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Scoundrel Healing 101


bshenkd's Avatar


bshenkd
12.20.2011 , 02:45 AM | #1
My first attempt at a comprehensive SWTOR guide. Be easy on me

Livestreaming ranked warzone healing @ http://www.twitch.tv/aioriBFZ.

My current healing record: 2,413,473 with 2399 HPS.

Here's a few screenshots of what Sawbones can do in 2.0!

Introduction

First and foremost, Smuggler Scoundrel healing is the most fun healing class I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing! It combines the stealthiness and the energy of a rogue with the healing reminiscent of a Holy Paladin. As long as you manage your energy and cooldowns well, you could be the most versatile healer in the game.

With the patch of 1.2, I believe we're going to be a highly sought after healing class. Before the patch, we were very solid healers able to punch out massive healing numbers in warzones, and in 1.2 we were buffed! Our Upper Hand stacks last longer, we can now have a stack of 3, and Kolto Cloud has been improved tremendously. Along with all of these new changes, our energy regeneration has also gone through the roof with the changes to Diagnostic Scan.

In 2.0, Scoundrel healing has changed a LOT. With the energy cost reduction on SRMP (down to 9 from 15) and the ability of all HoTs (KP + KC) to proc UH, I find myself hardly casting UWM anymore. If you watch my livestream, you'll see how my priority is to always keep SRMP stacks on everyone and as soon as someone (or the group) starts taking burst damage, I'll cast Kolto Pack or Kolto Cloud. The only time I cast UWM is if:
  • I need a stack of UH
  • Kolto Pack is on CD
  • I need mega healing burst on someone that only a UWM+EMP combo can provide

The “Upper Hand”

The Upper Hand gives a 2% damage increase while active and allows you to cast certain abilities. When 3 points are put into Healing Hand, the Upper Hand also increases your healing output by 6%. It can stack twice, but the % healing/damage increase does not stack. IE: 1 stack of UH gives you the same healing bonus as 2 stacks of UH. It’s crucial to keep at least one stack of Upper Hand up at all times to give you that 6% healing increase and, in case of emergencies, allow you to use a faster cast time/instant healing ability such as Kolto Pack or Emergency Medpac.

Abilties

Heals

Diagnostic Scan: Diagnostic Scan is the very first healing ability that you receive. It's a 3 second channeled ability that heals your target for minimal damage. After thoroughly looking through the talent tree, I can see it used as, not a healing ability, but a energy regeneration ability. With talents + stats, it's percentage to crit could be anywhere from 70-90% and with talents, each crit restores 2 energy.
After spending many days as a PVE and PVP healer at level 50, I have concluded that Diagnostic Scan is indeed a very good ability. In situations where Cool Head is down and you need to regen a lot of energy, it helps tremendously. It's also a great interrupt bait in PVP.

After 1.2, Diagnostic Scan is even more valuable! With the amount of alacrity that I currently have, my diagnostic scan channel time is 1.8 seconds. If each tick crits, I can receive an extra 6 energy over 1.8 seconds. Extremely solid ability in 1.2.

Underworld Medicine: This is your “bread and butter” healing ability. When 2 points are put into Exploratory Surgery, it causes your UWM to grant you the “Upper Hand”. With a hefty price of 25 energy per cast, spamming this ability should only happen if you need to do some burst healing and if Cool Head is off of cooldown.

Slow-release Medpac: SRMP is your first single-target Healing-Over-Time (HoT) spell that you receive in the game. It stacks twice for double the healing which is a good and bad thing. It’s bad in that it requires you to use it twice in order to get the full effect out of the ability, but it’s good because after you get two stacks of SRMP rolling, you only need to use the ability once more in order to refresh it. In 2.0, the ability only costs 9 energy to use when talented, which allows as (at full energy regen, 6 EPS) to infinitely cast SRMP on all targets without any loss to energy. You can literally spam this and never drop below 90 energy.

Triage: Triage is your only dispell ability and it's on a 5-second cooldown. It's used to remove many harmful debuffs, such as DoTs and many mezzes (when talented). It's only a pretty decent instant cast heal (when talented) if you're on the run. Very useful and should be used religiously.

Kolto Pack: KP is the first Upper Hand exploitable healing ability that you receive. It has a 1.5 second cast time and heals for a moderate amount an then applies a HoT for 9 seconds (new in 2.0). It now costs 25 energy, consumes a stack of UH, and has a 9 second CD.

Emergency Medpac: This ability is a moderate heal that consumes 1 stack of UH, heals for a moderate amount, and if used on a target below 30% health re-grants UH back to us.

Kolto Cloud: KC is the smuggler’s one and only AOE heal ability. It’s a HoT ability and only heals up to 4 members contained within the AOE. KC does not require nor consume a stack of the Upper Hand, but does have a 30 (26 when talented) energy cost and has a 15 second cooldown. Although I advised using this pre-patch 1.2, it's even better after 1.2. It now does 10% more healing in half of the duration. Very solid AOE healing ability.

Cooldowns

Pugnacity: This ability grants one stack of the Upper Hand and also gives 10% alacrity for 15 seconds.

Cool Head: On a 2 minute cooldown with no energy cost, Cool Head restores 50 energy over 3 seconds (66 energy if talented).

Defensives

Defense Screen: On a 45 second cooldown that costs no energy, absorbs a moderate amount of damage, and can last up to 15 seconds.

Dodge: Dodge is the best defensive cooldown that a scoundrel healer has. When used, you are completely immune to all white damage and all negative effects are removed. Very useful for clearing dots before vanishing, or completely avoiding a full Ravage/Master Strike or Ambush/Aimed Shot. On a 1 min CD. With the new changes to the "Scramble" talent, the CD of Dodge becomes lower and lower as you get attacked.

Disappearing Act: On a 2 minute CD, you can vanish from combat. This ability has several great uses, which inlude:
  • Breaking sight from attackers, allowing you to get away and heal up
  • Resets combat, which would also reset the lockout on your medpac
  • If you don't have any HoTs/DoTs rolling on targets, you can out-of-combat revive someone
  • In a pinch, you can vanish and re-appear, immediately granting you two stacks of UH

Scamper: New in 2.0, Scoundrels received an ability called Scamper. It costs 25 energy and rolls the Scoundrel up to 12 meters ahead (only 6 if snared). It has the generic use of getting away from attackers, but is also extremely useful for objective play as well, such as:
  • Getting the ball first in Huttball
  • Capping the node on Alderaan Civil War/Hypergate extremely fast
  • Delaying the enemy node from capping on Civil War/Hypergate
  • Sap capping a node guard that's far away from the node
  • Many, many other uses

Warzone Adrenal: Purchased from the PVP vendor, this adrenal reduces damage taken by 15% for 15 seconds while in warzones. Extremely useful.

Warzone Medpac: Purchased from the PVP vendor, this medpac heals for 35% of your health and goes on a 90 second CD, but only can be used once per fight. I would advise popping your medpac before vanish, because vanish will take you out of combat and allow you to use your medpac again.

Surrender: Classic ability that lowers aggro while healing. Pop it when you start to direct attention to yourself in PVE.

Skills & Stat Priority

My current skill tree
http://www.swtor-spy.com/skill-tree-...0000000&ver=20

Stat Priority:
This one is still up in the air as everyone is still trying to figure out the proper DRs for most stats and how each effect each class. I'm still curious as to whether Bioware intend on changing crit in any way to make it more appealing, but until then I've decided to go with the following stat priority:

Cunning >= Power > Surge (72%) > Alacrity > Crit

I recently made the switch to remove all crit from my gear (except for my earpiece) and I've found the results to be marvelous. Last night I hit 2.4 million healing in a Ancient Hypergate and did 2399 HPS.

Strategy

Always try to keep your energy level above 60%. If your energy level is above that, you’ll gain the full amount of 6 energy per second. The less energy you have, the slower the energy regeneration is. The energy regen goes like this:
  • > 60%: 6 EPS
  • 60% > x > 20%: 4 EPS
  • < 20%: 3 EPS

If you ever find yourself around 20-30%, you might as well drop yourself all the way down to zero and pop Cool Head. You’ll get the most out of this very important cooldown this way. The same can be done if burst healing is needed.

A great way to prep for a fight is to put stacks of SRMP on most of your teammates (like how sages do with their bubbles) to help mitigate early fight damage and build Upper Hand stacks at spawn and during the beginning of the fight.

Single-target Healing

The way I start off my single target healing goes something like this:
  • Enter and exit stealth (2 stacks of UH)
  • Cast SRMP x2 if target is taking light to moderate damage, Kolto Pack if target is taking moderately high amount of damage, or UWM + EMP if target is taking a very high amount of damage.
  • Switch between UWM, KP, and EMP depending on the situation. Never let SRMP lose its two stacks. It’ll cost you an extra 9 energy.

Multi-target Healing
  • Before the fight begins, keep at least one stack of SRMP on all of your teammates. You should strive to keep those stacks on all of your teammates throughout the fight as it's our best HPS heal and procs UH. As soon as your group is starting to take burst AOE damage, hit them with a Kolto Cloud. I like to use KC on cooldown as it's a fantastic ability and puts out a massive amount of heals in a fairly short time.
  • From there you can keep everyone topped off with SRMP HoTs. Note: You don’t have to give everyone two stacks. The only people that should be getting two stacks are the tanks and the people who are taking most of the aggro away from the tanks.

Cover

Since I first wrote this article way back when, I've learned a lot about the class and I learn more and more every day. One of my favorite discoveries over the past few months was that scoundrels can also benefit greatly from cover, just like gunslingers can. Just because we don't have portable cover like Gunslingers doesn't mean we can't get in position right where we are! We don't get the added benefits of being in cover that way, but Knights and Warriors can no longer charge us! You don't have to be in natural cover for this to work, just keybind "Take Cover" in your preferences and press it whenever you're in the fight and you'll be surprised how little Knights and Warriors will try to switch to you! If you do happen to find some pretty nice natural cover that puts you in good position and allows you to LOS (Line of Sight) ranged DPS, get in it! At that point, you also get the added bonuses of being in cover (higher chance of dodging, etc). Don't be afraid to get up and move around though, we're the most mobile healer in the game for a reason! Cover is a really nice addition to the class and is becoming more and more crucial as you get into higher rated ranked warzones.

Conclusion

I'd like to personally thank all of you guys for contributing as much as you have to this guide and improving its quality! This is as much of a learning experience for me as it is for you, so if you have any suggestions on how I could improve my healing (along with everyone elses) - feel free to post your opinions! I'm sure everyone, including myself, would love to know how you approach this awesome healing class and how you make it your own.

- Aiori <3

Changelog

Code:
2/19/12: Updated guide & created Operative version
4/13/12: Updated for 1.2
1/7/13: Made some changes, additions, fixed talent tree link, corrected typos, added in "Cover" section, etc
4/22/13: Updated for 2.0
Aiori on Prophecy of the Five - <Hostile Takeover>
Sawbones Scoundrel Healer
Read my guide on Sawbones healing
here!

Hevles's Avatar


Hevles
12.20.2011 , 04:24 AM | #2
Remember that you can use Underworld medicine and Pugnacity before the fight begins. That way you preload your energy regen and don't have to do it during the first seconds of a fight during which damage income on the tank is usually pretty high.

Ellandess's Avatar


Ellandess
12.20.2011 , 04:38 AM | #3
On the basis you cannot move when using any of these skills with the exception of slow release med pack, I don't agree with your view of diagnosis scanner.

I have a 25% crit chance and with the talented 4 energy reward on critical diagnosis scanner it's a far more efficient way to regain energy than you give it credit for.

Admittedly, the heal tick on it should be improved but with 2 stacks of SRMP up and diagnosis scanner ticking crits at least 1/4 of the time, I'm suprised if I go below 80 energy in any fight except pvp where burst healing, of course can wipe it out in a flash.

USSDefiant's Avatar


USSDefiant
12.20.2011 , 06:20 AM | #4
I realize this is a thread about healing, but on a related note:

What's the methodology behind soloing with a Sawbones Scoundrel? Is it pretty reasonable in terms of being able to progress through quests quickly.

I want to be a healer, but I also recognize that I'm going to have to spend some time soloing to progress my character. I'm not in a guild, and probably won't be in the near future.

Hevles's Avatar


Hevles
12.20.2011 , 06:29 AM | #5
I'm levelling a scoundrel healer right now. Yes, it is slower than the average DPS class but it can take on things without a hitch where others have trouble (think elites) until they get their healer companion maybe.

The good part is, being a healer pretty much gets you a free ticket into 4man group quests.

Aerius's Avatar


Aerius
12.20.2011 , 09:03 AM | #6
With companions it's not really a big deal. I would recommend not speccing all the way up healing and to get some damage skills too though. You can just respec when you are done.
|DS| Deficio Societas - Ahazi

bshenkd's Avatar


bshenkd
12.20.2011 , 10:26 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Hevles View Post
Remember that you can use Underworld medicine and Pugnacity before the fight begins. That way you preload your energy regen and don't have to do it during the first seconds of a fight during which damage income on the tank is usually pretty high.
Correct! I've started doing this and it does make things run much smoother at the beginning. I forgot to add it when I was writing this article (It was around 4 AM haha), but it's now added! Thanks for reminding me!
Aiori on Prophecy of the Five - <Hostile Takeover>
Sawbones Scoundrel Healer
Read my guide on Sawbones healing
here!

bshenkd's Avatar


bshenkd
12.20.2011 , 10:30 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Ellandess View Post
On the basis you cannot move when using any of these skills with the exception of slow release med pack, I don't agree with your view of diagnosis scanner.

I have a 25% crit chance and with the talented 4 energy reward on critical diagnosis scanner it's a far more efficient way to regain energy than you give it credit for.

Admittedly, the heal tick on it should be improved but with 2 stacks of SRMP up and diagnosis scanner ticking crits at least 1/4 of the time, I'm suprised if I go below 80 energy in any fight except pvp where burst healing, of course can wipe it out in a flash.
I guess for me it's just a sort of playstyle choice. I'm a hardcore PVP'er and I'm just now getting into PVE. In PVP, I'm almost never left alone, so I don't really have "time" to cast Diagnostic Scan a few times to get my energy back up. If I'm stuck in combat, I'm either kiting away while putting HoT's on myself for slowing the enemy down while my energy regenerates itself. I would put more faith into Diagnostic Scan if it didn't require me to stand in one spot.

As far as PVE healing goes, from what I can tell I'm usually pretty good with energy maintenance. If I ever need burst healing, I'll pump it out and then use Cool Head. If I still need burst healing after that, I don't have time to waste on Diagnostic Scan where the time could be better spend doing other things.

I'll probably end up trying a spec with Diagnostic Scan later down the road, but for right now I'm perfectly content with the spec that I'm running.
Aiori on Prophecy of the Five - <Hostile Takeover>
Sawbones Scoundrel Healer
Read my guide on Sawbones healing
here!

AngelousWang's Avatar


AngelousWang
12.20.2011 , 01:02 PM | #9
With upper hand is that party wide or self only.

Aka, does casting Underworld Medicine on another party member give me the 6% boost? or do I have to cast it on myself to get the boost?
CE VIP

Kukura's Avatar


Kukura
12.20.2011 , 03:05 PM | #10
Good job!
This is excellent and well thought out. You should post it in the Roles/Healing forums... there alot of people requesting something like this and prolly won't think to come here to look for it :P
If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.