This guide will cover everything you need to know about playing commando, including skills, tactics, equipment, and loadouts. After reading this, you'll know how commando is played, and hopefully have a solid plan for how you want to build your commando. Note the last six word in that last sentence. I'm not going to dictate how you should build your commando, what you should put points into, or what equipment you should buy. My goal is to give you the knowledge to make your own decisions. Treat this guide like a set of guidelines and advice, not a set rules that you must slavishly follow.
The commando's job is to tank, holding aggro so that enemies attack them instead of more vulnerable party members. To accomplish this, Commando have heavy armor, high health, and a set of skills that is designed around forcing enemies to attack them (taunting).
STR/DEX/INT Point Allocation
Star Legends does not have a dual-spec system in place like its sister game Pocket Legends. Instead, weapons are either class restricted (can only be be used by one class), or all-class. Because of this system, and because all of your important stats (dodge, hit%, crit, ect) will be boosted by the equipment you were, it's best to dump all of your attribute points into STR, so you gain as many HP as possible.
Commandos have the strongest armor in the game, backed up with what can be the most destructive weapon, the Cannon. Cannons deal AoE damage, making them ludicrous powerful against bunched up targets, and they can have a very high damage per shot (ie, may only have listed damage of 50, but if you shoot 5 targets bunched up, actual figure is closer to 250 damage). However, cannons have a slightly lower listed damage as compared with other weapons (once again, the listed figure doesn't count the AoE damage). Cannons may not always be named as such in-game, however, they can be identified by the symbol below, which will appear next to the weapon description.
As a side note, the Napalm Carbine weapons are also capable of doing AoE damage, along with causing the "On Fire" Stun effect shared with flamethrowers and an operative skill.
Despite carrying this symbol, the Crusade Executioner pistols do not appear to have AoE damage.
Specific Equipment of Note
Some equipment items are sufficiently common/famous/infamous/ect that I felt it would be fitting to go into a little more detail about them.
Level 21Crafted Weapons
The Ilied line of crafted weapons (and the TK2 X-Arc Cannon) works best with the commando's pure STR build and have recipe costs low enough that any player can afford the whole set, but the decision to use them is a matter of personal choice. Should you decide to create lvl 21 crafted items, be sure that you get the Ilied versions, as the Shredtech and DOC version boost DEX and INT, and you don't need the boost to those attributes.
Legendary pistols. Form an item set with some of the shield from the plat store. I wouldn't recommend trying to get one of these. While they are useful, their main value is giving the player more armor, something commandos have loads of. Given that your cannon will generally be the best weapon for you to use, you won't get much use out of these handguns anyway.
level 40 Legendary pistol. Same as the above, except it doesn't form an item set, and is outclassed by hive class weapons. You could probably get some decent items by selling it or trading it, which is what I recommend.
Horrifically powerful cannon, able to outgun anything else provided you don't take it into the Crusade levels, where it has proved to be less than ideal. Given its weakness in the expansion, I won't recommend that you make obtaining one a priority. However, it is the best cannon you can get for anything aside from Crusade, and is a excellent farming weapon for most maps.
One of the most desired Rifles in SL. Has slight AoE damage and formidable stats, in addition to dealing fire damage and being able to cause the "On fire" stun effect. It's AoE radius does seem to be smaller than Cannons, and it has a slower fire rate. Thanks to its stun damage, it is a little more useful in Crusade, though it is still outclassed by Crusade class weapons. Given this, I have same advice for it as I do regarding the Flux Cannon. In Tarasa, it is effective at taking down the biomech bosses via exploiting the fact that they have no path finding AI, but I don't suggest using the carbine anywhere else, since you'll take too much damage without the armor from a class weapon, and in Tarasa you can't use stimpacks to compensate.
Meganaut and Titan-tech Armor
Level 30 and 35 epic armor sets. While they were once the best available, that time has passed, and they have relatively little utility in the current game. That's not to say these sets are bad (in fact, meganaut remains one of my favorite armor sets), but obtaining one is generally not the best use of your money. Should you decide to or end up owning a set, it should serve you perfectly well, up until you reach level 40.
Level 40 epic armor. Ubiquitous in the Voleria era, Battleshell remains very common, and is cheap enough that anyone can afford a set. Sadly, it's badly outclassed in the crusade expansion. However, it's better than any other set you could obtain from Voleria, and should be serviceable until you can upgrade to a lvl 42 or 43 suit.
Shields can give you extra armor and slight stat boosts, at the cost being unable to use cannons or rifles. However, their combat utility is somewhat dubious. Commandos already have a lot of armor, and a shield can only add a small amount of extra protection. Since you can't use cannons while a shield is equipped, you also take a severe reduction to the amount of damage you can do (pistol DPS may be higher than cannon DPS, but cannons can deal out a lot more damage per shot if you bunch up your targets). Finally, new shields haven't been released since the Shipyard Campaign (expect for expensive holiday shields, which not many players can afford), and in Crusade, you will get more armor from a cannon than a shield can provide. Shields are useful when fighting bosses, but that's like to be the only time that a commando player should use one.
The two most useful implants for commando players are damage and armor implants, which are far more useful than any of the other possible choices. Most implants won't give enough of a stat boost to make equipping them worthwhile, since in most cases your stats will be either high enough that a few extra points will only offer a faint advantage (for example, a crit boosting implant isn't very useful when you can use Growing Rage to give yourself a 60% boost anytime you want), or will augment a stat that is so low that adding a few more points to it will be of no help (for example, the dodge stat in the current endgame). The two exceptions to this rule are damage implants, which can give your cannon as much or more base damage as a rifle or pistol, and armor implants, which stack well with shields for tanking bosses. I strongly recommend obtaining a high level damage implant from the plat store.
Crusade armor is divided into three broad types, Stat, Heavy, and Pink. Stat armor is the early lvl 41-43 green armor. It has the weakest armor value, but gives a bonus to Dodge, Crit, and Hit%, depending on the version. It is Bronze with orange joints.
Heavy armor is the epic armor, and has weaker stats, but provides a much stronger bonus to armor. Its is steel colored, with reddish joints.
Pink armor has massive defense bonus, and a dodge bonus as well. It is very rare and hard to find, and is olive drab with green joints.
Crusade Pistols are basically useless, don't bother with them.
Crusade Rifles are likewise weak, though only in comparison to the cannons. Its possible to use one, but generally speaking you'd be better off with a cannon.
Crusade Cannons are extremely powerful gear. They have a fire rate on pair with most cannons, but they also have a massive armor bonus, making them vital tanking weapon. Tanking without the defense bonus they grant is very difficult, given the greater lethality of Crusade enemies.
Crusade Implants are of dubious utility. They do provide handy bonuses, but in areas that Commandos are already very powerful in, or for stats that are so weak, the implant is of no additional help. Sticking with earlier implants is advised.
Over-clocked Keystone 19 (level 45)
A pink-grade cannon, available for free by completing the weekly quest on the Crusade STS-25 map. Definitely worth going for, as you'll need the best equipment you can get during Tarasa. The Keystone's blast radius seems to be slightly smaller than the average cannon, but I'm not able to confirm this for sure.
Tarasa equipment is very similar the the items from Crusade, with a few exceptions. The armor system remains unchanged, and the weapons situation is also identical. The implants are slightly better than the Crusade versions, but they still haven't advanced to the point that I would recommend them over the plat implants. The plat store has new lvl 44 and 48 armor, but it's badly outperformed by the conventional, drop system gear.
I've grouped the commando abilities into three categories: Defensive, Offensive, and Crowd Control. Remember, you can only have eight skills in the hotbar, so ranking skills that you won't be able to use is pointless.
Defensive: Skills intended to keep you alive and fighting.
Heal skill that boost your health regeneration. Useful for patching you up or keeping you in the fight just a moment longer, but not designed nor capable of making you engineer independent. Very useful in Tarasa, since stimpacks are unavailable.
Energy regeneration. During use, this skill inflicts a minor damage and DPS penalty, which is replaced by a boost to those skills for the last few seconds of the buff. This skill is extremely useful, as it allows you to keep you energy levels at max, and the damage buff it grants combos well with a few other skills. Also very useful in Tarasa, as energy packs are not available, and engineer's heal skill won't give you your energy back (and given how tough Tarasa is, you'll need every last bit).
Buff skill that increases your armor by a massive amount. When buffed, you're very hard to damage, but not indestructible. Incredibility useful, and at max level has no downsides. Has fast recharge.
Offensive; For when you need to dish out the pain.
Creates AoE damage field centered on you. Short ranged with relatively fast recharge. Combos well with other skills, but weak on its own.
Provides crit boost, up to 60% at max level. Incredibly useful skill, and combos great with cannons and AoE skills. Max out this skill.
Crowd Control: Control Aggro and corral enemies. The main focus of the Commando.
Functional taunt skill with some damage, but underpowered compared to later skills. I wouldn't recommend using it.
Vital Commando skill. Knockdown effect against nearby enemies, with taunt and weak damage. Very useful for preventing enemies from attacking, and a vital part of many combos.
Ranged attack, has light damage and AoE knockback. Personally, I don't like this skill, as its scattering effect tends to make it harder to wipe out enemies, as well as frequently knocking them back so far that they fully heal. In addition, scattering enemies makes your arc cannon and several operative and engineer skills less useful, as it decreases the enemy's vulnerability to AoE attacks. That said, you can develop a build that works with this skill, and it does have its uses. For example, it's very good at pinning enemies against a wall if you get them bunched up and use it in the right spot (however, your likely to scatter the mobs all around the room if you hit the wrong target). Singularity has a very high learning curve, but learning to use it properly can be very useful.
Taunt skill. Has cone shape to hit multiple targets, with slowdown effect on hit, along with light damage. Very useful, and a great choice for a primary taunt skill.
Vital Commando skill. Pulls nearby targets toward you, and has light damage. Great for corralling enemies. Like Stomp, Gravity Well is an integral part of most combos.
Taunt, with heavy damage and combo effect. Can only hit one target, and lacks Graviton Slam's slowdown, but does more damage to its target, and has a combo ability. Also a great choice for you main taunt.
You have the skills, you have the equipment. So how do you use them?
Combos:How to use your skills to put the hurt on.
1: The Classic. Use: Gravity Well + Neutron Stomp. Effect: pulls enemies in, then knocks them to the ground. useful for preventing enemies from firing at your party, buying you time to retreat, or concentrating enemies in one spot for further AoE attacks.
2: Backbreaker. Use: Knockdown skill + Back Breaker. Effect: Does more damage to target.
3: Armored Fury. Use: Increase Mass + Growing Rage + Gravity Well + Neutron Stomp + Nebula. Effect: Draws nearby enemies toward you, then stuns them inside the crit-empowered Nebula field. Massive damage, and targets are bunched up and vulnerable to cannon fire.
4: Tough Guy. Use: Kinetic Reservoir + Vigor + Increase Mass + Growing Rage. Effect: Nearly Indestructible for a few moments, able to inflict heavy damage.
Engineers: Your Best Friend. Engineers are vital if you want to do your job. They keep you alive and kicking, buff you up, and weaken the enemy so your job (block laser beams with your face) isn't quite so hard. Return the favor and do you best to protect them.
Operatives: You are their best friend. Operatives excel at taking down enemies, however, their armor is made of cardboard, and they can't heal themselves as well as the other class. As long as you're around, the bad guys won't be focused on going after the operative. Consequently, Operatives view you as their best ally, since you're helping them take down the enemy. Try to cover them as well as you can, since they can take down hostiles much better than you can.
Commando: Your Arch-rival. I'm not saying that commandos can't work well together, but there is a lot of time you'll wind up getting in each others way if you aren't careful. You pull enemies toward just as the he was going to use knockdown, he push a group into the walls while you're trying to pull them away from the group, He's frantically calling for a heal while you're getting pounded, you break up his combo just before he finishes, and so on. The way to avoid these problems is to keep an eye on your teammates so you don't mess something up, and try to coordinate with others as best you can.
Take point: You have the ability to take some fire, so use it. Stay in front of the group.
Tank, don't spank: Your main job is crowd control and aggro management, not offense. Focus on your job, and let the operatives and engineers focus on theirs.
Protect the Engineer: They can't keep you healed and revived if they're dead. This goes double in Tarasa, as engineers are the only way to heal yourself back to full health in a reasonable amount of time).
Get Away from Her!: Singularity is great for clearing space around a teammate who's being mobbed.
Stick with the party: Nothing good can come from the phrase "Let's split up gang".
Tip of the Spear: You should always be the first one into a room, so you can automatically aggro targets.
Buy some Time: If the party has to retreat, never be the first one to leg it. Buy the weaker members some time, then run.
Share the load: If there is more than one Commando in the party, neither one should always be tanking.
Prioritize: Some enemies are are more dangerous than others. Kill them first. The general order of threat priority is Healers, then Knockback/down and stun users, then the rest of the enemies.
Most Expendable: You will die. A lot.
Damage implants and Cannons are an excellent combination.
Despite how useful rifles can be, your cannon will generally be the better choice.
Try to reserve the pistol+shield loadout for boss fighting. You have enough armor most of the time, you really shouldn't need a shield, and AoE weapons are the best aggro management weaponry available, as well as being the best way for commandos to actually deal damage.
When purchasing new equipment, generally prioritize armor over weaponry.
In Crusade and Tarasa, Cannons are extremely useful, while rifles and pistols are much less so (In fact, pistols are pretty much worthless).
Familiarize yourself with SL's loadout change system, and make use of it.