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SpaniardInfinity
05.22.2012 , 11:33 AM | #3
4. Builds and Gearing

Following Patch 3.0, there's a lot less freedom in your build. That's because it's linear and automatic now: as you gain levels, you gain skills at predetermined levels (in the same way you can get new or upgraded abilities at a class trainer every few levels). The good news is that many of these mandatory skills are fundamental to the mechanics and functioning of the Combat Medic anyway, and a lot of the unnecessary skills have been cut. What remains, along with some new toys, has been added to a new "skill tree" called Utilities. This is where the real customization is, and where you can really make some interesting choices.

There are several ways to go about building your character. You don't need to necessarily need to get a spreadsheet, but its a good idea to know what role you want to play and how you want to go about it. Having trouble managing ammo? Take a utility that helps with that or gear for extra Alacrity. Getting controlled too much? Take the cooldown reduction to Tenacity and upgrade your Concussive Charge to knock people back further. The point is: your gear and your utilities should work together, not against one another.

Utility Builds

So let's begin building a character for healing. If you are do-it-yourselfer, the list of all Commando skills abilities which are relevant to Combat Medics can also be found below. They are grouped by their tier, with some commentary thrown in to help make a decision.

Tier 1 -- Choose any 3 to unlock Tier 2

  • Concussive Force - Stockstrike roots targets for 4 seconds, but direct damage taken after 2 seconds breaks the root. In addition, Concussive Charge is stronger and knocks enemies an additional 4 meters away. Concussive Force is the first of a few utilities centering around Concussive Charge, all of which synergize well. Unfortunately, many of these are in later tiers where the trade-offs are much higher. As a result, your Concussive Charge will never be quite as powerful as it could be. In Tier 1, however, you could get away with taking this, especially because its one of three utilities on this tier that are really good options. In general, a perk like this is going to be good if you want to bolster your mobility and grant yourself an additional CC from Stockstrike and a better knockback. I don't take this utility because I am experimenting with Charged Barrier right now, but I am contemplating taking this (and/or Tenacious Defense) when I go about optimizing my own build. It's definitely something I recommend as one of the more compelling choices on this tier.

  • Paralytic Combat Stims - Generates 10 ammo every time you are rooted, stunned, knocked down, or otherwise incapacitated. This is another one of the really compelling utilities in the first tier for Commandos, and can be used by any kind of Combat Medic -- new or old, mobile or stationary, pure healer or hybrid. As a healer, you are going to get hit with a lot with CC, and this utility converts that passively into 10 ammo. In fact, the regularity of which this occurs make this really difficult to pass up. Even veteran Combat Medics that manage ammo well could benefit from this utility, especially in a match when the enemies are throwing CCs around like they're going out of style.

  • Cell Capacitor - Recharge Cells immediately generates an additional 15 ammo, and grants +10% alacrity for 6 seconds. This is generally going to be an optional utility once you get comfortable with your ammo management, but it may be a very helpful early utility when you are still learning the ropes.

  • Chain Gunnery - Increases the damage dealt by Hail of Bolts by 25%. For pure healers, this is meaningless and can be passed over. If you are doing a more hybrid-oriented build, you may get some millage out of it, but with some serious trade offs for other options.

  • Heavy Trooper - Increases Endurance and healing received by 3%. Small upgrades on both fronts, but still a good passive upgrade if none of the other abilities strike your fancy. Like Charged Barrier below, I take this utility because the extra HP and healing received suits my play-style well. (Also like Charged Barrier below, I may drop it once I optimize my character).

  • Tenacious Defense - Reduces the cooldown of Concussive Charge by 5 seconds, and reduces the cooldown Tenacity by 30 seconds. This is the last of the compelling choices in this tier, in my opinion. Mostly for the CC reduction, because the Concussive Charge reduction doesn't really shine unless you take Reflexive Battery in Tier 3. Still, if you find yourself using Concussive Charge often, it won't hurt either. I'd recommend taking Concussive Force and/or Paralytic Stims before taking Tenancious Defense, but if you have one or both, Tenacious Defense is a good choice for your third Tier 1 utility.

  • Charged Barrier - Activating Grav Round, Charged Bolts, or Medical Probe grants one stack of Charged Barrier, reducing damage received by 1% per stack. Stacks up to five times. This is a utility that can work for healers or DPS, and I take it because I like my Combat Medic to be a little more tanky than most. The challenge to this, however, is the Charged Barrier lasts only 15 seconds, and there are times even in a tight fire-fight where I will not cast Medical Probe in that window and it falls off. Worthy of some experimentation, but by no means highly recommended.

Tier 2 -- Choose any 2 to unlock Tier 3

  • Advance the Line - Increases the duration of Hold the Line by 4 seconds. This is essentially the same effect that the Combat Medic set bonus used to grant us. This is a definitely a handy utility, but here in Tier 2, there are some really big trade-offs. To me, two of the utilities on this level win out -- Med Zone and Combat Shield -- and that's a shame because this would be an interesting option on Tier 1. Still, if your willing to sacrifice a second utility point in Tier 3, Advance the Line is worth the thought if you find yourself rooted, slowed, and knocked back often. The knockback resistance is the best part of Hold the Line, considering how frequently physical effects (like a knockback) are used to interrupt you.

  • Night-vision Scope - Increases stealth detection by 2, increases ranged and melee defense by 2% and reduces the cooldown of Stealth Scan by 5 seconds. This is a nice utility for someone other than a healer. The defense is nice, but the anti-stealth options are limited. Not because they're poor, but because you shouldn't be guarding an objective solo, and once in combat the usefulness of your Stealth Scan drops to essentially zero.

  • Suit FOE - When you use Field Aid on yourself, the damage of all periodic effects is reduced by 30% for 12 seconds. This is one of the really good choices on this tier -- and there's a few -- but it competes with a similar utility on Tier 3. The upside to this ability is that all DOTs do 30% less damage, and it is possible to have 100% up-time if you use Field Aid promptly. In all honesty, this comes down more so to what kind of opposition you're up against. If they're running DOT-heavy, this might make the difference. I still feel the fact that it is an active ability (compared to the passive Shock Absorbers it competes with) is what makes me skip it. Alternatively, if the reduction could be spread party-wide, it would make it a very good healing tool. For now, optional at best.

  • Med Zone - Increases healing received by 20% while Reactive Shield is active. This is the talent I put my "non-mandatory" Tier 2 utility point in. Paired with Combat Shield and Reflexive Shield in Tier 3, this utility makes you as immortal as your going to get as a Combat Medic. And considering Combat Shield is mandatory as far as I'm concerned, Med Zone becomes pretty much mandatory by association. There's nothing in Tier 2 that upgrades your survivability with the same kind of magnitude, except Suit SOE if you're fighting some heavy rolling DOTs. Until there is, I feel there is no contest, especially because Suit SOE can be alternated with Shock Absorbers with your 7th utility point.

  • Electro Shield - While your Reactive Shield is active, nearby enemies are shocked for a small amount of damage. Effect may only occur once per second. Essentially a DPS-only utility. I can see value in most of the utilities on this tier, but Electro Shield and Night-vision Scope are regrettably useless for healers. Skip.

  • Efficient Conversions - Reduces the ammo cost of Concussive Charge, Concussive Round, Field Aid, and Cryo Grenade. The one that got away! If I had one more utility point, this would be my first choice in the entire tree. I miss this, because it used to make healing easier. Your ammo supply was dedicated to healing; now you have to consider your CCs into your ammo management. Still, there's no utilities in Tier 2 or 3 I'd trade for this one, as much as I want it for efficiency.

  • Combat Shield - While Reactive Shield is active, you are immune to interrupts and suffer 30% less pushback on casted abilities. Pushback, if you are unaware, occurs when you take damage while activating or channeling an ability. The damage causes the progress of the cast to be "pushed back" to the start, making it take longer. As part of your Discipline, you already have a 70% reduction, so the extra 30% here gives you complete immunity. That's nice. What's even better is the interrupt immunity. When Combat Shield was in the skill tree before, I called it a mandatory skill to take for PVP. Now that it is a utility, nothing has changed. It is absolutely mandatory, because there is nothing on its tier that compares. And once you get Reflexive Shield on the next tier, you'll understand why.

Tier 3

  • Shock Absorbers - You receive 30% less damage from all areal effects, and take 30% less damage while stunned. This is the utility that I choose over Suit FOE, because this is a more common experience for me as a healer. The reduction to all AoE damage is nice, but that 30% damage reduction while stunned is glorious. In fact, this (along with Reflexive Shield) made me drool when I realized they were going to be available to Combat Medics. This utility makes you very hard to kill while stunned, and even harder to kill if you have Reactive Shield or Adrenaline Rush active at the same time.

  • Reflexive Shield - Each time you take damage, the cooldown of Reactive Shield is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. In addition, taking damage has a 20% chance to grant Energy Redoubt, absorbing a small amount of damage and lasts 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds. This is the new toy that have Combat Medic really ought to pick up. During intense firefights where you are taking damage constantly, this utility gives your Reactive Shield a 1-minute cooldown. Toss in the fact that your Reactive Shield lasts 10 seconds and the cooldown dips to 50 seconds (and then there's usually about a ~5 second reduction in the cooldown from alacrity, too). Combine this with Med Zone and Combat Shield and you will be very difficult to kill for 10 seconds out of every 50. This utility is essentially mandatory; I cannot even imagine going without it.

  • Overclock - Reduces the cooldown of Tech Override and Concussive Round by 15 seconds. In addition, Tech Override grants a second stack, allowing your next two abilities with an activation time to activate instantly. When I first saw this, I was very excited. That excitement has since been tempered. Overclock is really good for a mobile Combat Medic, especially if you've been picking up those movement/crowd control utilities. But for the more "traditional" turret Combat Medic, it is hard to choose this. I want to, but I feel the tradeoffs are too great. Keep in mind that Tech Override doesn't apply to your Successive Treatment, and also note that your interrupt immunity (that is granted by Tech Override) doesn't take effect until the second charge is consumed. These aren't Overclock's doing, but these are restrictions that should be considered when making your decision to pass/take it.

  • Reflexive Battery - Increases the damage dealt by Concussive Charge by 20%. In addition, taking damage reduces the cooldown of Concussive Charge by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. This is the "capstone" to the Concussive Charge utilities, and is what makes Concussive Charge a really nice part of one's rotation, particularly for your mobile Combat Medics. While I may experiment with a more mobile build in the future, Reflexive Battery really doesn't fit into the utility build unless you take the other upgrades lower in the utility tree.

  • Forced March - Full Auto, Bulletstorm, and Successive Treatment may all be channeled while moving. This looks to me to be a very good utility for a mobile Combat Medic. In fact, there is probably some potential here to be a good build, I just don't see it -- and haven't yet seen -- anyone pull it off. It's a shame too, this is the kind of utility that Combat Medics have been long missing; there just doesn't seem to be enough room in the build to make this work.

  • Supercharged Reserves - Reduces the cooldown of Field Aid and Disabling Shot by 3 seconds. In addition, 10 stacks of Supercharge are granted by casting Recharge and Reload. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds. The first effect of this utility is good; the rest not so much. In most situations, there is enough time to build a Supercharge from casting Med Shot before you get to wherever you're going that its useless. I do think having a Supercharge ready to before any fight IS important, but tying it to Recharge and Reload drastically undermines it because you must remain in place while casting it (delaying you from getting wherever you have to go). Besides, compared to other utilities on this tier, there's no good reason to take this as a healer.

  • Kolto Wave - Concussive Charge heals you and up to 7 allies for a small amount over 3 seconds. Patch 3.0 has done nothing to make Kolto Wave more compelling for a Combat Medic. In fact, having it in Tier 3 seems really problematic, because I don't think its more important than Overclock or Reflexive Battery (and I didn't take either of them anyway). For all the utilities in the tree, this one is the most underwhelming for a Combat Medic. And of course its healing needs to be somewhat meager because its available to DPS (and because there are the other utilities that make Concussive Charge much more prominent in a rotation), but its lackluster numbers make it out of place not only in the tree, but also in your healer build. This is also a shame, because I think the idea behind Kolto Wave is really good.



Gear and Stats

The next step in building your character is the gear, and this is very important. Your gear set-up should be supplementing the choices you made in the skill tree, not working against it. For instance, if you've taken most of the alacrity skills in the trees, you need minimal alacrity on your gear.

Relevent Stats for Healers

Before jumping into the gearing aspect, though, let's quickly take a look at what stats you should be paying attention to on your Combat Medic:

  • Aim - Increases the healing/damage of all abilities, increases your tech power healing and damage (an additional modifier), and increases your critical rating. For the most part, stacking your main stat is almost always your best choice if it is a large margin.

  • Endurance - increases your hit points. You're going to need that HP so you can take a beating, but you rarely need to go out of your way to stack Endurance. For the most part any piece that is an improvement for Aim also improves Endurance, but check the numbers (there are exceptions) to be sure.

  • Expertise - Always stack this stat. While Expertise may seem counter-productive on paper, the healing boost and damage reduction it offers are priceless (and otherwise unavailable if you do not use Expertise).

  • Tech Power - this stat is found only on Mainhand and Offhand weapons. It plays a massive role in your damage and healing output, so it is almost always a good idea to take the option with the most Tech Power. Along with power, it has no diminishing returns.

  • Power - an additional stat that stacks on top of your Aim and Tech Power for bonus healing or damage. Keep in mind that Crit competes with Power in your item budget so you must sacrifice one to get the other -- this plays a role in planning your gear.

  • Crit - increases the frequency of critical damage or heals. Note that its diminishing returns make it problematic to stack, especially beyond a 30% critical chance. It competes with power so once you have a critical chance that satisfies your needs pour the rest in power.

  • Surge - increases the magnitude of critical damage or heals. It is also subject to diminishing returns, but is a great secondary stat to build up if available.

  • Alacrity -Lowers your global cooldown, accelerates your channel times, and provides a bonus to your regeneration rate. Also lowers the internal cooldowns of select abilities (e.g. Trauma Probe) and the cooldown of abilities. Stack enough to satisfy your preferences (probably the channel time) and then pour the rest into surge.

  • Defense - allows you to dodge/parry/etc an incoming attack, and thus dealing no damage. You can play around with some defense but it most likely won't be enough to make a difference when you need it.

Also worth noting is that Shield Rating and Absorption Rating have no effect for Commando healers. Those stats are reserved for Vanguards. Also, Accuracy is only useful if you are dealing damage -- as a pure healer it is pointless because heals are guaranteed to hit.

Gearing in 3.3

The latest iterations of PVP gear have been fairly well itemized for the Combat Medic role and should be prioritized. The main value of taking the DPS equivalents is to gain access to secondary or tertiary stats that may complement your build. For instance, I'm a big fan of stacking power over critical rating so that my heals always hit hard (versus only hitting hard on a critical heal), so I'll usually drop critical rating once at 25% critical chance (30% with Target Lock). Keep in mind that if you are going to mix and match DPS and healing gear, the healing set-bonuses are quite important for long-term healing. Consequently, the healing armors mods must be in what ever gear you plan on wearing so that you receive the necessary bonuses.

The "Left Side" of your character sheet: Earpieces, implants, relics (and augments)

Unlike the "right side" (the armor and weapons), the left side of you character sheet has more options to suit your needs. Indeed, this is the best opportunity to fill any gaps that may have developed in your gear while optimizing. Personally, I prefer taking the Aim and Power relics, Aim/Endurance augments on all gear, and typically DPS implants and earpieces since these usually have high surge and power versus critical rating and alacrity.

Make sure you have around a 25% critical chance before stacking power, and make sure you have a satisfactory amount of alacrity. Of course, both of these limits are very easily attained through the opening tier of gear, so its not too difficult.
Aux "Spaniard" Wargarde (Rank 2400+ Combat Medic) | Reighner the Relentless (Conqueror Bodyguard)
The Generalissimo Legacy
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