A guide to SWTOR Seer Sage Healing for PvE. Written and edited by Invinc and Vindrik of Harbinger.
The Sage healing class has been the all-around preferred healing class since the game’s release. This is partially due to a few nerfs to Sage dps over time, but also because of the simple and relatively easy manner in which they heal. A Seer Sage’s healing basically focuses on 3 core abilities; Force Armor (damage prevention), Rejuvenate (hot and support) and Healing Trance (Large, channeled heal), with Deliverance as the usual filler, Salvation as the AoE heal and Benevolence for any on-demand fast healing. Sages have the best 8 man AoE heal in the game, which is not only a great heal for the whole ops group, but when used properly can also help you regain HP while using Noble Sacrifice for Force.
- Force Potency: Gives your Force attacks an extra 60% chance to critically hit, and consumes a charge when they do. Has 2 charges.
- Mental Alacrity: Increases your Alacrity and grants immunity to interrupts.
- Force Armor: Not technically a cooldown, however useful as defensive mechanic to shield yourself and friendly group members.
- Force Barrier: Channels a protective bubble that gives you immunity to all damage for a short while, however you cannot move or act while channeling.
Tricks of the Trade:
- Benevolence & Deliverance: Support heals, Benevolence is a fast, expensive and inefficient heal while Deliverance is cheaper, slower and heals for more
- Revival: Battle rez
- Force Mend: Instant self-heal
- Rescue: Pull a friendly target to your position and lowers their threat
- Noble Sacrifice: Instantly regenerate Force in exchange for HP. Applies a debuff that lowers your Force regeneration for a short time, and stacks up to 4 times
- Force Wave: Frontal AoE knockback
- Force Speed: Massive speed boost for a few seconds
1.1 Rates (1-10):
- Single Target Healing: 7
- AoE Healing: 10
- Group Utility: 7
- Rotation Difficulty: 7
- RNG Dependant: No
- Burst Heals: 2
- Dps Capability: 6
- Signature Ability: Force Armor
1.2 Gearing & Stats Priority:
- **Must Have** Accuracy: 104% Force – 91% melee (1% from companion + 3% from talent = 0% from Gear)
- **Must Have** Above 5% Alacrity.
- 68-74% Surge
- 100-300 Critical Rating
- All other secondary stats in Power
- **Must Have** Augments: Willpower (Resolve)
- Relics: Serendipitous Assault & Focused Retribution
- Alternate Relic: Boundless Ages
- Set Bonus: 2 piece Force Mystic PvE & 2 piece Force Mystic PvP (4 piece Force Mystic PvE will also work)
1.3 Gearing Overview:
- Accuracy as a healer is a wasted stat, as your heals themselves will never miss. As such, you should always be taking other stats instead, with no exceptions
- Alacrity gives the greatest benefit to the healer role, and is generally taken once you reach the soft cap for Surge, once the benefit per point becomes less incentive for Surge and more appealing for Alacrity. This generally occurs around 73%, but doing some quick personal number crunching based on your play style should give you a better understanding
- Taking a small amount of Critical rating as a healer is a good idea, as the benefit of Critical rating is decent for the first few hundred points of rating. However, stacking it is generally a bad idea, as the high diminishing returns leave Critical rating granting a smaller benefit than Power
- Choice of relics should be made on a fight-to-fight basis as well as personal play style. Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution will give you a greater overall healing increase, while Boundless Ages will allow you to focus your burst into a short window for fights with short phases of large incoming damage, or when you are required to participate in dps for tight burn phases
- Getting your set bonus as quickly as possible is highly recommended. It will increase your healing efficiency substantially enough that having lower item level armorings with the set bonus is still a better option than higher item level armorings without it.
1.4 Ability Priority:
- Force Armor
- Healing Trance
- Force Wave
- Noble Sacrifice
- Force Mend
- Weaken Mind
- Telekinetic Throw
- Mind Crush
1.5 Healing Strategy:
Deliverance has a long cast, low cost and large heal, while Benevolence has a quick cast, high cost and smaller heal. This makes Benevolence a significantly less efficient heal which should only ever be used when someone requires healing as quickly as possible. Relying on Healing Trance, due to its 7.5 second CD is a bad idea, as this will leave you with a great deal of wasted GCDs and an overall inefficient style of healing. Force Armor is not counted as healing done in parsing programs, so this should always be kept in mind when comparing parses.The Conveyance talent is the focal point of your healing rotation and how it should cycle through, as it buffs your Rejuvenate to give the following buffs to your other healing abilities:
- Benevolence: Critical chance increased by 60%, only useful in high pressure emergencies
- Deliverance: Force cost reduced by 30%, useful to assist with Force management
- Healing Trance: Critical chance increased by 25%, grants the greatest overall benefit, and should be utilised for every Healing Trance
- Salvation: Force cost reduced by 30%, grants a significant benefit for Force management, should be used for every cast of Salvation
The Resplendence talent, similar to Conveyance, is the focal point of your Force management. It buffs your Healing Trance such that every critical will give you 1 stack of Resplendence (3 stacks max), which can be used for augment one of two abilities:
- Noble Sacrifice: Activates without triggering Force Degeneration, consuming 1 charge of Resplendence. This is a must use for proper Force management, as you will still lose health when using Noble Sacrifice, but you will gain Force without the regular detriment to future Force regeneration.
- Salvation: Reduce the casting time of your next Salvation by 33% per stack (instant cast at 3 stacks), and consumes all available charges. This should only be used at high stacks in an AoE emergency, or if you have full Force and don’t require the stacks for Noble Sacrifice. Otherwise, it is recommended to only use 1 charge on this at most.
Force Armor should be used on tanks as much as possible, considering that they will be taking consistent damage throughout the fight, the shield will always help with healing. Shielding an offtank before a swap or prior to predictable incoming damage is ideal as well. Shielding a dps or heals in an average rotation is generally a mistake, as most of the shield during non AoE or low damage phases won’t grant any benefit. The best way to utilise your shields on non tanks is either before predictable damage (dots, timed debuffs, AoE, etc) or as a contingency if the person drops to <20%, as it’s a good backup in case the person takes any extra damage before you can get a heal off.
1.6 Ability Details:
- Rejuvenate should be used on CD to buff your heals, and your priority should always be to use it on a tank or anyone else taking significant and consistent damage. The buff it provides has a 15 second duration with a 6 second cooldown, so this gives you the opportunity to use it on the main tank, followed by the off tank, then one other person, before refreshing it on the main tank. This is not only because of the hot that it applies, but also the increased armor rating, which is a great consistent boon for tanks to have, as well as anyone who is taking consistent damage, which includes yourself due to health leach from Noble Sacrifice.
- Healing Trance is your primary heal, and as such should always be used when its available. It triggers your most important talents, has the highest healing capabilities, and the target to use it on is irrelevant, which makes it your most effective and versatile heal. Since it is channeled, it’s a great choice to use on low HP targets, especially tanks, since you don’t have to wait for a cast timer to finish before seeing a benefit, and it will keep them alive with quick ticks while your other healer drops a big heal to top them off.
- Force Wave is often ignored, and Psychic Suffusion is one of the most underrated talents that was implemented after 2.0. It has a 20 second CD, is free of cost, has some nice utility in the form of a knockback and small damage to any enemies it hits, and is one of the few heals that affects everyone inside its area of effect, regardless of how many that may be. This makes it a great ability for 16 man or larger ops, but it’s also very effective for 8 man ops. It should always be used when it’s off cooldown to top off a large group of players, and it’s a great ability to pair with Rejuvenate to top yourself up after Noble Sacrifice if the rest of the group is not taking any significant damage.
- Noble Sacrifice is your fastest way of replenishing Force; with Resplendence stacks from Healing Trance you should always use Noble Sacrifice to keep your Force high, and try to avoid it without this buff unless you intend to burn the cooldown on your Force Barrier to remove the Force Degeneration debuff in emergency situations. However, as the debuff only lasts 7 seconds, it is occasionally worth using Noble Sacrifice in tight situations without any Resplendence, as in some particularly difficult fights you won’t have much time to naturally restore Force, and will eventually run out of resources even with Resplendence stacks. As long as you can stay alive and not cause too much stress on your other healer, in particularly healing intense fights it may still be worth doing, as described by the following. Using Noble Sacrifice 4 times for 32% total Force is equal to 192 Force (at 600 max), while 7 seconds of no natural Force regeneration is only 63 lost Force. As such, if you are able to stay alive, and the GCDs spent on Noble Sacrifice doesn’t put your ops at risk, that’s a net gain of roughly 129 Force.
- Salvation is an incredibly effective AoE heal, which when used without Rejuvenate is an incredibly expensive ability. Because of this, you should only use it without the Rejuvenate buff in emergency situations when you have Force to spare. It’s generally a good idea to have Salvation active when you are having to repeatedly use Noble Sacrifice, as it will not only heal yourself for the HP leached, but will also heal the rest of the group while you are spending your GCDs managing your Force instead of healing the group.
- Force Mend is a relatively straightforward ability. It is an excellent self heal ability, which is free of cost. There are two schools of thought on the use of this spell, as you can either use it on CD to heal yourself whenever you’ve got lower than 75% HP, or you can save it for emergencies when your health is significantly lower or after using Noble Sacrifice. Using it as part of your regular rotation will help with Force management and make healing generally easier, however this does mean that you might not have it available in a tight spot when you particularly need a significant heal on yourself, and you’ll have to spend that Force you saved on yourself anyway. Using it on difficult mechanics and when predictably dropping to low HP is a must, as Sage armor is weak, so you will be taking more damage than the rest of the group. Using Force Mend is the best choice to keep yourself up while still healing the rest of the group. It is also a great combination with Noble Sacrifice, as it can take you out of a low HP danger zone quickly.
- Deliverance is your overall healing filler. It’s a decent large heal with a low cost, the biggest downside is its long cast time. It’s not a particularly common ability to use, but with Force Armor on lockout, Salvation active and Healing Trance on CD, there really isn’t much else that you can use. You’re better off using it and actually healing someone than standing there not doing anything at all. Using it with Rejuvenate is useful to further reduce its impact on your Force, but again, it’s not particularly high on your priority list.
- Benevolence is in general your worst heal, as it’s a quick, but particularly expensive heal which doesn’t have a huge impact. It is essentially an emergency heal, and even so, most healers will use Deliverance over Benevolence in most situations. While buffed with Rejuvenate it’s significantly better, but should generally only be used as a clutch heal when a Deliverance could take too long to cast. It can also be used during difficult healing phases if you have full Force and you know that the fight is going to give you an opportunity to recover your Force before you run out.
1.7 DPS Strategy:
Dps as a Seer Sage can be tricky, but you have the best resource management and resource pool of all the healers to help with that. Unfortunately, you lack any decent AoE dps that is on par with XS Freighter Flyby or Mortar Volley, and if your dots are resisted it’s an entirely wasted GCD. The dps abilities that you have access to are as follows:
- Weaken Mind is your best choice, as it has decent damage output, low cost and no cast time. In fights with only one target active at a time, you can just tab target and cast Weaken Mind to quickly get some damage out without disrupting your healing much at all.
- Telekinetic Throw is also an excellent dps ability. It’s cheap, deals great damage, and grants an immediate benefit that can be cancelled at any time to either continue healing or to attend to more pressing issues. During fights with burn phases or tight Enrage timers, Telekinetic Throw is an excellent tool to help out your dps as often as feasible.
- Mind Crush is a decent ability, which although it’s less effective than Weaken Mind due to the cast time, in periods where you think you can spend a few seconds dpsing it’s worth doing. Your best course of action is generally Weaken Mind → Telekinetic Throw → Mind Crush, as this will maximise on Telekinetic Throw’s high damage and short cooldown.
- Disturbance is your general filler dps ability as a healer. It’s normally used only during burn phases or particularly easy fights that don’t require much healing, as you rarely have the time to spend more than 6 seconds without healing, which is how long it would take before you’d get to Disturbance’s priority in the dps rotation.
- Project is your burst damage and go-to ability for high mobility fights. It’s useful to finish off an add with low HP, help push a transition or get through burn phases, as well as for decent overall damage. However, it’s also a very Force inefficient ability, as it’s very expensive for a single GCD and consistent use can put a large dent in your Force management.
- Forcequake is your really only AoE ability. It does less damage than AoEs from the other two healers but it does not have a cooldown. It also has a component that can stun weak/standard mobs. You won’t be using this much on operations (unless on add heavy fights) but in flashpoints and soloing it can come in handy.
- Force Wave is your knockback with an AoE damage component. Most frequently you will use this ability for its heal rather than the AoE damage but if timed right you can manage to do both at the same time.
1.8 Tips and Tricks:
- Force Armor will heal you since you have Life Ward talent. It will heal you for 1% per second for every second the barrier is active on yourself. It can be a good way to keep your HP up while healing rest of the raid. If you do take a huge hit and failed to Force Armor yourself in time, Force Mend can be used to recover from it.
- Rescue is a very helpful way to save people from deadly mechanics that they won’t otherwise be able to avoid, but remember that it will also lower the threat of the target. Because of this, if you are going to Rescue a tank you should always tell them to ensure that they can taunt the boss back afterwards to regain the threat that they will lose.
- Force Potency won’t have any effect on your Healing Trance or Salvation, but it will affect Force Wave and the initial heal from Rejuvenate, so keep this in mind when planning its use. It’s particularly helpful to ensure a significant heal from Deliverance.
- Besides Mental Alacrity being a great speed boost for your casting times, it can be very helpful in recovering some extra Force naturally during heavy healing phases due to boosting your Alacrity.
1.9 UI Setup:
The default UI setup is fairly horrible so I always make sure to adjust the following to suit my playstyle. Use ESC to open your options menu and go through the Preferences and Interface Editor.
- Under Controls, make sure Enable Focus Target is checked. This allow you to use alt + f to keep a boss on a focus target so you can see its health and abilities that are casted out. Also make sure Camera Max Distance is turned up to 100% as this allow you to zoom out much further.
- Under User Interface, pick Use Operations Frame as Group Frames. This will help you out in flashpoints as the default 4 player group interface is not very healer friendly.
- Selecting the Operation Frame will allow you to adjust the width, height of the red bars and also display health information. You can also adjust the size of the buffs/debuffs icons to suit your needs.
- Click on Focus target, make sure Show Information is checked as this will display boss health % and other info. Also make sure Focus Target Castbar is enabled as this will allow you to see the boss abilities.
1.10 Healing Parses
Healing as a role is not very well represented numerically, as it has nothing to do with how much overall healing you’re doing, but moreso that you’re healing the right people at the right time. As such, both hps and dps numbers for healers aren’t necessarily representative, as the two healers may have a system whereby one heals as much as possible, topping up everyone as the fight continues, while the other deals as much damage as possible, stopping to heal when people are taking large amounts of damage that the first healer can’t heal alone. Being at the top of the healing parses is actually something that can only be done by gaming the system, and having these enormous numbers actually means that you’re not being efficient, and were not benefiting the group to the best of your ability. Having high hps in a parse may mean:
- Your healing partner is either a poor healer or is allowing you to heal while dpsing themselves.
- The group is taking significantly more dmg than it should, so there is more health being lost that you can heal.
- You are gaming the system, being less effective but parsing higher numbers (e.g. Sorcerer | Sage not shielding but AoE healing at every opportunity despite the fight not requiring it, Operative | Scoundrel rolling hots when completely unnecessary).
- The group is collaborating with you to get higher numbers (e.g. Fight requires the group to be spread out, but instead stacks together to take significantly increased damage that is then AoE healed over time).
While dps can be judged at least partially based on their number parsing, as healers there is no numerical representation that properly demonstrates how effective you are being. As long as the group is surviving and you kill the boss, you have done your job, and the overall hps for the fight means absolutely nothing. The only real way to judge a healer’s efficiency and ability is through feeling, which sounds out of place, but if they aren’t healing when they’re needed to, or they’re healing the wrong people at the wrong time, you’ll be able to feel the difference when compared with someone who is on the ball and always doing exactly what is required.
About the Authors
Invinc and Vindrik are both members of <Hatred> on Harbinger, an endgame progression guild with world 3rd clear of Nightmare S&V, World 2nd clear of Nightmare TFB, world 1st speed clear (under 2 hrs) of Nightmare S&V, and numerous server firsts at the 8m level.
Invinc is the guild leader of <Hatred> and mains an operative DPS but plays pretty much every and all classes for operations. He currently leads the parses on operative lethality DPS on multiple boss fights and dummy parses. Also known as Carlenux, Carlenix (sniper), Carlenx (Sorcerer), Pyrotec (Powertech)
Vindrik mains an operative healer and is the raid leader for group B in <Hatred> (World 5th speed clear of Nightmare S&V). He is the former raid leader of <Notorious Synergy> on Dalborra, one of the world top guilds pre-2.0 (World 4th).
While the information here are mostly written by these two players, numerous other Hatred raid members and guides were consulted. Questions, comments, concerns will be answered by Invinc, who goes by the name of Carlos Eduardo Mata in the comments section below.