SWL Weapon Focus – Pistols

This post is a few months behind the times, but I’ve noticed the main bulk of my website traffic is for weapons/classes information, so I figured it’s time to start posting these.  I’ve been using the past couple months to get acquainted with some of the weapons, and get a feel for what works.  Keep in mind this is only MY opinion, but should at least give you a good starting point.

This will NOT be an “END ALL, BE ALL, MAXIMIZE YOUR DPS” guide, rather a good introduction and look at the abilities so you can make your own decisions on what makes the most sense for YOU.

The first weapon I’ll review are Pistols!  These are part of the Trickster and Gunslinger Starter Classes Decks, and are primarily a DPS weapon.  (If you are not interested in ALL the abilities, you can skip to the bottom of this post to see my recommendations for Main/Off hand uses of this weapon)

The First thing you’ll notice for your Pistols is the ‘Chamber Roulette’ gimmick mechanic that appears on your screen when you have a Pistol equipped.

The Pistol Main’s Prayer: “Praise be to RNGeezus, hallowed be thy name. Grant me the skillz to defeat my foes and not be last on the Damage meters!”

This is a very RNG Based mechanic, but it’s designed to ‘just happen’ so you don’t have to think about what to do.  You’ll see two “Six-Cylinders” on-screen and each cylinder is color coded.  3 white chambers, 2 blue chambers, and 1 red chamber per cylinder.  When these chambers match, you will get a corresponding Bonus to your pistol abilities for 2-1/2 seconds.  So 1/2 of each cylinder is white, 1/3 is blue, and 1/6 is red.  Multiply these by each other and your chances for each color match variant would be:

  • White – 25% – So roughly every 4th shot COULD give you a Low Damage Bonus.
  • Blue – 11.11% – So roughly every 9th shot, you COULD get a Medium Damage Bonus.
  • Red – 2.78% – So roughly every 36 shots you COULD get a High Damage Bonus.

Notice that I’ve emphasized COULD in each of those lines.  I need to stress that this is NOT a guaranteed thing.  You will sometimes go for a full dozen or more shots and STILL not get any bonus whatsoever!   Other times, you’ll get 2 blues, a white and a red in rapid succession.  All that matters is how well you can appease RNGeezus!

[The Redit Page shows Double White Chambers giving a 65% Damage Increase, Double Blue Chambers giving 125% Damage Increase, and Double Red Chambers giving 200% Damage Increase.  I’m not entirely sure where they are getting this information from, but I’ll keep my eyes open for verification.]

One of the things stated in the DevStreams was that there are items and passives in game that will help change some of this to your advantage.  At the time my previous Pistols post was made, we didn’t have any other information to add into it, just what they gave us in their 30 second Speciality Spotlight video.  (And that wasn’t much, really…!)  Well guess what?  Game is live, so now we know what items and abilities are available! Let’s first take a look at some of these items!


PISTOLS:

Anansi Probability Adjusters – Received from Manhatten Exclusion Zone -Whenever you spin the chambers and do not land on a matching set, your next spin is more likely to grant you a matching set. (Let’s hope the increased chances are better than the Loot Lanterns!)

Dual TMP-206 – Future Tech Cache – If you do not have a matching set of chambers, using Active Dodge will grant a Double White set. (Considering how mobile you have to be sometimes, this might work out, but still seems kinda weak to me.)

Heavy Caliber Pistols – Agarthan Cache – You are more likely to roll a Double Red set of chambers, but less likely to roll a Double White or Double Blue set of chambers. I like this idea, but My Trickster has these and doesn’t seem to think the chances are THAT different..! (This Chache is no longer available. Unless someone has them stashed somewhere! Like my alts…>.>)

Misery & Malice – Infernal Cache – Whenever you land on a matching set of chambers, your Pistol Abilities deal 6% more damage for 3 seconds. (This Chache is no longer available. Unless someone has them stashed somewhere! Like my alts…>.>)

Six Shooters – Elite 1-4 Dungeons Boss 6 or Rare Chests – The duration of the damage bonus from a matching set of chambers is increased by 0.5 seconds. (WHY do I only get Mark I versions of these? *Crai*   But seriously, this increases your Chamber bonus to 3 seconds, which doesn’t sound like much, but can help a lot when using Unload.)

Soviet CB-3 Annihilators – Weapon Reward Bags – Whenever you critically hit with a Pistol ability while you have a matching set of chambers you deal an additional XXX physical damage. (How’s your Crit rating? I can see these pistols being REALLY good when you are at the Mythic level of Crit ratings…!)

Sov-Tech Harmonizers – Elite 5+ Dungeons, Boss 6 or Rare Chests – Whenever you hit an enemy while you have a Double White set of chambers, you have a 25% chance to be upgraded to Double Blue. Whenever you hit an enemy while you have a Double Blue set of chambers, you have a 15% chance to be upgraded to Double Red.  (I Will probably never see these drop…. ever. I mean, I’ll be lucky to ever see Elite 3.  Let alone 5+!)

This is NOT a complete list, but these are the more often found special items that have an effect on your Chamber Roulette.  And it should give you an idea of what items you can plan on finding in the AH!

For someone like me that likes to use Unload as my main attack, the extra .5 second from the Six Shooters would be a good boost to my DPS!  If only I could get something other than a Mark I version of them!


SIGNETS:

There are a Great many Signets out there, but these are the ones that affect Pistols ONLY:

Signet of the Gunslinger – Head – Increases the Damage and Healing of Pistols Elite Abilities by XX% 

Signet of the Quick Draw – Head – Reduces the Cooldown of Pistol Elite Abilities by XX%

Signet of the Gambler – Finger –Increases the damage and healing of Pistols Basic Abilities by XX% 

Signet of the Outlaw – Neck – Increases the damage and healing of Pistols Power Abilities by X%


PISTOL ABILITIES:

Here is a list of ALL the Abilities available on the Pistol Tree:

“Decisions, decisions…”

BASIC ABILITIES:

Basic Abilities are color-coded WHITE on the weapon tree, and are abilities that use No Energy, but give a lesser effect.  These are abilities that should be your filler abilities while you regen Energy used to power your Main abilities.  Each weapon has 2 basic abilities. Generally 1 will be a single target and 1 will have an AOE effect.


Ability Name: Hair Trigger

AP Cost: 5

Energy Cost: N/A

Targeting: Single Target

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: Instant

Effect: Deals XXX Damage to Target (Depends on Level/Attack Power)


Ability Name: Seeking Bullet

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost: N/A

Targeting: Multi-Target

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: .5 seconds

Effect: Hits up to 6 enemies for XXX Damage up to 8m from Target


POWER ABILITIES:

Power Abilities are your MAIN abilities, and are color-coded RED on the Weapon Tree.  These generally have no cool down and are designed to consume energy to give you your biggest Attack/Heal.  Each weapon has 4 Power Abilities.  Generally 2 will be Single target, and 2 will be AOE effects.


Ability Name: Controlled Shooting

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost:  3

Targeting: Multi-Target

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: .5 seconds

Cool Down: Instant

Effect: Hits up to 6 enemies for XXX Damage up to 8m from Target


Ability Name: Unload

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost: 5

Targeting: Single

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: 2.5 seconds – Channeled

Cool Down: Instant

Effect: Channeled – Hits target 5 times in 2.5 seconds for XXX damage per hit


Ability Name: Dual Shot

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost: 3

Targeting: Single

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: instant

Cool Down: Instant

Effect: Hits target for XXX Damage


Ability Name: Charged Blast

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost: 5

Targeting: AOE

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: Instant

Effect: Hits 5 enemies in 6M Radius around Target for XXX Damage


SPECIAL ABILITIES:

These Utility abilities are the BLUE colored abilities on your weapon tree, that are designed to be worked into your rotation to help give you a special effect or boost to your abilities.  There are 6 of these abilities in each Weapon Tree.


Ability Name: Flourish

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost:  GAIN 4

Targeting: Self

Range: Self

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: 20 seconds

Effect: Gain 4 energy and Cleanse 1 Detrimental Effect  (Personally, I prefer Clean Slate.)


Ability Name: Full House

AP Cost: 5

Energy Cost: 2

Targeting: Self

Range: Self

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: 20 seconds

Effect: Force Double Blue Chambers for 3 seconds


Ability Name: Clean Slate

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost: 2

Targeting: Self + Group

Range: Self + Group

Cast Time: .5 seconds

Cool Down: 20 Seconds

Effect: Cleanses 3 detrimental Effects and Heals for XXX. (Instead of Flourish, this only costs 2 energy, and Cleanses 3 effects + Heals All Group Members!)


Ability Name: Six-Line

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost: 2

Targeting: Self

Range: Self

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: 20 seconds

Effect: Sets Left Chamber to Red for 6 seconds. Adds XXX Damage per hit during this time.  (Take the Passive that goes with this if you use this.)


Ability Name: Kill Blind

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost: 2

Targeting: Single Target

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: 20 seconds

Effect: Stuns target and deals XXX Damage. Extends any matched set bonus by 1.5 sec. Applies Exposed and Debilitated. (Good for Tanks as an Opener.)

[Question – How long does Exposed/Debilitated Last?]


Ability Name: Ricochet

AP Cost: 10

Energy Cost: 2

Targeting: Multi-Target

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: 20 seconds

Effect: Allows bullets to Ricochet for 6 seconds, Dealing XXX extra Damage from Pistol Abilities to Nearby Enemies.


ELITE ABILITIES:

These are the GOLD Colored abilities at the end of each branch of the Weapon Tree.  While there are 3 per weapons tree, you may only have 1 elite ability equipped at any time! NOT 1 per weapon, but ONE TOTAL!  These are your BIG abilities and are usually your Big Attack/Heal or ‘OH SH*T’ button!


Ability Name: All In

AP Cost: 20

Energy Cost: 4

Targeting: Single Target

Range: Pistol range (10m)

Cast Time: 3 seconds – Channeled

Cool Down: 20 seconds

Effect: Channeled – hits target 10x’s in 3 seconds. First Three hits deal XXX damage. Second Three hits deal YYY Damage. Third three hits deal ZZZ Damage. Last Hit Deals XYZ Damage!


Ability Name: Trick Shot

AP Cost: 20

Energy Cost: 4

Targeting: Multi-Target

Range: Pistol Range (10m)

Cast Time: Instant

Cool Down: 20 seconds

Effect: Hits up to 6 enemies in a 5m radius around Target dealing XXX damage. Applies Exposed and Debilitated. (How long does Debilitated and Exposed Last?)


Ability Name: Bullet Ballet

AP Cost: 20

Energy Cost: 4

Targeting: AOE

Range: 10m

Cast Time: 2 seconds – Channeled

Cool Down: 20 seconds

Effect: Hit up to 6 enemies in a 10m area around you 10x’s in 2 seconds dealing XXX Damage and slowing their movement speed. (How long does the Slow work?)


CAPSTONES:

Each Weapon has a ‘CAPSTONE’ that you can purchase after you have bought EVERY OTHER  Ability on the page.  The CAPSTONE will give you a small permanent stat bonus for each level of capstone you buy.  That bonus is 15 Health, 10 Attack Rating, and 10 Heal Rating per level of Capstone you purchase.  Doesn’t sound like much, does it?  The trick is that you can buy one level of Capstone per weapon you have Capstoned!  So if you have 3 weapons Capstoned, you can buy 3 Capstones on each of those weapons!  Now, you have 3 Capstones on 3 weapons available to you!  That’s 9x the bonus!

Now think about the fact that there are 9 weapons in the game, so that gives you 135 Health, 90 Attack Rating, and 90 Heal Rating per weapon, so that gives a Total Potential Bonus of 1215 Health, 810 Attack Rating, and 810 Heal Rating if you can buy EVERY Capstone for Every Weapon!  Now those little numbers don’t look so bad, do they?!

Just wait till they add more weapons…!

Additionally, this doesn’t really affect game play, but when you purchase a capstone for a weapon, you are given a faction colored uniform based on the weapon you just capstoned.  Pistols, grants you the Crusader outfit. (My favorite is the Illuminati colored one!)


PASSIVE ABILITIES:

There are two types of Passive abilities.  The small round abilities are ‘Permanent Passives’ that are applied to your character when you purchase them, and will stay with you regardless of what weapon you have equipped. DPS weapons have one set of these Perma-Passives, Tank Weapons have another set of Perma-Passives, and Healing weapons have their own set of Perma-Passives that they follow.  For Pistols, being a DPS weapon, the total Passive Stat Bonuses available if you buy all of the passives on the page are as follows:

Attack Power +168
Crit Power +210
Crit Rating +126
Def Rating +0
Evade rating +0
Heal Rating +0
Health +333
Hit Rating +126
Protection +251

The OTHER type of Passives are the ones that will affect your specific weapon.  Some of them affect a single ability, and others will take effect on all abilities that use that weapon.  There are generally 22 of this type of Passive per weapon.

Here is a list of all the Passives for Pistols:

Passive Name Works with Active Ability: SP Cost Effect
Second Wind ALL 5 Restores 3.5% Health when Chambers Match up
High Roller Controlled Shooting 10 Increases damage by 10% as each enemy is hit.
Lethal Aim Flourish 10 Increases Damage by 15% for 6 seconds
Holdout Unload 15 33% chance to NOT spin chambers if you already have a Matched set after using ‘Unload’
Royal Flush All In 20 When using ‘All In’, if you have Matching Chambers, target and nearby enemies are dealt extra Damage.  Double White Applies Exposed.
Stacked Deck Full House 10 Increases duration of ‘Full house’ to 5 sec (+2 sec)
Rehabilitation Clean Slate 10 Increases Healing of ‘Clean Slate’ if ally is cleansed of an effect.
Mulligan Six line 15 resets cool down of ‘Six Line’ if you don’t get a red set
Focused Fire Kill Blind 20 Increases Damage of Kill Blind to XXX. Will grant White Set if you do not have a Matching Set of chambers
Bamboozle Trick Shot 25 Trick Shot will Stun, Root or Snare enemies.  Stunned = takes additional XXX Damage by all sources.  Rooted = Dealt YYY Damage when Root effect expires.  Snared = Target and nearby enemies take DOT Damage (Damage Over Time)
Fatal Shot Dual Shot 10 Critical hits from ‘Dual Shot’ deal XXX Extra damage
Blast Crater Charged Blast 10 Enemies remaining in Blast Area are slowed and take DOT Damage
Bullet Echo Ricochet 15 Delivers weakened effect for 4 seconds after Ricochet expires dealing XXX damage to nearby enemies
Deadly dance Bullet Ballet 20 Deals an additional XXX Damage during ‘Bullet Ballet’
Beginner’s Luck All 10 Deals additional XXX-YYY Damage. Bonus damage is highest when target is at Full Health
Flechette Rounds All 10 When chambers match, deals XXX damage to nearby enemies
Heavy Caliber Rounds All 15 Increases matched Chamber Damage as follows:  White – 28%, Blue – 14.5%, Red – 9%
Double Down Power 20 Power Abilities mark a target for 8 seconds. Subsequent attacks will deal XXX-YYY Extra Damage. Extra damage increases the longer a target is marked
Jackpot All 10 Matched Chambers cause XXX Extra damage
Win Streak All 10 Matched Chambers cause additional Damage that will increase with each consecutive Bonus Damage Hit.
Fully Loaded All 15 Gain double white match when pistol energy reaches 15
Fixed Game All 20 If you haven’t used a Pistol Ability in last 4 seconds, your Right Chamber will match your Left Chamber

MAIN HAND RECOMMENDATIONS:

Single Target – If you are using this weapon as a Main hand, I like to use Unload as my Main attack.  It hits the target every half second for 2.5 seconds (5 hits) for XXX Damage per hit.  Each of these hits CAN Crit!  BUT…. That is NOT to say that you should just SPAM this ability.  I’ve actually found that MY DPS increases if I use my Basic attack until I have a Matched set of chambers and then hit Unload!  Because EACH of those hits while your chambers match will get the Roulette Bonus!

If you are out Solo Questing, sure, go ahead and spam it on single mobs.  It will die before you run out of energy anyway, and no one cares about DPS on regular quest mobs.  But if you run into a tougher mob like a Champion, or group boss, or you’re on a Dungeon/Raid Boss, then you will want to be more selective about when to hit Unload.

What you can do is get yourself a Addon like ‘Combat Statistics” that will show you your own DPS, and Test it out on the Target Dummies in Agartha.  Try Spamming vs hitting it on a Matched Chamber set.  You’ll see the difference!

There may be some concern that this is a 5 energy ability vs Dual Shot being a 3 point ability. Wouldn’t you get more ‘Bang for your Buck’ using the lower energy ability?  Dual Shot is an Instant Cast/Reuse ability, so you can spam it quickly and run out of energy in about 7 seconds.  Unload takes 2.5 seconds to channel, so by the time you’ve started your second cast, you’ve already regen’d half your energy cost. If you use a basic ability in between until you have matched chambers, you will almost never run out of energy with this ability as your Main Weapon/Main Attack!

AOEControlled Shooting is a great low energy ability with a short cast time.  Your alternative is Charged Blast, which is a 5 energy ability, and would take  only three seconds to run out of energy.  thankfully, AOE fights don’t seem to be a thing, where you will need to fight multiple mobs at different times during a fight.  (Outside of the odd Darkness War – Boss 5!)  So at the beginning of a fight, you can use whatever ability you want, it’s really up to your preference.  I prefer Controlled Shooting, as it seems to be more Energy Pool Friendly.

BASIC – I tend to use Hair Trigger for my basic unless I know I’m going into a fight that will have a LOT of AOE needed.  Then I might swap out for Seeking Bullet.  Feel free to swap for whichever one you need at any given time.  But Hair Trigger should be good enough for you 90% of the time.


OFF HAND RECOMMENDATIONS:

As an Off Hand Weapon, I generally prefer using 3 point abilities so I don’t run out of energy as quickly, and if I do, it won’t take as long to be able to regen enough energy to use it again.  But depending on what I’m looking at doing, exceptions can be made.

Single Target – I tend to use Dual Shot.  It’s a Low energy ability and will give me plenty of shots to fire with minimal time needed to regen energy to fire again. It also doesn’t take away from my Main Hand weapon as much.

AOE –  In this case, here’s my exception: Charged Blast.  This is my Off Hand, so I’m limited on time that this weapon will be active at all.  I can Burst Damage a group of Mobs with this ability and then go back to my main weapon to finish them off.  Alternatively, I CAN use Controlled Shooting if I feel I’m energy starved, but let’s face it, secondary weapons are mostly for utility now.  As a Trickster, my pistols are secondary, as Chaos will keep agro for me.  So I can use my pistols occasionally, usually only if I’m at range from my target.  And have plenty of time to regen the energy while I’m using my Main hand weapon.


SPECIAL ABILITIES:

These are the utility abilities that can be used to help give you a Boost to your DPS.  What to use? and when?

Flourish vs Clean Slate – Flourish sounds like a great idea… gives you four energy if you are in an energy starved state, and will cleanse one debilitating effect off of you.  But I tend to find that I don’t NEED the extra energy, so the Heal from Clean Slate tends to more than make up for that!  Also, Clean Slate works on the Entire Group!  In addition, I’ve found a number of fights where I will get hit with more than one effect and the cleansing of 3 effects from Clean Slate works REALLY well..!  Also, if you take Clean Slate, you can use Rehabilitation as a Passive to increase the healing when cleansing an ability!  I tend to use Clean Slate when Soloing or questing with a group.  This is a great option to use Pistols as an Offhand for healing.

Full House – DPS Utility of Choice. Use on each cooldown for a Double Blue set of Chambers.

Six-Line – If you take this one, also pick up Mulligan for a passive, as it will reset the cooldown if you don’t get a Double Red.

Ricochet – This tends to be good for AOE heavy encounters.

Kill Blind – Tank or Utility DPS ability to add Exposed/Debilitated to your target.

 


ELITE ABILITIES:

As a DPS, if I want to use one of the Pistol Elites, I’d usually use ALL IN.  It’s a Single Target ability and let’s face it, single targets is where DPS REALLY gets to shine!  It’s also where DPS gets to gauge their effectiveness most reliably.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a use for BULLET BALLET!  If you get into a AOE Heavy fight, say the 5th boss in Darkness Wars, Bullet Ballet can come in handy with the adds that join in.  And since the Boss doesn’t like to stick around long before jumping up top to throw bombs at us, might as well slot something that will be more effective!

TRICK SHOT is more of a situational ability.  As a Trickster tank, I might like this to apply Debilitated and Exposed.  If my tank doesn’t have anything to apply these already, then I may take it just to be the utility DPS.  OR, If I’m soloing content, I might like it’s ability to slow my enemies.  (Not to mention this can also be useful in PVP! But who does that anyway?)

One thing of note for Trick Shot, I’m not entirely sure how long the Debilitated/Exposed effects last. Less that 20 seconds for the cooldown, I’m sure!

In any case, the elite abilities are a Flavor of the Minute and can be swapped out according to your taste.

“You are cursed with Free Will…”

PASSIVES:

As for Offhand passives, BE ADVISED: With our decreased Passive Slots (TSW to SWL) from 7 to 5, we have to be VERY choosy over what Passives to use.  It is generally not advised to slot more than 1 passive for a weapon that is NOT your Main Hand weapon.  (I do not slot ANY Offhand Passives if I can avoid it!)  The reason being, with Double the Energy recharge time, you will most likely NOT be able to make enough use of an Off-Hand weapon to make slotting the passives and taking away from your main hand weapon worth it.  There will be times this is proven false, but again, this is just a ‘101 course’ for Pistol Abilities.  I’m not Theory Crafting for the top 1%’ers out there.

So with that being said, I MIGHT use BLAST CRATER, if I’m looking at fights with lots of Mobs, OR FATAL SHOT if I think I’ll get some good hits in from my Dual Shot.  Again, these are situational, and you need to evaluate what kind of fights you are going into and what your Role is before choosing these over a Main Hand Passive.

As for Main-Hand Pistols Passives, It makes sense to use the passive that was specifically designed to be used with your Main Power Ability.  For me, Holdout is designed to be used with Unload.  I may have Controlled Shooting as another attack in my arsenal, but unless I’m going into AOE heavy fights, slotting a Passive for an AOE/Multi-target ability doesn’t seem worth it in my eyes.

For my other passive slots, I tend to take the other passives that are designed to work with all abilities:

  • Heavy Caliber
  • Double Down
  • Jackpot
  • WinStreak

There are other Passives that work with all Pistol abilities, but they are situational:

  • Second Wind – Only if I need extra healing. Usually only if I’m soloing.
  • Flechette Rounds – Only useful in AOE Heavy Environments.
  • Beginner’s Luck – Useful at beginning of fight.
  • Fully Loaded – Useful at beginning of fight.
  • Fixed game – Useful at beginning of fight.

So I would NOT recommend any of these unless you’ve got a build for every possibility and are constantly swapping to Min-Max the hell out of EVERY encounter!   But no one does that….  I don’t think…

Maybe that’s why I’m not in Lag Spike…>.>


So that’s it!  My first In Depth look into one of the weapons for SWL.  I hope you enjoyed this, and maybe learned something from it!  Also, I’m looking to do Chaos next, since it’s the other weapon that I know best.  But I also want to know what YOU want to see me review next?  As usual, please leave any comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!  And I hope to see you in the Secret World!