Low Down and Dirty – Respecing to Sawbones for the Night

At the last minute your regular Sawbones calls in sick. Something about his cat eating the neighbor kid or something equally implausible. Without another healer, your Op won’t be able to run tonight and nobody else is stepping up. That’s when you get that faithful whisper: “Hey man, how’s your offset gear looking?” You know, that Field Medic set you’ve been letting gather dust on Guss for the last month? It’s time for a trial by kolto.

Here are 6 things you need to know to keep your group alive despite having no idea what you’re doing:

1) Here’s your build

The most basic build, set up entirely for healing and healing utility, is http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#701MffrzGoRdsZ0cZG.1

This includes the self-buff to healing received while Defensive Screen is active, as well as the alacrity buff that some healers prefer not to take. It doesn’t include any buffs to Vital Shot or Back Blast, which some healers take to add additional damage. That’s…more advanced Scoundreling.

2) HoT healing is about damage prediction

One of our biggest strengths is that we can spread HoTs across a wide range of targets relatively quickly. The only problem with HoTs is that they are terrible at counteracting burst damage, such as the vast majority of damage your tank will be taking. When it comes  to raid healing though you’re going to want to know when you can afford to let your HoT full tick or when your target will be taking more damage soon and will require a burst heal. This means you’ll need to understand the pace of the damage that’ll be coming out. Most of that will come with experience, but if you know the mechanics of the fight, you should be able to predict most of the damage already.

3) Slow-release Medpac stacks twice

The level 20 talented ability of the Sawbones healer is an instant cast HoT that can stack twice on a single target, with a single cast used to refresh it. This doesn’t mean you have to always double stack it on targets. Keep a double stack on the tank at all times, but otherwise it’s not necessary to spend the extra energy on healing. Having a few stacks floating around will increase the odds of procing Upper Hand, which will allow you to use Emergency Medpac even more.

4) Diagnostic Scan regenerates energy

That’s right, you actually have a way to regenerate energy now! If you find  that you’ve dug yourself into a massive regen pit by throwing around SRMs with abandon, never fear, as you can use this seemingly useless ability to assist your natural regen. Talented, this will regen 2 energy per crit, and with a decent amount of alacrity you’re looking at a tick every half second. That means you could regen upwards of 4 energy per second while doing minor healing. Anytime you’re not doing something else, use this!

5) Triage is your cheapest and potentially largest heal

More so than any other MMO I can think of, SWTOR loves to sneak in massive damage through DoT effects. The nice thing is that every healing class has the ability to remove them with relative ease, so make sure you do! The cost is low enough (it should regen during the GCD) that you can often afford to try and simply cleanse EVERY debuff you see, regardless of whether or not you know it’ll work. If you manage to cleanse a debuff that’ll do 5000 damage over its duration, you’ve just healed your target for 5000 damage using only 10 energy. Watch out though, it does have a 5 sec cooldown, so you can’t completely spam it.

6) Your basic single target healing rotation is sustainable

Stack Slow-release Medpac on the tank twice, activate Pugnacity, wait for your energy to refresh to 100, and cast Underworld Medicine followed immediately by Emergency Medpac. As long as you keep Pugnacity up and your energy is always in the highest regen ratio, you should regenerate the cost of UM in the time it takes to cast it plus the GCD of casting EM. Once your 2 stacks of SRM are about to fall off, cast it again to refresh the duration. Doing so will allow you keep Upper Hand procs rolling so that you never have to worry about Pugnacity falling off.

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