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Sang's Operative PvP Healing Guide

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Scoundrel / Operative
Sang's Operative PvP Healing Guide

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sang
04.03.2012 , 03:32 PM | #1
Greetings fellow operatives. This thread has been a long time coming and I've finally put in the time to include as much relevant and useful information as I could in an effort to help those operatives currently healing in PvP and perhaps those Concealment or Lethality Operatives who wish to give Medicine a try.

Regardless of the changes coming in 1.2 I'm here today to tell you healing as an operative in PvP is not broken. Sure, Sorcerers and Mercenaries can heal more and have better utility, but when played correctly, an Operative can be just as good (and better too). The following is my attempt to arm my fellow operative healers with as much knowledge and understanding of how to utilize their skills in PvP to maximum effect. As Sun Tzu said, "The more you read and learn, the less your adversary will know."

Introduction: Understanding PvP and Background

Healing in PvP is not pretty, it's not easy, and it certainty is not as sexy as seeing big damage crits. As an operative healer in PvP, there is no set "rotation" you can do to constantly be healing at a high rate. Healing in PvP is all about understanding the situation you're currently in, what could be coming next, and how to possibly respond to the million different variations should they occur. In that regard, you will fail frequently as healer in PvP warzones, but do not be discouraged. You cannot heal through all damage, never be knocked off a ledge, or stunned/interrupted into oblivion.

With this in mind, the next step is understanding your goal as a healer in PvP. If all you care about is putting up massive healing numbers, I salute you. You will probably win many games. However, I have found it be significant better if you mix in a fair bit of damage, stuns, and interrupts into your play while also healing. Think of it this way, if you stun/interrupt someone trying to attack you or a teammate, that's less healing you need to provide.

Brief Bio

Before we go any further, I think some background on myself plus an important tip is necessary. As of yesterday, I'm a valor 84 fully battlemaster geared healing operative. I'll get into to the details of gear, specs, and abilities in a bit, but there is a point I'm trying to make when I tell you this. First, is that I have a lot of PvP experience. Second, and what should be of more importance to you, is that you cannot be a good PvP healer without playing a lot of PvP. I don't care if you can solo heal Soa on nightmare mode (exaggeration), the only way to be a great PvP healer is to play a lot of PvP.

With all this in mind, let's begin.

A Healing Spec

It is my belief that a 31/3/7 spec is the best healing spec for PvP operatives. The reason for this spec is based around two distinct talents: Slip Away in Lethality and Recuperative Nanotech in Medicine. RN may be controversial to some pre-1.2, but I find it useful in PvP and with the changes coming once 1.2 is released, it will most likely see even more effectiveness.

With the 31/3/7 as a base, you have several options, most of which occurs in the Medicine tree and has to do with how much PvP to PvE you actually play. Personally, I play with a more PvE spec as I play about 85% PvP to 15% PvE (operations only - I'm full Rakata BiS for PvE), but I hate to respec.

My spec: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#401McfrzGoRdsZ0cZGb.1

For those who want a more PvP focused spec without spending the skills in diagnostic scan, you have a few options:

Alternate 1: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#401rcfMzhRRdsZ0cZGb.1

Alternate 2: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#401MffMzhRRdsZ0cZGb.1

Alternate 3: http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#401MffMzhRRdsZ0cZhr.1

The biggest difference I think between a PvE and PvP spec is spending points in diagnostic scan restoring energy versus evasion movement speed increase as well as getting the reduced CD on debilitate. In my opinion, Slip Away is the one skill you absolutely must have in PvP to allow you stun DPS who may be attacking you. Some contend a 31/10/0 spec headed towards Infiltration is better (and to an extent I guess its all personal preference), but I tend to think 31/3/7 and its variations are superior.

Additionally, if you are not a fan of spending the points to increase alacrity found in lethality tree, you can always spend them to increase the damage dealt by shiv by 10%. While I generally tend to think the alacrity increase is better, you will be using shiv enough to generate TA that the extra 10% damage should warrant 2 skill points if you choose to go this route.

Word of warning though, if you do not take skill points in diagnostic scan or adrenaline probe, you are exposing yourself to potential energy problems. Therefore, I highly recommend at least taking on of those skills.

Gear and Set Bonuses

You need PvP specific gear. I don't care how good a PvE'er you are, you need the expertise (especially with the changes coming in 1.2). In my opinion, anything under 150 expertise is too low (roughly 4 pieces of Centurion PvP gear) and you will be severely limited by it. I realize this may not be appealing, but this is the way the game works. Put in PvE terms: you can't expect to kill Soa with all greens.

The PvP gear you want is the Field Medic set. The set bonus is as follows:
  • 2 piece: Increase healing done by Recuperative Nanotech by 15%
  • 4 piece: Increases max energy by 5.
The 2 piece set bonus is the most important, and in my opinion, the best set bonus between the PvP and PvE gear. (Again, especially with the RN changes coming in 1.2.) Most of the gear comes stacked with Alacrity and it's up to you if you want to leave those mods in place. Personally, I don't mind the extra alacrity in PvP as you are often put into burst damage situations which require as quick healing as possible. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

Abilities

Healing

Kolto Probe- Every operative should know what it does, and why it's important so I won't go too much into it. You should be double stacking 2 KPs on yourself during PvP WZs at all times.

Kolto Injection- Again, we all know what it is. Use it.

Surgical Probe - This is the main use of your Tactical Advantage and arguably the best healing spell you have in PvP. I say this for a number of reasons. First, it's an instant cast which means it can be used while moving and cannot be interrupted. Second, it costs no energy. Third, it can be chained one right after another on targets below 30%. I cannot tell you how many times, I've kept myself or my teammates alive by smashing surgical probe one right after another.

Recuperative Nanotech - The moment you all have been waiting for: the part where I tell you RN is a good ability. The problems/limitations with RN have been well documented, and I'm not hear to say they are wrong per-say, but I do believe RN is still a vital healing ability for operatives pre 1.2. First, if nothing else, RN acts as another HoT for yourself. Two KPs + RN = pretty damn good self healing. Second, it's a HoT that heals both you and your teammates for one energy cost that does not require you to target them. The complaints about the 10m range of RN are less of a problem in PvP as you often find yourself in the think of things. Furthermore, RN can be target casted for up to 30m if you want to use it on a pack of melee DPS.

Diagnostic Scan - *edit* Perhaps I was a bit harsh in my first approach. Good players should run out of energy less frequently in WZs and using DS should be an absolute last resort. If you run out of energy you should use Adrenaline Probe. If that's on cooldown, then resort to DS. Ultimately, good operatives will be keeping Stim Boost active nearly all the time and utilizing their skills in a way that promotes healthy energy regen. Note: The Shiv+SP combo is more energy efficient than Kinj+SP, so if you don't need the big heal, you can save energy here.

Kolto Infusion - I've seen some players say they cast infusion to get an interrupt our of their opponents. I've tried this numerous times, and it is of my opinion that it is a waste of time. You want them to interrupt something, cast an Orbital Strike instead. The biggest problem with this ability in PvP is not just that Surgical Probe is better, it's that infusion requires you to be standing still when you cast it, and that is something you shouldn't be doing much in PvP. (Unless you're casting kolto injection of course.)

Damage

Rifle Shot - It absolutely amazes me how many operatives do not use their standard auto-attack in PvP. With the amount knockbacks, pulls, and sprints in this game, you're going to be finding yourself at a distance quite often. Furthermore, as I've already detailed, you should be mixing in a respectable amount of damage and stuns while also healing. Lastly, this ability costs no energy, so you're not going to be wasting energy that might be needed for healing.

Overload Shot - This can be substituted as your standard attack when you are within 10m of your target. The damage can better than your auto-attack if it crits, however, it does consume energy. Generally speaking, you should not use this more than twice in a row as it will begin to eat into your energy pool.

Shiv - Obviously this is you're main damage dealing ability. Although on a 6s cooldown, shiv is important for two reasons. First, it regularly outputs your highest damage (without needing you to be positioned behind a target or in stealth) and second it activates Tactical Advantage. As a healing operative, using shiv to activate or stack up TA is a must. Say you're taking damage and need a quick heal; shiv an enemy next to you and use surgical probe. If you're below 30% you now have another heal instantly ready for you. Best of all, this shiv + SP combo cannot be interrupted. Healing operatives who fail to utilize shiv as a TA proc will find themselves out of energy for being unable to keep Stim Boost active and at a major disadvantage when trying to throw around necessary heals.

Backstab - This is you're second highest damage output ability and should be used when you are able to do so. Most people think that the only time you can use Backstab is when you have a target stunned - this is not true. Backstab is an excellent attack on players carrying the ball in huttball as they often have their back to you. Furthermore, it can used as a follow up to Sever Tendon when you have a target slowed.

Hidden Strike - Although Hidden Strike dishes out the most damage between Shiv and Backstab, it's requirement of you to be behind your target and in stealth is extremely limiting to a healing operative as you are not spec'd well to stealth nor are you able to activate any healing abilities while in stealth. This is an ability you can use when able, but realistically one that you will not find yourself using more than a handful of times in a given game, if that.

Explosive Probe & Snipe - Credit Endusima for convincing me to add Explosive Probe back to this list. Technically, Explosive Probe is our highest damage dealing ability, however, it can only be activated from a crouched position. At a longer distance, using snipe followed by EP provides a significant burst of damage. Furthermore, it is a great way to consistently get the 2.5k crit medal in warzones. As a personal preference, I choose not to utilize snipe->EP (again there are exceptions), primarily because of the combined 40 energy it costs to use them in succession. EP alone, however, costs 20 energy and if you prefer, can definitely be used to increase damage output.

Corrosive Dart - CD is only absolutely necessary on operatives, assassins, and other classes who regularly go into stealth. By putting CD on a target, you are forcing them to dispell it before entering stealth, something many players in PvP do not do. I also tend to use this DoT on ball carriers in huttball and heavy armor targets. The important thing I've found with CD is that you can put it on a target and switch back into healing pretty easily. The only downside is you really have to watch is your energy when using it.

Fragmentation Grenade - Credit Arrys as I somehow forgot to include Fragmentation Grenade in my original post. Fragmentation grenade is an extremely effective tool as a 30m AoE damage ability. It really shines in Voidstar and Civil War where you need to stop multiple enemies from capping a turret or door. If you are alone in stealth waiting for you teammates to respawn to your aid, you should wait several seconds before using frag grenade and revealing yourself. Hopefully by that time, your teammates will have spawned or rotated over to offer you assistance. A great example of when this is useful is on Civil War. If you are unable to LoS one person capping the turret but there is a player nearby, grenade on that player to stop the one out of LoS. Lastly, frag grenade is tech damage (yellow) -- and we all like tech damage.

Orbital Strike- Orbital Strike is an ability that does a ton of damage for a healing operative, however, one that should be used only in certain situations. First, OS costs a ton of energy and takes forever to cast (in PvP terms) so it's unlikely you will be using it in situations where time is of the essence and you need to conserve your energy. Second, OS is only really effective when there is a significant group of people in one space. I've seen some people claim to not use OS because it's too easy for your opponents to move out of the way. It's here where you have to be selective about when to use it. The small ramps of huttball, doors of voidstar, and turrets of civil war are excellent for OS. Even if you don't do damage with OS, it can be used as a spacing mechanism to get people to move out of a certain area. Finally, and perhaps the most fun, it can be used as a defensive tool if you plant the oribital strike directly on top of yourself. I usually follow that up with a kolto injection on myself (or a party member) as if melee want to interrupt you, they will have to take an oribital to the face. If nothing else, OS is a very flashy long cast and something you can try to use to bait out interrupts.

Stuns, Shields, and other Utility

Debilitate - This is you're main stun in PvP and one that should be on a 30s cooldown with you're full spec into Slip Away. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have this Debilitate on this reduced CD, especially as a healing operative without the knockdown of hidden strike or snare of Sever Tendon from the concealment tree. You use Debilitate for three primary reasons: 1) to stun someone to setup your damage rotation with backstab and 2) to interrupt a cast if your target is not resolve capped and 3) to stop someone from following you, a teammate, or getting to a particular location.

Flash Bang - Flash Bang acts as an interrupt for those targets who are not resolved capped, however, it shouldn't primarily be used as such. The 8s stun is forever in terms of PvP and it's AoE nature makes it even more valuable. Although the stun is broken if any of the flash'd targets take damage, Flash Bang is extremely useful for delaying your enemies from reaching your ball carrier in huttball, stopping a group of enemies from capturing a turret on civil war, or interacting with the doors on voidstar. The most effective use for it, alongside these, is to allow you time to heal either yourself or your teammates.

Distraction - This is your primary interrupt and should be used before debilitate or flash bang for obvious reasons (it prevents the use of the interrupted spell for 3s). Everyone, not just healing operatives, should be interrupting spells more often - especially those of other healers.

Shield Probe - Shield Probe is your primary defense ability. It also happens to be on the shortest cooldown (45s) for it's usefulness, so it can be used more frequently than others. Furthermore, with the Med Shield skill from your talent tree, all healing you receive is increased by 15%. One important thing to note about Shield probe is that it can be activated preemptively if possible. I cannot stress how many times popping shield probe right before being stunned has helped negate significant damage.

Evasion - Evasion's 100% miss is definitely worth noting, however, where Evasion really becomes vital is when you need to debuff DoTs that Toxin Scan cannot. I'll be going more into this technique later in this guide, however, you ideally want to be casting Evasion before Cloaking Screen at all times if you have a large number of debuffs/DoTs on yourself.

Sever Tendon - This is one skill I haven't seen many healing operatives using and I don't know why. For healing operatives, Sever Tendon can be used to slow weakened targets you don't want escaping as well, however, it is also very useful for slowing enemies such that you can run out of their line of sight to pop a few heals.

Toxin Scan - Toxin Scan is a very useful ability in PvP because there are so many players who simply do not remove DoTs. You would be utterly amazed at how much healing you can save yourself by removing DoTs with TS rather than trying to heal through it. On the flip side, it amazes me how many force DoTs players in PvP usually have given the overwhelming sorc population. I know some people may be say you don't have time to use TS when your healing target is taking a lot of damage, and there will be times when this is correct. That being said, the best way to use TS is as a follow-up to your largest heal, Kolto Injection, followed then by a Surgical Probe. Finally, TS can be used to debuff several important mental effects - a skill many operatives fail to utlize. The most important abilities able to be debuffed from TS include 1) Flashbang from an agent and 2) Out of combat sleeps from operatives and shadows (both on a target ally, not yourself obviously)

Stim Boost - As in PvE, Stim Boost should be active on yourself at all times. Obviously in the real world of PvP warzones, this won't always be the case, but it's something that all healing operatives simply have to discipline themselves about. I know a lot of healing operatives do not like using the TA they get from injection on anything but surgical probe, so I recommend throwing out a shiv if you need a TA charge to activate Stim Boost.

Cloaking Screen - Healing Operatives have access to cloaking screen the same as concealment operatives, however, it is on a longer cooldown. Cloaking Screen is you're ultimate escape mechanism when things get rough and knowing when and how to use it takes a lot of skill and practice. Ideally, you want to save cloaking screen as a last resort since it's cooldown is so long.

Escape - Escape is your standard CC-break on a 2min cooldown. There really isn't much to say here as the most important thing to know about Escape is when to actually use it. I'll go into much more depth on this subject later in the guide.

Sleep Dart - Sleep Dart is something that you won't be using unless you are solo (or near solo) defending or attacking a turret on civil war or a door on voidstar. While some might contend you should burn Cloaking Screen to double sleep dart an enemy who breaks your inital SD, I do not. This is a horrible idea that wastes arguably your second best cooldown for a trick play - and that's exactly what Sleep Dart is in PvP, a simple trick used in 1v1 or small groups for objective points. Any other use (at least coming from a healing operative standpoint) is stupid.

How to Heal in PvP

As I've already mentioned above, healing in PvP is messy; you have to get used to the idea that you cannot heal through all damage, and that you will fail to heal a teammate when needed. Things happen.

What makes the operative such a good PvP healer is the same thing many on this forum say make us bad healers - the fact we are so reliant on HoTs as healers. Here is the thing though: utilizing HoTs allows operative healers to be significantly more mobile than other healers. When I see someone at half health, I simply click my raid frame, throw a KP their way, and keep moving toward my objective, enemy, or primary healing target. Kolto Injection followed by Surgical Probe is a technique that should only be utilized on targets taking significant damage. Otherwise, what you generally want to do is spend surgical probe healing another target - and as I've previously stated, SP is extremely good in PvP due to its instant cast nature and ability to be spammed when targets are below 30%. I even recommend waiting for a target to get slightly below 30% if possible before casting it just so you can get the TA charge back. I cannot stress enough how satisfying it is to keep a teammate alive by chaining nearly endless surgical probes.

Generally speaking, as an operative healer, you don't want to be on the outside of a fight too long chain casting where another operative, smuggler, or someone else can easily target you. It's better move throughout the WZ such that you are harder to target, can use Recuperative Nanotech, and are more easily able to dish out damage, stuns, and interrupts. As previously mentioned. Shiv'ing to activate TA is an absolute must. By continually moving around, only really stopping to cast kolto injection, you'll find yourself being interrupted less often.

Unfortunately, because of the volatile nature of PvP, you will find yourself knocked back, stunned, and pulled out of the line of sight of your healing targets at different points in a game. There really isn't much you can do about this other than to throw up a HoT and hope your team can survive until you get back into a better position to heal.

One thing I will recommend is to avoid over-healing. Generally speaking, you should not be double stacking KPs on teammates unless they are taking a lot of damage or they are the ball carrier in huttball. I realize this isn't very appealing to hear, but you simply cannot expect to heal every teammate all the time back to full life. Furthermore, double stacking KPs on multiple targets will severely eat into you're energy pool. In this regard, it's much better to save your energy for possible Kolto Injection + SP rotations.

Although somewhat related to over-healing, preemptive healing is something you definitely want to be doing. If I know someone is getting the ball first in huttball, I will have 2x KPs and RN on him ahead of time and will already be charging up Kolto Injection the minute he touches the ball. Preemptively casting kolto injection in certain situations will ensure your target is topped off (or provide a good healing boost if he's targeted by multiple enemies) and gives you a TA to use if needed on that target or another.

Ultimately, the difference between a decent PvP healer and a great PvP healer is how well you are able to heal under pressure and the damage, stuns, and interrupts you are able to provide. Can you keep yourself and a target alive for a period of time while both of you are being attacked? Can you keep yourself alive while being attacked by multiple enemies? Can you provide at least some respectable damage, stuns, and interrupts? Think about it this way: the longer you can stay alive and the more you help kill your opponents, the more healing you will be able to provide and the less you will need to heal (respectively).

If anyone has any specific questions on healing that I did not cover here or miss in the rest of this guide, feel free to ask below and I will do my best to answer them as informatively as possible.

Specific PvP Techniques

CC-Breaking and Resolve

Before continuing to read this section, everyone should read Rome-fu's Resolve Guide on the PvP forum. The resolve system in SWTOR is not perfect, but it is important to understand when trying to figure out which Stuns/CC you should break.

For starters, you should (almost) never be breaking snares/roots with your CC breaker. While annoying, snares are not nearly as dangerous as stuns. Although slowed, you can still heal yourself or another teammate while snared/rooted. Furthermore, there are several snares and roots that can be removed via Toxin Scan. (Sniper knockback root, leg shot, BH slow, etc.) The most common snare, from a Inquisitor, however, cannot be removed by TS.

Mezzs are the longer CC abilities such an Operative's Flash Bang or a Warrior's Fear. Generally speaking, I do not recommend breaking these CC abilities unless you really need to defend/attack a position on Civil War/Voidstar or a ball carrier in hutbball absolutely needs healing. Although this CC is quite long in PvP terms, you will not be taking any damage while Mezz'd. Furthermore, if you are in a large crowd fight, there is a good chance someone isn't going to be too smart and will attack you directly (knocking you out of the Mezz) or try to use an AoE. The only other time I would recommend breaking a Mezz is if you are resolve capped, as it will then prevent you from being stunned, which is far more dangerous. (Note: Mezz's fill up your resolve bar quicker than Stuns.)

Stuns are the most dangerous CC for an Operative as it prevents you from healing and allows you to take damage at the same time. If you are in a large group fight, you should never break the first Stun unless you are really taking a beating and are planning to follow it up with Cloaking Screen or another large defensive cooldown. Secondly, I do not recommend breaking most Stuns in which you are taking mild damage. This damage can be easily healed, and again, you will most likely be CC'd soon thereafter. Contrary to popular belief, I would also not recommend breaking any stun at random if you are resolve capped if you can help it. If you can live through the stun, you will be CC immune for several seconds and still have your CC breaker saved for another, possibly more important, CC to break.

So what stuns should you break then? There is no real concrete answer to this question. Everything about CC breaking is situational and should be applied in context. All of the situations I mentioned above can be CC broken if the situation in the game calls for it. The philosophy behind effective CC breaking, however, is that you don't want to needlessly waste it. Your CC breaker is arguably your most important cooldown in PvP and understanding when not to use it can keep you alive longer. I would just recommend asking yourself when you are CC'd: Can I live through this? Can me/my team continue to complete our objectives through this CC? If the answer is yes to these questions, CC breaking is probably not in your best interest.

Additionally, as a healing operative you should (almost) never be breaking a CC that might prevent you from killing an opponent. While damage dealing, stuns, and interrupting are certainly an important part of your game, you should not be wasting a cooldown as important as your CC breaker to do so.

On a final note not really related to CC breaking, the various knockback abilities of Sorcerors, BHs, etc do fill up your resolve bar. When you are resolve capped you are unable to be knocked back or pulled by these classes. However, you are able to be charged/leaped by Warriors/Knights. This charge will root you in place for a second even while fully resolve capped, so take note of this.

Utilizing Cloaking Screen

As previously mentioned, Cloaking Screen is your ultimate defensive cooldown and should be treated as such. Generally speaking, you should (almost) never use cloaking screen in a situation you can survive through while healing or using an alternative defensive cooldown. Knowing when to use CS is all about knowing how much damage you are currently taking and if you have the necessary cooldowns to survive if you don't use CS. The challenge is twofold. You don't want to waste CS when its not needed, but you also don't want to be so reluctant to use CS that you are stunned at low life and killed before you able.

Again, the only advice I can give is to play many PvP warzones and understand how much damage you can take and when using CS would be most effective.

Line of Sight

Line of Sight is your best friend and your mortal enemy. LoS'ing a target attacking you such that you can off heals is a vital part of your game. How you get out of LoS can be a combination of stuns, slows, or just good character juking, but LoS'ing enemies will reduce the amount of damage you take, and thus, healing you will need to provide.

On the flip side, LoS can be painful to deal with, especially in Huttball where you will constantly be cursing every class and their knockback. The only refuge I can provide is to find a way to quickly get back in LoS if possible and also to learn certain positions that will minimize the likelihood of you getting knocked off a ledge.

Dealing with Individual Classes

Preface

As you read through the list below you will see me say you should be ignoring or avoiding many classes. Generally speaking, if I say ignore, it means the class does not pose a significant threat to you. When I say avoid a class, I'm simply suggesting you not get into a drawn out engagement with that particular class. As with anything, having a group of people attacking you of any class is not good - and some worse than others.

From this list, you might also think that healing operatives are weak and should simply be running from everyone. This is not true. You should be able to survive a respectable amount of time against any class 1v1 (some more than others) and even several situations with multiple people attacking you. Of course, the more cooldowns you have available the better.

Remember, healing in PvP is not pretty. You will not be topped off all time and neither will your teammates. Again, you have to be able to recognize the situation you are in and know how to react accordingly.

Finally, I did not list healing operatives because a mirror on mirror will simply come down to who has more skill and/or cooldowns available. Also, I went with empire terminology, sorry to those republic out there. This is the operative forums after all.

Tank Assassins - I'm sorry if this comes across as harsh, but no operative healer should have problems with tank assassins. Any damage they do can be healed through and your combination of defensive CDs + stuns should be more than enough to keep yourself alive. You will never kill at Tanksin (unless you have like 5 minutes alone to fight him), but he should never really be a major direct DPS threat to you. (Excluding pulling you into fire in Huttball.)

Deception/Tank Hybrid/Hybrid DPS Assassins - Deception Assassins are my new hate class, specifically because I seem to be hitting more and more Infiltration Shadows (mirror spec) in WZs. These guys are ridiculous. They will burst you down fast, can resit all your stuns+damage with shroud, and can even go back in stealth if things get rough. The hybrid tank specs are a little easier to deal with because they do less burst damage, but still they are not fun to fight. Overall, I recommend avoiding DPS Assassins if able.

Hybrid DPS Sorcerer - Hybrid Madness/Lightening Sorcs are annoying for healing operatives but not overly concerning. The best way to handle them is to utilize LoS and heal. I have yet to see anyone who specs full Madness or full Lightening to be even remotely dangerous in terms of damage or utility.

Full Heal/Hybrid Heal Sorcerer - Any type of heal sorcerer is impossible for an operative to deal with. You will never kill them, and they will never kill you. The best you can do is interrupt and stun them while they are trying to heal a teammate.

Arsenal/Pyro Mercenary - Tracer missile owns you and cannot be healed through 1:1. Like Sorcs, utilize LoS, stuns, and interrupts to deal with mercs. Your strength is your mobility, and it is the mercs weakness - use it. I've seen more and more Pyrotech Mercenaries out there, and to be quite honest, I haven't really seen anything too dangerous from them. The only thing you might have to watch for is rail shot when you are low on life. Otherwise, dispell their DoTs with TS and continue to LoS and abuse your mobility.

Bodyguard (heal) Mercenary - And you through Sorcs were hard to kill? Just give up, you will never ever kill a healing mercenary by yourself and they have no hope of killing you. Interrupt and stun when able and move onto more important things.

Tank Powertech - These guys are super annoying and never die. They usually aren't too dangerous (aside of gripping you into fire/acid in Huttball), but you don't want to engage one over a long drawn out fight. I find it best to just ignore them.

DPS Powertech - Probably my second most hated class at the moment. They are impossible to kill, do insane burst damage with rail shot, and are very hard to use CS against with their many DoTs.

Marskman/Engineering Snipers - Stay away from our agent brethren. They do too much damage if they able to unload a full rotation on you. Fortunately, your strength (mobility) is their weakness, so abuse it.

Lethality Operatives & Snipers - Lethality is a horrible spec against a healing operative. Dispell their DoTs, heal, and ignore them. I'm sorry to those who think that's harsh, but no Lethality agent should ever be a concern of a healing operative.

Concealment Operative - I'm sorry, but most of the concealment operatives you find are bad. If they open up on you at 15% HP and kill you, that's great for them. Just shrug it off and move on. If they are bad and you survive their first knockdown, stun them back, dispell acid blade with TS, heal, and then just ignore them. If they are actually good they will stun you immediately after their knockdown from hidden strike. If you to need to (and if able), break this second stun. Follow up by stunning them back, dispelling acid blade, healing, and ignoring them.

Tank Juggernaut - Pretty much the same as a tank PT. You will never kill one and they should not kill you. Still, they are annoying to deal with. Best to just ignore.

Rage Juggernaut & Marauder - I'm clumping both rage ACs together because they are essentially the same concern for healing operatives. Smash is the one thing you want to watch for, and as a result, I find it best to try to avoid Rage juggs and marauders.

Annihilation Marauder - In my opinion this is the hardest DPS spec to play. Because of which, you will often see bad annihilation marauders. These bad marauders can be ignored. Dispell their DoTs and continue on your way. Good Annihilation Maruaders (and their mirror Sentinel spec), are hell to deal with. They are nearly impossible to kill thanks to their great defensive CDs, constantly apply DoTs you absolutely must continue to dispell, and are easily able to make up ground with charge if and when you try to get away from them. Overall, I would just recommend avoiding them if possible.

Warzone Specific Strategy

Huttball

Huttball is the worst warzone for Healing operatives. While everyone else is running around with force speed, grips, pulls, and knockbacks, you get to walk around like a slow turtle. As previously mentioned, you should be double stacking KP on the ball carrier and yourself at all times. When trying to score, it's best to walk in front of the ball carrier. If the carrier is a Jugg, he can intercede to you. If not, he can at least pass the ball to you if needed. Use debilitate, and most importantly, flashbang on enemies who you want to peel off ball carriers.

You can position yourself to the best of your abilities, but you will find yourself knocked off ledges frequently. The only advice I can provide is that you are able to LoS players on the side ledges from the top of the pit on the sides of the map where the health packs spawn.

Overall, I've found it best for a healing operative to be focused on helping his team run and score the ball (again utilizing mobility) as opposed to staying in the middle of the map healbotting. You can be a ball carrier for a short distance with a good team, but it's better to leave that sort of thing to Tanksins, juggs, and marauders.

Civil War

The key to playing well on civil war is all about utilizing LoS. Whether it be the pillars in middle, or the ledges on the two side points, abuse LoS to get off your necessary heals. If you are in middle, rotate between the two ledges and grab the expertise buff. If there are players stacked in a certain area or on the turrets, put down orbital strike and pop your adrenal + relic. You would be utterly amazed at how much damage Orbital Strike can do with Crit/Sruge relic and a PvP expertise adrenal.

When defending points, stay in cloak. If you want to try to ninja cap a turret by sleep darting the defender (8s duration), you can, but the sleep dart will wear off the instant before you cap the point (due to the time it takes to unstealth and click the turret). It's best to try to sleep dart them close to the turret and plant on the opposite side. With a little luck the extra half second of LoS will give you the time you need to cap the turret.

Alternatively, you can also try to ninja cap a turret by having a juggernaut, powertech, or tank assassin grip/push enemies away while you sneak behind in cloak and cap it.

Voidstar

Your best friend in voidstar is the pillars on either side of the first door. Use them to LoS the crap out of anyone attacking you while you play defense. Orbital strike is equally as powerful on voidstar as it is on Civil War so you should again be using (when able) when people are clumped together near the doors and/or hiding behind pillars. A key component to voidstar is making sure you don't die on defense once the doors have been opened, otherwise you will spawn on the other side of the ledge/fence. If needed, blow all your cooldowns to stay a live longer and prevent them from crossing.

While on offense, try to utilize your stealth if able and rotate between doors. A common strategy I use is once we have a bridge secured between door 1 and door 2, I stealth and run to the opposite side door from the bridge we secured. If your opponents are not paying attention, they will be busy dealing with your teammates crossing the bridge and not focused on the opposite door.

Healing Priority Targets

I'm sorry, not everyone in a WZ was created equal, in this regard, I have a certain priority to who I heal.
  1. Ball carrier in huttball
  2. Anyone within range & LoS who is dangerously low or is taking substantial damage
  3. Other healers
  4. Tanks who have guard on me
  5. Highest/High DPS
  6. guildmates (sorry, but true)

People who get heals less frequently:
  1. That random guy who is never doing anything to actually help you win the WZ
  2. The fresh 50 who dies in 3 hits (it's not personal, you are just usually dead faster than I have time to heal you)
  3. Tanks who are not guarding me (sorry, you guys can live a bit longer without my heals)

This is simply my rough priority list. You do not need to follow it, and of course, there are always exceptions.

PvP Consumables and Biochem

I'm going to make this simple: if you are not utilizing PvP consumables, you probably aren't PvPing up to your potential. The PvP medpack is the highest healing medpack you can use in a warzone (yes more than a Rakata medpack). Furthermore, the expertise adrenal is extremely useful, especially given the changes to expertise coming in 1.2.

Obviously Biochem is the best profession for PvP. Besides providing the great stat boost from your class's relevant rakata stim, you can also utilize the rakata medpack in conjunction with your warzone medpack.

The warzone medpack is on a 180s cooldown. The rakata medpack is on a 90s cooldown. Alternating these two cooldowns, you should have one medpack available every 1.5 minutes. As a healing operative who is generally alive long and in combat for an extended period of time, this is invaluable to helping you survive longer. Of course, this nice cooldown alternation will see a big hit when 1.2 comes out as you will only be allowed to use 1 medpack per combat, and the PvP medpack's cooldown is being reduced to 1.5 minutes as well.

Conclusion

I think I have squeezed as much information as I could into guide. In conclusion I'd like to reiterate the two most important takeaways I've said numerous times throughout this guide.
1) You cannot be a good PvP player without playing a lot of PvP.

2) EVERYTHING is about PvP situational. To be a great PvP player, you need to be able to recognize and react to these situations accordingly.
I'm more than happy to answer any questions or concerns, so feel free to ask below. If I made a factual mistake with something above, please let me know and I will fix it. I'm going to try to record some of my PvP games in high quality and post them in this thread as well. Although I've stated numberous times I highly suggest mixing in a fair bit of damage with your healing. I'm going to link a screenshot my highest healing total ever done in a WZ just to give you an idea of what my play style is capable of. And before anyone asks, I am targeted all the time as a healer in warzones. I rarely get more than 10s to free cast: http://i.imgur.com/KeHaP.jpg

Best of luck out there fellow operative healers.
Twitch Stream YouTube VoDs

Sanglol - Sangpt - Sangsin - Sangptz - Sangzrd - Sangzly - Sangmerc - Sanglul - Sangadow - Sangrawr - Sangocity

Endusima's Avatar


Endusima
04.03.2012 , 03:47 PM | #2
I have not read through it all, it seems like a solid guide although there was one major thing you missed.

When you go through the damaging abilties you completely ignore Snipe and Explosive probe. Explosive probe is our absolutely highest damage ability available as Medicine Operative, chaining Explosive probe with Snipe produces the largest spike damage we have and I personally use it extremely frequently. If you use Crouch the transition between Cover->Explosive probe->running is barely noticeable.

Also the part about Diagnostic Scan where you say that "if you run out of energy you are bad", well even the best of us run out of energy in PvP. Sometimes you simply have to heal until you got nothing left to give.
Scepter of Ragnos, Buttran

sang's Avatar


sang
04.03.2012 , 04:02 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Endusima View Post
I have not read through it all, it seems like a solid guide although there was one major thing you missed.
Thank you, know onto the one thing I knew would come up

Quote: Originally Posted by Endusima View Post
When you go through the damaging abilties you completely ignore Snipe and Explosive probe. Explosive probe is our absolutely highest damage ability available as Medicine Operative, chaining Explosive probe with Snipe produces the largest spike damage we have and I personally use it extremely frequently. If you use Crouch the transition between Cover->Explosive probe->running is barely noticeable.
For the recording, I didn't miss this, I actually left it out of my original draft. This is something very specific to my play style as I choose NOT to use this combination 99% of the time. I have several reasons for doing this. Most of which comes down to the 40 energy it takes to use both EP & snipe in succession. I will go ahead and add it back though.

Quote: Originally Posted by Endusima View Post
Also the part about Diagnostic Scan where you say that "if you run out of energy you are bad", well even the best of us run out of energy in PvP. Sometimes you simply have to heal until you got nothing left to give.
This is true I guess, will edit

--Thanks for feedback!
Twitch Stream YouTube VoDs

Sanglol - Sangpt - Sangsin - Sangptz - Sangzrd - Sangzly - Sangmerc - Sanglul - Sangadow - Sangrawr - Sangocity

Battilea's Avatar


Battilea
04.03.2012 , 04:36 PM | #4
Agreed, crouch-> snipe -> explosive probe is a great bit of burst to finish off low health opponents. I use it frequently to drop healers and ball carriers.

Battilea's Avatar


Battilea
04.03.2012 , 04:40 PM | #5
Also, it is Toxin Scan, not Toxic Scan.

Arrys's Avatar


Arrys
04.03.2012 , 05:04 PM | #6
We disagree on spec and warzone but good guide. I prefer 31/10 for the extra damage capacity/in combat speed boost and extra health vs the slightly more available stun. It's really a preference thing however both work well.

Need to add a section on the importance of grenade as a Instant 30 range AOE cap stopper. Proper use of grenade stealth and vanish can save games. In fact if you see the area wipe as imminent you may even decide to prep for it when playing defense. Particularly if you've been healed OOE. Running up on a wipe haveing the ability to drop into stealth count 5 after the pillar appears and stop the cap 5 seconds in invaluable as you can stay alive more than long enough to break the next cap as well depending on CD's.

Huttball is my favorite WZ's because of the side angle healing capacity and power of surgical probe on durable ball carriers. I'ld say civil war east or west is actually where operatives are weakest(middle we're strong) and Huttball once you learn the different ranges angles and LOS dumps actually where we can become strongest. KP+RN plus surgical probe spam = score on a good runner. Just don't throw me the ball please. Again thats preference you can find things Op's do well in each WZ I find Civil war the most frsutrating if I end up on the flanks.

sang's Avatar


sang
04.03.2012 , 05:26 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Arrys View Post
We disagree on spec and warzone but good guide. I prefer 31/10 for the extra damage capacity/in combat speed boost and extra health vs the slightly more available stun. It's really a preference thing however both work well.
Agreed.

Quote: Originally Posted by Arrys View Post
Need to add a section on the importance of grenade as a Instant 30 range AOE cap stopper. Proper use of grenade stealth and vanish can save games. In fact if you see the area wipe as imminent you may even decide to prep for it when playing defense. Particularly if you've been healed OOE. Running up on a wipe haveing the ability to drop into stealth count 5 after the pillar appears and stop the cap 5 seconds in invaluable as you can stay alive more than long enough to break the next cap as well depending on CD's.
I don't know how I forgot to add this the first time, but you are absolutely right. Frag grenade is massively important, especially in civil war and voidstar

Quote: Originally Posted by Arrys View Post
Huttball is my favorite WZ's because of the side angle healing capacity and power of surgical probe on durable ball carriers. I'ld say civil war east or west is actually where operatives are weakest(middle we're strong) and Huttball once you learn the different ranges angles and LOS dumps actually where we can become strongest. KP+RN plus surgical probe spam = score on a good runner. Just don't throw me the ball please. Again thats preference you can find things Op's do well in each WZ I find Civil war the most frsutrating if I end up on the flanks.
I like huttball with a good team, but it can be frustrating sometimes. CW is fun when you can stay at mid and the cover available there is excellent for LoS. You are right in saying we are weaker at the east and west sides - I generally tend to stay mid if able.

--Thanks for your comments and feedback!
Twitch Stream YouTube VoDs

Sanglol - Sangpt - Sangsin - Sangptz - Sangzrd - Sangzly - Sangmerc - Sanglul - Sangadow - Sangrawr - Sangocity

Firolaine's Avatar


Firolaine
04.03.2012 , 07:08 PM | #8
I find the largest purpose of diagnostic scan is to juke interrupts from other players. I find many opponents that don't actually check what they're interrupting, they're first reaction is to interrupt something that has a cast bar if a healer is casting.

I also find Orbital Strike to be additionally useful in voidstar just by placing it at a door. It's basically a 'no one can disarm/arm the bomb for 12 seconds' if you place it down.
Klein - 50 Medicine Operative - Canderous Ordo
Levin - 50 Corruption Sorcerer - Dalborra
Yulie - 50 Bodyguard Mercenary - The Harbinger

Battilea's Avatar


Battilea
04.03.2012 , 10:55 PM | #9
I noticed one thing missing from the class list...healing operatives.

It'll be one of those can't kill them, they can't kill you type deals, but for completeness sake...

Also, for each of the healers, it might be nice to list their main spammable heal, as that is usually the key heal to interrupt. Just like it hurts us big time if Kolto Injection gets interrupted, hitting Rapid Scan on a merc hoses his healing output. It is often the same as doing 6k+ damage to a ball carrier when you interrupt that heal on his merc healer. And if you stun them when they can finally cast it again...

Quote:
Explosive Probe & Snipe - Credit Endusima for convincing me to add Explosive Probe back to this list. Technically, Explosive Probe is our highest damage dealing ability, however, it can only be activated from a crouched position. Followed by Snipe, EP provides a significant burst of damage. As a personal preference, I choose not to utilize EP and snipe most of the time (again there are exceptions), primarily because of the combined 40 energy it costs to use them in succession. EP alone, however, costs 20 energy and if you prefer, can definitely be used to increase damage output.
At long range, it is snipe followed by EP, not the other way around. The snipe will set off the EP, for a fast bit of burst damage. Reduces the time the target has to get healed, break LoS, etc. With a crit, it can also hit quite hard and people don't expect that much burst from a healer.

Worth noting that this combo is quite handy for getting the quickdraw (deathblow) medal and the 2.5k crit one. So if you need a couple of medals to hit your cap, keep an eye out for someone at low health, ideally a sorc/sage or an IA/Smuggler.

Xerpac's Avatar


Xerpac
04.03.2012 , 11:32 PM | #10
This is a cool guide for an amazing pvp healer. This guide touches on all the topics of operative pvp gameplay in SWTOR, but I'd like to narrow down the conversation to gearing and stats. I agree that as a healer, pvp gear is king. I'm rank 70 and have most of the full battle master set. I'm not looking at my character right now, but I believe i've replaced almost every enhancement with the power/surge from enforcers gloves. Because of this, i've been playing above the surge cap with no alacrity on my gear for the past month.

Tomorrow I'm going to go back in and replace my excess surge with alacrity and see how well that goes for me.

Anyone else have any gearing strats they're using and enjoying success with? Anyone mixing in pve set pieces or even just pve mods?

I hope this doesn't derail the thread, which was an excellent contribution to the operative community.