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How much Alacrity for a healing sage?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Sage / Sorcerer
How much Alacrity for a healing sage?

EllieAnne's Avatar

07.08.2020 , 11:18 AM | #1
Of course we start with 1213 Alac for the 1.3 sec GCD.
We don't need to stack accuracy (heals don't miss), power, endurance or mastery (these are capped when level synced) so my choices are stacking crit and alac so I have a little room to play with when building my stats to speed up the speed when casting my heals. To get good cast times for my heals and decent force regen what number should I aim for for alacrity.?

ceryxp's Avatar

07.08.2020 , 02:54 PM | #2
I don't play a healer, so I'm not speaking from experience, but according to these two guides you want to focus on high alacrity. This guide by Endonae suggests 3535 alacrity for 16.43% (standing 1.3s GCD) so that you hit 1.1s GCD during a Mental Alacrity window with 0 accuracy. But if you're using the Endless Offensive set and healing with Telekinetic Blitz then you'll need some accuracy so your Blitz hits, so it can heal (no heal on a miss), in which case you have to run 110% accuracy and only enough alacrity for 1.4s GCD (1213). This guide by Dark (written for Sorc so you'll have to translate abilities) also suggests high alacrity but only goes high enough for 1.3s GCD (3206 for 15.38%), which means you'll only hit 1.2s GCD during a Mental Alacrity window. Remember that Mental Alcrity/Polarity Shift adds 20% to your alacrity and the break points for alacrity are 7.14% (1.4s), 15.38% (1.3s), 25% (1.2s), and 36.36% (1.1s), so to hit 1.1s GCD during a Mental Alacrity window you need at least 16.36% standing alacrity.
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phalczen's Avatar

07.08.2020 , 05:50 PM | #3
I have done a little math on this topic. I do tend to agree with what Ceryxp wrote, particularly with regards to needing slightly more alacrity than the raw amount needed for just a 1.3s GCD.

It turns out that 15.4% alacrity percentage is enough to lower your GCD from the base of 1.5s to 1.3s, however, it is not enough alacrity percentage to ensure that, for example, Wandering Mend is off cooldown in the same number of GCDs.

At base, wandering mend's cooldown is 15s. That means that it takes 10 GCDs to be off cooldown and ready.

An ability's new cooldown, or cast time, or channel duration, is expressed by the following equation:

newCD = baseCD / (1 + AlacrityPercentage) where AlacrityPercentage is expressed as a decimal (or rational) number.

Thus, the newCD of wandering mend at 15.4% alacrity percentage is 12.99827 seconds. Ten GCDs, if the GCD is lowered to 1.3s would last 13 seconds.

Depending upon the rounding used by the game, this may not be enough to actually fit it into the correct # of GCDs. Practically speaking, when I've tried this out on the healing dummy, I've found that WM isn't always ready in time.

So, to give yourself a little more wiggle room with rounding, you need to figure out the needed alacrity percentage assuming the new cooldown of, for example, wandering mend, is more like 12.9 seconds. The game's ability tooltips tend to round the cooldowns to tenths of a second.

The needed alacrity percentage to achieve a specific cooldown is expressed by the equation:

neededAP = (BaseCD/newCD) - 1

so, in this example, to get WM down to a 12.9s cooldown, you need 16.2791% alacrity percentage. To make it safe, I round that up to 16.28% (since that's what is displayed on the character sheet).

To find the alacrity rating needed for that, you need to use the following equation:

75 x 2.015 x ( log (1-(AP%/30)) / log (1-(1/30)))

which is about 3488-3491, depending on floating point calculations.

These analyses also apply to abilities with a cast time. Benevolence has a base cast time of 1.5s. So, in order to make sure you can get benevolence off within a GCD, you will need, again, slightly more than 15.4% alacrity.

TL, DR: it is possible that, due to various delays, rounding issues, floating point calculation differences, and other related phenomena, you may not actually see sufficient reduction in the cooldown of any particular ability merely with the alacrity needed to reach the 1.3s GCD threshold. You need to make sure you have enough alacrity such that the ability comes off cooldown within the same number of GCDs as it did before, or your flow will be off.
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ceryxp's Avatar

07.08.2020 , 06:30 PM | #4
Thank you for posting that phalczen. That was very interesting to read. Quite often it gets repeated that having alacrity points over what is needed to meet one of the GCD break points is a waste of points, but from what you're saying there are times when it can be advantageous. I'm not a theorycrafter, I just use the numbers they come up with, so haven't ever taken the time to explore the maths. On my main Sage I have an alacrity of 2204 for 11.7% so that I can break 36.36% for 1.1s GCD with the two buffs, but now I'm curious how that impacts the CDs of several of my abilities.
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phalczen's Avatar

07.09.2020 , 02:36 AM | #5
I mean, in theory, if you take an ability with a base cooldown of 15 and reduce it to 13, in an ideal world, the ability should be up exactly when it says. The trouble I find is that latency and rounding errors make this a little different. We "know" that ability cooldowns are rounded, and treated, a little differently than the global cooldown, which is always rounded up to the nearest tenth. You can verify this is largely the case and I've posted about this. Human performance/reaction time/client-server latency, and other factors aside, the range of APM results that you get from going from 1.5 to 1.4 to 1.3s GCDs is measurable and significant, and reasonably consistent.

But because the game implies rounding occurs to more significant digits for individual abilities, it becomes possible and arguably necessary to give yourself a margin with most game abilities, that you wouldn't need with all instant abilities that have no cooldowns.

With regards to the 1.1s GCD goal ... I've often pondered this. In the 5.x era I routinely ran with 16.36% alacrity percentage for the exact reason you describe. However, in this era, with the stat budgets we have, I'm not sure about it any more.

Just like the above examples, depending on the level of "wiggle-room" you want to have, you may need much more alacrity than is wise.

Normally, you need to carry 16.36% alacrity percentage, or 3514 alacrity rating, so that under the effects of Mental Alacrity/Polarity Shift you will hit an alacrity % of 36.36% which is sufficient to reduce the GCD down to 1.1s, at least for the 10 s duration of MA/PS.
The CD of wandering mend/roaming mend takes 10 GCDs, so that means you have to make sure its cooldown is under 11 seconds.
If you run the numbers estimating 10.9 seconds for the new cooldown, you need 17.61% alacrity percentage, or 3943 alacrity rating, which is a huge chunk of stat budget. If you run the numbers estimating 10.99 seconds for the new cooldown, you need 3557 alacrity rating. Obviously, that's more palatable than an entire enhancement's worth of alacrity rating extra, but you're going to have to have fast reflexes and a good connection to hit that.
Healing Trance/Innervate is even tighter. There you need to get the ability cooldown to 6.5 seconds or 6.59 seconds depending on your margin for safety. The former requires a whopping 18.46% alacrity percentage or 4259 rating. I'm obviously not willing to shell out that amount of rating, since crits while using HT/Inn are essential for Force management.

But it begs a larger question. Is the 1.1s GCD worth it? If you just look at an isolated ten second window of MA/PS, you pop MA/PS and the countdown starts. 1.1s later you can use another ability, and so forth, or 9 GCDs over the next 9.9 seconds, and then you can activate one last ability before MA/PS falls off. That's a maximum of 10 button presses or mouse clicks in that window.

If you only shot for the 1.2s GCD, you can only get 9 abilities off. 8 x 1.2 or 9.6s and then a ninth ability. I don't do MM operations, so I have no idea if that kind of burst healing window is commonplace enough to justify having an extra ability every MA/PS window.

But, in conjunction with the post 6.1.1 six-piece Gathering Storm, is it any better? Force Speed reduces MA/PS with every activation and MA/PS lasts 5 seconds longer, so assuming you use FS immediately on cooldown, you can shave basically 30 seconds off the cooldown. FS isn't affected by alacrity but MA/PS is. Practically speaking, you could get your MA/PS window every 90 seconds. So, every 90 seconds, I can have 15 seconds of a 1.1s GCD, or 15 seconds of a 1.2s GCD. That ends up being 13 abilities in the 1.1s case or 12 in the 1.2 second case.

At 1.1s GCD: For 75 out of every 90 seconds, my GCD is 1.3s, or 57 GCDs. For the other 15, my GCD is 1.1s or 13 GCDs. That works out to be 70 GCDs every 90 seconds, or an APM of about 46.667.

At 1.2s GCD, your APM works out to be 46 under those same considerations.

That's of course not considering the extra activations of Force Speed you are now doing to get the benefit of the 6pc bonus. Both scenarios assume 6 activations of FS necessary to reduce the CD of MA/PS. Six FS every 90 seconds takes away essentially 4.5 APM from both totals. More importantly, one of those abilities during MA/PS going to be, by necessity, a Force Speed.

Without the 6-piece bonus, you are getting 46.5 APM if you are aiming for the 1.1s GCD and 46.1 APM if you aim for the 1.2s GCD. But, you're not using those extra FS activations, so all those GCDs are usable.

So, from an overall sustained healing perspective, you get more APM available for healing without using Gatheirng Storm, despite the fact it brings you more opportunities to use MA/PS. But, of course, the reason for using 'Storm was never really about sustained healing anyway. It was always about using FS to buff the next damaging attack and getting the extra damage during MA/PS windows.

So, is an extra half of an ability per minute or so worth the loss in critical chance? It works out to be 1.53% critical chance at usual stat budgets, assuming no accuracy. Will that be useful to supplement DPS? The 4 piece 'Storm effect is essentially boosting the next attack after every force speed by 20% and boosting all damage during MA/PS by 20%. These add approximately 1.7% and 3.3% damage increases averaged over time, respectively. But if those Force attacks miss because you're not running any accuracy, its never going to hit the 5% damage increase. This almost mandates carrying some accuracy when using 'Storm as a healer. This is somewhat mitigated if you use a Proficient stim, but that only adds 1.57% accuracy.

I've double checked my math quite a few times over the past few months but if I've made a mistake someone please correct it, I want to make sure I'm as accurate as possible.

Aiming for the 1.1s GCD under Mental Alacrity/Polarity Shift will get an extra ability into the window, which may be important for burst healing. You probably need about 3557 alacrity rating to give yourself enough wiggle room to ensure the cooldown of healing abilities is back within the same number of GCDs. If burst healing isn't as important you need at least 3232 alacrity rating to give yourself enough wiggle room on abilities to be back in the same number of GCDs as without alacrity.

Gathering Storm actually takes away from GCDs usable for healing overall regardless of the GCD you shoot for, but its damage benefits may outweigh the loss of around 4.5 APM, if you carry some accuracy. The commitment of the extra alacrity rating, sacrificing critical chance, is worth about 1.5% critical chance, give or take, not accounting for lost critical chance by stacking some accuracy rating. In my opinion, if you are using Gathering Storm as a healer because you want to supplement your team's DPS, you probably don't want to shoot for a 1.1s GCD during Mental Alacrity/Polarity Shift. You need the extra stat budget to supplement some accuracy and maintain critical. The accuracy becomes even more important if you are using the Metaphysical Mender tactical.

When wearing Revitalized Mystic or Empowered Restorer, I aim for the 1.1s GCD and try to get as close to 3557 as possible. I figure getting a whole additional ability in a Mental Alacrity window is more than the loss of 1.5% critical chance or so. When wearing Gathering Storm (which I do most of the time because I do mostly scaled content with my small non-progression guild) I stack enough accuracy to hit around 105% or so and only aim for the 1.2s GCD under Mental Alacrity, and so I run as close to 3232 as possible.
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ceryxp's Avatar

07.09.2020 , 04:36 AM | #6
Another very interesting read. Thank you again phalczen. Now you have me wondering if I am really benefiting from the extra ~300 alacrity or if I should drop my alacrity down closer to 1895 and move those points into crit.

Like you, I had ~16.36% alacrity in 5.0, so that is what I shot for with my stats in 6.0. But the stat budget is so much more tight now than in 5.0. I wonder if it is worth it outside of MM OPs and possibly HM FPs.
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phalczen's Avatar

07.09.2020 , 04:43 AM | #7
I made a few edits, but the most important was the part at the end about how I mod-out my three gear sets. Oh, and I realized you have the benefit of the guild perk. We don't, typically, so I gear assuming I won't have it.
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phalczen's Avatar

07.09.2020 , 04:49 AM | #8
I find force management to be the biggest issue personally, even post 6.1.1 changes. It wouldn't seem very significant, the difference between 39% crit and 36% critical chance (those numbers are the ones under the melee window, of course, not the Force dropdown), but I seem to notice less procs of Resplendence when I run 36% than 39%. So, I always weigh my critical removal heavily, even if its only 1.5%. But like I said after the edits, I really do think an extra whole ability is probably more useful than 1.5% critical chance. A non crit benevolence I can activate to heal the tank is more than the extra-sized heal I never activated.

Of course, its all pretty theoretical, since I run Gathering Storm most of the time now.

EDIT: Might even think about dropping all the way down to 1.4s GCD.
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ceryxp's Avatar

07.09.2020 , 06:14 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by phalczen View Post
I made a few edits, but the most important was the part at the end about how I mod-out my three gear sets. Oh, and I realized you have the benefit of the guild perk. We don't, typically, so I gear assuming I won't have it.
I should have specified. My main Sage is Telekinetic, so the extra 5% alacrity comes from the focal point buff. Yeah, I have not played a Seer Sage since 2.0 when I used to heal for my old guild in OPs and FPs. For my Balance Sages I went right for 1.4s GCD, but for my TK and Lit characters I was planning for higher alacrity, ~11.36%, like I did in 5.0, but your post has me questioning that and thinking I will drop the alacrity on my main, move those points to crit, and see how that plays. Fortunately, if I do go that route I would only have to adjust the stats on my main as I haven't finalized the stats on my other TK and Lit characters.
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fabsus's Avatar

07.09.2020 , 06:29 AM | #10
hello sorcs and sages,

because the usage of different sets and stats are topics, triggering a lot of people,
don't feel offended by me, because i just wanna give you my experience with that.

to me, i'm prefering the operative healer over the sorc healer. but because of
the id lock system, i also play sorc healers in veteran and master mode operations.
the most veteran operations, i also play as a solo healer, because it speeds up things.
but solo healing also means, that you are having a good team with low dtps.

actually i'm playing 3 different sets, depending on the group setup and the content
we are running.

as a solo healer, i prefer PR (bubble set), because of the additional hps.
i use the RM (extra hot tick) set, if we are having another sorc healer in the
group, or some more sorcs dps, who don't wanna get my lovely barrier.

if it comes to stats, i'm using 3208 alacrity (3208 is the turning point, not 3206).
with some style toons, it a bit more, because of some missing nible-enhc.
so at the end, i'm having 10k ap.

if it works with the group, i prefer playing the EO set. here i wouldn't recommend to
play it with 1213 alacrity, because it feels really clunky. i'm using 1588 accuracy,
and 14xx alacrity. don't know the exact number right now. but this gives me a better
feeling and the abilities are fitting together a bit better. if you wanna go for that set
and the needed tactical, be aware of the completely different playstyle. you can't just
do dps to burst heal. that won't give you good results. so like playing with an operative,
you need to know when burst healing is needed. i think that's the reason, why i prefer
that set over the others.

if you wanna improve your healing skills with using guides;
at this point many thanks to everybody still writing guides these days,
and please use their ref-links if the guide helped you;
please don't handle a guide like a dogma. it is more suggestion or a
push into the right direction. with every patch you need to read the
ability descriptions and the discipline path again. you will see the problems
by reading 6.0 based guides today. with 6.1 the sorc healer was changed a lot,
so you need to adjust your "rotation" to squeeze out the optimum.

the most helping tool for me is starparse. no matter what class i'm playing.
you can recapture the complete fight and find mistakes you could improve the next time.
so don't use it as a healmeter only.

sorry for the wot, but i hope you could benefit from my point of view a bit.

//edit i know that 1590 accuracy is needed for 110%,
but with 1588 i never missed. so i'm going for the extra ap.
Disclaimer: This is my opinion. <--This is my Ref-Link. Feel free to ignore or benefit from it.