Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer
×

Sage/Sorc Healer PvE Force Regain

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
Sage/Sorc Healer PvE Force Regain

XtremJedi's Avatar


XtremJedi
04.25.2012 , 06:10 AM | #1
Hey,

I've been working on analysing various techniques that people have been coming up with for PvE Force Regain for the Sage/Sorc. The more I look at them, the less good they actually look - especially when compared to simply idling and using base regen. This is an important relative comparison. When you're choosing what to cast for force regain, the most basic option is to do nothing and allow your base regen to refill your force. Any other approach needs to be better than idling to be really worthwhile.

I'm going to throw some of my thinking out there and would welcome people telling me where I've gone wrong or any things that I've missed. If you have other tactics that you use, I'll happily analyse their worth with you and then include those in this post and bring together the information in one place.

Summary

The summary is that there are three tactics that I think are both practical and generate a reasonable amount more force than idling would have:

Channel Proc, AoE and 2 Regains.
Good nett regain and much better than idling. Possible issues with positioning and mobility

Channel Proc, 2 Regains and Self-Healing (HoT > Main Heal)
Excellent nett regain but medium differential to idling. Dedicates a lot of casting time and CDs/AC buff to yourself, rather than to actual healing targets

Channel Proc, Regain + HoT to Self
Low nett regain and idling differential, but quick to cast and very mobile. Still loses CD/AC buff to yourself, rather than to actual healing targets

All three are quite dependent upon the channeled heal critting without having the Conveyance/Force Bending crit buff - if you don't get the crit then they're only just viable at all. The only one that really generates significantly more force than Idling (enough to do more than one heal) is the AoE one. Indeed, if you try to build these into actual rotations over longer periods of time, only the AoE one really supports a good level of casting of other heals for the actual purpose of healing other targets.

All approaches to Sage/Sorc healing will include quite a lot of free GCDs in order to maintain a fairly low level of healing without overall force drain. Indeed, if you want to manage force well, your main question should really be whether to cast or not to cast.

It's also worth noting that none of these approaches really benefits from taking Valiance/Dark Resilience. All of these calculations assume 3 points in Inner Strength/Electric Induction, which should be standard in all healer builds. Nett costs quoted include the base regen that you would gain while casting them or during the GCD for instants. I have not taken alacrity into account here - but it's my general impression that any level of alacrity will only worsen the out-comes.

I should note that there is an option I haven't included below, which is getting another healer in your group/raid to heal your Regain damage. This is OK as long as the heal that you get would not have been usefully and gainfully used on an actual healing target at the time. I haven't included this specifically in this break-down as working out the overall benefit to a raid of doing this - or the overall disadvantage - is too complex to model accurately - and of course, if there is not another healer in your group, then it's not an option.

Also, there are Hybrid builds that take advantage of the force regain abilities in the non-healing trees. But these really require you to sacrifice the AoE heal and so shouldn't really be counted as main endgame healers, although there are certainly options there for healing some high level Heroics as a secondary healer.

What works

Channel Proc, AoE and 2 Regains.

Channel (on tank) PROC > HoT (on tank) > AoE (on tank and self) > Regain (NS/Cons) > Regain (NS/Cons)
assuming that the proc on the channel fires

Nett Costs of this (assuming 3 points in Inner Strength/Electric Induction) are:

Channel -13 > HoT -15 > AoE -48 > Regain (on proc) +64 > Regain (off proc) +44
assuming that the proc on the channel fires

Total Nett = 32 Force.

Comparing this to using base Regen by idling, instead of NS/Cons - but keeping the same heals in as long as they are healing actual healing targets:

Channel (on tank)> HoT (on tank) > AoE (on tank and Self) > Free GCD > Free GCD

Total Nett = -52 Force

So this approach gives you a gain over idling of 84 Force and a nett gain of 32 force. This is a sizeable improvement and can supply you with a decent amount of extra force for casting (2 good heals) - while also providing you with heals CDs and buffs going to actual healing targets.

Channel Proc, 2 Regains and Self-Healing (HoT > Main Heal)

With the Resplendence/Force Surge Buff you get:

Channel (on tank) PROC > Regain > Regain > HoT (self) > Main heal (self)

Which works out as:

Channel -13 > Regain +64 > Regain +44 > HoT -15 > Main Heal -16

Total Nett = +64 Force

Comparing this to using base Regen by idling, instead of NS/Cons - but keeping the same heals in as long as they are healing actual healing targets:

Channel -13 > Idle 7 seconds +56

Total Nett = +43 Force

So using the Proc with this approach actually gains you an extra 21 force over what you would have gained by idling and the overall nett gain is high at +64. At the same time, you still have the down-side of losing the HoT CD and AC buff and includes long casts reducing mobility. This approach may be situationally useful - perhaps more in PvP?

Channel Proc, Regain + HoT to Self

Using a Resplendence/Force Surge proc to do Regain and then healing yourself with HoTgives:

Channel (on tank) PROC > Regain > HoT (on self)

assuming that the proc on the channel fires

Channel -13 > +64 > -15

Total nett = 36 Force

Comparing this to using base Regen by idling, instead of NS/Cons - but keeping the same heals in as long as they are healing actual healing targets would be:

Channel -13 > 3 seconds Idling +24

Total nett = +11 Force

This approach gives you +25 force compared to Idling and is quick and so can be used when pressed for time. But it only has a +11 nett force gain - not enough for a heal of any kind.... and you do lose the HoT CD and AC buff. But at least you're gaining a good bit more than idling when you can't use the AoE variant above, which will usually be due to mobility or AoE positioning issues.

What doesn't really work so well...

Using Regain and not healing yourself

The approach here is to manage your health like another resource. So you allow a certain amount of damage to yourself from using your Force Regain ability, without healing it back up yourself. This can seem a better proposition than it actually is.

You must actually be sure that you don't heal yourself for the damage done by the Regain. If you try to heal yourself with a healing ability, then you're essentially just using one of the other approaches that are listed below. So for example: if you use Regain and take the damage... but at a later point in the same fight, you heal that damage with your HoT... then you have essentially just used Regain > HoT (spread out over time) and this is not an efficient manner of regaining force compared to simply idling.

You can of course later heal yourself with a channel procced AoE... but then you must ensure that you only use one Regain ability during that AoE - essentially using the workable AoE tactic above. If you use a Regain and then later do the AoE + 2 Regain tactic mentioned above, then you're really doing the AoE + 3 Regain tactic which doesn't really work out

So... that to one side... in any given fight you can obviously afford a given number of Regain uses - depending upon how happy you are with the level of health that this leaves you with. So if you decide you are happy carrying a health level of 70%, then you can afford to use Regain twice in that fight without healing yourself. If it's a very long fight and you have enough time to regen 15% health in combat from base regen... then you could fit in another.

Note: this approach does benefit from the Valiance/Dark Resilience spec and from the restore from equipment set bonus. You could then get 3 Regains to the 70% level and your base in-combat health regen would potentially get you another more quickly.

3 Regains within the AoE

A variation on the AoE approach is sometimes suggested, which is to include more Regains while in the AoE - but supplement the healing with another heal. This ends up with something like:

HoT (on tank) > AoE (on tank and Self) > Regain > Regain > Channel (self) PROC > Regain
assuming that the proc on the channel fires

This translates to:

HoT -15 > AoE -48 > Regain +44 > Regain +44 > Channel -13 > Regain +64
assuming that the proc on the channel fires

Total Nett = +76 Force

Comparing this to using base Regen by idling, instead of NS/Cons - but keeping the same heals in as long as they are healing actual healing targets (so not including the Channel):

HoT -15 > AoE -48 > Idle for 7.5 Seconds +60

Total Nett = -3

So this approach gives you a gain over Idling of 79 force, which is less than the actually good AoE variation and you're also using your Channel on yourself, wasting an important CD and one of your cheapest heals, for what turns out to be relatively speaking a worse result. You're better off sticking to two NS within the AoE than going for more.


2 Regains and then Self-Healing

Another approach that I had viewed quite positively until recently, was the following - without Resplendence/Force Surge:

Regain > Regain > HoT Self > Main Heal Self (Dark Infusion/Deliverance on Proc)

This works out as:

Regain +44 > Regain +44 > HoT -15 > Main Heal -16

Total Nett = 57 force

Comparing this to using base Regen by idling, instead of NS/Cons - but keeping the same heals in as long as they are healing actual healing targets would be simply idling for 7 seconds.

Total nett = 56 force

So Idling would gain you 1 less force, but you also gain the HoT CD and AC buff being available for the tank. All in all, then... this approach is considerably worse than simply idling. Nevertheless, the actual nett force gain is very good. This approach may be situationally useful - perhaps more in PvP?



Unprocced Regain > HoT to Self

Another approach that people have suggested is to simply use:

Regain > HoT Self

This works out as

Regain + 44 > HoT -15

Total Nett = +29 Force

Comparing this to using base Regen by idling, instead of NS/Cons - but keeping the same heals in as long as they are healing actual healing targets would be 3 seconds of Idling

Total Nett = 24 Force

So this approach only gives a +5 force gain above idling but at the same time you lose the HoT CD and AC buff. Not really worth the trade-off.

Regain > Channeled Heal to Self

This approach gives the following:

Regain +44 > Channel -13
Nett Gain = +31 Force

Comparing this to using base Regen by idling, instead of NS/Cons - but keeping the same heals in as long as they are healing actual healing targets would be

Idle 4.5 seconds = +36 Force

So this gives 4 less Force than simply idling for the same time period. It also uses the main tank healing ability, wasting its CD entirely and ties you up casting a long heal on yourself, leaving you less flexible to react to other situations. On the other hand, you can react better than if you were using the Main Heal, since the channel is at least front loaded. Either way... you're better off simply idling.

Subversion/Concentration Buff

This approach attempts to use the Force Regen buff from Subversion/Concentration stacks which are procced off Disturbance/Lightning Strike. Unless you are refreshing a 3 stack with your Disturbance/LS, this is not noticeably force positive.

Single Dist/LS cast nett cost = -15.3
Benefit from Subv/Conc stack = +8
Nett cost = 7.3

Refresh of a two Stack nett cost of Dist/LS = -15.3
Benefit from Subv/Conc 2-stack = +16
Nett gain = 0.7 Force

Refresh of a three Stack nett cost of Dist/LS = -15.3
Benefit from Subv/Conc 2-stack = +24
Nett gain = 8.7 Force

Idling for the 1 GCD involved = +12 nett gain.

So, even in its most optimal refreshing assuming perfect timing, you gain less force than you would have gained by idling. This is an option for providing some added DPS at a very low cost though.

Focus on using Bubbles (Force Armor/Static Barrier)

Some people have suggested using bubbles more as a way of dealing with the changes. This seems counter-productive, as the bubbles are not at all force efficient. Even fully specced they still cost 33 nett force which is more than twice as much as the Main Heal (with proc) or the Channel for similar sorts of healing.

Some have suggested that Force Bubbles remove the chance of over-healing as a counter-argument... but if the bubble target doesn't take enough damage to use up the shield before the shield times out, then that is essentially also an overheal.

XtremJedi's Avatar


XtremJedi
04.25.2012 , 09:24 AM | #2
After being asked by somebody whether I could recommend a steady-state rotation as a result of this research, I did put one together. I've just chucked this together, so it's possible that I've made an error in there somewhere... but it does represent a fairly steady state rotation, all in all.

{Edited 29/06/12} to reflect conveyancing bug fix and put in more explanation.

Your basic shape for end-game healing should follow the following basic advice:
  • Always bubble the tank, because it's a great HPF heal as long as the whole shield is used - but only if it's all used.
  • Your HoT should go on the tank, so that he also gets the Force Shelter AC buff.
  • You use conveyanced AoE to heal 2 x Noble Sacrifice worth of damage, placing it so that it also heals at least the tank. You encourage DPS to stand in the AoE whenever possible - Sage healing is now too slow to reliably use singe target heals to heal multiple player and since the AoE is the basis of the best force regain approach, you should slap it down regularly and advise DPS to take advantage.
  • Refresh the HoT on the tank, to keep the AC buff, follow again with the channel to take advantage of the buff... and then if you need to, use the conveyance on Deliverance. You may stop-cast the deliverance in order to ensure that it doesn't over-heal.

There's no such thing as a fixed rotation for healing... you'll always react to the situation in front of you and there will be times when Purge, Stun, Interrupt and DPS may be better options. But using the patterns described above, which are generally best practice, you end up with a guide-line rotation for optimised, sustained pure healing that looks like this:

Code:
0s        Bubble Tank
1.5s     Channel (usually tank)
4.5s     HoT Tank
6.0s     AoE   (At least self and tank, preferably also DPS)
8.0s     Regain     
9.5s     Regain    
11.0s   HoT  Tank
12.5s   Channel  (usually tank)
15.5s   Deliverance (usually tank)
18.0s   Free
20.0s   Bubble Tank etc

This rotation averages around -20 to -25 force per rotation, so you can maintain it for a goodly period. If you leave the Deliverance out and replace it with idle time, it can actually work out as force positive. It is overall, the best healing that you can make, with a relatively low force drain overall.

You then tack in your favoured emergency healing routines as required and there's advice on that elsewhere. But you may notice, that many other people suggest similar patterns to those already found in the above rotation such as Bubble > HoT > Channel and HoT > Channel > Deliverance (>Deliverance)... so really a lot of healing is already built into this rotation, with very low force drain. You'll add in relic boosts and force potency for burst healing too, of course.

Force Armour is useful for emergency healing multiple targets when you're sure that they'll all take enough damage to use up the shield... things like predictable AoEs that you know the melee group rarely gets out of the way for - then you may want to bubble the melee group in advance where possible.

This is using the optimal force regain scenario which is the AoE one. There are of course issues with positioning for this. The Sage/Sorc needs to be closer to melee range than they'd probably like... and in some boss fights where lots of movement is required, it may not be possible to use the AoE for its full 10 seconds, so you may end up with some health drain for the ticks that you miss. And of course, the moment you do anything else your force drain will increase considerably.

On the up-side the rotation does include a decent healing output and most of the healing is going on actually healing real targets, rather than healing yourself.

Again though... I'll stress that there can not be a fixed rotation for healing. There are certain casting patterns that represent best usage of the mechanics of the tool-set though. You should see such guide-line rotations as just that... guide-lines. If you're wanting to optimise your healing output while minimising your force drain... then aiming at a pattern that looks like the above, will take you in generally the right direction.

As I said... just throwing it out there because somebody asked for it and I thought it might contribute to the discussion.

X

Xaearth's Avatar


Xaearth
04.25.2012 , 11:04 AM | #3
I still firmly believe the devs intended Sorc/Sage to get a stacked HoT from the Op/Scoundrel healer or green pew-pew from the Merc/Commando.

It would be interesting to see how the health sacrifice relates to the other healer classes as well in that regard.
"The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with BioWare."
~ SWTOR Update 1.2: Legacy

Edoniltebaun's Avatar


Edoniltebaun
04.25.2012 , 11:11 AM | #4
I just want to say thanks for your input, insight, and hard work over the calculations.

I've agreed with you from the beginning that sorc/seer healing just really isn't that much fun anymore. Everything I've read in here about how "Everything is fine" and I just need to "L2P" or "Adjust" seems to assume that there's the ideal situation, the ideal group composition, and the ideal awareness is always happening. The reality is that most fights are quite far from ideal.

Bottom line ... you are correct, sir. Healing and resource management is possible. But all in all, the biggest nerf that I really believe healers got (with maybe the exception of the Op/Smuggler) was that our fun was removed due to it being overpowered in PvE & PvP.

Xaearth's Avatar


Xaearth
04.25.2012 , 11:47 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Edoniltebaun View Post
Bottom line ... you are correct, sir. Healing and resource management is possible. But all in all, the biggest nerf that I really believe healers got (with maybe the exception of the Op/Smuggler) was that our fun was removed due to it being overpowered in PvE & PvP.
Our laugh was removed.
Other than that there wasn't much fun with Op/Scoundrel healing to begin with.
"The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with BioWare."
~ SWTOR Update 1.2: Legacy

madtycoon's Avatar


madtycoon
04.25.2012 , 12:36 PM | #6
Thanks for posting this. A good read.

Aurojiin's Avatar


Aurojiin
04.25.2012 , 02:29 PM | #7
So, as a more general question, when would you advocate the use of Force Armor/Static Barrier in one's general healing approach? Aside from in your steady-state rotation.

Also, in your theoretical rotation, it still seems better to use the HoT before the channel at the beginning. At present (possibly a bug) Innervate/HT does not use up FB/Conveyance if targeted on anyone other than yourself. With the two-piece PVE set bonus, your channel will still cooldown before you need it again in your rotation.

XtremJedi's Avatar


XtremJedi
04.25.2012 , 02:58 PM | #8
About 15s before the tank goes into normal fights, bubble him and meditate to regain the force. Before heading into a big fight - bubble everything that moves and then meditate. Bubble the tank early in that routine, so that his immunity has already almost dropped by the time he starts the engagement. That's free defence and not too troublesome to organise - and meditating restores force pretty quickly.

During combat, on the tank is the obvious one and I think I'd still go for that. It's a great heal for any target that will reliably use all of the shield - even though it's still expensive in heal per force - and it allows you to create real bursts of healing when used in conjunction with another heal. I like the channel to follow it for burst healing, because it is front-loaded.

In my steady state rotation, you'll notice that there were a bunch of free GCDs at the back end of it, so my expectation would be that the tank would be needing a burst when the rotation restarted, that's part of the reason why I started with Bubble > Channel > HoT.

If you'd asked me a couple of weeks ago, I'd have said that when a DPS pulls aggro my first response is to go for the bubble. Quick, front-loaded big heal - it's the obvious choice. Now I'm less convinced. It's expensive in terms of heal per force and is still susceptible to over-heal, especially if it's just an aggro flicker. Also, the AoE is so crucial now to force regain, being streets ahead of the other options, that it has to be the heal you're wanting to use for as much of your DPS healing as is possible.

There are going to be some specific instances when movement and fight mechanics make the AoE heal less useful for the DPS. Even then, I'd lean towards HoTs/Channels first... and then only if nothing else was going to work, would I pre-bubble DPS.

So, that pretty much leaves situations where a DPS's health is in real danger of killing them if they take a few more hits. So when thing are going badly wrong, tank is struggling to hold on to things and you're struggling to hold on to the healing.. then splashing some bubbles around the group may give you and the tank enough breathing space to get things back under control.

This is all play-style preferences though. Others will no doubt have different opinions. But for me:

1) Pre-bubbling before fight + Meditate
2) For the tank - especially to form burst healing
3) Hail Mary to DPS. Only when they're on the edge of going down or when incoming AoE damage is obviously outstripping your AoE heal.

I should say though, that I'm one of those healers that cancelled shortly after 1.2, so I'm not still actively playing. It's possible that there are other approaches and information I'm just not aware of. That's partly why the first post in this thread has an open invitation asking for other tactics and issues to be brought up.

X

XtremJedi's Avatar


XtremJedi
04.25.2012 , 03:06 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Aurojiin View Post
Also, in your theoretical rotation, it still seems better to use the HoT before the channel at the beginning. At present (possibly a bug) Innervate/HT does not use up FB/Conveyance if targeted on anyone other than yourself. With the two-piece PVE set bonus, your channel will still cooldown before you need it again in your rotation.
Dealing with this separately.

Yes... I'd forgotten about the bug at the moment with the Channel not eating the Conveyance/Force Bending buff. Like I said, I like the channel after the bubble - but I don't think it would make too much difference to switch them around. You could then also switch the HoT > Channel around in the later part of the rotation without much of an issue and it would help guarantee the Resplendence/Force Surge proc. I'll edit that post to reflect that.

I haven't really included much in the way of the set bonuses. Yes that might alter things in timing and you may be able to get a leaner rotation out. I'm honestly not going to do that extra work though. As I said, I haven't been playing the game for some time and spent a long time pulling together the first two posts here.... I just don't think I've got much energy left for messing with more.

X

Jedi_Kaysha's Avatar


Jedi_Kaysha
04.25.2012 , 05:17 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by XtremJedi View Post
Note: At present (25th April 2012) there is a bug which causes the Channeled Heal to not eat the Conveyance/Force Bending proc buff.
Edit: I can't reproduce the bug right now. I am currently testing ingame, but as soon as I start to cast Healing Trance, the Conveyance buff is eaten. This makes me wonder if the buff now only affects the first tick of the heal, only the direct healing portion, or the entire spell.

Essentially, it's still the double-dipping bug that's present. The channeled HoT only eats the buff at the very end (like it did pre-patch) so if you cast fast enough, you can make it affect 2 spells instead of 1.

It's funny that they put so much effort into destroying the bug in this specific case, but not consider the general mechanic behind it that's causing it. For instance, Troopers can also abuse a double-dipping bug with Reserve Power Cell and I am sure there are more instances where it applies.

Generally, a double-dipping bug occurs when the following conditions are met:
- The first and second spell being cast are "chained" (i.e. no room between casts, the player is mashing buttons to get the spells of as soon as the GCD ends);
- The first spell cast is a spell for which the buffs' effect is resolved when casting ends;
- The second spell cast is a spell for which the buffs' effect is resolved when its cast is started;

The reason for this is simply lag between the game server on one side and the game client on another. After the first spell, the game server is cancelling the buff but before it can tell the game client that the buff is gone, the game client has already begun casting the next spell, under the benefits of the buff.

What they did to "fix" it was simply to change the Sage's spells that were affected by it, to have them resolve at the start of casting. The exception here is Healing Trance, which gets affected by it every tick - including the very last one, which is when the spell ends. They left all others untouched, like the case of the Reserver Power Cell for Troopers, but I am sure there are more one-shot-only buffs which affect more than one spell, that have this 'ability'. I didn't perform a survey of all one-shot buffs that are available to players to see which ones can be abused.

On the topic of healing: the main reason people say that Healing Rotations are a silly concept is because healing is needed when it's needed, where it's needed. You can cook up all kinds of healing rotations, but in the end the only thing that matters is if you achieve the amount of HPS that is needed to offset the encounter's DPS (including all forms of damage done to the party during it). Based on those requirements, a healer has to be flexible and adaptive, to squeeze the most out of the resources available to make it till the end of the encounter. Those are parameters that cannot easily be caught in any rotation or formula - hence, people generally state that healing rotations are useless as they completely ignore situational and circumstantial effects which are present in any encounter.
True strength is not a measure of the body,
It's a measure of the soul