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Commando Healing Guide

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Mav
530 posts
Commando Healing Guide – Mercenary

There are definitely less Commando healers in the game than there are Sages and Scoundrels, but in the right hands a Commando healer can heal any content in the game. If Sages are the masters of AoE healing and Scoundrels are the masters of single target healing then the Commando Healer can best be described as the jack-of-all-trades healer.

The Spec: http://swtor.askmrrobot.com/skills/Commando#137d3c828fe-263e-0

There is actually a lot of wiggle room with your talent points as a Commando Healer. The single points I have in Med Zone and First Responder can be freely moved anywhere in the healer tree. I would not recommend putting 2 points into First Responder though, as with the amount you will use Hammer Shots and how often it crits, the 50% chance is more than enough to keep the Alacrity buff if you want it.

Gearing and Set Bonuses

Such as with the DPS classes the default mods and enhancements in Commando Healer gear is quite awful so you're going to have to do a lot of mix and matching and buying excess BH gear for the right mods and enhancements. Lucky as you are though, Genievre/Karyna in our guild knows both the Advanced Nimble Mod 26 and Advanced Agile Mod 26 which are the two mods you will want to be using. As far as the Set Bonuses go both the 2 and 4 piece PvE Set Bonuses are crucial for an optimized endgame Commando healer the 2 piece increases the duration of Supercharged Cells and the 4 piece reduces the cooldown on AMP and BI.

For the BiS relics you have a few options it is your choice between Dread Guard Relic of Ephemeral Mending , Dread Guard Relic of Boundless Ages and Elite War Hero Relic of Boundless Ages . It really depends on your play style and preferences, I tend to use a pair of PvP Relics as burst healing is few and far between and as a Commando with Biochem I have other options when burst healing is required.

We also want to use +Aim augments as the talent points from our spec grants us extra Aim, and the extra crit chance is extremely useful to us.

Stat Allocation

Just like a DPS class you want Aim over Endurance so all your armorings and mods should be of the high Aim variety. The secondary stat allocation you will find falls pretty much in-line with the other healing classes with one notable exception. If you've read Karyna's Scoundrel healing guide, you'll remember how she mentions that Alacrity is a double-edged sword. Well for Commando healing it is more like a sword to the throat. Our resource pool, ammo, works similar to energy where the more we have the faster it regenerates and the less we have it barely regenerates at all. Unlike the Scoundrel we don't have any self buffs to increase this regen rate so if we tank it, it is much more detrimental to us.

On to the ratings, we want about 285 points in Crit Rating and the rest should go to Power, which is easy enough. Being healers we don't care about Accuracy, so now we have to balance Alacrity with Surge. Personally I try not to use any Alacrity, even though this is going to put us very deep in the diminishing returns for Surge. Again the only thing Alacrity will do is make it easier for us to run out of ammo, and to top it off we already have talent points in the skill trees that give us Alacrity so even more Alacrity from stat points is really not needed.

The Heals

Like Seijin I'm a firm believer that there is no such thing as a healing rotation (I'm going to contradict myself on this later, but don't think about that for now) so I'll follow his lead here and just talk about our different heals, and our different cooldowns.

Medical Probe – MP – Rapid Scan

This is our big heal and our main heal, we use it often and it has no cooldown, but has a base 2 second cast time in our spec. You have to be very careful about spamming this ability though, if you use it more than twice in a row without any downtime to regenerate Ammo, you just put yourself in a tough hole to get out of.

Advanced Medical Probe – AMP – Healing Scan

This is what I call our "quick heal" with a base 1.5 second cast time and although the initial heal is less than that of Medical Probe, due to the talent points in our skill tree it also applies a HoT on the target that lasts for 9 seconds and it gives the target a 10% increase in Armor for the duration of the HoT. This is our bread and butter ability as it works in synergy with Medical Probe.

Hammer Shots – HS – Rapid Shots

The "spam heal" this is a fantastic ability and this is what you should be using when you have nothing else to focus on. It can be used on the move, costs no ammo and is great for topping off DPS at no expense to you as the healer.

Trauma Probe – TP – Kolto Shell

Not quite a HoT this ability Heals on Damage (HoD), the best use of this is on the active tank, note that unlike a Scoundrel's HoT you cannot place this on multiple people but only 1 person at a time. Also unlike the Scoundrel's HoT, for fights with multiple enemies such as large trash packs, DO NOT USE BEFORE THE PULL. As soon as the tank initiates combat and takes some damage, Trauma Probe will tick off a heal and every other mob in the pack will head straight for you. Due to the ammo cost it is not worth constantly refreshing this heal, only use it when you have full Ammo and nothing else to do.

Bacta Infusion – BI – Emergency Scan

I like to call this the "emergency heal" because it is an instant cast that can crit for 4-5k and it is Ammo free so it is easy to rely on when someone takes a spike of damage you aren't expecting. However in reality if this ability is sitting on your quickbar unused for extended periods, you're wasting heals. The cooldown on this ability is 21 seconds so use this early and use it often.

Kolto Bomb – KB – Kolto Missile

This is an instant cast AoE heal that does its full healing to 4 targets instantly and can be used on the move. If that isn't enough it also applies a buff to the targets it hits that increase the healing they receive by 3% for the duration. A top-tier geared Commando can expect to see this crit above 3k. With a relatively short cooldown of 6 seconds this is a fairly underrated ability.
Posted Dec 31, 12 · OP
Mav
530 posts
The Cooldowns

Combat Support Cell – CSC – Combat Support Cylinder

Combat Support Cells stack as we use Medical Probe and Hammer Shots up to 30 stacks, the more stacks we have the higher our heals hit so we always want to enter a fight with 30 stacks. As long as those stacks don't fall off when we have 30 stacks we can convert them to Supercharge Cells.

Supercharge Cells – SCC – Supercharged Gas

We can convert 30 stacks of Combat Support Cells into Supercharge Cells and in doing so we are immediately granted 1 Ammo and our healing is increased by 5% for 13 seconds. In addition several of our abilities are enhanced while Supercharge Cells is active. Charged Bolts becomes free, Full Auto costs 1 less Ammo, Advanced Medical Probe has no cooldown, and Kolto Bomb places a shield on the targets it hits that reduce all incoming damage by 5% for 15 seconds.

Tech Override –TO – Power Surge

This is a neat cooldown, after using this ability the next ability we use that has a cast bar instead activates instantly, this is a fantastic way to get an instant Medical Probe off in burst situations. Another neat way to use this is for trash pulls, you can use this prior to a Concussive Round to get an instant cast CC, neat!

Reserve Power Cell – RPC - Thermal Sensor Override

Like Tech Override this cooldown affects the next ability you are going to use. Reserve Power Cell makes the next Ammo using ability to use no ammo. Again as a healer you will most likely use this with Medical Probe, our highest Ammo heal.

Recharge Cells – ReC – Vent Heat

Grants us 6 Ammo over 3 seconds and with our talent points in Cell Capacitor it immediately grants us 2 additional Ammo. Best used in an emergency or when heavy burst healing is requiring you to chain cast Medical Probes.

Adrenaline Rush – AR – Kolto Overload

This is more of a Defensive Cooldown but it kind of works like a HoT, but obviously only on yourself, best use when you know you're going to be taking damage, but you don't have the time to toss yourself heals.

Reactive Shield – RS – Energy Shield

Our primary Defensive Cooldown reduces all incoming damage by 25% for 12 seconds.

Field Aid – FiA - Cure

Our purge ability, also provides a very small heal when specced.

Synergistic Healing

For the Commando Healer it is very important we understand how our abilities work in concert with one another. Our resource management is very tight so knowing how to maximize efficiency is critical.

Advanced Medical Probe and Medical Probe

In addition to the 9 second HoT and Armor buff that comes with Advanced Medical Probe, AMP also has one more effect; it reduces the Ammo cost of your next Medical Probe from 3 Ammo to 2 Ammo. Ideally speaking we will always use AMP before using MP, however AMP does have an 8 second cooldown so you cannot exactly chain cast them.

Supercharged Cells

In order to get the most use out of Supercharged Cells we need to understand what we can accomplish while it is active. Aside from the 5% buff to healing for the 13 seconds it is active SCS also augments 2 of our heals, Kolto Bomb now also places a shield on targets and AMP now has no cooldown. Right away this presents us with a couple ideal situations to use SCS. We can activate it if we know the raid is about to take raid wide unavoidable damage and dish out Kolto Shields to the raid or we can activate it in a burst healing situation to allow us to chain cast AMP. The latter scenario tends to occur much more often.

Tech Override, Reserver Power Cell and Medical Probe

Medical Probe is our biggest heal; it is also our most ammo intensive and takes the longest to cast. Tech Override and Reserve Power Cell eliminate both of those ‘handicaps’. With these 2 cooldowns you can turn Medical Probe into an instant cast, huge heal.

Burst Healing with Synergy

In the situation where a ton of damage is done to the tank or the raid and you need to play catch up, while having all the tools available to accomplish that, it is very hard to do without burning up all your ammo. If you manage to recover the raid’s health, but you are left with no ammo you’re still in a bad situation. To burst heal as efficiently as possible we’re going to have to make sure we’re using our heals in synergy and make the most economic use of our healing. Let’s say as an example that our main tank took a huge hit and is down to 20% health and the rest of the raid is down to 50% or more but is not in immediate danger of taking more damage. I might use the following healing structure…

SCC > BI > KB > AMP > MP > TO/RPC > MP > AMP > MP

By immediately activating Supercharge Cells we are immediately giving ourselves 5% more healing. By immediately using Bacta Infusion on the tank we give ourselves a bit of breathing room to buy us time to get the rest of our heals off. We follow with Kolto Bomb on the tank and possibly nearby DPS, this grants us with 3% more healing on the tank and gives the tank 5% damage reduction for 15 seconds. We follow this with AMP on the tank to heal and place HoT on the tank and grant 10% more armor for 9 seconds. We follow that with MP to heal up the tank. From this point forward it is all situational, if you’ve gotten a lot of crits your tank could be back up and looking good with some extra defensive buffs. If you’re unlucky nothing crit and you still need to heal your tank, however we just used 6 Ammo in a relatively short amount of time, so you may want your next heal to be a TO/RPC > MP.

As you can see healing is very fluid and adaptable thus, finding a set rotation doesn’t really work…

Healing Rotations

Ammo Neutrality is what we refer to when we are talking about regenerating the same amount of ammo that we use over a given amount of time. Thusly we have Commando healing ‘rotations’, or generically speaking abilities that we can ‘spam’ without ever falling below optimal Ammo regeneration.

It’s very simple for a Commando, if you need to do a small ‘burst’ you can AMP>MP> HS > HS, or if you’re purely doing tank maintenance healing you can just interlace HS between all your other heals. When not under pressure I tend to rotate KB > HS > AMP > HS > MP > Repeat. KB is also a great tool to just top off rDPS/Heals when you don’t have much else to do.

I heal on my Commando even less than I tank on my Shadow, so I did a lot of outside research for this guide. I did find one thread on the official SWTOR forums to be very useful, it was made after 1.2 but the majority of the discussion is still viable. Here’s the thread: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=181529
Posted Dec 31, 12 · OP
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