SWTOR 4.0 Seer Sage PvE Healing Guide by Dianiss – sgamet.com

SWTOR 4.0 Seer Sage PvE Healing Guide written by Dianiss.

Contents

  • 1 Intro to Seer Sage
    • 1.1 Changes from 2.X to 3.0
    • 1.2 Changes in Version 3.3
    • 1.3 Changes in Version 4.0
    • 1.4 Strengths
    • 1.5 Weaknesses
  • 2 Gearing
    • 2.1 Power vs Mastery
    • 2.2 How much Crit?
    • 2.3 Alacrity vs Crit
    • 2.4 Accuracy
    • 2.5 Relics
    • 2.6 Ear and Implants
    • 2.7 Set Bonus
  • 3 Utilities
  • 4 Healing Abilities
  • 5 Significant Non-Healing Abilities
  • 6 Strategy
  • 7 Force Management
  • 8 Tips
    • 8.1 General Tips
    • 8.2 User Interface Tips
    • 8.3 Boss Specific Tips
  • 9 About the Author

Intro to Seer Sage

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

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

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

Changes from 2.X to 3.0

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

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

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

Version 3.0 changed ALL of that.

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

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

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

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

Changes in Version 3.3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes in Version 4.0

Version 4.0 came along and, for the most part, flipped it right back in to easy-mode like it was in 3.0, due in part to another minor reshuffling of the amount of healing done and the Force cost 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).

Strengths

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

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

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

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

Weaknesses

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

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

In previous game versions, the Seer Sage typically trailed behind the other two classes in the raw numbers department, mostly due to the other classes’ better multi-target passive healing from Slow-Release Medpack and Trauma Probe (not to mention Kolto Wave).  But version 4.0 brought all three healing classes much more in line with each other, giving the Sage a bit of a buff in the raw HPS department–especially when it comes to single-target healing. As I wrote above, Sages were always good at Triage, but now we are clearly #1 at it.

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

Gearing

This is one of the biggest changes in version 4.0.

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

Power vs Mastery

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

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

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

How much Crit?

Your target is somewhere in the 40%+ zone now, and in full 224 gear you’ll be just exceeding 43%. This will also get you a multiplier (formerly from Surge) of about 67%-68% (which is lower than we used to get from Surge, but that’s true across all DPS’s and Healers). At the time I write this, I have just over 1400 points of Crit with Mastery in the low-5000’s, which results in a Crit chance of over 42%.

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

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

Why the paradigm shift in Crit? Two reasons:

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

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

Alacrity vs Crit

THIS is the real question. The simple answer is to stack them ALMOST 1:1 in your enhancements and augments, but err on the side of Crit being higher. Ironically, you’ll get there by stacking somewhat higher Alacrity (say, one extra Alacrity augment), then using Crit crystals in your mainhand & offhand (along with the free Crit points in your relics) so that your Crit > Alacrity by 50-70 points. (The pre-4.0 advice I used to give is pretty much rendered moot because of the way Crit and Alacrity are now in direct competition with each other for space in your gear.)

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

Accuracy

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

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

Relics

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

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

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

Ear and Implants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Set Bonus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Utilities

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

Skillful:

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.

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.

Pain Bearer : +10% Healing Received

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

Masterful:

Blockout : Cloud Mind procs +25% dmg reduction

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

Telekinetic Defense : +10% to Force Armor absorption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroic:

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).

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healing Abilities

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

  • Rejuvenate is where it all begins, and is the healing ability that you’ll cast most often. This is a small insta-cast HoT, and also has the useful side-effect of giving the target a +10% boost to the Armor Rating.
  • But the MAIN thing Rejuvenate does for you is proc up the Conveyance effect, which improves most of your other healing abilities in some significant way. As a result, you’ll pretty much use it on cooldown and you’ll precede every “big” heal with this little heal to make it better.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • With Conveyance: the chance of each tick being a Critical heal is increased by 25%, significantly increasing your Resplendence stacks if your normal Crit chance is around ~40% where it should be.

Benevolence: Moderate Casted Healing ability

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

Deliverance: Large Long-Cast Healing ability

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

Salvation: 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. Overall, you are better off using these stacks with Vindicate to regain your Force and get the Amnesty buff going, so get in the habit of using Vindicate immediately before Salvation unless timing is critical.  (In version 3.3, they reduced the Force cost for Salvation that consumes Resplendence stacks, but then took it back out in 4.x.)
  • Salvation also procs up Altruism, which makes Benevolence into an one-time instant-cast ability that consumes ZERO Force, as noted above. This is tactically useful for changing quickly from multi-target to single-target, since you can drop that Benevolence on the tank who wasn’t standing with the rest of the group where you dropped the Salvation.
  • With Conveyance: the Force cost is reduced. If you use it a lot on a particular fight, then you need to be diligent about preceding the cast with Rejuvenate. But most of the time you won’t be using it all that much and it’s not a high priority.

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

  • The great ping-pong ball o’healing was new to 3.0, and replaced Salvation as the Sage’s most powerful heal. It puts up very high numbers, it automatically hops to whomever needs it the most, and can easily hop right back to the same target to “make it a double” if the health bar is that low.
  • As if that weren’t enough, it temporarily boosts the target’s Damage Reduction to Internal/Elemental damage–it might be the only thing in the game that does so.
  • Like Healing Trance, this is one that you pretty much use on cooldown.
  • 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.

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 to except maybe to save it for situations where you know you are about to take a big hit (or, y’know, your health is already at 100%).
  • Not affected by Conveyance

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.
  • Not affected by Conveyance

Restoration: Cleanse Force and Physical debuffs

  • This does heal a small amount, but mainly it’s your CLEANSE ability. 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.
  • In 4.0 and beyond, the distinction between Force debuffs (which you CAN cleanse) and Tech debuffs (which you CAN’T) has been removed . . . allegedly.  I’ve still run across a handful of Tech cleanses that remain, so be on your guard.  (For instance, the Poisoners in KP just before you exit the tunnel on your way to Foreman Crusher still drop Tech debuffs that you can’t cleanse but your Scoundrel/Mando colleagues can.)
  • Not affected by Conveyance

Significant Non-Healing Abilities

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

  • The mighty Sage Bubble is one of the real powers behind a Sage healer, and it’s not even a heal at all. What makes it special is that it absorbs ALL types of damage, including Internal/Elemental. This, the Relic of Reactive Warding, and Blade Storm/Blade Barrier are the only ways out there to prevent I/E damage, and Force Armor is easily the biggest.
  • How much damage does it absorb? It’s directly proportional to your Bonus Healing stat, and in spite of the fact that we’re not using Power augments anymore, that overall value has remained just as high from 3.x to 4.x–because EVERY mod and enhancement has Power now, and because of higher Power/Mastery numbers from better gear tiers. The actual number of HP absorbed is going to be roughly in the same ballpark as what Deliverance or Force Mend heal for; or roughly 5.5x your Bonus Healing score–assuming Telekinetic Defense–give or take a few hundred. (As I write this, Dianiss–with a BH score of 1936.5–makes bubbles that absorb just over 10K HP.) And it only costs 15 points of Force to use compared to Deliverance, which costs almost 3x that at 41 points. Aside from Force Mend, that’s as efficient as you get!
  • Also, because it isn’t actually a healing ability, it is safe to use on someone who is affected by a game mechanic where healing that ally actually causes damage instead (e.g. the Dread Guards’ Force Leech in TfB HM, or the Curse in Colossal Monolith HM). The only down-side of this ability, compared to Slow-Release Medpack and Trauma Probe, is that it does not crit. It absorbs damage up to a fixed maximum and that is all.
  • One final note about Force Armor: Beware of people who live and die by HPS numbers, because Force Armor is not a heal and doesn’t get tallied by the parsers as such. (Only StarParse tracks it accurately, and even then it is only included as a part of your healing output in the Raid Healing overlay and ONLY if your whole group is in raid channel with you.) There’s a name for people who think that way: DPS’s. Ignore them. They’re cheap and disposable. You’re not–you’re a healer!

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

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

Mind Snap: Interrupt

  • Well, like it says, it’s your interrupt. As a healer, you almost never have to use this…almost. Yours has the longest cooldown in the game, anyway.

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!!!

Rescue: Pull another player to your location, Threat Dump that player, +25% Dmg 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: 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.

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: 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.

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: Out-of-combat revive of defeated friendly players

  • I only include this to point out that Sages (along with Scoundrels and Commandos–including the DPS specs) 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.

Strategy

Normally a DPS or Tanking guide would talk about rotations here, but healing is so tactical and situational that you really are dealing with events as they occur (or preparing for events soon to occur) and the notion of a rotation the way a DPS views it is a non-sequitur. Instead, I’ll present common situations and effective strategies to deal with them.

Pre-fight:

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

Quick Single-target healing:

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

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

Sustained High-output Single-target healing:

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

This is useful when you’re more concerned with out-healing a continuous barrage of damage than topping-up your target to move on to someone else. It gets you very high HPS while still being sustainable over long fights with judicious use of Vindicate. (Before 4.0, I’ve used this pattern successfully to solo at-level Champion NPC’s by just sending in Qyzen and out-healing the damage he takes while he slowly whittles down the enemy’s HP.) Note that the Force Armor is important to provide the damage buffer against the 2-GCD gap until the Deliverance actually hits. (Rejuvenate is nice, but it’s tiny.)

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.

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:

Mediation > 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.

So how do you do it?

The basis of all of it is this:

Rejuvenate > Healing Trance > Vindicate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the moral of the story is: watch your Force usage. It’s not as hard as it used to be in 3.3 (or prior to 3.0), but you can still mess up. Watch for when the Vindicate button glows, and plan to click it at least once any time you see it light up. You’ll get better with practice.

Tips

General Tips

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

User Interface Tips

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

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

Boss Specific Tips

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

The Ravagers

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

The Temple of Sacrifice

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

SWTOR 4.0 Seer Sage PvE Healing Guide by Dianiss - sgamet.com<–Be sure to cleanse this if it goes to 2 stacks or more!

  • Revan The Returned: In HM, there is a mechanic where you have to be facing aberrations at the moment they dissipate. During that phase, you must be careful with the use of Healing Trance. With all of your other healing abilities (including Force Armor), using it on someone who is not in front of you will not cause your character to move. But Healing Trance will cause your character to turn and face your target. If your target is not already in front of you, this could cause you to inadvertently face the wrong direction at a key moment and kill yourself.

The Dread Palace

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

The Dread Fortress

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

Scum and Villainy

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

The Terror from Beyond

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

Explosive Conflict

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

The Eternity Vault

  • Infernal Council: DON’T USE WANDERING MEND! In the heat of combat, I see Sage healers make this mistake all the time. You certainly do need to maintain your Force Armor bubble and heal yourself as you go, but your Wandering Mend will invariably wander over to some other player, and because of your outside assistance to someone else, you’ll give yourself the debuff that prevents you from damaging your own designated opponent. Since you’re not exactly a high-output DPS in the first place, you probably just ensured that you’ll be killed–or at best reset the fight because you can’t finish him off in time.
    • For that matter, if you have the knowledge and means to switch to a DPS spec (and gear), then just do that instead. As a DPS Sage, you can DESTROY those Assassins very quickly while preventing most of their damage with Force Armor and some well-placed interrupts.
  • Soa, The Infernal One: Watch for the raid warnings where Soa telegraphs which 2 people 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, especially if they are quick to detonate it early.

Other / non-Ops-bosses

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

About the Author

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

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

This guide is dedicated to them.

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

I hope it helps you.

Finally: Pants are overrated.

–Dianiss

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