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SpaniardInfinity
05.22.2012 , 11:32 AM | #2
3. Survival

Stepping into a warzone as a healer poses a problem: we are almost always going to be target number one of the enemy team. That means you will be under pressure for a large majority of a match, and learning how to cope with that pressure takes composure, good reactions, and a lot of judgement calls.

There are a variety of ways the opposition can remove you from play, namely interrupts, stuns, knockbacks and pulls, and pure damage. In this chapter, I'll go over some tips and strategies for working through these setbacks and interferences by taking a look at each individually.

Key Abilities:Reactive Shield, Adrenaline Rush, Tenacity, all three Commando CCs (Concussive Charge, Concussive Round, Cyro Grenade), Hold the Line, and Tech Override. Warzone Medpacks are highly recommended, as are Warzone Adrenals.

Avoiding Survival Situations

Before dealing with survival scenarios, let's first look at a few ways to avoid such situations. The most obvious way of doing this is to stay out of sight and keep a low profile. Here's a few helpful tips in doing just that:

  • When entering combat, especially with several allies, try to avoid being the first or the last one into the battle. Entering first can make you a prime target, especially for any enemies with a pull. At the same time, those entering the fight last frequently tend to be healers.

  • Try opening with some damage, just so people don't immediately peg you as a healer. This is usually possible if the fight is starting as you arrive; if a fight is in progress, you're probably going to have to heal as soon as you get there. As a side note, don't spend too much ammo on damage - if healing becomes necessary, you might find yourself in a deep hole before you even started doing your job.

  • Use sightlines (line of sight, also known as LOS) to your advantage, like walls, doorways, and ramps. The longer no one knows you're there, the longer you can heal without interference.

  • Avoid travelling alone, unless you feel confident defending yourself solo. It still highly recommended that you stay with at least one other player in case you get jumped.


There is a caveat here, however. As you gain a reputation for being a healer, it will become increasingly more difficult to maintain a low profile. Also, Combat Medics are the only healer with a stance, so observant players with notice this quickly. Once discovered, it is rare that you will be heal without interference since the enemy will likely mark or identify you as a target. That's when your survival skills come into play.

The Importance of Your Team

One with that should be mentioned quickly is the importance of the other players on your team. You aren't alone in a warzone and whenever possible you should be fighting battles where you aren't alone. While having a reputation as a healer makes the enemy more likely to target you, it should also increase the likelihood of friendlies supporting you.

A friendly tank is a priceless investment for PvP healers. Find a few reliable tanks that you trust, add them to friends, and group up! But having a friendly tank isn't everything. Healers should be aiding each other when threatened and covering any group heals until you can recover. In addition, damage dealers should also be taking pressure off of healers in distress.

All of this, however, is dependent on a competent team. So, for the remainder of this chapter, we will focus on the aspects of survival that are under your control.

Interrupts

Let's begin with interrupts, but for our purposes, we will be specifically working with true interrupts. A true interrupt is any ability which forcefully cancels our present action (such as a heal) and then puts that ability on a "lockout" cooldown, normally four seconds. Every class has at least one ability of this type. Some classes can interrupt at range (such as Commando with Disabling Shot), and others can interrupt only in melee range. In addition, some advanced classes may have an additional interrupt in the form of a leap (such as the Vanguard's Storm ability) which has a shorter lockout and often makes you immobile for the duration. Lastly, instant abilities are obviously immune to interrupts.

Another important cause of confusion is that several other abilities can interrupt you but should not be considered interrupts. For example, physical effects such as an enemy pulling or pushing you will interrupt your present action but does not put the ability on a "lockout" cooldown preventing you from casting it again. As a result, all such abilities are grouped together as crowd controls (CCs) which will be discussed in the next section.

Strategies for Defending Against Interrupts:

  • First things first: take interruptions in stride. If Medical Probe got interrupted, find creative ways around it. Supercharge Cells will clear the cooldown on Advanced Medical Probe, which can be a solid substitute until the lockout ends. Smart use of Kolto Bomb, Med Shot, Bacta Infusion, and Successive Treatment can bridge the gap. (Trauma Probes on the group can take the edge off by providing a cushion). If Advanced Medical Probe was interrupted, be careful: you are going to have to rely on your more expensive heal for a few seconds. Dealing with this is much the same, but a handy trick if you have a stack of 10 charges is that Supercharged Cells clears the cooldown on Advanced Medical Probe, even if it's a lockout cooldown. To make it even better, your Advanced Medical Probe will be cheaper from the extra Field Triages you stored and the active Supercharge!

  • Take Advantage of Being Interrupted. Interrupts can be crippling, but they can also be beneficial. Both of our casted heals are fairly expensive, so being locked out helps us budget our ammo. That reduction in ammo cost comes at the price of a reduction to our healing output, but this can be a clever way of regenerating ammo in the middle of a battle. This is obviously quite situational, however, since there will be times when we cannot afford to slow down.

  • Dodging Interrupts. Interrupts are instant, but there are ways to dodge them. First of all, consider using a throwaway cast to draw an interrupt. People love interrupting Grav Round (with good reason), so using Plasma Grenade or Concussive Round (which have similar icons on the castbar) before a heal might trick a few people into interrupting it instead of your heal. Medical Probe is also quite nice in this role, since the average player goes after the first cast they see. Smarter players will hold off for specific casts, like your Advanced Medical Probe. To dodge these, you are going to need to try to "side-step" their interrupt. This will take experience, since you need to learn when your attackers will use their interrupt during your cast. Some will kick it as soon as it comes up and there's not much you can do. For those who interrupt 50%-75% through the progress or just before the cast completes, you can manually cancel your cast my moving your character. If all goes according to plan, you'll see and/or hear the enemy's interrupt animation play but notice your heal isn't locked out. This means your juke was successful and you can resume healing. Be cautious, though. If you side-step and immediately go into another cast, their interrupt may accidentally hit the second cast. This can be advantageous, but also deterimental.

  • Reactive Shield with the Combat Shield utility. One of Combat Medic's talents in the utility tree grants the player (true) interrupt immunity for the duration of the Reactive Shield. This is a great utility, because it can help give us a few seconds to free-cast with minimal interruption. While you can use this for solely the immunity (these situations do sometimes come up), its normally best to save your only true survival cooldown for situations where interruptions coincide with high incoming damage. Note: This only applies to true interrupts. You can still be "interrupted" by CCs and these are approached differently than interrupts!
  • Tech Override. You may also want to capitalize on your Tech Override, since it has two effects. It makes your next heal with an activation time (Successive Treatment is a channel and does not count) activate instantly (Medical Probe/Advanced Medical Probe mostly). It also grants 6 seconds of true interrupt immunity. This is another good way of keeping interrupts off of you, and Tech Override's 1 minute cooldown means it should be available much more frequently in a fight.
  • Reposition whenever you are interrupted. Unless you have another cast off cooldown, it's a good habit to move whenever you are interrupted. You don't need to go far and you may only need to move until the interrupted ability comes off cooldown, but it forces your enemy to pursue or find someone else to annoy.


Interrupts as a Weapon:

  • Disabling Shot, the Commando Interrupt It has a range of 30 meters and a 12 second cooldown. In general, the classes which pose the greatest threat to a healer are instant-based or otherwise immune to interrupts. As a result, most of your interruption will be focused on self-defense (ie. interrupting a casted ranged attack) or support (ie. defeating an enemy healer/caster).

  • Disabling Shot is also very valuable when preventing captures (every map except Huttball). Since the interrupt is off the GCD and is ranged, you can easily interrupt a capture and resume healing at no cost and without wasting a GCD (such as the case if you interrupt with Hammershot). This is quite useful, but do keep in mind interrupts do sometimes miss (or at least I have observed this happen on Voidstar in particular).


Crowd Controls (CC)

Crowd controls (CCs) cover a large number of abilities. For the most part, and as their name suggests, they are all about restricting and controlling movement. There are several types of CCs, and they do one of the following:

- slows your movement speed (slows)
- physical effects that move you away from the attacker (push/knockback), move you closer (pull), or knock you off your feet (knockdown)
- reduces your movement speed to zero but leaving you able to act (snare or root)
- disables you for a short time, usually 4 seconds (stun) that doesn't break if damage is taken
- disables you for a long time, usually 8 seconds (mez) that breaks if any damage is taken

Several of them can be used in such a way that they interrupt you, but are not considered true interrupts. Also, while you will be spending plenty of time defending against CC's, don't forget that you have several at your disposal as well!

An important thing to know is that CCs are governed by the resolve system. CCs build resolve based on the "strength" of the CC. Although most CCs build resolve, it is worth noting that slows and roots do not.. As a result, the resolve system does not protect players from these effects no matter how frequently afflicted by them.

When someone reaches full resolve, they are immune to further CCs until their resolve dissipates (something like 5 seconds). You may hear players call this a "white bar" (or that the player was/has been "white-barred") because your resolve bar becomes white when full, indicating immunity. Keep this in mind when defending against and using your CCs. Note: white-barred players may still be slowed and rooted since neither of these CC-types respect resolve.

(For a comprehensive discussion of the system, check out this post over on the PvP forums)

CC as a weapon:

  • Commandos have three CC's, Cryo Grenade (short stun), Concussive Charge (knockback with a resulting slow), and Concussive Round (long stun, breaks on damage). Commandos also have a fourth special CC called Electro Net which slows but also "hampers" the enemy preventing them from using escape abilities (like stealth). Lastly, Combat Medics also have a fifth CC, a 50% slow which occurs on up to five enemies who were affected by your Kolto Bomb. These are your abilities for keeping enemies, especially melees, under control while healing. You can also use them to interrupt abilities or help defend/attack an objective if used wisely.

  • Cyro Grenade strategies. Because the range of Cyro Grenade is only 10m, it is no longer useful for objective gameplay unless you are physically near the objective you intend to protect/capture. However, there are still uses for this such as self-defense to buy time to heal, break LOS of an attacker, or protect an ability coming off cooldown by stunning your attacker first. Another clever strategy is to use this in combination with Concussive Round, as you'll see in a moment. It might also be beneficial to CC an enemy attacking your heal target to buy you enough time to heal them, but remember you'll need to be in melee range to do this.

  • Concussive Charge strategies. I think the situations to use this are fairly self-explanatory: any time you feel like you need to breathe. This is especially useful when you have two or more hostiles around you, particularly melees. Another good time to use it is after a melee has leaped to you, since they have just spent their gap-closer (note, they may be able to use other CC's such as slows to catch back up to you). Try knocking enemies around sight-lines, or putting an enemy on a lower horizontal plane than your own. Some utilities will make these effects even more potent.

  • Concussive Round strategies. Concussive Round is a long stun that breaks on damage taken, so never use it on anyone who will likely take damage (such as who your tank is presently shooting/glow-sticking). Sometimes it is worth the risk, and a smart strategy is using it as a follow-up to a Cyro Grenade. Ideally, your target will be overzealous enough to burn their CC-break on Cyro Grenade, forcing them to endure the full 8 seconds of your mez with no way out (unless damaged or cleansed). Consider Tech Overriding the Concussive Round to instantly apply the stun on the move, which can be good in self-defense or attack/defending a point. As an added bonus, you can then capitalize on the next 6 seconds of being interrupt-immune thanks to Tech Override's secondary effect.

  • Kolto Bomb strategies. Up to 5 enemies affected by Kolto Bomb will be slowed by 50% of their movement speed. The most common purpose is going to be in self-defense, since any melees attacking you will be slowed pretty much the entire time (assuming you are using Kolto Bomb offcooldown). Use this to cut around corners, so try timing Kolto Bomb as you round one to apply the slow then. Beyond this, you can also help control a pack of enemies while healing any allies in the pack -- which has a ton of applications when playing the objectives. Since its cheap and on a relatively short cooldown, feel free to spam it if you aren't already doing so.

  • Electro Net strategies. Electro Net is a very powerful ability when used an opportune times. Not only does it slow the target and apply one of the strongest DoTs in the game (which increases by 20% everytime the target moves), but also has the added bonus of preventing escapes and high movement abilities such as leaps. For the most part you'll probably want to save it for offense (like putting in a target being focused fired) or objective play (like the ball carrier in Huttball). However, there are also opportunities to use it to prevent and deter enemies from following you when you use Hold the Line to retreat, especially if you are fighting a melee or another class with a gap closer. In addition, remember that Electro Net can only be removed prematurely by using one's CC-breaker. Keep in mind that Electro Net generates no resolve so consider complementing it with other CCs if you can spare them.


Defending against CC:

  • Resolve and Tenacity (The Trooper CC-Breaker). Tenacity is the Trooper's CC-breaker, meaning it allows to us to break out of any CC. It is on a long cooldown. Because many people misunderstand the resolve system, it is essential that you save Tenacity for moments when you are at full resolve, that way you are immune to further CC for a short duration. NEVER use Tenacity to break a slow or a root unless trying to save or capture an objective, since it leaves you defenseless against future CCs.

  • Cleansing CCs with Field Aid. Combat Medics can cleanse any CC that is Tech, Mental, or Physical. That includes slows, roots, and any mez that meets that description. You cannot cleanse short stuns (the 4 second variety) regardless of type. Use this trick to avoid using a CC-breaker, or break a teammate out of a mez. Keep in mind that cleanses may remove other debuffs first, if others are present.

  • Keep your feet moving with Hold the Line. All Troopers now have access to Hold the Line which makes you immune to roots and slows for the duration. This also includes knockbacks, pulls, and other physical effects. You can still be stunned or be mezzed. Remember that Hold the Line also cleanses all existing slows and roots so use this if you cannot cleanse them with Field Aid (especially when defending yourself or an objective). Also, keep in mind that Hold the Line does not increase your movement speed outside of combat; but there's no point using it unless you are in combat or anticipate someone is about to attack you and put you in combat (remember that this will prevent roots from leaps, the knockdowns of some openers like Shoot First, and pulls from Vanguards).

  • Using a CC to your advantage. Before when I mentioned interrupts, I mentioned that it can help you recover some ammo. CCs are much the same way. If you can afford to suffer the CC (no one will die, including yourself), allow it to run its course instead of using Tenacity to break out. Doing so saves your CC-breaker for later and is a clever way of regenerating some ammo in combat. This, like before, is very situational. It also requires you to know which stuns to take, and which ones to break.

Damage

Damage by and large is the biggest challenge of a healer. Not only will you soak up a hideous amount of damage, but you are also responsible for healing it. Surviving focus damage is a trial by fire, and will be a constant stress on any healer. Combat Medics have two main cooldowns to minimize incoming damage, but since we are healers, that also serves as a very direct line of defense against damage.


Defending Against:

  • Ranged Line of Sight (LOS). Fighting ranged targets is generally easy to deal with, since their most powerful attacks often require them to be stationary. This isn't always the case (such as with DoT-based specializations like Assault Specialist/Pyrotechnics), but most of the time all you need is to break line of sight behind some physical obstacle to defend against anything they send your way. This forces them to reposition, often closer to you, so be mindful of this. Sometimes they may reposition behind you so you can no longer break LOS, at which time you can more or less treat them as melees until you put some distance between you and them. Ranged class also love to root or slow you in place to get a good hit on you -- remember to use Field Aid or Hold the Line to escape these!

  • Melee Line of Sight (LOS). Breaking LOS on melees (or DoT-based classes) is all about kiting and staying one step ahead of your attacker(s). Your CC's will be invaluable for granting you that space, but also to break up particularly damaging attacks/targets for some time. Hold the Line is also very handy if you are being lept to by multiple enemies as this will keep you from being rooted (in fact, if you time it correctly you can be out of melee range before they even reach you).

  • Be mindful of how and when you break LOS of an attacker! Breaking LOS might help keep targets off your back, but if done incorrectly, your teammates won't be able to see you. If so, that means they cannot help you! Ideally, you want to break LOS in such a way that your attacker must physically enter a group of your allies or at the very least into their field of view (this can't be helped sometimes). If you have a cooldown to spare, consider using a CC to plant them in a group of allies to make them more appetizing for those DPS/tanks of yours.

  • Steady yourself with Hold the Line.. In combat, Hold the Line gives you a speed boost and makes you immune to roots, slows, and physical effects. There are three reasons to use it: to retreat when under pressure, to advance to safety or defend an objective, or to stand your ground and not worry about getting interrupted with displacements (by knockbacks for example). Use it in combination with full resolve whenever the situation permits.

  • Consumable Items The two most common that you'll probably end up using are Warzone Adrenals and Warzone Medpacks. Adrenals are a handy tool that increase your damage reduction by 15% for 10 seconds and can be used more than once per fight. You'll either want to use Adrenals as a throwaway cooldown to increase your damage reduction (such as when you are under some pressure but don't want to use other cooldowns) or to increase the effectiveness of your other defensives, namely Reactive Shield. When used in combination, you'll have 10 seconds of 40% damage reduction in addition to all of Reactive Shield's other effects (healing received, etc). Medpacks can only be used once per fight, on the other hand, so you'll probably want to be conservative with using it if it looks like you're going to be in it for the long haul. Generally, Warzone Medpacks should be saved until you are less than 50% HP and you grow more comfortable with it you'll be able to push it further. Try to avoid using it in combination with Adrenaline Rush (since it will abruptly end the effect) except in an emergency, and if you can use it while Reactive Shield is up (it benefits from the healing received increase). You may also want to bring Cybertech Grenades to help yourself, but these can only effect the same player once every three minutes. The three most useful are the root (Cyro), slow (Cartel Waste), and knockdown (Seismic) grenades, but these are all situational so use them wisely. These all apply a 90 second buff to their victim, preventing them from being affected by another Cybertech Grenade for the duration.

  • Use Trauma Probe as a passive reactive heal. Trauma Probe is a sometimes underrated heal. It doesn't do much, but can be the cushion you need to avoid healing yourself for one more GCD. In general, Always try to keep Trauma Probe should always be on yourself, even if you can't keep it up on others.

  • Adrenaline Rush as your proactive cooldown.. Adrenaline Rush is more situational than it was before Rise of the Hutt Cartel (Patch 2.0). If you have it active and your HP drops below 35% it rapidly heals you back to 35% (and its total healing will not exceed 35% of your maximum HP). So if you suspect that heavy pressure is coming your way consider using Adrenaline Rush early (it lasts for a minute so you do have some leeway). It is fairly difficult to kill you through it once it is triggered and it should buy you enough time to save yourself, escape, or have an ally intervene.

  • Reactive Shield as your designated "oh ****" cooldown. Reactive Shield is your strongest defensive cooldown and will be your best friend when you are being focus-fired. When under heavy pressure, pop Reactive Shield, particularly if you've been interrupted recently since you cannot afford to be interrupted in this situation. If you are at full resolve, this is even more valuable; if not, be on guard for CC's since they are most likely imminent. In the best-case scenario, you want to be able to stand still while using Reactive Shield to make use of that interrupt immunity. If not possible, continue using LOS and CC and pop off a heal whenever you can (Bacta Infusion, Kolto Bomb, and Tech Override will be very helpful here). Again, Hold the Line will help you stay on the move when being slowed or rooted.
Aux "Spaniard" Wargarde (Rank 2400+ Combat Medic) | Reighner the Relentless (Conqueror Bodyguard)
The Generalissimo Legacy
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