Note: The below guide is out of date since 2.0 came out. Revisions were posted in a new thread: http://www.thewalkingcarpets.com/forum/m/3065305/viewthread/8858217-scoundrel-healing-20/post/50435776#p50435776
First off, I am writing this under protest. Eridos told me to do it, which of course means I wasn’t going to do it at all, but then Jolgalev convinced me to try. My main reservation is that I am by no means an expert. What I write here will be largely based on what Eridos told me to do back when we started end-game stuff, and that was with him never having personally played a scoundrel. Also, I’ve been in the fortunate position of healing the more difficult content in a group almost exclusively with Kusanavi. I think this has made me somewhat lazy since Kus does all the heavy lifting. Specifically, I probably grossly underutilize kolto cloud, the AoE heal. I find it very difficult to use and stay energy high, and with a good sage healer then there’s less need for an AoE since theirs is so good.
Spec: IMO this is optimum: http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/scoundrel#9d86k1eff2-30-k
This is one Eridos likes because it allows you to use dodge as a speed boost. Frankly I don’t think it’s worth it, the boost isn’t even all that fast: http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/scoundrel#9188k1eff2-30-k
In the interest of honesty, this is my actual spec, because I like to be sneaky: http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/scoundrel#9d86k1eff8-fc-0
The extra alacrity might be nice, but it’s a double-edged sword in terms of energy management.
Gear: I don’t know that Karyna is fully optimized, but if you want to see my gear it’s in askmrrobot under “Karyna of Vornskr”: http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/character/b34a7aa4-c14e-4195-9408-5464c07f37ab Basically I try to have enough crit and surge and alacrity, and then the rest power. And as much cunning as possible, and never trade cunning for more endurance. That’s what my tank is for It can be tricky to not trade cunning for endurance with the poor itemization of some of the high-end gear, like black-hole, so I spent a lot of comms buying other random pieces for just one enhancement or just one mod. I think alacrity is key to have some of, since the big heal takes time, but too much of it can be wasteful because you won’t be able to keep your energy up full-out healing.
Gear Set Bonus: The 2 piece healing set bonus is useful, it reduces energy cost of kolto cloud. The 4 piece I don’t bother with because it helps crit of kolto pack which I never use.
Relics: I currently have matrix cube and a campaign relic of ephemeral healing. Eridos argues that BiS is Dreadguard relic of ephemeral healing and Dreadguard relic of Boundless Ages. I don’t like clicky relics. And don’t necessarily want to give up the cunning in my matrix cube.
Augments: IMO, all of your gear should have skill augments, best being the advanced skill augment 22. There may be some argument for power augments instead or mixed in.
About energy management: smugglers and troopers have the beauty and frustration of variable energy regen. Your energy regenerates faster if you have more energy, so you should always keep your energy in the top tier of regeneration (above 60%). Sometimes raid damage requires you to break this rule, in which case you have Cool Head to instantly pop you back up in energy (2 min cooldown). Diagnostic scan can also help if you get energy-starved, see below.
Healing: I’m going to start by explaining the things you should always have up/maintain, then the other heals and how to use it all.
Upper Hand (UH): This is a proc. It can stack up to 3X, and expires after 16 sec unless refreshed. You should ALWAYS have at least 1 stack and basically never have 3. Why? Always have 1 because having 1 increases your healing output by 6%. Never have 3 because as explained below, you can expect to get UH periodically from crits of your HoT. If it crits and you have 3 already, then you basically “lose” an UH. Since each UH directly equals 1 instant heal (emergency medpac, see below) this is a waste. Another reason to always have at least 1 is explained w/ emergency medpac below.
Pugnacity: This is an energy regeneration buff. It consumes 1 UH to use it, but it lasts for 45 sec. You should always always have pugnacity active, so make sure you hit it every time it is about to wear off. Note the cooldown is 35 seconds and it lasts 45, I usually just notice when the cooldown is up and then hit it asap after that when I have a spare UH so that I don’t have to watch the buff itself. Because, once again, I’m lazy.
Slow-release medpac (HoT): I’m going to just refer to this as the HoT, even though the AoE heal is also a HoT. Deal with it. This heals for 18 sec, and can stack 2X. Importantly, you only need to cast 1 HoT on a tank that already has 2 in order to refresh the stack. So you should always have 2 stacks of HoT on your primary healing target (either your assigned tank or the tank that is currently taking the most damage) and you should ALWAYS refresh it right before it expires. If you let it expire than you have to recast it twice to get 2 stacks back up, and this is a big energy waste. This is far and away my favorite heal. It might not heal for the most – it’s usually about 20% of my total heals, and 2 stacks gives about 880 hp per tick to my tank. But that’s EVERY 3 sec. With me only needing to cast it every 15-18 sec. And it crits for me over 40%, with crits giving 1500 HP. (Please note I’m grabbing numbers from a parse of HM TFB, so I’m sure I was in at least full 61 gear). The real reason I rely on this heal so much, however, is because it really helps keep my tank alive during spike damage. I throw my big heals at them, but have the HoT constantly contributing as well, and the end result is I can get really high focused HPS on a tank when they need it the most – so long as I kept the stacks of the HoT on them in advance. If I don’t have them there already, then it’s a fast energy drain and time drain to try to cast 2 HoTs AND use big heals. Alright, getting off my soapbox now. Oh – I almost forgot the other reason the HoT rocks. When it crits it grants UH, which is useful for the reasons explained above in the UH section, and below in the emergency medpac section. This UH grantage can only happen once every 4.5 sec (if I understand the tooltip correctly).
Underworld medicine (big heal): This is the big basic heal. It takes a little while to cast depending on your alacrity – for Karyna right now it’s 1.82 s, and heals for a bit over 3K w/o crit, and 6.5-8.1K with crit (okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I only ever get over 8K when healing myself with the big heal, and that’s when I’ve popped defense shield which grants a healing-taken bonus). Importantly, every time you cast the big heal you get UH.
Emergency medpac (instant heal): This is an instant heal that consumes 1 stack of UH. It gives me roughly 2K hp or 3K with crit. The highlights of this heal are that it’s free (in terms of energy) and fast (just global CD). Even better, when your target is below 30% health, using the instant heal on them regrants UH. This means you can basically spam this heal on any target under 30% with no cost whatsoever and with reasonable speed. This is the other reason you should always have at least 1 stack of UH. If someone drops below 30% you really need to have UH ready to use for emergency medpac.
Kolto Cloud (AoE HoT): You cast this on a single target, but it will put the heal onto up to 3 other targets (so 4 total) within 10m of that target. I say “put the heal” on them to emphasize that the heal will actually be a HoT on those players for 6 seconds, regardless of whether they then move more than 10m away from your original target. The disadvantage of this heal is that you can’t pick which 4 it will heal, so if the whole raid is in 1 spot you have to just hope it goes on the people who need it most. It can be useful for small groups, for example casting it on a tank with melee nearby, or casting it on a ranged player if your ranged is grouped up and taking some damage. It is a pretty energy intensive heal, which is one of the main reasons I don’t use it very frequently. I am also not very good at positional awareness. If you are good at paying attention to where everyone is all the time, you could probably make good use of this heal. I tend to have health-bar tunnel vision – I see health bars, and karyna’s feet (in case I need to move out of a red circle). That’s pretty much it. So if I see that a couple melee dps need healing (based on health bars) I might throw the AoE on one of them, but I’m mostly hoping that since they are melee they will be close to other melees and the tank so that it won’t be a total waste. One great thing about this heal is that it’s instant cast.
Diagnostic Scan: This is a free heal, consumes no energy. You have to stand still while casting it, and it ticks every … I don’t know. It ticks. When it crits it gives you back some energy. As far as healing goes this thing... well, doesn’t heal much. But if you are out of energy at least it heals a little AND gets you back into a good energy regen zone faster. This can be useful to put in your rotation when using energy intensive heals – for example if you cast kolto cloud and it puts you down to 60%, you can use diagnostic scan for a couple sec to put you up high enough to use your big heal w/o getting super energy low.
Kolto Pack: I don’t know what this does, I took it off my bar ages ago. No, seriously. It consumes UH, yet still takes time to cast AND consumes energy. Lose-lose situation as far as I’m concerned. I’ve read that you can technically eke out more HPS with this heal, but it will also drain you of energy to do it, so it might be useful in “oh ****” situations. Feel free to comment below if you use it and love it. Oh, BTW, since I never use this heal I don’t bother with the 4 piece healing set bonus, because this heal is the only thing it effects.
Karyna’s Rules of Healing:
First: Always have pugnacity up, always have 2 stacks of HoT on tank.
Second: If you have 3 stacks of UH, always use instant heal (e. medpac) to top someone off. If you have 2 stacks, you should also use e. medpac, but it’s less urgent.
Third: If you have 1 stack of UH (or less, if you broke rule #1) cast big heal.
Fourth: If you can hit at least 3 targets that need some healing, cast AoE.
Fifth: if energy is low, use cool head (2 min cooldown) or diagnostic scan.
Sixth: Always purge. I didn’t talk about the purge above, I think it’s called triage. In some boss fights it’s critical to purge people right away, so watch health bars for debuffs that are cleansable. Even if it’s not critical (ie, they are just on fire, no big deal) purging keeps damage from happening, plus heals for a small amount. IMO, it’s always better to have people take less damage then to have to heal them more later. What’s frustrating is that it’s hard to tell what debuffs are cleansable, this comes from experience with the fights more than anything else.
What I actually do (rotation): I basically alternate between big heal and instant heal (underworld medicine and emergency medpac), while keeping HoTs refreshed, pugnacity up and debuffs/DoTs purged.
BEFORE the fight starts I put 2 stacks of HoT on tank, which usually means I get UH and therefore activate pugnacity before the fight begins as well, plus my energy will be back at 100% by the time we are running in and I can refresh the HoT while moving towards fight position. Sometimes the rotation is big heal>instant heal>instant heal since crits from the HoT will be giving me extra UH. I primarily use the big heal on a tank that’s taking boss damage and if there’s also some manageable raid damage I use emergency medpac on the dps. Obviously if the raid is taking a lot of damage then I need to focus heal some of the dps as well with big heals or kolto cloud. Note: Another viable way to prep before a fight is to cast underworld medicine on yourself (or a random group member) until you have 3 stacks of UH (and hit pugnacity), and then maintain that. I prefer HoTs on tank because (a) you’re ready for the initial damage the tank will take (b) you can refresh the HoT on tank while running into position, while you can’t cast underworld medicine on yourself while running, so you might lose your stacks depending on the timing of the pull.
A note about healing yourself/CDs: You should heal yourself. It’s actually kind of important. If you pull aggro while killing mobs, you can try surrendering – but it’s usually easiest to just use disappearing act since it drops completely. Defense shield is a decent CD, and if you use my spec it increases healing to yourself, so it’s a good way to recover. I usually throw in dodge too while the damage is being dealt, if I can.
Healing and running: It’s hard to heal and move. All the rules above basically breakdown when there’s too much movement. I use my HoT freely on anyone that needs healing at this time, as well as kolto cloud on cooldown. Obviously you can use emergency medpac but you can’t get it back as fast without using underworld medicine so you will run out of UH.
Other cool things about scoundrels:
Disappearing act drops you completely out of combat. You can therefore sometimes revive a group member without the battle revive (for example, if you’ve already battled rezzed someone). This doesn’t always work because sometimes you get pulled back into battle by boss aoe damage or something else before the revive cast finishes.
Blaster Whip grants UH. This isn’t always useful since I primarily heal from a ranged position, but once in a while if I am in melee range I try to use it because my DPS is oh so important to the raid and I then can throw a medpac at someone. The other main dps ability I use (if healing is in control) is vital shot. And flyby for killing mobs of course. Because it’s awesome.
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