Best Long-Range Class


Advice

Liberty's Edge

I was wondering what class would be the best to optimize damage with long-range weapons. I know that the Soldier's gear boosts can increase damage, but is there any other build that would be better?


StarfinderHomebrewer wrote:
I was wondering what class would be the best to optimize damage with long-range weapons. I know that the Soldier's gear boosts can increase damage, but is there any other build that would be better?

Better? No, that I'm aware of. Soldier is going to be king of long range damage. If you asked about melee I would have said Solarion but to be fair I don't have any experience with long range Solarions. A drone Mechanic can do considerable amounts of damage and rival a soldier but only at the very early levels then that gap closes quickly.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It depends on what you're looking for.

Soldier is good (Sharpshooter style, probably) and is probably the most reliable.

Mechanic (exocortex) can also do pretty well with an energy longarm and the Overcharge/Improved Overcharge/Superior Overcharge trick chain. Especially when using a Sniper Scope (from the Starfinder Armory book).

A high/max-Dex technomancer with Longarms Weapon Proficiency/Weapon Specialization (Longarms) and the Harmful Spells, Spellshot, and Widened Spell magic hacks will probably do less damage to a single target, but can do more total damage vs. multiple targets. A Sniper Scope and the aimed fusion will be helpful for hitting targets.


Dragonchess Player wrote:

It depends on what you're looking for.

Soldier is good (Sharpshooter style, probably) and is probably the most reliable.

Mechanic (exocortex) can also do pretty well with an energy longarm and the Overcharge/Improved Overcharge/Superior Overcharge trick chain. Especially when using a Sniper Scope (from the Starfinder Armory book).

A high/max-Dex technomancer with Longarms Weapon Proficiency/Weapon Specialization (Longarms) and the Harmful Spells, Spellshot, and Widened Spell magic hacks will probably do less damage to a single target, but can do more total damage vs. multiple targets. A Sniper Scope and the aimed fusion will be helpful for hitting targets.

If he is talking about alternative to soldier and not necessarily better I'd also recommend a drone Mechanic in this regard. In terms of raw damage it can beat out the Exocortex Mechanic especially if the party has an Envoy.

Level 20 Stealth Drone with 15 BAB +5 dex bonus is 20. Weapon focus 22. Coordinated assault +2 for +24. With an energy longarm can hit 35 AC on an 11. Flat footed enemy is hit on a 9. Can reduce that number to 8 if you're using a hover drone. I noticed Drone Mechanics are usually left out of equations and are underestimated. Only using level 20 data to show that a drone scales pretty well.

It's no soldier but I think in terms of range damage might be the second highest DPR. I know people did calculations early on but many of those only gave +1 to coordinated shot rather than +2 (which it turns into at 17) and didn't factor in things like flat footed AC or Party Buffs. Have, say, an Envoy with Get 'em and you can comfortably full attack with the drone.

Only responded the way I did early on because he asked for better than soldier and right now clarifying what I meant on the Drone. You'll also have the advantage of having plenty of other things to do that don't include combat.

Now as Dragonchess pointed out:

Exocortex is amazing if you want to boost your party damage and not rely on full attacks. In terms of single target damage you can do some pretty nifty damage with a heavy weapon and the overcharge tricks.

His technomancer build seems pretty amazing for AOE damage. Not that familiar with technomancer but it makes me want to try that out.

P.S. I love how helpful this community is and without the bickering other RPG forums has back and forth. :)

Dataphiles

I would say that is a giant "depends". There are different optimum sniper range tactics based on the class you choose.

Soldier
The soldier gets the ability to really rock the 'to-hit' area of all sniping...by +1 in most cases. When you attack 1/round, actually hitting is a bit pivotal. Utilizing the Diasporan rifles and the Laser Accuracy gear boost, coupled with weapon Focus will get you the highest 'to-hit' at every level. Some may say that Operatives get flat-footed, but that is silly because everyone can get flat-footed if they just use stealth, or have an Operative ally, or a friend that feints. This said, you might decide to forego the extra +1 for a ramping damage bonus with the Bullet Barrage gear boost. This is a very slow scaling damage boost for projectile weapons, but a damage boost nonetheless.

Operative
The operative is a bit more simple in its options because there are two exploits necessary for a sniper, Debilitating Sniper and Bleeding Shot, gotten in that order. Bleeding shot does not add extra damage on hit but, as far as I can tell, gives the enemy bleed damage equal to your level. So, everything just eventually dies. This is truly the only tactic that I can see for a sniper operative. Though my intonation for Operative is a bit dimmer, I will say that bleed is very strong.

Mechanic
The build for a mechanic sniper requires a proficiency and specialization feat. After that however, Overcharge can be quite consistent with extra damage, and even adding extra damage with the improved and superior versions of the tricks.

Technomancer
The sniper build for a technomancer, like a mechanic, will require some proficiency and specialization. Once done, the play is a different from normal in that you are likely supporting with spells.

All of these builds I have listed utilize the weapon focus, Technomatic Dabbler (except the technomancer) (for access to the spell Supercharge Weapon), and deadly aim feats.

------------------

Now there is another...concept that doesn't have a range of 250+. You just focus on using longarms (which are much more accessible and more versatile in combat than sniper weapons, and pick up the Far Shot feat. With the right weapon selection, you can have the ability to shoot farther away with a minor accuracy hit and still be able to full-attack. The weapon damage dice between sniper and longarm weapons are not significant enough to make a big deal about.

Soldier - would likely be the most ideal for this build for the same build reasons mentioned above.

Mechanic - would probably be the second best selection, again with the same build above.

Operative - this is made less ideal for this class because they don't have proficiency and generally only fire 1/turn anyway.

Technomancer - the build for this class doesn't change either.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

One thing to keep in mind with the release of the Starfinder Armory: you don't need a sniper weapon for a sniper-type character; a longarm with an attached sniper scope accessory (or one of the higher level scopes) can be used in the same way as a sniper weapon (and the weapon's range increment is multiplied by 4) or used normally (it doesn't gain the unwieldy special from the scope). Also, longarms have more options for energy types than sniper weapons (there are no sniper weapons in the cryo, disintegrator, shock, or sonic categories) while doing nearly the same damage.

The only reason, other than an operative, for using a sniper weapon would be for attacking at really long range: many longarms have a range increment between 60 ft and 120 ft (240 ft to 480 ft with a scope); sniper weapons, when aiming, can have a range increment up to 1,500 ft. For many groups, that extra distance probably won't be needed.

Using a scope with a heavy weapon is also an option. Probably a paragon reaction cannon for 12d10 (400 ft range increment when aimed with a scope) or paragon x-gen gun for 9d12 (480 ft range increment with a scope; has the automatic special).

For a mechanic (possibly using the Exocortex Mods feature to gain proficiency) a clathrate hailcannon (14d8 C & P; 400 ft range increment with scope; has the automatic special), an icecap ice launcher (14d12 B & C; 240 ft range increment with scope; already unwieldy), a solar flare agitator (12d6 F; 400 ft range increment with scope; has the boost 5d6 special), a violet star conqueror (10d10 E & F; 400 ft range increment with scope; already unwieldy), a blue star plasma cannon (8d10 E & F; 400 ft range increment with scope; has the explode (10 ft) special, already unwieldy), a multistream colossus coil (10d8 E; 480 ft range increment with scope; has the boost 3d8 special), or a phased resonator (8d8 So; 440 ft range increment with scope; has the boost 5d8 and penetrating specials) would be options that can be used with Overcharge/Improved Overcharge/Superior Overcharge (up to an extra 7d6).


Dragonchess Player wrote:


Using a scope with a heavy weapon is also an option. Probably a paragon reaction cannon for 12d10 (400 ft range increment when aimed with a scope)

You don't have to aim as a move action with a scope/sight to get the 4x range increment benefit on a longarm or heavy weapon - your other references seem to acknowledge this, but I wanted to call this out in case there's any confusion.


Dragonchess Player wrote:


A high/max-Dex technomancer with Longarms Weapon Proficiency/Weapon Specialization (Longarms) and the Harmful Spells, Spellshot, and Widened Spell magic hacks will probably do less damage to a single target, but can do more total damage vs. multiple targets. A Sniper Scope and the aimed fusion will be helpful for hitting targets.

Small precision: you can't use Harmful Spells, Spellshot and Widened Spell magic hacks simultaneously as you can get only one hack modifying spell attributes.

Community / Forums / Starfinder / Advice / Best Long-Range Class All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Advice