SWTOR Corruption Sorcerer PvE Healing Guide by Kalizo.[toc]
Introduction to Corruption Sorcerer
Welcome to the 4.0 Sorcerer healing guide. The goal of this guide is help new players better understand this class/role and its intricacies in regards to PvE encounters. Unlike Dps, where set rotations provide the best Dps output, healing is subjective and not as ridged. There are many ways to accomplish your goal and this guide will outline only one of them. My aim is to provide enough information so that we steer clear of bad habits, as urgency in healing is more important than proper gearing. However, combining good healing practices along with optimized gear will give you the best chances in holding your team together when they need it most.
Terminology & Jargon
- Bubble – Static Barrier
- Puddle – Revivication circle
- God Bubble – Force Barrier
- GCD – Global Cool Down
- Buff – An effect that is desirable (Power up)
- Debuff – An effect that is undesirable
- Adds – Additional enemies spawned during a boss encounter
- HoT – Heal over Time
- DoT – Damage over Time
- Pull – Extrication
- Ops Frame – Operation Group Frame (User Interface)
- Cool Downs – Anything that increases Healing/Damage output or raises Defensive
- Main stat (Strength/Willpower/Skill/Aim) is now Mastery stat.
- Critical rating is now a combination of Critical and Surge rating.
- The introduction of Phase Walk to sorcerer’s world and the passive abilities it brings along with it.
- Mastery: This is your character’s main stat. It is found on almost every piece of gear you will attain. Having a lot of it is good as it raises your character’s base performance, however, it does not always take priority in your distribution as you already inherently get a solid amount of it without trying.
- Endurance: This denotes how much health your character will have. 10 points of endurance add ~100 HP points. Similarly to Mastery, obtaining this stat is not difficult, in fact, commendation (or crystal in 4.0) bought gear heavily favors Endurance over Power. Healers do not need an abundance of Endurance, as we should not be taking a lot of enemy hits. However, it is important to have enough Endurance so that should you get hit, you remain alive. Generally, the rule of thumb is put Endurance on a lower priority than every other stat as you get too much of it as it is.
- Power: Mods come with either Power or Defense now (new to 4.0). Power increases bonus healing and, out of the two choices, should be your priority. It also takes priority over Endurance. Lower Endurance/ higher Power mods benefit healers better than the opposite.
- Defense: As a healer, you are not a tank and do not equip a shield generator. Defense is useless to your class. Do not equip it under any circumstance.
- Critical Rating: This is now the combination of Critical and Surge (pre 4.0). This decides how often heals will critically heal and, when they do, how much they will critically heal for. Because it hosts two stats in one, the return you get by equipping more Critical hugely outweighs other stats. Although it is still too early to conclude how much Critical you can stack before you hit diminishing returns (accumulating anymore has no benefit), it is still never a bad thing to have a healthy amount of.
- Alacrity: This stat has made its presence increasingly more known with every major update and has now got to the point where balancing it with Critical rating is important. Alacrity speeds everything up, it decreases your cast times allowing you to get heals off faster and increases your force regeneration to balance out that faster use of heals. It also decreases your GCD (global cool down). Since the beginning, SW:ToR has had a 1.5second window of inactivity in between the use of each ability; Alacrity now decreases that down time between abilities.
- Accuracy: This stat is used to account for enemy defensive chances. Operation bosses have a static 10% defensive chance meaning you need 110% percent (force/tech) accuracy rating to compensate for that. This is incredibly important to Dps classes but not relevant to healing classes, as your teammates do not dodge your heals, so don’t waste your allocation on a stat that serves you no purpose.
- Shield: This is the chance that the tank’s shield generator (off-hand) activates. This is tank related and not necessary to any healing classes.
- Absorption: This is how much damage the shield protects the tank from when the shield is activated. Absorption is like the surge for tank classes but again, is not important to healing classes.
Depending on the item level of your gear, you have an allotment of stat points. Allocating these points in different stats (Critical, Mastery, Power, etc.) spend your available points. This means you have to balance your allocation in a way that compliments your healing goals. Below I have listed the general idea of gearing:
- Mastery = As much of it as you can
- This excludes augments and crystal/commendation bought lettered mods that sacrifice Power for Mastery
- Endurance = As little of it as you can
- This is unavoidable in augments which is even more reason to avoid it everywhere you can.
- Power = As much of it as you can
- This excludes augments. Augments will be discussed more in another section.
- Accuracy = 0%
- Critical rating = 1534-1753 (38.29-39.76%)
- Alacrity = 999-1153 (10.23-11.46%)
* Includes all class / companion buffs
Gear Break down
6-piece Force Mystic Set bonus
- Quick Savant Device (Alacrity) -OR-
- Adept Device (Critical)
- Quick Savant Device (Alacrity) -OR-
- Adept Device (Critical)
- Focused Retribution (Mastery Proc)
- Serendipitous Assault (Power Proc)
- Advanced Alacrity augment 40 -OR-
- Advanced Critical augment 40
Use your earpiece, implant and augment tertiary stats to accomplish your allocation goals. If you have Alacrity in your earpiece and your implants and have reached your chosen Alacrity %, augment in Critical. Note that the Quick Savant and Adept pieces are the optimized pieces. The un-optimized pieces (vendor bought) are named Savant (Alacrity) and Efficient (Critical) as they have less Power and more Endurance. Optimized and un-optimized pieces have the same amount of tertiary stat for each gear level.
How stats are allocated vary person to person and there will be some objections to this specific allocation. Alacrity should remain constant through the gearing process because it creates muscle memory. Choosing an Alacrity percentage depends on preference. 999 points of Alacrity equal 10.23% and I would not recommend going anywhere above 11%. If a player feels they want it faster and are willing to sacrifice Critical rating, that is their choice. Theory crafting makes the argument that 1351 Alacrity is the most optimal allocation. The choice to follow this should bring in factors like latency (server connection), personal reaction time, and overall healing style.
The long time argument for “Sorcs against Crit” is that Static Barrier cannot crit so you’re wasting your allocation. The truth is, in very hardcore progression, critical heals save lives. This topic is less controversial now as Crit in 4.0 is the “God-stat” but even before, critical heals save teams from wipes. Similarly like B mods (high endurance) save tanks from death. Theoretically they are not optimal, as theory crafters will elude to, however theory crafting does not include the unknown variable that plagues every team, human error.
Higher Critical values also yield an amazing amount of Force Surge stacks Making force management easier and instant cast Revivication puddles more frequent / not as taxing to use.
Many have opinions on what stat is the most important and debate over which stat you should augment in. Through theory crafting, it has been determined that tertiary stats are king. Augmenting in Alacrity and Critical is more beneficial than choosing Power or Mastery. Augments should be used to do exactly that, augment. If most of your enhancements, implants & earpiece have alacrity on them, augment in critical to balance it out and vice-versa.
Its important to know exactly what you have at your disposal so reading and understanding your skill points is vital. The combination of utility points is never set in stone and they change encounter to encounter. What one person chooses will be offset by what another decides. The overall goal of selecting your talents is to compliment your healing style with the tool that will help you perform the triage you need most effectively. Because there are so many situational talents to choose from, it’s important to understand the encounter so that you can load up your talents with what will give you the most success. I’m going to explain these from a PvE viewpoint as some of the skills heavily favor PvP or Dps specs.
|Force Suffusion||Overload heals you and up to 7 affected allies for 769-1319.||Marginally OK in very few instances in the game. Overall, it’s worthless.|
|Chain Shock||Shock gains a 25% chance to produce a second Shock that deals 25% damage.||Dps Talent|
|Sith Defiance||Increase damage reduction by 3%||This one is important. Sorcs have light armor and any help in survivability is appreciated.|
|Tempest Mastery||Increase the damage dealt by Force Storm by 25%||Dps Talent|
|Empty Body||Increases all healing received by 10%. Does not affect stolen life.||This talent is also important. Like Sith Defiance, this talent helps balance out our paper armor by making our heals to ourselves more effective.|
|Sap Strength||Targets stunned by your Electrocute suffer Sapped Strength when Electrocute wears off, which reduces all damage dealt by 25% for 10 seconds.||PvPww Talent|
|Oppressing Force||Lowers the cooldown of Electrocute by 10 seconds. In addition, your Whirlwind affects up to 2 additional standard or weak enemies within 8 meters of the target.||PvP Talent|
|Dark Speed||Dark Heal increases the movement speed of the target by 50% for 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 12 seconds.||As the other talents are PvP or Dps oriented, you have a choice between this one and Force Suffusion. Although trivial and slightly geared to PvP, I have found that this provides good utility in the right situation.|
|Suppression||Activating Cloud Mind grants Suppression, which increases damage reduction by 25% for 6 seconds.||This is a great utility in fights where you know you’ll take significant damage as a light armor healer. Especially if the damage output is high on others, this reduces the time you have to focus on yourself allowing you more time to tend to your team.|
|Corrupted Flash||Reduces the damage taken from all periodic effects by 15%.||Situational. Important to know what encounter have mechanics that are classified as periodic effects. An example is Brontes NiM picking up each member of the raid and knocking them back.|
|Emersion||Force Speed grants Emersion, removing all movement-impairing effects and granting immunity to them for the duration.||This is another situational choice. It does wonders on Underlurker when Dps can’t kill adds fast enough but can mess up mechanics (Blaster) where you depend on these effects to survive.|
|Dark Resillience||Reduces the damage taken by the target of your Extrication by 25% for 6 seconds after you Extricate them. Additionally increases the healing done by Unnatural Preservation by 30%.||This talent is also very useful. I tend to switch back and fourth between this and Suppression. This helps your teammates out when they need it and gives you a substantial boost to your self heal. Because it heals you, it benefits from your 10% increased healing received.|
|Electric Bindings||Overload binds targets in electricity, immobilizing them for 5 seconds. Direct damage dealt after 2 seconds ends the effect prematurely.||Mainly a PvP talent, although useful in heavy add phase fights that do not have boss immunity like Revanite Commanders.|
|Lightning Barrier||Increases the amount absorbed by your Static Barrier by 10%.||This is Essential as a healer. Your “bubbles” contribute to a good portion of the overall effect you have on a fight. Giving your shields a bump saves lives.|
|Conspiring Force||Targets affected by your Affliction are slowed by 30% for its duration.||PvP Talent|
|Dizzying Force||Reduces target’s accuracy by 20% for 8 seconds after Whirlwind ends.||PvP Talent|
|Backlash||Static Barriers you place on yourself erupt in a flash of light when they end, blinding up to 8 nearby enemies for 3 seconds. This effect breaks from direct damage.||Mainly a PvP talent, although useful in heavy add phase fights that do not have boss immunity like Revanite Commanders.|
|Surging Speed||Polarity Shift increases your movement speed by 50% while active. In addition, Force Speed lasts 0,5 seconds longer, and when Force Barrier ends, the active cooldown of Force Speed is finished.||PvP Talent – Useful for dealing with heavy pressure to yourself.|
|Shapeless Spirit||Reduces all damage taken while stunned by 30%.||PvP Talent – Although it can provide some benefit in some operations. Ex. KP Fabricator droids.|
|Force Haste||Reduces the cooldown of Force Speed by 5 seconds, Force Slow by 3 seconds, and Force Barrier by 30 seconds.||PvP Talent – Situational uses for PvE encounters do exist. Ex. Master laser absorbed by Force Barrier.|
|Force Mobility||Thundering Blast, Innervate, and Force Leech may be activated while moving.||Strongly recommend this talent. Sorcs are very mobile already but your ability to maintain healing depends on your stacks, which come from Innervate. It is possible to live without this talent as we have had to for so long but in high level raiding, mobility is very important meaning this talent should be one of your first picks.|
|Corrupted Barrier||Your Static Barrier, Force Barrier, and Enduring Bastion heal you for 2% of your total health every second for as long as the last. This healing scales up to 8% with the charges for Enduring Bastion.||This keeps a self heal on you as long as you have a bubble up. It is one of the talents I would like to spec into but because there are better options, I typically don’t.|
|Haunted Dreams||If your Whirlwind breaks early from damage, the target is stunned for 2 seconds. In addition, Whirlwind activates instantly.||PvP Talent – Good for some PvE encounters.|
|Shifting Silhouette||Reduces all area of effect damage taken by 30%. In addition, using Phase Walk to return to its marked location grants Shifting Silhouette, keeping you from being leapt to or pulled and making you immune to interrupts and ability activation pushback for the next 6 seconds.||This is the new 4.0 Talent. The phase walk perks are fairly decent but overall they’re trivial. The big-ticket item here is the AOE Reduction. There are many instances in PvE encounters that you inadvertently experience AOE damage. Many other classes have this effect and the ones that do typically have a higher level of durability.|
Through the coarse of the game you acquire many skills. Some are essential and are used very often and others are for certain situations. Some are also more helpful in PvE, and others in PvP. I will list the most important, and most used abilities with an explanation of each ability with a focus on Sorcerer PvE healing.
Cooldown and Survivability Abilities
There are many instances where healing is not very intense and may require only one healer to heal. As opposed to fighting over the scraps with your co-healer, contribute to your team’s success by doing Dps. The one definite truth is that every encounter is easier with higher Dps. The makings of a great healer is one that can distribute damage while maintaining the passive buffs (armor increases, HoTs, etc.) in low healing scenarios and kick it up to match the damage output of hard healing phases in an instant.
The six main Dps abilities are:
- Instant cast DoT lasting 18 seconds
- Crushing Darkness
- 2 second cast DoT, provides moderate damage as a healer
- Procs Dark Concentration (instant cast Dark Heal)
- Instant cast attack useful while moving
- Force Lightning
- Channeled attack immune to pushback (unlike Crushing Darkness)
- Lightning Strike
- 1.5 second cast
- Procs Dark Concentration (instant cast Dark Heal)
- Force Storm
- 3 second cast, 8m radius AoE Attack
Tips and Advanced Discussion
Tips & Remainders
- Remember your Static Barrier (bubble) can only take a certain amount of damage, it’s important to time your application of them to be in line with incoming damage. An example of this would be a few seconds before the fire vents against Torque come up. Bubble your tanks or melee Dps to help protect them from their own slow reaction time. Or right before your tanks take a knock back from Blaster and are out of your range for a short period of time. If you “Deionized” your target (lock them out of receiving your bubble) trying to negate trivial damage that can be healed through, you won’t have the option to apply the shield before a substantial hit. Timing your bubbles can save your team’s lives, use them wisely.
- Be sure to use Recklessness after you queue up Force Bending with Resurgence as you don’t want one of your Recklessness Charges wasted on the small Resurgence heal.
- As past guides have alluded to, fine-tuning a healing UI in the UI editor is extremely beneficial. Putting the operation frame in a spot that is accessible without blocking your view as it’s important to see what’s going on around you. Also be sure to include /turn on non-cleansable debuffs. Many people turned that off when 3.0 came out and all the class buffs cluttered the ops frame. Bioware patched this and made sure the most important debuffs are shown first. The reason this is important for sorcs is that we need to know when are targets are no longer Deionized so we may place another Static Barrier on them.
- It is very easy for a healer to “get lost in the frame” or “tunnel”. Your number one job as a healer is staying alive then healing your team. You’re of no help dead, so doing things that allow for more raid awareness will define you as more than just a competent healer, but a great one.
Advanced Practice Discussion
Renewal vs. Spread
The bottom line is that this choice is based on situational factors. The Renewal heal provides and extra burst to an already burst-type healing class to match the damage centered on a few targets. Spreading Resurgence’s HoT and Armor increase around the team is more beneficial in an AoE heavy phase where all teammates are taking consistent damage (ex. Burn phase in Dread Council).
Recklessness on Roaming Mend
With the rise of the almighty Critical rating in 4.0, using Recklessness on any heal that already benefits from a critical buff is questionable. Dark Heal with Force Bending has an increased 60% critical chance (in addition to the Critical on your gear). Innervate with Force Bending has a 25% increase to critical chance. Dark Infusion benefits from the Force Mystic set bonus, which increases its critical chance by 100%. The only significant heals worth left using Recklessness on is Roaming Mend and Unnatural Preservation. Unnatural Preservation has a 30 second cool down and only benefits the health of your raid frame if you yourself are taking damage. That leaves Roaming Mend. Apart from the process of elimination, Mend does the target switching work so you don’t have to.
If three targets take damage from a boss cleave (Main tank, Off tank & Melee Dps) but the main tank is still getting pummeled by boss damage, Roaming Mend, with Recklessness, used on the main tank first will crit to respond to the cleave damage and then crit on the person who needs healing the second most. While the charges of Mend go about the targets doing the healing needed, I remain targeted on the main tank as that is where the damage profile is currently being distributed.
The critical heal of Roaming Mend helped address past cleave & continuous boss damage and eliminated my need to target swap. Because I did not have to click the frame (target swap), I am more freely available to keep my eyes on the field, providing me raid awareness.
The only other abilities I would recommend Recklessness on is Dark Infusion (with Force Bending) followed by the instant-cast Dark Heal. This would be if you needed to focus on one target but PvE encounter’s single target damage is manageable without a cool down (ie. Recklessness). Not to mention the fact that if a single target needs that much healing, the long cast time leaves them in a dangerous place for way to long. More often than not, the situation you’ll find most pressure intense is when several targets require immediate attention, Roaming Mend does that for us, why not give it a boost.
Key binding important abilities is the most performance-increasing step you can take. Combined with an efficient UI, key binding allows a massive reduction in your reaction time to healing damage taken. When individuals send me videos to coach them, it is usually the first thing I’ll say if they aren’t already doing it. Now, I have met amazing players that mastered the art of clicking and to them I tip my hat. However, in my experience the majority of individuals cannot perform at an optimum level without them.
About the Author
In swtor, I go by Kalizo. I am currently one of the healers in Provectus and although I can play all three roles, my strength and passion lie in the sorc healer. It was my first end game character and the role I returned to after a short exploration into Dps, where I differentiated myself as one of the few Jugg Dps to obtain the Deposer of the Dread Masters title. I have raided on 4 different servers in both North America and in Europe, with some of the best players in the world. My philosophy towards healing is strongly accredited to my time in Zorz where I learned to never waste a gcd. I am lucky to have learned from the best and in turn, want to pay it forward.