Salarian Winfiltrator – by Barfwak
Tactical Cloak: Damage (4), Recharge Speed (5), Sniper Damage (6)
Proximity Mine: N/A
Energy Drain: Damage (4), Shield Restoration (5), Damage Reduction (6)
Salarian Operative: Damage (4), Headshot Damage (5), Damage (6)
Fitness: Health & Shield (4), Shield Charge Delay (5), Health & Shield (6)
Any single-shot sniper rifle will work. I prefer the Widow, as the build deals damage almost exclusively via the rifle. The black widow should also work, although I do not have one in the multiplayer. I would recommend using either a cyclonic modulator or adrenaline booster on gold difficulty; the cyclonic modulator synergizes with energy drain extremely well and makes this build almost unkillable.
Strategy: (for geth)
The central idea of the build is to maximize tactical cloak sniper damage while also maximizing survivibility. In practice, this is very simple: use the third-person camera to acquire a target, activate tactical cloak, scope the target, activate energy drain, and fire. There is enough time to ED (energy drain) one target and attempt a rifle shot on another, but this can easily cause you to miss the shot if the targets are not adequetly grouped or are too close to your firing position to be able to pull your mouse between them fast enough. You should try to execute your shot volleys as fast as possible, as firing outside of cloak is not going to deal sufficient damage to do what you want to do in almost all cases; however, if you have to deal with a spastic enemy or random screen shake don’t feel like you’re a bad player for hesitating to make sure you land that shot. It’s always slower if you miss and have to reload. Tactical cloak still provides all of its utility and mobility benefits, and does not need to be explained.
The effect this tractic has, overall, is that you can continue firing on the enemy when other classes ordinarily could not. You can afford to soak hits and even bleed your entire shield while taking a shot or repositioning as long as you are ready to land an ED in your next shot cycle. Not only are you harder to kill, but your overall damage output increases dramatically.
Try to avoid using energy drain while uncloaked. The cooldown will be very long, especially if you are using any of the heavier sniper rifles. There will be times when all you have time to do is cloak, drain and run (or, cloak, run and drain), but learning when it’s time to retreat is something that will make you a much, much better player.
It should also be obvious that this build is intended for use against the geth. I have not tried using it against cerberus or reaper forces, but I expect it to not work very well. Keeping the ED shield up as close to 100% of the time as possible is very crucial.
Note: after the [03.13.2012 multiplayer balance update] buff to the geth hunters I was unable to kill them with a single TC=>ED=>Widow headshot, as their shield was just barely high enough to absorb the ED. It’s highly recommended that you play with someone using chain overload, both for the shield softening as well as the potential tech burst spam – remember, energy drain has a small AoE (area of effect, a.k.a. splash damage) by default. The QI (Quarian Infiltrator) also synergizes well, as does the human soldier, krogan sentinel, and salarian engineer. classes with lots of screen shaking biotic power spam are hard to play with unless you can afford to position yourself away from them; these classes aren’t the best against the geth anyway, so it should be a moot point.
N00b Rating: (scale 1-5, 1 is easy for everybody!)
4.5. I’d say something along the lines of 4-5. Every missed shot is an enormous damage loss, and faster twitch reflexes will mean more accurate shots (and therefore more total damage and fewer active threats) over time. You can play safely at a lower skill level, but the overall effectiveness is going to be reduced if you do not use ED to keep yourself in the fight and continue firing when other classes would be forced to take cover. Practice makes perfect, though, so if you feel like you aren’t contributing just keep playing. Any class that puts a high emphasis on making snap judgements and quick headshots has a wide range of effectiveness based on individual player skill, but it’s a range anyone willing to to spend some time playing can improve along.
-edits by Lucien Midnight