I wrote this guide rather quickly and intentionally tried to leave out anything that might come off as a spoiler. It?s kinda hard to give character info/descriptions when you?re trying to keep some things a secret so I still have to work on fixing a few things but the mods were nice enough to toss a ?sticky? on it and I hope it helps some of you when using your Smuggler companions.
Each class gets different types of companions and those companions can deal damage, tank (hold agro) or heal. There has been a lot of debate as to what Smuggler companion can do what so I am going to go through and break down what they do and what type of gear works best for them.
Please be AWARE that all companions have good uses and bad uses. None of the companions are truly bad but there may be times that you will want to swap companions based on the type of fight you are about to engage in.
Corso = Single Target Tank
Bowdaar = AoE Tank
Risha = Single Target DPS
Akaavi = AoE DPS
GUSS = Healer
Corso is the first companion you get. Corso is a ranged tank that does decent damage, has a few AoE attacks and can pull enemies away from other enemies.
Role: Ranged Tank
Armor: All (Heavy is best)
Weapons: Blaster Rifle, Blaster Pistol
Primary Stat: AIM
Most Helpful Bonus Stats: +Defense, +Shield, +Accuracy
If you are planning on spamming grenades you will want to turn off Corso?s Harpoon Shot because this attack reduces AoE damage. If you are planning on playing a Scoundrel that likes to shoot people in the back I would recommend leaving this shot on because it normally leaves you in a perfect position to start unloading shots into the backside of whatever he is fighting.
Aside from how you utilize his Harpoon Shot he is a straight forward tank that holds agro while you heal or attack.
Gear & Stats
IMPORTANT! Corso DOES NOT come with a weapon that you can modify. You?ll probably want to consider buying him a new one once you earn some commendations and maybe consider buying him a new green one once you arrive at your second planet.
Corso wears Heavy Armor and uses AIM as a primary stat. As you gain levels you will eventually give Corso gear that has +Defense and +Shield if you want him to tank or you will give him +Accuracy and +Defense if you want him to be a DPS?ing style tank.
PLEASE NOTE: Corso is losing his ?Harpoon Shot? in patch 1.2. Instead of PULLING enemies to him he will now rocket boost (jump) to them. This obviously changes his functionality a little bit but until 1.2 goes LIVE I can?t really offer comments about it.
BOWDAAR ? The unbeatable WOOKIE!
Bowdaar is a Wookie melee tank that you get around level 24 but a lot of people seem to think he is a worthless tank. While a lot of people think Bowdaar is worthless I have used Bowdaar to tank entire flashpoints when we couldn?t find a tank and he did it successfully (without dying at all and without any of us dying).
Role: Melee Tank
Armor: All (Heavy works best)
Primary Stat: Strength (STR)
Most Useful Bonus Stats: + Defense, +Shield, +Accuracy
Bowdaar has an ability called ?wookie toss? that makes him throw enemies around. The ability looks really funny when he uses it but he throws people around randomly and this can sometimes cause him to throw enemies into other enemies and that normally leads to instant death. You?ll want to turn this ability off and use it manually when you aren?t in confined spaces.
Bowdaar is a tank but he does have a DPS stance and putting him in +Defense and +Critical gear makes him tank/kill entire groups of enemies pretty easily. This option only works well for healers though as Gunslingers will find that Bowdaar dies way too quickly since they can?t heal him during fights like a Scoundrel can.
Gear & Stats
Bowdaar wears heavy armor and focuses on STR as his primary stat. At later levels you will add +Defense and +Accuracy for general tanking or you will add +Defense and +Shield if you want him to become a truly awesome AoE tank (I use +Defense and +Crit since I am a healer but I would use +Defense and +Shield if I was a DPS Gunslinger).
IMPORTANT! Bowdaar comes with really crappy gear that favors +END. Most tanking gear favors +END and +STR (maybe +AIM for ranged tanks) but Bowdaars starting gear favors the +END way too much. You?ll want to replace the absurdly high +END with some mods that balance +END and +STR.
IMPORTANT! Bowdaar often has multiple enemies attacking him and this results in him losing health very quickly. You may think he is a weaker tank but once you stop and see how many people he it tanking at once he suddenly seems a lot tougher (if Corso had 10 people attacking him he would die pretty quickly too).
Risha is the first DPS character you get around level 32. Risha uses a sniper rifle and does very high single target ranged damage while also having a few ranged AoE abilities.
Role: Ranged DPS
Armor: Light & Medium (Medium works best)
Weapons: Sniper Rifle
Primary Stat: Cunning
Most Useful Bonus Stats: +Critical, +Surge, +Accuracy
Risha works best in Sniper Mode because it increases her single target DPS. Since Risha is single-target DPS you will TEAM attack and kill mobs very quickly. If you?re a healer you often end up tanking while Risha attacks stuff because you draw agro the moment you start healing her. She can?t taunt enemies off you like Corso and Bowdaar can so you?ll have to wait till she kills her current target before she pulls agro off you or you can manually change her target so she starts attacking whatever enemy it is that is attacking you.
Risha has an ability that can buff her critical chance and an ability that can buff her defense chance. These abilities share a cooldown and I normally leave them on PASSIVE and then trigger them manually.
When fighting a boss I normally wait a few seconds to see what level of damage it is that she is taking. If she isn?t taking much damage I will trigger her critical increase and if she is getting slaughtered I usually trigger her defense increase.
Gear & Stats
Risha focuses on Cunning just like we do and that makes her a little easier to gear. At later levels you will want to focus on increasing her DPS so you will give her gear with +Critical and +Surge. If you have enough at the end you may also consider increasing her Accuracy too.
Akaavi Spar is a melee DPS that we get around level 35. Akaavi is DPS just like Risha but Akaavi leaps into groups of enemies and uses AoE explosions and fire attacks to combat multiple enemies at once.
Role: Melee DPS
Armor: All (Heavy works best)
Weapons: Techstaff, Techblade
Primary Stat: AIM
Most Helpful Bonus Stats: +Critical, +Surge, +Accuracy
Akaavi has a stance to increase armor penetration and a stance that causes her attacks to cause a Damage Over Time (DoT) bleeding effect.
Akaavi is my personal favorite and I leave her in her DoT stance. I throw her into groups of enemies with all of her abilities active and watch her quickly murder group after group after group. She is capable of fighting multiple mobs at once and she can even take down multiple Elites or Strongs at the same time (you need to heal her constantly in those fights).
Gear & Stats
Akaavi wears heavy armor and focuses on the AIM stat. Akaavi uses a Techstaff or a Techblade and those weapons are sometimes very hard to get. Akaavi is a very effective companion for both tanking and DPS but the fact her weapons are so rare sometimes makes her frustrating to use.
As far as gear sets go? I always carry two sets of gear for Akaavi.
I have one set of gear that focuses on +Critical and +Surge and I have another set of gear that has +Defense and +Accuracy. It took awhile to get two armor sets but I swap them out for different fights? If I am fighting trash I use the DPS set and if I am fighting multiple strongs I put her in the tanking gear.
EDIT: Risha starts with a 5% base defense chance but Akaavi actually starts with a 0%. I don?t know if this is just a typo or if she actually has 0% defense? As it stands right now I leave her defensive ability on so she can boost her defensive abilities to 50% every 2 minutes.
Corso and Risha are great at fighting 1v1 but Bowdaar and Akaavi are great at fighting multiple mobs at the same time. If you want a single target tank you should consider using Corso. If you want a single target DPS queen you should consider using Risha. If you want an AoE tank you should consider using Bowdaar and if you want an AoE DPS you should consider using Akaavi.
I will point out that I didn?t discuss GUSS but that is because GUSS is a healer and I don?t ever use him because I play as a healer. I?m sure there are plenty of other people that can offer some info about GUSS but anything I might say is pointless since I don?t use him.
If anyone else has some insights about Guss or info they wish to add about the companions I mentioned I hope you?ll add your thoughts below.
Debate: Companions seem to use ?auto attack? abilities more frequently because their abilities have such long cooldown times and +Accuracy is useful for increasing the effectiveness of auto attacks. While our characters may not need much +Accuracy it is certainly useful to give +Accuracy to companions.
Frequently Asked ?Companion? Questions?
Can I change the way my companion looks? Yes you can! If memory serves me correctly you can buy some Companion Customization?s on Corellia that will change the way Corso, Bowdaar and Risha look. Someone has also informed me that there should be a vendor on Belsavis that sells additional customization?s. They start at 12,500 credits?
Why does my new companion keep dying? Most companions have really bad starter gear and you?ll want to stop and buy them new armor as soon as you get them. You?ll also want to remember to get them some implants and an earpiece while getting them some new armor (people frequently forget to equip implants and the earpiece). If you can?t find earpieces or implants that are perfect for them it doesn?t matter because the +Endurance is really all that matters in the early stages. As you level up you will eventually get specialty items and then you can replace the trash ones you initially purchased.
Should I waste time upgrading armor? It is very important to upgrade the armor/weapons that your companions carry.
I have noticed that it costs around the same to buy new modifications as it does to buy all new armor pieces so you may find it easier to buy NEW armor whenever you can instead of worrying about individual item modifications. I normally just buy ALL NEW stuff until I find a suit if armor or a weapon that I really like and then I start buying upgrades instead of buying new armor.
Should I keep the best upgrades for myself? There is no easy answer to this question?
As a healer that does a lot of solo?ing I have found it better to give my companions the best gear instead of keeping it for myself. My companions do 99.9% of the killing so I need to keep them geared VERY well or it takes them forever to kill stuff.
If you are DPS or plan on doing a lot of grouping you?ll likely want to keep the best stuff for yourself and if you?re healing you will probably want to give your companions the best stuff. Distributing gear/mods equally is likely best but you?ll have to toy around with it and see what works best for YOU.
How do I keep all my companions geared? You?ll likely have trouble gearing all of your companions at once so it is best to focus on only gearing 1 or 2. When you get to higher levels you will find yourself earning more money and then you can start toying around with gearing up all your companions?
TIP: At level 40 you can buy customizable armor and weapons from PVP vendors. I spent a lot of time doing PvP at 38-40 and then used the PvP Commendations I got to buy my companions a completely new set of level 40 armor. Before that I only had 1 or 2 fully geared but once I got above 40 I had all of them geared equally thanks to the PvP Armor and that really helped when I started doing quests again.