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Could use some sorc/sage advice on healing TfB HM/SM

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
Could use some sorc/sage advice on healing TfB HM/SM
 

NoFishing's Avatar


NoFishing
11.09.2012 , 02:46 PM | #1
Long story short, after the seer changes in 1.2, I gave up healing on my sage for a while. But with the changes in 1.4, I decided to give it another chance, especially since my commando healer was feeling very overworked by the Dread Guard in HM.

So far, so good. I've healed most fights without any real drama, although it still feels really slow sometimes and I die a little inside each time I noble sacrifice then see green numbers above my head from the other healer.

But a couple of fights in TfB have me worried after healing them in story mode, and I could use some advice from more experienced sorc/sage healers. Most of my questions are for fights where there is a high amount of movement required by the raid, and the appropriate use of salvation. I am 4/5 in HM on my DPS, so I am at least familiar with most of the mechanics. Warning: I am probably one of those healers that overuses salavation and relies on it for just about every pull for both healing and force management.

Dread Guard: Phase 1 looks pretty easy. Phase 2 is pure chaos with lots of single-target spike damage on random raid members. Phase 3 is slightly less chaos, but only slightly. Open question: how you work phases 2 and 3 for force conservation, single target heals, and AoE heals?

Kephess: The only time salvation seems useful is when Kephess starts his laser blast and is about to be knocked down, and only if laid down immediately. But that means I'm not focus healing the person taking laser blasts for 1.8 seconds...and they take a LOT of damage. Do you go with salvation here, or bubble and start pre-casting deliverance? What about nanites...is salvation good to lay at the tower that people are going to be clicking on?

Terror From Beyond: Phase 1 seems like pretty standard stuff, no real worries here. Phase 2 I'm not sure about. In story mode, I alternately placed salvation on the DPS platform, which was kinda pointless since they weren't taking any damage, but would be a good thing if they accidentally take a slam or something. I also put it on one of the tank platforms as an extra HoT, which did make healing that tank a lot easier. And I tried it on my own platform for force management. None of which felt like a particularly optimal thing to have done at that point...nor was I happy about the amount of healing I consumed from the other healer as a result of noble sacrifice. I don't think we can have that happening in hard mode. So again, open question, what do you do here?

SgtKlavier's Avatar


SgtKlavier
11.09.2012 , 06:48 PM | #2
Quote:
Dread Guard: Phase 1 looks pretty easy. Phase 2 is pure chaos with lots of single-target spike damage on random raid members. Phase 3 is slightly less chaos, but only slightly. Open question: how you work phases 2 and 3 for force conservation, single target heals, and AoE heals?
On phase 2, try to have your group position itself and move so that aoe heal use can be maximized. This means as little motion as possible. An aoe heal is still quite effective if you place it on the edge of where the group is currently with some of it advancing into where the group will move next. When someone in melee range drops a green circle, the tank can move the boss slightly enough to get everyone in melee range out of the way of the circle while still staying in the aoe. Watching for spikes from force choke is important, but you don't need to necessarily worry about them dying from another hit right after the choke, so you have time to get them up. Also be aware of when the other healer has doom, as they will pretty much only be able to cast instant things while they run through the circles. For an op healer this is less of a gimp, but being limited to resurgence and static barrier can reduce healing significantly for the duration of doom. Last thing is try to use aoe heals to recover health lost to consumption as much as possible. I'm currently working on this myself, and avoiding cases where I happen to be standing in my own aoe at full health. I will purposely use consumption say two times before casting an aoe so that I am healed back to full (assuming I'm not taking a lot of other damage). Personally, this was the hardest fight for me.

Quote:
Kephess: The only time salvation seems useful is when Kephess starts his laser blast and is about to be knocked down, and only if laid down immediately. But that means I'm not focus healing the person taking laser blasts for 1.8 seconds...and they take a LOT of damage. Do you go with salvation here, or bubble and start pre-casting deliverance? What about nanites...is salvation good to lay at the tower that people are going to be clicking on?
Aoe's work for cases near the pillar, but damage going out is not as high as the Dread Guard fight so it's easier to use your single target stuff. For the person taking the laser beam, static barrier and best single target heals work best, but you could add an aoe if other group members in the area are low as well. You will want to do the same thing for people getting jumped on in the second phase. And of course, aoe in the burn phase helps a lot.

Quote:
Terror From Beyond: Phase 1 seems like pretty standard stuff, no real worries here. Phase 2 I'm not sure about. In story mode, I alternately placed salvation on the DPS platform, which was kinda pointless since they weren't taking any damage, but would be a good thing if they accidentally take a slam or something. I also put it on one of the tank platforms as an extra HoT, which did make healing that tank a lot easier. And I tried it on my own platform for force management. None of which felt like a particularly optimal thing to have done at that point...nor was I happy about the amount of healing I consumed from the other healer as a result of noble sacrifice. I don't think we can have that happening in hard mode. So again, open question, what do you do here?
I wouldn't use an aoe at any point during the second phase. I believe that aoe heal only reaches efficiency greater than your other heals when it affects three or more targets, and at no point during the fight will three people be on the same platform (except for dps, but they aren't taking damage). So, just stick to your single target heals. The one thing to watch out for is the aggro generated at the beginning of the second phase. Make sure your tanks are taunting and using the highest threat output they can as large heals in the beginning (which might be necessary) can pull the boss due to the 75% damage reduction. And having the boss on you for more than five seconds is basically death.

bryceman's Avatar


bryceman
11.11.2012 , 04:23 AM | #3
For the first fight you just need to position your salvation either on the tank and melee dps or the ranged (our raids consists of 2 sage and 2 scoundrel healers). Before every fight, the other sage and myself will always determine who is focusing on the melee and who is focusing on the ranged. Essentially you also need to consider the overall roles of the healers in the groups. We like to leave the tanks almost fully up to the scoundrels with us sages of course putting out rejuvenate and bubbles on the tanks for the added protection and armor buff. Our job (the sages) is then to support heal the dps with salvation, force armor, and healing trance. While scoundrels are the ideal healer for single target tank healing, you can get away from using a sage on that role but we have found that sages are built better for support healing since salvation is so useful. You should be focusing on keeping your targets (either the ranged dps or the melee) topped off. We also tend to be the ones cleansing people. Once you get all that figured out you just need to study each fight and know what phases are coming up. The most healing intensive fight is the Dread Guards (IMO the toughest healing fight in the game) because there is so much damage being put out. Just have a solid footing with the other healers so that there is no overhealing and that someone is putting a salvation in the middle for ranged and melee to run into. The other fights are honestly not that bad but one thing I want to touch on for all healers is the final fight. When you enter the hyper gate to fight the boss head on, you can stack all the healers on the home (first) platform and heal from there. There is no distance restriction (except for salvation) and you have the highest point in the area so you can reach anyone. When the anomalies come up, we designate one healer (usually me) to follow the 3 man group that is in charge of taking them out while the rest of the raid focuses on the boss. For the last burn phase, you should split up the raid with the other sage and bubble up your respective side. During this phase healing the raid is pretty much a waste since the boss moves from target to target so before this phase happens bubble everyone up and dps the boss. The bubble should absorb the attack the boss puts on that person and the likely hood they will be attacked twice is very low so that initial hit is what counts. You want all out dps during that phase so get all the healers to attack once the bubbles and hots are out.

Our guild has had this raid on 16 man HM farm for awhile so if there is any specific thing you need answer please do not hesitate to ask. This raid is by far the most healing intensive one so just make sure you're gear is itemized for hard hitting heals (I actually only have 37% crit because rej. gives us extra crit chance on healing trance so I use this opportunity to stack a butt load of power and surge). You want your healing trance and salvation to hit as hard as possible (I usually see salvation ticking for around +900). I would avoid alacrity almost completely expect maybe the ear piece and implants. It can work against you if your heals channel too quickly (because of this I completely avoid using that long 2+ second heal deliverance) and only rely on healing trance and salvation with ben. being a fill in. Just remember that your best ability for saving someone is force armor; it absorbs a **** ton of damage and should ALWAYS be using before healing someone. My priority is almost always:
1. Force Armor (If off cooldown)
2. Rejuvenate (Only if it is a tank or someone being focused by the boss. If it is not the tank then I switch to the tank, cast Rejuvenate, then re-target the person in question)
3. Healing Trance
4. Noble Sacrifice (If clairvoyance proced and below 80% force)

LadyTributary's Avatar


LadyTributary
11.12.2012 , 04:04 PM | #4
I'm a sorc healer, so I'm going to try not to get too confused by the different names for the same heals. I'll go with "bubble," "circle," "hot," "channel," "big," and "personal." Plus "crit-bonus" and "resource-management."

So you can certainly use circles in most of these fights, but they have to be predictive circles. Essentially, you have to know the fights well enough that you can guess where people are going to stand when they take damage. This sounds a little crazy, but it's really not. In fact, if you drop your circles in the right spots, your DPS will gravitate towards them, thereby making them even more effective.

Kephess is one of the easiest ones to do predictive circles. Even before he picks a target during phase 1, you can tell which lightning tower he's attached to. Go there. Drop a circle. The tanks and DPS will come to you, bringing the boss. Everyone will be in close proximity so that when someone is chosen by Kephess, they don't have far to run. If the circle's already down, you're not waiting 1.8 seconds before you bubble them and then channel heal them.

For the Dread Guard, you'll want your circles either near the boss or away from the green doom-circles. This is largely true for the Writhing Horror as well, and there are some obvious places for circles with Operator IX.

For TFB phase 1, drop a circle at the tentacle, then focus heals on whomever is dealing with spit, alternating with the tank. The maintenance from the circle will help keep the tank more level while you direct heals at the ranged. If you're the one dealing with spit, you can easily use your personal heal. For phase 2, circles are mostly useless and nearly impossible to place well, so just use your hot, your channel, and your big heals. You'll also need to use your resource-management ability after it procs off your channel, and you can use your personal heal to counter it.

Note that there is no shame in being healed by the other healer, especially after using resource-management. You'll recover faster if they heal you. They'll recover faster if you heal them. Cross-healing is love.

Don't forget about your crit-bonus ability. If things are going poorly, you can do a ton of healing relatively quickly by burning it, then dropping some big heals.

Force speed is also your friend. If you can get to where you're dropping your predictive circle very quickly, everyone will benefit. And, for the most part, if you actually are where you belong, the raid will follow you. You need a lot of raid awareness, just like a tank, although you'll be paying attention to different things.

NoFishing's Avatar


NoFishing
11.20.2012 , 12:26 AM | #5
Thanks for the replies.

I haven't healed Dread Guard or Kephess in hard mode yet, but I did get the last boss down with my guild tonight (our first kill, btw). The story of a backup healer I guess.

Phase 1 was pretty typical tank and spank heals. Maybe a little more tank healing required than I expected, but certainly manageable. Phase 2 I found to be pretty easy from a healing perspective. We had a single DPS tasked with taking out anomalies, so for the most part healing is focused on one of the two tanks or that DPS.

The biggest issue I faced was having enough force available to take out the irregularity that spawned on my platform. I can usually manage to pump out heals with a relatively neutral rotation as long as I don't drop below about 100 force, and found myself entering the irregularity phases at that level. But DPS saps that in no time, and I had nothing left to DPS or heal with. My solution was to enter "force regen mode" upon entry to Phase 2. Basically, channel heal every time it was off CD whether healing was needed or not followed by a regen followed by a HoT on myself or mend, while putting bubbles on the tank and roaming DPS in my spare time. With this, I was able to work back up to about 50% force by the time the irregularity spawned and had no issues taking it out, and had more than enough force leftover to spread some big heals around to get the raid back up after the irregularities.

The other issue was the healer agro at the entry to phase 2. I decided rather than leading off with a direct heal when I saw damage occur (a habit from my commando medic days), sages are better off just bubbling the tanks and healers. Since bubbles don't seem to count as heals as far as agro is concerned, this gave enough of a buffer for the tanks to build agro before I needed to start casting real heals. And in case the other healer drew agro, the bubble would absorb a fair bit of the damage.

SgtKlavier's Avatar


SgtKlavier
11.20.2012 , 02:09 AM | #6
Quote:
The biggest issue I faced was having enough force available to take out the irregularity that spawned on my platform. I can usually manage to pump out heals with a relatively neutral rotation as long as I don't drop below about 100 force, and found myself entering the irregularity phases at that level. But DPS saps that in no time, and I had nothing left to DPS or heal with. My solution was to enter "force regen mode" upon entry to Phase 2. Basically, channel heal every time it was off CD whether healing was needed or not followed by a regen followed by a HoT on myself or mend, while putting bubbles on the tank and roaming DPS in my spare time. With this, I was able to work back up to about 50% force by the time the irregularity spawned and had no issues taking it out, and had more than enough force leftover to spread some big heals around to get the raid back up after the irregularities.
One advantage of having two sorcs in my group (not sure what your raid comp is) is that we can stand on the same platform right up until the second tentacle dies or an anomaly spawns and trade off aoe usage, with help us both with force restoration. If you only have one sorc, though, that wouldn't be as useful because sorcs are the only glass that sacrifice health for resource gain.

Because healing is oddly light on the second phase, I often times use recklessness and/or my power adrenal (biochem) to burn down the irregularity as fast as possible and evoke the most damage per resource. Rarely do the tanks see bursts of damage that aren't followed by a period of rest (scream), so the need for cool down effected heals is much less. And, if a tank messes up, its mostly designed to kill them no matter what you do. As a healer in general, I tend to err on the side of dpsing too much and not looking at people's health (mostly just easier content like flashpoints). Thus I look forward to the irregularity phase as it is a case where a healer's dps is "tested," so to speak.

NoFishing's Avatar


NoFishing
11.26.2012 , 01:51 AM | #7
Thanks all for your advice. I am now 5/5 healing HM TfB. I actually found it to be mostly easy, but my guild deserves a lot of credit for that. For posterity, I'll note what worked for me on the other two fights I had concerns about. FYI, our raid composition (with me, at least) consists of 1 sage and 1 scoundrel.

Dread Guard: For phase 2, I basically kept an AoE dropped somewhere near the middle of the room, and asked the ranged to stand around the edges, but NOT in it. I tried to place it on clear floor and within range of the bosses. This frees up enough healer bandwidth to keep the tanks pretty healthy for the transition for phase 3. At that point, I found bubble to do completely magical things for the tank with leech or the random raid member with the withering DoT. The healing required seemed pretty low overall.

On Kephess, for phase 1 I predicted where Kephess would be and placed an AoE for the raid just before they get there. After that, it was mostly bubble the laser target, heal the laser target, and bubble/heal the tanks. The tanks take quite a bit of damage during this phase, so we can't ignore them for long, but I never felt overworked for this part. For phase 2, an AoE at the base of the tower doesn't hurt, but more important is to get a bubble/heal on the bomb target if possible. Overall though the mechanics of phase 2 are far more challenging than the healing. For the final phase, adrenal-buffed AoE at the boss and bubbles bubbles and more bubbles while dodging.