The Shock Trooper com is Roland’s only element focused class mod. It specializes in Shock damage, making any shock weapon substantially more effective. It is an excellent choice for fighting Eridians and other heavily shielded enemies, but there are also few enemies that are resistant to shock damage, hence it remains useful even against enemies that aren’t heavily shielded (or shielded at all for that matter).
-Shock and AAAGH!: Unmatched Shock DPS. Bane of Eridians!
-Grenadier buff: So many nades, throw them ALL!
-Turret Spam: Buff to Refire means shorter Scorpio Turret cooldown.
-Element specific: Most of the this com’s power comes from the first line +60% Shock Damage effect, hence anything that isn’t shock damage won’t be seeing much if any benefit.
-Shock Dot is short lived: Because Shock DoT has a short duration, it is hard to stack, and as a result enemies which have very large health pools, and as a result are hard to kill with impact damage may prove difficult to kill with shock damage.
-Relevant alternatives: The Heavy Gunner com is nearly as good for Shock weapons, and much better for non-shock weapons; similar story for combat rifles and the Rifleman com, and shotguns and the Commando com.
Infantry Tree: 25 points
-Impact: More Bullet damage? Of course we want that!
-Scattershot: For when we break out of static shotguns.
-Metal Storm: On-kill recoil reduction and fire rate, yes please.
-Refire: It’s buffed by the com, and provides increased cooldown rate for our turret if we have shot an enemy within the last 2 seconds, definitely want!
-Assault: For our static combat rifles.
Support Tree: 23 points
-Defense: Increases our shield’s recharge rate (does not affect regeneration effects, such as Quick Charge). Still, better than Stockpile, and nice to have.
-Quick Charge: One of Roland’s best skills, on-kill shield regeneration, must have.
-Grenadier: It’s buffed by the com, and provides on-kill grenade damage and grenade ammo regeneration. The grenade damage also affects rockets, so rocket launchers and carnage shotguns will do more damage as well.
-Supply Drop (3/5): This causes our Scorpio Turret to shoot out pods that seek out you or your allies to give them ammo, they resupply all ammo pools, even Grenade ammo. This is a fantastic 3/5 skill, as it will ensure that you never run out of ammo.
Medic Tree: 20 points
-Fitness: More maximum health, and it’s buffed by the com?! Of course we want this.
-Overload: Bigger mag=more shooting, more shooting=more killing. Nuff said.
-Grit: Damage reduction, because it’s always nice to be a little more durable.
-Stat: On-kill health regeneration for us and our nearby allies? Yes, please!
The rule here is simple: Shock=good. But just what sorts of shock weapons are out there, waiting to be looted and used? There are two Pearl weapons that are multi-elemental, but primarily shock.
-Nemesis: Already a formidable repeater pistol, the Hyperion Nemesis deals primarily shock damage (but also some corrosive damage when it procs). As a result, it becomes a very powerful weapon with this build.
-Tsunami: Mailwan’s Pearl Submachine Gun is, like the Nemesis, primarily a shock weapon, that also deals corrosive damage when it procs. As expected, it is also a stellar performer with this build.
In addition to these, another Pearl, and a Legendary are exclusively shock weapons, and are among the best shock weapons in the entire game. A couple of the green rarity Eridian weapons available without needing DLC3 (The Secret Armory of General Knoxx) are also shock exclusive, and are powerful enough to warrant specific mention.
-Aries: Atlas’s Pearl Revolver is always shock, and has the additional effect that damage dealt heals the user, via the same mechanism as Transfusion Grenades (healing ‘wisps’ that seek you out from the target you just damaged). It does not suffer the -40% damage penalty that most elemental weapons get for being elemental, and hence is a superior shock revolver even before considering the healing effect.
-Orion: Perhaps the best shock weapon in the entire game, the S&S Orion, legendary semi-automatic sniper rifle is a superb shock weapon, it does not posses the -40% damage penalty for being an elemental weapon that most elemental weapons have, but the most compelling feature is that the projectile fired will ricochet when it impacts the ground for the first time split into 3 (sometimes 4) separate projectiles each of which still do full damage. This allows for a massive increase in DPS by deliberately aiming at the ground in front of your target. With practice it’s quite possible to reliably get multiple hits on the target with each shot. As if that wasn’t enough, the weapon features an even larger magazine size than typical S&S sniper rifles (16-18 instead of 9-10).
-Lightning: Eridian’s green rarity analog of a sniper rifle is a pinpoint accurate (but still has sway) weapon that fires a lightning bolt which reaches out and tags the target in the blink of an eye. It deals exclusively shock damage, and so benefits greatly from the Shock Trooper com.
-Thunderstorm: Surprisingly enough, this is probably the best shock weapon outside of the Aries and Orion, it’s essentially an Eridian shotgun, which fires 8 smaller lightning bolts in a spread. These bolts deal exclusively shock damage, and as such, the Thunderstorm benefits greatly from the Shock Trooper com.
For both of these weapons, it is highly desirable to have the largest magazine size possible, this is determined by which magazine part is used. The one with the highest capacity is roughly rectangular in shape, with the top side tapering toward where the weapon’s trigger is, and the numeric designation in the weapon’s name will end in two 0’s.
Beyond these, most other weapons in the game can spawn with any elemental accessory, including the shock accessory. Here is an overview of the various weapon types, and how they behave as elemental weapons:
-Repeater Pistols: Low tech costs+moderate rates=tech pool lasts a while, surprisingly good for DoT stacking.
-Machine Pistols: Share the low tech costs of Repeaters, but have Stinger SMG level fire rates. Make great buller hoses that will still stack DoT pretty well.
-Revolver Pistols: Slow fire rates, but always proc, so they WILL apply DoT every time (unless ofc the target is DoT immune, many bosses are). High accuracy make them great for sharpshooting DoT stacking.
-SMGs: High Fire Rate and good accuracy, but high tech costs, so poor at stacking DoT. Best for mid-range impact DPSing.
-Combat Shotguns: Generally low accuracy, high impact DPS, poor proc rates. Procs are an, all-or-none thing though, so when they do proc, it will stack quite a bit of DoT if all the pellets hit the target.
-Assault Shotguns: Similar to Combat Shotguns, but have higher fire rates and somewhat lower per-shot damage and pellet counts are usually lower (7 versus 7 to 12 depending on type of Combat Shotgun in question)
-Combat Rifles: Burst fire, and highly accurate, poor proc rates, and thus best of impact DPS sharpshooting.
-Machine Guns: Less accurate than SMGs but higher impact DPS, other characteristics are similar.
-Repeating Sniper Rifles: Extreme accuracy, high tech costs make DoT stacking hard, but proc chance is high, so they will proc periodically. Low fire rate. Best for long range sniping.
-Semi-auto Sniper Rifles: Very High accuracy, higher fire rate than Repeating Snipers, procs infrequent as a result. Best for long range impact DPSing.
-Rocket Launchers (also, Carnage Shotguns): Despite not taking advantage of Impact, or triggering Refire, Shock Rockets are still quite effective with this build, useful for providing excellent AoE damage, and spreading Shock DoT around (mind the splash damage though as it will rip your shields apart in short order if you are caught in your own splash damage).
As with most Roland builds, we will typically want the highest capacity available, however, when using Shock rocket launchers or carnage shotguns, it may be advisable to use a shock resistant shield (in addition to mat2 version of the com) to reduce the danger of your splash damage to yourself. A Cationic shield (of maximum available capacity) is the best purple shield for this purpose. A Torgue Muscleman can also be a good alternative, eschewing shield tanking to an extent in favor of better health tanking ability because of the increased maximum health provided.
As with weapons, the rule is the same: Shock=good. There is a fair variety of possible grenade types, each having their uses, here’s a rundown:
-Contact: Basic general purpose explodes on contact grenades that do good damage in a moderate radius.
-Rubberized: These will bounce around like crazy! With some practice however, you can reliably throw them near enough to the enemy that they will explode immediately (their trigger radius a fair bit bigger than Contact grenades). Their blast radius also seems to be bigger than Contact Grenades too.
-Sticky: Stick to objects and people, will detonate after a brief timer. A little harder to land than Rubberized and Contact nades, but they’ll stay with the target and detonate a little later, this is helpful against enemies that hit-and-run (like Rakk) as it means they will get far enough away from you before the Grenade goes off that you won’t be caught in your own Grenade’s blast radius.
-Proximity Mine: Only stick to the ground but they will stay there for quite some time before detonating, unless of course an enemy wanders too close after their brief arming time. These are great against enemies that bum-rush you (skags, psychos), set up a minefield ahead of time, and then start the fight and let them run through the minefield to get to you.
-Longbow: The ultimate sniping Grenades, deliver exploding static death with pinpoint precision over tremendous distances. Aim at the targets feet to make sure it lands next to them so they’ll feel the hurt. Also great for nade-jumping (if you don’t mind your shield’s getting wrecked).
-Bouncing Bettie: Great for spreading Static DoT all around, use these to soften up a mob for easy pickings.
-MIRV: Kinda like Bouncing Betties, but smaller blast radius and they take longer to do their thing. The upshot of this is that they deny area better than Betties do, and are somewhat better at getting at enemies in cover too.
-Rain: These Grenades are rather unique, the Grenade pops into the air about 10-15 feet and then rains down electricity on anything caught below. These are REALLY good DoT stackers, use em to get a nice big Shock DoT stack going on your unfortunate victim(s).
Mat2 or Mat3?:
It’s worth examining the merit of the available 5th line effects. The mat2 version provides +84% Shock Resistance, this works out to an 84% increase in effective health and shields against shock damage, useful when fighting enemies that do shock damage, or which using rockets/grenades in close proximity to yourself. The mat3 version provides +42% Elemental Effect Chance, which applies so long as the held weapon is a shock weapon. This effect is actually a 42% increase in the regeneration rate of the weapon’s tech pool, actual effect on proc rates is variable. Overall, the mat3 will usually provide a little more DPS for bullet firing weapons than mat2, and so is generally the preferable choice unless you are using non-bullet firing weapons or fighting enemies that do a lot of shock damage.
General tips and other information:
This build plays like most Roland builds: toss down the turret, and get to killing. Your survivability comes mainly from Quick Charge and Stat, hence getting kills is the key to staying on your feet. The turret should usually be set to the Shock artifact unless you need it to help deal with some shock resistant enemies, then Incendiary or Corrosive will probably be best (the turret’s impact DPS is rather poor, but it’s not too shabby at DoT stacking), unless of course the enemy in question is DoT immune (many bosses are, in such cases Explosive is best). Shock resistant enemies, such as Crimson Lance Shock Troopers can be a real pain to deal with, fortunately, they are usually few in number, and as such, Shock as an element enjoys high versatility. This build is very effective against Eridians, which can make Eridian Promontory runs for weapon xp quick and efficient.