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Sawbones:

Guide to Healing with HoTs and Kneeing People in Uncomfortable Places

A Remnants of Hope Smuggler PvP Healer Guide By “Dr.” Ascendi Maracadi

Remnants of Hope Smuggler PvP Healer Guide 3.0 Date Created: 23 March 2015 Date Updated: n/a Applicable Game Version: SWTOR 3.0

TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE MINDSET

2

HEALER SKILLS

2

DEFENSIVE/ UTILITY SKILLS

6

STEALTH

8

UTILITIES

8

HEALING PLAYSTYLE AND “ROTATIONS”

10

OFF-DPS

12

HEALER STATS

13

GEARING A POWER-STACKING HEALER

14

“CRITICAL” THEORY IN SAWBONES GEARING: ADVANCED STAT AND GEARING PRINCIPLES

15

CONCLUSION

16

The Mindset

Being a good Sawbones healer in PvP isn’t about doing the most healing up front; it’s about keeping everyone alive. For example, as tempting as it is to spam Emergency Medpac, taking two globals when you can afford it to fill stacks of Slow-Release Medpac or refresh HoTs on other teammates will help you in the long run and make you a better healer. If none of that made sense, that’s why this guide is here. This is a comprehensive guide to healing, assuming the reader has zero knowledge, yet simultaneously providing details that even moderately skilled or master players will find useful.

First, some key concepts:

1)

You can’t heal anyone if you’re dead

2)

You can’t heal someone if they are dead

3)

You or others will die if you don’t pay attention

4)

You or others will die if you can’t react

5)

Sometimes, you have to let idiots die

Healing isn’t an archetype you can play without astute attention to detail in any situation. PvP isn’t a game you can play without phenomenal attention to detail. And Smuggler Healer is a discipline which requires perception that borders on foresight. Even if you know what is going to happen, and what is happening, you still need to have all conceivable options in mind when reacting, and react according to those options. Be forewarned, this guide will train your knowledge of options and tell you the appropriate reactions. Actually reacting has to be learned by practice. If you lack either, people die; and your status as a healer will reflect that.

Healer Skills

With the Exception of Upper Hand, these are all the buttons you will have to press at some point. However, Upper Hand is the key to using many healing skills.

Upper Hand (passive/buff) (UH) This is a buff that controls how often you can use your more useful healing skills. You can have 3 stacks of this buff at a time.

You generate stacks of Upper Hand by:

1)

Stealth: Coming out of stealth (grants 2);

2)

HoTs: generated by your Heal Over Time (HoT) skills, which have a 30% chance to give you

3)

one stack every 6 seconds. Play the class right, and you can reliably say every 10 seconds you will get 1 UH; Blaster Whip: Bitchslap an enemy with this skill to get a stack of UH every 6 seconds. It’s a

4)

dumb idea to chase down an enemy to get a stack, but because you are a healer and probably have at least one melee on you anyway, a quick tab target is all it takes for the most satisfying way to proc a skill in the game; Underworld Medicine: My least favorite skill and least favorite way to gain Upper Hand. It

5)

costs the most energy, has a 2-second cast time, and is easy to interrupt. On the plus side, it’s guaranteed and in and of itself is a good heal; or finally Tendon Blast with Get the Bulge masterful utility: It’s like Blaster Whip but with range and an enemy speed debuff. Included as an idea, not because it’s a good one.

UH: To take full advantage of healing bonuses, use a skill that consumes UH once
UH: To take full advantage of
healing bonuses, use a skill that
consumes UH once every 6 seconds.
Slow-Release Medpac (SRM)
This is the single most important healing skill at your disposal.
Another interesting property of this skill is that it works differently
on yourself versus other players. Usually, you lay out the two stacks
and by the time that second stack is placed, the heal, which occurs
every three seconds, goes off. Refreshing this HoT on other players
SRM: Keep 2 stacks running as
often as you can on as many
people as you can.

To take full advantage of healing bonuses, use a skill that consumes UH once every 6 seconds. It’s a good idea to save one stack of Upper Hand, but it isn’t mandatory and it’s easy enough to gain them. However, don’t

waste time building stacks of Upper Hand when you already have 3, as that’s the cap. Personally, I’m persnickety about ensuring I have 2 stacks max, so I can take advantage of the automatic regeneration of UH by my HoTs to the fullest.

At the highest level of gear, this skill will say it does 4200 or so healing over 18 seconds, and stacks up to two times. Costs 10 energy. More in depth, this is a respectable HoT that will heal for 750 every 3 seconds at 1 stack and 1500 at 2. Passives increase the crit chance of these ticks by 3%.

Keep 2 stacks running as often as you can on as many people as you can. Though the incredible single- target burst prevents you from wasting too many global cool-downs (GCD or Globals, the 1.5 seconds between each skill) keeping it fresh on 4 teammates (the recommended for comfortable PvE healing), consider that number an ideal. Despite logically knowing its good enough to have 2 stacks on myself and one other, that slight disappointment in not doing everyone makes me work harder. When in doubt and out of danger, cast SRM. ALL of our healing is calculated under the assumption that we have SRM rolling; you will never get the same huge single-heal numbers sages and commandos can pull off, but if you have two stacks of SRM rolling than your SRM + Underworld Medicine (our biggest heal) will get you just about within range. It is not an overstatement to say that a collapse in refreshing SRM is a collapse in Sawbones healing; and in high-pressure situations you will feel its absence.

won’t reset the timer; it will tick every three seconds no matter what. However, when used on yourself, refreshing SRM actually resets the healing tick too, and the healing is front-loaded (at the start of the 3 seconds instead of the end. You can cast SRM every 1.5 seconds, which means refreshing SRM constantly makes it tick twice as fast on yourself. This leads to interesting interplay with Emergency Medpac discussed below.

However, as a pro tip, if you find yourself in the ultra-rare situation where you are out of stacks of Upper Hand, out of defensive cool downs, and can’t risk sitting still to cast anything, SRM spam can still save you by this property AND makes it twice as likely to get a stack of Upper Hand in the same amount of time.

Emergency Medpac (EM) CONSUMES UPPER HAND and (pft!) 5 energy. Instant cast heal for about 2500, and no cool down. Also, refreshes your stacks of SRM ONLY IF you have two stacks on the target.

This is where the interplay between Emergency Medpac and SRM gets interesting. Because SRM’s HoT is frontloaded at two stacks, casting EM on yourself with 2 stacks of SRM will trigger both heals simultaneously. EM is bound to the GCD, at 1.5 seconds between casts, and SRM usually takes 3 seconds

between ticks. However, spamming EM, as you will do a lot in PvP, causes SRM to trigger every 1.5 seconds. In perspective, the 1500 healing of SRM and the 2500 of EM is about 4000 healing from one Global. In perspective, Underworld Medicine is your biggest direct heal, and it does about 4300 with a 2- second cast time.

When you think that this combination is an instant-cast uninterruptable ability which almost matches your 2-second easily interrupted cast time ability, it should be clear why I stress the importance of keeping your SRM HoTs rolling on yourself. Also of great importance, every 10 seconds EM regrants Upper Hand on use, making it essentially free. Also has a passive that causes 20% increased healing on a critical hit.

Kolto Pack (KP) CONSUMES UPPER HAND and 18 energy. This skill has a 1.5-second cast time, does about the same direct healing as EM (2500), and gives a powerful HoT that heals for 3700 over nine seconds. More in- depth, it heals for 420 every second for nine seconds. Is also has a 9-second cool down. It is definitely a good skill to use, and keep on cool down.

I like casting it on people who are taking damage that I haven’t hit with SRM, as a way to keep them up until both stacks are rolling and I can let loose with EM spams. Also has a passive that causes 20% increased healing on a critical hit and another that decreases damage taken by certain effects.

Underworld Medicine (UM) COSTS 20 (f’n) ENERGY. All good things must run out, and the same must be said of Upper Hand. After you spammed EM 5 times in a row, you have literally no options. As much as you may want to spam SRM at this point, the DPS have other ideas. They need heals, they need them now, and the damage they are taking won’t stand for that soft-core HoT stuff. No, enemy DPS doesn’t appreciate the fine arts of HoTs. For them, you need to bring out the big, unwieldy, unsophisticated Single Target Heal.

Clocking in at 4200-4500, 4900 fully revved in your rotation, and a 2 second cast, this healing ability will be felt, but it is also the most vulnerable. It’s easy to interrupt, your teammates will LoS (Line of Sight, or moving where you can’t heal them) it, it wastes a full .5 second off the GCD you could have spent casting EM, and it costs a ton of energy. There

There are exactly two situations you would want to use this skill; you are out of stacks of Upper Hand or your teammate just ate 25% or more in the span of a GCD.

are exactly two situations you would want to use this skill; you are out of stacks of Upper Hand or your teammate just ate 25% or more in the span of a GCD. Both situations are unavoidable in PvP, neither are situations you want to find yourself in. In the second case, your teammate is being hard focused and needs you to use an emergency rotation to live (see ROTATIONS section).

NEVER use this skill if you have 2 or more stacks of Upper Hand. ALWAYS follow up with either Kolto Pack or EM for the best burst heals if you end the cast with 2 stacks of Upper Hand. This skill is the devscurse to bad smuggler healers, and has been since 1.0. That’s not to say never use this skill, just know using this means something went wrong. They also doubled down when they made the most useful part of our gear set bonuses the guaranteed critical hit of UM.

Basically, every 30 seconds you get 15% chance for a ‘free’ crit. It’s so unreliable I don’t even look out for it, but it is nice when it pops-up in “oh shit” situations. Also has a passive that causes 20% increased healing on a critical hit.

Triage Costs 10 energy. Cleanses 2 negative tech, physical, or mental effects and heals for 1000. It’s not a good skill to use as a heal, however that doesn’t mean remove it from your hot bar. Cleanses in this game are a bit infuriating, as they can’t be relied on to cleanse damage done by DoTs (because Bioware). However, if you are rooted, you can use this as an escape tool. Also, your teammate can call out for you to cleanse them of stuns and roots. An impeccable tool in ranked arenas, where a cleansed stun can be key.

Kolto Cloud (KC) Costs 20 energy. An instant cast AoE skill which heals 3 people for 9 seconds for 4200 healing. In depth, that’s 600 heals every second for 9 seconds. It is cast on a person and affects the radius (10m) around that person. It’s a smart heal, so it will always heal the weakest. Cast on groups with at least three people within an area or, more commonly, cast on yourself while you position yourself between the people who need healing.

A good skill that further advances our position as group-healer extraordinaire. Also increases all healing received by affected targets by 3%.

Kolto Waves (KW) Channeled over 3 seconds and costs 28 energy over the channel. Heals 8 people within 8m for 4300. 8.5- second cool down. In depth, it heals about 1200 every second, 4 times (once at the start, once every second). I’d call it the AoE UW if it didn’t provide such good group healing. Cast KC and KW together, and you can reasonably expect everyone to be brought back up significantly. Everyone.

In exchange though, you are rooted in place. Ugh. Can you tell I’m miffed about our mobility nerfs? Has a 10% increased critical chance each tick on each person.

Diagnostic Scan (DS) Our lightest heal, and another 2-second channel. On the plus side, it costs no energy, heals for 2000, and actually restores energy. In depth, this skill ticks 3 times for 650, but ONLY after the first second; all 3 ticks happen after in the last half of the skill. This skill has a significantly higher crit chance (25% increased) and critical hits restore 1 energy.

If you go under 70 energy and don’t have anything better to do, cast DS. This is important because under 60 energy, your energy regen rate slows down. Before that point, most of your skills can be rotated through at minimal and manageable energy. After that point, however, even your light skills will progressively cause a cascading effect that ends with you dead and out of energy.

Of course, burst and AoE heavy healing will cause you to dip under, but Cool Head (see Defensive cool downs) can resolve that. After that’s gone, you have to make a choice every time you reach 70 energy; can I risk DS and the chance the person I’m healing dies, or do I have to power through and hope the fighting breaks long enough to gain energy.

Stack the Deck More group utility than heal, this skill increases critical chance by 10% for everyone in your group. Use this at the start of a fight, just after things have gotten heated, when you most need to power through enemy burst and your team wants to burn the other down. Cannot be used in ranked arenas.

Heartrigger Patch In-combat revive. Last I heard, you can technically revive an ally in a warzone; however you cannot do so

in an arena. Furthermore, coordinate with your team beforehand before trying this trick, as most people

retreat as soon as they go down.

Defensive/ Utility skills

These skills are designed to keep you alive and increase your healing. They have relatively long cool downs or are situational. Nevertheless, they are essential to have and to use.

Cool Head Restores 50 energy over 3 seconds, 65 if you take the masterful utility Keep Cool. If you are getting low on energy, use this. Be careful, its tempting to think this skill brings energy to full, but if you keep burning through the three seconds you’ll end up right back where you started. I suggest using it at 35% energy for best effects. 2-minute cool down.

Pugnacity Gives an Upper Hand and grants 10% alacrity (if you don’t know what this is, it makes skills channel faster, and adjusts energy consumption and cool downs to compensate. Basically a 10% healing increase). Use this when you can’t waste a global to gain Upper Hand, or when you need to really heal through some burst. 2-minute cool down.

Defense Screen Absorbs a “Moderate” amount of damage over 10 seconds. 30-second cool down. What this means is about 5000 damage will be stopped completely. This number is affected by your healing rating, so stacking power increases this absorb. I must be clear, this is not why you stack power; there are other reasons. This is your weakest defensive CD, but this is also one of your first defensive cool downs to pop; indeed I pop it as soon as I start taking damage. It’s not as if the cool down (30 seconds) makes it too strategic.

Scamper (a.k.a. ‘Roll’)

A 12m dash that you can activate twice in a 10-second span. While dashing, you increase melee and

ranged evasion by 30%. That 30% evasion isn’t as useful as it sounds, as most people will be hitting you with force and tech attacks and thus won’t evade. The Dash is phenomenal for escape and positioning. Roll into a group of friends, AoE Heal them and yourself, then roll away is my favorite maneuver. Against ranged classes except snipers, Scamper through them in the middle of a cast to LoS them and interrupt (snipers are immune because of how cover automatically rotates them to face the target). Finally, kite

melee with some dashes to give yourself space and reduce incoming damage. Be careful, you can’t use this while rooted completely. Have something to cleanse roots if you really need to roll.

Distraction Interrupts a target’s cast. What doesn’t hit you can’t hurt you. What doesn’t hurt you doesn’t need to be healed. What doesn’t need to be healed can be given back to others as healing. That’s why you shouldn’t forget your interrupts. When I see a Commando, I am always ready to tab-target and interrupt. Sometimes I interrupt other healers, just to help out. This does require you know how to efficiently tab-target (covered in “Playstyle”).

Dodge Increases Ranged and Tech evasion chance by 200% for three seconds and cleanses ALL detrimental effects. The evasion chance is generally useless because most damage isn’t melee or tech attacks. The two notable exceptions are the Knight/Warrior 3-second channeled light saber skill (they have different names, but I’m sure you have seen it; it roots you in place and they do a fancy little spin) and the Sniper’s 3-second channeled abilities. You can completely negate that damage with this skill, but outside of this it doesn’t stop much damage.

What it DOES do is cleanse everything from you, even effects that can’t normally be removed. Use this when the Damage over Time effects are stacking too harshly, or if you’re caught in uncleans-able roots; basically every time your character is chained or affected by something you wish they were not. 1- minute cool down, as little as 25 seconds if you take the heroic utility Scramble.

Dirty Kick 4-second stun. 45-second cool down. 30 seconds with Dirty Escape. The same principle applies here as it does with Distraction. 4 seconds without getting beat on is 4 seconds of damage you didn’t take. Combine with blaster whip to make a ball-bashin, bitch-slappin method of gaining Upper Hand.

Flash Grenade 8-second Mez (stun that breaks on damage). Be sure to use this on a person who isn’t taking damage if you want them to suffer from a long stun. Affects multiple targets if you can hit a group of people. 1- minute cool down.

Escape Breaks all movement and stun effects. 2-minute cool down, 1:30 with heroic utility Smuggled Defenses. Watch your Resolve bar; chances are as a healer you are going to get stunned a lot. Wait to use this ability until you have full Resolve or you have no other choice, otherwise it won’t be there when you really need it.

Disappearing Act Reading the tooltip, I hope you noticed some key phrasing. This button, appropriately placed under the category of “oh shit” buttons, drops you out of combat and into stealth - UNDETECTABLE for 10 seconds. Undetectable, not invulnerable; any damage taken will pull you right back into combat. Including DoTs. So, for the best results, use Dodge and immediately roll after using this skill. This will prevent DoTs from breaking you out of stealth, and roll will make it harder for lucky AoEs to break you out of stealth.

A few things to do BEFORE using this skill:

Take heroic utilities, Scramble or Skedaddle. I’ll explain further in the Utilities section.

Make sure that you have a way to activate Dodge, either automatically through Skedaddle or manually by managing the cool down of the ability.

Use up all stacks of Upper Hand. You’ll gain more when you leave stealth, and they won’t be any use to you in stealth.

Use all warzone medpacks and adrenals. You can only use these skills once per combat. But since Disappearing Act drops you out of combat, they are essentially refreshed.

Also, if it means following these rules to the letter but dying anyway, then ignore everything I just said and use it anyway.

Stealth

While we are on the subject, let’s make sure everyone knows how stealth works. You can’t be targeted while you are unseen, but stealth doesn’t make you unseeable.

Here is a list of recommendations about remaining unseen:

1. The closer you get to someone at the same stealth detection level (same as level), the less time it takes to be seen. In front of someone 10m out, you will be seen within 3 seconds. That time increases as you get further out. Conversely, it decreases as you get closer, so you are usually spotted before you get much closer than 10m;

2. Someone with a stealth lvl 30 higher than you, your best bet is to stay 20m out at all times, any closer and you will be seen within 3 seconds. Even then, it’s best not to loiter. This applies mainly to snipers, who gain 30 levels of stealth detection in cover;

3. You should have an active ability which raises stealth level by 15. Use this if you need to get within that radius mentioned above;

4. If you need to get within 10m, it’s worth it to use your stealth level up on yourself AND your tranquilizer on him (a cc ability which can only be used out of combat while in stealth). This will prevent them from knocking you out of stealth and allow you to get out of their detection radius. If they break out of it, you can use another cc ability; this time they can’t break out of it because you put their cc breaker on cd); and

5. Use Scamper (the dash ability that can be used twice) to get through quickly unseen.

Surrender This skill is only useful in PvP to remove roots and slows if you take the masterful utility Dirty Trickster, described below. Not necessary, but also not a bad idea.

Sneak Increases stealth level by 15 for 8 seconds. Use this near enemy players to make sure you are not seen while in stealth. Only effective in stealth. Ineffective if you get within 10m in front of a target.

Smuggle Make like a human trafficking aficionado and disappear your entire team. Lasts 15 seconds 10m around you. Does not stealth people in combat, and your friends stealth level is equal to yours. Let people know when you are stealthing them, because you need to move as a coordinated group for this to work. If some joker is hovering outside your radius or activating skills to pop out of stealth, just roll away because the enemy team is about to AoE the group out of stealth anyway.

Remember: when you are in a situation that makes you go “Oh Shit!” Dodge, Drop (stealth), and Roll.

Utilities

Utilities are passive skills that change the effects of your active skills or other class mechanics. You can see them by accessing on the Discipline page in game.

Some utilities are required, some are optional, and some are simply not supposed to be used for Scoundrel healing. I’ll make note of why some are good and some are optional, but the bad ones are self-explanatory so I’ll just list them with a few notes.

Skillful Utilities

Useless:

The first two are for melee DPS who need more damage and rest heavily on stealth. We use stealth to stay alive, we won’t be getting close and 15%+ speed won’t help you kite melee who also have 15%+ speed. While the defensive part of Flash Grenade is great, you have to be careful about how you stun people in PvP so that you don’t make them cc Immune when your team really needs to stun them. Add to the fact that Flash Powder is easy to break in PvP, what with dots and AoEs, the skill point is better spent on more reliable defensive abilities.

Sneaky, Let Loose, Flash Powder

Optional: Holdout Defenses, Smuggled Get-up, Scar Tissue, Dirty Escape All the rest of the skillful utilities can be taken based on personal preference. I feel Holdout’s 50% speed increase from Blaster Whip is the weakest, but if you find yourself focused by melee a lot this gives you a great kiting tool at the same time it gives Upper Hand. I like to roll into groups taking AoE damage and dropping AoE heals on myself, taking the group as a whole back up, which is why Smuggled Get-up’s damage reduction from AoE damage is pretty good for me; you may be the opposite. Also, Dirty Kick has a few of the same drawbacks as Flash Grenade, so perhaps you prefer to leave out stuns from consideration, in which case take Scar Tissue. At the Skillful Level, it really is up to you.

Masterful Utilities

Useless: Stopping Power, Anatomy Lessons, Tranquilizers, Defense Screen You do not rely much on Tendon Blast, spend much energy on cc abilities, or find yourself in 1v1 out of combat situations where the first 3 would be useful. While 5% heal isn’t too bad, it is outclassed by other skills and is more helpful to DPS Scoundrels who can’t self-heal as well as us.

Optional: Dirty Trickster, Keep Cool Use DT if you like moving around but your enemies always stop you, as it makes surrender an escape from roots. Use KC if you have energy troubles or you wait until you’re completely out of energy to use Cool Head as then the 15 more energy is nice.

Required: Flee the Scene Because you need to use your oh-shit button a lot as a healer who is focused a lot, that 30 seconds off gives you a second get-out-of death card in long engagements. Additionally, the increased movement speed decreases the possibility of being revealed by random-cast AoEs as you run away

Heroic Utilities

Useless: K.O. You won’t be DPSing anyone from stealth, which means that immobilizing people with DPS skills is pointless.

Optional: Surprise Comeback, Get the Bulge, Hotwired Defenses, and Smuggled Defenses You can only chose one, and Surprise Comeback is perhaps the strongest for its damage reduction and self-heal. However, HD and SD are fair for increasing defenses too. Despite being the weakest of the four, Get the Bulge isn’t bad for gaining Upper Hand on the move while slowing enemies down, and works with a much shorter cool down.

Required: Skedaddle OR Scramble. Scramble is better because, as a healer, you will get focused so much you can reasonably expect Dodge to have a practical 30-second CD with this skill. However, if managing this skill to be up when you need to stealth out with Disappearing Act, than Skedaddle is better because it combines a shortened Dodge into DA, making it a one-button for two deal. Taking both is fine if you don’t like any of the optional skills for some reason.

Healing Playstyle and “Rotations”

Having already described what the components of Smuggler healing are, we now get into the theory of actual usage. First, the basic setup and mechanics all healers share and require is described in detail, after which I describe the Scoundrel healer specific “rotations.”

Rotations are in quotes because healers don’t have rotations. You react to what people’s health is like then you activate skills accordingly. That said, certain situations call for different skills at different levels of use. Be creative, these situations are only examples. However, they represent common archetypical situations.

Healer Basics

1. Key bind all skill bar slots, use keyboard clicks and peripheral buttons and ONLY such buttons.

Don’t place skills on your bar then try to mouse over and click them in game. This is because you must:

a. Have your operation frame placed such that you can:

i. Click each Name in the frame with your mouse

ii. Watch health bars and simultaneously watch what happens in a battle

2. Bind F1 through F4 to targeting each respective member of your group (Default), set tab to target enemy and shift tab to target nearest friend (The reverse is also acceptable for tab targeting).

3. IMPORTANT! Memory map your skills. Whatever it takes, make sure you set your buttons up in a way you will remember what activates each skill. You need to pay attention to the battle, people’s health, and react automatically to what happens. If you pay any attention to where your skills are, you are losing critical information that results in worse heals and dead teammates.

4. Never top off a player’s health. You play HoT spec healer with tightened energy restrictions, you can’t afford the energy or resource waste from over-healing. Spending an Upper Hand to get that last bit of damage healed isn’t a smart idea when your HoTs are going to take care of it anyway, Save EM for when your friends are under 90%.

5. Watch Rates of health decay, not health itself. Rhetorical Question: who needs healing more, the person with 50% health or 60% health? Answer: Whoever’s health dropped the fastest. Obviously, lower health players have priority, but if the person you are healing is at 50%, but the guy you weren’t healing just got blasted to 60% in a GCD, that means the DPS has switched and he needs healing right now. Eventually, the incoming damage on both will be stable enough to AoE heal them both back up.

6. Some people were not meant to live. It’s a hard thing, judging when to pull the plug on someone, but for the greater good you have to do it. This isn’t a problem in arenas, everyone has to live no matter what and you are perfectly capable of healing all 4. But in Unranked 8v8 you simply can’t make everyone live. The basics of making the judgment call comes down to two factors; how important is this person and how will my energy be effected. If keeping someone

alive means you get into a dangerously low amount of energy, let them die unless they are of key importance. Further, if trying to heal one person means others will get into dangerous levels of health, that person isn’t worth it. Read “Rotations” to know how to predict the healing stress of keeping people alive in certain situations. As for a players importance, prioritize yourself, your tank, and people actually focused on objectives.

7. Queue skills; each time you activate a skill, think of the next skill you want to activate and start pressing that button. This will queue up the next skill, tell the server what skill you want to use with minimal lag, and take the most advantage from alacrity (See Stats)

RotationsBetter called tactical situational reaction suggestions, but referred to as rotation by tradition and simplicity.

Pre-fight: (Uses mainly: stealth, SRM) As much as you may want to keep SRM rolling on all targets before a fight, certain adjustments to our energy and the nature of player focus on healers makes this hard if not impossible. Stay in stealth, near friends and far from enemies, then start stacking SRM on people who start taking some chip damage. Chip damage is the little bit of damage people take before most classes start unloading their burst, and seeing it clues you into who is about to need healing, in

which case SRM lightens the healing burden. When you leave stealth, try to be somewhere inconspicuous, where you can see your allies, LoS your foes, and look genuinely inconspicuous. Nothing screams “I’m an Underpowered Healing Class Kill ME” like sitting in the middle of a group, throwing green shit out of your hands, stabbing yourself like a druggie and laughing. The prefight usually leads into maintenance healing. If you see a

vanguard, be prepared to go right into emergency healing.

Nothing screams “I’m an Underpowered Healing Class Kill ME” like sitting in the middle of a group, throwing green shit out of your hands, stabbing yourself like a druggie and laughing.

Maintenance Healing: (Uses mainly: SRM, EM, KP, and DS) At the beginning of a fight, assuming a vanguard hasn’t decided to open up on someone, and at certain lull stages of a fight, and between fights, people will be taking considerably less damage. Roll SRM on as many people as possible to lighten your healing load later when it matters. As people take more damage than SRM handles automatically, start using EM in between SRM refreshes. REMEMBER, EM refreshes SRM if the target has two stacks, so when refreshing SRM skip people you have healed with EM. If someone drops under 75%, use KP to keep them up. When casting SRM, try to cast it on people you think will take the most damage (Yourself, your tank, other healers, DPS who are under geared/underpowered, etc.). If someone without SRM starts taking some sizeable (but not yet life- threatening) damage, use KP to keep them HoT’ed out of danger until you can get SRM rolling. If you find yourself maintenance healing after a long battle and have questionable levels of energy, throw in DS a few times. This stance is not energy- intensive, you will not run out of energy.

Heavy-Handed Healing: (Uses Mainly: KP, EM, UM) Differs slightly from emergency healing in that no one is immediately in danger of death, but SRM and EM can no longer keep up with incoming damage on one or more players. Keeping in mind who has SRM running on them, cast Underworld Medicine on the person taking the most damage and KP on the person taking the most damage who doesn’t have SRM running. After every use of either UM or KP, follow up with an EM, if you have Upper Hand (which you should). Use this mode when one or two teammates gets toward 60% health, or if they get under 75% health at an alarming rate. This is very

energy-intensive, nothing drains energy like UM except perhaps your group heals. You will start to see danger in this spec energy-wise, yet it still isn’t that bad. Still, it isn’t the energy cakewalk that Maintenance is. The main thing to worry about is Upper Hand, as you will be consuming a lot of stacks. Keep an eye on your buff bar when spamming EM.

Group-Heavy Healing: (Uses mainly: KC, KW, DS, and scamper) While healing, it pays to be constantly aware of your teammates’ positions, especially as a Smuggler Healer. At any point where your group is within 16m of each other and has sizeable damage on them but no one is in immediate danger, switch into this mindset. Target one friendly who is in the center of everyone you want healed, then use KC and KW in quick succession. If you have trouble targeting or if people are too spread out, position yourself between everyone and cast these skills on yourself. As soon as these two skills are on cool down, switch rotation. Using this rotation mindset will ease a lot of the burden of healing, because Smugglers simply can’t heal everyone effectively as single target. However, people who are smart know to unleash AoEs when people are grouped up together, so you can’t linger like this. Use your roll once to position yourself, unleash healing, and then roll again to safety. This does not cost any stacks of upper hand, and in fact will probably give you a stack. However, this is very energy intensive, at about 20-25 energy after the channel at the high end of your energy pool. Unless you started this at almost 100% energy, contemplate throwing in a DS for your energies sake.

Emergency Healing: (Uses mainly: KC, UM, KP, EM)

If you see someone’s health dropping fast, go straight to emergency healing. This rotation relies on knowing how to cast UM at precisely the right moment. If you have 2 or 3 stacks of Upper Hand, burn them with EM or KP. Once those are gone, your target will have been given just

This style burns energy like a plague-ridden

corpse

enough healing to be able to live 2 seconds while you cast UM. After UM goes off, immediately follow up with either EM or KP. I recommend EM if you know

Upper Hand is going to refresh, then KP. Otherwise, KP then try to build Upper Hand for EM. Use KC if you know the target needs healing but won’t die, as that extra HoT really helps take a weight off. Often, all this time and attention means you have just let a lot of people’s health suffer, so now you have to go into group-heavy healing mode. This style burns energy like a plague-ridden corpse, and it doesn’t help that you will have to play group-healing catch-up AND restack SRM on everyone because it expired.

Off-DPS

There are EXACTLY three situations in PvP where you will do any mentionable DPS: stopping a cap, fighting a 1v1, and fighting with another DPS against a SINGLE enemy who needs to be burnt down during stun lock. These situations are “if and only if” scenarios, there are no exceptions, you should not spend even a modicum of time DPSing as a healer if you can help it. However, for these rare situations I will make a couple comments.

1. Use your Flash Grenade to stop caps, it’s an AoE, instant skill. If that’s on cool down, Flurry of Bolts.

2. If you are helping burn a single person in stun lock, use Back Blast, Grenade, Blaster Whip, Tendon Blast all exactly once, then use Flurry of Bolts. That’s it.

3. In a 1v1 situation, which you should avoid at all costs, you still will spend most of your time healing yourself through the damage the enemy gives you. Use your only DoT in between healing yourself, Grenades and Back Blast if you can, and a whole lot of cc (stuns, roots, etc.) to

give you more healing breathing room. To understand the mindset of the 1v1, it’s not about taking down your opponent, it’s about outliving them.

4. Never, under any circumstances, use Quick Shot. It isn’t worth the energy, ever. Similarly, Blaster Volley is only useful in a few situations, like trying to knock a stealther out of stealth if they just disappeared. Otherwise, it really isn’t worth the Upper Hand cost.

Healer Stats

There are two ways to think about gearing a healer, but I’ll save that for latter. First off, I’ll tell you what the common wisdom is in terms of stats, then I’ll give some counterarguments for advanced understanding of stats.

Each stat has a stat it trades off with. If you take more Power, you take less Crit, and vice versa. If you take more Surge, you take less Alacrity and vice versa. Technically, Surge and Alacrity compete with Accuracy as well, but Accuracy is a useless stat for healers as our heals don’t miss.

The Cunning and Endurance on our gear is good as-is and shouldn’t be tampered with; only tanks would think about sacrificing main stat for Endurance. Thus, all stat considerations will focus on mods, enhancements, and augments. For clarity, this will focus on the highest gear tier, Dark Reaver, when referring to exact stat numbers. Plan out in advance which Dark Reaver pieces you want, then buy the lower tier Exhumed pieces you need to trade in to buy the Dark Reaver Piece.

Accuracy 0. Zero. Take zero accuracy. None at all. If you have any, you fucked up somewhere. Healers can’t miss a heal, thus we do not need Accuracy. At all.

Power vs Crit In terms of gear, Power and Crit compete with each other, which means taking more of one means less than the other. The common wisdom, what the PvE parser gods and the stat calculators tell you, is to stack Power, all Power, and nothing but Power. No Critical Rating at all.

Surge vs Alacrity Alacrity speeds up everything; your energy gain, your heal ticks, your cast times, etc. This means two major things; the percentage shown in the Alacrity tooltip is the exact percentage healing is increased by Alacrity, and because everything is faster, your casts are easier to get off and a bit harder to interrupt. This has become a favorite of healers.

Surge increases the healing done by a critical heal, and it becomes more useful the higher the Crit Rating. Because we have should have zero Crit if you take most stat people at their word, you can perhaps see where Surge rates.

You still have some critical chance though, so about 86 or 172 points to Surge is sufficient. The difference between the two is 60.71% crit bonus and 8.02% activation speed or 56% crit bonus and 8.86% activation speed. As to which is better, the difference in absolute healing is less than +/- 0.05%. This is such a small difference most stat calculators can’t register the difference, so it comes down to perceived utility. I like 172 Surge because heftier crits feel better, but others prefer Alacrity to reduce cast and HoT times. Either way, you won’t notice a real difference.

Everything else should be in Alacrity. You have 860 points to spend in either Alacrity or Surge. With the two options given, you should either have 86/774 Surge/Alacrity or 172/688 Surge/Alacrity.

Gearing a Power-stacking Healer

The first pieces most people buy are the relics. This is easy, you want Relic of Serendipitous assault and Relic of Focused Retribution. These increase your power stat and your primary stat, respectively, as their additional affect. Since two of the same relics effects can’t occur at the same time, you need them to be different. Since Power is so important the power relic is obvious. However, Cunning improves both critical chance and our healing bonus (the same stat power effects) and so increasing cunning is like a mini power boost. Don’t take Critical Rating relic boost, as the diminishing returns can be as brutal as the RNG. Also, Ephemeral Mending is inferior because you have no control over who it lands on and it provides less overall healing than the bonuses to Cunning and Power will if you are healing multiple targets.

Next, get your set bonuses. You have to buy at least six pieces of Field Medic gear to get the bonus, and it has to be out of the seven major gear slots (head, chest, gloves, bracers, waist, legs, and feet). I suggest skipping over the Field Medic headgear and getting the Professionals headgear, so that you can min-max your gear easier latter on.

Then, get your weapons, Field Medic shotgun and blaster. These are the only pieces with Weapon Power so they are pretty important.

Finally, get your implants and earpiece. You want the Field Medic’s earpiece, and two Enforcer’s implants. At this point, your stats don’t look like they are supposed to; you have to min-max the gear for that.

Before min-maxing, however, trade your low-tier gear for the high-tier gear. Most people do this by getting your relics, then your weapons, then the left-side pieces, than the right-side pieces. This will keep all stat proportions the same, but raise your stats overall. Remember to save the shells of your low tier gear to trade in, or else you will have to buy the piece again.

Finally, min-max your gear with the Augments, Mods, and Enhancement pieces.

Augments Be sure that all of your gear is fully augmented. You want Power augments, and you want 14 of them (1 for each piece of gear).

Mods Find any Critical Rating given by any mods in your gear and replace them with mods that have Power in them. The mod you want is the Advanced Artful Mod 33x.

Enhancements Look at your Surge-Alacrity ratio. These stats are in each enhancement, 86 points per enhancement. If your Surge is too high, switch out one enhancement that has Surge with one that has Power and Alacrity (Quick Savant 33x).

Finally, look for any enhancement with Critical Rating and switch it out for an enhancement that has the same allocation of Surge or Alacrity as you are about to switch out.

You are now min-maxed at the highest level of gear.

“Critical” Theory in Sawbones Gearing: Advanced Stat and Gearing Principles

In academics, a critical theory is a theory which challenges a dominant theory in commonly held practices. These theories are not presented because they are necessarily truth or because they are examples of what to do or not, but because you gain significant understanding from studying alternative perspectives. For that reason, I examine Critical Rating as a more useful stat than it is at first perceived, and explore the effects and requirements of running additional Critical Rating. The chief criticism I make of power-maxing healing is that is doesn’t take into account the utility some crit can provide, assuming a perfect model of continuous, uninterrupted healing and damage that can be overcome by a maximally efficient healing rotation.

Imagine for a moment you put 300 points into Critical Rating, which necessarily means you took out 300 points of Power. You just lost 2.25% of your overall healing, and gained 5% Critical Rating (From 18% to 23%). Because Cunning increases both Critical Rating and healing bonus, you can also switch out Power augments for Cunning augments and maintain some of the lost healing bonus while gaining some crit. Switch it all out, and you lose 1.35% overall healing and gain 1.4% crit chance. Overall, that’s a loss of 3.6% total healing and a gain of 6.4% crit chance. Also remember, Surge gains in value as Critical Rating goes up. Where before, the possible Surge/Alacrity combinations where 86/774 or 172/686, the new optimal levels are 172/688 or 258/602; again either value is indistinguishable from the other in terms of gain or loss. Factoring in this new stat allocation, we actually gain 0.3 total healing, bringing the total loss of healing down to 3.3% overall.

Now, our stats are allocated thus;

1096 bonus healing

24.55% Crit chance

64.54% more healing on crit

7.15% faster activation speed (GCD is now 1.4 seconds)

When we talk about what stat allocations give you the best healing, I think it’s important to understand that we are speaking about 3.3% more or less healing over all. 3.3% is not going to be what makes or breaks a healer, even at the highest levels of play, because current meta revolves around burst DPS. In the long run, a Power[stacking healer will do more healing than you, but in the short run, a healer with optimized Critical Rating can heal through burst much better. At 25% crit chance, about every 4 skills activated will have 1 crit, vs a Power-focused healer who will have only one of every 5. The crits of the first healer are even more substantial, so there is even less burden. Of course, the superior non-crits of the second healer will eventually do more healing if the healer can perfectly get off heals over a longer period of time, but the additional work that the second healer needs to do to keep people alive through burst will necessitate using more skills like UM or KW, which are easier to interrupt and root you in place, or to burn through cool downs like Pugnacity trying to deal with the burst more often. This is further reinforced by the nature of our single target heals, which gives a massive 20% critical healing bonus to our single target heals; making EM with a good crit chance a viable way to keep someone up on the move. Further, with the nature of our HoTs KW’s channel, we make sure our team is having a

bunch of little heals going off all the time. Power makes these stronger, and will lighten your burden considerably; but they aren’t anything good burst can’t burn through. Lay all your HoTs down and give them a considerable chance to crit, and they might just give sizable enough heals to keep people going longer if you can’t get to someone right away. With more Surge, these little heals pack more of a punch, and with so many going off its hard not to find something that crits every GCD.

I bring this up to make a point as a corollary; I believe we can no more maximize healing through stats as healers than DPS can maximize damage through perfect rotations in PvP; there are simply to many other considerations to make than what the numbers reflect. This is not to say that people are wrong to stack Power or that Crit is underrated; it’s to show that you are not bound to your stats, your stats are bound to you. There are some unalterable truths about stats; you need more Power than Crit, the Surge you need is proportional to your crit chance, Alacrity speeds everything up and can be read as a base increase to crit. However, when you know what the ‘perfect’ healing stats are, and you know how stats interact, and you know how your skills work, you can change many different things to achieve different results to solve different problems. I personally subscribe to the above gearing philosophy, because it’s what works for me, my playstyle, and the problems I encounter. But it is important that people know that the actual ‘optimized’ healers are Power stackers, because only by learning the basic logic can players advance enough to tweak things to fit their needs; which leads nicely into the conclusion.

Conclusion

Sawbones is a discipline for foresighted and attentive individuals. Besides being considered the most underpowered healer, our healing structure requires not only that we react to damage, but predict it with HoTs and pre-casts. We need exceptional situational awareness

in this respect, and for this reason we have to have a very ingrained understanding of mechanics. However, now more than ever we fit the archetype of Underground Doctor. We heal based on our guile, our reflexes, and our knowledge; PvP is no match for our street smarts. But most importantly, everything we are is based on creativity. Never think that there is only one right answer, don’t stop finding your own.

Never think that there is only one right answer, don’t stop finding

your own.

This guide is only that; a guide. Not an instruction booklet. Refer to it as a source of knowledge, but let your own experience dictate how you use and interpret the knowledge in here. That is the most important thing you can learn and why the last chapter covered something of my own creation, so that you know could know that there is much more that can be done than exists in this guide; indeed that might even contradict it. The knowledge contained within these pages can only carry you so far; it’s up to you to take the first step.