SWTOR 4.0 Mercenary PvE Healing Guide written by NeNiMel[toc]
This guide discusses the abilities, strategies, utilities and gearing for mercenary healers in PvE content.
Mercenary Bodyguard might be the strongest single target burst healer in the game, but it also performs very well at AoE healing due to strong low-CD abilities.
Healing as a mercenary is both fun and challenging, since a mercenaries have a special heat system that makes its play-style unique. The most important part for mercenaries is to learn how to control the heat-level and since most boss fight have different mechanisms the optimal rotation might differ a lot from the standard rotation.
This section covers an outline of the important abilities for mercenary healers and discusses the strategies for the use of these.
In this section the important abilities for Mercenary Bodyguards are listed.
The Mercenary healer uses the Combat Support Cylinder.
The primary resource is called heat and the secondary resource is called Supercharge. The heat resource differs a bit form other resources because low heat-level means plenty resources and high heat-level means few resources.
The rate at which heat is vented is dependent on the heat-level. The higher heat-level the slower resources are being regenerated. The regeneration tiers are with 0 alacrity:
- 0-40 Heat: 5 Heat/second (Fast)
- 41-80 Heat: 3 Heat/Second (Moderate/Slow)
- w81-100 Heat: 2 Heat/Second (Very slow)
A mercenary healer should try to stay in the fast region as often as possible to maximize the output.
These are the primary healing abilities
These are abilities that can be seen as additional utilities (not the same as utility skills)
These are abilities that increases the survivability and mobility
This section discusses the strategies on how to best use the abilities in different situations.
Pre-fight / Transistion Phases
Remember to apply Kolto Shell to as many people as possible before a fight and whenever there is a transition phase in the fight. This will help migrating a lot of damage from the boss.
Remember to build up 10 stacks of supercharge before the fight or in the transition. This will enable you to use Supercharged Gas or Supercharged Celerity when the fight starts.
Supercharged Gas is one of the core abilities in the mercenary rotation. The ability provides great burst healing potential or works as a rolling buff that should be kept up as often as possible:
- Heat management: When Supercharged Gas is being activated it vents 10 heat.
- General healing buff: When Supercharged Gas is being activated it consumes all 10 stacks of supercharge and thereby removing the +1% healing buff from these. Instead, Supercharged Gas will provide a stronger healing buff during its duration that will increase all healing done by +5%.
- Healing Scan buff: Supercharged Gas will lower the heat cost, reset and remove the cooldown on Healing Scan while it is active. Increasing the burst potential greatly.
Under normal circumstances, Supercharged Gas should be used whenever it is ready, but in some fights, it is better to hold it for a few seconds to be ready for a coming burst healing phase.
Note! It is possible to build stacks of supercharge while Supercharged Gas is active! This is good to know if you don’t need to use the full duration of to spam healing scan.
The Kolto Shell will provide a continuous, passive healing to the target when it takes damage and is therefore extremely helpful for the heat management. The Kolto Shell should be applied to as many targets as possible during a fight to lower the overall damage taken by the raid.
The Kolto Shell is extremely effective in fights with a lot of raid wide damage and in these fights; the mercenary healer should focus on blanketing the raid with Kolto Shell, whenever there are no more pressing matters to attend.
It might not always be possible to keep 100% uptime on all raid members during the entire fight, especially in 16man. In these cases, it is good to have a priority on who will benefit most from a Kolto Shell. The priority will be based on who takes the most damage during a fight and will in most cases look something like this:
- Melee DPS
- Ranged DPS
It is important, not to reapply the Kolto Shell on a target unless the old one is depleted (or very near depleted), because if it is reapplied too often the full potential is not used and the heat-level will most likely go out of hand. The Kolto Shell should as a minimum be kept up on the tanks at all time.
Progressive Scan is one of the most useful abilities in the repertoire and should be used as often as possible. The primary reason for this is the armor buff that it applies to the four targets it heals over the channeled duration that increases the armor by 10%. Besides the armor buff the heal itself is very effective because it will always heal the targets with the lowest health.
Rapid Scan’s primary function, besides healing, is to build 1 stack of Critical Efficiency each time it is used. Each stack of Critical Efficiency reduces the heat-cost of Healing Scan by 5 and it stacks up to 3 times. Rapid Scan is therefore an ability that helps a bit with heat management. Rapid Scan should primary be used as a filler.
Besides that Rapid Scan also builds 2 stacks of supercharge each time it is used.
Note! If talented Rapid Scan also builds 1 stack of Power Barrier
Healing Scan is the strongest healing ability in the rotation. The primary function of the ability is to provide a +3% healing received buff to the target. This healing buff should as a minimum be kept up on the tanks at all time, but the buff should be applied to as many targets as possible during the fight.
Note! During Supercharged Gas, Healing Scan has no cooldown and can be cast on a lot of people in very short time, if you don’t need to spam heal the tank (Remember to watch your heat).
Emergency Scan is the primary burst heal, not only because it activates instantly, but also because it makes the next Healing Scan activate instantly. Besides the initial burst healing Emergency Scan also provides a HoT that heals for a fair amount.
Emergency Scan and Healing Scan should in most cases be used together, but not necessarily at the same target. The instant cast of Healing Scan after Emergency Scan can be used to fast apply the healing received buff to more targets.
Kolto Shot is used as a filler in the rotation whenever only a low to moderate amount of healing is needed. Kolto Shot will also help with heat-management since it will vent 1 heat (2, if critical) and build 1 stack of supercharge each time it is used. Therefore Kolto Shot is a very important ability and should be used whenever no bigger heals are needed.
Kolto Missile is the mercenary’s primary AoE heal. So if the fight has a lot or raid damage Kolto Missile should be used as often as possible. Kolto Missile is maybe the strongest AoE heal in the game at the moment due to the short cooldown and relatively high output. Note that Kolto Missile also can be cast on the run.
Progressive Scan is also very effective for raid healing, because it heals up to four targets over the channel duration.
Hint! Progressive scan can also be cast on the run if Thrill of the Hunt utility is selected.
Jet Boost can also be used as an AoE heal if Kolto Jets utility is selected. Jet Boost heals all allies around your current position for a moderate amount. Jet Boost is however a bad healing ability because:
- High cooldown: Jet Boost has a high cooldown and can therefore only be used a few times during a fight.
- It is difficult to position: Jet Boost is a nice AoE heal ability, but do not use a lot of time moving around just to be in a better position for Jet Boost, the time is better used on other abilities. Position yourself in the middle of a group with friendly targets (often together with the ranged DPS and other healers) in the start of the fight, and if any of these targets take damage, then you can use Jet Boost to heal them without changing your current healing target (often the tank).
- It knocks back enemies: This is often not preferred, when people are stacking and the enemies have been grouped up for AoE damage. So do not use it when adds are around.
This should be used as a guideline for how to prioritize the abilities in a standard situation. The abilities are listed after importance and should not be executed top-down, instead abilities with higher importance should be executed more often.
- (Kolto Shot – As filler for better heat control)
- Supercharged Gas – For healing buff and to vent heat
- Healing Scan – Instant
- Kolto Shell – Only when the old run out!
- Emergency Scan
- Progressive Scan – Applies armor buff
- Healing Scan – Casted
- Rapid Scan or Kolto Shot
If there are, burst healing phases in the fight make sure that Supercharged Gas is ready for this. The burst rotation is a execute top-down rotation.
- Supercharged Gas – For healing buff and to vent heat
- Emergency Scan
- Healing Scan
- (Power Surge – If another instant is needed
- Healing Scan – Repeat until Supercharged Gas ends
Multi target Healing
Use Kolto Missile and Progressive Scan on cooldown!
Advanced Healing Priorities
On the official swtor forum Palydin have created a guide where he discusses the efficiency of each healing ability with respect to potential output (Healing/Second) and heat cost (Healing/Heat) vs the number of healing targets. The results of his calculations can be seen in the link below:
If you are interested in joining the discussion I refer to Palydin’s forum guide, where he also discusses the optimum DPS abilities for mercenary healers.
This section lists and discusses the choice of utilities for mercenary healers.The tables below show the descriptions for all utilities and a comment on their worth for mercenary healers. Generally the worth can be divided into five categories:
Essential > Recommended > Situational >Almost Worthless> Worthless
What to Choose?
The way the utility system works is: The player must use a minimum of 3 utility points in the skillful category to be able to use any in the masterful category. To unlock the heroic category the sum of the utility points in the skillful and masterful category must be minimum 5.
The entire system makes the build very customizable, so dependent on the fight and personal play styles the setup will differ a lot. Because of this, one build will not be optimal for all fights and for all players.
A general setup that will be useful in most encounters in the current content could be.http://dulfy.net/2014/10/13/swtor-disciplines-calculator-swtor_miner/?link=dGEAAABBAAAAGAYDBQ4QFxMA
Stats and More
Mastery is the primary stat for all healing and DPS classes. Mastery increases the bonus healing added to all abilities and increases the critical chance by a small amount
Items with mastery: Armorings, Barrels, Mods, Augments, Earpieces, Implants and Relics
Power is the secondary stat for all healing and DPS Classes.Power is important for healers, since it boosts the bonus healing/damage.
Items with power: Barrels, Mods, Enhancements, Augments, Color Crystals, Earpieces, Implants and Relics
Critical rating is considered a tertiary stat. Critical increases both the chance that a heal will deal increased healing as well as the amount of that increased healing.
Items with critical: Enhancements, Augments, Color Crystals and Relics
Alacrity rating is considered a tertiary stat. Alacrity increases the speed at which abilities are activated, by decreasing the activation time of the abilities, reducing cooldowns, and increasing the resource regeneration rate.
Items with alacrity: Enhancements, Augments and Relics
Critical vs Alacrity
On enhancements, Earpiece and Implants critical rating will compete with alacrity rating over the tertiary stat budget. The total tertiary stat budget on enhancements, Earpieces and Implants are:
- Item rating 216: 1520
- Item rating 220: 1600
- Item rating 224: 1680
Generally critical will increase the size of the heals, while alacrity increases the number of heals time. A even split between the two on enhancements, earpiece and implants seems to give a decent output.
Augments: Mastery vs Power vs Critical vs Alacrity
Augments can have one of four possible stats that will directly increase the healing output. On augments the primary, secondary and tertiary stats compete directly with each other. The total stat budget is:
- Item rating 208: 1022
The initial tests seems to indicate that the tertiary stats (critical and alacrity) will increase the expected healing output more than mastery and power. If you have spilt evenly on the enhancements you can fine-tune the stats using the augments.
Color Crystals: Power vs Critical
On Color Crystals power competes against critical rating. Again critical rating seems to be superior.
In the table below the optimum stat are summaries for the different endgame gear tiers.
|Item Rating 216||Item Rating 220||Item Rating 224|
The set bonuses are very important for mercenary healers, because they will greatly increase the healing output:
|2-piece||Activating a healing ability has a 15 percent chance to grant Combat Medic’s Critical Bonus which causes your next Rapid Scan or Medical Probe to be a critical. This effect can only occur once every 30 seconds.|
|4-piece||While in Combat Cylinder or Combat Support Cell the duration of Supercharged Gas and Supercharged Cells is increased by 4 seconds.|
|6-piece||Reduces the cooldown of Healing Scan or Advanced Medical Probe by 1.5 seconds.|
Set-bonuses are the first thing one should focus on getting. Set-bonuses are so important that a armoring with the bonus is better than an armoring two gear tiers higher that does not have the bonus.
The table below summaries the names of the relevant gear that has the highest possible stat combinations
|Barrels||Advanced Versatile Barrel 42 – 44|
|Armorings||Advanced Versatile Armoring 42 – 44|
|Mods||Advanced Lethal Mod 42 – 44|
|Enhancements||Advanced Adept Enhancement 42 – 44
Advanced Quick Savant Enhancement 42 – 44
|Augments||Advanced Critical Augment 40
Advanced Alacrity Augment 40
|Earpiece||Ultimate Exarch Adept Device
Ultimate Exarch Quick Savant Device
|Implants||Ultimate Exarch Adept Package
Ultimate Exarch Quick Savant Package
|Relics||Ultimate Exarch Relic of Focused Retribution
Ultimate Exarch Relic of Serendipitous Assault
Consumables are an important boost to the stats and can mean the difference between victory and defeat. A mercenary healer will want to be equipped with the following:
- Versatile Stim
- Adrenal: Triage, Alacrity
I have included both triage and alacrity adrenal, since both can be useful dependent on the fight. Triage adrenal will increase the size of your heals for a short period and alacrity adrenals will allow you to put out more abilities for a short period. Another advantage of alacrity adrenal is that they can be used for heat management (Increases the regeneration), but that should not be the primary reason to use it.
Datacrons provides a small permanent boost to the primary stats (mastery and endurance). The datacrons can also give you datashards, but these are of little use since the datacube is no longer BiS relic.
Link to datacrons:http://www.swtor-spy.com/datacrons/
It is possible to unlock some legacy buffs that will give a permanent boost to your healing output, by completing all companion conversations and quests.
The companion legacy buffs are:
- Increased critical chance (+1%)
- Increased critical multiplier (+1%)
- Increased healing received (+1%)
- Increased HP (+1%)
- Increased accuracy (+1%)
These buffs can only be achieved once per legacy, so you only have to complete the companion stories on one character. To see which companion unlocks which bonus look here: http://dulfy.net/2012/04/22/companion-gifts-and-crafting-bonuses-for-1-2/
The buffs relevant for the mercenary healer is increased critical chance, critical multiplier, healing received and HP. The accuracy buff is only relevant for DPS.
The user interface is a very important part for healers, since you can increase the healing done a lot, by just setting it up correctly. The optimal user interface differs from player to player, but I will try to cover the basics here.
Graphical User Interface
First of all the normal group window should be changed the ops-window (can be done in preferences), since the character pictures are just a waste of space in the graphical interface.
The ops-window and the health bars inside it should be as large as possible, since healers have to focus mostly on the group’s health and not so much the battleground itself. By making the opswindow large also makes it, easier to spot debuffs on the friendly targets. It is also possible in the options for the ops-window to only display cleansable debuffs if one prefer that.
By increasing the maximum zoom in the preferences you can get a better view over the battlefield. This will help a lot when placing an AoE heal.
One thing should be done by all healers is to focus target the boss to easily see how much health the boss has left and to see what skills the boss is casting (interrupt if it´s possible and if there is time).
Assign hotkeys to the abilities that is most frequently used. This might be obvious to most people, but I have met several people that did not use hotkeys, and was surprised how much it helped them, when they started using them. Place the hotkeys close the movement buttons, so they are close at hand (I use the number just above the letters).
In the preferences, there are a set of options that can be extremely useful for healers. These options can be found under Preferences -> Controls -> Combat:
- Action Queue: By using this option, you will be able to queue up the abilities you want to cast and thereby minimizing the delay between each action (increasing the APM). This is very useful for burst healing.
- Sticky Ground Target Reticule: When this option is enabled, your ground target telegram does not disappear if the target location is out of range or the ability otherwise fails.
- Quick Ground Target Activation: When this option is enabled, you will be able to cast AOE abilities by just double tapping the hot key. The target location will be your current target. This option is very useful when you are moving around and do not have time place your Kolto Missile / Kolto Bomb.
About the Author
NeNiMel is main healer and officer in <Ragnarok> on The Red Eclipse. NeNiMel has played SWTOR since the beta and has primary played as a mercenary healer (Atmea). Since 2.0 he has maintained The Mercenary / Commando Healing Guide on the official swtor.com forum, where he with help from the community has collected knowledge about mercenary and commando healing.
Special thanks to:
- Dulfy – for hosting this guide
- Everyone on the Commando / Mercenary forum – for their support and feedback to my original guides
- Special thanks to Palydin for his calculations on optimal healing abilities
- Bant and all the other theorycrafters out there – for calculating all the optimal stat values and so on.