Dec 21, 2011

Posted by in Halls Of Healing | 16 Comments

Halls Of Healing: Leveling As A Healer

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!

I was lucky enough to be able to get into the game on the first day of Early Access and experience the wonderful process that is leveling in Star Wars: The Old Republic. If there is something to say about doing Missions (known as Questing for you ancient cavemen) it is that they can be hard. Yes, you can pretty much forget going up and soloing bosses designed to be taken down with a group, and sometimes you can fail multiple times just doing your normal Class Missions. These type of Missions makes me remember the days back in World of Warcraft with the rare Class quests. They were totally do-able, but sometimes required multiple attempts before you actually learned how to beat it.

Now, where does healing come into all of this? Leveling as a healer has historically been tedious. You usually do much less damage than your tank or damage-dealing counterparts and things just take much longer to accomplish. This holds true for TOR as well – you will have less damage output than the other roles and since some NPCs are actually designed around you nuking them down quickly, making things much more difficult as a healer.

However, there are aspects to leveling that will actually make things easier as a healer. One of them is that NPCs tend to do a lot of damage, especially when you get to the higher levels. The tanks and damage dealers will take more damage and will have to pause longer between fights to regenerate their health and resources – you won’t need to do this as much as a healer.


Even Bowdaar needs a heal once in a while.

The other major part is the Companion system. Companions make this game very different in the leveling process from any other MMO I’ve played. Due to the way you can choose and customize your Companion to complement your role and skills, you can mitigate the impact of having reduced damage output. Where damage dealers and tanks might choose a healing Companion you can choose an all out damage dealing Companion or a tanking Companion.

Now, down to what this article really is about: how can you make your leveling in TOR easier and more enjoyable as a healer? Read on for some pro-tips!

Play Together, Stay Together

One of the most entertaining, rewarding and spontaneous ways to play TOR (and any game, really) is to team up with a buddy. Especially as a healer, this is really powerful as you can beat almost anything with your Companions out, including some of the Missions designed for groups of 4.

Teaming up with your friends early not only helps you learn your class better as you get to play the role of the healer more often but it also helps you get closer with your gaming buddies and potentially even meet or make new ones. Not to mention those luscious social points!

Skip Tedious Bonus Missions

This is probably one of the most important things I learned while playing. Bonus Missions should really be treated as such, especially as a healer. If you don’t get them while doing the normal Mission you shouldn’t bother with these – you save much more time and level faster by just skipping them and continuing the storyline. You can always come back and do these later if you wish.

Do All Flashpoints And Group Missions

Learn to love Group Missions and Flashpoints. As a healer these are perfect for getting that much needed experience you might have lost from not killing all those extra mobs on a Bonus Mission or series.

Most of the time people are going to be actively looking for a healer. Keep an eye on general chat for players looking for a healer for the Group Missions you have in your log, or even start a group for it yourself!

I Choose You!

Choosing your Companion probably makes the biggest impact on your gameplay. As a healer it’s often good to have either a tanking or a damage dealing Companion for most Classes, if not all. The first Companion you receive should fit this criteria already. You will, however, receive more choices as your progress and you might want to pick one later on that fits your own playstyle better.

Keeping your Companions gear up to date, correctly itemized, and utilizing good quality items is probably the best way to boost your Companion’s performance and, seeing as it will be a major part of your damage output, really shines when you’re fighting tougher mobs and you have to resort to healing to keep the companion alive. Very often you get a perfectly itemized level-appropriate item for your Companion from a Mission. While Momus had good reasons for selecting the Commendations as your reward, I would actually advise against this much of the time, the gear for your Companion is of high importance as a healer!

Improving your Companion’s gear is not the only way to increase output, though. There is an attribute called Presence, which, while not very common on gear in the lower levels, can be acquired from consumable items such as Field Tech Command Stim crafted by your friendly neighborhood Biochemist. Presence will directly improve the damage, healing and health of your Companion.

Reedyn is the chief nerf-herder over at Force Heal, the healing community for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Artwork is done by strawbeki.

Are you leveling as a healer?

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  1. I don’t have much basis for comparison, yet. I’ve leveled in a healing spec for a short while and my other character I’ve been mostly playing together with a friend. However, it certainly seems that playing a healer is more challenging for your typical missions – which is expected. I don’t think there’s a game out there yet in which it is as easy or easier to level as a healer than in another spec.

    There was one more difficult fight, in particular, for which I had to hunker down and heal my companion to be successful at it. I found this very unfortunate because it made me feel like I was playing the sidekick and my companion was the hero. This is no doubt in large part due to the fact that I’m too used to the trope that the healer is always the sidekick or support character, or the helpless old fart who needs to be protected. I don’t reckon you’ll get much mileage out of an action movie that centers around someone slapping bandages on people.

    I can’t say that I’ve ever suffered from trouble with down time on any character. The various recuperate/recharge abilities are wonderful for that. Incidentally, they also remove the headache of topping people up between or after a fight. It’s so quick, painless, and easy that anyone who doesn’t use it to top themselves off really has no business being in any kind of group content.

  2. On the heroic part – For me, and probably with many others who play healer, doing our job is the most heroic thing we can do. We know that what we’re doing is required for the group to proceed, it is one of the most important roles in the group.

    Taking a real life example here as well, the medics saving lives in the battlefield, aren’t they heroic? I definitely think they are more heroic than the people shooting at people, they are probably the only ones doing something constructive out there!

  3. Levelling an operative medic (lvl 25 so far) so have also been skipping bonus missions – thankfully due to stealth this is fairly easy to do. I also found that since I’ve been doing flashpoints and the heroic +2/4 quests with guildies, I’ve easily kept on par with my class quest level without needing the extra xp.
    Having tried out dps spec for a couple of levels too, while high dps makes the encounters faster, I find that in heal spec I can survive tougher encounters with elite/champion mobs using my companion (Kaliyo) to tank, and also make group quests go a lot more smoothly.

  4. I’m leveling as a healing Sage and haven’t had any problems moving through quests and bonus missions. I will group up for Heroic 4 quests, but that’s about it; all of the Heroic 2 quests I was able to handle, albeit carefully, with myself and my companion.

    So far (lvl 19), this has been the easiest lvling experience in any mmo I’ve played, healer or otherwise. Having a companion makes a group of 4 mobs easy and even 8 mobs aren’t that bad. I’ve put away my companion from time to time, just to see the difference and, while my strategy changed, the difficulty wasn’t vastly different, just more interesting. Happy hunting! Or should I say healing :p

  5. I’m leveling as a healer as well. Most MMOs this is just about impossible to do solo. It works very well (so far) in SWTOR. I am level 24 now.

    I do finish bonus quests. Most of the time it is only a few extra mobs I have to sweep if I am not done before the main quest. I am discovering some OCD tendencies in me by contemplating not finishing bonus quests. I’m not sure I could.

    I do the heroics that aren’t green and lower to me. Flashpoints I have done, but didn’t have a good experience with Hammer Station (just didn’t seem as rewarding as Esseles felt) and haven’t kept up on them. Once I crack 25 for my blasted speeder (oh how needed one is) I may jump back in to one.

    Good read. Glad to see SWTOR getting a blog site much like WoW Insider for World of Warcraft. Love this site!

  6. Starshaker says:

    I have a question… I am about level 27 and I am wondering do your companions level the same way you do? Or do they automatically level? Because if not then I have a lot catching up to do and I will be very angry to find out that I get to level my companions as well. I haven’t but it says their level next to their name…

  7. This looked interesting at first, but turned out to be a general SWTOR education guide.

    Skipping BONUS missions really???!!

    • I’m sorry to disappoint.

      I’ve tried both doing the Bonus Missions and skipping them, and this article are from those experiences. I do however play a Scoundrel, meaning I stealth a lot and often complete a mission in minutes that normally can take a much longer time, thus making the Bonus Mission an even bigger hassle. But I have several healers I’ve spoken to who also found skipping Bonus Missions beneficial in the end.

      I’d love to hear why you think Bonus Missions are so powerful, especially in the scenario I described above, just saying you disagree without stating why isn’t very constructive.

      • In my experience, all’s the bonus missions provide you with is extra xp from killing mobs, plus xp payouts once you’ve finished the bonus mission. Some eventually lead to heroic mobs that almost always drop a green item. Additionally, with more mobs to loot, I’d imagine your chances of getting a nice drop increase too.

        I personally don’t skip them because they’re generally in the area that I’m moving through, so why not indulge in some mayhem? But it’s not as if you’re skipping anything vital by not doing them. In the end, it’s down to personal preference.

  8. I’ve been leveling an Operative Healer, I’m lvl 25 right now and I haven’t had problems killing mobs yet.

    I do all the bonus missions when they are about killing. I do them because I’m skipping almost all the group missions and I need the extra XP.

    A bonus mission can give you (at lvl ~20) 3.5k XP + the XP of the mobs you killed (ex: 25 mobs at 200xp/mob = 5k XP) + credits. That’s 8k XP right there.
    It’s pretty good if you ask me, better than waiting for people to do group quests.

    If at higher lvls I begin finding them too hard I’ll start doing the group content instead.

  9. I’m only level 16 but I’m finding levelling as a healer (Sorcerer) a breeze. Whenever I enounter those gold-star mobs I stay alive by keeping Khem Val alive.

    I don’t find the bonus missions tedious at all. They usually involve killing mobs that I’ll be killing anyway to get to where I’m going. And some, like the Revanite quests, are great sources of light and dark side points. (Seriously something the Inquisitor needs, the class story is very lacking in light/dark choices at least so far.)

    But then, this is my first character. I expect on future characters I’ll pick and choose which bonus missions to do, especially if I’m playing a stealth class.

  10. dont know how many know this but using “focus” ctrl+f will give you a focus frame, its handy especially when you play with a friend and you want to target his companion fast instead of clicking on the screen hoping that you will mark him :)

  11. IhartKray says:

    I know this may sound a bit odd, but I have leveled a healer up to 31 at this point and my strategy is to keep the missions in the green. After level 11 when I hit Dromund Kaas I leveraged the most precious resource a healer has: demand. I hit the flashpoints hard rocking Black Talon. I eventually did a few missions through Dromund Kaas and stepped right into healing Hammer Station. All said and done, I didn’t leave Dromund Kaas for Balmorra until I was at about level 21; well above the level of the planet.

    Now at 31 I have barely even touched Tatooine, but I have had extensive experience with Athiss, Mandalorian Raiders and Cademimu. I still do all of the planetary mission and at the level I am, they are simple. Everything is at least 4 or 5 levels below me (yet still green in difficulty) and I can breeze through the bonus missions.

  12. Leveling as a healer in SWTOR is playing an easy game on extreme easy mode. It was seriously too easy to level as a Jedi Sage with healing build. Even at level 50 it continues to be very easy and you can solo all of the daily quests, if you do a few death runs on the Heroic 4 missions.

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