: This guide is largely a repost from Onagerís original Sorc healing guide for 1.2, with some minor updates on the Force Bending bugfix in 1.3, an expanded discussion of gearing, and a few of my opinions thrown in. At this point in time Onager is MIA, so Iíve taken the liberty of keeping his work up-to-date. The majority of credit for the content herein is owed to him; Iím simply trying to keep his work alive for the community.
Guide starts here
In the words of Onager: We are a dual-resource healer. Playing a Sorc well revolves around understanding the relative efficacy and efficiency of your abilities, knowing the encounters, and realising that your health is a resource that you need to be flexible with.
(1/2 Empty Body)
Since the addition of Unnatural Preservation in 1.4, Dark Resilience is absolutely better than Empty Body, so I consider the PVE Corruption build to be standardised.
Priority Flowchart for Sorc Healing
- Before the fight, Static Barrier everyone and Seethe.
- Are you unfortunately in the interrupt rotation? If so, Jolt as necessary, reserving the right to make known your protests for having been reduced to doing so. Otherwise;
- Does the fight have a stacking cleansable debuff mechanic? If so, Purge. Otherwise;
- Does tank have Deionized debuff? If no, Static Barrier. Otherwise;
- Does tank have Reconstruct? If not, Resurgence. Otherwise;
- Do you have Force Surge? Within reason, Consumption (if you have 20% health left and youíre in an unavoidable raid-wide damage phase, donít; but from here on out, Iíll leave the application of common sense to you). Is your force pool dipping (<75%)? Consumption with or without Force Surge.
- AoE Damage of any kind affecting 2 or more players, OR have you used Consumption twice? (Resurgence >) Revivification, placed where you can benefit from it as well. If you've freshly placed Resurgence on the tank and you need Force Bending, hit yourself, an offtank, or one of the melees who routinely take damage with it just for the proc.
- Someone need healing? Triage time!
- Green (Minor): Tank? Wait for yellow. You or a DPS? You and they should stand in Revivification to heal/pewpew. Heroes before Herps.ô I strongly advise going wherever your Revivification needs to be and stand in it. If damage is somewhat continual, Resurgence.
- Yellow (Moderate): (Static Barrier > Resurgence >) Innervate. Refer to no. 6 above for general Force Surge guidelines. Dark Infusion filler as necessary. Be conservative with your use of Static Barrier, however; while reasonably efficient, you can burn through force at a disturbing rate, and they represent wasted healing if your target does not continue to take damage. If in doubt, save them for condition red.
- Red (Severe): If the burst healing phase is predictable (e.g. Foreman Crusher), have Revivification down on the tank first. Pop an on-use relic if you have one. Static Barrier before the relic if it's Crit/Surge or Alacrity, after if it's Power. Recklessness > Dark Infusion x2 (or x1 and Unnatural Preservation if your own health is low) > Resurgence > Innervate. Wait till you're back to Yellow to spend Force Surge, unless you're about to cast another Force Bent Innervate or Force Surge will fall off without being spent.
- Does the fight have some kind of hard-to-avoid AE mechanic or one where the boss targets people at random? Static Barrier whenever Deionized falls off.
: Rather than reinventing the wheel, I will simply point you towards XtremJediís excellent Sage/Sorc PVE Force Regain
thread. TL;DR? Then you probably didnít make it this far. Ignoring the inherent contradiction, however: Consumption twice for each Revivification you stand in; virtually any other approach is usually inferior to idling. Some additional tips:
Some notes on Sorc abilities
- Triage section above applies to you, too, for damage not originating from Consumption.
- You're not alone. You don't have to bear the burden of your resource mechanic by yourself, especially if your other healer hero homey is doing fine on his resource or has a free heal to toss your direction, it significantly eases your usage of Consumption.
- Since 1.4, you now have Unnatural Preservation. While Revivification is still your primary health regen source, this ability offers an alternative for encounters where Revivification is not practical.
- Consumption is always a net gain in force, although triple and quad stacking of the Consumption debuff puts you in a position where Consumption itself becomes your regen and you better have some beefy healing income to compensate. This is more practical in 16-player content than it is in the rest, however, and great caution needs to be observed in its application. Certain encounters may offer excellent opportunities for this approach, such as stacking on the Pulsar Droids when fighting Warlord Kephess.
: Whatever the specifics of your approach to Sorc healing and resource management, there should always be one core element: the use of Resurgence on cooldown (on the tank for at least every second cast, in order to grant Reconstruct). Force Bending is vitally important, and you want to minimise the number of abilities cast without it, because all of your primary healing tools are greatly improved by it.
In terms of your main heals, Revivification is the strongest ability Sorcs have, for better or for worse. Use it and abuse it. It is HPF efficient for two targets, and becomes our strongest ability in terms of HPS done when applied to three targets or more. Prior to 1.3, a bug existed whereby Innervate would not consume Force Bending, allowing you to apply the benefit to two abilities; however, this has since been corrected. Therefore, (Resurgence >) Revivification is now your definitive priority. In practice you should probably be casting Revivification on cooldown more often than not (certainly in any situation where you can stand in it, since it is our best tool for healing the damage from Consumption).
In the time between Revivification casts, Innervate is our bread-and-butter single-target heal. With or without Force Bending it is our best HPF ability, and exceeds the HPS of essentially everything bar Static Barrier and Revivification on 3+ targets. Thus, after Revivification, (Resurgence >) Innervate is your next priority, and your go-to combination for anyone taking significant damage.
Dark Infusion is your primary filler. You are essentially limited by the 6.5s (with 2-piece PVE set bonus) cooldown of Innervate, so in between Force Bent Innervates/Revivifications, use Dark Infusion if additional healing is required. Despite the quicker cast, do not bother with Dark Heal; simply put, the ability is close to useless without Force Bending (it is effectively our worst skill by both output and efficiency), and Force Bending is better spent on Innervate. Essentially the only time you should use Dark Heal is when a target is close to death, Deionized, and taking trickle damage that will kill it before Dark Infusion hits. An evaluation of how often this situation actually occurs I shall leave to the interested reader. As a final note, whenever you use Recklessness, your sole priority for spending the charges should be Dark Infusion.
Unnatural Preservation. Everything I said earlier was a lie, in some respects: this is your (in fact, the
) strongest single-target heal in terms of HPS, HPCT, and HPF. It blows everything else in the game out of the water. Unfortunately, its status as a self-heal only with a 30s cooldown is a bit of a killjoy. In practice, you have two primary ways to use it, and these depend on the nature of the fight. If you can manage your force regen by standing in your own Revivification, then save Unnatural Preservation as an emergency self-heal for when you've taken a large hit. If the fights mechanics are such that you have to cast a Revivification you can't stand in, or you can't get anyone else with it, then Unnatural Preservation should be your primary method for covering the damage from Consumption. Wait until you've tapped enough to avoid excessive overhealing, and consider using Recklessness if it's available and someone else can use a guaranteed crit Dark Infusion.
The best usage of Static Barrier is basically covered in the flowchart above; I will simply note that it is the only 'heal' that can be applied to a full-health target without overhealing, and the only heal that can be applied to a target with 1% health remaining yet end up overhealing. Use it accordingly. That being said, I would advocate its use more often than pre-1.3, since one cannot abuse the Force Bending bug to include Force Bent Dark Infusions regularly (in the absence of Force Bending, Static Barrier is more efficient than Dark Infusion). Nevertheless, given the preceding cautions and the Deionized lockout debuff, exercise judgment.
Finally, remember that maximum healing is achieved based on HPCT (Healing Per Cast Time). While the healing done by a skill like Resurgence may seem relatively insignificant, when totalled and weighed against the instant (1.5 second) cast time, it actually does more healing than Innervate for each second spent casting (Innervate will, obviously, do much more healing in absolute terms). This is the justification for the recommended approach to predictable burst damage phases like Foreman Crusher: Applying Resurgence and dropping Revivification under a target then launching into your single-target heals will provide much higher HPS than could otherwise be achieved.
: Most of your equipment at endgame that's designed for healers specifically (Including set gear) is going to have a lot of power/alacrity enhancements. In order to achieve (more) ideal gear, you will need to mix and match armourings, mods, and enhancements; at present, your primary source for these will be items from the Black Hole gear vendor.
In terms of set bonuses, the 2-piece should be considered compulsory (a reduction on the cooldown of our bread-and-butter ability is invaluable), while the 4-piece is optional. The extra 50 force points provides a small buffer, and also makes Consumption regain slightly more force (since it returns a fixed percentage of your force pool), but if you manage your resources effectively you should have no issues without it. You can acquire the set bonuses two ways: by wearing tier 1 gear (Tionese/Columi/Rakata), or by using Campaign armourings (which have the set bonuses attached to them). It is important to note that two of the Campaign armourings are not BiS: namely, the head and chest ones, since they are both Force Wielder armourings (Endurance>Willpower) rather than Resolve (Willpower>Endurance). To achieve true BiS, while retaining cosmetic flexibility, you will need to use one tier 1 shell (presumably the head slot, since it can be hidden) and the armourings from the Black Hole Force-lord chest and headpiece.
Since 1.3, all fourteen pieces of gear can now be augmented. Always use Resolve augments.
On a 1:1 basis, Willpower is your dominant stat, given that you will hit diminishing returns on Critical Rating, Surge, and Alacrity with your mods and enhancements. A common myth is that Power is better than Willpower due to the slightly higher bonus healing (0.17 vs 0.1554 after the Inquisitor buff and Will of the Sith in your spec tree). Willpower, however, contributes to critical chance, and it is here that the misconception arises: you may hear statements to the effect of ďwell, my crit chance is so high that diminishing returns means more crit is uselessĒ. In actuality, crit chance contribution from Willpower is on a separate curve from that of Critical Rating. Point for point, Willpower contributes much less to critical chance than Critical Rating, but also has an extremely low rate of diminishing returns, relatively speaking. Unless you can gear for 6,000 or more Willpower, the effect of the added critical chance will outweigh the impact of Power's higher bonus healing.
Aside from augments, gearing a Sorc is a tug of war in two separate categories: Power vs Critical Rating, and Surge vs Alacrity. The Ďidealí amounts of each are not as clear cut for healers as they are for DPS Sorcs. It is important to understand that healing is not
DPSing. Your goal is not to maximise your healing output, but rather to effectively meet the healing demands of an encounter, and the burden can vary dramatically at different stages. Surge will make your crits hit harder, while Alacrity lets you respond to spike damage slightly faster. Diminishing returns, of course, limits how much of either you want to stack. Simply put, if you find yourself taking a more rotational approach to healing with sustained casting, favour Alacrity over Surge; if you take a slower and more considered approach, then vice versa. I personally run equal Surge and Alacrity. YMMV.
For Power and Crit, there are two primary options (imho). Mathematically speaking, about 205 Critical Rating is optimal, with the rest stacked as Power. Personally, I choose to stack Critical Rating higher until I reach a total unbuffed critical chance of 35%; combined with the Agent buff and Recklessness, I can guarantee immediate crits on Dark Infusion in emergencies, which I feel plays to the situational needs of healing.
For relics, two War Hero Relics of Boundless Ages are BiS. You may run a Campaign Relic of Boundless Ages for more burst flexibility (which plays to the argument for the situational needs of healing), although I am less in favour of them since the burst nerfing in 1.3. If you do not wish to PVP, however, the Campaign relic in conjunction with a Matrix Cube is probably your best option. Mending Relics are crappy, and I have nothing more to say about that
A parting note: never use lettered (i.e. 26A or 26B) mods. You give up too much of the secondary stat (Power or Critical Rating) for the Willpower you gain.
That's about it. Feel free to comment on and/or criticize my work, and if you point something out that can be blatantly improved upon, I will certainly be grateful.