SWTOR 4.5 Seer Sage PvE Healing Guide by Dianiss

SWTOR 4.5 Seer Sage PvE Healing Guide written by Dianiss

Prologue: If you’re here primarily to see the version 4.5-specific updates to the guide, then check out the Intro starting at “Changes in Version 4.5”, see the Gearing sections related to Crit, give the Healing Abilities section a quick review, and of course check out the expanded Force Management section and the all-new “Twelve Essential Good Habits of Force Management”.

Welcome back.

Intro to Seer Sage

I make no bones about it: I love Sages. From the first one I ever created (now known as “Dianiss”) it’s been hands-down my favorite class. It’s the only Jedi with range, it’s the only Jedi who can heal, plus the Consular class story is the very best one in HAHAHAHHAHA sorry, I couldn’t finish that sentence with a straight face.

But my point is that I’ve been playing this class continuously since 2012 and I’ve been studying it intently the entire time. I hope that some of the things I’ve learned along the way can be of benefit to others.

I should also point out up front that this is strictly a PvE guide. I am not a PvP-er, mainly because I just don’t really enjoy it, and I could never claim to be an expert on PvP healing. To those of you who DO enjoy PvP, I’m sure there are some things here that will benefit you, but Your Mileage May Vary.

Changes from 2.X to 3.0

Prior to 3.0, Sages were THE undisputed AoE raid healer champions, literally being the only ones capable of healing more than 4 players at a time . . . and having TWO ways to do it.

The tricky part was in managing that Force bar. If you went all burst and weren’t watching what you were doing, you could empty the gas tank quickly and be left standing there doing nothing. Instead, it was crucial to pace yourself and plan your usage of Noble Sacrifice so that you could sustain your levels and heal back the HP loss from it.

The other tricky part is that, like a DPS Sage, you’d function best as a stationary turret. So one of the things that would separate the good healers from the not-so-good was having the experience to know when and where you would need to move in each fight, so that you could keep the running to a minimum and get back into turret mode.

Version 3.0 changed ALL of that.

On the plus side, all of the healing and Force costs of all abilities got reshuffled in such a way that you could almost sustain continuous healing without punching Noble Sacrifice at all. When you did hit it, it was off the GCD, so you didn’t need so much “me time” any more. But the cherry on top of that thick layer of sweet, sweet icing was that the new 4x Set Bonus removed the health penalty from it (used properly), so you could punch it with impunity.

On the down side, THEY KILLED MY SALVATION! Sure, they made it “sticky” so that once a player touches it, it stays with them–that’s useful and creates a couple of interesting new ways it can be leveraged. But the NUMBERS! Under 2.x, at level 55, I used to pride myself on being able to generate single Salvation ticks of over 1800 in well-optimized 180 gear. But after 3.0, at level 60 and in mostly-198 BiS gear, I could barely break 1000 . . . and I was the only Sage I’d ever seen do it.

In the end, 3.0 forced the Sage to give up the raid healing crown, because the v3.0 Salvation was a JOKE compared to the Scoundrel’s Kolto Wave, which easily exceeds the raw numbers of even the v2.x Salvation.

As a consolation prize, the Sage got the new Wandering Mend, which mostly serves to make Sage healing EASIER.

Changes in Version 3.3

Version 3.3 came along and, for the most part, made it more like it was before 3.0.

There were some obvious changes. Noble Sacrifice was removed and Vindicate was added in its place–with the notable difference that Vindicate doesn’t ever steal health. The Force-Mystic’s set bonus was tweaked so that the 4x bonus (which, used properly, eliminated the HP penalty from Noble Sacrifice) now increases the amount of Force regeneration Vindicate does. Salvation got buffed, now doing an extra ~200 HP of healing PER TICK in the same gear.

But there were some subtle changes, too. Every healing ability had the amount of healing it does increased, and the Force cost of using it increased more-or-less proportionally. Vindicate is on the GCD, so you can no longer cheat by hitting it in between two other abilities. The “penalty” for using your stacks of Resplendence to speed up your Salvation cast had been essentially eliminated.

In the UI, the Conveyance effect no longer lights up all your healing abilities.

The net effect of all of it is that pre-3.0 Force management was back.

Overall, you would be using more Force in the same amount of time, but naturally regenerating it at the same rate. This is slightly offset by the fact that some GCD’s will be spent on Vindicate (which recovers Force and does not consume it). The loss of Healing-per-Second caused by Vindicate being on the GCD is more than offset by the increase in healing done by all your abilities.

So overall, Version 3.3 was a pretty significant buff to Sage Healers IF YOU CAN MANAGE YOUR FORCE USAGE. If not, 3.3 gave you all the rope you needed to hang yourself by making it disturbingly-easy to burn through all your Force until the well is dry, rendering yourself near-useless until you can get it back.

Changes in Version 4.0

Version 4.0 came along and, for the most part, flipped it right back into easy-mode like it was in 3.0, due in part to another minor reshuffling of the amount of healing done and the Force costs of the various abilities. It otherwise made no real changes whatsoever to how the class is played.

On the other hand, 4.0 made HUGE changes to stats and gearing for all classes and specs.

Beyond play mechanics, the changes to Crit/Surge in 4.0 completely flipped the gearing strategy on it’s head (as it did for EVERY DPS and healing class/spec). More on that below.

Taken together, the increased Crit in the gear further contributed to making Force management easier (because you could use Healing Trance without Rejuvenate and still have a good chance at getting Resplendence procs without it).

Changes in Version 4.5

On 5/13/16, Eric Musco wrote: “Seer Sages are presently exceptional healers who outperform the other healing disciplines in the game and create unbalanced PvE and PvP scenarios.

And with those words Bioware swung the pendulum back again . . . HARD. While none of the abilities were changed in terms of how they work or how they interact with each other, all seven of the major healing abilities got a 25%-30% increase in Force costs.

Those Force cost increases put us firmly back into the 3.3-style “difficult” Force management, which means you have to watch your ability usage a lot more closely and develop some new habits that you probably didn’t have to have before now.

On the plus side, those same abilities got a 2%-3% increase in healing output. Excuse me while I get this out of my system:

WELL WHOOP-DE-FRICKIN-DOOOO!!!

Okay, I’m back now.

But fear not. With a little bit of practice (and a little gear tweaking if you’re still having trouble), you can still easily maintain the kind of HPS values you’ll need for HM operations in the 6K’s, and push into the 7K’s and higher as you get better at your Force management. This updated guide for version 4.5 includes instructions on how to do just that!  (…and as far as what’s possible, I’ve managed to exceed 10.1K HPS over 5+ minutes in an Op fight by going completely fluffernutter).

Yes. It’s true. We Sages have indeed taken a solid smack to the face with Ye Olde Nerffe Batte, but only in that the spec has become “tricky” to play effectively, instead of “easy” to play like it was. Sages have lost nothing at all in terms of capability and viability.

Strengths

Sages have always been good at TRIAGE, which is the term I use to describe focused single-target healing for that Blue Valkyrie is about to die moment when it’s YOUR job to get her back to (nearly) full health–and be damn quick about it! (But don’t shoot the potion.)

There are also numerous subtle side-effects of your heals that improve your overall performance, and being aware of them and knowing how to leverage them deliberately is big part of overcoming your weaknesses.

Unlike those uncivilized healers with their guns and ammunition, your base Force regeneration rate is constant: It does not slow down when your Force is low and speed up when it is near-full.  So while it’s certainly important to avoid depleting all your Force, you can operate at 25%-full just as effectively as you can at 75%-full, and defer your post-triage Force recovery until a little later–an option not available to our Scoundrel and Commando colleagues.

Sages have the almighty Force Barrier, the ultimate OH SHIT button.

Finally, Force Armor, a.k.a. DAT BUBBLE. You can do a TON of non-healing healing by preventing the damage instead. More on that below.

Weaknesses

Sages are not very good at simultaneously healing multiple targets. Of the nine healing abilities you have, only three of them affect more than one target, and all three of those have cooldowns long enough that you can’t spam them. You have exactly one Heal-over-Time ability, and it too has a long enough cooldown that you can’t effectively use it on more than two targets (and you wouldn’t WANT to use Rejuvenate that way, anyway). All you have left is Force Armor, which isn’t a heal at all (though you could classify it as an indirect HoT).

Also, you’re a Consular, so you wear light armor. Before 3.0, you got a +20% bonus to your armor rating from the Force Studies Passive, but no longer. So be aware that you are squishy and probably delicious. (The fact that “sage” is also the name of a seasoning is probably NOT a coincidence.)

In previous game versions, the Seer Sage typically trailed behind the other two classes in the raw numbers department, mostly due to the other classes’ better multi-target passive healing from Slow-Release Medpack and Trauma Probe (not to mention Kolto Wave).  But version 4.0 brought all three healing classes much more in line with each other, giving the Sage a bit of a buff in the raw HPS department–especially when it comes to single-target healing. Version 4.5 reversed that–deliberately–but as I wrote above, it’s more an issue of learning how to run the marathon than it is how to sprint.  Sages were always good at Triage, and still are.

Sages also are at a slight disadvantage when working together in an ops group. While two Scoundrels can stack their Slow-Release Medpacks and two Commandos can refresh each other’s Trauma Probes, two Sages cannot Double-Bubble the same target due to the associated Force-imbalance debuff that prevents Force Armor from being reapplied.  (But to be fair, this is really more of an annoyance than a real problem.)

But, that said, a Sage paired with one of the other two (IMO, particularly the Scoundrel) classes creates a VERY powerful synergy of matching up the relative strengths and weaknesses. If the two can work together well (healing is a cooperative sport, after all, not a competitive one) then they can mitigate A LOT of raid mistakes and turn what could have been a wipe into a recovery.

Gearing

This is one of the biggest changes in version 4.0.

Seer is now a high-Crit build, at least compared to pre-4.0 SWTOR. Prior to 4.0, I had said “low-Crit, high-Power”, but Crit and Power no longer compete directly for space in your gear and “high-Crit, high-Power” sounds kind of . . . DUH. Obviously we’re out to maximize our Power and Willpower, sorry, Mastery at the expense of Endurance in every item.

Power vs Mastery

THIS is not the real question–not any more. This used to be a discussion about what augments to use, but with Crit having been moved to a Tertiary Stat (technically: Crit was removed, Surge was renamed Crit, and “New Crit” improves both Critical Chance and Critical Multiplier), this is no longer even a thing, because the correct answer now is Neither. In 4.0 you’ll want to dump your Power Augments AND/OR your Mastery Augments if that’s what you’re currently using.  You’ll want to swap them out for Crit and Alacrity now.

With augments off the table, Power and Mastery are no longer in competition with each other in your gear–just maximize them both. As in all versions before, non-lettered mods are better than “A” mods (like you get from Commendations Crystal Vendor gear and Mk-2 drops), and the 216/42 Lethal mods (Lethals are the only ones you’ll use now) are slightly better than the 220/43A Lethal mods–but you might find the extra HP worth it anyway.

Really, you can’t go wrong these days when it comes to Power because every mod and every enhancement has Power in it now–there’s no choice in the matter.

How much Crit?

Your target is somewhere in the 40%+ zone now, and in full 224 gear you’ll be exceeding 43.5%. This will also get you a multiplier (formerly from Surge) of about 67%-68% (which is lower than we used to get from Surge, but that’s true across all DPS’s and Healers). Shortly after 4.0 first dropped, I had upgraded to mostly-220 gear, with just over 1400 points of Crit with Mastery in the low-5000’s, which resulted in a Crit chance of over 42%.

Start using Eviscerating (+41 Crit) crystals in both your lightsaber and your focus instead of Hawkeye (+41 Power) crystals.

Again, this is a complete reversal of how Sage healers used to gear before version 4.0, when we would minimize Crit and maximize Power.

Why the paradigm shift in Crit? Two reasons:

  1. In 4.0, the underlying equations for how much Crit chance and Crit multiplier you got for a given number of points were changed. While you get noticeably less multiplier than you used to get from Surge, the Crit chance curve was made flatter with less diminishing returns.
  2. Version 4.0 introduced a new phenomenon commonly called “Super-Crits”, where if an ability has a better-than-100% chance to Crit, your Crit chance percentage above 100% becomes an additional multiplicative Crit multiplier instead. (e.g. If you have a 40% Crit chance, an auto-Crit heal will become a 140% chance, and will heal an additional 40% after all the other bonuses have been applied.) This changes the role of Critical Rating A LOT for pretty much every DPS and Healing spec because where we used to trade off Crit for Power to maximize our auto-Crits, we now stack more Crit for the Super-Crit bonus.

But before you start thinking “I need 40% Crit”, read on . . . .

Alacrity vs Crit

THIS is the real question, because unlike pre-4.0, Crit and Alacrity are now in direct competition with each other for space in your gear. The simple answer is to stack them 1:1 in your enhancements and augments, but err on the side of Crit being higher.  You’ll get there by stacking your normal gear evenly between the two, then using Crit crystals in your mainhand & offhand (along with the free Crit points in your relics) so that your Crit > Alacrity by 80-100 points (up from a 50-70 point skew pre-4.5).

Note that this advice is STILL a simplified version of what “Bant, The Fat and Pink” recommends in his 4.5 update (which didn’t change all that much), and I do owe him proper attribution.  In my own play-testing, I came to this same conclusion independently and agree. With that in mind, remember that his mathematical model makes a lot of assumptions and is based on an unrealistic (albeit reasonable) healing scenario simulation, so I don’t advise ANY healer to get too wrapped up in trying to copy his build piece-for-piece as if it’s some uniquely perfect design. In the end, the best advice is not at all dissimilar from what I’ve said since 4.0 dropped: Keep Crit and Alacrity close, and err on the side of Crit being higher (which is even easier now due to the crystals and relics).

The only new advice I would offer since the 4.5 update is that if you are having trouble maintaining your Force pool, you can make it a bit easier by skewing your Crit higher still at the expense of Alacrity.  You can achieve 40% fairly easily in 216 gear, and in more advanced gear you can push your Crit percentage up into the 45% neighborhood with Crit in the mid-1700’s (assuming a typical Mastery score near ~5000).  But beyond 45%, you’re into the Diminishing Returns territory where it takes another ~200 points of Crit to get another 1%, where it’s half that or less when climbing from 40% to 44%.

The purpose of the extra crit in this case is to allow you to more freely use Healing Trance without Conveyance or Force Potency and still reliably get 2-3 stacks of Resplendence when you do.  Start with a baseline of 40% Crit if  you’re not already there, and increase it a piece at a time until you aren’t struggling so much or until you reach 45%.  Once you’ve built up good Force Management habits, you can dial the Crit back to normal levels.  (There’s more on this in the Force Management section below.)

The down-side of losing that Alacrity to boost your Crit levels is that you’ll also be dialing back your ability to burst up massive mega-heals when Green Elf is about to die–and being able to do this is one of the things that make Sage healers really shine.

So feel free to play with your Crit:Alac ratio until you find the right balance of “I can keep this up all day” with “Here I come to save the day!” in your best Mighty Mouse voice.

Accuracy

Accuracy? You’re a healer. Why would you even ask this? Go stand in the corner.

No, don’t mess with that new Crit/Accuracy stim either. Only Murda uses those and that’s because he’s special.

Relics

No question: Serendipitous Assault and Focused Retribution in the highest grade you can get are optimal.

Since 4.1, the best ones that are cheap and super-easy to get are those Artifice-crafted 212-rated ones. Obviously, the best-in-slot ones are Ultimate Exarch (224), followed by Exarch (220) and Defiant (216) from operations (not the Artifice trainer). Note that 4.1 added Crit to the standard BiS DPS/Heal relics, a great trade-off for reduced Endurance and it allows you to slide a little more Alacrity into the mix and still maintain a healthy Crit/Alac balance.

Since 4.7 (and KotFE Chapter 16) have come out, I’ve been asked about the new 224-rated Eternal Combatant relic, which is similar to Serendipitous Assault but procs a combination of +413 Power AND Crit, rather than +966 Power. The short answer is no, not better. The reason is that–properly geared–we are already carrying a lot of Crit, and at levels that run close to diminishing returns territory. While all that Crit certainly does increase your overall healing output, the real purpose of it is to get consistent procs of Resplendence from Healing Trance (more on that below), and having additional Crit proc for you at random times is the opposite of being consistent.  Power and Mastery, on the other hand, have no diminishing returns, so there’s no “penalty” at all for stacking more of it on top of an already-high value.

An even simpler answer: 413 + 413 = 826 and 826 < 966.  Even the 212-rated relics (+903) will be better overall.

…and don’t bother with that Ephemeral Mending relic, or I’ll have to slap you.

Ear and Implants

Here’s a simple piece of advice that will save you a lot of difficulty down the road: When you choose your earpiece and implants, choose the versions that have Alacrity for all three of them (“Quick Savant”).

Why? I’ve already explained that, as a healer, you’re going to stack A LOT of Alacrity in your gear. The problem is that when you are first doing SM operations to win 216 token gear, you’ll discover that there are only TWO pieces from the Force-Mystic’s set that have Alacrity enhancements: the Head and the Chest. The other five pieces all have Crit enhancements. Since you want to stack Crit and Alacrity something close to a 1:1 ratio, having those three items on the left side of your character page will help balance out your big chunks of Crit and Alacrity from 5:2 to 5:5.

As you transition into 220 gear and 224 gear, the same thing will happen with that token gear, so you’ll need to do your gear itemization in exactly the same way.

“But I can just get Alacrity enhancements elsewhere, right?”

While it’s true that you can tweak your mix of enhancements by taking ones with Alacrity from the MK-2 dropped items in operations, the Quick Savant enhancement is relatively rare compared to the Adept (Crit) and Initiative (Accuracy) enhancements. Also, by the time you are gearing into 224 gear, THERE ARE NO 224 MK-2 DROPS, so the only way to get extra Alacrity enhancements is to win additional Head or Chest pieces that you already have . . . which will piss people off–especially when it comes to that 224 Headpiece that is one of the harder items to collect.

And to make things even MORE complicated, the only other place you can get Quick Savant enhancements from DPS set-bonus tokens is . . . the Headpiece. Do a quick survey of the token gear from every class–all 8 of them–and you’ll find that Alacrity only comes in that hard-to-get Headpiece (or the Chest for the other healing specs).

So, long story short, put Alacrity in your Earpiece and both Implants. You’ll thank me later.

Set Bonus

In case you haven’t figured out yet, you want the full Force Mystic set for Sage healing.

Before 3.0, there was a case to be made for mixing a 2x/2x Force-Mystic+Force-Master for the shorter cooldown of Mental Alacrity. (Plus, y’know, I hear that SOME Sages like to throw Disturbance and Telekinetic Throw while healing….) But since 3.0, the full 6x Force-Mystic set is a thing of beauty, and thankfully they left it the Hell alone in 4.0.

For the 2x bonus, you get a nice auto-crit ability for Deliverance that can help your Triage situations. With the introduction of 4.0 Super-Crits, you can leverage this to drop single mega-healing Deliverances of well over 20K per use if everything lines up (that is, proc the Mystic’s bonus, proc both relics, and use Force Potency all at once).

For the 4x bonus, it makes Vindicate recover 5 more points of Force than it would without the set bonus, making it 55 instead of 50. So . . . on the one hand, it’s not as super-awesome as the 3.0 version that let you use Noble Sacrifice without the HP penalty; but on the other hand, Vindicate doesn’t need it, so instead we get some assistance with Force management–which wasn’t so hard in 4.0, but now in 4.5 every little bit helps.  (Or, you can think of it as “EVERY Sage healer gets the old 4x bonus for free” now, which is the glass-half-full perspective.)

For the 6x bonus, you get a reduced cooldown on Healing Trance. Since H.T. is a mainstay of your healing and CRUCIAL to your Force management, you definitely want this as well, and it’s your first-priority, sort-of.

In fact, you will want this bonus enough that your actual first-priority is to dig out the OLD 2x Force-Mystic set bonus (from Arkanian / Underworld / Dread Forged / Dread Master) if you already have some armorings lying around (it’s exactly the same thing: reduced cooldown on Healing Trance) and keep it in your gear as a 4x/2x setup until such time as you can get the last two pieces for a full 6x bonus. If you don’t have those lying around though, then never mind: since 4.0 you can’t get them anymore. (So if you DO have them, don’t destroy them!)

Utilities

These are the utilities I use, and the reasons for them, along with others that I recommend for specific situations.

Skillful:

(Sorcerer: Force Suffusion)

Psychic Suffusion : Turns Force Wave into a Healing ability

  • Because Force Wave as a healing ability is mildly useful as an AoE, and slightly more useful as an instant-cast self-heal.

(Sorcerer: Sith Defiance)

Jedi Resistance : +3% damage reduction

  • Because squishy light-armor Sage doesn’t have +20% Armor Rating from Force Studies anymore, and this seems to be its replacement.

(Sorcerer: Empty Body)

Pain Bearer : +10% Healing Received

  • Because we all need healing. See “squishy light-armor Sage” above.

Masterful:

(Sorcerer: Suppression)

Blockout : Cloud Mind procs +25% dmg reduction

  • Because it makes your Threat Dump into a useful OH SHIT button. If you know you can trust your tank(s) to keep you safe from attack, then you can drop this in favor of Mind Ward below–unless you specifically WANT the +25% damage reduction for some other reason. Otherwise, use this if you don’t entirely trust your tanks to protect you.

(Sorcerer: Lightning Barrier)

Telekinetic Defense : +10% to Force Armor absorption

  • Because Force Armor is a big deal and improving it improves your overall effectiveness.

(Sorcerer: Corrupted Flesh)

Mind Ward : 15% damage reduction to Periodic Effects (optional)

  • This is useful in fights that feature debuffs that bleed your HP. Use this instead of Blockout if you DO trust your tanks to protect you.

(Sorcerer: Emersion)

Egress : Force Speed purges movement-impairing effects (optional)

  • Useful in fights that root you a lot, such as General Ortol in Cademimu or the Tribal Chief in Legacy of the Rakata.

(Sorcerer: Dark Resilience)

Valiance : +30% to Force Mend / Rescue puts +25% Damage Reduction on Target

  • I call this one out as one that you should NOT take, even though it looks useful. Improving Force Mend is nice, but you’ll get more mileage from using Force Armor on yourself combined with Life Ward from the Heroic section. The Rescue effect is also nice, but likely to cause more trouble than good. You should really only use this on people when you’ve worked it out with them in advance so they are expecting it.  More on this in the description of Rescue, below.

Heroic:

(Sorcerer: Also Force Mobility!)

Force Mobility : Cast Healing Trance on the move

  • Healing Trance is something you’ll be using A LOT, so this will make you less of a turret (unless you know that you really can live without it during a particular fight–like in the pre-3.0 days).

(Sorcerer: Corrupted Barrier)

Life Ward : Add self-healing to Force Armor and Force Barrier

  • It’s a great survivability feature, since you can use it both to “top off” when your health is below full, plus it gives a surprising amount of self-healing when you use Force Barrier and hold it for the full channel.
  • TIP: If you have Sage DPS’s in your group (or a 2nd Sage healer), check in with them to find out if they are using this utility.  If they are, try to avoid using Force Armor on them so that you aren’t preventing them from getting the benefit of this utility.  Remember: THEIR bubble will also heal them, while YOUR bubble won’t.

(Sorcerer: Shifting Silhouette)

Ethereal Entity: 30% damage reduction from AoE’s (optional)

  • This was added to 4.0, and frankly, it’s very powerful…enough that in any fight that features a lot of AoE damage it is totally worth the trade-off for Life Ward. Personally, I’m still a fan of Life Ward as my default utility, but some of my colleagues prefer this one, and with good reason. (The Phase Walk thing is really more for PvP and outside the scope of this guide.)

(Sorcerer: Shapeless Spirit)

Mental Defense : 30% damage reduction when stunned (optional)

  • This is useful in fights with mechanics that stun you a lot. But really, try to avoid getting stunned. As a healer, this shouldn’t be happening to you.

(Sorcerer: Also Force Haste!)

Force Haste : Reduced CD on Force Speed/Force Slow/Force Barrier (optional)

  • This can be useful if you think a long fight might require multiple uses of Force Barrier or regular use of Force Speed.

When I take what I consider an optional utility, I will normally drop Blockout or Life Ward, depending on the fight. (Remember that you can’t drop a lower-tier utility to take an upper-tier utility.)

Healing Abilities

(Sorcerer: Resurgence) Resurgence

RejuvenateRejuvenate:

Small Heal-over-Time, +10% Armor, proc Conveyance

  • Rejuvenate is where it all begins, and is the healing ability that you’ll cast most often. This is a small insta-cast HoT, and also has the useful side-effect of giving the target a +10% boost to the Armor Rating.
  • But the MAIN thing Rejuvenate does for you is proc up the Conveyance effect, which improves most of your other healing abilities in some significant way. As a result, you’ll pretty much use it on cooldown and you’ll precede every “big” heal with this little heal to make it better. (Conveyance is called Force Bending by Sorcerers.)
  • I cannot over-stress the importance of Rejuvenate and Conveyance.  You will be using this as often as you possibly can.
  • Not affected by Conveyance

(Sorcerer: Innervate) Innervate

Healing Trance

Healing Trance: Large Multi-tick Channeled Heal, crit ticks proc Resplendence

  • Healing Trance is, in a word, essential. It’s a big heal, it’s instant gratification (meaning the first tick hits immediately like an instant-cast heal), and when any of its ticks crit, they proc up stacks of Resplendence. (Resplendence is called Force Surge by Sorcerers.)
  • You will use this all the damn time–enough that you will seriously want that 6x Mystic set bonus or, failing that, the old 2x Mystic set bonus, both of which allow you to cast it more often. You also MOST DEFINITELY want the Force Mobility utility so you can cast it while moving.
  • Again, I cannot over-stress the importance of Healing Trance and Resplendence for Force Management, because Resplendence improves the Force recovery of Vindicate AND eliminates the Force regeneration penalty that would otherwise come with it AND gives you a temporary boost to Force regeneration instead.  Force Management is a thing again in version 4.5, go get friendly with Healing Trance because you can’t run that marathon without it.
  • With Conveyance: the chance of each tick being a Critical heal is increased by 25%, significantly increasing your Resplendence stacks if your normal Crit chance is around ~40% where it should be.

(Sorcerer: Dark Heal) Dark Heal

BenevolenceBenevolence:

Moderate Casted Healing ability

  • Honestly, this is kind of a filler ability that you won’t use very much. Even though the cast time is the same as one GCD, it’s potentially slower than an instant-cast in that it delivers the goods at the END of the time frame rather than at the beginning–and push-back is a possibility.
  • The only time you should use this is when you get the Altruism effect from Deliverance, Salvation, Mind Crush (?!?), or Disturbance (?!?) which makes it into an instant-cast and makes it cost ZERO Force.
  • With Conveyance: increased chance of a crit heal (yawn)

(Sorcerer: Dark Infusion) Dark Infusion

DeliveranceDeliverance:

Large Long-Cast Healing ability

  • This ability is interesting in a number of ways. First, it is your most efficient heal in terms of healing-per-Force-consumed. Second, it is the beneficiary of the new 2x Force-Mystic set bonus, where you will occasionally get a free Super-Crit from it. Third, it can trigger a “free” Benevolence. Putting all of that together with its Conveyance effect, it becomes a key part of heavy sustained single-target healing.
  • As already noted, Deliverance procs up Altruism, which makes Benevolence into an one-time instant-cast ability that consumes ZERO Force, which further improves the overall Force-efficiency of Deliverance usage in sustained single-target healing.
  • With Conveyance: the cast time of it is reduced to be the same as one GCD, making it objectively better than most other single-target heals.

(Sorcerer: Revivification) Revivification

SalvationSalvation:

Large Variable-Casted A-o-E Heal-over-Time

  • Salvation is cool and everything, but since 3.x it’s NOT the ‘BFG’ it used to be. Nevertheless you use it mostly the same way as before: drop it tactically in places where everyone will be grouping up and/or moving through the area.
  • Be careful, though. Salvation costs a lot of Force, and it will gobble up all your stacks of Resplendence in order to reduce the cast time.  You are WAY better off using these stacks with Vindicate to regain your Force and get the Amnesty buff going, so get in the habit of using Vindicate immediately before Salvation unless timing is critical.  (In version 3.3, they reduced the Force cost for Salvation that consumes Resplendence stacks, but then took it back out in 4.x.)
  • Salvation also procs up Altruism, which makes Benevolence into an one-time instant-cast ability that consumes ZERO Force, as noted above. This is tactically useful for changing quickly from multi-target to single-target, since you can drop that Benevolence on the tank who wasn’t standing with the rest of the group where you dropped the Salvation.
  • With Conveyance: the Force cost is reduced. If you use it a lot on a particular fight, then you need to be diligent about preceding the cast with Rejuvenate. But most of the time you won’t be using it all that much so it’s not a high priority.

(Sorcerer: Roaming Mend) Roaming Mend

Wandering MendWandering Mend:

Large multi-target heal, +3% to Internal/Elemental Damage Reduction

  • The great ping-pong ball o’healing was new to 3.0, and replaced Salvation as the Sage’s most powerful heal. It puts up very high numbers, it automatically hops to whomever needs it the most, and can easily hop right back to the same target to “make it a double” if the health bar is that low.  Fire and Forget!
  • As if that weren’t enough, it temporarily boosts the target’s Damage Reduction to Internal/Elemental damage–it might be the only thing in the game that does so.
  • This is one that you will use often, but it’s a bit of Force hog, so you can’t expect to be able to use it on-cooldown any more unless you are diligent about Force recovery.
  • The only real flaw with it is that it can sometimes hop to friendly NPC’s, or get you in trouble during those rare times when you should NOT heal someone due to a fight mechanic (because you can’t actually control it beyond the first bounce).
  • With Conveyance: it will immediately heal its target and move on to another for all four ticks, rather than wait for the target to take damage. You WILL want to precede Wandering Mend with Rejuvenate every chance you can unless there’s continuous raid-wide damage currently going out. W.M. stacks just sitting there counting down are a huge waste.

(Sorcerer: Unnatural Preservation) Unnatural Preservation

Force MendForce Mend:

Large self-heal, off GCD

  • Not much to say about this except that it’s a self-heal with no Force cost, and it’s off the GCD so you can hit it in between other abilities without taking a 1.5-second “me time” break. Even for DPS Sages, there’s no real reason not to use it as often as you need to except maybe to save it for situations where you know you are about to take a big hit (or, y’know, your health is already at 100%).
  • Not affected by Conveyance

(Sorcerer: Overload) Overload

Force WaveForce Wave:

The “other” AoE heal (and instant self-heal with Psychic Suffusion utility)

  • You won’t use this much, but there’s little reason NOT to take Psychic Suffusion. Mostly, it will be a way of hitting grouped-up players in special situations where everyone groups up–or as a self-heal that you can cast while on the run.
  • Not affected by Conveyance

(Sorcerer: Expunge) Expunge

RestorationRestoration:

Cleanse TWO Force, Mental and Physical debuffs from any friendly target

  • This does heal a small amount, but mainly it’s your CLEANSE ability. All Sages have this ability, but DPS Sages can’t cleanse Physical debuffs (nor can they heal with it).  Note that in 3.x and beyond, where cleanses have 12-second cooldowns instead of 5-second cooldowns, the importance of cleanses is considerably lower than it used to be. But that’s still no excuse to miss a Death Mark.
  • As with all “Cleanse” effects, if the target has more than two cleansable debuffs, only two will be removed.  I have no idea how the game decides which two.  (This is consistent with the “Cleanse” and “Purge” nomenclature that was introduced in 3.0: A Cleanse removes at-most TWO debuffs, a Purge (like Force Barrier) will remove ALL cleansable debuffs, no matter how many.)
  • In 4.0 and beyond, the distinction between Force debuffs (which you CAN cleanse) and Tech debuffs (which you CAN’T) has been removed . . . allegedly.  I’ve still run across a handful of Tech cleanses that remain, so be on your guard.  (For instance, the Poisoners in KP just before you exit the tunnel on your way to Foreman Crusher still drop Tech debuffs that you can’t cleanse but your Scoundrel/Mando colleagues can.)
  • Not affected by Conveyance

Significant Non-Healing Abilities

(Sorcerer: Static Barrier) Static Barrier

Force ArmorForce Armor:

Temporary Absorptive Shield, Small self-heal when used with Life Ward utility

  • The mighty Sage Bubble is one of the real powers behind a Sage healer, and it’s not even a heal at all. What makes it special is that it absorbs ALL types of damage, including Internal/Elemental. This, the Relic of Reactive Warding, and Blade Storm/Blade Barrier are the only ways out there to prevent I/E damage, and Force Armor is easily the biggest.
  • How much damage does it absorb? It’s directly proportional to your Bonus Healing stat, and in spite of the fact that we’re not using Power augments anymore, that overall value has remained just as high from 3.x to 4.x–because EVERY mod and enhancement has Power now, and because of higher Power/Mastery numbers from better gear tiers. The actual number of HP absorbed is going to be roughly in the same ballpark as what Deliverance or Force Mend heal for; or roughly 5.5x your Bonus Healing score–assuming Telekinetic Defense–give or take a few hundred. (Dianiss–who had a BH score of 1936.5 in the early days of 4.0–made bubbles that absorb just over 10K HP.) And even though its Force cost got bumped up dramatically in 4.5 AND the Bonus Healing score got dialed back a couple percent, it still only costs 26 points of Force to use compared to Deliverance, which costs almost 2x that at 41 points. Aside from Force Mend, that’s as efficient as you get (and even on par with a super-crit Deliverance)!
  • Tactically, this ability is incredibly useful.  Whether under a heavy barrage of multiple enemies or light fire from a single stray mob, it acts exactly the way you’d want it to–effectively adding a virtual 10K or so your target’s HP pool (similar to a Guardian’s Enure).    For tanks, it’s like a pre-heal of the next several hits.  For others, it’s a quick way to mitigate whatever danger they might be in, giving you a couple of precious GCD’s where you can be confident that their HP level will not keep dropping while you work on topping them back up.  If they are under light attack, it will stay with them for up to 30 seconds (!) until it’s eventually depleted.  If someone takes a big five-figure wallop, it will absorb all it can right then and there with no limit at all on how much it can absorb per second.
  • Also, because it isn’t actually a healing ability, it is safe to use on someone who is affected by a game mechanic where healing that ally actually causes damage instead (e.g. the Dread Guards’ Force Leech in TfB HM, or the Curse in Colossal Monolith HM). The only down-side of this ability, compared to Slow-Release Medpack and Trauma Probe, is that it does not crit. It absorbs damage up to a fixed maximum and that is all.
  • One final note about Force Armor: Beware of people who live and die by HPS numbers, because Force Armor is not a heal and doesn’t get tallied by the parsers as such. (Only StarParse tracks it accurately, and even then it is only included as a part of your healing output in the Raid Healing overlay and ONLY if your whole group is in raid channel with you.) There’s a name for people who think that way: DPS’s. Ignore them. They’re cheap and disposable. You’re not–you’re a healer!

(Sorcerer: Consuming Darkness) Consuming Darkness

VindicateVindicate:

Increase Available Force by 50 (55 with Force-Mystic 4x Set Bonus)

  • This is the key to your Force management. Using it gives you an instant injection of 50 points of Force, at a cost of a 25% retardation of your Force regeneration rate for 10 seconds due to the Weary debuff.
  • With the new 4x Force-Mystic set bonus, it causes Vindicate to recover an additional 5 points of Force per use (55 instead of 50).
  • You should always try to avoid the Force regen penalty (Weary) by only using Vindicate when there is at least one stack of Resplendence to be consumed (with one exception, noted below). This will also cause Vindicate to recover an extra 10 points of Force per use, for the optimum total of 65 Force points per Vindicate. So long as your Crit is high enough and you are using Healing Trance often enough, this should never be a problem.  Weary, on the other hand, is a BIG problem and you should avoid it like Stage-2 Rakghoul virus.
  • Unlike the pre-3.3 Noble Sacrifice (or Consumption, for Sorcs), the use of Vindicate DOES take up one GCD, so you will have to be tactical about when you use it. Every use of Vindicate is a one-GCD period when you are doing NO HEALING, so it’s best to build good habits of spreading out its use so that you don’t have to stop for a “me-time” break when the fur is really flying.
  • At level 52, Vindicate will also proc up the Amnesty buff, which is a temporary boost to your Force regeneration, something very useful and worth watching. BUT . . . while the description for Amnesty doesn’t explicitly say this, the use of Vindicate without any stacks of Resplendence but WITH the Amnesty buff will cancel the Amnesty buff, but NOT give you a stack of Weary. [My thanks go out to guild-mate Vaes for pointing out this subtle effect to me.] So in that case, if you’re pressed for time or under the gun, it’s actually better to use Vindicate to recover 50/55 points of Force immediately rather than let the Amnesty buff tick away, which will only net you an extra 20 points of Force (2 points per second for 10 seconds). Otherwise, the optimal use of Vindicate is to cancel Amnesty just before it expires, netting you 50/55 PLUS 16-18 points from Amnesty itself.  (For Sorcerers, Amnesty is called Reverse Corruptions and looks just like the Consuming Darkness icon.)
  • Another effect of Vindicate: When you use it with Resplendence, it will remove one stack of Weary. In practice, this is a very unlikely scenario to happen normally, and it’s not exactly something that one can leverage to one’s benefit (I can only think of one scenario: correcting an accidental non-Resplendence Vindicate), but there it is.

(Sorcerer: Jolt) Jolt

Mind SnapMind Snap:

Interrupt

  • Well, like it says, it’s your interrupt. As a healer, you almost never have to use this…almost.  Since you’re not carrying any Accuracy (you AREN’T carrying Accuracy, right?!?), there is a 10% chance that your interrupt can MISS, so it’s not a good idea to rely on healers to interrupt things that are actually, y’know, important.  Plus, yours has the longest cooldown in the game.

Cloud MindCloud Mind:

Threat Dump, +25% Dmg Reduction when used with Blockout

  • As the description says, Blockout is a great companion to Cloud Mind. If you need to use a threat dump, it probably means you have aggro from something and are taking fire. If you’re taking fire, a large–if temporary–Damage Reduction bonus is just what the doctor ordered.
  • You can also leverage it for situations where heavy raid damage is about go out, treating the +25% damage reduction as the primary effect and more-or-less ignoring the threat dump effect.
  • …and let’s face it: If a tank can’t hold aggro against your healing output under normal circumstances, you’ve found yourself a BAD TANK. RUN, young sage, RUN!!!

(Sorcerer: Extrication) Extrication

RescueRescue:

Pull another player to your location, Threat Dump that player, +25% Damage Reduction when used with Valiance

  • I’ve already written a ton on the myriad ways to abuse this unique ability. Using it for beneficial results is entirely a tactical thing. If you’re using it for the threat-dump side-effect, it’s best to minimize the actual displacement of the player, since you will be hard-interrupting whatever he/she is doing. As mentioned above, using it for Damage Reduction is something you should only do when you’ve worked it out in advance with that player. (Tanks might like the Damage Reduction, but they probably won’t like the accompanying Threat Dump.)
  • It’s also an incredibly useful tool for keeping misbehaving PuG’s in line, where you can physically yank someone away from where they should not be and possibly to a place where they should be. (As in, “NO, you idiot, attack THIS target now!”)

(Sorcerer: Polarity Shift) Polarity Shift

Mental AlacrityMental Alacrity:

Large Alacrity Boost, Immunity to Interrupts

  • This is useful for those GO-TIME moments when the fecal material has made contact with the air recirculation blades.
  • Prior to 3.0, it was a useful Force Regeneration boost, but not much else. In 3.x and beyond, Alacrity improves the speed of all your abilities (including the Force Regen), so the overall result is more like a general-purpose Alacrity boost. Using it for enhanced Force regeneration is only going to work if you’re not actually doing anything but Vindicate while it’s up.
  • Think of it as a good reusable Adrenal with a shorter cooldown time.

(Sorcerer: Recklessness) Recklessness

Force PotencyForce Potency:

+60% Crit chance to next 2 abilities

There are pretty much 2 situations where you want to use this.

  1. You’re low on Force and you need to proc up some Resplendence stacks right damn now. Punch it before a Healing Trance and you’re VERY likely to get the full 3 stacks off a single cast. (FUN FACT: Healing Trance will only consume ONE stack of Potency, even if all 4 ticks of it crit!)
  2. Someone is very low on health and needs to be topped off quickly. Punch it before using Deliverance to make a crit heal much more likely (or before Force Mend if that someone is yourself). If you have the 2x set bonus and the “Force-Mystic’s Critical Bonus” buff up, you’ll add a very large Super-Crit bonus to your Deliverance.

(Sorcerer: Unlimited Power) Unlimited Power

Force EmpowermentForce Empowerment:

Raid-wide buff

  • This buffs everyone in the group with a 10% bonus to main stat, Endurance, and Presence (Yes, Presence, why not?). It is probably the second most powerful of the 4 raid buffs after the Sentinel’s Inspiration. If there are no Sage DPS’s in the group, it’ll be your responsibility to use it at the appropriate time.

(Sorcerer: Whirlwind) Whirlwind

Force LiftForce Lift:

60-second Crowd Control

  • This a purely a tactical ability. It’s noteworthy that Sages and Commandos, unlike all other classes, have no restrictions on what type of enemy they can CC with this ability (that is, droid vs. non-droid). If you’re feeling particular show-off-y, then you can combine it with the Pinning Resolve utility to lift 3 enemies instead of just the one. (Don’t.)

(Sorcerer: Revive) Revive

ReviveRevive:

Out-of-combat revive of defeated friendly players

  • I only include this to point out that Sages (along with Scoundrels and Commandos–regardless of DPS/Heal spec) have a zero-cooldown on this ability. So at the end of combat, make it your business to revive the fallen so that the other classes don’t have to blow an ability with a VERY LONG cooldown.

Advanced Polybiotic Triage AdrenalTriage Adrenals:

Temporary Force-Power boost

  • Of course, this is not an ability at all but rather a consumable item (and I seriously miss the reusable ones!) that you carry in your inventory.  You can go through your whole healing career and never use one, but since the changes in 4.5, they’ve become a lot more useful.  Why?  Because in real furball situations where the whole raid group is in trouble, you are going to have to do some heavy catch-up healing, and if you’re not careful about it, you’ll deplete your Force in a hurry doing it.  Using these for a significant 15-second boost (along with your Mental Alacrity) for emergency situations will help you get out of that emergency faster so that you can get back to replenishing that lost Force sooner.  [DISCLAIMER: I did not name these adrenals.  I did not name the Scoundrel’s Cleanse ability either.  If you don’t like the name, take it up with Bioware.]

Strategy

Normally a DPS or Tanking guide would talk about rotations here, but healing is so tactical and situational that you really are dealing with events as they occur (or preparing for events soon to occur) and the notion of a rotation the way a DPS views it is a non-sequitur. Instead, I’ll present common situations and effective strategies to deal with them.  Note that these are not intended to be presented as rotations in the sense that you will follow these exact steps.  (For instance, Vindicate is not included at all in the healing scenarios, but you’ll still have to use it when you can.)  Instead, think of these as guidelines for which abilities you should focus on using in these particular situations, and why you’d chose those over others.

Pre-fight:

Bubble your tanks. Bubble yourself. If the tank who gets first aggro is expecting a big hit right at the start, use Rejuvenate for the small HoT and Armor buff.

Quick Single-target healing:

Force Armor > Rejuvenate > Healing Trance > Rejuvenate > Wandering Mend > {repeat}

In general, maintain the bubble at all times, and flip back and forth between Healing Trance and Wandering Mend as your big heals, always preceding them with Rejuvenate. These abilities don’t make you wait for a cast-time.

Sustained High-output Single-target healing:

Force Armor > Rejuvenate > Deliverance > Benevolence > Rejuvenate > Healing Trance > {repeat}

This is useful when you’re more concerned with out-healing a continuous barrage of damage than topping-up your target to move on to someone else. It gets you very high HPS while still being sustainable over long fights with judicious use of Vindicate. (Before 4.0, I’ve used this pattern successfully to solo at-level Champion NPC’s by just sending in Qyzen and out-healing the damage he takes while he slowly whittles down the enemy’s HP.) Note that the Force Armor is important to provide the damage buffer against the 2-GCD gap until the Deliverance actually hits. (Rejuvenate is nice, but it’s tiny.)  We steer clear of Wandering Mend here because of its high Force cost–which doesn’t mean you can’t use it, just that you’ll have to use it sparingly.

General Multi-target healing:

  1. Salvation in an optimal location (assuming one exists)
  2. Use Wandering Mend on cooldown
  3. Force Armor on as many targets as you can

This is, as mentioned above, a weakness of Sages because Wandering Mend is the only large insta-cast heal in the arsenal and it has a significant cooldown time–and all three of these strategies come with a high Force cost.

Triage: (a.k.a. Single-target burst healing)

Force Armor > Rejuvenate > Deliverance > Benevolence > Rejuvenate > Wandering Mend

As above, using the bubble will stop the HP loss for the key moments you need to get off a fast (Conveyance-enhanced) Deliverance. If you’re lucky, you’ll also benefit from the 2x Force-Mystic set bonus Super-Crit on Deliverance. Deliverance also procs up Altruism, giving you a zero-Force, instant-cast Benevolence.

This is different from the sustained high-output sequence above in that you are front-loading all your best healing abilities and burning down your own Force pool in the process. This sequence cannot be sustained.

If you know that the person is not still under fire, then you can tweak it to:

Force Armor > Rejuvenate > Force Potency > Deliverance > Benevolence > Rejuvenate > Wandering Mend

…to get almost auto-crits on both Deliverance and Benevolence.

Wandering Mend follows up, on the assumption that the person’s HP is low enough that W.M. will double-tap that person–and if it doesn’t, that’s a GOOD THING.

If you know that the person IS still under fire, then revert to the sustained high-output sequence above and use Force Potency in front of Healing Trance to proc up the extra Resplendence stacks you’ll need to recover your depleted Force.

Tank is about to take a big hit:

Force Armor > Rejuvenate > [boom] > Healing Trance

The idea here is to absorb as much of it as possible with the bubble, then let the Armor buff and HoT from Rejuvenate kick in for the rest of it. The Healing Trance follow-up is your best real-time push-back against any sustained damage that might come after. If you still need more, follow with a Rejuvenate > Deliverance > Benevolence sequence.

Just been Revived, and have no Force available:

Meditation > Mental Alacrity > Force Potency > Healing Trance > Vindicate (x4) > Healing Trance > Vindicate (x4)

This is explained in more detail in the next section on Force Management below, but I wanted to include it here as well for completeness.

Just been Revived, and have no Force available (and you’re feeling adventurous):

Mediation > Vindicate (x8) > Force Potency > Healing Trance > Vindicate (x4)

You should still always TRY to heal up out-of-combat if you can. After that, Punch Vindicate 8 to 10 times and max out your Weary stacks. Then you can use an enhanced (with Force Potency) Healing Trance to proc up 3 stacks of Resplendence, and use Vindicate 4 times to clear off those Weary stacks one-by-one.

But here’s the thing: Don’t do that. In practice, it’s not faster, because those Weary stacks are shutting off your normal Force regen, and the non-Resplendence Vindicates at the front are each 10 Force points weaker. It ends up taking more like 15 Vindicates to get you there. Even using Force Barrier to instantly clear the Weary stacks doesn’t change anything. I’ll leave it as a challenge to you readers to explain why.

Force Management

I’ve used the term “Force Management” a lot, but never really explained what I mean by it or–more importantly–how to do it. Essentially, Force Management is the process of watching your Force levels and replenishing them as you go, ideally in a way that does not harm your ability to maintain consistent healing and does not take you “offline” for any length of time.

And now in version 4.5 and beyond, being able to properly manage your Force usage is an essential skill to learn.

So how do you do it?

The basis of all of it is this:

Rejuvenate > Healing Trance > Vindicate

If you’re familiar with Sage healing from pre-3.0, then (aside from the name change from Noble Sacrifice to Vindicate) the way it works will feel very familiar to you–minus the HP penalty. You’ll often have to use Critical ticks of Healing Trance to proc up Resplendence stacks so that you can use Vindicate without the Force regeneration penalty that normally comes with it, and proc up the Amnesty buff to boost your regen rate for a bit. You increase your chances of Critical ticks by using Rejuvenate to proc up Conveyance (though this is less important in 4.0 due to the increased Crit you should be carrying), and then using Vindicate to consume it. (You can also use Force Potency in much the same way.)

The trick comes from learning to watch your Force bar (which requires some additional situational awareness), and learning to use Vindicate at times where NOT healing someone has the least impact.

This is a matter of knowing the fights, and to a lesser degree, knowing your tanks. When Sparky is Ravaging the tank is NOT the time for Vindicate. On the other hand, it IS a good time when the collar is broken and Sparky is lying immobile.

The other general piece of advice I can give is to only do one Vindicate at a time, and keep using other healing abilities around your Vindicates. Three Vindicates in a row takes you offline for over 4 seconds (3 GCD periods) and a lot can happen in that time. Spreading the Vindicates out over time will smooth your overall healing output, which will be noticeable to the group and to your co-healer.

(This, by the way, is precisely why I LOVED IT when they took Noble Sacrifice off the GCD, and hope they’ll do it again some day for Vindicate.)

In addition, spreading out your Vindicates makes your overall Force regeneration more efficient. Using Vindicate with Resplendence–the ONLY way you should be using it–grants you the Amnesty buff for 10 seconds, which temporarily increases your Force regeneration. If you use your Vindicates back-to-back, you are basically cancelling the first Amnesty by refreshing it immediately with a second one. Instead, the optimal thing is to ride out the Amnesty buff to its maximum duration, and try to maintain a continuous state of Amnesty by pacing your Vindicates at ~10-second intervals.

If you do find yourself in a Force-starvation situation (such as when you’ve just been revived) then there’s really nothing you can do except stop healing and focus on yourself with this sequence:

Meditation > Mental Alacrity > Force Potency > Healing Trance > Vindicate (x4) > Healing Trance > Vindicate (x4)

Always start with Meditation (or whatever your favorite HP/Force regen item is) to try to heal up out-of-combat, because that’s the best way to do it by any measure.

Once you’re in combat, Mental Alacrity speeds up the overall process that follows, and since it’s an off-the-GCD ability, it doesn’t really take up any time itself (assuming you’re quick). The Force Potency guarantees that you will get 3 full stacks of Resplendence to immediately consume with Vindicate (from your 40%-ish Crit chance plus 60% from F.P.), plus it is also an off-the-GCD ability.

The FOURTH usage of Vindicate will cancel the Amnesty buff that the previous Vindicates gave you, which gives you more Force than riding out the Amnesty buff, as described in the section above on Vindicate.

By the time you’ve used your 4 Vindicates, you will still have that second stack of Force Potency to use on the second Healing Trance, followed by 4 more Vindicates exactly as before.  NOTE: Saving the Potency stacks for Healing Trance is the reason we don’t use a Rejuvenate in between.

That sequence will get you about 80% of your Force back (including what you naturally regenerate) in about 8 GCD’s–which is still a long time to be offline from real healing, but you do what you can. Try not to die in the first place, and if that doesn’t work, blame your tank. (Don’t worry, he or she is expecting it. )

So now that you know the basics and what to do when you’re in trouble, let’s focus on learning how not to get into trouble in the first place.  Without further adieu, I present to you . . .

The Twelve Essential Good Habits of Force Management

In versions 4.0-4.4, this really wasn’t a big deal, so I didn’t go into any real depth.  But times have changed, and it’s time for the Advanced class.

The key to good Force Management is training yourself to be able to do certain positive things automatically, without having to think about it–that is, making it a simple habit so that your real attention and concentration is on the task at hand.  Here is a list of twelve things that, if you can learn to do them on auto-pilot, will make you just as effective as you were prior to 4.5.

  1. Pay attention to your Force bar.

I know this sounds obvious, but it is a learned skill.  Normally healers will tunnel-vision on the raid frames and everyone’s health (and I’m just as guilty at times), but this more about keeping a mental tally in your head of where your Force currently is in broad strokes.  Think of your force bar as a simple 10-point scale and mentally note that each Wandering Mend is a -1, each Salvation is a -1, each Vindicate is a +1, and so on. As you get better, you’ll be able to quote where your Force bar is to within 10% without even looking.

Think of it this way: when you’re driving, you look in the rear-view mirror from time to time.  That car you see behind you doesn’t cease to exist when you look forward again, so you make mental note that there’s a car behind you and re-check every so often.  If you change lanes, that car might go into your blind spot, but it’s still there, and you maintain your awareness that there’s a car behind you one lane over, even if you can’t see it in that moment.  It’s the same with your Force bar.  Check it, remember where it is, and think about how it is affected by what you are doing.

  1. When Vindicate lights up, hit it once ASAP, every time you can.

Note that I specifically mean when it transitions from not-lit-up to lit-up (meaning you had no Resplendence stacks and just got some).  You accomplish two things by doing this: you proc up Amnesty and its boost to your Force regeneration rate, and you consume a stack of Resplendence immediately for its intended use in replenishing your Force, preventing it from being gobbled up by a Salvation instead.  Nine times out of ten, it’s a good time to do it too, because you just finished dropping a big heal (Healing Trance) on someone.

  1. Make Healing Trance your Go-To heal.

When it doubt, use Healing Trance over others.  The more Resplendence you can build, the better, and Healing Trance is the only way to get it.  Plus . . . it’s a really great heal!

  1. Don’t use Salvation if it is lit up.  Use a Vindicate first.

If Salvation itself is lit up, it means you have a full 3 stacks of Resplendence built up, and Salvation will gobble up all 3 of them to get you an instant-cast.  Do you really need an instant-cast?  Almost never.  At least use Vindicate once and you’ll make the 2-stack Salvation damn close to Force-neutral.

  1. If Vindicate is lit up, try to avoid using Salvation.

This is a more general version of #4 above.  If you have Resplendence stacks, you want to use them with Vindicate.  But Salvation will steal them.  BAD Salvation!  BAD!  (Bioware, can we please have back the 10-point-per-stack reduction in Force cost on Salvation?  Pretty please?)

  1. Avoid back-to-back Vindicates.

This was covered in the section above (enjoy the Amnesty buff’s boost without immediately refreshing it), but the practical application of it is to develop the habit of always doing something else right after you hit it.  Splitting them up with one or two abilities in between works wonders.

  1. Deliverance is your friend.

And mentioned in the description above, Deliverance is highly Force-efficient, especially when coupled with the free Benevolence that usually follows it.  When you have to heal multiple allies who are not grouped up, rotating through the group with Healing Trance, Deliverance, and Benevolence (but only if it’s lit up due to Altruism) is very effective without draining the gas tank the way repeated Wandering Mends will.

  1. Be extra careful about doing supplemental DPS.

There are times and places where throwing some rocks is absolutely the right thing to do.  But the Sage DPS specs include procs and boosters to sustain Force usage that you don’t have access to in Seer spec.  So (in combination with habit #1 above) remember that DPS abilities will drain your Force just like hard burst healing will and you’ll need to recover that afterward.

If you ARE going to help DPS, then Mind Crush, Weaken Mind, and Telekinetic Throw are probably your best friends, in that order.  Project costs roughly the same Force as the others but does less damage.  And remember . . . you’re not stacking Accuracy so there’s a solid 1-in-10 chance of just missing outright.  (You’re not stacking Accuracy, right?  RIGHT?)

  1. Save Force Potency and Mental Alacrity for Force-recovery situations.

As we covered above, you can leverage how Healing Trance ticks four times but only consumes one stack of Force Potency to quickly and reliably recover Force.  Even if you’re not actively trying to replenish your Force bar, you can still divert some of your Rejuvenate/Conveyance boosts into other abilities.

Mental Alacrity helps mitigate the time lost on Vindicates, allowing you to maintain your healing output even while you are in recovery mode.

  1. Don’t hesitate to use Healing Trance without Conveyance or Force Potency

One thing you have going for you in 4.5 that was not the case in 3.3 is that you should be carrying a lot of Crit and rocking a fairly high Crit Chance percentage.  (Pre-4.0, your normal optimal Crit chance would be more like 25% than 40%!)  The goal of Healing Trance is that you want its 4 channel ticks to crit-heal so that you get Resplendence procs.  Rejuvenate/Conveyance increases that chance (+25%), and so does Force Potency (+60%), but a 40%-45% chance is still pretty high, and plenty high to get you the stacks you’ll need if you’re diligent about using them.

As mentioned above, you can also skew your gear into higher Crit at the expense of Alacrity, which will make your non-enhanced Healing Trances even more reliable at producing Resplendence for you.

  1. If you use Vindicate and it goes dark, you have a 10-second window to hit it again without penalty.

This was already covered above, but is worth mentioning again.  When you use up your last stack of Resplendence and your Vindicate button loses it’s highlighting, you have the Amnesty buff.  If you hit Vindicate one more time while that buff is still up, you’ll cancel the buff, get the full 50/55 points of Force from that Vindicate, and you are NOT saddled with the Weary debuff and it’s retardation of your Force regen.

  1. NEVER hit Vindicate when it’s not lit up (except as described in #11).

One word:  Weary.  You’re trying to learn to manage your Force.  The very very LAST thing you want is a debuff that slashes your Force regeneration rate.  Each stack is -25% to your rate, bringing it to a DEAD STOP at 4 stacks.  Don’t do it.

Instead, use a Healing Trance . . . even if no one needs healing and you just use it on yourself.  Get a couple stacks of Resplendence and THEN use Vindicate.  Dark Vindicate = Weary = BAD!

 

So the moral of the story is: watch your Force usage. They made Force Management difficult again, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t still be a monster healer.  It’s a skill, and like any skill, you’ll get better with practice.

Tips

General Tips

  • One thing I find really useful is to bind an easy-to-reach key to “Select Target of Focus Target”. In fights where there is heavy damage and tank swaps, you can catch the swap quickly (even if the tanks don’t call it out) by tapping that key in between GCD’s. This can be further used in some of the boss-specific mechanics below.
  • The new Benevolent Haste utility can be used to mess around with people if you’re so inclined, in much the same way a Sentinel’s Transcendence can. Sometimes when people get an unexpected burst of speed, they’ll do funny things with it–especially if they’re near a cliff!

User Interface Tips

The UI is more a matter of personal preference, so I’m not here to say Do What I Do. But there are a few things I’ve found helpful that I’d like to pass along. None of them are really Sage-specific, and most are helpful for any class or role.

  • If you haven’t done it already, select “Enable Focus Target” under Preferences/Controls. PLEASE tell me you’ve already done this!
  • Select “Show Information Text” on the Player, Target, and Focus-Target elements as well as “Show Health Text” on the Ops Frame element. It’s helpful to see the underlying numbers. Resize things a bit bigger if you can’t read them.
  • Enlarge the Ops Frame, increase Party Spacing, and enlarge the Debuff Scale. There are times when it’s important to be able to identify a debuff that needs to be cleansed, and you can’t do that if the icon is so tiny you can’t make out which one it is. The Party Spacing adds extra room above each character for the larger debuff icons. Personally, I use Scale: 1.05 / Debuff Scale: 0.45 / Buff Scale: 0.2 / Party Spacing: 5
  • Create a second, identical UI layout with one change: Select “Show Only Removable Debuffs” in the Ops Frame element. There are certain fights where you have to cleanse things, and quickly. Unfortunately, it’s common for the 4 raid-wide buffs (Force Empowerment, Inspiration, Stack the Deck, Supercharged Celerity) to be activated at the same time, and the associated debuffs for them will appear on every character in your ops group. You don’t really need to see those debuffs, but they can easily crowd out other debuffs that you DO need to see. (The same thing goes for players who capture crystals from the thrones of the Dread Masters in the final fight of Dread Palace.) So in a situation like that, you can easily turn those off, even in the middle of combat.
  • On the other hand, I only use that alternate UI when needed, because there is one other non-removable debuff that is very helpful to be able to see: the Force-imbalance debuff your allies get when you use Force Armor on them. When you can see that the debuff is there, you know at a glance that you can’t reapply it–or that it’s time to reapply it NOW when you see it disappear.
  • HEY BIOWARE!!! If you’re reading this, I want a “Target of Focus Target” element, similar to the “Target of Target” element. As a healer, I can use it to keep tabs on who the boss is attacking. As a tank, I can use it to confirm that *I* am the one the boss is attacking, even when I have to break off to deal with something else. MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

Boss Specific Tips

This is a list of tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way for healing in the various operations.  Note that most of these are written from the assumption that we’re talking about Hard-Mode or Nightmare-Mode, and most of them are specific to things that sages can do (otherwise, it would easily devolve into a general-purpose guide to boss fights).

The Ravagers

  • Sparky: Focus-target the boss. When Sparky rampages, rapid-tap the “Select Target of Focus Target” and put Force Armor on his next victim whenever his target changes. You DO have just enough time to bubble everyone he leaps to (including yourself) and eliminating almost all of the Rampage damage.
  • Bulo: Tactically, there are many times when you can drop Salvation on Bulo himself to heal both tanks and any melee DPS, since the fight involves a lot grouping up with both tanks near the boss at the same time. Also, Force Armor negates a lot of the damage from mine carts and non-purple Mass Barrage circles, so that you can keep up the healing with minimal running. (By the way, if your tanks aren’t guarding you for this fight, yell at them.)
    • In HM, be sure to Force Armor the tank who’s getting the exploding mine carts, because that’s probably the single biggest bit of burst damage that can happen in this fight.
  • Torque: Since this is such a small space, you’ll get a lot of mileage from Salvation. Even if it drops right before the flames come up from the floor, everyone who touched it will take the HoT with them no matter where they scatter. (Also, this is a good fight for the “Show Only Removable Debuffs” UI because of the Shackle debuff.)
  • Master/Blaster: There is a lot of elemental damage from Master’s Flame Spin and Ion Cutter Beam, so be prepared to drop a lot of Force Armor and use Wandering Mend on Master’s tank during Ion Beam for the I/E damage reduction. In addition, you can use your Force Barrier to resist the majority of the Ion Beam on behalf of the tank–who shouldn’t be taking any other damage at that time–so it’s mostly okay for you to be “offline” for a few seconds.
  • Coratanni: This fight is a good candidate for taking the Mental Defense utility, in case Pearl decides to use Frenzied Onslaught on you because you made the mistake of saying you wanted to take away it’s cracker in voice chat. Isn’t that right, Saevurr?
    • Also, in the Ruugar half of the fight, if you get taken hostage (and you’re quick), you can prevent your team of crack DPS’s from killing the living crap out you by using Force Barrier. Once the Barrier is up, they can’t touch you even if they’re TRYING to kill you.

The Temple of Sacrifice

  • Malaphar: Salvation. Malaphar is quite courteous to group everyone together like that for you for the whole fight.
  • Sword Squadron: In HM, be aware of the timing on the Gravity Well, and drop a Salvation in between the walkers before it hits. (There’s no telegraphing of it, so you’ll need to rely on the StarParse raid timer.) It doesn’t matter if your aim is off, just make sure you drop it before everyone gets pulled in or your cast will be interrupted. Once everyone touches it, they take it with them in all directions. Wandering Mend is fabulous in this fight.
  • Underlurker: This fight plays to your weaknesses more than your strengths, but on-cooldown use of Wandering Mend and of Force Armor on melee characters will be very effective. Save Salvation and Force Wave for when people group up behind rocks and for the Devastation “cross” phase. Definitely use Force Armor on that guy in the back (or front) if he’s not really a tank. Also, no need for Rejuvenate in front of Wandering Mend here–the constant raid-wide damage keeps the ball in play, even without it.
  • Revanite Commanders: This is a long fight in a relatively small space, so Salvation will be very effective. But since it’s such a long fight, it will torture-test your Force management abilities more than any other, so be careful and keep up the Vindicates so that your Resplendence stacks don’t all get swallowed up by those Salvations.
    • Also, this is a good fight for the “Show Only Removable Debuffs” UI because of the anti-healing debuff the Sith Revanites and Kurse put on your group called Traumatic Slash. It’s orange and looks like the pic just below.

Traumatic Slash.png<–Be sure to cleanse this if it goes to 2 stacks or more!

  • Revan The Returned: In HM, there is a mechanic where you have to be facing aberrations at the moment they dissipate. During that phase, you must be careful with the use of Healing Trance. With all of your other healing abilities (including Force Armor), using it on someone who is not in front of you will not cause your character to move. But Healing Trance will cause your character to turn and face your target. If your target is not already in front of you, this could cause you to inadvertently face the wrong direction at a key moment and kill yourself.
  • Also in HM, there is a debuff called Essence Corruption in the 1st-floor phase that healers (exclusively) have to cleanse, but because of the nature of the special mechanic that goes with it, the debuff does not have the normal border around it that indicates that you can cleanse it.  So for the Revan fight (or at least that first phase of it) you definitely cannot use the “Show Only Removable Debuffs” UI because this very important one will be hidden from you!  (Pay attention here: I just got done telling you that you definitely SHOULD use it for the Commanders right before this, so don’t forget to switch your UI settings in between these fights.)  [A word of thanks to my fellow raid team member Shirle (a.k.a. Hanks) for pointing out this detail to me.]
  • Keep Force Empowerment (the sage Raid-wide buff) at the ready for the final burn against the machine core.  When the stacking debuff that reduces everyone’s maximum health gets fairly high, the Endurance boost of F.E. will push back by temporarily increasing everyone’s maximum health–which is just what the doctor ordered.  Heck, it might be the only way to do that outside of the Guardian’s Enure.

The Dread Palace

  • Dread Master Tyrans: Before the fight, you can place a Phase Walk on a square at the far edge of the room. Then if you get Simplification, you can just BAMF over to that out-of-the-way square with time to spare. (I always use this trick when tanking on my Shadow as well.) Just make sure that no other Sages or Shadows have planted the same square, and pay attention in case someone else drops your square before you do.
    • Hopefully it never comes to this, but if accumulated Simplifications cause the floor to be split into two (or more?!?) distinct sections, you can use Rescue to pull people who are stranded on their own little square island back over with the main group.  Note that you won’t need to worry so much about the melee guys, because they will have their own Leaps/Storms/Strides to deal with the problem themselves.  It’s only the other ranged guys who will be in trouble.  (Then, after you wipe, have a heartfelt discussion about how everyone should handle Simplification on this puzzle-based boss!)
  • Dread Master Calphayus: In the “Present Day” phases, make sure you keep your distance from the boss and the tanks.  You are a good candidate to draw the Distorted Perceptions attack (that giant red circle of health drain) on yourself because you can easily out-heal it and/or negate it entirely with Force Barrier.
    • During the first phase of “Visions of the Past and Future”, if you are the healer that goes into the Past, you can protect the Seed from its attackers by putting Force Armor on it and healing it just like it’s a player in your group. (It is sometimes difficult to target in all the chaos, so I’ll usually make it my Focus Target for the duration of that phase.)
  • Dread Master Raptus: (or, more specifically, his healing challenge) This is pretty much the Burst Healer/Triage sequence from above, with a couple of tweaks because you know in advance when it starts. Hit Mental Alacrity before or as you go in. As soon as you enter, do a Force Wave while you Ctrl-Tab to select the “Victim” as quickly as you can. From there, it’s Triage healing. Lead with Force Armor–it DOES work. Use a Rejuvenate/Healing Trance combo, and try to use an off-GCD Force Potency in between them. Avoid using Deliverance unless Healing Trance and Wandering Mend are both down–and ONLY after a Rejuvenate. Only use Salvation if you have the Resplendence stacks to instant-cast it–you don’t need to Vindicate in here. This challenge is very do-able, but you have to approach it a little differently from other healing situations.
    • In HM, you want to make sure the tanks have Force Armor all the time. Raptus can (uniquely) hit tanks with Driving Thrust for damage in the high-70K’s, so shaving 10K or so of that right off the top can easily be the difference between a tank staying alive and that same tank getting one-shotted.
  • The Dread Masters: This is a good fight for the “Show Only Removable Debuffs” UI because of Tyrans’ Death Mark attack/debuff. In addition, even if the raid-wide buffs are not out, the debuffs associated with other players gathering the crystals from the tops of the thrones will add yet another non-removable debuff to the Ops Frame that can crowd out Death Mark.

The Dread Fortress

  • Gate Commander Draxus: Be sure the group knows what they are doing about Despoilers–either focus-killing them or CC’ing them. If the group is CC’ing them, it’ll probably be your job to do it with Force Lift.
    • Also, you are a good candidate to take the initial shot from a Dismantler if you can remember to bubble yourself first. (But as a practical matter, some DPS will probably do it–and you should definitely bubble THAT guy.)
  • Grob’thok, Who Feeds the Forge: Nothing special to note here except that if you see someone building up more than 2 or 3 stacks of the flame debuff, it probably means they’re just standing in it. In that case, send your healing elsewhere and let the poor fool die, because there’s no way you can out-heal 10 stacks of that anyway. This is how people learn.  Or . . . y’know . . . there’s Rescue, which might work. Your call….
  • Corruptor Zero: This fight is a serious challenge for healers, so you have to play it smart, or you’ll accidentally drain your Force without realizing it. CLEANSE. Don’t try to heal through those bleeds, they’re serious business. Keep a bubble on the tank who has the boss at all times. Lean on Salvation when the group is together (like during a mine), and leverage Wandering Mend when they are spread out (like when dispatching the adds).
  • Dread Master Brontes: Don’t panic. This is a mechanics-heavy fight, but as a healer, very little of that falls on your shoulders. The toughest part is when Kephess clones come out, because both Arcing Assault from Brontes and the Laser-blast from little-K both do some serious damage simultaneously (worse, A.A. is Elemental)–so make good use of Force Armor and Wandering Mend. Be sure to cleanse the Nanites bleed rather than try to heal through it.
    • When the lightning-clock phase begins at 50% health, help DPS the first droid, then get back to healing. A Salvation at the 3rd or 4th droid will work wonders because everyone will be running through there.
    • In HM/NiM you are unlikely to get an Orb attached to you as a healer unless a DPS is dead. If that happens (or, for that matter, if you are a Sage DPS), DO NOT USE FORCE BARRIER. If you do, the orb will not detonate on you. Instead it will re-tether to someone else and keep counting up. That person is not going to be prepared for it, and the count will very likely hit 20 and KA-BOOM the whole raid. Regular Force Armor is what is called for here.

Scum and Villainy

  • Dash’Roode: Somewhere down the line, they made it less likely that healers will get lost in the sandstorm. However, if that happens to you, here’s what to do (besides the Personal Environmental Shield, of course): In SM, use Force Speed and run back to the group. Use a Force Armor and your instant-cast heals on yourself as you run. In HM/NiM, stay put and kill the rats with Forcequake, protecting yourself with bubbles and self-heals as you go. That slow debuff the rats put on you will prevent you from outrunning them, even with Force Speed.
    • If a DPS gets lost in the sandstorm a second time, be prepared to Triage that poor soul as soon as he or she is in range.  Remember: The reason he got lost AGAIN was so that you wouldn’t get lost AT ALL.  (But don’t go doing something crazy like actually THANKING him . . . that’ll just go to his head and he’ll start standing in fire or something.)
    • Also, a little Forcequake along the way to help prevent those pesky bats from nibbling on the shield generator can be a big help. The boss himself doesn’t do THAT much direct damage so you can usually afford to mix in some extra deeps here.
    • You can also use Force Armor on the Shield Generator itself to help protect it from the bats.  [My thanks go out to reader Crowen Malarod for this tip.]
  • Titan 6: Force Barrier is just as good as a rock to hide behind.
  • Thrasher: If you’re down on the ground, you can still do a lot of healing for people up in the bleachers by casting a Salvation right against the upper edge of the wall.  (This works equally well for ForceQuake, but as a healer you’ll probably be too busy for that.)
  • Operations Chief: As a healer, expect to be assigned to Green Team or Blue Team. Also, since Force/Tech cleanses are no longer a thing, you can cleanse those grenades that the Chief puts on you that used to be Tech and thus only cleansable by the Scoundrels and Commandos.
  • Dread Master Styrak: This is a long fight, so watch your Force Management.
    • When the Kell Dragon does his spin cycle attack, you can stand in the front using Force Barrier and protect everyone behind you.
    • If the Ghost of Styrak grabs the tank and chokes him ON TOP OF ACID SPIT, you can use Rescue to pull the tank out from on top the acid. That ghost add will still need to be DPS’d and your tank will still be being choked, but it’ll be without all the extra Elemental damage from the acid.
    • During Chained Manifestation (“Now you’ll see REAL power!”), expect to help DPS the big monkey in the middle. Especially on HM/NiM, it’s THAT close of a DPS check, and one of the real DPS’s might be off trapped in a Nightmare. Also, again, be careful with your Force Management. It’s already a long fight, and mixing in the deeps only makes it worse.
    • In NiM mode in particular, you will want to take on the Force Wake utility, because one of your jobs will be to use Force Wave to push back the guys who are closing in. Pushing them back AND ROOTING THEM buys the group a couple of crucial extra seconds.
    • Speaking of Trapped in a Nightmare, you can totally use Phase Walk to teleport out. But . . . don’t. All you’ll really be doing is screwing over the next person who goes in there, because they’ll have their own companion to deal with PLUS the Iresso/Nadia you left behind.  Okay, scratch that.  It looks like they fixed it so that going into a Nightmare cancels your Phase Walk.

The Terror from Beyond

  • The Withering Horror: Between Force Armor and ForceQuake, you are actually pretty well-suited to standing in the flower puddles to attract the little baby beasties. Just don’t volunteer for the 2nd one, because that one tends to be back closer to the entrance at a time when the boss is at the other end of the room, putting you too far away from the group to heal them while you wait.
  • The Dread Guard: In HM and NiM, Kel’sara casts Force Leech on her target, forcing a tank swap. YOU CANNOT HEAL THAT PLAYER or you will hurt him/her instead. Similarly, you will have to suspend all use of Wandering Mend until the Force Leech wears off, or you will likely kill the tank when the bouncing ball decides to fly over to him or her. BUT . . . you totally CAN use Force Armor on that player, and the big bad bubble will happily do it’s technically-non-healing absorption until the Force Leech wears off. (Groups that do this boss without a Sage as one of the healers are at a disadvantage here for this reason alone.)
    • Thanks to Force Leech, this is a fight where you pretty much HAVE to use the UI that shows non-removable debuffs.
    • Also, Kel’sara’s Death Mark (that green beam that means you run from her) is nothing to fear. Wait for her to approach, use Force Barrier, laugh a bit while she wanders around confused about what to do, and soon the cast time is over. No other class can do this! (Be warned: your chances of being chosen for a subsequent Death Mark–while your Barrier is still on cooldown–are quite high.)
  • Operator IX: So here’s the thing: you’re going to be doing a lot of DPS-ing. Just accept it. The real DPS’s are going to be off killing the cores and that leaves you and the tanks to deal with those droids that come out. They don’t really do THAT much damage, but each one needs to be dispatched before the NEXT one(s) come out. So definitely still keep up your healing on the group (Wandering Mend is spectacular here), but here’s your chance to proc up Altruism with some Mind Crush to instead of just Deliverance. And since you’re going to be mixing in the deeps, watch your Force usage carefully.
    • In the 2nd half, after the color phases are over, you can get a lot of mileage out of casting Salvation on the boss with a double-tap, which puts it dead-center in the circle. The actual area of effect is a bit wider than the yellow visual, so it’ll just touch anyone standing on the edge of the inner large circle (which is exactly where EVERYONE should be standing).
  • Kephess the Undying: During the first phase (>50%) Kephess will get the idea that he’s really Cyclops from the X-Men and target some single player with his laser blast. When you see the raid warning identifying that player, quickly give him or her a bubble. It’ll absorb most of the damage from the blast.  (Also, if that player is not running to the proper tower, you can use Rescue to . . . teach . . . the mechanic.)
    • Same goes for when he jumps up and targets a player to land on with a big red circle.
    • Don’t fear the nanites. Even though it’s a part of the mechanic in the second phase to break the virtual towers and knock Kephess on his face, you can easily out-heal the debuff if it lands on you.
  • The Terror from Beyond: (the boss, not the op) Inside the Hypergate, much like with Op9, when Irregularities (and Anomalies) spawn, expect to drop what you’re doing and DPS those things, because they need to be killed right damn then and there. If your team can’t get them all in the allotted 30 seconds, then prep for burst healing, because you and your co-healer are all that stand between recovering and wiping.
    • Also, unless you want to be hopping around the Hypergate platforms, expect Salvation to be useless–not because of range, but because you need to have unrestricted line-of-sight to wherever you are dropping it, and that’s not really possible for some of the lower platforms.

Explosive Conflict

  • Firebrand & Stormcaller: If you’re the healer for Firebrand, you’re going to be doing a lot of running, and the benefit of Force Mobility will REALLY shine. If you’re the healer for Stormcaller, then you’ll get a lot of mileage from dropping Salvation on the tank’s hull and from placing one where your tank can run through it while you’re hiding under the shield during Defensive Systems.
    • You can also use Phase Walk to get back into position on the tank’s hull after Defensive Systems are over.
  • Colonel Vorgath: Since 4.0, those big droids you have to down in order to get the pliers have gotten tougher, so add a little DPS if you can and maybe an extra interrupt or two for good measure–or, if the group is melee-heavy, you can help with the incoming assassin droids.
  • Warlord Kephess: After killing the bombardier and some player getting the bomb buff, he or she will have to run directly under Kephess’ walker, which can (and probably will) subject him to some pretty serious AoE damage. Give that player a bubble as he runs in and then as soon as you see him rising doing the Luke-on-Hoth-under-the-AT-AT thing, use Rescue to pull him out from directly under the walker. You won’t affect the bomb delivery, but you will prevent a lot of damage and the timing SHOULD be such that Rescue will be available again by the time the next person does it.  Just make sure you see the tether going up from the player to the walker before you yoink him to safety.
    • Also, when the polarity droids come, and some clueless ranged DPS insists on standing out at range and making your job that much harder; feel free to use Rescue to yoink that fool in with the rest of the group where he belongs. This is how people learn.

The Eternity Vault

  • Infernal Council: DON’T USE WANDERING MEND! In the heat of combat, I see Sage healers make this mistake all the time. You certainly do need to maintain your Force Armor bubble and heal yourself as you go, but your Wandering Mend will invariably wander over to some other player, and because of your outside assistance to someone else, you’ll give yourself the debuff that prevents you from damaging your own designated opponent. Since you’re not exactly a high-output DPS in the first place, you probably just ensured that you’ll be killed–or at best reset the fight because you can’t finish him off in time.
    • For that matter, if you have the knowledge and means to switch to a DPS spec (and gear), then just do that instead. As a DPS Sage, you can DESTROY those Assassins very quickly while preventing most of their damage with Force Armor and some well-placed interrupts.
  • Soa, The Infernal One: Watch for the raid warnings where Soa telegraphs which 2 people (or which one in SM) will be targeted by the electro-balls, and be sure to put a Force Armor on those 2 people (including yourself). Your bubble will absorb almost all of the damage from the electro-ball in SM and about half in HM, and hopefully they have the good sense to go detonate it somewhere away from the rest of the group.
    • Also, at the bottom floor when Soa is down on one knee, he’s not doing any damage to anyone, so you can help out by DPS-ing him during those brief windows when he can be hurt.  (Of course, I *say* he’s not doing any damage, but that doesn’t mean that some fool DPS won’t drag an electro-bubble into the middle of the group–or that the tank won’t need a concentrated heal-up because he likes having the pylons drop on his own head.  As in all things, use your best judgement.)

Other / non-Ops-bosses

  • Colossal Monolith: Like the Underlurker, this fight plays to your weaknesses more than your strengths. Again, use Salvation and Force Wave for the Rift-channeling phases, and Force Armor all the color-carriers. This is also a place where using Could Mind with Blockout’s +25% DR as a defensive ability can be useful. In HM, be VERY watchful of Monolith’s Curse–not only can you not heal that player, but you must NOT use Wandering Mend until the curse debuff expires, or the ball will very likely double-tap the cursed player and kill him. Likewise, you should be careful of Salvation so that the cursed player doesn’t accidentally touch it and aquire the HoT buff. On the other hand, you can safely Force Armor a cursed player, since it’s not actually a healing ability, to protect him from damage.
    • (As a side note, if you yourself are cursed–playing as a DPS Sage–you CAN safely Force Armor yourself AND self-heal with the Life Ward utility.)
  • Golden Fury: If you’re feeling like showing off, you can totally stand right in front of the boss during his DEATH STAR attack, and use Force Barrier to take zero damage. It’s awesome.
  • Xenoanalyst II: During the final burn phase, the attacks the boss uses to “generate urgency” are high-damage, not insta-kill.  If you rapid-tap your Select-target-of-Focus-Target and use Force Armor on a new player whenever it changes, you have just enough time to bubble someone before he or she takes the hit, and it will probably make the difference between killing that person outright and knocking them down to 10%-ish health.  Just make sure your other healer(s) are on the ball to heal those folks up, because you won’t have time for anything but bubbling if you do this.

About the Author

I’m Dianiss, I main on a Sage healer and a Shadow tank (Galadina, or “Dina” as everyone calls me).  I would never call myself the best of the best, but as I wrote at the beginning, I have been playing Seer Sage for a long time now and accumulated a lot of experience.  If anything, I’m just a good solid healer who plays a lot, is still playing, dabbles in theorycrafting, and likes to write.

I’m also an officer in <Republic Gentlemen> on the Jedi Covenant server and leader of one of its raid groups.  I owe a great deal of thanks to my fellow guild-mates in R.G. (and in <Black Obtuse> prior), without whom I would not have reasonably been able to see and clear the HM and NiM content that I have–and thus could not have learned all the information that you see in this guide today.

This guide is dedicated to them.

Final Thoughts

I welcome further discussion and questions. Feel free to post here. I plan to continue adding additional things as I learn them myself and to update the guide as things change in-game–just as I have been doing in the past year-and-a-half or so since I first posted it on our guild website. Most importantly, if there is anything here that is unclear or that you are having trouble understanding, please let me know so that I can clarify and/or re-word things. This guide is for YOUR benefit, not mine.

If any of you reading this have additional tips or strategies that you’d like to contribute, feel free to post here and I’ll include them with full attribution.

Thanks to Vaes for pointing out to me the undocumented effect of using Vindicate with Amnesty.

Thanks to Shirle (Hanks) for pointing out to me that Revan’s Essence Corruption is hidden by Show Only Removable Debuffs.

Ability icons are sourced from Jedipedia.net, and thanks go out to reader Tammt for pointing the site out to me.

Thanks to Dulfy for creating the best SWTOR site in the galaxy and for keeping it going all this time after many others have lost interest.  This site is the very definition of Excellence, and I’m proud to have been given this opportunity to contribute to it.

Most of all, thanks to YOU for spending your whole day reading this. (Yeah, it’s long.  I get it.)

I hope it helps you.

Finally: Pants are overrated.

–Dianiss

  • Dianiss RG

    Before anyone asks, YES, I’m aware that changes to Seer Sage are coming soon in version 4.5. Once the update actually drops and I’ve had a chance to play-test it, I’ll update this guide accordingly.

    My pre-4.5 guess: Force management is going to become harder, but everything will otherwise play exactly the same.

    • John Kosto

      I was obviously going to ask about the timing of this guide, but then I thought that you probably released it now, because you started typing it some time in November

      • Dianiss RG

        In fact, I started working on it around the time 3.0 hit, about a year and a half ago now. My first correspondence with Dulfy about posting it here happened on the SAME DAY that Musco posted about the upcoming changes in 4.5!

        • John Kosto

          Oh yeah, I figured it out, I was just being sarcastic about the length of the guide… which should have taken you 6 months to type… you know…

          But in all seriousness, thank you for a very comprehensive and complete guide.

    • ManDingoCC6901

      Yeah… The force management will be important, but so will the ability combos. It won’t just be a matter of more vindicate. Using your abilities like salvation and benevolence with the right procs will be important.

      With the increased costs for no substantial healing lift, I would have liked to see Vindicate come off the GCD, but oh well… We’re pretty potent right now, and BW loves their nerf bat. We’ll see how it goes.

      I do feel a little sorry for the PVP crews. If you run a good crew and don’t need to heal long, our burst healing just got ~5% better. Quick finishes for the win.

      • Paulo Gomes

        That’s what I think too, if these changes were brought about partially (or completely) because of pvp, it’s not going to do any good. By the time the higher cost of casting really kicks in most (good) pvp guys will have decided the match… On the other hand pve guys will have a tougher time in long Ops fights where managing your resources will be harder, and maybe it will make the spec a lot less fun to play… Lets see, no point in going crazy before we actually see where Sage healing is going…

  • EyesOfGehenna .

    I have a lot of sorcerer/sage healers as it’s my preferred style of healing. The guide makes a lot of sense to me as well, though there are 2 things I’d like to give some alternative or additional thoughts for. First of all I find the new utility benevolent haste very useful in all kinds of situations and I use it more than psychic suffusion for this reason. Secondly I generally find it an advantage when my co-healer is also a sage/sorc. Sure, bubbles don’t stack but to be able to divided the group in 2×4 so you only need to bubble 4 targets each to me is an advantage or to have one person bubbling and the other focusing on healing the most needy 😉 , though I will say that I very much like healing together with a scoundrel/operative as it’s a great combination of strong aoe heals, damage prevention and burst healing. Together with the great mobility you have as a sage/sorc this really seems the most powerful synergy at the moment. Just some additional thoughts on a couple of topics.

  • Whin

    Thank you for the very complete guide. I think there is a little mistake in the “Force management” section: Amnesty buff lasts 10 seconds, not 20.

    • Dianiss RG

      You’re absolutely right! I’ve corrected the error. Thank you!

  • john Fisher

    Thank you for the guide.

  • Natalie

    Thanks for the guide! Gives a lot of insight on how healing works now for players (me) who are returning to the game after a long time hehe. (:

  • fawna

    Pretty decent guide but you really could have organized it better and cut some of it down, this is a bit of a mess to actually look at and its wayyy to long with unnecessary tangents

    • Dianiss RG

      My goal was to make it longer than all the other Dulfy guides combined. 😉

    • Emon McCullen

      disagreed. It’s just fine the way it is. A little more info you can skip the 5th time you’re reading it is better than missing important info when you need it.

    • Paulo Gomes

      It’s long because it’s one of the most comprehensive guides I’ve had the distinct pleasure of reading. It’s got a lot of information, the part where the author describes in detail Ops strategies is a a very nice addition to people starting to go in that direction. Good work, let’s see what 4.5 brings to the table…

    • Fred Garvin

      Hush down back there!

  • Emon McCullen

    Wow this is by a wide margin the most comprehensive AND fun guide to read here! Up to day I was under the impression doing everything a Sage/Sorc healer can do following that Corruption Sorc guide. However, a lot of things said over there are being negated or at least amended here and now all of a sudden a lot of things make so much more sense to me and fall into place. Thank you thank you thank you! Have to go now adjust my gear and quickbars 😉

  • Sage

    Although a window showing the target of the focus target would be great, you can get around it by following focus target’s target keybinded and having on your focus target window of course the boss.

    • Dianiss RG

      I agree. That’s why it’s the very first thing I wrote under “General Tips”. 🙂

  • Александр Востриков

    Thanks for guide! Especially for “Boss Specific Tips”.

  • iowaboynca

    Thank you the guide! I also appreciated the humor mixed in.

  • Jonathan Parker

    I just started my Sage, to level during the double xp week, and I was wondering if there was a guide like this. Perfect timing!

  • Shand

    “Healing Trance is, in a word, essential. It’s a big heal, it’s
    front-loaded for instant gratification (meaning the first tick of it
    heals more than the latter 3)…”

    You might want to correct it before someone gets confused. Each tick of HT obviously heals for same ammount

    • Whin

      Yes indeed!

    • Dianiss RG

      You’re absolutely right! Somewhere in the back recesses of my brain, I think I recalled (and probably erroneously) that this was one of the tweaks that came with 3.3. But (1) I couldn’t find the reference, and (2) checking some recent combat logs confirmed that each tick of Healing Trance is indeed the same (barring crits).
      I have corrected the error. Thank you!

  • Crowen Malarod

    I love your guide. Easy, useful and fun read.

    Only a little tip: you can cast bubble on shield generator in Dashroode.

    • Dianiss RG

      That is a GREAT tip about the shield generator, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself!
      Plus you reminded me of a couple of Dread Palace tips that I’d accidentally left out.
      I’ve added your tip to the appropriate section and given you credit.

      • Crowen Malarod

        Thanks!
        It’s a pleasure to share little tips.
        Btw, the power generator can’t be healed (it takes 0 hp from heal sources).

        • Dianiss RG

          Thanks for double-checking that for me. (I’ve removed the note about it.)

    • Dianiss RG

      RE: Benevolent Haste utility

      The problem I have with B.H. is that there are so very few times when this is actually useful, especially compared to the other Skillful-tier utilities. It’s even LESS helpful that it’s attached to Benevolence, which is a casted ability (you have to stand still for it, so it’s no good to you if YOU are on the run), only affects one person (unlike a Sentinel’s Trancendence), and doesn’t take effect until after you’ve cast it (so you need to know more than one GCD in
      advance when and on whom it will be needed).

      Sure, it can be useful, and I can think of a few places off the top of my head where I would try to use it: Sword Squadron bomb carrier, Kel’sara’s Death Mark target, Kephess’ Laser-blast target, Titan’s big grenade, someone being teleported to the bridge by Raptus, the DPS playing tag with Raptus in the throne room, etc.

      But for my money, I’ll take Psychic Suffusion/Force Wave instead. If it were attached to an instant-cast ability or one that could affect more than one target, I’d think differently. But Benevolence? Blech!

      • EyesOfGehenna .

        There are a few more but your examples are clear. Benevolence however also benefits from a proc that makes it an instant cast and that’s a bit more effort to time but it can work really well. I do get why you prefer psychic suffusion/force wave and the reasons are completely defendable, but I guess I prefer playing with movement a bit more because you don’t always have sentinels/marauders and I just like the utility side of it. I have a lot in the way of heals and my personal view is that the heal from using overload isn’t that great either. I often heal together with an operative or another sorc and then there is enough aoe coverage as it is. It’s not a question to me about what’s really better but I find both uses limited and so it’s just a matter of preference to me. I just lean a bit more to the utility side as the actual healing isn’t the problem for me. Those are just my personal reasons.

  • Gguest

    A very good guide. Too bad it will be somewhat outdated in a couple of days. I hope you update it then.

    • Dianiss RG

      As I promised in the first post, I will definitely update the guide for 4.5.
      Frankly, it’s my intention to continue updating it indefinitely.

  • Disqus this

    Well well written. I also like the addition of the debuff problem. I hate there is no better way in game to manage that as a sage healer. I had hoped that with the UI changes something would be implemented but so far nada.

    • Dianiss RG

      I learned my lesson the hard way about keeping cleansable debuffs visible in a Revanite Commanders HM fight. During the last phase with all 3 bosses on the floor, my co-healer (Vaes) was actually yelling in TeamSpeak for me to cleanse, and I had no idea what he was talking about. It turns out that I had unknowingly let that Traumatic Slash stack up to *6* on someone because those raid buffs everyone had popped for the final phase had crowded out the orange debuff from my raid frames. I eventually noticed it when I targeted that person, (and coincidentally my co-healer cleansed it right then) . . . but the very next day I worked up the alternate UI to make sure that never happened again.

  • Drivan

    This guide will likely change with the next patch seeing as how sages are going to have some significant changes made to them. Well written and very detailed, great job!

  • Lee Hambly

    A mostly good guide, I do take minor issue with two things – but am open to debate on all points, its always a discussion imho…
    Firstly, it is semantic, but its meangingful… so the use of the word Triage for focus healing… in order to avoid confusion, I would just call it just that – focus healing. Triage is something else entirely… its what happens between your eyes and your group frame, ie: selecting WHO you are going to heal… not the manner or abilities in which you heal them. I know you say its “your word” for it… but words have meaning and all that and well, I can imagine some new raider being told to “tighten up on their triage” becoming quite confused if reading this guide.
    Secondly, your choice of alacrity for earpiece and implants… it’s probably quite a subtle thing, but as someone who, like many, will switch roles between dps and heals to fit the group as required… these “personal pieces” (ie: the non legacy pieces: relics, earpiece and implants) need to be set up as generically as possible, as in suitable for both the dps and heal – as such I always advise going Crit on these.

    • Dianiss RG

      I stand by my terminology. There’s a big difference between using a word incorrectly and labeling something using a word that is not the one you’d have preferred.

      I also stand by my advice on 3x Alacrity on the left side, and the detailed explanation I gave behind it. The price you pay for not doing it that way is the need to get another Head or Chest piece, to be a little light on Alacrity and heavy on Crit, or to skew your augments heavily for Alacrity. I would never recommend 3x Crit. Alacrity is so much more difficult to get hold of than Crit–not that it’s HARD (not until the 224 tier), it’s just that Crit is really really easy.

      Having said that, I’ll also admit that my own setup on Dianiss is an Alacrity Ear and one Implant each of Crit/Alacrity to seamlessly mesh with my DPS gear (I raid enough that I was able to get the extra set bonus piece required).

      It’s all about priorities, and the purpose of the advice is more in the “Forewarned is Forearmed, so you don’t accidentally paint yourself into a corner” category than “Do This Or You Suck”.

      • Lee Hambly

        Well… as I said, its a discussion 😀
        So yes… of those 2 options: basically, you are using the word incorrectly. Triage http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/triage is not a physical act of healing, it is an assessment and prioritisation of a group of people – that is selecting WHO to heal, not HOW to heal. What you do AFTER that assessment is the action bit. Like I said, it would avoid confusion.
        You might decide you want to call it inoculation, lobotomising, lancing, or any other vaguely medical term… and they would also all be incorrect and misleading. Of course though… using the word triage would also be MORE misleading, because it is a concept that the healer role is actually also performing, even if they don’t know it… ie: deciding who to heal next in the group. HOW you heal them… that would be “focus healing”, for example, or mitigation, or whatever else.
        So, if some guy who has read your guide starts shouting to the healer “TRIAGE ME TRIAGE ME!”… the response from any healer who hasn’t read your guide, but just knew what the word means, would be “I did ‘triage’ you, and decided that the some other guy needed heals instead”… do you see the confusion??

        And on the other gearing point… clearly a case of do as I say, not as I do. You clearly understand the principle because you use it yourself – anyone aiming for 224’s is also going to “raid enough” to be “able to get the extra set bonus piece required”… so don’t advise them to paint themselves into a corner either?

        I am trying to help you polish this… not JUST being nitpicky :/

      • Lee Hambly

        Bah, I wrote a load of stuff and it’s now all gone…
        TLDR version… and I stand by mine too 😛 You are using the word “triage” incorrectly. Seriously, look it up. And for the gearing advice… clearly a case of “do as I say, not as I do”… very few people play one character and only one role at end game. Either way, you are either preaching to the converted (those that will have worked it out for themselves and will know their own method) or are advising people to paint themselves into a corner.

        And as I said in the other version that seems to have disappeared… I’m trying to help you polish this, not just nitpicking 😀

  • spacecat

    Recommending to read both for other sage healers, but also sage dps, sorcs in general, and tbh healers in general. The UI tip (amongst others) was a neat one!

    Also yeah, a really fun read 🙂 Thanks!

    • spacecat

      Also (and no, I’ve not tested this), I thought the God Bubble no longer resisted/absorbed the Kell Dragon’s spikes? I remember seeing this somewhere (might’ve been 3.x patch notes, but I think it might have been the tooltip for the Dragon’s buff while channeling the spin attack). Just Stand By Your Tank like the other commoners. ^^

      • Dianiss RG

        AFAIK, it works just fine, and definitely worked the last time I tried it. Admittedly, I haven’t tried it in a while. I would be VERY surprised if Force Barrier is ineffective against something as ordinary as the spikes attack.

  • Secrus

    Great guide, all very clear and nicely arranged. One hard question. How long may it take for person new to healing (dps mainly, on sagę as well) to learn, well… healing? I meant, for me its quite abstract idea, but i want to try it…

    • Dianiss RG

      Well, if you’re still leveling up, I’d suggest trying to level as a healer from L10. That way, you get introduced to each new ability, each new Seer discipline effect, and each new utility one at a time. Let your DPS (or tank) companion do the fighting and you keep him alive.

      If you’re at L65 already (or close) then you can still do the same with the various extended class missions through Ilum, Oricon, Rishi, Yavin, Ziost, etc.– or KotFE. Start doing flashpoints. Start doing SM ops. As a healer, you have the advantage that you VERY seldom have to execute fight mechanics, so not knowing the fights isn’t as big a deal as it is for, say, a tank.

      Beyond that, it’s just practice and experience.

  • jediguy

    very good guide, only two quick coments:
    First the serious one, for burst healing, i start with (Bubble)>Rejuvenate>Wandering Mend>etc. This way the target receive significant healing at least 1 GCD earlier compared to Rejuvenate>Deliverance

    Second, DPS ARE NOT CHEAP NOR DISPOSABLE! Go kill Styrak alone

    • Dianiss RG

      In a situation where someone’s health is LOW, my main concern is the immediate danger of that person dying to some small hit that breaks the camel’s back. For that reason, I put Rejuv/Deliv/Benev out front to drop as much HP on the target as possible, using the bubble to cover any small hits that happen during the Deliverance cast (and the balance of the Force Armor and Rejuvenate’s GCD’s). The Benevolence behind it is instant. At that point, I can decide to move on to someone else or stay with that person.

      Leading with Wandering Mend squanders that magic moment you have from the bubble where your target is SAFE for the moment and you can actually afford to cast something. Alongside that, saving W.M. for a moment later let’s you leverage it’s 4 bounces to top up the others whom you’ve been neglecting.
      Note that this is all fine-tuning and more than a bit theoretical. I highly doubt that choosing one sequence over another is going to make any significant difference in an actual fight. But since you brought it up, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into my reasons.

      RE: DPS’s
      Supply and Demand, my friend. Supply and Demand. 😉

  • Demunoki

    One of the best guides so far on Dulfy and thank you for sharing
    could you insert the icons for the abilities, procs and buffs you get, the ‘rotation’ and so on, as its far easier to remember what ability is what if you see those pics, also maybe an example parse for every rotation ?

    • Demunoki

      Also a screen of your UI would be nice, just to know what YOU use and what works for YOU

      • Dianiss RG

        There’s a video on the page of “the legendary Team PowerPoint Presentation” showing the world from my point of view. As a bonus, you get to see me in action, screw-ups and all. But before you get excited about seeing my UI, it’s not much more than Extended Quickbars.

        http://www.RepublicGentlemen.com/teampowerpointpresentation

        • Demunoki

          Wait…Where did you get my UI from… no seriously, I use the exact same lol… thanks for sharing!
          Considering the icons… meh, maybe i’ll level up a sage, take some screens and send you the icons, it’s really not a large challenge if you know how to handle a graphic-software thingie (IDK what they’re called in english, am not a native speaker myself) the buffs will be a problem though…
          And yes, you’re absolutely right about the parse… not thinking properly 😮

    • Dianiss RG

      If I had a complete and reliable repository of those graphics, I could probably do that, but it would be a pretty significant undertaking. (I miss TORHead and the little auto-pop-ups they enabled.) It was actually quite a thing to find a good example of Traumatic Slash–the one icon I did include–but I went to the trouble because time after time I see healers who Just. Don’t. Cleanse. Things. They. Should.

      As for parses, go back and re-read the very first sentence of the “Strategies” section. (Also I have some vague memories of writing something disparaging about DPS’s and how they think in the section on Force Armor. Maybe jediguy can remind me.)

  • Demunoki

    Could someone translate procs/buffs to a sorcerer standpoint?

    I only have a sorcerer at that level

    THANKS!

    • Dianiss RG

      There is no passion, there is peace.

      Plus, as a Sage you get to . . . um . . . shield sick Jedi? . . . meet a bunch of arguing diplomats? . . . make a holocron? . . . exchange fashion tips with a hologram? . . . throw rocks?

      Yeah, I got nothing.

      • Demunoki

        Peace is a lie, there is only passion! Come join the dark side, we’ve got cookies!
        as a Sorcerer, … You get to shield allies that will try to kill you when your back’s turned, or if another Sith has placed a bounty on your head… OR if you’ve really gotten on Lana’s nerves
        Also you get to: sacrifice blood to multiple force ghosts, be rebuilt by some alien machine, only defeat a dark council member with, like, 5 Forceghosts in your head, which chill there for the rest of the game, and… oh yeah: Get thrown about by Arcann like every non-Forcesensitive
        AND you get to be, essentially, a perpetuum mobile, making you tangible for all sorts of experiments… Sorcerer powered reactors are the way to the future!
        Well, it’s not much better here

  • Nuno Bacharel

    I was thinking about changing my Sage to healer, and after this guide I’ll definitely do that 😀
    Grats on an awesome guide 😉

  • Luki

    A note on the Dread Guards fight in TFB HM/NiM. Wandering Mend/(whatever the sorc version is called) and Successive Treatment/Progressive Scan are “smart heals”. Unless you aim it at the tank (or kiting DPS) with Kelsara’s “Force Leech” it will not bounce to a target with Force Leech. A Vangaurd’s “Cell Burst” (Energy Burst for PT’s) will not get off if it were to be resisted by something like Operator IX’s “Black Obtuse”. There may be other “Smart DPS/Heal” moves that exist. Please remind everyone to heal the shit out of and kill their tank with Force Leech after Kelsara is dead. It always causes laughter. Laughter makes people live longer…and have more fun. You are a healer after all. Thanks for a great guide little blind girl! (Guess who it is :P)

    • Dianiss RG

      So, Luki . . . how many times do I have to say this? I’m Dianiss.*

      For the record, the Sorcerer version is Roaming Mend.
      I can’t speak to the Mando/Merc or Van/PT abilities, but “smart heal” in this context means that it prioritizes the friendly target(s) with the lowest health that is in range, and avoids healing anyone whose health bar is at 100%. (BTW, Salvation is also a “smart” heal if there are more than 8 people in the circle.)

      I’ve never used Wandering Mend during Force Leech in TfB HM, but I most definitely have seen Wandering Mend wander over to a cursed ally in Monolith HM . . . and kill ’em dead.
      So . . . no, unless you can provide definitive proof that Wandering Mend *won’t* go to an ally with Force Leech, my advice still stands. (Note that “didn’t” is not the same as “won’t”. W.M. could just as easily be not hitting that tank because someone else’s health is lower and/or he’s too far away from the initial target.)

      *For those of you not in on the joke, Luki is a friend and one of several shady characters on my server who like to call me by my tank’s name–even when I’m logged on as Dianiss–no matter how many times I buy him a drink and/or threaten to torture him for one week out of every month. 😉

      • Luki

        Haha. I suppose that joke may have needed some elaboration. Like I said, as far as I can tell it does not jump to a leeched target if you do not directly aim the heal at the person, but I could be wrong. I’ll ask Lily to test it out tonight and get back to you on it. Let me know if you find anything as well. If I am right, and I am only 63.9% sure that I am, it may be a good addition. 🙂

        P.S. I am going to be gone the last 2 weeks of June, so we better get the torture session out of the way next week. Ok? Thanks! 😛

        • Luki

          I just noticed I was called a “friend”. It’s an honor. Thanks Dina! 🙂

        • AdjeYo

          As long as your tank’s health stays hight it’ll probably go well, however it does not purposely avoid targets with force leech, I can confirm from first hand experience of tanking it ;_;

  • Ranger

    Rejuvenate > Healing Trance > Rejuvenate > Wandering Mend > {repeat}
    Rejuvenate > Deliverance > Benevolence > Rejuvenate > Healing Trance > {repeat}

    CD of Rejuvenate = 6s. It is instant = 1 GCD = 1.5s
    Healing Trance is channel for 3s.
    Deliverance activation time (with Immutable Force and Conveyance) is 1.5s.
    Benevolence activation time is 1.5s. Instant (1.5s for GCD) with Altruism.
    Wandering Mend is instant (1.5s for GCD).

    Rotations above has alot of wasted GCDs. Is it ok?

    • Dianiss RG

      Don’t get wrapped around the axle too much on the notion of a ROTATION. Healing is not the same as DPS-ing and your goal is not to maximize HPS–not to mention that some things are RNG-dependent and can’t be specified deterministically. The intention of these examples is to highlight which major abilities are most effective in certain situations and why.

      You are correct that–strictly speaking–Rejuvenate is not yet back off CD so you literally CAN’T do that exact sequence without waiting a few seconds. So what do you do with those extra couple of GCD’s? Well, what’s going on?

      – Do you have a Resplendence proc up? It’s a good time to punch a Vindicate. (…and most of the time, this is where your extra cycles go.)
      – Do you have people grouped up? You can use Force Wave to give a small heal to many people (including yourself) at a very small Force cost.
      – Does a tank need his or her Force Armor refreshed? Do it here.
      – Is the group light on DPS? Toss out a Weaken Mind.
      – Is the group is doing okay health-wise? Is your Force bar looking low? Yes, you can just wait out the balance of a GCD to regen some Force–especially since version 4.5.
      Remember: Healing is tactical and all about situational awareness. There are no rotations, just strategies.

      But still, you do bring up an excellent point, one which I should have addressed directly in the main text, and I thank you for that.

  • Hey Dianiss,

    From one guide writer to another damn fine job here mate. I haven’t seriously healed since 2.0 and have been rotated to NiM Healing (swapped from NiM tanking, YAY!!!) and decided to see what wisdom i could absorb prior to standing in front of NiM bosses again. Absorbed a TON so mission accomplished :p Seriously though expert job. It’s obvious your love for the class and your commitment to maintaining the guide and keeping it up to date through patches is perfect. Not a lot of other guide writers here seem to do that so Sage Heals and Sentinel/Marauder Guide writers are the best writers!!!

    P.S.
    The HoT from Salvation can be clicked off about 2/3 of the way through it and, if standing in it, will be reapplied for the full duration greatly extending the life and cost/heal ratio of the ability (can be done by all members affected). Not sure if you knew this or not or maybe i missed it somewhere in the guide (more probable) but just wanted to mention it. Regardless you’re a Hero! :p

    • Tammt

      haha, the salvation HoT trick is awesome although I only ever used it to farm healing numbers in SM ops, I don’t think it’s practical in any other scenario. Nonetheless worth mentioning!

      • Works WONDERS on NiM Dread Guards (TFB) right after lightning field. Throwing that down and then having everyone in it, clicking it off, and reapplying for ~163% uptime on that single ability is great 😀

    • Phase

      If you’re having to cheese salvation like that to boost then your healers must be bad. Sure it’s an increase in healing but that sounds god awful when there is more important things to worry about than clicking off a buff on your bar like getting Hirad down in 2 lightning fields… The DGS isn’t even a healing intensive fight anymore maybe back in 2.x, but what was a sorc/sage then, it was rare to see an endgame sage/sorc healer when operative/scoundrel was king then for healing, at the current state of things no fights in this game are even healing intensive with the exception of Brontes burn phase. As a NiM Healer I find myself DPSing way more than healing, which is a huge difference from the 2.0-3.0 dasy it use to be heal and maybe throw out a GCD or two to dps dependent on fight. I remember the days when lightning fields were death and could kill a raid even with the best of healers, now it’s a joke, you can help out with dps throughout it, with 2 competent healers you can get a group back up to full like nothing, long before the 2nd field… and if you get 3 well your DPS is bad and you wont be making the enrage timer tbh.

    • Dianiss RG

      Hayete, I appreciate the kind words more than you know.

      I was aware of the Salvation trick, but this is a guide for Sage Healers . . . and clicking off the buff is a this-is-something-for-everybody-ELSE-to-learn-EXCEPT-the-sage-healer sort of thing, and so I didn’t really think it had a place here.

      • Absoultely mate! You’re the sage god, i’m just a lonely sage serf LOL In all seriousness though great guide man, i can’t say that enough. I’ve thrown it at everyone I can get to catch it :p

  • Phase

    Lol. I like your 4.5 update, saying that force management is tough now. It isn’t tough nothing changed really, you get force back with ease if you know how to play the class. I find nothing really changed except now you gotta waste GCD’s that should’ve been spent on DPS using consuming darkness or vindicate to regain force more often. Stupid as hell.

    • Dianiss RG

      Well . . . if you know how to play the class, you’re not really my target audience for a guide. 😉

      As I mentioned in the updated intro, you’re absolutely right that all the abilities play the same, high HPS numbers are still possible, and the class/spec has lost nothing substantial in viability. It’s just gotten a steeper learning curve than it had in 4.4.

      …and that’s why I specifically added a whole new section on Force Management for those people who are learning.

  • lora1973

    Please don’t start any “get good” arguments. It just isn’t helpful.
    Dianiss wonderful guide. I bounce between operative healing and sage healing and needed to re orient myself after a whoa moment on my sage. This was entertaining and thorough. Thumbs up especially for the gauntlet reference.

    • Dianiss RG

      You have found my treasure room!

  • Demunoki

    Diannis, just a quick question: Does the cleanse now cleanse every cleansable debuff? Or are there still distinctions?

    • Dianiss RG

      Yes . . . and no.

      First off, there are oodles of debuffs throughout the game that are flat-out non-cleansable. So those have to be set aside for discussion purposes.

      Beyond that, there are four basic types to be concerned with:
      Mental: Cleansed by all Sages and Scoundrel/Commando healers
      Physical: Cleansed by all Scoundrels/Commandos and Sage healers
      Force: Cleansed by all Sages
      Tech: Cleansed by all Scoundrels/Commandos

      IN THEORY, one of the changes in 4.0 was supposed to be the elimination of Force and Tech cleanses, so that all healers can heal all 4 (or 3, depending on how you view it) types. It did happen: One of Corruptor Zero’s two bleeds used to be Tech, but now both can be cleansed by a Sage. Also (as noted above), S&V’s Operations Chief (at the end of the city mission) puts a grenade on players that used to be Tech, but can now be cleansed by Sages.

      The problem is that they’ve missed some, like the one I noted in the description of Restoration.

      So YES, you *should* be able to cleanse anything that is cleansable, but NO, there *are* cases where you can’t but the Tech-based healers can–and those cases are rare.

      By the way, your question indirectly pointed out an omission in my description of Restoration, which I will correct. Thank you!

    • Tammt

      To add to Dianiss’ answer:

      In PvP those types are absolutely still relevant. Sage’s can’t cleanse Sleeping Dart or Flashbang, Operatives can’t cleanse Whirlwind.

    • Dianiss RG

      You know what? I need to revise my answer.

      It’s just “NO.”

      One of the side-effects of the Dark vs. Light event is that I’ve been taking a nostalgic tour through that super awesome Jedi Consular Class St–HAHAHAHHAHA (sorry, did it again), and running the various flashpoints and planetary missions again.

      I’m finding those %*&#$ Tech cleanses EV. ER. Y. WHERE.

      Maybe they *intended* to remove Tech-vs-Force cleanses, maybe they wanted to reduce them. I don’t really know any more.

      But you can disregard what I said about Tech cleanses being rare. They really aren’t.

      So the answer to your question is: No, you can’t cleanse everything, but as a healer-spec character you *can* cleanse 4 of the 5 types, which is better than cleanse-capable DPS’s.

  • Jonathan Kwan

    Good guide, I myself PvP mainly, I hardly ever do ops, as I find them boring, but I digress… a lot of your tips especially dealing with force management is really helpful and makes sense, I have noticed when in PvP matches it has happened where I cant heal because I am outta “juice”, hopefully after following your tips, it’ll help with my force bar!
    Good Job on the guide!!!!

  • Ahsoka

    Would it be possible for you to list the number of enhancements and augments for each stat as done in other guides? For example, 224 gear – Alacrity – 6E + 5A or something like that?

    • Dianiss RG

      I could, but I’m strongly NOT of the opinion that there is one uniquely “perfect” build to strive towards. Any attempt to justify one would depend on optimizing for some very very specific set of criteria, and/or is trying to optimize for HPS, which is dead wrong for actual PvE healing.

      But if it’s really really super-important to you, here’s what Bant says:
      224: 1477 Critical (3xE, 11xA, 2xC) | 1395 Alacrity (7xE, 3xA) | 0 Accuracy
      220: 1446 Critical (8xE, 2xC) | 1342 Alacrity (2xE, 14xA) | 0 Accuracy
      216: 1413 Critical (2xE, 13xA, 2xC) | 1289 Alacrity (8xE, 1xA) | 0 Accuracy

      Bant’s build is IMHO pretty good, and works great as a baseline. But remember: his build is, in fact, optimized for his artificial healing simulation, not based on operations experience. If he were to change the simulation is some way, he’d get different “optimal” results.

      And either way, it’s not quite the build I use myself.

      Since 4.5 dropped, I’ve been monkeying with my Crit:Alac ratio and finding that putting it right down the middle (5:5 Enhancements, 7:7 Augments) is a good baseline, with the crystals and relics pushing your Crit>Alac by 170 points (which is higher than Bant’s 82-point skew). This is what I’m finding is optimal for ME.

      It comes down to this for Sage healers: More Crit equals easier Force management. More Alacrity equals better burst healing capability.

      Let’s assume that you’re having trouble with Force management. Your effectiveness as a healer is going to be a lot more dependent on your ability to avoid draining your batteries all the time, so the optimal build for YOU would be more Crit than my build, making the Force management easier.

      As you get better at it, you gain better burst by dropping some Crit for Alacrity. It’s all in how well you can use the tools available to you, and in the right amount of moderation.

      So I guess what I’m trying to say is: No, I won’t do that (even though I kinda-sorta did). 🙂

      I’d much rather have you understand WHY your gear should be a certain way.

      • Ahsoka

        Your answer was perfect.. I was just worried about wasting my creds on things I didn’t need. I’m only putting on 208 gear right now (first time gearing to this level, no teasing) so I want to make sure I’ve got it right so I can actually be of use to my guild. I feel comfortable using your recommendation, I’ve read this guide top to bottom enough times that I’ve gotten your force management section memorized. Just need to put theory into practice and make it muscle memory 🙂 I healed as a main pre-3.0, just coming back to it now after maining as DPS Sage for last few years.

        So, you use 5 Adept Enhancements and 5 Quick Savant Enhancements correct?

        Is it weird that being answered directly by you is, to me, like being answered to a famous person.. I need to get out more 🙁

        • Dianiss RG

          If you’re already familiar with 2.x-style Noble Sacrifice, you’ll be just fine. It’s a little more demanding now in 4.5+ than it was in 2.x, but you don’t have to heal yourself up from N.S. at the same time.

          At the 208 level, you might want to skew it 6:4 to make sure you have enough Crit. Try it at 5:5 and see how it feels. (Remember 3xAlacrity in your Ear+Implants gets you 5:5 without having to shuffle anything else.)

          As for “fame”…I’m just happy that people are reading this. That I get to interact with them and be helpful is bonus points. The nearly-universal praise the guide has gotten . . . well that’s just plain humbling. This IS the Internet, after all.

          But I do joke with my guildies and other friends on Jedi Covenant that I’m now “the most famous Sage healer in the galaxy”.
          Like I said…humbling. 😉

          • Ahsoka

            I knew I’ve seen your name on the server.. GTN I believe 🙂 (I’ve been on JC since launch) 🙂

            So, at 208 you’d recommend Alacrity x 3 in Implants, with 1-2 Quick Savant Enhancements. The remaining enhancement slots Adept Enhancements, and go half/half on augments between Crit and Alac.. I can do that 🙂 Merci <3

  • Doc Brown

    Do you recommend Adept Enhancements for Crit, and Quick Savant for Alac, and unlettered Lethal Mods? The gear from vendors comes with lettered mods and efficient/savant enhancements 🙁

    • Dianiss RG

      Absolutely, positively, YES. Adept, Quick Savant, and Unlettered Lethals. YES.
      Same goes for the ear and implants: “Quick Savant” over “Savant”.

      Of course the vendor gear is sub-optimal: it mostly trades out Power for Endurance and a small Mastery boost compared to the Best-in-Slot items. Hey, the best gear has to be earned. If it weren’t better, then why would you bother trying to get it?

      But if vendor gear is all you have access to at the moment, then by all means use it. You’ll be weaker due to the reduced Power but that’s okay. All the principles espoused above still apply with respect to balancing your stats. Can’t get Focused Retribution and Serendipitous Assault relics? Use Boundless Ages and Primeval Fatesealer until you can. Use blue augments until you can fill out your gear with purple ones.

      So long as your gear is in some semblance of being properly set up rather than a mish-mash of random stuff you got along the way, you’ll be geared well enough to heal group content that features Bolster (like SM Operations). It’s THERE that you can pick up the Adept and Quick Savant enhancements from both the unassembled tokens and the Mk-2 item drops. Non-lettered Lethal mods are trickier, since they only come from unassembled tokens. But remember: every belt and bracer token will have one, and those items are relatively easy to win if you’re specifically trying to collect a couple of Lethal mods. (They can also be crafted if you have the credits and/or crafting materials.)

      But my final advice is this: Don’t sweat the gear too much. When the time comes to step up to HM operations, it’s WAY more about player skill than it is the gear. If you can learn to play the class well, you can heal an operation in vendor 208’s.

      Hopefully this guide helps you to do exactly that.

      • Doc Brown

        So un-assembled 216s come with unlettered 216? That’s great news! 😀 Would you recommend that I use unlettered 208 Lethal mods until I can get unlettered 216s, or does the mastery increase make the lettered 216 more powerful?

        • Dianiss RG

          Yes, ALL unassembled items come with unlettered mods–even the tank pieces. The unassembled items also exclusively come with Adept, Initiative, and Quick Savant enhancements (or Immunity and Sturdiness for tanks).

          As for unlettered mods vs. “A” mods from one tier up: They’re almost identical (aside from the Endurance). Taking your 208 vs. 216A as an example, you’ll notice that if you change nothing else in your gear except that one mod that your Bonus Damage and Bonus Healing will be a fraction of a point higher with the 208 unlettered mod. So in a sense, YES, the 208 is a tiny bit better, but then again it’s only a TINY BIT better, so you might want the extra HP for better survivability.

          When you get to 2 tiers off, the 220 A-mod does beat the 208 unlettered mod hands-down (and there are no such things as 224 lettered mods at this time).

    • Dianiss RG

      I should add, Doc, that when your healing hits 8800 HPS . . . you’re gonna see some serious shit. GREAT SCOTT!!!

  • Лев Сафаров

    I dont understand, this +10% bonus to force armor is when you do it on yourself or on every other players?

    • Dianiss RG

      It sounds like you’re referring to the Telekinetic Defense utility. TD improves the amount absorbed by your Force Armor by 10%, no matter who your target is. So if your Bonus Healing is at a level where the bubble absorbs 10,000 HP before “popping”, it will absorb 11,000 HP with Telekinetic Defense.

      Life Ward, on the other hand, only heals YOU when you bubble YOURSELF. It won’t heal other people when you bubble them, nor will you receive healing from it if you bubble someone else.

      • Лев Сафаров

        Yea, about life ward i knew this, but about telekinetic defense, this new to me. Thanks for the info, something new everyday.

  • Dianiss RG

    For anyone who’d like to meet me in person, I am planning to attend the NYC Cantina event on Oct 7.
    Hope to see you there!

  • Mike

    Di, what do you get when there is a naked futuristic kiwi tank running through lost island HM? Do you bother healing them, or let them die?

    • Dianiss RG

      Hey, it was just that one time, and you didn’t die.

      . . . much.*

      *For those of you not in on the joke, Mike is a friend and former guild-mate tank who used to drag me into Lost Island HM . . . A LOT . . . back when it was a “Tier-2” flashpoint and WAY harder than the other normal flashpoints. So once when he asked me to help him out with Lost Island SM, I commented that after all that practice on HM, I figured he’d be able to complete the SM version without getting any healing at all.

      Long story short: I was right. 😉

      • Mike

        Di exagerates, and besides he loves LI HM. You take him there, it’s his form of bliss.

  • Whiskey Foxtrot

    Hey D – Any chance of seeing a Dianiss style Shadow/Assassin tank guide? Bottom-less and all 🙂

    • Dianiss RG

      If I start now, I can probably have one finished by some time in 2018.

      But the REAL problem is: Galadina, with her Type-1 body, just doesn’t have the legs to pull off that look successfully. 😉

    • Demunoki

      Yeah, that would be great!

  • Alf (the real one)

    Haven’t played since 2.0 (lots of things have changed hellooooo ?), and starting a new sage.
    DAMN If I enjoy playing it so much, I really can tell it’s because of your outstanding guide !! It’s just perfect between the easy-explanations-for-noobs-like-me and the advanced tips to go further.
    Many, many thanks ! And roasted kittens all over you and your family.

    • Dianiss RG

      Should Melmac ever become a new in-game planet with dailies and heroic missions, I’ll be sure to keep my Cathar characters away!

      But seriously, if you’re accustomed to the Force management from the v2.x era, you’ll find the v4.5+ Force management just a little bit more demanding but otherwise familiar–and you’re now free of the burden of having to heal yourself up again from Noble Sacrifice!

  • Dianiss RG

    For the benefit of our Corruption Sorcerer counterparts, I spent some time “lightning” the mood* and adding the analogous ability names and icons to help them as well. Enjoy!

    *Okay, yeah, that was bad. I’ll go stand in the corner now.

    • Demunoki

      Thank you so much!

  • Alexander

    As i recently joined ive seen there have been alot of updates i might have missed something and i noticed the mystic gear set you reccomended seen to be unavaible

    • Dianiss RG

      The Force Mystic gear set comes from winning set-bonus token pieces in operations.

      BUT…

      Today is the day that game version 5.0 drops and I’m pretty sure that my answer is rendered moot by the new Galactic Command system. Stay tuned, updates will follow.

  • Dianiss RG

    For the record: Today is the day that game version 5.0 drops. I was NOT a part of the beta test group for 5.0 (despite my explicit requests to be invited) so I will need to play-test the new 5.0 Seer Sage the same as everyone else before I can make any updates.

    So stay tuned. I WILL update the guide for 5.0 when I’ve had a chance to give the whole thing a proper shake-down.

  • Dianiss RG

    Updated for Version 5.0!
    HOORAY!!!

  • Cath

    Actually, the Soothing Protection effect on the bubble CAN crit.

    • Dianiss RG

      You’re absolutely right!

      Somehow, when I was first experimenting with it, it just . . . didn’t. But when I went back and checked again it definitely did. Bug? Bad luck? I dunno.

      I’ve fixed the relevant section. Thanks for the catch!

  • Dianiss RG

    Updated for 5.0!
    HOORAY!!!

    The new 5.0 version can be found here:
    http://dulfy.net/2016/12/28/swtor-5-0-seer-sage-pve-guide-by-dianiss/

    This document will stay here and remain as guide for version 4.x.
    Thank you VERY MUCH to everyone for all of your support, and I will still be correcting, updating, and refining that guide as new information comes to light.

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