Bounty Hunter Beta Impressions – Early Level Gameplay

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The Bounty Hunter is a versatile class in Star Wars: The Old Republic and a fine choice for players looking to go toe-to-toe with Jedi scum. Some of the Bounty Hunter’s core abilities continue to make an impact upon gameplay even after following an advanced career. Join us as we take a look at the early level gameplay of the Bounty Hunter.

I generally like to play DPS characters in MMOs, so I decided upon playing a Bounty Hunter in Star Wars: The Old Republic for several reasons. One, I wanted my character to dish out some damage. Two, I wanted to be able to go toe-to-toe with Jedi and waste them. Personally, I’ve been hooked on Star Wars since 1977 when I saw it in the theater (yes, I’m 41 going on 42) and was mesmerized by the action, the aliens, and the cool space battles. While the Jedi were a great concept, they took a back seat to X-Wings and Tie Fighters. Now, you can’t swing a dead cat in the Star Wars universe without hitting a dozen Jedi. I’m sick of them, so choosing a Bounty Hunter to dish out some damage was a natural choice. Finally, I chose the Bounty Hunter in Star Wars: The Old Republic because I wanted to play someone who could be nasty and ruthless; someone who was in it only for the credits.

As a Bounty Hunter, you start out on a trash heap of a planet, Hutta. Your goal is to join the Great Hunt, and to do that, you’ll need the sponsorship of the local Hutt lord, Nem’ro.  You’ll travel through polluted wastelands collecting bounties and enhancing your street cred, whilst also gaining new abilities and improving upon those abilities. When your Bounty Hunter finishes his quests on Hutta and leaves (around level 10), he can choose an advanced class of either Mercenary or Powertech.


Overall, the Bounty Hunter can take and dish out tons of damage. For armor, go with anything heavy as that it usually provides more armor protection over medium. Look for gear that adds to your Aim stat, which is your primary stat. For attacks, most of the Bounty Hunter’s attacks are ranged, but a few are close-up and personal for when some sword-wielding fool decides to charge you.

In the earliest levels, my combat sequence followed the following pattern: I usually fired a Missile Blast followed up by Unload. After I received Explosive Dart, I would fire that first, then Missile Blast, then Unload into anything still standing. Rapid Shot was used mainly while waiting for other abilities to cool down or if there was only one enemy left standing.

Once I hit level 10 with my Bounty Hunter, my attack sequence changed dramatically due to some great new abilities. My personal favorite is Death from Above, which has you go airborne and unleashing a world of hurt into an area placed some distance from you. This is a great opening salvo, which can be followed up with Unload or perhaps Rail Shot. Missile Blast is still a good option for AoE, but Death from Above dishes out much more damage but has a longer cooldown.

The advanced class I chose for my Bounty Hunter was Mercenary, which I chose as that I wanted to dual-wield blasters and also have access to healing as that I tend to solo a lot. I usually don’t do tanks, so I opted to stay away from the Powertech. My choice was rewarded with some awesome new attacks. The first ability to have an impact was being able to dual-wield blasters. More pew-pew-pew equals winning in this heartless Bounty Hunter’s mind. The other abilities to have an impact upon my gameplay were Power Shot, Rapid Scan, and Sweeping Blasters. Power Shot fires a single incredibly damaging blast, which serves as a nice counterpoint to Rail Shot. Rapid Scan heals yourself or an ally. Sweeping Blasters allows you to shoot up to five targets within a selected area.

Once I got a few levels of my advanced class under my belt, my attack sequence usually followed these lines: I would open up with Death from Above, and then go with Sweeping Blasters. I would use Unload to quickly drop a specific enemy. If I was facing an especially tough enemy, I would cycle through Rail Shot, Power Shot, and Unload. As you can see, my missile attacks dropped off in favor of my fancy new death-dealing moves. However, Unload remained as a comfy security blanket for my hardened Bounty Hunter’s heart.

If an enemy came in close, I would use Rocket Punch at low levels, but once I got Flamethrower, that attack became my close range weapon of choice. Rapid Shot dropped off my radar entirely later on. Electro Dart is a good ability to use if you want to give yourself a moment to use Rapid Scan on yourself as that it will stun the target for a few seconds. You need to be breathing to pull those triggers.


Once you hit a specific part of your class quest on Hutta (around level 7), you’ll get your first companion, the lovely Mako. This tech-savvy companion is a great boon to you, but can be irritating. On the plus side, she is capable of combat and will fight alongside you. Even better, she has a healing ability (Med Scan) that comes into play long before you get Rapid Scan yourself. I primarily use her as an extra healer when I play.

Mako’s main negative for your Bounty Hunter is that she is rather kind-hearted. She will react negatively to you doing evil acts or if you’re being a jerk. If you’re dealing with Imperials, she can approve of you lipping off to an odious official one moment, and then not liking a flippant response you make a conversation later. If you want to play a totally ruthless dick of a Bounty Hunter who wants to revel in the Dark Side, you won’t get too far with Mako. She will respond favorably if you choose money as a prime motivating factor, but only as long as you’re not murdering someone for those credits. Personally, I think Mako is kind of an odd choice for a starting companion for Bounty Hunters as that you’re playing as a cold-blooded killer working for the Sith, but you have a spunky, optimistic sidekick with you.

One last note about Mako; make sure you keep an eye on her equipment. She wears medium armor and uses a blaster, so make sure you keep her gear current as you level. A well-geared Mako keeps her alive, which helps keep you alive.

Overall, my early levels playing as a Bounty Hunter have been a blast. I can take lots of damage and deal out just as much, if not more. The storyline of the Great Hunt has been interesting and you have the ability to be tough but good, or you can choose to play as a total bastard. Some of your early abilities will fall by the wayside as you level (Rapid Shot, Rocket Punch, Explosive Dart) in favor of new abilities (Flamethrower, Death from Above, Sweeping Blasters), but there are other abilities that will stay with you (if I could marry Unload, I would!). There are quite a few tactical options available to the Bounty Hunter as he plies his trade. As for your companion, Mako is a useful friend to have at your side, but she can definitely cramp your style if you want to follow a dark path.