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SWTOR 5.3+ Seer Sage PvE Guide by Dianiss

SWTOR 5.3+ Seer Sage PvE Healing Guide written by Dianiss (updated for 5.10)

Prologue: If you’re here just to see the version 5.3-specific updates to the guide, then check out the Intro starting at “Changes in Version 5.3″, and give the Gearing section (which is completely re-written!) and Healing Abilities section a quick review.  There have been no significant changes to the spec in 5.4 though 5.10.

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.  Also, did I mention that you get to be a Jedi?  This IS a Star Wars game after all, why would you NOT want to be a Jedi???

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.

In fact, just consult The Seer Sage PvP Guide by Andunie Anzu, also here on Dulfy.  Dianiss Approves!

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:


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 could still easily maintain the kind of HPS values you’d 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 guide was updated for version 4.5 to include instructions on how to do just that!  (…and as far as what was possible, I’d managed to exceed 10.1K HPS over 5+ minutes in an Op fight by going completely fluffernutter).

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

Changes in Version 5.0

Lots of things have changed in 5.0 for the game itself (and O.M.G. DO NOT GET ME STARTED on how much I hate the Galactic Command system or the bold all-caps text will go flying everywhere), but actually very little has changed about the Seer Sage spec. The most obvious change is that all Sages got our utilities completely redone (more on that below) and we got a new Level-68 improvement to Force Armor (which is helpful, but otherwise kinda ho-hum), and a handful of optional utilities got rolled into the main Discipline Path for free (such as the 10% improvement to Force Armor being moved into Preservation at level 24).

But there’s another subtle, but very important change: Remember when Bioware brought out version 4.5 and pushed the Force costs of all our healing abilities out to damn-near the breaking point because we were too “exceptional”? Well evidently they realized that they pushed it a bit too far, because all of those same abilities have had their Force costs dialed BACK by 9%-10% in 5.0. It’s still higher than it was before the 4.5 changes, but this may get offset later on as we progress into higher gear tiers with much more Crit than we’ve had in the past.  See for yourself:

Force Costs of Sage Healing Abilities by Game Version
Ability 4.0 4.5 5.0
Force Armor 35 45 41
Rejuvenate 30 40 36
Healing Trance 48 60 54
Deliverance 37 45 41
Benevolence 55 70 63
Wandering Mend 50 65 59
Salvation 60 75 68
Vindicate +50 +50 +40

So right out of the gate, Force management in 5.0 is already a bit easier (but only a bit). It would be more noticeable, but take note of that last entry. Along with everything else, they reduced the amount of Force recovered by Vindicate from 50 down to 40 (and they also reduced the Resplendence bonus from 10 points down to 5).

I *think* the overall effect is still a net-positive, because you still have the same 600 points of Force to draw from, so the smaller Force costs are moving the needle back-and-forth less than before. It also means that the 4x Force-Mystic Set Bonus and learning to ride the Amnesty buff are a little more important now, since THOSE bonuses were NOT reduced.

So, tentatively: Thank you, Bioware.  Now if you could just get Vindicate off the GCD and reduce the Force costs of Salvation by 10 points per stack of Resplendence consumed (or I suppose it should be 5 now), we can be back to the splendid magnificence that was Seer Sage version 3.3.

Changes in Version 5.3

So apparently Bioware has some magic number that they’d previously never told anyone about, won’t tell us what it is, and won’t tell us how they’d come to decide what that magic number is. All we need to know, according to them, is that there IS a speed limit, we’ve exceeded that speed limit, and so the healer police have pulled us over and given a us ticket.

I like to think of it as OFFICIAL RECOGNITION from the developers that Sages and Sorcerers are, indeed, objectively, the best healers in the game. HUZZAH!!!

Unfortunately, there’s still the small matter of paying that ticket.

The fine we ended up paying in 5.3 is pretty harsh, consisting of a devious cocktail of increased Force costs, reduced healing outputs, and lengthening of a couple of cast times–all in the name of reducing the Sage’s (and Sorcerer’s, of course) overall Healing-Per-Second.

Okay, nevermind that we already did a major nerf readjustment as recently as version 4.5. Nevermind that they cut the Force costs from v4.5 to v5.0 and apparently just . . . I don’t know . . . forgot. (I even suggested on the official forums that simply returning to the version 4.5 Force costs and re-evaluating from there would be a more reasonable, incremental step, but HEY, WHAT DO *I* KNOW?!?) Nevermind that version 5.2 introduced newer, higher gear tiers and the inevitable stats inflation that came with it. Nevermind that they raised the level cap in 5.0 but didn’t adjust the underlying stats equations for the major stats like they’d done with every other level cap increase before it.


Okay, but the truth is–despite all my ranting and raving–that if you look closely, the reality of what they did isn’t quite as harsh as what they’d announced that they were planning to do, and they have left the door open to further adjustments of the “buff” variety later on down the line. As a matter of fact, the actual changes don’t look much at all like what they said they were going to do–and I think a lot of it stems from (valid) complaints that they were negatively impacting the Sage DPS specs with many of the proposed changes to Seer.

So let’s take a moment to actually look closely at what they did, starting with an updated version of the chart:

Force Costs of Sage Healing Abilities by Game Version
Ability 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.3
Force Armor 35 45 41 (no change) 26
Rejuvenate 30 40 36 40->50 45
Healing Trance 48 60 54 (no change) 60
Deliverance 37 45 41 45->50 45
Benevolence 55 70 63 (no change) 58
Wandering Mend 50 65 59 65->70 63
Salvation 60 75 68 (no change) 68
Vindicate +50 +50 +40 (no change) +40

Overall, the net effect is to make Force Management harder than it was, but in my opinion it’s just back to where it was in version 4.5. As you can see, they didn’t actually go as far as they originally said they would. Along with that, the longer cast times of Deliverance and Healing Trance reduce your HPS, but actually make Force Management a bit easier. For the most part, the changes do more to SLOW YOU DOWN than anything else.

So give the Essential Habits of Good Force Management another look.

Then again, some of them even went the other direction! (I suspect this was to minimize how much the changes to the Seer spec would affect the DPS specs.) Benevolence went down in cost, and so did Force Armor–spectacularly so! If you haven’t been using it very much up until now, start learning to use it more.

So did–I kid you not–Wandering Mend. I can only presume that this is a mistake, because after all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth about how it was too much of a Wave Motion Gun that they didn’t want used for single-target healing . . . they went off and did the opposite.  (Note that even though I listed the base cost as 63, the practical value is actually 53 due to the Erudite Mender passive you get at L64.  So yes, I’m aware that 63>59 but 53<59.)

But my overall point here is this:  They proposed some pretty drastic changes, the player community pushed back, and they heard us.  They didn’t make a big deal over it, but what they actually did was far more reasonable than what they planned to do.  Thanks, Keith.

P.S. “Gravestone = Yamato  //  Omnicannon = Wave Motion Gun”  …as T3-M4 would say.

Along comes Version 5.10

…and with it, more stats inflation from the fifth-tier 252 and 258 gear, with no other real changes to the game.  The only reason I don’t see this as the first step towards history repeating itself and another 5.3-style nerf coming down the line is that I’m really not sure the developers care any more–which is not to say that they don’t care about the game at all, but rather that they’re diverting what little time and energy they still have into tooling up what will be version 6.0 and a new level cap of 75.

And I hope you’ll forgive me if I choose to take a knee during the Anthem.  I’ll keep my lightsabers, thank you very much.


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.


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 at the time, it was more an issue of learning how to run the marathon than how to sprint.  In Version 5.x, it stayed pretty much the same.  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.  Paired-up Scoundrels are actually the ones that will struggle WAY more due to their relatively weak burst healing ability.)

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.


In my first version of the 5.0 guide I couldn’t really say much more than speculation, because the entire Galactic Command system really, seriously, seemed to be purpose-designed to prevent advanced players from acquiring advanced gear.

We all know how THAT turned out, so I won’t rehash it here–nor harangue about what it used to be but no longer is.  It took over 550 Tier-4 crates and twice as many Unassembled Components, but I finally got to full-248 gear (and fully BiS for only the 2nd time since I started playing the game, actually) and could finally speak from experience rather than educated guesses.  As of this most recent update (several weeks after the release of 5.10.1–making the the 258 saber and focus available), I’ve finally gotten up to full-258 too.  (EA sure does love random loot boxes, huh?)

Now then….

Version 5.0 brought a new level cap and new tiers of gear, and version 5.2 upped the ante by adding an even higher tier and shifting all the lower ones down a notch.  Version 5.10 came along and brought in a new 5th tier of 252/258 pieces for us to play with.  The net effect of this is that, at the third and higher tiers of gear, the stats are pretty damn high for level 70, and well into Diminishing Returns territory even if you’re well-balanced (which is good, actually).

The end-result is that you really don’t need to worry too much about the difference between 240/242 gear and anything higher.  The actual difference it makes won’t be all that dramatic.  Getting the right mix with what you have is way more important.

Seer is a high-Crit build, and we’re out to maximize our Power and Mastery at the expense of Endurance in every item.

Power vs. Mastery

The goal here is to maximize both, and realistically they are not in competition with each other for space in your gear.  Power (including Force Power) pushes up your Bonus Healing stat 3% more than Mastery does.  Mastery, on the other hand, also improves your Critical chance and multiplier by a small amount (but one which is completely independent of your actual Crit score–that is, having a high Crit score doesn’t reduce the bonus from Mastery at all).

That said, the push to maximize these does NOT extend into maximizing them at the expense of Crit and Alacrity, so don’t start collecting Overkill/Versatile augments nor Hawkeye/War Hero crystals just yet.  (You’ll want Eviscerating crystals instead.)

The real advice here is to strive for 100%  Adept/Quick Savant enhancements, non-lettered mods, and non-crafted earpieces and implants (whose various names are too random to list) in the highest tier you have access to.  Any tier of non-lettered Lethal mods (Lethals are the only ones you’ll use now) will be slightly better than the “A” mods from the next two tiers up–but you might find the extra HP worth it anyway.  Higher tiers of anything else, though, will be better, even going from gold-to-blue.  When in doubt, try each one and check your Bonus Healing score.

Really, you can’t go wrong these days when it comes to Power and Mastery because even if you’re off, you’re never WAY off . . . just not as optimal as you could be.

How much Crit?

Your minimum target for Crit chance is still in the 40%+ zone now, and it’s pretty easy to hit and exceed that–even in “Story Mode” gear.  In full 248 gear, you’ll have over 1900 points, exceeding 47% Crit chance and having a Crit multiplier of well over 71%.  In full 258 gear, you can have over 2200 points pushing you past 49% and almost to 73.5%, respectively.

Crit is important to Sage healers for two reasons:

First, it is key to maintaining your Force pool so that you can keep healing at high levels, indefinitely.  More on that below.

Second, there is the “Super-Crit” effect, which mostly doesn’t affect the Seer Sage spec (because it lacks spec-based auto-crits) EXCEPT in one very specific case where the 40% floor becomes crucial: Fast Force Recovery from near-zero.

So again, use Eviscerating (+41 Crit) crystals in both your lightsaber and your focus instead of Hawkeye (+41 Power) or War Hero (+41 Mastery) crystals.

But before you assume that the answer is “I just need 40% Crit”, read on, because it’s not quite THAT simple . . . .

Alacrity vs. Crit

THIS is the real question, because Crit and Alacrity are in direct competition with each other for space in your gear, and both are essential. 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 non-crafted relics) so that your Crit > Alacrity by 50-70 points.  The extra Crit from crystals and relics will let you re-balance your augments so that you have more Alacrity augs than Crit augs–assuming you balance everything else the same way–and you’ll still come out with a slightly higher Crit score.

This is still a simplified version of what “Bant, The Fat and Pink” (and now the new guy “vicadin”) recommend and I do owe them proper attribution–and my thanks for giving me the starting point for my own play-testing.  (I have also independently verified some of the math they’ve done.)

With that in mind, please remember that his mathematical model makes a lot of assumptions and is based on a very specific (albeit also generic, which is why it’s useful at all) 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 reality, it is a uniquely perfect build only for that specific simulation, and “close enough” for everything else–to the extent that anything else is close to the simulation.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not at all trying to run either of them down, and I have HUGE respect for the work they’ve done for the player community.  I just want to put it in perspective for those who don’t fully understand what it is they’re looking at in that thread.

In the end, I would much prefer to help people understand gear, how SWTOR calculates things, and how certain changes to your gear will affect your performance.

More Crit means easier Force Management

Some other advice that I continue to offer (since the 5.3 update is looking an awful lot like 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 “Story Mode” gear (about 1100 points), and quickly go up to 42% at about 1300 points and almost 45% at 1600 points.  From there on up it’s about 80 to 100 points for each 0.5%–less at first, but eventually settles in at about 100.  This is where you’re into Diminishing Returns territory.  On the plus side, the transition from level 65 to level 70 also has the effect of flattening the curve so that the DR isn’t quite as harsh.

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 46%-47%.  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.)

More Alacrity means More Burst and Quicker Response Time

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.

That higher Alacrity speeds up everything you do–including the instant-cast abilities and your Force regeneration.  This allows you to sustain higher overall output and be quicker on the draw to respond to emergencies.

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

Alacrity and the GCD

One thing that has been discovered since I first updated this guide for 5.0 was the actual effect of Alacrity on the Global CoolDown (GCD), which is the minimum timeframe used by instantly-activating abilities.  The short version is that the GCD is affected by Alacrity, but only in strict one-tenth-of-a-second increments.  If you want to reduce the GCD by 0.1 seconds, then you have to have enough points of Alacrity to get there, but if you’re just one point short, you get no benefit.  Here are the totals you’ll need:

1.5 sec to 1.4 sec : 702
1.4 sec to 1.3 sec : 1857
1.3 sec to 1.2 sec : 4625

As you can see, hitting the first threshold is super-easy, but hitting the second threshold will require you to be in at least full 242’s, or else skew your Crit:Alac ratio in favor of Alacrity.  Hitting the third threshold is . . . well, not impossible, but silly and counterproductive.

The takeaway here is that you should definitely hit that first threshold, and if you’re able to make the second without cutting your Crit down too badly, then go for it.  But don’t cut your Crit so low that you’re under 42% or so–and DEFINITELY not below 40%.  Also, don’t think that you need to hit the threshold and just stop there like a melee DPS would: you still use quite a few casted abilities and can still benefit from speeding up your Force regeneration rate relative to the GCD improvement.  (That said, it is advantageous to get past the threshold and put the rest into Crit.)

Alacrity and 258 Gear

It’s worth mentioning that something positively magical happens with 258 gear (or at least the pieces that have Alacrity) and 240-rated Augments: The enhancements in the Head, Chest, and Offhand; combined with 2 Quick Savant implants (or ear + implant); plus 6 Alacrity augments of the 240 variety will add up to a total of 1859, putting you over the 1.3-second GCD threshold by a mere 2 points.

In this configuration, you can skew your augments 8:6 in favor of Crit and have a VERY finely-tuned build.  In play-testing, I’m finding it works out incredibly well.

(Also worth noting: If you skew your augments 6:8 instead, you can get beyond another threshold–2036 points–which is enough to give you a 1.1-second GCD while Mental Alacrity is active.  But personally, I prefer the all-the-time benefit of the extra Crit to the just-for-brief-moments benefit of exceeding 2036 Alacrity.)

Crit vs. Mastery

Early in 2018, Schwarzschilda published some work where he concluded that between 1796 and 2234 points of Crit was the point where the Diminishing Returns effect made it better to start stacking additional Mastery rather than more Crit–with the actual optimal value dependent on the ratio of Melee/Ranged:Force/Tech attacks used by the class and spec.  While the math he did was correct, it was based on basic weapon damage and only really applies to DPS–so I did some research and ran some calculations of my own.

What I learned is that for Seer Sage, the breakpoint for where adding Mastery instead of Crit yields an improvement in your healing output doesn’t happen until your actual Crit percentage passes 50%, which happens at around 2500 points of Crit (assuming a very high gear rating).  This is true across-the-board for all of your healing abilities.  Again, not impossible to achieve, but not anywhere you’d normally land unless you’re doing something silly with your gear.

So to summarize: no Mastery augments, no Hawkeye or War Hero crystals.  Seriously.  Even at full 258.  Seriously.


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

No, don’t mess with that Crit/Accuracy stim either–not unless you’re temporarily flipping to DPS spec but keeping your healing gear equipped and you’re willing to burn two stims for it (or you’re a 600 Biochem and have the MK-2 reusable stims in your inventory).


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

Since 5.0, the best ones that are cheap and super-easy to get are those Artifice-crafted 220/228-rated ones (“Syntonium” in blue or “Ranrt” in purple). The best-in-slot ones are now Masterwork (258/252), followed by GEMINI (248/246),  Iokath and the various Eternal Commander variants (242/240/236/234/230) from Operations tokens, PvP vendors, or the Command Crates (but not blue ones and not the Artifice-crafted ones).

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–and the blue/crafted ones in 5.x lack this extra Crit, which is why the ones from the Command Crates (or the 5.1+ token vendors) are better.

That said, if you’re choosing between a low-tier purple relic and a high-tier blue or crafted purple one, compare the static stats against the proc-ed ones and use your judgement.  The actual difference isn’t all that big.

As for something like Boundless Ages (or any of the click-for-proc relics), they simply don’t give you as much total boost over the course of a fight than the auto-proc versions do, even if you are clicking the relic as often as you possibly can.

“Why not Devastating Vengeance?” you might ask.  “Those damn crates sure do like to give those to me.”

Yep…they love giving ME those as well, because whenever a random factor is in play, the MOST random result will always be an undesirable result.

But the real reason is more-or-less the same as for the Eternal Combatant relic that came out with version 4.7.  As a properly-geared healer, you are already carrying a lot of Crit, and at levels that run close to–or well into–diminishing returns territory. While all that Crit certainly does increase your overall healing output, the real purpose of having it that high is to get consistent procs of Resplendence from Healing Trance (more on that below), and having a relic randomly proc up an additional Crit bonus for you at unpredictable 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.

That whopping 1200-ish points may sound like a lot, but it will also boost you right past the place where more Mastery is better for you (~2500 points).  At high gear ratings, it really only gets you an extra 6% or so, and requires you to be on the ball enough to avoid wasting it by using a Vindicate or Force Armor (which never crit) inside that 6-second window.  If you want to use Healing Trance while it’s live for Resplendence stacks, you’d better be quick because you’ll only get one shot at it per proc.  You’re way better off just learning to use Force Potency in those situations.

“But I heard that Devastating Vengeance is BiS for healers.”

Whoever told you that doesn’t understand the mathematics involved, and I don’t have the space here to explain it properly (which is, I suppose, ironic considering how much space this whole guide DOES take up).  The short version is this: The average boost to HPS from the DV relic is negligible compared to the actual variance of the HPS as-calculated.  It is purely theoretical, assumes that you are following the exact same sequence of heals (which is not only false but impossible), and cannot be verified in-game in any controlled way.

And in fact (as I’d previously predicted), the same calculations applied to 258 gear instead of 248 show that the average HPS boost is less than Serendipitous Assault . . . and in fact Serendipitous Assault is stronger for you than Focused Retribution is.  Why?  Because at very high Crit levels, the boost in Power improves (temporarily) your Bonus Healing score more than Mastery does, but Mastery’s boost to Crit just nudges you closer to–and slightly over–that 50% Crit Chance threshold.

You could make a case for the Primeval Fatesealer, which at least allows you to click it when you want the 800-ish boost to Alacrity–but again, you’re way better off just learning to use Mental Alacrity instead.  It is SO much better because it gives you a straight percentage boost rather than additional points of Alacrity, so there’s no diminishing returns penalty like there is with the P.F. relic.

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

Don’t think I won’t.

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 your three versions so that you end up with one Crit (“Adept”) and two Alacrity (“Quick Savant”).  It doesn’t matter which is the ear and which is the implant . . . just so they are 1:2.

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 as you start to collect your set-bonus gear (no matter the source), 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.  Your mainhand saber and offhand focus will (normally) have one each, so they’ll balance each other out.  Since you want to stack Crit and Alacrity at something close to a 1:1 ratio, setting us those three items on the left side of your character page 1:2 will help balance out your big chunks of Crit and Alacrity from 4:3 to 5:5.

As you transition into higher gear tiers, the same thing will happen with those items, so you’ll need to continue your gear itemization in exactly the same way.  As you transition into 252/258 gear, you won’t have a choice in what enhancements are in the various armor pieces, so careful setup of ear and implants becomes even more crucial.  The good news here is that the slot-locking issue is really no problem at all since this same advice about the left side (which I’ve been giving for literally years now) works around it elegantly.

Also, if you randomly get duplicates in your command crates (HAHAHA . . . “if”, he said….), then it doesn’t hurt to keep them.  Ears and implants are easy, quick ways to adjust your Crit:Alac ratio on the fly, free of charge, versus pulling and replacing augments or enhancements.

Set Bonus

In case you haven’t figured it 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 and beyond.

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 over 30K 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 45 instead of 40. 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 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.) From 4.x to 5.0, this bonus is even more important, since those same 5 points represent a 12.5% improvement over not having it; versus the 10% improvement it was when Vindicate recovered 50 points instead of 40.  Now that the 5.3 changes are upon us making Force management harder AGAIN, it’s even MORE important.

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 you MIGHT even want to–if you still have them–dig out the OLD 2x Force-Mystic set bonus (from Arkanian / Underworld / Dread Forged / Dread Master) and use those (it’s exactly the same thing: reduced cooldown on Healing Trance),  keeping your gear in 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!)  Then again, Set Bonus gear really isn’t hard to get anymore, so it’s probably irrelevant.


These are the utilities I use, and the reasons for them, along with others that I recommend for specific situations (and a couple that I specifically DON’T recommend–and why).

Psychic Suffusion

(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.
  • Note that if I find myself in a situation where I really need one of the utilities further down, this is the one I give up.
Force Suffusion
Jedi Resistance

(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.
Sith Defiance
Pain Bearer

(Sorcerer: Empty Body)

Pain Bearer :
+5% Healing Received

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

Yes, I am still taking 3 from the Skillful category, even though only 2 are required.


(Sorcerer: Suppression)

Blockout :
Cloud Mind procs +25% dmg reduction (optional)

  • 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 do without this one–unless you specifically WANT the +25% damage reduction for some other reason like unavoidable raid-wide damage.  Otherwise, use this if you don’t entirely trust your tanks to protect you (instead of Psychic Suffusion above).
Mind Ward

(Sorcerer: Corrupted Flesh)

Mind Ward :
15% damage reduction to Periodic Effects

  • This was always useful in fights that feature debuffs that bleed your HP, but now that 5.0 has reshuffled the utilities the way they are, there’s no good reason not to take this one all the time.
Corrupted Flesh
Telekinetic Defense

(Sorcerer: Lightning Barrier)

Telekinetic Defense :
The Force Armor Strikes Back!
(optional, but I REALLY like it!)

  • This utility was completely re-done and no longer buffs Force Armor’s absorption by 10%. That effect was moved into the level-24 Preservation passive of the Seer discipline tree. Good for healers (you get it for free), but bad for Sage DPS’s (you no longer have access to it). In it’s place is an entirely new effect where your Force Armor periodically fires energy blasts at enemies who attack you. I like this one a lot, actually, and I’ve taken to calling it by the nickname “Bubblebeam” for the benefit of my Pokemon-playing friends who are into Misty and/or the Water types. It’s great for solo/small-group play, has a flashy blue visual effect, and all you need to do to activate it is put a bubble yourself.  But in fairness, you can easily give it up if you want to take Blockout without giving up Psychic Suffusion.  (Bubblebeam is just going to generate more aggro for you, after all.)  But the reason I like it is that it gives you some free additional DPS to add to the mix without requiring you to do anything you aren’t already doing; and on any fight that’s a tight DPS check, every little bit helps.
  • NOTE: Originally, the Bubblebeam effect would activate even when you put a bubble on someone else, and I had written that I suspected it to be a bug.  It turns out that I was right, because some time–I think in 5.8–they changed it so that it only activates when you bubble yourself.
  • TIP: If you have Sage DPS’s in your group, 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.
Lightning Barrier

(Sorcerer: Dark Resilience)

Valiance :
+30% to Force Mend / Rescue puts +25% Damage Reduction on Target (Don’t.)

  • 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 Legendary 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.
Dark Resilience


Mental Defense

(Sorcerer: Shapeless Spirit)

Mental Defense :
30% damage reduction when stunned,
plus 30% damage reduction from AoE attacks

  • In 5.0, the AoE damage reduction that used to come from Ethereal Entity (Sorc: Shifting Silhouette) was removed entirely and the effect merged here into Mental Defense. While this one was mildly useful before, it’s an easy must-have now–especially since it doesn’t compete with Mind Ward down in the Legendary tier. Oh yeah, the stun thing is still nice too, but really, try to avoid getting stunned. As a healer, this shouldn’t be happening to you.
Shapeless Spirit

(Sorcerer: Emersion)

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

  • Useful in fights that root and/or slow you a lot, such as General Ortol in Cademimu or the Tribal Chief in Legacy of the Rakata. The short burst of immunity is also useful when you get lost in the desert at the beginning of S&V or when Underlurker’s adds are out (but, like I said, it’s SHORT).
Metaphysical Alacrity

(Sorcerer: Surging Speed)

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

  • Before 5.0, this used to be called Force Haste (for both Sage and Sorcerer) and can be useful if you think a long fight might require multiple uses of Force Barrier, regular use of Force Speed, or a second on-demand speed boost from Mental Alacrity.
Surging Speed


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).
Force Mobility
Life Ward

(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 (aside from Soothing Protection, which will NOT be as much HP as Life Ward’s healing).
Corrupted Barrier
Valorous Spirit

(Sorcerer: Unnatural Vigor)

Valorous Spirit :
Force Mend procs +15% dmg reduction (optional)

  • This was added to 5.0, and while I can see certain situations where it would be nice (it is effective against Internal/Elemental damage too), you’d probably be better off using the much more useful Blockout above.  In a scenario where you are continuously taking heavy damage, it can be better than Life Ward, but it’s situational.
Unnatural Vigor
Swift Rejuvenation

(Sorcerer: Galvanizing Cleanse)

Swift Rejuvenation :
Using your cleanse (Restoration/Expunge) makes your next casted ability into an instant-cast (Don’t.)

  • This was added to 5.0, and . . . I just don’t see it. For a Seer Sage, it’s really only going to be useful with Deliverance or Salvation (forget Benevolence), and we already have a built-in way to reduce those cast-times if needed with Resplendence. Best case scenario: (say, Nefra or Brontes, where you’re using the cleanse anyway amidst heavy healing) you save AT MOST half a second, and then you can’t use it again for another 30 seconds. You only get two choices from Legendary and I don’t see how this is better than the other two. (I welcome anyone to convince me that this is not useless in the comments below, otherwise I put it in the same category as Benevolent Haste: Interesting, but useless.)
Galvanizing Cleanse

Healing Abilities


(Sorcerer: Resurgence)

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 VERY useful side-effect of giving the target a +10% boost to the Armor Rating.
  • Rejuvenate also has a neat little trick called Renewal that you’ll probably never notice.  Casting it on an ally drops 6 ticks of healing on him/her, but if you refresh it on that same ally before it’s finished with all 6 ticks, it will instantly apply the remaining ticks all at once plus a little extra.  The bonus itself is small (and got smaller in 5.3), but it’s worth keeping in mind (not to mention the Armor Rating bonus above) so that you maintain a bias towards using this only on your main tank at any given time.
  • But the MAIN thing Rejuvenate does for you is proc up the Conveyance effect, which improves most of your other healing abilities in some signifcant 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
Healing Trance

(Sorcerer: Innervate)

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.  Unlike the DPS specs, Force Management is a thing, so go get friendly with Healing Trance because you can’t run that marathon without it.
  • Version 5.3 lengthened the cast time by about a half-second, depending on your Alacrity levels.  You may notice that certain sequences of abilities don’t quite line up like they did before, but it’s otherwise no big deal–and more Force-friendly.
  • With Conveyance: the chance of each tick being a Critical heal is increased by 25%, significantly increasing your chances of getting Resplendence stacks.

(Sorcerer: Dark Heal)

Moderate Casted Healing ability

  • Honestly, this is mostly a filler ability that you won’t use very much, but the 5.3 changes actually made it significantly more attractive by lowering the Force costs for using it normally.  If you need a quick heal on someone, and you need it sooner than Deliverance will . . . um . . . deliver it, then go ahead and reach for Benevolence.  It’s not that bad any more.  (IKR?  What a ringing endorsement!  I could work in advertising!)
  • You should ALWAYS use this 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)
Dark Heal

(Sorcerer: Dark Infusion)

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 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.
  • In version 5.3, they increased the cast time by one-fourth of a second, which reduces the HPS of the ability, which was (and still is) quite high, but also makes it even MORE Force-efficient.  But really, . . . you probably won’t even notice.  As a properly-geared healer, you’re rocking much higher Alacrity than the DPS’s are (um, and tanks too, I hope!) so your cast-times are already going to be squeezed down by almost 0.25 seconds.
  • With Conveyance: the cast time of it is reduced to be the same as one GCD plus one-fourth of a second, making it objectively better than most other single-target heals.
Dark Infusion

(Sorcerer: Revivication)

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, for instance, 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.
Wandering Mend

(Sorcerer: Roaming Mend)

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

  • The great ping-pong ball o’healing was added in 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 player ability in the game that does so.
  • This is one that you will use often, but you can’t expect to be able to use it on-cooldown unless you are diligent about Force recovery because it’s a bit of a Force hog (even since 5.3’s inexplicable reduction in Force cost).
  • 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.
Roaming Mend
Force Mend

(Sorcerer: Unnatural Preservation)

Force 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 unless your health bar is already full or you know a big hit is coming.
  • If you really need it, you can also use this as a defensive cooldown with Valorous Spirit.
  • Not affected by Conveyance
Unnatural Preservation
Force Wave

(Sorcerer: Overload)

Force 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.
  • Of course, if you’re NOT using Psychic Suffusion, then ignore this.
  • Not affected by Conveyance

(Sorcerer: Expunge)

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 dialed back . . . 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.)  On the other hand, the bombs that the S&V Operations Chief boss puts on you (at the end of the sneak-through-the-city fight) used to be Tech debuffs and now ARE cleansable by Sages.
  • Not affected by Conveyance

Non-Healing Abilities

Force Armor

(Sorcerer: Static Barrier)

Force Armor:
Temporary Absorptive Shield,
small self-heal when used with Life Ward utility,
counter-attack when use with Telekinetic Defense 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 mostly proportional to your Bonus Healing stat, a little less than 5.2x your Bonus Healing score.  (For instance, with a B.H. score of 2687.3 from my 248 gear, my bubble is absorbing just short of 14K HP before popping.)  Aside from Force Mend and free-proc Benevolence, that’s as efficient as it gets on an HP-per-Force-point basis (exceeded only by a super-crit Deliverance)!
  • In version 5.3, they reduced the amount of damage it absorbs by 5.3% . . . but who cares!  The stats inflation from the higher gear tiers more than makes up for it, plus they lowered the Force cost by a whopping 38% (from 42 to 26), making Force Armor even MORE efficient than before.  If you haven’t been using it, . . . START USING IT.
  • 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 12-13K to 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.
  • Force Armor also got improved in 5.0 by the new Soothing Protection passive at level 68. Put a bubble on someone, and when the bubble pops, it heals them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not A LOT of healing–especially in the world of level-70 characters who have well over 100K HP–but it’s free and it’s helpful. Note that when you heal a bubbled player by any other means, you reduce the number of stacks of healing dropped by the bubble itself. This is no big deal and should never be a factor that might dissuade you from healing someone.
  • What does “any other means” mean? Well, any direct heal by you will reduce the stacks. Note that:
    • Healing from other players–including other Sages–DOES NOT reduce the stacks.
    • Salvation DOES NOT reduce the stacks (it’s a Heal-over-time buff, and thus not direct).
    • The self-healing from the Life Ward utility DOES NOT reduce the stacks.
    • The healing from Force Wave and the Psychic Suffusion utility DOES reduce the stacks.
    • The healing from Healing Trance DOES reduce the stacks BY FOUR–one for each tick.
      (I had actually reported this as a bug in 5.0, but I can only assume that this is the intended behavior since it still persists in 5.10.  I strongly disagree, but I’m not the one who decides.)
    • Wandering Mend does reduce the stacks (no surprise), but can reduce them by TWO if it double-taps the same target.
    • Cleansing someone (Restoration) DOES reduce the stacks, due to the healing from the L28 Mend Wounds passive.
    • Rejuvenation DOES reduce the stacks by ONE, but the subsequent HoT ticks from it DO NOT reduce the stacks (as it SHOULD be for Healing Trance!).
  • Also, because it isn’t actually a healing ability (until the very end), 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). Just be mindful of your timing: the bubble will last 30 seconds, but if the player takes enough fire that the bubble ends BEFORE the debuff does, then you might end up dropping a small heal on them that you didn’t intend to–and there’s no way to turn the effect OFF.
  • 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. On the other hand, the Soothing Protection effect does crit like any other heal.
  • If you have other sages in your group (DPS or Healer), you should probably default to not using Force Armor on them unless they say they’re okay with it.  As we mentioned in the Utilities section above, every time you bubble another Sage you are denying them the ability to make use of any utilities that improve their own Force Armor, which is not cool.
  • 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 then ONLY if your whole group is in a 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!
Static Barrier

(Sorcerer: Consuming Darkness)

Increase Available Force by 40
(45 with Force-Mystic 4x Set Bonus)

  • This is the key to your Force management. Using it gives you an instant injection of 40 points of Force, at a cost of a 25% retardation of your Force regeneration rate for 10 seconds due to the Weary debuff.
  • (Yes, you read that right: as of 5.0, Vindicate only gives you 40 Force points instead of 50.)
  • With the new 4x Force-Mystic set bonus, it causes Vindicate to recover an additional 5 points of Force per use (45 instead of 40).
  • 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 5 points of Force per use, for the optimum total of 50 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 with Resplendence 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 40/45 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 40/45 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.
Consuming Darkness
Mind Snap

(Sorcerer: Jolt)

Mind Snap:

  • 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 an extremely long cooldown anyway.
Cloud Mind Cloud 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!!!
Cloud Mind

(Sorcerer: Extrication)

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!”)
Mental Alacrity

(Sorcerer: Polarity Shift)

Mental 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.
Polarity Shift
Force Potency

(Sorcerer: Recklessness)

Force 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.
Force Empowerment

(Sorcerer: Unlimited Power)

Force 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.
Unlimited Power

(Sorcerer: Whirlwind)

Force 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.)
Revive Revive:
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.
Triage Adrenals Triage Adrenals:
Temporary Force-Power boost

  • Of course, this is not an ability at all but rather a consumable item 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 and 5.3, 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.]
  • HOORAY!!! Version 5.4 brought back the reusable stims and adrenals (MK-2 schematics come from one of the Crisis on Umbara vendors on Odessen), so it’s a useful thing again to max out Biochem as a crafting skill on your main raiding characters.  (I really missed these.)

Sage Healing for Beginners

Note: This section is aimed squarely at brand-spankin’ new players fresh off the boat who are looking at all these buttons, thinking “Where do I begin?”, and in need of learning the basics. If that’s not you, feel free to skip ahead. (Then again, you made it this far, it’s been almost an hour since you started reading this gigantic thing, and at this point what’s a few more minutes gonna hurt?)

The first thing about being a Sage healer is that you are very VERY well suited to being reactive rather than proactive–meaning you are more capable than the tech healers at responding to a situation (especially an unexpected one) and taking action immediately. So while the other healers operate with more of a “Maintain continuous output” mindset, your first job is “Observe and react”.

So pay attention. You’ll definitely spend a lot of time watching your group/raid frames and your allies’ health and debuffs, but don’t tunnel-vision on it. Watch the whole screen and stay aware of what’s happening, where the boss and other enemies are, where your teammates (especially your tanks) are, and what you are standing in!

So you find yourself in that critical moment: it’s time to DO SOMETHING!!! What do you do?

Breaking it down to it’s simplest form, the Sage has FOUR major healing abilities and about a dozen others that serve to support, enhance, or add utility to those main four. 90% of the time, you’ll be choosing from these 4 abilities, based on what you’ve just observed.

  • General go-to heal, or Force is running low: Healing Trance
  • Someone’s health is REALLY LOW: Deliverance
  • Multiple people’s HP is low: Wandering Mend
  • The whole raid needs HP (and they’re not all spread out): Salvation

Obviously these aren’t the only situations you’ll ever encounter but they are very common and enough to get you started.

From that point onward, you are choosing to either use the ability quickly, or you are setting up the ability for maximum effectiveness. And a lot of the time, maybe even most of the time, the needle is going to tilt toward quickly.

That presents a problem: of those four abilities, only Healing Trance delivers its shiny yellow payload immediately. Both Deliverance and Salvation have long cast times, and Wandering Mend will only heal one-fourth of its potential when cast directly.

The solution to this problem is your fifth major ability: Force Armor.

Think for a moment about why you would need to heal someone quickly. It’s probably because he or she is currently taking fire, suffering from a significant bleed or elemental effect, or simply have low HP at the moment and is at risk of being taken out by small, incidental damage.

The Bubble of Awesomeness (not to be confused with the Super Bubble of Awesomosity–that’s Force Barrier) solves all of these problems neatly. It’s an instant-cast ability that absorbs the next 13K-ish damage that player will take from ANY source. This gives you the breathing room you need to re-prioritize for maximum effectiveness.

Now it’s time to draw on what you’ve learned above about how your various abilities interact with each other, especially the big obvious super heal booster that is Rejuvenate.

Do a Rejuvenate in front of any of those four, and you’ll boost it in some meaningful way: more crits from Healing Trance, faster cast of Deliverance, immediate multi-targeting with Wandering Mend, or Force cost reduction from Salvation. This is the Conveyance buff in action, and without it, you’ll be struggling to keep up.

You can actually be pretty effective as a healer using nothing but those six abilities (or seven if you include the free & instant Benevolence that follows Deliverance and Salvation), plus Vindicate to maintain your output.

The key is to build good habits of assessing the situation and being able to use the ability (or sequence of abilities) that is most effective for that situation–quickly, without having to think about it.

As you keep playing, you’re also going to encounter new scenarios that quite don’t line up with the four listed above. By the time that happens, I hope you’ve gotten familiar enough with your abilities that you can figure out how to handle it on your own. (Plus you can consult the Boss-specific notes at the end of this guide–yes, it *does* have an end–for additional help.)

From there, you can take it to the next level where you are leveraging the other side-effects of your abilities like using Rejuvenate for its armor boost, Wandering Mend for its I/E damage reduction, or adding DPS with Mind Crush to proc a free Benevolence, just to name a few.

General Strategies

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 choose those over others.


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.  If you have a few extra cycles before the fight starts, throw out a Healing Trance to proc up a few stacks of Resplendence as you begin the fight.

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.  This is a key element of learning to be a GOOD Sage healer, and one of the things that is fundamentally different about how the Seer spec is played compared to the gun-toting healer classes: You have to actively replenish your Force pool as you play.  You can’t simply rely on the natural Force regeneration to be enough.

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 since 4.x 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.

Note that in 5.0, the amount of Force regeneration Vindicate does was dialed back 20%, but the Amnesty effect was left unchanged. This makes learning to proc and maintain the Amnesty buff even more important than before.

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 TRY to start with Meditation (or whatever your favorite HP/Force regen item is) to heal up while you’re still 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 70% 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 . . .

Twelve Essential Habits of Good Force Management

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 keep the heals flowing and prevent you from accidentally running yourself out of gas.

  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 is 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?  Okay, 5 points? 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 that you’re just going to miss anyway.  (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.x and beyond 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 40/45 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 (practically) 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!

  1. Before a fight starts, proc up a few stacks of Resplendence for yourself.

Hey, look! It’s a baker’s dozen! You know how you always see Commandos fooling around with Med Shot (to get Supercharge) and Scoundrels putting Slow-Release Medpacks on people (to get Upper Hand) before a fight starts? You’re no different. Use Healing Trance to proc up some stacks of your own so that you can be ready to use Vindicate at the start of the fight to get the Amnesty buff going right away and to keep your Force bar full until you really need to dig deep.

So the moral of the story is: watch your Force usage. Force Management can be difficult, 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.


General Tips

  • One thing I find really useful is to bind an easy-to-reach key (or mouse button on a multi-button mouse if you use one) 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.  I use the ‘F’ key myself, but use whatever works best for you.
  • The 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!  Then just add a generous helping of diabolical laughter.

UI 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).

Gods from the Machine
Tyth, God of Rage:

  • You might be tempted to plant a Phase Walk so that when the boss does Inversion, you can BAMF your bad self into position inside the circle (or outside, depending on what exactly your group is doing). I’m not saying NOT to do that, but it’s way more practical to just use Force Speed to get into position quickly–assuming you know how to just-as-quickly hit the brakes and not Wile-E-Coyote yourself off the edge of Tyth’s XL-sized pizza dish.  (If your co-healer is a Scoundrel, I promise you that he/she will do this at least once with Scamper.  Be sure to use /pointlaugh when that happens.)
  • You might also be asked to help get interrupts on Grace (you DO have 30m range on those, unlike the melee DPS’s) and/or stuns on Justice. If so, remind your raid leader that the standard warnings about “I have zero Accuracy and might miss” apply.
  • Dear Bioware: I really really HATE this boss fight.  Making something difficult by making it complicated is fine but making it difficult by making it random is just plain lazy design.  Do better.


The Ravagers

  • 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 eliminate almost all of the Rampage damage.

  • 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.

  • 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.)
  • You can also help passively DPS the lightning-turrets on the sides of the room by positioning JUST close enough and leveraging the Telekinetic Defense (Bubblebeam!) utility.

  • 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.

  • In this fight you definitely want 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 of you by using Force Barrier. Once the Barrier is up, they can’t touch you even if they’re TRYING to kill you.  (They probably are, especially if–and this is just a hypothetical example–you’ve ever published a class guide in which you publicly called them all “cheap and disposable”.  But personally I don’t know anyone who’s ever actually done something like that….)


The Temple of Sacrifice

  • Salvation. Malaphar is quite courteous to group everyone together like that for you for the whole fight.
  • Rescue is a fabulous tool for . . . reminding . . . DPS’s to step out of the circle to clear their stacks rather than run them up to 20+ because of mah parse!!!  It’s really a pity it has such a long cooldown.
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 hard-interrupted when YOU get pulled in. Once everyone touches it, they take it with them in all directions. Wandering Mend is fabulous in this fight.

  • 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.
  • As mentioned above, the Egress utility is helpful here in HM . . . just in case the DPS’s aren’t quite clearing the adds before Rage Storm is underway.
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.pngBe 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 former raid team member 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 used to use this trick when tanking on my Shadow before Version 5.0 took it away.) Just make sure that no other Sages 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–unless there’s a Commando in the group because their Echoing Deterrence reflection ability is even better for that situation.
  • 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:

  • The 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 the Nightmare/Master-Mode version of this, you have the additional consideration of the cleanse you need to do on both yourself and the “Victim”.  Use Restoration to cleanse Victim and Force Barrier to purge yourself right at the beginning and you’ll be in business.  (If you have a Scoundrel co-healer, they can do basically the same thing with a Triage/Dodge combo, so work out who’s doing what in advance.)  You’ll want the Metaphysical Alacrity utility as well if you expect to have to use the Restoration/Barrier combo in both challenges so your Barrier is off cooldown in time.
  • In HM, you want to make sure the tanks have Force Armor all the time. Raptus can (uniquely) hit tanks with Driving Thrust for well over 100K of damage in a single blast, so shaving 14K 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
Nefra, Who Bars the Way:

  • In Nightmare (sorry, Master Mode), Salvation can do a world of good during Nightmare Twin Attack when everyone is grouped up–assuming the tanks are turning the boss. If not, this will be one of the rare times when you DO want to burn off 3 stacks of Resplendence for an instant-cast because you’ll need to be on the move along with everyone else and you won’t have time for a cast.
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.)
  • In Nightmare (err, Master Mode), the Bulwark’s shields prevent you from healing anyone when they are inside, but Force Armor still works perfectly, since it’s not really a heal.  Remember to stick your tongue out at the tech healers who are otherwise just standing around checking Facebook during this phase.
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 will more than likely cause Joe Oblivious to yell “Hey, why’d you do that?!?” at you. Your call….
  • It doesn’t hurt to toss in a little extra DPS here too, since the Enrage time is pretty tight.
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).
  • Zero’s Big Red Death Star Blast Of Death is no match for your Force Barrier, so if you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t sure where to go, or can’t get there quickly enough, then you can just Barrier up and you’ll be just fine.
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.
  • In Nightmare (Master Mode–I did it again), grab that Egress utility so that you can more easily get out of trouble during the Reaches phase in case they pop up some place . . . inconvenient . . . for you with not enough time to get away normally due to the slow debuff that they also hit you with.
  • Also in MasterMare Mode (WHY OH WHY did they have to change the names of the difficulty levels?!?), you are a good candidate to stand in the middle during the final burn phase and heal the tank who’s way off yonder playing whack-a-mole with orbs away from the main group, because (1) heavy-healing a single target is your specialty, and (2) you can use Phase Walk to BAMF your special self under the shield instantly when it comes time to hide inside the first one.


Scum and Villainy

  • 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.

  • 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: (The City)

  • As a healer, expect to be assigned to Green Team or Blue Team. Also, since Force/Tech cleanses have been relaxed here, 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.  It’s also a stupidly-high DPS check that’s never been addressed by the devs, so you should expect to have to contribute as much DPS as you can on top of all the healing . . . so seriously, 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, if you are thinking about using Phase Walk in this fight, don’t bother. Being pulled into the Nightmare area will cancel your Phase Walk pre-plant, so it might not be available when you want to use it–and the chances of NOT getting pulled into a Nightmare are very very slim. (Or just re-plant it.)


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.) Just pay attention, because the new Soothing Protection effect adds some risk to this maneuver that didn’t exist before.
  • Thanks to Force Leech, this is a fight where you pretty much HAVE to use the UI that shows non-removable debuffs.
  • In NiM, if your group is using the “Don’t scoop up the green DOOM circles so that they crowd out the red circles” strategy, you can do your part for the cause by using Force Barrier to survive the Doom attack rather than slurping up the green circles.  Just watch your timing and don’t Barrier-up until the Doom is more than half-way counted down, or it’ll run out before Doom itself does (plus, y’know, it’s NiM, so you want to be offline for as short a time as possible).
  • …or, for that matter, you can do the same thing in ANY difficulty mode if you have oblivious cohorts who carelessly slurp up all the green circles through incompetence, leaving you with none.  (Note: while your Force Barrier is up, you’ll have 8 full seconds to yell at them for it!)
  • 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 so you don’t screw up the Deletion Protocols).
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 Last Boss)

  • Inside the Hypergate, much like with Op9, when Irregularities 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.
  • Hey Bioware!  You forgot to remove the 30m range restriction from Wandering Mend!  Get on that!


Explosive Conflict
Firebrand & Stormcaller:

  • 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: (The Minefield)

  • 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.
  • As a healer, you’ll normally take one of the assassins in the center area.  Just bubble yourself, interrupt his cast, and you’ll kill him quickly enough that you’ll be able to point and laugh at the Sawbones Scoundrel who can’t stop cursing about not being able to use his shotgun.
  • 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 well-placed interrupts (or, indeed, killing them so quickly that they never really get the chance to do any significant damage to you).  I have a couple of screenshots where I have 7 debuffs from killing off my assassin first and doing it so quickly that I was able to get a single hit in on all 7 other enemies.
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
Geonosian Queen: (Ossus)

  • This fight turns out to be a significant DPS check, so try to add whatever damage you can to the mix (with the standard warnings about watching your Force usage).
  • Berserkers and AoE’s can get you killed quick, so be ready on the Force Barrier (for its purge effect) in case you suddenly find yourself the proud owner of multiple sets of red DoT’s with 3-4 stacks each, especially at the end.  No you CANNOT out-heal that.
Colossal Monolith: (Ziost)

  • 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 Force Armor a cursed player, since it’s not actually a healing ability, to protect him from damage. Just be careful that the Curse wears off before the bubble does, or Soothing Protection will harm that player instead of heal him.
  • (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: (Toborro’s Courtyard)

  • 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: (Gree Event Boss)

  • 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.

Sages and Parsing

The parser is an amazing and useful tool for all classes and roles, when used properly.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don’t understand healing, don’t understand what’s actually in those log files, and/or don’t understand what they’re looking at in the parser itself.  In this section, I hope to shed some light on the subject and hopefully dispel some myths about reading the output from a parser.

For starters, we’re not DPS’s

This distinction is important because of a fundamental difference between healers and DPS’s: While a DPS can attack a boss without limit until its HP is zero, healers can only heal damage that is actually TAKEN by the group, and only after it has been taken by the group.  This means that the HPS of a healer is effectively capped at the amount of damage done by the boss and limited to the timeframes when the boss is active.  In Story Mode operations, there’s nothing to stop a great DPS from hitting a five-digit total, but a healer is going to top out at something MUCH more modest because it’s just silly to go crazy and overheal at NiM levels in that situation when everyone is at or near 100% already.

In a similar vein, an individual DPS’s output is almost never limited by the output of other DPS’s, but a healer can only heal damage that the other healer didn’t already heal.  So a strong healer is naturally going to push down the numbers of a co-healer, and that’s okay.

Healing is cooperative, not competitive

Again, it’s okay for one healer to push down another’s numbers.  In fact, when two healers are working well together (especially when they are playing different classes) they will both push each other’s numbers down.  Though it initially sounds impossible, it’s simply the natural result of healers dividing up the workload in a way that plays to their individual strengths rather than weaknesses.

Furthermore, some fights just play out in a way that favors the strong points of one healer class over another, so it’s only natural that the healer playing that class will outperform one playing a different class.  This is normal, natural, and expected.

High Effective Healing numbers usually just means things weren’t going so well

When tanks are using defensive abilities and everyone is avoiding area-effect damage, there is less damage done–so there’s less damage for the healers to heal.  Conversely, when people are not using defensive abilities, “standing in stupid”, pulling aggro, and generally making mistakes (healers included); then the EHPS values tend to rise accordingly.  Healers generally heal less on successful clears than they do on wipes.

A low Effective Healing Percentage doesn’t really mean much

…unless it’s like . . . crazy-low.  But there are plenty of legitimate reasons for any healer to overheal.  For Sages in particular, the need to recover Force by using Healing Trance on someone . . . ANYONE . . . is a recurring pressure.  Plus, many healing abilities have a desirable secondary effect that might be the primary reason for using it (e.g. the aforementioned Respendence stacks from Healing Trace, the armor buff from Rejuvenate, etc.); and some other abilities have healing as a secondary effect that is applied whether it’s needed or not (e.g. Restoration, Soothing Protection from Force Armor, etc.).  Overhealing is normal, and if someone has a very high percentage, it more than likely means they were struggling to keep up with the healing needed.

On the other hand, a crazy-low percentage could be an indicator that the healer in question was being carried/outclassed by a much stronger co-healer.

Raw HPS doesn’t really mean much either

While a super-high value can be an indicator of a healer’s potential to do harder content, a good healer simply has no practical motivation to run up a super-high value without there being a comparable amount of damage actually being done.  Otherwise, you’re just fluffing (and probably clocking in one of those “crazy-low” percentages mentioned above).

The EHPS number is probably the best overall indicator, in context

EHPS inherently filters out the fluff, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the healer couldn’t do more healing output if there were more damage to heal than there actually was.  Plus, you have to measure it properly, which most parsers don’t do and most people don’t even know it (and it’s not even the parsers’ faults).

The Force Armor Problem

As mentioned above in the Non-Healing Abilities section, Force Armor is not a heal. (We’ll ignore the Soothing Protection effect for now as it’s irrelevant to the discussion.)  Why is this a problem?  Because when it absorbs damage, that event does not appear in the healer’s combat log.  (It only appears in the log of the target.)  The parser can only do what it does on the input that it has, and can’t tally any effects that aren’t there in that input file.

What’s in a Combat Log?

The basic format of a line in the Combat Log is this: (admittedly oversimplified but correct enough for the discussion)

[Timestamp] [Source] [Target] [Action] (Values){flags}

A single line in the file corresponds to a single simple event.  (Many complex abilities will generate multiple lines.)  The Timestamp is when it happened.  The Source is who or what took the action.  The Target is who or what received the action (damage, healing, buff, debuff, etc.).  The Action is . . . what action was taken (obviously).  The Values are optional but appear for damage and healing to indicate how much and sometimes there are multiple values listed (e.g. for damage done, the type of damage, and amount of threat generated).  The Flags are also optional but can be there to indicate something like a critical hit.

So if I heal you with Deliverance for 12000 HP, it’ll look kinda-sorta like this:

[time] [@Dianiss] [@You] [Deliverance] [ApplyEffect:Heal] (12000)

This line will appear in my log and in yours, because we are the Source and Target, respectively, and both of us are explicitly named in this event.

Now I bubble you with Force Armor:

[time] [@Dianiss] [@You] [Force Armor] [ApplyEffect:Force Armor] ()

This line will appear in my log and in yours, again because both of us are explicitly named in this event.

A bit later you take hit for 15K HP, but my bubble absorbs 12K of it:

[time] [@Enemy] [@You] [Attack] [ApplyEffect:Damage]
      (15000 kinetic -shield {Force Armor} (12000 absorbed))

This line will only appear in your log, because I am not explicitly named this time.  The “event” was between the Enemy and You, and I’m an unnamed third-party.  This event does not appear in my combat log, so the parser has no way of crediting me for my bubble usage.  This is the heart of the Force Armor Problem: the parser doesn’t see the effect of a Sage healer’s bubbles and it can’t report what it can’t see.  The nearest analog from the tech healers, Slow-Release Medpack and Trauma Probe, work as normal heals so they always appear in the healers’ logs.  This even insidiously discourages Sage healers from using Force Armor at all, because they see their numbers go UP when they stop using it–even though keeping up with the healing becomes harder.  (This brings the Effective Heals Percentage up too, leading to a vicious cycle.)

StarParse and its Raid Groups function gets it right

The solution to this problem is simple: use the Raid Groups function in StarParse.  The Raid Groups function causes StarParse to upload your combat log to the server, where everyone else in your team can download that data and merge it with their own combat logs.  You, in turn, can download everyone else’s logs and merge their data with your own into a “super log” that has everything that everyone does in it.

Voila!  Now that line from above that wasn’t in your log and was invisible to the StarParse running on your machine now is included in the “super log” for StarParse to tally.  There’s also enough other incidental information present so that whenever someone takes a hit that is absorbed by a Force Armor effect, the parser can track which Sage actually bubbled the person and credit the absorbed HP to that Sage.

Of course, this only works so long as EVERYONE in the group is using StarParse and joining the same Raid Group channel.

Where do I see it?

On the Raid tab, you’ll see a heading called “Shielding” and two sub-columns.  The “Total” column shows the grand total of all damage absorbed by your shielding abilities like Force Armor.  The “APS” column show the Absorption Per Second (not “Attacks Per Second”, which is a source of confusion for a lot of people).  If you hover your mouse over either one, you’ll get a tooltip pop-up that shows a more detailed breakdown.

But the main takeaway here is that the APS value is equivalent to EHPS and those two values should be added together to get a real and fair EHPS measurement–ESPECIALLY if you are comparing the performance of a Sage with another healer.

An even simpler way to do it is to use the Raid Healing overlay window from the Interface menu.  That display will correctly show the EHPS of a Sage as the sum of the EHPS and APS.  If you’re going to compare the performance of two or more healers against each other, this is the place to do it (keeping in mind that this, too, is over-simplified).


Again, the parser is an amazing and useful tool for all classes and roles, when used properly.  But context is important and the performance of a healer is far more complicated than can be distilled down to a single simple number.  If you really REALLY need that single simple number then make sure you’re using the Raid Group function and that everyone is participating, otherwise what you’re seeing is a single simple … AND FALSE … number.

Besides, for healing, there’s an even better, and more pertient single simple number to evaluate:  How many people died due to lack of healing?  If that number is ZERO, then you probably did okay.

…or you got carried.  🙂

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 <Hellbent> on the Star Forge server and leader of one of its raid groups.  I owe a great deal of thanks to my fellow guild-mates from my current and former guilds (particularly <Republic Gentlemen> and <Black Obtuse>), 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 since I posted the very first edition of it on my guild’s website in 2015.  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.  I’ve already re-written a number of sections based on reader feedback in the 4.x version.  After all, 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. If you’ve found a mistake (hey, it happens), please tell me in the comments. (In fact, I up-vote those comments.)

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

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

Ability icons are originally from, and thanks go out to reader Tammt for pointing that site out to me–but are now hosted by directly and it was Dulfy’s own personal time and effort to make that happen, not mine. Thanks!

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 (second) 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.


59 replies on “SWTOR 5.3+ Seer Sage PvE Guide by Dianiss”

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!!!

This so much

although I am no healer, I read this all along and since 3rd paragraph started to smile- THIS is healing EXPLAINED to all the dumbs like me who can only tank or DPS. I will definitely turn my DPS Sage into healer and i will be reciting this guide all the way down. Haven’t seen better guide ANYWHERE else! Props, man!

I think commando disabling shot interrupt is 24 sec cool down and mind snap interrupt is 18 sec. But you can pick utility for commando for -3 sec cool down on interrupt.

You know, I just checked my Commando and . . . sure enough.
HOLY CRAP! 24 seconds?!?
That has GOT to be a mistake!

Awesome job, very thorough!!! I can’t wait to get home and take a whack at some proper healing tonight. Thanks!

“plus the Consular class story is the very best one in HAHAHAHHAHA sorry, I couldn’t finish that sentence with a straight face”

Here, I can help you with that. Consular class story is the very best one in game 😀

What game? THIS GAME?!?
You, my friend, represent the minority opinion on that score.

Personally, the Inquisitor was my favorite, followed by the Agent (which everyone seems to love). The Consular story is way down that list for me.

Actually, the consular story is the true representation of the Jedi. The Jedi’s role in the galaxy is peacekeeping, they are diplomats but when necessary, they lead armies to defend the Republic. The consular does all of these.
Most people find it boring, because they prefer action over intellect, which is not a bad thing at all, but imho BW made a great job with the consular story. It’s about wisdom, unlike the knight counterpart, who skipped the lessons about patience.

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.

I just recently picked up swtor again and have been trying to translate WoW Shaman save-the-whole-group-solo healing into Sage single target healing. Your guide has helped tremendously with that. Thanks.

This guide is brilliant!!!! great job:)

Everything explained without assuming people know stuff, got some humour, kept it interesting yet very concise… This has got to be the best SWTOR healing guide ever written

Hey everyone! In honor of version 5.1, I did a major review of the guide, made a number of corrections/clarifications, reformatted the Boss-specific section with tables (MUCH easier to read now), and added an all new “Sage Healing for Beginners” section for the benefit of new players.

Also, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU all for the support and kind words. I will always strive to be worthy of them.

Excellent guide. One of the easier to read and entertaining ones I’ve ever gone over. I’ve been sage healing almost since launch, so going over the changes section was rather humorous.

If you feel like its a good addition, I’d suggest adding a part that mentions tips for healing with different classes. Example, I run a 2:1 ratio on Crit:Alacrity while my sage co-healer runs higher alacrity than crit. We’ve found that it helps out when we double sage heal (Which is totally fantastic for like, all PVE content). However, I have to adjust my gear when I heal with a mando or scoundrel because I end up doing most of the burst healing on the tank while they manage the raid and I can’t afford all that crit all the time (makes me so slow!), though I can make due so long as the raid isn’t slowly dying to AOE damage. Just some tips like splitting up the frames for bubbles and stat setups for raid teams may be helpful to the not so new sage healers that are looking to get into harder content.


I have to admit that it’s an interesting idea to have one Captain America and one Mighty Mouse deliberately built as such. Both setups end up being a different healing experience. (I can kind-of relate right now too…my own current setup is pretty hot on Crit and light on Alacrity thanks to the “excitement” of 5.0’s random gear.) I’m all for trying out things like that.

If anyone else reading this wants to try it, here’s what you’re in for:

– Playing the high-Crit Captain America build is definitely easier for sustaining your Force pool and easier to play due to the slower pace. That slower pace will also hamper your ability to dig deep at crunch time, making it risky. When someone dies because you couldn’t push back against a sudden big hit, your group will “not be amused”. (It’s a bit like playing a Scoundrel in that respect, but without the inflated HPS numbers.)

– Playing a high-Alacrity Mighty Mouse build is like going back to the pre-4.0 days when we were augmenting for Power, and Force management required a LOT of your attention. Burst-Recover-Burst-Recover all day long. Your effectiveness as a healer will almost entirely depend on being highly experienced with the fight so that you can line up your burst times with when the damage is going out and your Recover times with the breaks.

I’ll believe you when you say that it works for you, and frankly I love the notion of two healers truly working as a team. But my gut says that you’d both still be better off with a more balanced build due to diminishing returns on the stats–unless you’re doing something like trading your “off” stat for more Power/Mastery, which is an entirely different thing. I’ll certainly reserve judgement until/unless I’ve seen the actual numbers on the character sheets.

I hope someday to be able to tell you where the DR issues start to be felt, but–THANK YOU GALACTIC COMMAND…*NOT*–I’m still a couple months away from having top-end gear to experiment with.

I was paid 104000 bucks last year by doing an on-line job a­­n­­d I was able to do it by w­orking part-time f­o­r 3 or sometimes more hrs /day. I used an earning opportunity I found on-line and I am thrilled that I was able to earn such great money. It’s so newbie friendly and I’m so thankful that I found out about this. This is what i do…

Thanks for the Guide , easy to understand and just awesome , even as long term sage i learned some from this guide ! Thanks !

Question: I’ve been trying to find this but no place seems to know. How much crit is too much after 5.2? I’m in 242 with a few 248, I’m currently at 1700-1800 crit and 1900-2000 alac. My crit is at a little over 45%, so, per previous advice, I stopped adding it b/c at that time that was the diminishing returns area.

The new Bant sheet states healers want >1900 crit.. but would that not be a waste if you’re into diminishing returns, or has that been changed?

That’s a really good question.

I don’t have a good answer yet, but I am currently researching this and I’ll follow up again when I do. There are a lot factors that figure into it–not the least of which is whether or not the coefficients for L70 have changed and what they changed to. (The underlying equations for the non-linear stats have ALWAYS changed whenever the level cap had been increased.)

FWIW, I’m in a mixed 246/248 right now with a few 244’s and my Crit:Alac setup is currently 1890:1789.


So it turns out that the underlying equations for Critical Rating, Critical Boost from Mastery, and Critical Multiplier have not changed at all from version 4.x to 5.2. That simplifies things immensely. (Alacrity has not changed either.)

BUT . . . that doesn’t mean nothing has changed.

So without getting too technical, the level of the character is a factor, and in the exact same gear, a Level 70 character will lose about 1.0% to 1.5% of Crit percentage JUST FROM LEVELING UP. At the same time, the Diminishing Returns effect is also reduced by a small amount (i.e. the curvature of the equation becomes more linear).

So, on the one hand, it will take more points to get a particular result at L70 than it did at L65. This is where the 1900+ points is coming from.

At the same time (until I have a chance to update things in the main guide text), you can assume that anywhere I mention a total Crit percentage, you can reduce the given value by about 1% or so. For example: what used to be the 45% zone is actually closer to 46% and the 40% floor is more like 41% and so on and so forth.

With higher gear tiers comes stats inflation, so the very best gear does put you into that same DR zone that 224 gear did at L65–and now with the 246/248 tiers, a little bit further.

This is why I present my recommendations in terms of how high Crit and Alacrity should be IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER, rather than quoting arbitrary numbers–and explaining the effect of sliding the scale one way or the other. So keep them reasonably equal, and err on the side of Crit being higher.

And this bears repeating too: Don’t treat the build that Bant (or the new guy “vicadin”) recommends as some uniquely unique and perfectly perfect perfection. It’s based on a mathematical model of a very specific (though also very generic, which is why it’s useful at all) healing scenario. But real healing NEVER works exactly that way, and you won’t even see the same specific results from multiple runs of the same boss fight.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Today Bioware posted their plans for changes to Seer Sage and Corruption Sorcerer for version 5.3.
You can read about it yourself here:

Obviously, it’s a gigantic nerf and it looks to me like we’re back to version 4.5.

Once version 5.3 actually drops and I’ve had a chance to play it for a while, I’ll post an update.
But, on the plus side, *how to play* the class hasn’t changed, and apparently it’s deliberately so.

I did NOT steal your pants. I’m the very VERY *last* person who would do that.
Now go home and sober up. You still need to tell me what tomorrow’s lottery numbers are!

ive been a sage healer (rapha) for as long as i can remember and i really enjoy reading your website. its very useful and i try to follow it to a T so I very much appreciate your tips and advice, even opinions! 🙂

Just in time for version . . . um . . . 5.4 . . . is the promised update for the changes in 5.3!

Since I’ve been able to actually play-test in top-tier gear since publishing the original guide for 5.0, I’ve completely re-written the section on Gearing.

As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to post them here.

What are your healing numbers in starparse since 5.3 in general? I am doing a bit worse compared to other healers.

I promise you I’m not trying to duck your question.

This is healing, not DPS, and numbers don’t really have any meaning except in the context of what kind of fight, how much damage is actually being taken, etc.

My question to you is: worse in what way? What are you comparing yourself to? Your pre-5.3 self? Other sages? Other tech-healers? Operations? Flashpoints? Uprisings? SM? HM? NiM? (I’m guessing operations, since you mention “other healers”?)

Tell me what it is that you think you should be doing that you’re not, and I’m happy to help you as best I can.

But don’t get wrapped up in HPS or EHPS because there is no controlled way to measure it (like a dummy) and it is WILDLY affected other factors over which you have no control.

I’m sorry, Khiirial, but Disqus seemed to think my reply to you was spam and blocked it, so bear with me.

I promise you I’m not trying to duck your question.

This is healing, not DPS, and numbers don’t really have any meaning except in the context of what kind of fight, how much damage is actually being taken, etc. The only *true* measure of your performance is if you are able to keep up with the damage being taken (or half-ish of it, in the case of ops).

My question to you is: worse in what way? What are you comparing yourself to? Your pre-5.3 self? Other sages? Other tech-healers? Operations? Flashpoints? Uprisings? SM? HM? NiM? (I’m guessing operations, since you mention “other healers”?)

Tell me what it is that you think you should be doing that you’re not, and I’m happy to help you as best I can.

But don’t get wrapped up in HPS or EHPS because there is no controlled way to measure it (like a dummy) and it is WILDLY affected other factors over which you have no control.

That said, my *sense* is that I’ve seen a fairly consistent drop of between 1K and 2K in raw HPS, but it varies a lot. I can still make between 8K to 9K if needed, which is above where you need to be for HM ops.

OTOH, I haven’t had the opportunity to play around in NiM ops, or solo-healing ops, which is the environment you really have to be in to push higher than that.

(In fact, I’ve been mostly tanking lately, which is why it took as long as it did to do the 5.3 update.)

Hey, thanks for the detailed answer.

And I understand that healing is not just about the numbers, comparerd to dps.
However I do like looking at my HPS from time to time and was a bit concerned.
Before the nerf, whenever I did an operation (mostly SM, some HM)
generally I was doing at least around the same amount of healing as other healing classes.

After the nerf, at first I was doing 5-6k because I was struggling a bit with force management.
Recently I did upgrade my gear to 248 and I’m managing 8k, sometimes higher, sometimes lower.
But I’m still looking at commando’s and scoundrels who seem to do easily above 10k
even when their gear is sometimes not as good. Or are they just very good players?

I don’t have any experience with the other healing classes but seems like a big gap.
I also know that star parse didn’t take force armor into account back then
(it seems like no one ever does, but they changed that recently I believe)

I had one more question about it, and this may seem crazy,
but sometimes I get the feeling that my HPS is direclty affected by the other healer class as well.
For example, when I’m healing with another sage my numbers seem better than with the other 2 healers.
That could also be me having a bad day though…

Thanks again!

Okay, so there are a couple of things all going on at once here, I’ll try to explain.

First off, Seer Sage just got a nerf. It is entirely possible (and IMO *likely*) that all three healer classes have been overperforming, but Sages were the most extreme and got nerfed down first. I wouldn’t be surprised if the tech healers got dialed down in the near future too, but the disparity is more visible now because it hasn’t happened yet.

Second, there’s the issue of Force Armor (not a heal) versus Slow-Release Medpack and Trauma Probe (both heals). If you only–strictly–tally HEALING, then the tech healers will always come out on top. The reason it’s near-impossible for the parsers to include the FA shielding numbers is that they appear in the TARGET’S combat log, NOT THE HEALER’S. On the other hand, the SRM & TP numbers show up in BOTH.

I know a couple of people who play Seer Sage–people I respect–who just DON’T use Force Armor because of the parsing. I think that’s a mistake.

(BTW, the recent change to tallying shielding is related to Tank offhand shields, not Force Armor.)

Third, it’s normal to play differently alongside a different healer class because of differences in the play style of each class. Sages are bursty, so it’s normal to hold back and pace yourself, only digging deep when needed. Two Sages together will generally trade off those phases and have very similar numbers in the end.

Scoundrels are built for high continuous output, but have trouble bursting, so their numbers will be naturally higher, and a Sage compliments them well by filling in the gaps when burst healing is needed. In the end, they’ll have higher HPS, but as a team you’re better off than two Scoundrels with higher combined HPS.

Commandos are kind-of in between, in that they can maintain high output, and are also capable of digging deep, but have much more trouble recovering from low-ammo situations than a Sage with low Force does.

In both cases, they tend to prioritize a high-output ammo-neutral rotation of a sort, trying very hard NOT to get into a low-ammo situation because (1) it slows the natural regen rate, (2) Cool Head and Recharge Cells both have a 2-minute cooldown so it’s REALLY bad if you do it too often, which (3) forces them to fall back Diagnostic Scan and Med Shot to recover, which are both pretty weak.

Fourth (and I have no idea to what extent this applies to you, so this is not directed at you personally AT ALL), you should never underestimate the “good player” factor. Good players (and I know quite a few of them) can do amazing things despite low gear. Bad players (we ALL quite a few of THEM) will not go beyond a certain point no matter how good their gear is.

Okay, I’m starting to REALLY hate DISQUS right now. That’s twice in a row I’ve made a reply and had it pulled because they think it’s spam. Of all people, ME?!? In THIS discussion thread?!?
Let’s try again.

Oops I think disqus filters were being a bit aggressive, I whitelisted you so no more comments should be flagged as spam again. There is a filter for $ to combat some of the legit spammers here but as long you don’t use that it should be fine.

Okay, so there are a couple of things all going on at once here, I’ll try to explain.
First off, Seer Sage just got a nerf. It is entirely possible (and IMO *likely*) that all three healer classes have been overperforming, but Sages were the most extreme and got nerfed down first. I wouldn’t be surprised if the tech healers got dialed down in the near future too, but the disparity is more visible now because it hasn’t happened yet.

Second, there’s the issue of Force Armor (not a heal) versus Slow-Release Medpack and Trauma Probe (both heals). If you only–strictly–tally HEALING, then the tech healers will always come out on top. The reason it’s near-impossible for the parsers to include the FA shielding numbers is that they appear in the TARGET’S combat log, NOT THE HEALER’S. On the other hand, the SRM & TP numbers show up in BOTH.
I know a couple of people who play Seer Sage–people I respect–who just DON’T use Force Armor because of the parsing. I think that’s a mistake.
(BTW, the recent change to tallying shielding is related to Tank offhand shields, not Force Armor.)

Third, it’s normal to play differently alongside a different healer class because of differences in the play style of each class. Sages are bursty, so it’s normal to hold back and pace yourself, only digging deep when needed. Two Sages together will generally trade off those phases and have very similar numbers in the end.

Scoundrels are built for high continuous output, but have trouble bursting, so their numbers will be naturally higher, and a Sage compliments them well by filling in the gaps when burst healing is needed. In the end, they’ll have higher HPS, but as a team you’re better off than two Scoundrels with higher combined HPS.
Commandos are kind-of in between, in that they can maintain high output, and are also capable of digging deep, but have much more trouble recovering from low-ammo situations than a Sage with low Force does.
In both cases, they tend to prioritize a high-output ammo-neutral rotation of a sort, trying very hard NOT to get into a low-ammo situation because (1) it slows the natural regen rate, (2) Cool Head and Recharge Cells both have a 2-minute cooldown so it’s REALLY bad if you do it too often, which (3) forces them to fall back on Diagnostic Scan and Med Shot to recover, which are both pretty weak.

Fourth (and I have no idea to what extent this applies to you, so this is not directed at you personally AT ALL), you should never underestimate the “good player” factor. Good players (and I know quite a few of them) can do amazing things, even in bad gear. Bad players (we ALL quite a few of THEM) will not go beyond a certain point no matter how good their gear is.

Thanks a lot. Your answers helped me a lot and are much appreciated. I will keep these things in mind next time.
I did see some number in the shielding column in starparse and just assumed it was my force armor. Won’t the shielding from the tank come up behind his/her name?

The Absorb number you see in the left side of StarParse is indeed from your Force Armor, but it only counts up the bubbles you put on YOURSELF. Bubbles you put on others don’t appear in your log and CAN’T be counted.

The key difference is that a heal (even the Soothing Protection effect) is an action initiated by you with your ally as the target. In the combat log, both you and your ally are explicitly named in that “event”. Absorbed damage from Force Armor, OTOH, is part of the same line entries where your ally takes damage, initiated by an enemy. You are a sort of third-party in that transaction and not explicitly named on that particular “event” line, so nothing gets saved to your log.

The exception is when you’re using the raid channel function, which collects everyone’s logs together and combines them into a super-log that has everything. In that case, StarParse can see when someone else takes damage and part of it is absorbed due to your bubble, so it can credit you as the source of that shielding. You’ll see it in its own column in the Raid tab and it’ll be included in your HPS and EHPS on the Raid Healing overlay.

I could go into more detail, but I’m not sure it would be helpful. :-/

Hey everyone! In honor of version 5.10 and 5.10.1, I’ve made a major new update to the guide.
In addition to numerous minor tweaks and corrections throughout, this version features:
– Updates for the 252 and 258 “Tier 5” gear
– An update about Alacrity and its effect on the GCD
– An update about Crit and where the Diminishing Returns really are (and it’s not where you think)
– An in-depth discussion of Parsers and how to (and how NOT to) evaluate a healer’s performance.

As always, thank you all for the kind words and support you’ve all given me over these past two years, especially the ones on Star Forge who’ve reached out to me directly. You guys are the reason I do this.

If you have any questions or additional comments, please post them here.

Heya, thanks for keeping this up to date! I’ve got a few notes though
1) Did you change the utility section? I seem to remember you specifically telling ppl NOT to take Force Suffision or Life Ward, particularly post 5.0
2) While it’s great that you go into detail regarding Parsing and comparing yourself to other healers, you seem to have misread the situation regarding Shielding. If you want to compare yourself to another healer, you should be specifically looking at the raw EHPS numbers, not EHPS +SPS. Why? Well to put it shortly, the way shielding is tracked is bugged and gives you MUCH larger numbers than realistic. AFAIK, what is happening is that if, for example, your bubble still has 1HP of shielding left and it gets hit with a 10k attack, it registers as 10k shielding in Starparse, even though the target took 9.999k damage. That way, sorcs can influence their numbers by a gargantuan margin – I’ve seen sorcs do >15k in normal NiM fights, in addition to the healing provided by their cohealer, simply by spamming bubbles.
(Also, since I was told this a few weeks ago myself, I ran an experiment: the same fight, the same ppl, just in one instance I spammed bubbles and in the other I’d swapped to merc. The total DTPS was similar, but we did ~4k less HPS according to the overlay.)

Thanks for the feedback. (And if anyone has no room to criticize for long walls of text, it’s ME!) So to address your points:
1) Nope no change, not even from the 4.0 version. At most I’ve suggested that Psychic Suffusion could be one to drop if you need something else (say…Blockout), but I *love* Life Ward and always have.
2) I disagree in the strongest possible way that Force Armor should not be considered part of a Sage’s healing output. I can’t *directly* address the things you’ve seen (since I haven’t seen them myself) but I can say that in my research prior to writing that section I reviewed a lot of my own logs. I am unaware of–let’s call it the “10K bug” based on your description–but I did confirm many times over that the log contains two numbers: One for the magnitude of the damage and another for the amount of shielding, and if the bubble got used up it would definitely show as a smaller number than the total hit. In some controlled tests, the numbers from the flytext matched up with the log.
If this is, in fact, a *Starparse* bug, then that’s a different issue.
I also can’t answer to your experiment, because I haven’t seen those results either. The only thing I CAN comfortably say is that, unfortunately, it’s anecdotal because it was just one pair of runs and was not (and could not be) controlled. I commend you for trying to keep as many variables in check as you could, but ultimately it was still just a 1v1 comparison and I don’t think it’s rigorous enough to draw a conclusion.
Also, I think another possible explanation for the phenomenon you’re seeing is that Force Armor is ALWAYS “100% Effective” due to how it’s triggered, unlike SRM or TP.
But I will look into this further.
3) The purpose of that section was How To Read Starparse and Why You Shouldn’t Get Too Hung Up On Numbers. I didn’t get into healer/healer comparisons because that wasn’t the topic. On the other hand, your comments here are absolutely on the mark. Just because no one died doesn’t mean that one of the healers didn’t get carried by the other. (And in fact, that’s precisely what I had in mind when I wrote “you probably did all right” in the end. Zero deaths doesn’t mean you DEFINITELY are doing it right.) I may change the wording there in a future update to make that more explicit.
4) You make a very good point about Valorous Spirit–good enough that you’ve *almost* convinced me. Certainly there is a point where 15% of {some number} becomes more than Life Ward’s healing (to over-simplify it a bit). I’ll be looking into what that {some number} is and follow up.
5) I assume you’re talking about leaving Harry (Y’know, of Harry, Sunny, Gary, and Chucky fame) for last/3rd-last and healing on the move while he goes all Brontes? If so, it’s not like you can’t position in a place where you are able to cast Deliverance every so often. If that’s not what you mean, then you’ll have to elaborate, since clearly I’m not following.

One thing I forgot to add:
2) The bubble-spam thing is in fact just a number fluffing technique at the expense of your co-healer. Do 8 bubbles before the fight and the first damage done (esp if it’s raid-wide) gets instantly shielded and credited exclusively to that Sage/Sorc within the first GCD of the fight. All subsequent healing just brings the average down over the fight but it *starts* from an artificially-high number, leading to a higher-than-it-would-have-been final number.
Mandos/Mercs can do the same thing with Trauma Probe/Kolto Shell, but they seldom do it because it can get them instantly killed by suddenly also racking up an artificially-high AGGRO number and focusing 100% of the attacks in the 2nd GCD from ALL enemies straight between their eyes.

It’s just another example of thinking like a DPS in the sense of trying to establish an optimal opener. But we’re not DPS’s and our job is to keep everyone alive. An optimal opener is not necessary to accomplishing that goal and really just violates the principle of Healing is cooperative, not competitive.

2) I wasn’t trying to imply that Force Armor shouldn’t be considered part of the healing output (might have worded it wrong) but that the numbers shown by Starparse are wildly unrealistic. I’ve seen a sorc do ~15k “healing” (11k shielding +4k healing) + his cohealer’s 8k. That means they did a total of 23k. Now think about it – that would mean that if they were playing any other classes, they would have to crank out 11.5k EACH. I haven’t seen every fight in the game, but I can’t think of a full fight where that was necessary (maybe some burn phases, but not the entire fight)

5) Actually I meant Harry in general. If you start the fight with 3 stacks of Resplendence and take the first cleanse, you can drop three consecutive puddles on the melee group which just feels *awesome*

6) Ok so I have a few very strong words about your utility section, for example “HOW?” “WHY?” and “SERIOUSLY?!?”. Let me explain (yes this is gonna be another long post):

i) Psychic Suffusion: This is great except for the fact that every single other ability heals for more, including the first tick of Rejuvenate, the stacks you get from Force Armor and even your cleanse. Why you would use this, especially since you’re sacrificing another utility down the line, is a mystery to me

ii) Blockout: I take this nearly 90% of the time (unless I need sth else for a mechanic) because as sorcs we’re already lacking defensive abilities. Lots of fights have aoe/random damage and the less DTPS the better

iii) Telekinetic Defense: I have actually looked down on this one for a long time, but on looking at it now I can see the potential, especially since the damage done is about as much as Shock. I’ll probably be taking this one more often in the future

iv) Valiance: This one is actually useful situationally, most importantly as another defensive for the tank, like during Sunder Sunny’s Frisbee phase or for that one DPS that’s always dying during an AoE-heavy phase, like when they get kicked into the Kell Dragon’s whirly twirly. Of course this has to be coordinated and the tank needs to have a taunt running when you pull him and ideally use another one right after, I learnt that the hard way. Also, 20k Force Mend is noice

v) Egress: what you need to keep in mind is that it doesn’t only cleanse roots, but all movement-impairing effects. That includes the slow from Harry’s grenade (which also cleanses it), the one during the Valentine’s Day (hearts) phase on Brontes, Underlurker etc. It’s actually REALLY usefull on quite a few fights

vi) Life Ward: My problem with this utility is that it’s bound to Force Armor. 1.3k passive HPS is pretty sweet, but that only last for however long Force Armor lasts. Given the amount of AoE-heavy fights there are a lot of situations where you either don’t need the heal from Life Ward but have it anyways or really need the heal but get 3 ticks of it and then Force Armor breaks

vii) Valorous Spirit: First of all, imho Life Ward sux, see above, also see my orginal post as to why this is my go-to utility. In the description you mention using Ethereal Entity which is actually a pretty good point. Could you explain to me the difference between it’s 30% increased defense and Valorous Spirit’s 15% damage reduction (except for the numbers of course) – your phrasing “+30% chance to Deflect (M/R) or Resist (F/T)” makes me think that the end result is different. I could imagine some instances where that could actually come in handy, but I’m gonna test that a bit first

viii) Swift Rejuvenation: My go-to utility for all fights with cleanses. For one thing, you can’t suffer from ability pushback to an instacast, also you can cast your non-Trance abilities on the move and of course if you’re already using cleanse why not buff it. (Also the situation I described above). Mostly I switch around this one with Valorous Spirit, but there are fights where I don’t have to move and drop Force Mobility to take both of them

(I’ve upvoted your posts, BTW. This is the kind of discussion that helps everyone–including me.)

2) Again, I think this is either a StarParse bug or overt bubble-spamming. I can’t know for sure without more specific information. I’m 99% sure the logs themselves aren’t like that, but I’ll double-check.

5) Okay sure. That’s your preference and your reason for it. I don’t personally think there’s enough tactical advantage to justify Swift Rejuvenation, especially in light of how seldom you get to actually use it.
That said, your criticisms of Life Ward are just as valid. As a general, use-it-all-the-time utility, I just don’t see it as better than Life Ward.

Before I delve into #6, I should preface:
The target audience for a guide is people who are learning, and I’ve tried to tailor this one to be MOST useful for those transitioning from SM to HM operations. So while there are all kinds of examples one could list from harder content and NiM ops to justify other choices, that’s a step beyond what I’m trying to accomplish here. People doing NiM ops aren’t reading a guide. (Not to mention, there are always more examples one can cite but at some point I have to pick a few good ones that best illustrate the point and move on.)

This is why the utility section starts out “These are the utilities I use, and the reasons for them….” which is a general theme throughout the whole guide. A lot of the content is unavoidably opinion but I do try to justify how I got there. In no way am I saying “Use these or you’re WRONG” and in fact, the opposite. The intention of the Utilities section is “Here’s a good place to start, along with a few examples of when and why to change.” That’s why I discuss 14 utils instead of just 8, but I don’t dive into all 24. It just doesn’t serve the reader.

6) I’ll need to address things a bit out-of-order for clarity.
My thinking on Blockout is “only when you need it” because in most content you shouldn’t need it. But if you do, go for it. I even specifically call out Psychic Suffusion as the one to replace so we’re more in agreement than disagreement here. But otherwise, I think having an extra AoE heal is better than not having it if you don’t need something else more. What’s unique about it, BTW, is that you can hit 24 people with it. SO FLUFFY!!!

I use Egress when I need it too. Yes, I’m fully aware it’s effective against slow debuffs too and I even called out 2 examples of those (although I didn’t use the word “slow” in the text, and maybe it would be clearer if I did). I led with the root examples just because I think those are more obvious examples of how to use it.

On Life Ward vs. Valorous Spirit, I’ve already said you might be objectively right on this one and I still intend to follow up. In the mean time, I will admit a bias here: My intended use of FA+LW is as a passive heal-up when I’m NOT under fire so I can concentrate on others rather than myself. If I do start taking more fire before I’m 100% then that’s a different scenario. The reason I think this way (and the reason you might convince me) is that I know I’m also thinking back to the pre-3.3 days of Noble Sacrifice when you always had to be healing back up from the damage you did to YOURSELF. In those scenarios it was commonplace to take damage in a predictable way (you did it yourself) unrelated to enemy fire. Life Ward was perfect for this and I’ve carried that bias forward into the Vindicate era.

Plus . . . Blockout is better. If you need both of them–and I mean really NEED both of them–then you’re doing something beyond what the target audience of a guide is doing.

Ethereal Entity: You know what? I think you’re right on this one.
I think the description changed since 4.0 (but I’m having trouble confirming it) and that text was a carry-over from the previous edition of the guide. What EE actually does is give you +30% Defense Chance (so 40% instead of 10%) but that’s only good for Melee/Ranged attacks and no good against Force/Tech attacks (where I thought the original description also gave you a +30% Resist chance). This is NOT, generally speaking, better than +15% DR to all damage types, including Internal/Elemental.

I will be changing the text thanks to your having brought that to my attention.

Finally, getting back to Swift Rejuvenation, you make a good case for it in a fight where you are already cleansing and you have to be on the go near-100% of the time. Problem is, I can’t think of any fight where you need it. There are always times when you can stop for a cycle and get a cast off. Honestly the more I think about it, the more I think of it as a PvP-specific utility.
(On the other hand, you do make a great case for it being fun to use, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that. It IS a game, after all.)

In summary, it’s clear that you’ve thought this through and that’s something I LOVE to see. You’ve presented a lot of good information and additional examples to my own here in the way I like to see it: What . . . and Why.

Again, none of this is about arguing “I’m RIGHT You’re WRONG” . . . it’s all about ultimately improving the main guide for everyone’s benefit.
For that I sincerely thank you.

No, thank YOU for writing such a great guide and keeping it up to date! 😀 Even as I’ve progressed into NiM it has been an invaluable tool for me to improve my healing, and I wouldn’t have made it as far without you.
I’m starting to agree that most of the utility choices (Lifeward/Blockout) are down to personal preference, and I’m beginning to see the advantages of both Life Ward and Telekinetic Defense – I’m gonna play around with those a bit more in the future.

On your point about Psychic Suffusion however I still have doubts: First of, at least according to the Utility text ( it hits “you and 7 affected allies”. Also, of course it would be great to have another AoE heal but it’ so tiny! I really don’t see the use of wasting a GCD on Force Wave when every other ability heals for way more (Hell, you could even put the point into Swift Rejuvenation and do a random cleanse + insta puddle for more healing)
Also, even if it might be useful in one or two situations, the way you’ve phrased it (not even an “optional” tag) invites new players to run it as standard, even in HM/NiM. I’ve already had to tell of advise multiple other players who were running it that they are better of taking sth else, and hey presto we didn’t notice a difference

The issue I have with the way you describe Valiance is that (in the guide) it reads as if you should stay away from it at all times – especially since you apply the same Strikethrough/Don’t tag to it as you do to the “PvP” Utility Swift Rejuvenation (Yeah OK maybe it’s situational but it’s still quite fun) – Maybe applying a “very situational” tag or sth like that to it would be more fitting

I’m gonna try running Life Ward for a bit since you’re so enamored by it and see how it feels, maybe I’m overestimating the amount of AoE damage going out

Some promised follow-up:

On Force Wave & Psychic Suffusion:
Dammit, this is what I get for writing first and checking later. You’re totally, 100% correct. I think I had the idea in mind that it used to apply to more, but I can’t verify that and even if it were true in the past it isn’t now.

Valorous Spirit vs. Life Ward:
Hmmm, this one’s a close call. For VS to be better, it needs to mitigate more than LW would heal in the same timeframe, right? That means you have take a big chunk of damage in the 6 seconds after you hit Force Mend.
Let’s assume your char has 120K HP which is where you’ll land with 246-248 gear with augments. (Full 258 clears the 140K mark.) One tick of LW is 1% of that, or 1200 HP.
That means it would take a wallop of 8K of damage before VS mitigated 1200HP. (8000 * 0.15 = 1200)
But 8K wouldn’t be enough to bust the bubble instantly (it’s about 12K-13K) so you’d get at least 2 ticks of LW. That doubles the damage required to 16K but it does use up all the absorbs so it’s fair that there’d be no 3rd LW tick.

Taking 16K of damage is not unreasonable, but that’s best-case-scenario. It could take double or triple if the hit comes late.

So the deciding factor really becomes how you use it. For slow-burn recovery absent damage, Life Ward is better. For mitigation when you know some heavy damage is imminent, Valorous Spirit wins.

So it really comes down to a situational choice. And although you did not convince me that VS is objectively better, you have convinced me that LW is not objectively better either. On my next update pass, I’ll edit the text accordingly.

Hello, ty for the guide I am using this to guide my Republic Jedi sage healer on their way. For the set bonus armor to aim for you mentioned Force-Mystic. I read however that this is only on the Sith side available to the sith sorcerer equivalent so is there a Republic equivalent you would recommend?

Hi, and sorry for the long delay before responding.

At this point, we’re in v6.0 and a LOT things have changed in terms of gearing–particularly the set bonuses and I expect that’s the main reason you’re not finding Force Mystic any more.

I have a lot of new writing to do but the short answer I can give you is that NOW you’ll want to be targeting the Revitalized Mystic set (as opposed to the Force Mystic set) or the Gathering Storm set. Personally, I’m using 4 of the RevMyst and filling out the remaining 3 with Amplified Champion pieces with Force Harmonization amplifiers all around. (Don’t bother with Empowered Restorer.)

The RevMyst set is more for general healing and better if you’re learning the class and spec.
Gathering Storm is more for advanced players who are willing to take a small hit in terms of HPS and ease of Force recovery in favor of longer and more frequent burst windows with Mental Alacrity. (It’s also the preferred DPS set, so it’s handy to have if you do both.)

I suppose I should add, for the sake of those reading this, that the game has overhauled the set bonuses since I wrote the reply above.
Since those changes, my favorite set bonus is actually Empowered Restorer, since it adds extra healing to our old friend the bubble, but the Revitalized Mystic set dropped the reduced cooldown on Healing Trance.
There’s also an interesting new variation called Endless Offensive that boosts the effectiveness of the new-to-6.x ability Telekinetic Blitz. Combine that with a tactical called Metaphysical Mender and you have the ability to lay out some large single heals while doing damage at the same time. The EndOff set is hard to get, though, since you can’t buy it from the vendor and have to accumulate the pieces when they drop from ops bosses (or the occasional appearance on Kai Zykken’s list). I’d recommend getting comfortable with using EmpRest first and only worry about banging around with EndOff in specific situations where the healing requirements are more modest but there’s a tough DPS check.

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