- "Operatives adapt to any environment and any circumstance to ensure the Empire's agenda is achieved. Whether emerging from stealth to ambush and eliminate enemies in close-range combat or using advanced medical technologies to keep colleagues in the fight, the Operative is able to identify the needs of any situation and react accordingly. All Operatives learn how to move stealthily–sneaking past or surprising enemies–and various close-quarters fighting techniques that do damage at short range and prevent an enemy from fleeing. Operatives can also opt to learn the skills of Concealment, using an energy blade to deal even more damage close-up; gain Medic training, using probes that heal and protect allies in battle; and specialize in Lethality, utilizing deadly toxins to poison their enemies."
- ―In-game Codex (Game Rules)
As an Operative, the Imperial Agent uses close range tactics such as a "shiv" ability to eliminate their targets. They also use stealth abilities to conceal their presence on the battlefield and position themselves for attack on foes. They are able to heal their allies utilizing advanced medical technologies, making the Agent a vital colleague on the battlefield.
Combining the expertise of multiple disciplines, Operatives adapt to any environment and any circumstance to ensure the Empire's agenda is achieved. Whether emerging from stealth to ambush and eliminate enemies in close-range combat or using advanced medical technologies to keep colleagues in the fight, the Operative is able to identify the needs of any situation and react accordingly.
More specific abilities have been described, including upgrades that make the Operative less dependent on cover. These options make an Operative more effective in mid- and close-range combat, by using a stealth field generator to approach unseen for heavy burst damage from their energy blade.
- Vibro-knife/Blaster rifle
- Medium/Light armor
- Ranged DPS
- Mid to Close Range DPS/Healer
- Can use Cover System, Stealth Field Generator
The two Operative skill trees are Concealment and Medic. The shared Operative/Sniper skill tree is Lethality. Although Concealment and Lethality(Operative) have quite a few ranged abilities, both specs require that you are in Melee/Close range (10 meters or less) with your target in order to achieve maximum DPS. Unlike the Sniper/Gunslinger who have 35 meters of range, Operative/Scoundrel are very short range DPS.
- Upgrades stealth and close-ranged attacks, allowing the Agent to strike without detection.
The Concealment Operative is an up-close killer. Yes, you'll retain the baseline ranged attacks that you used before you had your advanced class. Your best hits will be at melee range though, with some good short range stuff as well.
Plan your attack rotation. You will always have cooldowns and tactical advantage to monitor, and cannot get away with just mashing a basic attack the way some classes can. Backstab and Shiv are staples for generating tactical advantage and do NICE damage.
Things to consider, you'll read about ideal ability rotations in many guides. They're worth learning, as many of the guys that have written those have timed and parsed things out to the hundredth of a second. But it only matters if you can hit the rotation exactly.
A mediocre rotation that you can hit every time and delivers what you need in a reliable package will get you farther in a fight than a superior rotation that falls apart as soon as you miss a particular ability.
When solo, learn to use control+1 to send your companion to whichever target is most likely to be a problem. This will let you deal with the target you choose without everyone piling on you.
In groups, your most important job will be to keep the bad guys from tearing up your healer. Learn to spot their DPSers, and take them down fast. Use your stuns to keep them from getting their own rotation going against you. Always remember your beginning as an Agent. When the fight falls apart and turns into a slug-fest, get into Cover ASAP to increase your survival, but then also be ready to move at any time.
Backstab, Shiv, Laceration, Laceration, Cover, Overload Shot, Overload Shot, Shiv, Laceration, it's a good place to start, and will get you a long ways.
- Advances the Agent's healing capabilities keeping his allies alive and effective.
The Medic retains the baseline offensive capabilities of all Operatives, and as such is a adequate damage dealer. You won't hang with the ranged DPS of a sniper or the close DPS of a Conceal Operative though, and that's the trade off for the healing.
All Operatives get a little healing. Medics get a lot. Your staples are the 18s periodic heals. You can have 2 of them on each target at a time, and with an 18s duration it enables you to "pre-heal". I try to keep them up during the entire fight on the main tank (be sure to stay within 15m of him so his Guard ability protects you). This does 2 good things: it helps keep him full HP most of the fight, and it helps him keep threat so that the DPS guys can do their thing. You also have a channeled heal that costs no power. It doesn't heal a lot, but is a great way to keep the tanks topped off when they're not taking big hits. HoT, HoT, channel, channel, channel, rinse repeat. That will keep a tank nearly full HP under all but the most concentrated attacks.
Be sure to use your med-scan to clear debuffs and periodic damages, especially those that limit your tank's mobility. It's cheaper to cure an effect than to heal the damage it does.
When the big hits come, you have a large (but slow cast) heal that can keep anybody up as long as you have power. Another periodic heal (from tactical advantage) finishes off the big heal combo.
You also have a area-effect heal that is useful but also generates a LOT of threat if you don't have a main tank. Without a main tank, this will get you killed in any difficult fight.
Overall strategy, find a good main tank, and climb in his back pocket. Keep him standing at all costs, as he is the only one that can keep you from getting threat. The DPS guys need healing also, but if you're running low on power, the tank is your primary concern. In fact, if the fight is almost over and you have to choose between keeping the tank alive and keeping yourself alive... the tank MIGHT be able to finish the fight alone, but you definitely cannot. Heal him big as you go down.
Things to be careful of. DPS Powertechs and Juggernauts that claim to be tanks. They're not. They won't be able to hold threat, no matter how much damage they do. They're REALLY good at catching adds in a fight, and require far less healing when they get threat than a Sorcerer or Sniper. But they lack the tools to hold agro like a Shield Spec/Immortal.
Tank assassins that claim to be tanks. They're not. Tank assassins are GREAT to have in a group, and can actually anchor threat very well. They don't have the durability of a heavy tank though, and will therefore require a LOT more healing. As with the DPS Powertechs and Juggernauts though, they can work really well with a heavy tank.
Regardless of how durable they claim to be, Mercenaries, Snipers, DPS Operatives and Marauders are not tanks. They do not have either the durability or the threat management to do the job.
For soloing, keep a tank pet, and put him in the best armor you can afford. Your fights will be slow, as a pet just doesn't fight like a player. But you'll find that you can take out a lot of tough fights with a tank pet and careful healing, plus a little damage.
- Leverages the toxic power of poisons to debilitate enemies over the course of long fights.
The Lethality Operative has more ranged attacks than the Concealment Operative, but not the long range of the Sniper. Lethality also has a stronger focus on periodic damage, over direct damage, and especially Area Effect (AE) periodics. As such, Lethality doesn't have the ability to drop a single target as fast as Concealment. But over an extended fight with multiple opponents, he can do tremendous damage. This spec is better suited to working in a group than soloing, as in most fights long enough for you to deploy your full array of attacks will kill you before they kill your targets. On the other hand, your ability to engage multiple targets at once and drag threat off of the healers can be very useful in a group setting.
Against targets with a high shield chance and/or heavy armor, your periodic attacks will do more damage over time than many direct attacks.
Don't forget your basics of playing an Agent: use cover, move when an AE comes your way, use your stuns and snares to keep enemies from fighting you point blank.
Your rotations aren't as sensitive as a Concealment Operative, but you'll want to focus on getting as many periodic attacks started as early as possible in the fight so that they give as much benefit as possible.