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Finally got to heal some Ops.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
Finally got to heal some Ops.

Inune's Avatar


Inune
01.24.2012 , 09:32 AM | #1
So my guild finally scrounged together enough 50s to run some Ops over the weekend. I had tried to withhold judgment on healing in TOR until I had experienced Ops in some form and now that I have seen an Op, I have only one positive thing to say about it:



It is doable.

Yes, it is a grating, frustrating experience that feels like you're playing with a horribly incomplete toolkit and half the time feels like you're fighting the UI more than the boss' damage output, but it is doable. It is doable enough that we tackled both Eternity Vault and Karagga's palace without much incident, albeit on Normal, in mostly questing/daily gear with a smattering of HM Flashpoint gear.



Beyond that, I can only level criticisms at healing in TOR. I know the UI is a tired subject, but it must be addressed. It feels like I'm healing in a game from 10 years ago with spruced up graphics.

No mouseover healing, No target of target, No aggro warnings on other raid members, Ops frames that display only the first 4 de/buffs on any given target with like 10x10 pixel icons in a world where trash debuffs are thrown out like candy (what is "Grapple," and why are there 16 copies of it on every raid member preventing me from seeing Force Imbalance when this "Grapple" does seemingly nothing?)...

The ui is flat out, undeniably terrible. Really, if there is a member of the RPG trinity that UIs should be tailor made for, it should by all rights be healing. Tanks and DPS have their rotations and their procs to manage, but by and large the group that spends the most time wrestling with the UI are the healers and the TOR developers have failed us miserably in this.



In addition to the UI, though, healing in TOR is just horribly unresponsive. Ability delays and what I can only assume to be shoddy coding in Ops environments add up to the point where sometimes I have a 1.5s cast heal and there is almost 3-4 seconds between me pressing the button and my heal going off. I'm not entirely sure what the hell is up with TOR's engine, but my computer and connection, a setup that can run 25-player WoW raids at 50ms and 40-50fps, gets reduced to mush randomly in an 8-player Op in some areas and plays perfectly in others (notably, the blasted room wherein you fight the first boss of Karagga's palace forced me to play top-down and zoomed in, but I had no other latency/FPS issues in the instance).

TOR's system of having animations trump cast bars exacerbates the issue. It made me rage every time during leveling when I would have a heal queued on my companion or a party mate, the cast bar would finish, and my target would die between the finish of my cast and my heal actually hitting them. It's moderately rare in an Op - usually only happens when someone screws up - but it's no less rage-inducing when it happens there, too. I'm already fighting a horribly-designed UI in addition to the boss, I shouldn't have to fight my own cast bars by having to account for an extra .2-.5 seconds depending on which heal I'm planning to cast. That's just stupid.

edit to say here: The 1.5s GCD also exacerbates the issue of feeling unresponsive. It may be that I'm still just used to WoW's 1s GCD, but that extra .5s feels like an eternity when there's burst damage from the boss going out.



Something has to give here. Either the devs need to fix their bloody UI (and game engine), give us the tools to do it for them, or accept that as more people get to 50 and start hitting up content that isn't a level 30 Heroic 4 quest, healers are going to be a scarce commodity, because I can't imagine that the general population playing this game is going to be as willing as I am to put up with this crap in the name of getting something done for my team.

lueckjathom's Avatar


lueckjathom
01.24.2012 , 01:43 PM | #2
All valid.

On a positive note, the patch notes for today do say that they are implementing some fixes for ability delay. But obviously that is only a small part of the problem. On top of the fact that I don't put much faith in them fixing anything, given that Coruscant is still riddled with broken gathering nodes several weeks after they said they fixed them.

But yes, healing is doable. It is just much more frustrating than it needs to be. Challenge CAN equal fun, but not when the challenge comes from the game not functioning properly or being poorly designed. That just leads to frustration, which is not fun.

Inune's Avatar


Inune
01.24.2012 , 03:03 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by lueckjathom View Post
But yes, healing is doable. It is just much more frustrating than it needs to be. Challenge CAN equal fun, but not when the challenge comes from the game not functioning properly or being poorly designed. That just leads to frustration, which is not fun.

Pretty much. Challenge is good. I'm all for challenge, just challenge me with encounter mechanics, not the fact that I have to play with a UI from the 90s.

Kallti's Avatar


Kallti
01.24.2012 , 05:35 PM | #4
I agree completely with your entire post, very well said.

Also, I feel I need to... inb4l2p.

Zidaen's Avatar


Zidaen
01.24.2012 , 06:53 PM | #5
Target of target would be nice though why not just focus frame the boss for the same result?



Really though, you can scale your raid frames and put them anywhere you like. What more do you need?



Instead of looking at your target frame health bar, watch the raid frames, click the name and press your heal bind. Easy.

Loklamone's Avatar


Loklamone
01.24.2012 , 07:57 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Zidaen View Post
Target of target would be nice though why not just focus frame the boss for the same result?



Really though, you can scale your raid frames and put them anywhere you like. What more do you need?



Instead of looking at your target frame health bar, watch the raid frames, click the name and press your heal bind. Easy.
With global cool down and the skills not actually activating when you push the button it makes the delay between heals very frustraiting. if u have to click on somone while their dying it take about 1 to .5 seconds to click before you start casting the heal (im not talking about the actual clicking action im talking the reaction time it takes to see somones health dropping to the time it takes to mouse over their name and click it) so most peoples heals wouldnt go off for about 2 to 2.5 seconds and in a boss fight that is an eternity for not having heals. if you were able to mouse over heal it cuts that second off the heals or even if u could queue the heal to your mouse and not self cast then u could have a heal ready to go to click on your tank or raid member so your healing the second you select them rather then select and then start healing. this is a game of time management and with the current ui it is near impossible to be effective and effecient.

Inune's Avatar


Inune
01.24.2012 , 08:21 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Zidaen View Post
Target of target would be nice though why not just focus frame the boss for the same result?
Because that doesn't tell me who a mob is targeting beyond a blind guess based on where it turns to or a horribly clunky series of keystrokes to see who's on the guy's **** list.

Take an example: All good healers are preventative healers rather than reactionary healers. Lets say a DPS gets overzealous in a tank and spank fight and pulls threat. This is how various healers respond to the situation:

Bad or Inexperienced healer
Healer has tank targetted -> Boss targets DPS -> DPS takes damage -> Healer targets DPS -> Healer begins to cast heal on DPS.

Best possible response from TOR healer
Healer has tank targetted -> Boss targets DPS -> Healer sees boss turn, swaps tank with focus, assists target -> DPS has probably already taken damage -> Healer begins to cast heal on DPS.

Good healer in other games (i.e. with mouseovers, good UI)
Healer has boss targetted healing tank with mouseovers -> Boss targets DPS, aggro warning shows up on target-of-target or raid frames -> Healer begins casting heal or instantly uses mitigation ability on DPS -> DPS takes damage -> Healer already halfway through cast of heal and/or damage was mitigated.


Which of the other two healers is the best healer in TOR closer to?


Yes, that's an example of someone screwing up, which ideally doesn't happen. It's also an example of what a good, preventative healer is capable of when they're given tools that don't suck.

Even further, it's a pre-emptive counter example to people who are going to come in here and try to tell me I'm asking for EZmoad or say the things healers are asking for dumb down the game; look at a game that is capable of differentiating between healers 1 and 3 up there. Then look at TOR, which is capable of differentiating between healers 1 and 2. Tell me in which game are good healers more differentiated from bad ones and in which game the developers can actually create encounter mechanics to challenge healers more thoroughly.

Loklamone's Avatar


Loklamone
01.24.2012 , 08:40 PM | #8
Any argument stating that a better UI would be dumbing down the game is more or less saying, hey why would u want a lighter to start a fire when rubbing 2 sticks together will work just fine. It is a stupid to not use the tools that have already been developed to make the job more effecient.

Morthis's Avatar


Morthis
01.24.2012 , 08:56 PM | #9
I haven't even done the 50 stuff yet since I'm about to hit 50, and this stuff frustrates me to no end as op. In any kind of fight where I can expect a fair amount of damage on several people, I should maintain a KB 2 stack on them, but the UI makes this beyond frustrating to track. It blows my mind MMO developers still keep doing this, creating these large clunky UI's that are designed to look somewhat pretty but are extremely inefficient in terms of displaying the information you need to see or conserving screen space. By all means make a shiny looking UI for people who care about that, but give us the option to get rid of all that crap and actually see the stuff we care about.

In WoW (using a custom UI), not only can I condense the health bars for 25 people into the same space that is taken up by 4 people in SWTOR, but I'll also have all the relevant information needed to do dispels and to track my hot timers as resto druid. Meanwhile, things like built in power auras will easily allow me to track procs, and there are a myriad of options to track cooldowns. If they don't want to make all these things, that's fine, give us the tools to do so. There's a reason WoW did it, and it works very well. WoW's UI was/is terrible too, but at least we can fix that one.

Tyrborn's Avatar


Tyrborn
01.24.2012 , 09:22 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Inune View Post
Even further, it's a pre-emptive counter example to people who are going to come in here and try to tell me I'm asking for EZmoad or say the things healers are asking for dumb down the game; look at a game that is capable of differentiating between healers 1 and 3 up there. Then look at TOR, which is capable of differentiating between healers 1 and 2. Tell me in which game are good healers more differentiated from bad ones and in which game the developers can actually create encounter mechanics to challenge healers more thoroughly.
I applaud most of what you've written in this post as it's well-reasoned and well-written. Having been a healer from way back in EQ (beta'd as a cleric, played as a 2 boxed cleric/enchanter, man am I old), I'd only point out that you can differentiate bad healers from good ones no matter what the tools are and that the tools dictate how the content is designed. I'd prefer not to see it get to the point of WoW where you basically couldn't do your job as a healer without certain add-ons, which is where most of the whining would come from I think.

Admittedly the MMO genre has moved leaps and bounds from CH chains (eq), but I'd imagine, just as WoW did, you'll begin to see more advanced encounters as more tools become available. While I'd join you in wanting to see at least a better UI (I'm indifferent to mouseover because I use a razer naga so it's left-click/thumb-click for me when I'm not just using F keys in groups), considering the tools we have now the content isn't really out of line with it. I'm at least moderately confident BW will slowly give us more tools and increase the difficulty in encounters as they come. Really though, healers just need to be able to...

1. See what's going on: health bars, debuff frames, casting bar for boss skills about to do big damage, a big dunce cap for the 'you make bad players look good' players, etc.

2. Effective way of dealing with what's going on, which is easily dealt with as long as you have the information in 1. I imagine mouseovers and target of target frames would be representative here.

In any case, I think you make good points, just wanted to point out that most dissenters will likely be wanting anything other than what was required to be successful in 'that other game'.