Why I'm A Terrible Marauder

I reckon that everyone who's been playing this game beyond a certain amount of time has a similar stable of characters: There's the main, the one you play the most and with whom you go to raids or do PvP if you're so inclined. Then there are probably one or two well-loved alts that get regular playtime as well. And then there's a whole bunch of alts that you levelled to see their story and/or try the class's play style, and now they mostly sit around gathering dust, unless you use them for crafting or something. Every now and then you might log on to one of them to run a flashpoint or do some dailies, and you'll probably have a good time, but you're not really very good at playing the class since you have no practice.

I have all of these types of alts myself, plus one more: the alt that I rarely play and on which I'm not just out of practice but utterly and completely terrible. I blame the game!

I was reminded of this when Wilhelm linked to an old post of his a couple of weeks ago (yes, this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a while...) in which he talks about finding Lord of the Rings Online's icons rather confusing (which is quite an amusing read even if you don't play the game). Now, I'm not saying that SWTOR's icons are bad, not at all. I think they are very well done. And on the vast majority of my characters, even those that are rarely played, I have no issues remembering which button does what. But there's one exception, and that's my Marauder.

Here's a picture of her first two action bars:

Of the twenty-four icons on them, eleven are some variation of a red lightsaber being swung (with seven of them just showing sabers, no humanoid shapes to help distinguish what's going on), and another seven show close-ups of angry or anguished faces (the difference can be hard to tell sometimes) on an orange or red background. How the hell am I supposed to remember which saber and angry face does what? I'd really like to know how other people do it.

I know that Jedi knights have a similar thing going on with the colour blue, but looking at my Guardian's bars there's at least some variation in the colour palette. Lots of blue sabers, true, but there's also some yellow, orange and pinkish purple, which makes those abilities easy to tell apart if nothing else. The Marauder on the other hand is nothing but a sea of red with a bit of orange and purple around the edges. How does anyone make sense of that?


  1. It *IS* really difficult. Since I play a marauder as my main, I tend to not look at the icons, but rather I know the position of the hotkey and what it goes with. Across all my toons, I keep certain things in the same spaces, so I don't have to remember what icons look like (because I'm terrible at that). For example, my execute is always in the same place, as are my aoe's.

    Here's how I set up my marauder stuff:

    1-3 are focus builders
    4-6 are "bread and butter" for my spec. For anni spec, that is overload saber (maybe that's the sent term), my dot, and annihilate. In carnage, it's gore, blade rush (?) and force scream.
    7-9 are situational. The channeled one (ravage) and the execute. I keep execute abilities always on 9, for all my toons.
    10-12 are aoe. Force stompy, the aoe swipe, and the cone throw.

    As for defensive cd's, I keep them roughly where the similar abilities are on other toons. That means I put force camo in two spots because it's both a speed boost and an aggro dump, and I'll twitch to one or the other depending on situation. Same with my cc (droid) - goes in the same spot as concussion shot.

    That leaves the stuff that has absolutely no parallel in other classes - the fury stack users. I just had to memorize those. They went on my "bar for class specific stuff" where I put stealth abilities on stealth characters, and so forth.

    TL;DR yes, looking at abilities for marauder is difficult. The key is standardizing keybinds across alts so that you don't rely on icons much at all.

    1. I try to keep similar abilities on the same keybinds across toons as well; the problem is that pretty much all the characters I do this on are healers. The only dps I've played seriously enough to work out some keybinds is my gunslinger and uh... those two don't really compare very well.

  2. Yay, proof that somebody reads my month in review posts! I think I primarily keep those going because I enjoy the one and five years ago sections.

    Being the outsider looking at those icons, I have to admit I just see a lot of "light sabre goes this way, light sabre goes that way" variations. My temptation is to map each one to a light sabre sound effect. Do the attacks in fact make different sounds? Is that a viable options?

    1. The attacks do make slightly different sounds, yes, as you do swing the lightsabre in a slightly different way each time!

      And I always enjoy your month in review post. I agree that the one and five years ago sections are best; always a nice bit of gaming history!

  3. I am in the exact same position. Playing mostly healers (a Sage and Commando that do raids, a Scoundrel that does PvP) and tanks (Shadow and Guardian that also do PvP), I also have trouble with my Sentinel.

    I once spent almost a full day streamlining my quickbars (which are 3x4 blocks to match my Naga's keypad) so I can get all shared/similar abilities in the same place. The CC-breaker is on C-9 for all characters, for instance, the stealth is on A-2, etc. The sentinel, however, has such vastly different abilities that I can't fit them in anywhere, and need to overlap them to a keybind that on all my other characters would trigger a cooldown or self-heal, for instance. This is probably what makes me suck so much when playing it. I've once tried taking him into an EC SM run after having done nothing but healing on my commando, and managed to just about half the DPS compared to the other sentinel in the group.. Pathetic really.

    Suffice to say, I started this game out on the wrong advanced class. Twice now, I have almost pressed the delete button on the character. The fact that he was the first character I ever made in this game is the only thing stopping me from doing that... Maybe things will change again at some point, but at the moment, the only thing he does is artifice, which means I hardly ever touch him anymore.

  4. There is quite a good solution.
    1. Spend 10 minutes thinking about reasonable hotkeys. (optional: write them up on a piece of paper)
    2. Make a hotbar with a copy of all necesary in combat cooldowns abilities.
    2. Hide all other hotbars.
    3. Play for until muscle memory sets in.