SWTOR 4.0 Corruption Sorcerer PvP Guide by Kick-Bot
SWTOR 4.0 Corruption Sorcerer PvP healing guide by Kick-Bot
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Gear
- 3 Utilities
- 4 Rotation
- 5 User Interface
- 6 Targeting Teammates
- 7 Positioning
- 8 Survival
The corruption sorcerer is a support class. Your main role is to keep yourself and teammates alive. Sorcerers are the strongest PvP healers in the game. You have very powerful and very mobile heals which react well to both split damage and single target burst. Sorcerer healers also have great survivability. Your toolset provides a good mix of kiting and team utility as well.
This guide covers how to play a sorcerer healer in PvP. It explains how to gear, which utilities to take and gives a basic rotation to follow. It also goes in depth on each of your healing abilities and when they are most effective. Tips for setting up your user interface and how to efficiently target your teammates are also displayed. Survivability is broken down as well. It covers when to use your defensives and shows a detailed look on how to position yourself.
The information shown here is a guideline. I do not know everything about this game. Some sections may be overcomplicated or oversimplified. I try to explain things for both new players and seasoned MMO veterans. Hopefully this guide will help you enjoy playing a sorcerer healer in PvP. That’s the ultimate goal when playing any game. To have fun.
This project is not finished. I plan on adding sections on kiting, surviving against certain classes, how to heal teammates, cleansing and control. Eventually, I may add how to approach the different warzone and arenas maps as well as solo ranked. I would also like to add videos to help better illustrate certain things. Some concepts are more difficult to explain in text. Updates should come every week.
It is up to personal preference how you want to gear your corruption sorcerer. Some players may choose power over critical rating. Others may prefer very little alacrity. This section will help explain how each stat choice will effect your play. I suggest you begin with the recommended gear setup below and then adjust things later to more fit your own playstyle.
The stats you will be interested in are Critical Rating, Alacrity Rating, Power and Mastery. You do not need Accuracy. This is the recommended stat prioritization for a healing sorcerer in PvP:
- Critical Rating (up to 1400)
- Alacrity Rating (up to 1000)
Critical Rating increases your Force Critical Chance and your Critical Multiplier. Force Critical Chance raises the chance that an ability will deal increased damage and/or healing with a critical hit. Your Critical Multiplier boosts the damage and/or healing of that critical hit. This stat is susceptible to diminishing returns when it is stacked. This means the more you stack, the less effective it becomes.
The Surge stat was added to Critical Rating in 4.0
Critical Rating is your strongest stat. It is recommended that you reach a Force Critical Chance of at least 40%. This will guarantee critical hits during Recklessness and Force Bending Dark Heals. This will also give you at least a 65% chance to crit on Innervate ticks with Force Bending. Innervate ticks criting is very important in PvP, because it allows you to drop an instant Revivification which then provides an instant Dark Heal. Instant heals are better for mobility, reacting to high burst damage and avoiding interrupts.
Alacrity Rating increases the speed at which abilities are executed. This includes lowering your cast times, ability speed, your global cooldown (GCD) and the overall cooldown on most of your abilities. It also boosts your Force Regen Rate. This stat, like Critical Rating, is effected by diminishing returns.
Alacrity Rating is better for sustained healing and longer fights. Power is the stronger stat for burst healing. There isn’t a huge difference between the two. I recommend Alacrity, because it directly effects your utilities like cleansing and crowd control. PvP gear does not provide enough stats to go over 1000 Alacrity without hampering your Critical Rating.
Power and Mastery
Power and Mastery both increase Force Bonus Damage and Healing. Mastery provides additional Critical Chance (Not Critical Multiplier), but is susceptible to diminishing returns when stacked.
Willpower, Aim, Cunning and Strength were merged into Mastery in 4.0.
Power is stronger than Mastery, but there isn’t a huge difference. You’ll have to choose between Power, Critical Rating and Alacrity Rating when selecting augments. I do not recommend augmenting Power, but you may find it suits your style of play better. Although, absorbs like Static Barrier benefit more from Power than Critical Rating.
Recommended Gear Setup
Below is a recommended gear setup. It is the most efficient way to gear with warzone commendations. This setup allows for customization. If you want to try a higher Power build, then replace the Alacrity implants and earpiece with Critical Rating subsitutes and Power augments. It is better to buy set bonus pieces first, so that you can learn to play with the shorter cooldown on Innervate.
Relics are a personal preference. Focused Retribution and Serendipitous Assault are preferred when gearing Critical Rating over Power. Once you are fully geared and have warzone commendations to spare, you should pick up and try Relic of Devastating Vengeance. Do not use Relic of Ephemeral Mending. It does not perform well for healers in PvP.
Make sure to always be buffed with an Advanced Anodyne Versatile Stim (Mastery). You can purchase them from the Galactic Trade Market (auction house). They increase Mastery by 198 and Power by 81 for 480 minutes and persist through death.
There are a couple of things to consider when choosing which utilities to take. What is your experience with the game and class? What are you queuing for? Who are you playing with and who are you playing against?
If you are completely new, then take passive survival talents. If you are only playing warzones, then pick utilities that can help you take or defend objectives. Select more stationary talents when tanks are in queue. Spec more escapes, if you have been facing more melee heavy teams.
These are some basic talent specializations (see above). I recommend you try out each utility and decide which ones work best for you. It is important to know how to play the different talent setups. This will allow for more versatility in your game.
Sorcerers are fortunate. They have a lot of good utilities to choose from. Below are the talents useful in PvP and a short breakdown for each.
Sorcerer healers have a dynamic rotation. This allows for adjustment based on situation. Sorcerer healing is also very forgiving. Their strongest heals are instant casts and channels which are both very good for reacting to incoming damage and avoiding interrupts.
This section explains your basic rotation. It provides a simple description of which heals to use, then goes more in depth into each individual healing ability. It also shows which buffs and debuffs you’ll want to pay attention to. Force management, output cooldowns and pre-combat preparation are also covered here. The rotations below are not meant for PvE.
Your rotation is determined by which abilities are off cooldown and which buffs you have active. It also depends on how much damage someone is taking and their health percentage. Below is a very simple description of when to use each of your heals. I highly recommend you read the more in depth sections for each individual healing ability.
- Resurgence – Use when available.
- Innervate – Your second strongest heal. Use when Resurgence is on cooldown.
- Roaming Mend – Your strongest heal. Use when two or more friendly targets are taking damage.
- Revivification – Place when multiple friendly targets are being attacked and Resurgence, Innervate and Roaming Mend are on cooldown.
- Static Barrier – Use when someone is full health or when no other heals with cooldowns are available.
- Dark Infusion – Cast when no other heals are available and your target needs a big heal.
- Dark Heal – Cast when no other heals are available and your target needs a moderate heal.
The picture below shows three basic guidelines for a sorcerer healer. It is important to use Resurgence and Innervate on cooldown when healing single target. Roaming Mend takes priority over everything else when multiple people are taking damage or during a damage spike. Make sure to keep Revivification down as much as possible when two or more people are being attacked.
Static Barrier, Dark Infusion and Dark Heal should be used as fillers when Innervate and Resurgence are on cooldown. Static Barrier usually takes priority, but this is very much determined by which buffs you have active. The buffs you’ll want to pay attention to are in the sections below.
Resurgence is a setup ability. It makes your other heals stronger, because of Force Bending. You will receive Force Bending whenever you use Resurgence. Force Bending provides a benefit to your next heal (see below).
Resurgence also places a small heal over time (HoT) on your target. Whenever you refresh it, that target will be healed for the remainder of that previous HoT. This means you won’t waste any healing when doubling over Resurgence.
This ability should be used on cooldown unless someone is low health. Resurgence does not provide much direct healing compared to your stronger heals. It should be spread out on multiple people when your teammates are taking consistent area of effect (AoE) damage. This helps prevent overhealing and allows your group members to recieve a more steady flow of health increase.
The Force Bending Priority List in the picture above assumes Roaming Mend can be bounced. If only one target is taking damage, then Force Bending Roaming Mend takes priority over everything else on damage spikes.
Roaming Mend is an instant cast heal which bounces 3 times between friendly targets whenever they take damage. It only works when someone takes damage unless you use it with Force Bending. Force Bending makes Roaming Mend bounce and heal targets instantly. Roaming Mend is also a smart heal. This means it will bounce to whoever has the lowest health within 20m. Once this ability is in play, you can see how many charges it has left by looking at your Roaming Mend buff stacks (see picture below).
Roaming Mend is your strongest heal against split pressure. It should be prioritized first over everything else when multiple people are taking damage. It is also your strongest single target heal. You can bounce Roaming Mend off yourself to heal single target damage on a teammate when no other friendly targets are nearby. Two bounces will heal more per global than Innervate depending on crits. However, it does have a longer cooldown.
This ability should be saved for damage spikes. If you can top someone off with Innervate, then you should hold back on using Roaming Mend. Force Bending won’t be used with Roaming Mend too often. SWTOR PvP has a lot of splash damage. There are a lot of damage over time (DoT) spread abilities as well. This helps Roaming Mend, because you do not need to use Force Bending to gain its full effect.
There will be times though that you’ll have to bounce Roaming Mend off yourself to heal a single target teammate. For this, you’ll need to learn how to dip in with Roaming Mend (see picture above). Under normal circumstances, you will want to play at least 25m away when healing teammates. Roaming Mend can only bounce to targets within 20m or it becomes lost. If you need to heal yourself and a teammate with this ability, then you’ll have to get closer to the fight for a few seconds. You can then return to max range after Roaming Mend finishes bouncing.
Innervate is a channeled ability which heals four times over the course of its duration. This is your best heal. Channeled heals are very good for reacting to incoming damage. The 6 piece Force-Mystic set bonus lowers the cooldown on Innervate by 1.5 seconds. This gives it a cooldown of 6.8 seconds with 968 alacrity.
You will receive a Force Surge charge everytime an Innervate tick crits, stacking up to 3 times. Force Surge stacks can be used for increased force regen or cast time reduction on Revivification. These charges are very important to pay attention to (see picture below).
Force Surge stacks are essential for sorcerer healing in PvP, because they allow for instant cast Revivifications at 3 charges. In PvP, instant casts are much stronger. They help you avoid interrupts and stay mobile. You’ll want to use your Force Bending procs on Innervate whenever possible unless there is a big damage spike and you cannot bounce Roaming Mend. Force Bending provides 25% additional crit to Innervate. This gives you a 65% chance to crit on Innervate ticks if you gear for 40% crit.
Innervate should be used whenever Resurgence is on cooldown. Half your Innervates will sync with Force Bending. Those that do not still have a high probability of yeilding at least one Force Surge stack.
Revivification is a puddle that places a heal over time on friendly targets who stand in its area of effect. When someone leaves Revivification, they will continue to be healed by this heal over time. This ability has a cast which can be reduced by Force Surge stacks (see Innervate above). Three Force Surge stacks makes Revivification an instant cast. Once Revivification is used, all Force Surge stacks are lost.
This ability also provides Dark Concentration. Dark Concentration makes your next Dark Heal an instant cast and cost no force. Revivification has a high force cost which can be reduced with Force Bending. Force Bending is only good with Revivification if you are below 50% force or your teammates aren’t under pressure. You do not want to use Force Bending with Revivification in most scenarios
Revivification should be used after every other Innervate. On average you should gain at least 4 stacks of Force Surge every 2 Innervates. This should be enough for an instant Revivification and one Consuming Darkness. If you do not have 3 stacks and are freecasting, then you should still use Revivification when there is split pressure. Be sure to keep it down when multiple people are taking damage.
However, you should skip Revivification when someone is low health unless you need an instant Dark Heal. Revivification is not a very strong single target ability. It is only useful for healing single target when that target is at high health. The heal over time it provides can help cushion incoming burst damage.
The Revivification heal over time buff can be clicked off and refreshed (see picture above). This is a good way to get a little extra healing out of this ability. Turning on Quick Group Target Activation can also make it easier to drop your puddle. Double pressing the hotkey assigned to Revivification will activate it under whoever you are targeting. SWTOR’s camera and maps can be very buggy. Enabling this option can help with these issues.
Shields are very strong, because they can be placed on someone before they start taking damage. Static Barrier is a shield. It absorbs incoming damage instead of directly healing a health bar. It is very effective as an instant cushion to react to damage spikes, but can also be used preemptively.
Shielding someone with Static Barrier applies the Deionized debuff. When someone is Deoinized, they cannot be shielded again for 15 seconds. You’ll want to get familar with this debuff (see picture below), so you know when you can and cannot use Static Barrier.
Static Barrier does not stack. Other sorcerers might be using utilities that buff their shields like Backlash. Do not use Static Barrier on other sorcerers. Let them shield themselves unless you have no other heal available to save them.
You’ll want to use Static Barrier before your target starts taking damage. If your target is taking damage, then use it when Resurgence and Innervate are on cooldown. There will be gaps when Resurgence and Innervate are one global away from syncing. Static Barrier is perfect for these gaps, because it does not benefit from Force Bending.
Static Barrier can also be used as a filler when multiple people are taking damage. Roaming Mend, Resurgence, Innervate and Revivification all take priority when healing AoE and split pressure. Try not to blindly spam Static Barrier in these scenarios. Innervate and Roaming Mend are your better heals. Static Barrier is stronger, however, when someone is very low health. An instant shield is more likely to save them than one tick of Innervate or Roaming Mend (heals after damage is taken).
Heals with long casts are generally not as effective in PvP, because they are susceptible to interrupts and do not land until after the activation time ends. Dark Infusion has a long cast. It can, however, be lowered with alacrity and Force Bending. Force Bending reduces Dark Infusion’s cast time by 0.5 seconds which make this a 1.38 second cast with 968 alacrity.
The 2 piece Force-Mystic’s set bonus provides you with a 15% chance to proc a buff that makes your next Dark Infusion a critical hit. This proc is called Force-Mystical Critical Bonus which has a purple buff icon (see below). You want to know whenever this buff is active. Dark Infusion also provides you with Dark Concentration, which makes your next Dark Heal an instant cast and cost no force (see Dark Heal below).
Purple Dark Infusion takes priority when healing single target to Static Barrier, Revivification and Dark Heal as long as you can pair it with Force Bending. Casting Dark Infusion without Force Bending is only recommended if you are freecasting at max range, have Polarity Shift up or prehealing a damage spike. You can save your purple buff for burst damage, but do not let it fade. Sitting on Innervate’s cooldown to use a purple Dark Infusion with Force Bending can provide more burst healing, but is not recommended under normal circumstances.
Patch 4.0 change to Force-Mystic’s Critical Bonus “To ensure that Critical Hit Chance is never a wasted stat, any abilities that automatically critically hit now convert any Critical Hit beyond 100% into additional critical damage.”
Dark Heal is a fast cast ability which has no cooldown and requires little setup to be effective, but has a higher then normal force cost. It becomes an instant cast with no force cost when Dark Concentration is available (see picture below). Dark Heal can also give a movement speed increase if you are specced into Dark Speed.
This ability is a filler. On average, it does not heal as much as Dark Infusion, Static Barrier, Innervate or Roaming Mend. However, there are benefits to using it. Force Bending Dark Heal is a guaranteed crit if you have a 40% crit chance. This does not heal as much as a Dark Infusion critical hit, but also does not rely on RNG. It is situational which is better.
Dark Infusion takes priority over Dark Heal with Force Bending when purple buff is active. Casting a non-purple Dark Infusion with Force Bending is normally better, because it procs Dark Concentration. Dark Heal is the better filler without Force Bending, but is still weaker than Static Barrier.
Dark Heal is also better when someone is low health and you have a Dark Concentration proc. You do not want to be casting Dark Infusion as someone dies, though it does happen with the amount of burst in this game. Instant Dark Heals are also superior when moving. However, Dark Infusion is better for preemptive healing on a full health bar.
Dark Speed is covered more in the Survival and Healing Teammates sections.
Polarity Shift and Recklessness
Polarity Shift and Recklessness are both cooldowns that increase healing output. Polarity Shift provides interrupt immunity and an alacrity boost for 10 seconds. It is rare that people die when you are freecasting with this cooldown up. A non-Force Bending Dark Infusion becomes a 1.5 second cast during Polarity Shift (with 10% Alacrity). This gives you incredible burst healing potential. You can skip Resurgence during Polarity Shift and spam Dark Infusion in between Innervates if you need increased single target output.
The rotations below assume Roaming Mend is on cooldown.
Recklessness is another burst healing cooldown which provides 60% crit on direct force abilties with 2 charges. You should try to spread out your Recklessness and Polarity Shift cooldowns, but sometimes you will need to stack them. Recklessness is strongest when paired with non-Force Bending Innervates, because it gives a guaranteed crit (with 40% crit chance) on all ticks for just one charge. This allows you to use Force Bending on Dark Infusion, Dark Heal or Roaming Mend then Recklessness Innervate which is especially useful for the gaps where your Resurgence and Innervate do not sync up.
In PvP, you won’t always have time to save the second charge of Recklessness for a second Innervate like the above suggested rotation. A lot of times you will have to burn a charge on Unnatural Preservation (self heal) or another direct heal. Recklessness with Dark Infusion spam in Polarity Shift is also a lot of burst healing. Don’t use Recklessness on Force Bending Innervate or Dark Heal. You’ll waste charges.
All force attacks and heals will eat your Recklessness stacks, this includes things like Overload (knockback), Electrocute (stun), Expunge (cleanse), Force Slow and each time Roaming Mend heals someone. It is not recommended to use your first charge of Recklessness on Roaming Mend, but its good to use the second charge if innervate isn’t topping someone.
You will most likely be wearing relics that proc stat boosts. It is not as important to pay attention to these procs when playing a healer. Healers do not always have the luxury of holding back big heals to sync with their relics. You should, however, be aware of when these buffs are active. It can be beneficial to save burst heals like Roaming Mend and purple Dark Infusion for when you are juiced as long as you can remain stable with your other abilities while you wait.
Your heals are effected by stats as they heal, not when they are used. This means your heal over time effects will benefit from relics even if you placed them on someone before those relics procced. Under ideal circumstances, you’ll want to drop Revivification before or after you become juiced, because it is not a direct heal. Direct heals benefit the most from relic procs. This does not mean you want to skip Revivification during relics, but if you are only juiced for one more global, then you may want to sit on your Revivification cooldown and use a direct heal instead.
A corruption sorcerer’s main resource is force. Most of your abilities have a force cost. Managing your force is very important, because if you run out of force you will be using globals on regen rather than healing.
Force management is not difficult. It revolves around an ability called Consuming Darkness. Consuming Darkness restores 45 force (with the set bonus), but also makes you Weary which reduces your force regeneration. This is where Force Surge stacks come into play (see picture below).
You can use Force Surge stacks to avoid Weary when using Consuming Darkness. Using Consuming Darkness with a charge of Force Surge also provides an additional 5 force and grants you Reverse Corruptions. Reverse Corruptions gives you increased force regen over 10 seconds.
In PvP, force management is not as important as keeping someone alive. Using Consuming Darkness is determined by how much damage people are taking. Under normal circumstances, you should be able to use Consuming Darkness at least once every other Innervate when Revivification is on cooldown. Force Surge stacks benefit both Consuming Darkness and Revivification. Revivification will normally take priority unless you are getting low on force (around 30%).
Weary occurs when you use Consuming Darkness without a charge of Force Surge. It is not good practice to Consuming Darkness without a Force Surge stack, but it is sometimes needed when you get poor RNG crits on Innervate. Weary is not very punishing, but try your best to avoid it. Innervate should provide at least one stack of Force Surge every time it is used.
You do not need to keep Reverse Corruptions up the entire time, but you do want to be conscious of when it is fading (see picture above). Revivification also has a high force cost which can be reduced with Resurgence. If you are running low on force, you’ll want to use Force Bending on your Revivifications and use more Dark Concentration Dark Heals. You shouldn’t have force issues if you Consuming Darkness after every other Innervate.
Before your team enters combat or before a match begins, you want to prep them as best as possible. Sorcerer healers are incredibly strong at prepping teammates, because of Static Barrier. Make sure to have Static Barrier on all your teammates including yourself. Do not shield other sorcs.
You also want to identify which teammates will be taking damage first. Melee are usually the initial targets in warzones. In arena, powertechs, snipers and mercenaries are popular kill targets. You’ll want to have Twisted Force and Reconstruct on whoever you think will be attaked first. Both last 45 seconds.
Twisted Force gets applied from Roaming Mend. You can bounce Roaming Mend in the starting area with Resurgence (Force Bending). Resurgence also applies Reconstruct. A non-Force Bending Roaming Mend should also be sitting on whoever you think will be attacked first. Make sure to begin the fight with 3 stacks of Force Surge and full force. This allows you to open combat with an instant Revivification on your team.
I would also recommend putting a target marker on yourself. Something like the blue shield. This is not required, but it helps your teammates if they know where you are at all times. PvP combat in SWTOR can become very congested. It is a lot easier to see a target marker than an individual character. A good dps and/or tank will want to know where their healer is it all times. This way they will not line of sight or put you in a bad position and can also protect you.
It is important to have your User Interface setup well. A good UI can greatly improve your game awareness, field of vision and overall skill level. A cluttered UI can do the opposite.
Above is my user interface. You should customize your UI based on your own personal preference. It is important to place your operation (group) frames in a good location. They need to be easily noticeable, but also out of the way enough that they don’t block your field of vision.
I choose to play with Show Only Removable Debuffs enabled for my operation frames. This is great for using Expunge (cleanse), but does not show debuffs like Deionized (shield debuff).
Another helpful tip is to make your player frame buffs a larger than normal scale. This will make it easier to click off certain buffs that are key to sorcerer gameplay. Phase Walk, Backlash Static Barrier (bubble stun) and Revivification all need to be clicked off from time to time.
It is also important to have target’s target enabled, so you can see who your target is attacking. Cast bars should be in a good visible location as well. It is recommended to have your focus target and focus target’s cast bar in an area where you can easily keep track of them. If you don’t know how to setup your focus target, then there is more information in the Control section.
You can also clean up interface clutter by keybinding spammable abilities to hidden action bars. Once you memorize your keybinds for things like Lightning Strike and Force Storm, there is no point to have them visible on your bars.
On my sidebar, I prefer having doubled over abilities for easier vision. This is a preference from WoW that you should just ignore.
Seeing your resolve bar is also very important. You’ll always want to know your resolve in PvP. I highly recommend turning on the Nameplate on Self and Always Show Resolve Bar. This way you can know when you are vulnerable to knockbacks, stuns and any other form of crowd control.
There are several different ways to target yourself and teammates in SWTOR PvP. Targeting quickly is very important. Clicking on targets should always be a last resort, because it is a lot slower. The time you gain from keybinding your targets allows you to do more in a shorter time span. You will be able to react to things quicker with heals, cleanses and grips by using keybinds. Clicking also limits your camera rotation and movement which negatively effects things like kiting, positioning and awareness.
I will probably attach a video better explaining targeting teammates at a later date. It would be easier to show the operation frames workaround below and how to maximize target focus target’s target with a video.
If nothing else, you’ll want to keybind Target Self or use the Self Target Modifier. Both these methods are great for using abilities quickly on yourself. You will see a survivablity increase by just learning how to use Target Self.
I do not use the Self Target Modifier in this game. SWTOR does not seem to handle modifiers very well. If you are used to WoW’s Self Target Modifier, then try this one out, but I would recommend switching to Target Self.
If you are playing with a companion, hitting Target Self when you are already targeted will target your companion. Sorry button spammers. There are no macros in SWTOR to fix this.
Target Group Members 1-3
You’ll also want to keybind your group members. I am aware that most players in this game do not keybind their group frames. It is a hassle learning new keybinds. This section is only for people who want to maximize their play. If you are playing casual or new to the game, don’t worry about keybinding party members yet.
Your immediate group’s frames has a maximum of 4 players. You only need to keybind 1-3, because one of those frames will belong to you. This is why you’ll want Target Self bound. Sometimes your player frame will be in the 2nd or 3rd slot in your group frames. Always skip yourself when remembering which keybind is for who. In the picture above, I’m in the 3rd slot (Kick-bot). To target Vinyard I would use Target Group Member 3, eventhough he is in the 4th slot.
Unfortunately, keybinding party members in PvP isn’t this easy. The operation frames, for whatever reason, will change your group member order around whenever you join an ops. This is a problem in warzones and arenas, because the game forces you to use the operation frames. Below is an example of this issue.
Isaiik is Group Member #1, but he has been placed in the 3rd slot in my operation frames. Whereas, Yourmamadwagg is Group Member #2, but has been placed in the 2nd slot.
To solve this you are going to need to do a workaround. The game does not allow you to change which order your teammates appear in PvP. The only way to fix this is by re-keybinding your group members to match where they are located in your operation frames. You will need to do this before every warzone or arena match.
For this example, I want to swap Target Group Member 1 and Target Group Member 2’s keybinds (see below). This way I can then have my keybinds match the group member order as they appear in my operation frames. Remember, you always skip your own frame when determining who is placed where.
My keybinds are 9, 8, 7 for Group Members 1, 2, 3 (as they appear in the operation frames). I use 9, 8, 7, because I have a Razor Naga. If you don’t have a gaming mouse, I recommend using F1, F2, F3.
This workaround may seem like a huge headache and can be annoying to learn. Bioware needs to fix this! However, it will make you a lot faster once you do learn how to keybind your group members.
This is more for arenas. In warzones, you cannot directly keybind the other 4 players that aren’t in your immediate group. So even with this workaround and the keybinds below, you will still have to occassional click on frames, no matter how good you are.
Other Targeting Options
There are a couple other targeting keybinds you’ll want to get comfortable with. Target Nearest and Next Friendly are both useful keybinds. You only really need to learn one. Target Nearest is more based on character location where Target Next is more about camera. Both are great for reacting to animations rather than just operation frames. They are especially useful when gripping people as they get knocked off or instantly cleansing AoE CCs like fears and bubble stuns.
Target Nearest Friendly is similar to WoW’s Tab Target Nearest Friendly. If you are more used to WoW keybinds, then definately use Target Nearest.
You’ll also want Target Focus Target’s Target keybound. This is the most effective way to pick up an enemy’s target (specifically enemy ranged dps). You’ll have enemy ranged dps set as your Focus Target quite a bit, because of your ranged interrupt. If you have a lightning sorcerer, for example, set to focus and he is casting Thundering Blast, then this is a great option to identify which target he is attacking. This way you can shield or start casting a preemptive heal to cushion his incoming burst.
Positioning is very important in PvP. Healers should be aware of their positioning at all times. A player can always position themselves better. This is the great thing about positioning. It has an endless skill cap. This section covers the importance of distance, line of sight, pillar humping and Phase Walk placement. These basic concepts should be considered whenever you are looking for a good position to heal a fight.
The pvp maps in SWTOR do not often allow for great positioning. There aren’t many pillars which give you an ideal amount of space or clean corners to hump off of. You also need to take into consideration things like objectives and aggressive play (going in for CC and interrupts) which I am not going to cover much here. I also won’t be going over positioning with a tank. Playing with a tank makes positioning much easier and a lot less important.
I’ll probably add a video explaining the concepts of basic positioning at a later date. It is difficult to break down something like this with only screenshots, pictures and text.
Your heals and most other abilities have a 30m range. When deciding where to play, distance is valued more than line of sight for most scenarios. Playing from ranged makes it more difficult for people to attack, CC and interrupt you. You want to force players to go through your teammates most of the time. Distance makes it much more difficult for melee to off-target CC and interrupt you. If you are playing from 25m, a marauder for example, will have to use at least one gap closer and a lot of time to land CC.
Range also gives you a head start when something is trying to attack you. A head start can be the difference between being killed or getting away. If you stand on top of the fight, then it becomes harder to escape when something starts damaging you. Staying at range will force a melee to use a gap closer which you can then counter with an escape.
Distance is also great for your teammates. A sorc healer values range and space when healing others, because it allows you to maximize Extrication (your grip). Space is also required for utilities like Electric Bindings (knockback root) to be effective. It is important to play 25m behind your teammates when healing. This distance provides a 5m buffer which allows you to reposition as your team pushes up or kites back.
Standing on top of the fight makes it a lot easier for enemies to swap to you. In the picture below, you’ll notice I’m on top of the fight. This is bad positioning. I am much easier to kill, interrupt and CC in this location. I also cannot use my grip on teammates, if they get in trouble. The only benefit to standing here is that I can possibly get dotted. Moving close to the fight for a few seconds is fine if you are trying to get yourself dotted (to protect yourself from mez CC), going in for CC or bouncing Roaming Mend off yourself. You will want to maintain a distance of 25m the vast majority of the time.
Line of Sight
Line of sight (LoS) is also very important. It provides protection against damage, gap closers, crowd control and interrupts. Unfortunately there aren’t many great LoS objects in SWTOR PvP. Most crowd control is also instant cast. This is why distance is valued more overall. Line of sight, however is great for countering ranged damage.
When facing ranged DPS, you will want to try and position yourself on a pillar. This way if someone like a sniper, for example, starts attacking you, you can move behind the pillar and avoid his damage.
Line of sight also protects you against interrupts and crowd control. When healing teammates, try and position yourself so that a pillar is blocking you from enemies, while still being in line of sight of your teammates. This way you can heal them freely without having to worry about being CCed.
Your teammates should try and position themselves so you can have both line of sight and range to play with. Sometimes though this isn’t going to happen. There will be times where your team will have to play aggressive. Other times, teammates will be oblivious to your ideal location. And sometimes the map just won’t allow for great positioning. This is where weaving comes into play.
Weaving is when you strafe back and forth from a pillar to heal or cleanse teammates. When healing from a LoS object, you can move out of line of sight in between instant casts or ticks of Innervate with Force Mobility. This allows you to be protected by a pillar in between your global cooldowns. The goal is to limit the amount of time your character is actually in line of sight of enemies.
This is not as effective in this game. Most the CC here is instant cast and most interrupts don’t really hurt sorcerer healers.
Phase Walk Placement
Phase Walk is a new ability for sorcerers. You should always place a Phase Walk down before combat. Once it is placed, you’ll be able to port back to it as long as you are within 60m of where it was placed. You need to be conscious of your Phase Walk’s location. Try not to go out of range.
The best areas to place Phase Walk is behind line of sight. This allows you to port behind a pillar and heal yourself whenever you get into trouble. Once you’ve ported, this ability will go on cooldown (45 seconds). Remember to replace your Phase Walk when it comes off cooldown.
If you have to leave the area where your port was placed, then you’ll have to relocate Phase Walk. You’ll definately be relocating your port a lot during a match. There are two ways to do this. You can go out of range (60m) and hit your Phase Walk key again. This will cast it in the new location. Or you can click the buff off (see below) and then recast it.
It is generally better to click it off and then recast it. You don’t ever want to be out of port range, because it is one of your strongest defensives.
This ability can be used while stunned or controlled, but not during Electro Net (see above). Server lag and being knocked back can also bug Phase Walk out. If you try and use it when Electro Netted, it will cancel the port you have placed.
There is more information on Electro Net in the Survival Section.
The biggest downside to Phase Walk is when you port too far away from the fight and enemies switch to your teammates. Your team should always understand where your Phase Walk is placed when positioning themselves. Do not expect your teammates to have any positional awareness, however.
When placing your portal, you have to consider where your teammates are playing. If your teammates are playing aggressive, then you may need to relocate your Phase Walk in a less than ideal location as you reposition throughout the fight. This may include putting it down in the open instead of behind a pillar (see picture above). If this happens, make sure to move away from your port as soon as possible. You never want to be standing directly on top of your Phase Walk.
Try and create a triangle. Your Phase Walk, teammates and yourself making up the three points. Space is key for this ability. The more distance you play from it, the better your survivability becomes (as long as you stay within 60m).
There is one more thing to consider when relocating your Phase Walk. This ability will be used as a defensive the majority of the time. However, there will be times when you won’t be targeted and may choose to use your Phase Walk aggressively to land short range crowd control on enemies who are playing back.
The picture above is an example of how Phase Walk can be used to assist on CC chains. Offensive placement can turn this cooldown into a gap closer which synergizes well with abilities like Backlash (bubble blind) and Electrocute (stun).
The control section has more information on crowd control chains and when to go for CC.
How to survive is probably the most important thing you’ll need to learn when playing a sorcerer healer. You will be targeted in PvP. It is mostly on you to survive. Do not expect much help. Peeling damage is not very effective in this game unless you have a tank on your team.
Survival comes down to your positioning, utilities and defensive cooldown management. It also depends on kiting, crowd control use and understanding the other classes. This section explains how to keep yourself alive in PvP.
Defensive Cooldown Management
Managing your defensives properly is about predicting damage. In 4.0 damage is more predictable, because of higher crit levels and larger health pools. This does not mean that random damage chains will not still happen. SWTOR PVP has and always will be heavily dictated by random crit chains.
Over time you will get a good feel for the damage, but there is no way to completely predict what numbers you are going to get hit with. This makes things very frustrating when judging when to pop defensive cooldowns. Early is better than never in this environment. Unfortunately that takes away a lot of the skill in using your cooldowns.
Being good at managing your defensive cooldowns is all about consistency. You never want to die without popping all your defensives, but it does happen. Even the best players will die sometimes without using Force Barrier. This section covers general defensive, escape and self-healing cooldown rotations.
The rotations above are more of a guideline. There will be times when you will have to overlap defensives. Sometimes it is best to immediately use your bigger cooldowns like Phase Walk or Force Barrier, so that you can preserve your other outs. Under normal circumstances, defensive abilities with longer cooldowns should be used last.
There are general rules when choosing which defensives to use first. You should kite with Force Speed first unless you are specced into Dark Speed (which would then take priority). If Force Speed is on cooldown and you are going to take unhealabe damage, then use Cloud Mind (Suppression utility). Cloud Mind should be used to preemptively counter incoming burst damage. Try not to stack Cloud Mind and Warzone Adrenal. Damage reduction cooldowns do not stack efficiently in SWTOR. If you are not specced into Suppression or you cannot outheal the damage, then use Phase Walk. Phase Walk can also be used while stunned.
Surviving in between Force Speed’s cooldown without using any other defensives comes down to kiting, line of sight and using crowd control. This is covered more in the other sections.
Sorcerers have three outs to counter stuns. Phase Walk should be used first when being attacked, because it has the shorter cooldown. Sometimes your team will also need healing and you won’t be able to Phase Walk out. This is when you’ll use Unbreakable Will first.
Only break stuns if you or your teammates are in trouble, you are playing aggressive or an objective is being capped. Try not to waste your break when Electro Net is in play. See the Electro Net Section for more details.
Polarity Shift is a versitile cooldown. It can be used for keeping your teammates alive, countering split pressure or as a personal defensive. The best time to use Polarity Shift is when you are full resolved (white barred) and have no escapes available. Warzone Adrenal combines well with Polarity Shift, because you will most likely be standing still casting during this cooldown. Standing still means you take more damage.
Corruption sorcerers have two self healing defensive cooldowns. Unnatural Preservation and Warzone Medpac. Unnatural Preservation can be used more freely, because of its shorter cooldown. It should be used to counter early damage spikes. Warzone Medpac is your failsafe heal. Try to only pop it when you are low health (around 30% or lower). Warzone Medpac can only be used once per fight.
You should always have several Warzone Medpacs and Warzone Adrenals in your inventory. You can purchase them on the Galactic Trade Market (auction house) or from the PvP Vendors.
Your biggest defensive cooldown is Force Barrier. Try not to use Force Barrier at high health unless you are using it as a CC break. It should be your last defensive. The best time to use Force Barrier is around 20% health when you cannot Phase Walk. Anything under 20% health and you risk server lag bugging this ability out.
Force Barrier is very glitchy. It will not go off right away in midair. If you are casting, take a damage spike and need to use this cooldown, I recommend you either strafe or hit the ESC key to cancel your cast. Jumping won’t guarantee that this ability will work. SWTOR’s game engine is not the greatest and sometimes you will die in the animation.
There is one direct counter to Force Barrier in the game and that’s Electro Net. You cannot use Force Barrier during Electro Net.
How long you want to stay in barrier is very situational. Sometimes you will be forced to leave early to heal teammates or play objectives. The Corrupted Barrier utility heals for a substantial amount which makes sitting in barrier a lot more beneficial. It is best to stay in Force Barrier as long as possible even without Corrupted Barrier, because of Enduring Bastion. Enduring Bastion provides an absorb shield when barrier ends. The longer you stay in Force Barrier, the stronger that shield becomes (up to 4 stacks). Enduring Bastion lasts for 5 seconds and also provides interrupt immunity. You should be able to heal back up after Force Barrier ends, because of this absorb.
Your resolve bar is also very important. You do not want your resolve bar to fade when you are sitting in Force Barrier. A faded resolve bar makes you vulnerable to stuns during Enduring Bastion. This could lead to you dying immediately after barrier ends. In the example above, my resolve bar is still white and I have reached 4 stacks of Enduring Bastion. This is a good time to leave Force Barrier.
Electro Net is a mercenary and commando ability with a hindering effect that prevents you from using Force Speed, Force Barrier and Phase Walk. All sorcerers need to know about Electro Net. It can be very dangerous when it is in play. You do not want to die because of Electro Net.
This ability can be seen in the picture above. Electro Net places two debuffs on you. One which stacks damage and another that hinders you from using your best defensives. The damage from this ability stacks while you move. You never want to take extra damage, but it is usually better to keep moving while netted unless you are in the open and can’t get to line of sight.
A sorcerer’s biggest concern is the hindering effect. You are incredibly vulnerable to being killed when you are hindered. Sorcerers have a lot of a good escapes, but they are also very squishy. When you cannot use your escapes, you die very easily.
The best counter to Electro Net is Unbreakable Will. Unbreakable Will is your CC breaker and can be used to break the hindering effect of Electro Net. Save Unbreakable Will for Electro Net. Once the hindering effect is broken, you can then use Force Barrier and your other escapes.
You always want to start back whenever an Electro Net is in play. Position yourself on a pillar. Line of sight is great to use against mercenaries. Make sure to keep yourself at full health at all times. This way if you do get stunned, you won’t have to use your break.
A mercenary should not be able to solo you in an Electro Net. It will take at least two people. Try to stay away from the mercenary as much as possible. Do not allow him to net you when someone else is attacking.
You won’t always need to break Electro Net. Sometimes sorcerers can live only using minor cooldowns like Warzone Adrenal and Polarity Shift. If you see it coming, the Emersion utility lets you pre-Force Speed net. This will not make you immune to the hindering effect, but will prevent the slow which may allow you to get around a pillar.
Pay attention to your teammate’s debuffs. If a teammate gets hit with net, then you can play more aggressive. Just understand that Electro Net hurts your teammates as well and they will probably need a lot of healing. Extrication is a good way to counter Electro Net. Gripping another sorc back to you during net will help preserve his cooldowns.
All sorcerer’s will die to Electro Net every so often. Don’t worry too much if this happens. Just try and learn for the next time.