Sep 6, 2011

Posted by in Halls Of Healing | 37 Comments

Halls of Healing: Healing In The Galactic Republic

Each week or thereabouts here at Ask A Jedi, we’ll meditate on the finer points of the healer’s role in Star Wars: The Old Republic. No matter where your allegiance lies, you’re sure to find guidance here in the Halls Of Healing!

Since this is my first post I’ll start by introducing myself. I’m Reedyn, a new columnist here at Ask A Jedi and I will be covering the healing related topics. I’m also the chief-nerfherder of a healing community known as Force Heal and a general contributor over at R2-Db. If you want to get in touch or discuss anything feel free to send me a message to my twitter @Reedyn or just leave a comment below! I also want to specifically thank strawbeki for the artwork you can see in the banner above.

Healing in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic is a game that, similar to the many other MMORPGs out there, is built upon the traditional class trinity with the roles that we are so familiar with: the tank, the damage dealer and of course, the healer.  The healer’s job is to keep the group alive, while the tank holds aggro and the damage dealers kill the target. More or less.

To the majority of people, keeping the group alive consists of using skills that restore the health of your fellow players. This is how the vast majority of MMORPGs are built when it comes to healing, and it’s a concept that works. However, to the more advanced players, keeping the group alive involves much more than simply using your healing skills. It can involve using cooldowns on your group, reviving a party member back to life, crowd controlling mobs and even in some situations damage dealing and tanking.

For Star Wars: The Old Republic, every class has a wide variety of supportive abilities and damage dealing skills that don’t necessarily fit the mold of healers past. All of these things allow healing advanced classes to have a much more engaging playstyle than players may be accustomed to in previous games.

In this first article we will dissect the surface of the healing advanced classes of the Galactic Republic. Keep in mind, most of the data is missing and probably subject to change!

Jedi Consular – Jedi Sage – Seer

“Sages are famed for their wisdom much as for their powerful healing and defensive skills. In troubled times, a Sage brings together the insight of the past with raw power to change the flow of galactic events.” – SWTOR.com

  • Healing Type – Force Powers
  • Resource – The Force
Known Skills
Analysis

The Jedi Sage is the Republic equivalent of the Sith Sorceror, they both follow the common concept of MMORPGs with their resource, Force, which is similar to mana in other games. The Jedi Sages come with a large variety of different skills, packing direct heals with a few emergency heals, Heal-over-time skills and several longer cooldowns along with Force regenerative skills. The only real downside with playing the Sage will be the lighter armor, however skills such as Force Armor that protect you and escaping skills such as Force Speed will make your life much easier (and hopefully, longer). The difficulty of this class is not in the area of ability usage but rather in resource management, similar to most other MMORPGs. So, if you’re interested in a more traditional type of healing, then the Jedi Sage is the advanced class for you!

Pros
  • Big resource-pool
  • Many supportive abilities and variety of healing skills.
  • Traditional mechanics – Short learning curve
Cons
  • Low armor
  • Lower adaptability due to bigger resourcepool and lower regen

Trooper – Commando – Combat Medic

“Combat Medic trains the Commando to provide expert first aid to wounded comrades in the heat of battle.”- SWTOR.com

  • Healing Type – Probes
  • Resource – Ammunition
Known Skills
Analysis

The Trooper class is the Republic equivalent of the Bounty Hunter and uses ammunition as a resource. Ammo regenerates slowly on it’s own but you can reload with an ability as often as every 9 seconds, which will restore 6 out of 12 possible ammunition slots. This means that people healing with the Commando don’t have much planning ahead in terms of the resources and that the adaptability is high. The manual reload mechanic opens up some interesting playstyles where you can pool your resource and save your cooldown to unload a heavy amount of healing during a short timeperiod, very useful during heavy damage phases on bosses. However, it also means that there’s no reason to save your resources for longer than ~18-27 seconds, depending on how much you pool.

Pros
  • High adaptability
  • High survivability
  • Group crowd control abilities
Cons
  • Low resource pool – skill choices are more important

Smuggler – Scoundrel – Sawbones

“In addition to his trusty blaster, the Scoundrel packs a stealth belt, a scattergun and a med pack–everything he needs to get in, knock the enemy for a loop and get out alive.” – SWTOR.com

  • Healing Type – Medpacks
  • Resource – Energy
Known Skills
  • Field Medicine – This skill is likely to exist for all healers.
  • Amnesty – Survival cooldown
  • Slow-Release Medpac – HoT stacking to 3.
  • Emergency Medpac – Short cooldown Emergency heal, heals more depending on amount of Slow-Release Medpacs on target.
  • Underworld Medicine – Light, fast heal.
  • Advanced Kolto Pack – Moderate heal
  • Triage – Similar to dispel in other MMORPGs
  • Dirty Kick – Melee stun, great way when you pull aggro.
  • Escape – Similar to the PvP trinket in WoW, godsend for any healer!
  • Cool Head – Boost your Energy regen for a short duration. Great for those moments of heavy damage.
  • Hustle – Area of effect speed bonus to the entire group
  • Surrender – Drops all your threat, not confirmed if you get it back after the effect drops.
  • Stealth – Name of the skill not known, will come in an aoe version that can stealth entire group for a short duration.
  • Tranquilizer – Crowd Control.
  • Flash Grenade – Aoe crowd control of some form. Not announced how it works specifically.
Analysis

The Smuggler is the Republic equivalent of the Imperial Agent. They use energy that regenerates passively, from empty to full over about 25 seconds (from 0-100%). Similar to the Trooper the Smuggler healer has high adaptability, and doesn’t need to plan ahead more than about 25 seconds when managing their resource. Due to the way energy isn’t limited, the Scoundrel has a high dependency on heal over time abilities and has a cooldown on many of it’s burst healing abilities, thus cannot sustain burst healing over longer periods, however, it also means that the Scoundrel is a healer that just won’t run out of resources in longer fights similar to how healers run out of mana in other games. The Smuggler class comes with a cover mechanic that gives improved defense against targets in front of you, in addition to opening up different abilities. In addition to this cover mechanic the Scoundrel can avoid combat by using stealth, crowd control, stuns and skills that can remove negative effects such as stuns, movement impairs and fear.

Pros
  • High adaptability
  • Escape abilities
  • Good defense from cover mechanic
Cons
  • Emergency healing abilities have cooldowns.
Tune in next time when we take a look at the cuddly Empire healers!
Reedyn is the chief nerf-herder over at Force Heal, the healing community for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Artwork by strawbeki.
  1. Nice addition.

    From the Trooper gameplay videos I have seen, it seems like the ammo regenerates slowly on it’s own.

  2. Small correction: Trooper ammo does regen slowly on it’s own, watch any pvp or flashpoint video that has been released so far and you’ll see a slow but constant replenishment of ammo.

  3. I just want to apologize to Reedyn and the AAJ readers for publishing this a bit pre-maturely… working on fixes and updates, and will revise!

  4. Great starter article. Just one note of correction on Sages.

    You mention Large Resource pool as a pro for the class. However from what we know the Sage’s force pool is a fixed number of 1-100% So unlike other MMO’s with mana where you build your mana pool to large numbers we are stuck with dealing with regen rates.

    Keep up the great write ups.

    • This is indeed true, but compared to the other adv classes the Sage has a significantly larger pool in relation to the cost of the skills. This is what I mean’t by a large pool.

      • Well maybe. Wish I could say otherwise but things prevent me from revealing to much. Let’s just say that costs are about the same. :D

        • If things change significantly, I will certainly write a more detailed article on that later, when I am allowed to do so.
          In fact, didn’t go much into the Resource Costs because of that^^

  5. An interesting read even for those of us who don’t plan on going the healing route. It’s always good to understand those who are capable of keeping you around to fight the good fight.

    Thank you!

  6. Galnegunnar says:

    Really wanna try the Combat Medic out but the other classes looks pretty good aswell.

    Thank you for a great post! :D

  7. As a healer myself I’m delighted to see this column underway. I’ll also have to check out Force Heal. Sounds like a great resource. The analysis was nicely put together. Great job.

    I did have one question. Is the Sage getting a power call ‘Rescue’? This power supposedly pulls group members to the healer whilst lowering threat. I can’t remember if this power is confirmed yet or not. I hope it does end up in game. It strikes me as having great potential but I could see it needing to be used carefully in certain situations.

    I’m wondering if healing classes other than the Sage are going to get in-combat rezzes as well. I seem to recall that at first it was hinted that just the Sage/Sorceror would get them. But for some reason I’m wondering if this will stick.

    It will also be very interesting to see how talent tree configurations play into all this. Boosts to effects, durations and cooldowns can radically change healing potential. All this will be plenty of fuel for analysis down the road and I’m looking forward to more of your insights.

    • That ‘Rescue’ is indeed correct, it’s confirmed.

      I’m also very excited for the day when the NDA drops and we can shower in dataz without feeling dirty =)

  8. According to the tooltip, Healing trans looks more like a channeled than instant + hot ? (it says 30s cast time should be channeled, no ? )

    • That was my bad, it was wrong both in the database and in the post here, it’s a 3 second channel with 9 second cooldown, with an instant heal at the beginning of the channel. It has been changed in the databse, post will be updated soon™

  9. Great article! Look forward to more from your end – I have played healers in most of the MMOs though I was going to take a dps approach this time around.

  10. LegendOfBacon says:

    Oooohhh I like this new column. Looking forward to more installments, Reedyn!

  11. This was indeed pretty interesting to read. But I have a question. Does every healer class has a different mechanism from each others ? I mean, one which is more about absorbing damage, more about group heals or one focused on direct heals, HoTs, etc. ?

    • From what we’ve seen sofar yes, faaar from all abilities have been released, but based on the few we’ve seen and the fact that the regen mehcanics are very different this should be the case.
      Scoundrel/Operative for example focus more heavily on HoTs.
      Consular seem pretty rounded, with both hots, channeling skills and absorbs.
      Trooper is the one we don’t know much about, due few skills we know of we can maybe specualte that they will be more of a healer that is doing dps and throwing in some emergency heals. While providing some backup healing in form of HoTs, but it’s hard to say since we only know of one heal sofar!

  12. A quote from swtor was “every tank in game will be able to be the main-tank”.

    Do you know, whether this applies to the healers, too? IMHO it looks like the sage/sorcerer will be the most powerful healer, Smuggler/Agent more like a trade-off, and BH/Trooper as emergency-healer.

    Correct me, if I’m wrong.

    • From what the data we have at hand, Sage seems to be the most fleshed out healer, and looks to be significantly better than the other classes. Let’s hope that this will be changed before release!
      I haven’t heard them saying anything like that quote about healing, but I would personally hope so.

  13. I am curious if there are any bonuses to healing from cover. Do the healing abilities become stronger in any way or do you get new abilities when in cover. The defense you gain would be nice, but it would be cool if you got a bonus to healing while in cover as well to get people to use it as much as possible.

    • I highly doubt this will be in the game, mostly because they’ve said that bosses will be balanced based on not using cover. Which would mean such a bonus would be purely for PvP

  14. Nice overview, thanks for the write up. Having been the healer in a number of other games, I’m looking forward to the way it works in The Old Republic.

  15. From what I’ve read, Energy regenerates at different rates depending on the amount you have. 75% of the pool or more regenerates at max speed, 25-74% is half that and 0-24% half that again. Might have changed though.

    • During the time I searched for dataz to write the article and after it was published I’ve been suggested that energy and ammo mechanic work in atleast 4 different ways, I’m going to keep this article just as vague as the data we have to work with ;)

  16. Something I’m interested to know is, is it worthwhile focusing on healing during the levelling process? Will that make life hard for me in questing (i.e killing folks)? Or should I go a damage build until top level and then respec?

    • I used to level as a healer in World of Warcraft and that wasn’t too tedious, you had to stick to groups and play with friends in a few situations but it was very doable, and due to the way companions work it should be made significantly easier in SWTOR, you still have access to several damage dealing moves and you can always bring a damage dealing companion.

  17. Hi.

    Thanks for your guide ;)

    I try to translate part of it in french to make a french’s guide about the heal of smuggler.

    And, while I was looking from informations, i realize that somes informations were in contradictions with others.

    Where is the truth ?

    PS : sorry for my bad english ;)

    • Hi there. Unfortunately we can’t post links or information from Game Testing, so your link was removed Any information here is based on public knowledge and any other source is incomplete and/or inaccurate… the game is still in development! :)

      • Ok I understand ! but very space that we could see theses informations so easily from others websites !

        Thanks for the answer

  18. Hey Reedyn,

    do you know if Cunning will increase the Scoundrels healing output, like a “spell power” mechanic for SWTOR? During the weekend beta that was something that mystified me.

    • Yes, as a Scoundrel Cunning will be your go-to star for almost everything. It increases output through your tech powers both for damage and healing.
      Typically a standard item you will use will have Endurance and Cunning on them.

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