of Riposte, each activation in succession of the other, used as a pair, the 7 Focus is always present when this duo is needed rotationally


About the Author

My in game name is Artorias/Sinais, depending on which faction you’re on of course. You may have seen me on the forums or /r/SWTOR as Luckygunslinger. I raid with Aisthesis on the Ebon Hawk and have been playing Juggernaut since 1.3 and DPS spec since 1.5 all the way until 3.0. I mained Rage pre-Vengeance Buffs in 2.6 and have decided to return to it since a lot of the minor issues have been fixed. This guide was written through the testing days of SoR when the spec was changing and it was helping to keep track of the changes while in turn helping others get an idea of this slightly versatile spec.