(Last Updated July 22, 2015)
Notice: The guide is being updated for Patch 3.3, which has slightly changed the Discipline abilities of Combat Medics and rearranged their healing magnitudes.
This is a fairly long guide, so it may be helpful to skip to a section you are having difficulty with. The links are found below.
Fundamental Combat Medic Mechanics
Post 2 – Survival (Dealing with Damage/CC/Interrupts)
Post 3 – Build and Gear for PvP
Post 4 – First Impressions (for Upcoming Updates), Useful Links for Healers, and Guide Update History (Changelog)
Warzones are a chaotic place, with lots of lightsabers, guns, lasers, knives, lightning, and theoretical blood. A lot of people are going to need help, and you’re just the medic to do it. After all when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Combat Medics don’t do flashiness. We don’t do showstopping numbers. They call it a support class because we’re carrying your asses. Clad in heavy armor, Combat Medics are immoveable objects which firmly anchor their team in place. Combined with our sustainability, we are also incredibly difficult to outlast through attrition. Although a Combat Medic will almost always outgunned and outnumbered, we are never outmatched.
A Note About This Guide
This guide was originally posted when Combat Medics and Bodyguards were in separate forums. I’m in the process of adding the Bodyguard ability names where convenient, but the guide itself will probably remain focused on the Combat Medic. As a result, for the majority of the time, the guide will discuss Combat Medic ability names without any special designation. Where necessary, they will be colored blue.
Bounty Hunter ability/skill will follow the Combat Medic ability names after a /, in (parenthesis), or as a note at the end of a section if it is less of an eye-sore that way. No matter how it appears, Mercenary abilities will be colored red, so look for those if you are looking for Bodyguard-specifics. These sections are highlighted with a “For Mercenaries” header to help draw attention to these.
For my own sanity, I won’t be doing the same with ammo and heat — just know that they are interchangeable except for the way they appear on the UI.
Healing in warzones ranges from mind-numbingly painful (terrible team) to an awesome experience(strong team), so first and foremost you need to understand that your ability as a healer, even when played optimally, is entirely dependent on the caliber of the players around you (that includes BOTH their ability and their gear). If a tank guards you and doesn’t have the hit points and damage reduction to handle it, they’ve just killed themselves and likely you if you spent too much ammo trying to save them. Similar things will happen if your team makes no effort to protect their healers and, similarly, if your team doesn’t have the composition to fight the opposing team. This isn’t your fault, but it is something that must be stressed or else it will stress you.
Consider this an introduction to the Combat Medic Discipline. Much of what is discussed here overviews the major abilities you’ll be using in PVP, their effects, and the like. Its intended to double as a refresher for players returning to the class after some time away, or first-time players. As a result, some of the material may be very basic. Skip ahead to another chapter if you think you’re comfortable with the abilities/mechanics.
What is a Discipline? And What are Utilities?
As I’ll discuss in the Builds & Gear chapter, there have been some major changes to the way skill trees work in Star Wars: The Old Republic with Path 3.0. The skill trees are essentially gone; instead they have been replaced with a skill “line” called a Discipline.
Before, when you leveled up (after level 10), you received a skill point that could be spent in your skill tree. With your Discipline, every so many levels you automatically unlock a skill or ability in your skill line. As it suggests, there is no customization in your skill line in and of itself, and that’s okay, since most of the abilities along the line are fairly important from a mechanical perspective (and were required skills in the old skill tree if you expected to be an effective healer).
Most of the customization comes from your Utilities. Utilities are unlocked by your skill line, just like your abilities and other major mechanics. Every other second or third unlock in your skill line is usually a Utility unlock, which grants you one Utility point. You may then spend your Utility point on an effect that interests you in the Utility tree, which is reminiscent of the old skill tree (you should find it on the right hand side of your Discipline screen in-game). There are some very interesting effects in that Utility tree, and you can find some recommendations in the Builds & Gear chapter.
Still confused? Check out this developer post about Disciplines: http://www.swtor.com/blog/developer-…on-disciplines
Inside of the spoiler below I’ve included every unlock in your Discipline. The Utilities are not listed here because these are mostly bonus effects and not fundamental mechanics. You can find the Utilities discussed in more detail in the Builds & Gear chapter; some are very interesting for PVP.
Level 11: Utility point
Level 12: Steady Hands / Surgical Precision System. Reduces the pushback against healing abilities by 70%, and reduces the threat generated by healing abilities by 10%. Note: The threat isn’t relevant in PVP, but pushback is. If you are unfamiliar with pushback, it is essentially a prolonging of a cast by taking damage. When you cast an ability, it has a set cast time. When you take damage, you may notice that the bar showing your cast progress has been “pushed back” to the beginning by the damage, causing the cast to take longer than normal. Such pushback is reduced by 70% with this perk.
Level 16: Quick Thinking / Med Tech: Lowers the cooldown of Advanced Medical Probe or Healing Scan by 3 seconds.
Level 19: Utility point
Level 20: Treated Wound Dressings / Powered Insulators: Reduces all damage received by 5% while in Combat Support Cell or Combat Support Cylinder.
Level 24: Emergency Response: Eliminates the ammo cost of Bacta Infusion or Emergency Scan. In addition, Bacta Infusion grants Emergency Response, which makes your next Advanced Medical Probe activate instantly. For Mercenaries, Emergency Scan grants Emegency Response, which makes your next Healing Scan activate instantly.
Level 26:Combat Medics unlock Kolto Bomb, Bodyguards unlock Kolto Missile.
Level 27: Utility point
Level 28: Kolto Residue. All enemies effected by your Kolto Bomb (or Kolto Missile) have their movement speed reduced by 50% for 3 seconds. In addition, Advanced Medical Probe grants Invigorated to its target, increasing their healing received by 3% for 45 seconds. For Mercenaries, Healing Scan grants the 3% healing received buff.
Level 36: Kolto Pods. Kolto Bomb (or Kolto Missile) leaves behind a pool of kolto that heals allies a small amount over 3 seconds.
Level 40: Field Triage / Critical Efficiency. Activating Medical Probe grants one stack of Field Triage, reducing the cost of your next Advanced Medical Probe by 5 ammo. Stacks up to 3 times. For Mercenaries, Rapid Scangrants one stack of Critical Efficiency, reducing the cost of Healing Scan by 5. It also stacks up to three times.
Level 41: Trauma Probe unlocked for Combat Medics, Bodyguards unlock Kolto Shell.
Level 43: Utility point.
Level 44: Mental Aid / Cure Mind. Field Aid now removes mental effects and heals for a modest amount. The Bodyguard cleanse, Cure, benefits the same way.
Level 46: Preventive Medicine / Proactive Medicine. Activating Bacta Infusion now applies Preventive Medicine, healing for a moderate amount over 9 seconds. In addition, Successive Treatment applies Protected, increasing the armor rating of all affected allies by 10% for 45 seconds. Bodyguards have their Emergency Scan grant Proactive Medicine, which provides the same modest HOT over 9-seconds. Their Progressive Scan also applies a 10% armor buff for 45 seconds.
Level 51: Utility point.
Level 52: Probe Medic / Bodyguard. Increases the maximum stack limit of Trauma Probe by 1, increases its healing done by 5%, and reduces the internal cooldown by 0.5 seconds. For Mercenaries, the same benefits apply to their Kolto Shell.
Level 56: Potent Medicine / Warden. Increases the critical healing bonus (surge rating) of all heals by 15%.
Level 57: Successive Treatment unlocked for Combat Medic, Progressive Scan for Bodyguards.
Level 59: Med Boosters / Kolto Boosters. Increases the critical chance of Trauma Probe by 5%, and reduces the ammo cost of Kolto Bomb by 5 ammo. In addition, Med Shot regenerates 1 ammo when it heals regularly, and 2 ammo when it heals critically. For Mercenaries, Kolto Shell benefits from the 5% critical chance increase, Kolto Missile’s cost is reduced by 5. Their Med Shot also vents 1 heat regularly and 2 heat on a crit.
Level 60: Utility point.
The Tools: Healing Abilities
Combat Medics have several active abilities at their disposal. Inside the spoiler is a list of all of them, and some tips for their use. Some abilities have special notes for players that have been playing Combat Medic 3.0 to help them understand and adapt to the changes in that patch (some of which are major).
Also, if you’re playing as a Bodyguard, keep in mind the following when reading the ability tips and strategies below:
Advanced Medical Probe = Healing Scan
Kolto Bomb = Kolto Missile
Bacta Infusion = Emergency Scan
Successive Treatment = Progressive Scan
Trauma Probe = Kolto Shell
Field Aid = Cure
The auto-heal, Med Shot, is the same for both classes.
When to use: Before and after expensive heals, like Medical Probe, Successive Treatment, and Advanced Medical Probe (when Field Triage isn’t active). Ideally, you should use it between every heal except when ammo allows or saving a life. Also a good idea to use while waiting for cooldowns to finish, or when interrupted. Critically important in building Supercharge (see mechanics).
- Level 59: Med Booster. Critical results with Med Shot generate 2 ammo, regular results with Med Shot generate 1 ammo.
Where did Hammershot healing go? If you are like me and you’ve been playing Combat Medic for a while, you’re going to notice that Hammershot no longer heals. Before it was a dual-function ability: it would heal or damage depending on the target selected. Now, Hammershot is limited to damage only (but still builds Supercharge). To replace the healing function, Combat Medics now have Med Shot which is more or less the same but it now requires its own spot on your ability bar. If you are familiar with Scoundrel healing, this change should make Combat Medic more familiar to you.
Requires the Combat Medic Discipline (unlocked at Level 10).
When to use: To set-up for Advanced Medical Probe whenever possible. In general, you want to cast Medical Probe twice before using Advanced Medical Probe, but you can do less if you’re capable of managing the ammo. Also, Medical Probe is a faster but more expensive way to build Supercharge.
- Steady Hands, Level 12: Reduces pushback against healing abilities by 70% (Medical Probe benefits from this).
- Field Triage, Level 40: Medical Probe grants Field Triage, reducing the ammo cost of your next Advanced Medical Probe by 5. Stacks up to three times.
- Some Utility points also upgrade your Medical Probe.
Role Reversal. Prior to 3.0, Field Triage was triggered by Advanced Medical Probe to reduce the cost of Medical Probe. In 3.0, these roles have been reversed: Medical Probe now reduces Advanced Medical Probe’s cost, and you may cast it multiple times to reduce the cost further. We’ll go over this more in a moment.
ADVANCED MEDICAL PROBE
When to use: Whenever you need to save a life. It’s your biggest heal, so use it wisely due to its cost. Try and reduce its cost by using the effect of Field Triage (Level 40), and try to avoid casting it without Field Triage unless you are comfortable managing the ammo — you will run out quickly otherwise.
- Steady Hands, Level 12: Reduces pushback against healing abilities by 70% (Advanced Medical Probe benefits from this).
- Quick Thinking, Level 16: Reduces the cooldown of Advanced Medical Probe by 3 seconds.
- Emergency Response, Level 24: Bacta Infusion grants Emergency Response, making your next Advanced Medical Probe activate instantly.
- Kolto Residue, Level 28: Advanced Medical Probe grants Invigorated to its target, increasing their healing received by 3% for 45 seconds.
- Field Triage, Level 40: Medical Probe grants Field Triage, reducing the ammo cost of your next Advanced Medical Probe by 5. Stacks up to three times.
Stronger, but new Limitations. Advanced Medical Probe has changed: it is now your big heal, but it also has Advanced Medical Probe’s 9-second cooldown from before 3.0. Translation, you cannot spam this heal (ammo allowing) anymore. As a result, this ability won’t be quite and prominent in your rotation compared to before because it’ll take a little more time to get it’s cost where you want it (due to Field Triage). But of course, as your big heal, it’s not as though this will be a tool you never use. You’ll just need to plan ahead a little more than before.
Requires the Combat Medic Discipline (nlocked at Level 26).
When to use: More or less on cooldown, unless Successive Treatment is available. It’s good for any group of people since it now hits 8 targets, and provides a modest HoT after the fact. It’s also good for healing a target you do not have direct LOS on, since you may be able to use the 8m radius to literally heal around corners. If the damage is light and/or most people are okay on health, Kolto Bomb is a cost-efficient way of doing reasonable healing without casting and has a very reasonable cooldown to work around.
- Kolto Residue, Level 28: Enemies affected by your Kolto Bomb have their movement speed reduced by 50% for 3 seconds. Note: I have not yet confirmed whether or not Kolto Pods (see below) refreshes the slow effect like it did before 3.0.
- Kolto Pods, Level 36: Kolto Bomb leaves behind a pool of kolto, healing allies for a small amount over 3 seconds.
- Med Booster, Level 59: Reduces the ammo cost of Kolto Bomb by 5.
New Kolto Bomb, not the same as the old Kolto Bomb. There’s actually a lot of changes to Kolto Bomb for career Combat Medics. The Charged Barrier effect from using Kolto Bomb while Supercharged has been removed entirely. The healing buff, Kolto Residue, has also been removed and given to Advanced Medical Probe (and given a 45 second duration). This means it is harder to keep this buff up on the entire party (before you only needed to use Kolto Bomb regularly and it wasn’t a problem), now you can only apply it one at a time. Obviously, it lasts much longer than before, too, so that’s good. You may also notice that Kolto Bomb isn’t as strong as it was before — this is likely a result of the removal of the perk in the Gunnery tree that increased its healing by 20%. This is no longer in the skill line, so it doesn’t grow quite as well as your other heals. Of course, there were many other changes in 3.0 that more than offset this reduction in Kolto Bomb’s effectiveness.
When to use:This is your cleanse, so it’s good to use whenever you want to clear some negative effects from your character. Keep in mind it only removes the first two that you are able to remove in a first-applied first-cleansed manner. It also has a long cooldown (12 seconds) compared to the number of cleanseable effects you’ll face, so for the most part you’ll be using it for crowd controls like roots (see Survival chapter) or “killer” debuffs like Trauma that reduce healing received by 20%.
- Mental Aid, Level 44: Field Aid now removes mental effects and heals its target for a modest amount.
Don’t waste your ammo. Damage over time effects are now immune to your cleanse, regardless of their damage type (Tech, Physical, Mental). As a consequence, don’t waste your cleanse on these effects, especially since it has a “long” cooldown. With this said, there is a perk in the Utilities section of your Discipline that can make Field Aid a little more reasonable in this department (reduces the damage done by DOTs by 30%). Utility recommendations are covered in a later chapter.
When to use:There are two main times to use Bacta Infusion. The first is to heal on the move, because it’s one of the few abilities you have that are instant. In addition, Bacta Infusion makes your next Advanced Medical Probe instant cast, so you can stay on the move for another GCD immediately afterward. Between these two heals, your target should hopefully be in better shape. If not, you’ll need to stop and cast. The second reason to use Bacta Infusion is as a follow-up heal. Many of your heals have a cast time that is around the duration of the GCD; in other words, you may use Bacta Infusion as soon as the cast finishes to produce significant burst healing. If everything crits, it’s possible to do about 20k healing instantly (the reverse order can also do 20k healing but is spread over 1.5 seconds).
- Emergency Response, Level 24: Removes the ammo cost of Bacta Infusion. In addition, Bacta Infusion grants Emergency Response, making your next Advaced Medical Probe activate instantly.
- Preventive Medicine, Level 46: Bacta Infusion now applies Preventive Medicine to its target, healing them for a moderate amount over 9 seconds.
Requires the Combat Medic Discipline (unlocked at Level 41).
When to use:Whenever you have time and ammo to refresh it. Trauma Probe is your only controllable HOT (you have others that are secondary to their primary healing effects), and it is a strong one. It does minimal overhealing because it only heals when it’s target takes damage. It can also be spread to your whole party, and its great to have as a buffer on targets you aren’t healing at this very moment. Try to keep it on as many people as time and ammo allows. In a combat situation, it generally needs to be refreshed every 10 seconds or so on each individual.
- Probe Medic, Level 52: Increases its maximum stack limit by 1, increases its healing done by 5%, and reduces its internal cooldown by 0.5 seconds.
- Med Boosters, Level 59: Increases the ciritcal heal chance of Trauma Probe by 5%.
Requires the Combat Medic Discipline (unlocked at Level 57).
When to use:Off cooldown. Successive Treatment does a huge amount of healing on its first target (about 2k per tick, non-crit), and gradually less as it chains from target to target (the first target receives 4 ticks, the second target receives 3 ticks, and so on). In short, if you can get all four ticks of it off, Successive Treatment is easily your most powerful heal on its first target and on par with Advanced Medical Probe on the second target. It is also cheaper and is channeled, so even if it gets interrupted it at least provided some healing. The ability generally seems to prioritize targets with the least HP (starting with the second target), and LOS of from the current target. In short, use it. Use it a lot.
- Preventive Medicine, Level 46: Successive Treatment applies Protected, increasing the armor rating of all affected allies by 10% for 45 seconds.
Combat Medics, and Commando in general, has some mechanics that are important to understand for PVP healing. They can be found in the following sections, with tips on building Supercharge, Target Lock, Field Triage, and an introduction of managing ammo (which will be discussed in the next Chapter, Ammo Management).
For Mercenaries: the same mechanics apply, although there are some name changes. You are still building Supercharges like your Commando-brethren. Target Lock is called Advanced Targeting on the Mercenary, your Field Triage proc has the name Critical Efficiency.
Quick Introduction to the Healer Stance: Combat Support Cell
Since it’s not really a mechanic but is important for healing output, the Combat Medic healing stance is the Combat Support Cell. It provides +3% healing and damage done while active. It is also required to benefit from some of Supercharged Cells effects, as well as some parts of your Discipline. If you are not in this stance, you are not a healer, although the punishment for being out of the stance isn’t quite as severe as before (you couldn’t use your auto-heal because it was tied to the stance before; Med Shot is available to all Commandos regardless of their stance now).
For Mercenaries: your Supercharged Cells is simply renamed Supercharged Gas. Also, Bounty Hunters stances are called “cylinders” instead of “cells”, so your healer stance is called Combat Support Cylinder.
Supercharge, Building Charge, Supercharged Cells
Let’s begin looking at mechanics with the Commando’s main game mechanic, Supercharge. After 3.0, all Commandos make use of the Supercharge mechanic. Supercharge is generated by using certain abilities; these abilities are:
Each of these abilities generates 1 stack of Supercharge on each use. Medical Probe, for Combat Medics, has the bonus effect of generating 2 stacks of Supercharge, making it a faster but more expensive way to build Supercharge.
Supercharge itself has a passive effect on your damage and healing output. Each stack of Supercharge increases your healing and damage by 0.1%, which caps at 1% with the 10-stack maximum. In and of itself, this is small and probably won’t be noticeable. In fact, this is really just a secondary effect. The purpose of building Supercharge isn’t for this meager increase in damage and healing, it is to build 10 stacks of Supercharge so you may activate Supercharged Cells or your raid-wide ability Supercharged Alacrity. For now, we’ll focus only on Supercharged Cells since you’ll be using that much more often.
Supercharged Cells has a special effect for each of the Commando stances. For Combat Medics, it boosts your healing and damage output to 5%, which (should) stack on top of your other healing bonuses from your stance (3%) and your Supercharge stack count (ranging from 0% to 1%). This increase is great, but more importantly, Supercharged Cells ends the cooldown on Advanced Medical Probe and reduces the cost of it by 5 ammo. This means you can more readily spam this ability, and if you combine it with stacks of Field Triage, some of your Advanced Medical Probes can be 100% free.
But perhaps more important in a long fight, especially when you are tight on ammo, is the fact that Supercharged Cells generates 10 ammo every time it is activated. This alone is reason enough to build Supercharge, and it is frequently this effect which separates good Combat Medics from the great ones.
Before moving on to the next mechanic, its also worth mentioning that Supercharges can be built while Supercharged Cells is active. this is an upgrade introduced in Patch 3.0 and it is important because it means you can achieve a much higher up-time on your Supercharged Cells. The better you are at building Supercharge, the better you will be at healing and managing your ammo at the same time.
For Mercenaries: You are using the same mechanic as Combat Medics called Supercharge, so hopefully this is mostly familiar. Instead of generating or refunding ammo as I sometimes call it, Bodyguards are in the business of venting heat. Both are the exact same thing — the only difference is that Bodyguards want to have minimal heat while Combat Medics want maximal ammo. In other words, the systems are just inverses of each other. Lastly, the Mercenaries build charges through Rapid Shots, Med Shot, Rapid Scan, Tracer Missile, and Power Shot. Only the first three are of interest to healers.
Field Triage: Ammo Reduction for Main Heal
Field Triage now stacks up to three times and is used to reduce the ammo cost of your big heal. Combined with Supercharged Cells and a full stack of Field Triage, your next Advanced Medical Probe can be 100% free. Essentially, each Field Triage is a 25% cost reduction and Supercharge Cells is also a 25% reduction. So in general, you want at least a 50% reduction before casting Advanced Medical Probe to make your ammo easy to manage. Things get out of control quick otherwise.
Procing Field Triage comes from Medical Probe, which is your quicker casted heal. You always want to cast at least one before every Advanced Medical Probe, and whenever possible, you’ll want to cast two instead. Three stacks of Field Triage is ideal, but generally speaking if you haven’t used Advanced Medical Probe in the meantime, it probably means the healing is light and/or the damage is weak/disorganized. In a really competitive battle, 2 Field Triage stacks is probably the best you can do, and Supercharge can bridge the gap as well (it reduces its cost by 25% while active). Managing this is often a situational skill that will require some practice, because you cannot spam Medical Probe without consequences to your ammo supply.
For Mercenaries: your Field Triage is Critical Efficiency. It reduces the cost of Healing Scan, and is triggered by casting Rapid Scan. The same rules apply: you want to have 50% cost reduction on Healing Scan before casting it as a minimum. 75% is better, 100% requires three stacks in combination with Supercharged Gas.
Target Lock: The Passive Surge Boost
Patch 3.0 introduced a new passive talent to all Commandos: Target Lock. Target lock improves some of your damaging abilities, but its highlight for Combat Medics is two fold. First, it increases the critical hit chance of Advanced Medical Probe and Bacta Infusion by 5% — both of which are two of your larger heals. Second, Target Lock increases your critical damage and healing by 10% for 6 seconds. This is a roundabout way of saying it is an increase to your surge rating, and combined with Potent Medicine in the Discipline (Level 56), your heals are probably in the neighborhood of a 100% surge bonus depending on the surge rating on your gear. The entry-level gear (Exumed) puts you just shy of 95% with its default itemization.
The trick is obviously keeping this buff rolling, since it lasts for only 6 seconds. Without it, your critical heals will have a smaller (but not devastating) magnitude. Luckily, Target Lock is fairly easy to keep going because it relies on critical heals, any they can come from any source. In fact, I hazard to call this a full mechanic since it’s not exactly something that needs to be managed, but it is certainly an easy way of boosting your heals and it certainly can provide the difference with the high burst damage of your enemies.
The best way to keep Target Lock up is by keeping Trauma Probes up on your allies and using Successive Treatment and Kolto Bomb regularly. These all provide multiple chances over multiple players, and only one needs to be a critical to start or refresh Target Lock. Of course, all of your heals can generate Target Lock, but you’ll likely find that you don’t even need to think about it once you master the aforementioned heals.
For Mercenaries: Your version of Target Lock is called Advanced Targeting. It has the same effects, and the easiest way of keeping it going is a combination of Kolto Shell on your whole party, Progressive Scan on cooldown, and Kolto Missile whenever the previous two abilities are not priorities.
Ammo Regeneration Mechanics and its Constraints
Combat Medic, and Troopers in general, are largely restricted by their ammo supply. This is because your regeneration rate is a function of your current ammo count. It is a stepped relationship with three possible rates, out of a resource pool of 100:
- Fast (commonly referred to as optimal) in the range of 60 to 100 ammo: 5 ammo/sec
- Moderate/Slow in the range of 30 to 60 ammo: 3 ammo/sec
- Very Slow in the range of 0 to 30 ammo: 2 ammo/sec
Although these numbers do not consider alacrity (this stat will be discussed in the following chapter on ammo management), it is easy to see why the fast regeneration range is where you ideally want to spend your time. Falling outside of this range runs the risk of causing you run out of ammo and face grueling regeneration times. At first, this system can be very unforgiving. However, there is quite a bit of flexibility to be discovered in the system, as the following chapter will explore.
For Mercenaries: Your heat system is the inverse of the Trooper ammo system. Your heat is vented at the same rate the Trooper ammo regenerates, as shown above.
Learning to manage your ammo supply is something you will quickly discover is your biggest challenge in playing Combat Medic. If you run dry, or low for too long, you’ll find yourself unable to keep up with the demands of healing. So let’s take a closer look at the ammo mechanics of Combat Medics and how to squeeze the most out of our resource.
Key Abilities: Recharge Cells, Reserve Powercell, Supercharge Cells, Bacta Infusion, Hammershot, Med Shot
Mercenary Equivalents: Vent Heat, Thermal Sensor Override, Supercharged Gas, Emergency Scan, Rapid Shots, Med Shot
The Standard Rotation
A important part of managing ammo on a Combat Medic is finding a rotation that is ammo neutral (ammo spent = ammo regenerated). The basic rotation of a Combat Medic is as follows:
Note: The “free-ability” will typically be Med Shot, but can also be Bacta Infusion.
This rotation is about as basic as it gets, so it is also my personal rotation. What makes it effective is that if you are able to follow it step by step, you can use this rotation indefinitely and will never run out of ammo. However, what must be said is that you will almost never be able to accomplish this when you and your team are under pressure. Consider this rotation a template into which you can substitute heals into and out of to sustain yourself. In this respect, it is your Plan A but you need to remember Plan A is always the first casualty of war.
For Mercenaries: Mercenaries are in a similar boat, except you’ll be using your own equivalent abilities. So RS (Rapid Scan) > FA (no-cost ability) > RS > FA > HS (Healing Scan) > repeat. Like your Commando brethren, the most common no-cost ability to plug into those FA spots will be Med Shot or Emergency Scan. It can also be any ability of low cost, compared to Rapid Scan (e.g. Kolto Shell).
Staying Ammo Neutral Under Pressure
Realistically, it will be very difficult to keep yourself in the optimal regeneration range at all times. Burst damage and/or group-wide damage will very easily cause this rotation to break down. This is where you will want to be effectively ammo neutral.
To do so, train yourself to stay above 50 ammo at all times, especially when first starting out. You might be able to push it a little further as you become more comfortable with the ammo management, but for now the 50 ammo-mark is a very good threshold. The reason for this is simple: by expanding the optimal regeneration range out to include first part of the moderate/slow regeneration ranges you grant yourself significantly more freedom in choosing heals without overextending yourself. The trick is knowing which heals to substitute in and when. Think about the ammo costs of your abilities, and try to make every other one free or cheap. The longer you go without doing so, the more of these cheap abilities you’ll need to use later.
Another reason staying around the 50 ammo mark is because Supercharged Cells returns 10 ammo when activated. This puts you just outside of the optimal regeneration range and may very well push you back into it providing you with even more ammo every second. This is important because you’ll want plenty of ammo to make the most out of that Supercharge.
Managing Advanced Medical Probe, Medical Probe, Field Triage
The main way you are going to deal with sustaining healing is with a mechanic we discussed in the first chapter, Field Triage. Each time you use Medical Probe, it reduces the cost of Advanced Medical Probe by 5 (or 25%). As a result, you should always cast Medical Probe twice before casting Advanced Medical Probe. A good habit is also protecting that Field Triage proc as long as the situation allows. Supercharged Cells provides its own 25% cost reduction as well, so 3 Field Triage stacks + Supercharge = free Advanced Medical Probe. Bacta Infusion can even make it instant with Emergency Response.
For Mercenaries: Your Field Triage is called Critical Efficiency and it is built by casting Rapid Scan and lowers the heat generated by Healing Scan. Also, your version of Supercharged Cells is Supercharged Gas. Other than these name changes, the mechanics are identical.
Use Supercharge Cells to Get Ammo Back
The main purpose of Supercharged Cells is to restore 10 ammo on use.While that won’t save you if you’ve strayed too far into the low end of the resource pool, using Supercharge Cells whenever its available is a great way to return ammo on demand. Depending on your cast times, it is theoretically possible to have a near 100% up-time on Supercharged Cells (having a new one every 15 seconds), but this is usually difficult to accomplish due to ammo, healing demands, crowd control, and your own movement.
For Mercenaries: Same as Commando, except Supercharged Cells is called Supercharged Gas for Bodyguards.
Med Shot should be used liberally. Med Shot isn’t used for its healing output (although its usually enough to counter a DoT), but for its ammo regeneration. By default, Med Shot is free. But late in your Discipline, it generates 1 ammo each time it is used. If it produces a critical heal, an additional 1 ammo is regenerated. Translation: using Med Shot is an important way of regenerating ammo, and it also builds Supercharge!
Working it into your plan is quite easy and is pretty much mandatory for long-term heals. Whenever possible, you should use it after pretty much every other heal, especially if ammo is giving you trouble.
Alacrity and its Limits
Alacrity has continued to become a more useful ability in recent patches, and it now reduces the cooldown lengths of your abilities and reduces the internal cooldown of abilities like Trauma Probe, in addition to its previous effects of lowering your global cooldown and cast times. With this said, the use of alacrity is somewhat limited, and in general, the default itemization contains all the alacrity you’ll need.
Lowering Costs with Reserve Powercell
Reserve Powercell is your utility no-cost ability. Reserve Powercell allows the next ability costing ammo to be free, and this obviously a great way to keep yourself in an acceptable ammo range. It is on a long cooldown, so use it wisely. For healers, it should be used pretty much exclusively with Medical Probe, but may also be used on an unproc’d Advanced Medical Probe (no Field Triage/Supercharge) or any other heal that would push me under 50 ammo. Just make sure you use the ability on the right heal — sometimes if you get stunned, it might get applied to a heal you didn’t want. This usually isn’t a problem unless its a cheap heal, like Trauma Probe.
Another handy trick is using Reserve Powercell in combination with Tech Override. Doing so makes your next heal free and instant, which can be essential in a pinch.
For Mercenaries: Thermal Sensor Override reduces the heat of your next ability that generate heat by 100%. There is essentially only one heal to use it on: Rapid Scan. You may also want to use it on Healing Scan if you cannot lower its heat generation with Critical Efficiency or Supercharged Gas. The moral of the story: as long as TSO is used on an ability that is relatively expensive, it should be okay. Avoid using it on something cheap like Kolto Shell.
“Reloading” with Recharge Cells
Recharge Cells is your manual “jump start” utility cooldown. It is a great for any situation where you need a fresh restore of your ammo supply. The ability has two parts: first, it gives you about 30 ammo instantly. Secondly, the ability proceeds to regenerate additional ammo for the next 3 seconds (which can also be increased with the Cell Capacitor utility). One thing to understand is that you should avoid using any ammo-costing abilities until the regeneration finishes (especially if you do NOT take Cell Capacitor in your Utilities!). Using ammo too soon will curtail your regeneration and can easily negate the purpose of using the cooldown in the first place.
As a result of thumb, save Recharge Cells for situations when you are below the 20 ammo mark (the very slow regeneration range). You will see why in a moment.
Controlled Ammo Burn
There will undoubtedly be times as a Combat Medic where you cannot possibly keep people alive while being ammo efficient. Sometimes you’ll notice this early, other times you’ll see you’re ammo is running low. In situations like these, a good strategy is to start a controlled burn through your ammo. What this entails is intentionally burning through your ammo suppy to maximize healing, before refreshing with the Recharge Cells cooldown. Keep in mind, however, that this type of healing cannot be sustained (very ammo intensive) and should only be used in an emergency. Because it makes use of a 2-minute cooldown, you really only have one chance at making it work.
Before ever committing to an ammo burn, confirm that Recharge Cells is off cooldown. If it is, proceed to heal as much as possible. Although your intention is to burn all of your ammo, try to ease yourself through with additional healing like Kolto Bomb and Bacta Infusion. Both will pump out extra healing, and should be enough to squeeze out another unproc’d AMP with all the ammo you regenerated during the burn. Also, before you get trigger-happy, try and save the Supercharged Cells that will almost always accumulate during this burn until after activating Recharge Cells.
Keep going until you fall into the very slow regeneration range (less than 20 ammo), and then pop your Recharge Cells cooldown. Depending on your talents, this will grant you somewhere between 30 and 50 ammo instantly. Allow yourself to regenerate until you get up to 60 at the minimum but preferrably 70 or ideally 80. Remember to give yourself time to regenerate ammo after Recharge Cells, so avoid using abilities that cost ammo. If you do not have the Cell Capacitor utility, you need to pay special attention to this and give yourself extra time! Once you have that ammo, pop Supercharge Cells and continue healing as necessary. Take care to not fall below 50 ammo, because Recharged Cells is now on cooldown for two minutes.
Stepping into a warzone as a healer poses a problem: we are almost always going to be target number one of the enemy team. That means you will be under pressure for a large majority of a match, and learning how to cope with that pressure takes composure, good reactions, and a lot of judgement calls.
There are a variety of ways the opposition can remove you from play, namely interrupts, stuns, knockbacks and pulls, and pure damage. In this chapter, I’ll go over some tips and strategies for working through these setbacks and interferences by taking a look at each individually.
Key Abilities:Reactive Shield, Adrenaline Rush, Tenacity, all three Commando CCs (Concussive Charge, Concussive Round, Cyro Grenade), Hold the Line, and Tech Override. Warzone Medpacks are highly recommended, as are Warzone Adrenals.
Avoiding Survival Situations
Before dealing with survival scenarios, let’s first look at a few ways to avoid such situations. The most obvious way of doing this is to stay out of sight and keep a low profile. Here’s a few helpful tips in doing just that:
- When entering combat, especially with several allies, try to avoid being the first or the last one into the battle. Entering first can make you a prime target, especially for any enemies with a pull. At the same time, those entering the fight last frequently tend to be healers.
- Try opening with some damage, just so people don’t immediately peg you as a healer. This is usually possible if the fight is starting as you arrive; if a fight is in progress, you’re probably going to have to heal as soon as you get there. As a side note, don’t spend too much ammo on damage – if healing becomes necessary, you might find yourself in a deep hole before you even started doing your job.
- Use sightlines (line of sight, also known as LOS) to your advantage, like walls, doorways, and ramps. The longer no one knows you’re there, the longer you can heal without interference.
- Avoid travelling alone, unless you feel confident defending yourself solo. It still highly recommended that you stay with at least one other player in case you get jumped.
There is a caveat here, however. As you gain a reputation for being a healer, it will become increasingly more difficult to maintain a low profile. Also, Combat Medics are the only healer with a stance, so observant players with notice this quickly. Once discovered, it is rare that you will be heal without interference since the enemy will likely mark or identify you as a target. That’s when your survival skills come into play.
The Importance of Your Team
One with that should be mentioned quickly is the importance of the other players on your team. You aren’t alone in a warzone and whenever possible you should be fighting battles where you aren’t alone. While having a reputation as a healer makes the enemy more likely to target you, it should also increase the likelihood of friendlies supporting you.
A friendly tank is a priceless investment for PvP healers. Find a few reliable tanks that you trust, add them to friends, and group up! But having a friendly tank isn’t everything. Healers should be aiding each other when threatened and covering any group heals until you can recover. In addition, damage dealers should also be taking pressure off of healers in distress.
All of this, however, is dependent on a competent team. So, for the remainder of this chapter, we will focus on the aspects of survival that are under your control.
Let’s begin with interrupts, but for our purposes, we will be specifically working with true interrupts. A true interrupt is any ability which forcefully cancels our present action (such as a heal) and then puts that ability on a “lockout” cooldown, normally four seconds. Every class has at least one ability of this type. Some classes can interrupt at range (such as Commando with Disabling Shot), and others can interrupt only in melee range. In addition, some advanced classes may have an additional interrupt in the form of a leap (such as the Vanguard’s Storm ability) which has a shorter lockout and often makes you immobile for the duration. Lastly, instant abilities are obviously immune to interrupts.
Another important cause of confusion is that several other abilities can interrupt you but should not be considered interrupts. For example, physical effects such as an enemy pulling or pushing you will interrupt your present action but does not put the ability on a “lockout” cooldown preventing you from casting it again. As a result, all such abilities are grouped together as crowd controls (CCs) which will be discussed in the next section.
Strategies for Defending Against Interrupts:
- First things first: take interruptions in stride. If Medical Probe got interrupted, find creative ways around it. Supercharge Cells will clear the cooldown on Advanced Medical Probe, which can be a solid substitute until the lockout ends. Smart use of Kolto Bomb, Med Shot, Bacta Infusion, and Successive Treatment can bridge the gap. (Trauma Probes on the group can take the edge off by providing a cushion). If Advanced Medical Probe was interrupted, be careful: you are going to have to rely on your more expensive heal for a few seconds. Dealing with this is much the same, but a handy trick if you have a stack of 10 charges is that Supercharged Cells clears the cooldown on Advanced Medical Probe, even if it’s a lockout cooldown. To make it even better, your Advanced Medical Probe will be cheaper from the extra Field Triages you stored and the active Supercharge!
- Take Advantage of Being Interrupted. Interrupts can be crippling, but they can also be beneficial. Both of our casted heals are fairly expensive, so being locked out helps us budget our ammo. That reduction in ammo cost comes at the price of a reduction to our healing output, but this can be a clever way of regenerating ammo in the middle of a battle. This is obviously quite situational, however, since there will be times when we cannot afford to slow down.
- Dodging Interrupts. Interrupts are instant, but there are ways to dodge them. First of all, consider using a throwaway cast to draw an interrupt. People love interrupting Grav Round (with good reason), so using Plasma Grenade or Concussive Round (which have similar icons on the castbar) before a heal might trick a few people into interrupting it instead of your heal. Medical Probe is also quite nice in this role, since the average player goes after the first cast they see. Smarter players will hold off for specific casts, like your Advanced Medical Probe. To dodge these, you are going to need to try to “side-step” their interrupt. This will take experience, since you need to learn when your attackers will use their interrupt during your cast. Some will kick it as soon as it comes up and there’s not much you can do. For those who interrupt 50%-75% through the progress or just before the cast completes, you can manually cancel your cast my moving your character. If all goes according to plan, you’ll see and/or hear the enemy’s interrupt animation play but notice your heal isn’t locked out. This means your juke was successful and you can resume healing. Be cautious, though. If you side-step and immediately go into another cast, their interrupt may accidentally hit the second cast. This can be advantageous, but also deterimental.
- Reactive Shield with the Combat Shield utility. One of Combat Medic’s talents in the utility tree grants the player (true) interrupt immunity for the duration of the Reactive Shield. This is a great utility, because it can help give us a few seconds to free-cast with minimal interruption. While you can use this for solely the immunity (these situations do sometimes come up), its normally best to save your only true survival cooldown for situations where interruptions coincide with high incoming damage. Note: This only applies to true interrupts. You can still be “interrupted” by CCs and these are approached differently than interrupts!
- Tech Override. You may also want to capitalize on your Tech Override, since it has two effects. It makes your next heal with an activation time (Successive Treatment is a channel and does not count) activate instantly (Medical Probe/Advanced Medical Probe mostly). It also grants 6 seconds of true interrupt immunity. This is another good way of keeping interrupts off of you, and Tech Override’s 1 minute cooldown means it should be available much more frequently in a fight.
- Reposition whenever you are interrupted. Unless you have another cast off cooldown, it’s a good habit to move whenever you are interrupted. You don’t need to go far and you may only need to move until the interrupted ability comes off cooldown, but it forces your enemy to pursue or find someone else to annoy.
Interrupts as a Weapon:
- Disabling Shot, the Commando Interrupt It has a range of 30 meters and a 12 second cooldown. In general, the classes which pose the greatest threat to a healer are instant-based or otherwise immune to interrupts. As a result, most of your interruption will be focused on self-defense (ie. interrupting a casted ranged attack) or support (ie. defeating an enemy healer/caster).
- Disabling Shot is also very valuable when preventing captures (every map except Huttball). Since the interrupt is off the GCD and is ranged, you can easily interrupt a capture and resume healing at no cost and without wasting a GCD (such as the case if you interrupt with Hammershot). This is quite useful, but do keep in mind interrupts do sometimes miss (or at least I have observed this happen on Voidstar in particular).
Crowd Controls (CC)
Crowd controls (CCs) cover a large number of abilities. For the most part, and as their name suggests, they are all about restricting and controlling movement. There are several types of CCs, and they do one of the following:
– slows your movement speed (slows)
– physical effects that move you away from the attacker (push/knockback), move you closer (pull), or knock you off your feet (knockdown)
– reduces your movement speed to zero but leaving you able to act (snare or root)
– disables you for a short time, usually 4 seconds (stun) that doesn’t break if damage is taken
– disables you for a long time, usually 8 seconds (mez) that breaks if any damage is taken
Several of them can be used in such a way that they interrupt you, but are not considered true interrupts. Also, while you will be spending plenty of time defending against CC’s, don’t forget that you have several at your disposal as well!
An important thing to know is that CCs are governed by the resolve system. CCs build resolve based on the “strength” of the CC. Although most CCs build resolve, it is worth noting that slows and roots do not.. As a result, the resolve system does not protect players from these effects no matter how frequently afflicted by them.
When someone reaches full resolve, they are immune to further CCs until their resolve dissipates (something like 5 seconds). You may hear players call this a “white bar” (or that the player was/has been “white-barred”) because your resolve bar becomes white when full, indicating immunity. Keep this in mind when defending against and using your CCs. Note: white-barred players may still be slowed and rooted since neither of these CC-types respect resolve.
(For a comprehensive discussion of the system, check out this post over on the PvP forums)
CC as a weapon:
- Commandos have three CC’s, Cryo Grenade (short stun), Concussive Charge (knockback with a resulting slow), and Concussive Round (long stun, breaks on damage). Commandos also have a fourth special CC called Electro Net which slows but also “hampers” the enemy preventing them from using escape abilities (like stealth). Lastly, Combat Medics also have a fifth CC, a 50% slow which occurs on up to five enemies who were affected by your Kolto Bomb. These are your abilities for keeping enemies, especially melees, under control while healing. You can also use them to interrupt abilities or help defend/attack an objective if used wisely.
- Cyro Grenade strategies. Because the range of Cyro Grenade is only 10m, it is no longer useful for objective gameplay unless you are physically near the objective you intend to protect/capture. However, there are still uses for this such as self-defense to buy time to heal, break LOS of an attacker, or protect an ability coming off cooldown by stunning your attacker first. Another clever strategy is to use this in combination with Concussive Round, as you’ll see in a moment. It might also be beneficial to CC an enemy attacking your heal target to buy you enough time to heal them, but remember you’ll need to be in melee range to do this.
- Concussive Charge strategies. I think the situations to use this are fairly self-explanatory: any time you feel like you need to breathe. This is especially useful when you have two or more hostiles around you, particularly melees. Another good time to use it is after a melee has leaped to you, since they have just spent their gap-closer (note, they may be able to use other CC’s such as slows to catch back up to you). Try knocking enemies around sight-lines, or putting an enemy on a lower horizontal plane than your own. Some utilities will make these effects even more potent.
- Concussive Round strategies. Concussive Round is a long stun that breaks on damage taken, so never use it on anyone who will likely take damage (such as who your tank is presently shooting/glow-sticking). Sometimes it is worth the risk, and a smart strategy is using it as a follow-up to a Cyro Grenade. Ideally, your target will be overzealous enough to burn their CC-break on Cyro Grenade, forcing them to endure the full 8 seconds of your mez with no way out (unless damaged or cleansed). Consider Tech Overriding the Concussive Round to instantly apply the stun on the move, which can be good in self-defense or attack/defending a point. As an added bonus, you can then capitalize on the next 6 seconds of being interrupt-immune thanks to Tech Override’s secondary effect.
- Kolto Bomb strategies. Up to 5 enemies affected by Kolto Bomb will be slowed by 50% of their movement speed. The most common purpose is going to be in self-defense, since any melees attacking you will be slowed pretty much the entire time (assuming you are using Kolto Bomb offcooldown). Use this to cut around corners, so try timing Kolto Bomb as you round one to apply the slow then. Beyond this, you can also help control a pack of enemies while healing any allies in the pack — which has a ton of applications when playing the objectives. Since its cheap and on a relatively short cooldown, feel free to spam it if you aren’t already doing so.
- Electro Net strategies. Electro Net is a very powerful ability when used an opportune times. Not only does it slow the target and apply one of the strongest DoTs in the game (which increases by 20% everytime the target moves), but also has the added bonus of preventing escapes and high movement abilities such as leaps. For the most part you’ll probably want to save it for offense (like putting in a target being focused fired) or objective play (like the ball carrier in Huttball). However, there are also opportunities to use it to prevent and deter enemies from following you when you use Hold the Line to retreat, especially if you are fighting a melee or another class with a gap closer. In addition, remember that Electro Net can only be removed prematurely by using one’s CC-breaker. Keep in mind that Electro Net generates no resolve so consider complementing it with other CCs if you can spare them.
Defending against CC:
- Resolve and Tenacity (The Trooper CC-Breaker). Tenacity is the Trooper’s CC-breaker, meaning it allows to us to break out of any CC. It is on a long cooldown. Because many people misunderstand the resolve system, it is essential that you save Tenacity for moments when you are at full resolve, that way you are immune to further CC for a short duration. NEVER use Tenacity to break a slow or a root unless trying to save or capture an objective, since it leaves you defenseless against future CCs.
- Cleansing CCs with Field Aid. Combat Medics can cleanse any CC that is Tech, Mental, or Physical. That includes slows, roots, and any mez that meets that description. You cannot cleanse short stuns (the 4 second variety) regardless of type. Use this trick to avoid using a CC-breaker, or break a teammate out of a mez.Keep in mind that cleanses may remove other debuffs first, if others are present.
- Keep your feet moving with Hold the Line. All Troopers now have access to Hold the Line which makes you immune to roots and slows for the duration. This also includes knockbacks, pulls, and other physical effects. You can still be stunned or be mezzed. Remember that Hold the Line also cleanses all existing slows and roots so use this if you cannot cleanse them with Field Aid (especially when defending yourself or an objective). Also, keep in mind that Hold the Line does not increase your movement speed outside of combat; but there’s no point using it unless you are in combat or anticipate someone is about to attack you and put you in combat (remember that this will prevent roots from leaps, the knockdowns of some openers like Shoot First, and pulls from Vanguards).
- Using a CC to your advantage. Before when I mentioned interrupts, I mentioned that it can help you recover some ammo. CCs are much the same way. If you can afford to suffer the CC (no one will die, including yourself), allow it to run its course instead of using Tenacity to break out. Doing so saves your CC-breaker for later and is a clever way of regenerating some ammo in combat. This, like before, is very situational. It also requires you to know which stuns to take, and which ones to break.
Damage by and large is the biggest challenge of a healer. Not only will you soak up a hideous amount of damage, but you are also responsible for healing it. Surviving focus damage is a trial by fire, and will be a constant stress on any healer. Combat Medics have two main cooldowns to minimize incoming damage, but since we are healers, that also serves as a very direct line of defense against damage.
- Ranged Line of Sight (LOS). Fighting ranged targets is generally easy to deal with, since their most powerful attacks often require them to be stationary. This isn’t always the case (such as with DoT-based specializations like Assault Specialist/Pyrotechnics), but most of the time all you need is to break line of sight behind some physical obstacle to defend against anything they send your way. This forces them to reposition, often closer to you, so be mindful of this. Sometimes they may reposition behind you so you can no longer break LOS, at which time you can more or less treat them as melees until you put some distance between you and them. Ranged class also love to root or slow you in place to get a good hit on you — remember to use Field Aid or Hold the Line to escape these!
- Melee Line of Sight (LOS). Breaking LOS on melees (or DoT-based classes) is all about kiting and staying one step ahead of your attacker(s). Your CC’s will be invaluable for granting you that space, but also to break up particularly damaging attacks/targets for some time. Hold the Line is also very handy if you are being lept to by multiple enemies as this will keep you from being rooted (in fact, if you time it correctly you can be out of melee range before they even reach you).
- Be mindful of how and when you break LOS of an attacker! Breaking LOS might help keep targets off your back, but if done incorrectly, your teammates won’t be able to see you. If so, that means they cannot help you! Ideally, you want to break LOS in such a way that your attacker must physically enter a group of your allies or at the very least into their field of view (this can’t be helped sometimes). If you have a cooldown to spare, consider using a CC to plant them in a group of allies to make them more appetizing for those DPS/tanks of yours.
- Steady yourself with Hold the Line.. In combat, Hold the Line gives you a speed boost and makes you immune to roots, slows, and physical effects. There are three reasons to use it: to retreat when under pressure, to advance to safety or defend an objective, or to stand your ground and not worry about getting interrupted with displacements (by knockbacks for example). Use it in combination with full resolve whenever the situation permits.
- Consumable Items The two most common that you’ll probably end up using are Warzone Adrenals and Warzone Medpacks. Adrenals are a handy tool that increase your damage reduction by 15% for 10 seconds and can be used more than once per fight. You’ll either want to use Adrenals as a throwaway cooldown to increase your damage reduction (such as when you are under some pressure but don’t want to use other cooldowns) or to increase the effectiveness of your other defensives, namely Reactive Shield.When used in combination, you’ll have 10 seconds of 40% damage reduction in addition to all of Reactive Shield’s other effects (healing received, etc). Medpacks can only be used once per fight, on the other hand, so you’ll probably want to be conservative with using it if it looks like you’re going to be in it for the long haul. Generally, Warzone Medpacks should be saved until you are less than 50% HP and you grow more comfortable with it you’ll be able to push it further. Try to avoid using it in combination with Adrenaline Rush (since it will abruptly end the effect) except in an emergency, and if you can use it while Reactive Shield is up (it benefits from the healing received increase). You may also want to bring Cybertech Grenades to help yourself, but these can only effect the same player once every three minutes. The three most useful are the root (Cyro), slow (Cartel Waste), and knockdown (Seismic) grenades, but these are all situational so use them wisely. These all apply a 90 second buff to their victim, preventing them from being affected by another Cybertech Grenade for the duration.
- Use Trauma Probe as a passive reactive heal. Trauma Probe is a sometimes underrated heal. It doesn’t do much, but can be the cushion you need to avoid healing yourself for one more GCD. In general, Always try to keep Trauma Probe should always be on yourself, even if you can’t keep it up on others.
- Adrenaline Rush as your proactive cooldown.. Adrenaline Rush is more situational than it was before Rise of the Hutt Cartel (Patch 2.0). If you have it active and your HP drops below 35% it rapidly heals you back to 35% (and its total healing will not exceed 35% of your maximum HP). So if you suspect that heavy pressure is coming your way consider using Adrenaline Rush early (it lasts for a minute so you do have some leeway). It is fairly difficult to kill you through it once it is triggered and it should buy you enough time to save yourself, escape, or have an ally intervene.
- Reactive Shield as your designated “oh ****” cooldown. Reactive Shield is your strongest defensive cooldown and will be your best friend when you are being focus-fired. When under heavy pressure, pop Reactive Shield, particularly if you’ve been interrupted recently since you cannot afford to be interrupted in this situation. If you are at full resolve, this is even more valuable; if not, be on guard for CC’s since they are most likely imminent. In the best-case scenario, you want to be able to stand still while using Reactive Shield to make use of that interrupt immunity. If not possible, continue using LOS and CC and pop off a heal whenever you can (Bacta Infusion, Kolto Bomb, and Tech Override will be very helpful here). Again, Hold the Line will help you stay on the move when being slowed or rooted.
Following Patch 3.0, there’s a lot less freedom in your build. That’s because it’s linear and automatic now: as you gain levels, you gain skills at predetermined levels (in the same way you can get new or upgraded abilities at a class trainer every few levels). The good news is that many of these mandatory skills are fundamental to the mechanics and functioning of the Combat Medic anyway, and a lot of the unnecessary skills have been cut. What remains, along with some new toys, has been added to a new “skill tree” called Utilities. This is where the real customization is, and where you can really make some interesting choices.
There are several ways to go about building your character. You don’t need to necessarily need to get a spreadsheet, but its a good idea to know what role you want to play and how you want to go about it. Having trouble managing ammo? Take a utility that helps with that or gear for extra Alacrity. Getting controlled too much? Take the cooldown reduction to Tenacity and upgrade your Concussive Charge to knock people back further. The point is: your gear and your utilities should work together, not against one another.
So let’s begin building a character for healing. If you are do-it-yourselfer, the list of all Commando skills abilities which are relevant to Combat Medics can also be found below. They are grouped by their tier, with some commentary thrown in to help make a decision.
Tier 1 — Choose any 3 to unlock Tier 2
- Concussive Force – Stockstrike roots targets for 4 seconds, but direct damage taken after 2 seconds breaks the root. In addition, Concussive Charge is stronger and knocks enemies an additional 4 meters away. Concussive Force is the first of a few utilities centering around Concussive Charge, all of which synergize well. Unfortunately, many of these are in later tiers where the trade-offs are much higher. As a result, your Concussive Charge will never be quite as powerful as it could be. In Tier 1, however, you could get away with taking this, especially because its one of three utilities on this tier that are really good options. In general, a perk like this is going to be good if you want to bolster your mobility and grant yourself an additional CC from Stockstrike and a better knockback. I don’t take this utility because I am experimenting with Charged Barrier right now, but I am contemplating taking this (and/or Tenacious Defense) when I go about optimizing my own build. It’s definitely something I recommend as one of the more compelling choices on this tier.
- Paralytic Combat Stims – Generates 10 ammo every time you are rooted, stunned, knocked down, or otherwise incapacitated. This is another one of the really compelling utilities in the first tier for Commandos, and can be used by any kind of Combat Medic — new or old, mobile or stationary, pure healer or hybrid. As a healer, you are going to get hit with a lot with CC, and this utility converts that passively into 10 ammo. In fact, the regularity of which this occurs make this really difficult to pass up. Even veteran Combat Medics that manage ammo well could benefit from this utility, especially in a match when the enemies are throwing CCs around like they’re going out of style.
- Cell Capacitor – Recharge Cells immediately generates an additional 15 ammo, and grants +10% alacrity for 6 seconds. This is generally going to be an optional utility once you get comfortable with your ammo management, but it may be a very helpful early utility when you are still learning the ropes.
- Chain Gunnery – Increases the damage dealt by Hail of Bolts by 25%. For pure healers, this is meaningless and can be passed over. If you are doing a more hybrid-oriented build, you may get some millage out of it, but with some serious trade offs for other options.
- Heavy Trooper – Increases Endurance and healing received by 3%. Small upgrades on both fronts, but still a good passive upgrade if none of the other abilities strike your fancy. Like Charged Barrier below, I take this utility because the extra HP and healing received suits my play-style well. (Also like Charged Barrier below, I may drop it once I optimize my character).
- Tenacious Defense – Reduces the cooldown of Concussive Charge by 5 seconds, and reduces the cooldown Tenacity by 30 seconds. This is the last of the compelling choices in this tier, in my opinion. Mostly for the CC reduction, because the Concussive Charge reduction doesn’t really shine unless you take Reflexive Battery in Tier 3. Still, if you find yourself using Concussive Charge often, it won’t hurt either. I’d recommend taking Concussive Force and/or Paralytic Stims before taking Tenancious Defense, but if you have one or both, Tenacious Defense is a good choice for your third Tier 1 utility.
- Charged Barrier – Activating Grav Round, Charged Bolts, or Medical Probe grants one stack of Charged Barrier, reducing damage received by 1% per stack. Stacks up to five times. This is a utility that can work for healers or DPS, and I take it because I like my Combat Medic to be a little more tanky than most. The challenge to this, however, is the Charged Barrier lasts only 15 seconds, and there are times even in a tight fire-fight where I will not cast Medical Probe in that window and it falls off. Worthy of some experimentation, but by no means highly recommended.
Tier 2 — Choose any 2 to unlock Tier 3
- Advance the Line – Increases the duration of Hold the Line by 4 seconds. This is essentially the same effect that the Combat Medic set bonus used to grant us. This is a definitely a handy utility, but here in Tier 2, there are some really big trade-offs. To me, two of the utilities on this level win out — Med Zone and Combat Shield — and that’s a shame because this would be an interesting option on Tier 1. Still, if your willing to sacrifice a second utility point in Tier 3, Advance the Line is worth the thought if you find yourself rooted, slowed, and knocked back often. The knockback resistance is the best part of Hold the Line, considering how frequently physical effects (like a knockback) are used to interrupt you.
- Night-vision Scope – Increases stealth detection by 2, increases ranged and melee defense by 2% and reduces the cooldown of Stealth Scan by 5 seconds. This is a nice utility for someone other than a healer. The defense is nice, but the anti-stealth options are limited. Not because they’re poor, but because you shouldn’t be guarding an objective solo, and once in combat the usefulness of your Stealth Scan drops to essentially zero.
- Suit FOE – When you use Field Aid on yourself, the damage of all periodic effects is reduced by 30% for 12 seconds. This is one of the really good choices on this tier — and there’s a few — but it competes with a similar utility on Tier 3. The upside to this ability is that all DOTs do 30% less damage, and it is possible to have 100% up-time if you use Field Aid promptly. In all honesty, this comes down more so to what kind of opposition you’re up against. If they’re running DOT-heavy, this might make the difference. I still feel the fact that it is an active ability (compared to the passive Shock Absorbers it competes with) is what makes me skip it. Alternatively, if the reduction could be spread party-wide, it would make it a very good healing tool. For now, optional at best.
- Med Zone – Increases healing received by 20% while Reactive Shield is active. This is the talent I put my “non-mandatory” Tier 2 utility point in. Paired with Combat Shield and Reflexive Shield in Tier 3, this utility makes you as immortal as your going to get as a Combat Medic. And considering Combat Shield is mandatory as far as I’m concerned, Med Zone becomes pretty much mandatory by association. There’s nothing in Tier 2 that upgrades your survivability with the same kind of magnitude, except Suit SOE if you’re fighting some heavy rolling DOTs. Until there is, I feel there is no contest, especially because Suit SOE can be alternated with Shock Absorbers with your 7th utility point.
- Electro Shield – While your Reactive Shield is active, nearby enemies are shocked for a small amount of damage. Effect may only occur once per second. Essentially a DPS-only utility. I can see value in most of the utilities on this tier, but Electro Shield and Night-vision Scope are regrettably useless for healers. Skip.
- Efficient Conversions – Reduces the ammo cost of Concussive Charge, Concussive Round, Field Aid, and Cryo Grenade. The one that got away! If I had one more utility point, this would be my first choice in the entire tree. I miss this, because it used to make healing easier. Your ammo supply was dedicated to healing; now you have to consider your CCs into your ammo management. Still, there’s no utilities in Tier 2 or 3 I’d trade for this one, as much as I want it for efficiency.
- Combat Shield – While Reactive Shield is active, you are immune to interrupts and suffer 30% less pushback on casted abilities. Pushback, if you are unaware, occurs when you take damage while activating or channeling an ability. The damage causes the progress of the cast to be “pushed back” to the start, making it take longer. As part of your Discipline, you already have a 70% reduction, so the extra 30% here gives you complete immunity. That’s nice. What’s even better is the interrupt immunity. When Combat Shield was in the skill tree before, I called it a mandatory skill to take for PVP. Now that it is a utility, nothing has changed. It is absolutely mandatory, because there is nothing on its tier that compares. And once you get Reflexive Shield on the next tier, you’ll understand why.
- Shock Absorbers – You receive 30% less damage from all areal effects, and take 30% less damage while stunned. This is the utility that I choose over Suit FOE, because this is a more common experience for me as a healer. The reduction to all AoE damage is nice, but that 30% damage reduction while stunned is glorious. In fact, this (along with Reflexive Shield) made me drool when I realized they were going to be available to Combat Medics. This utility makes you very hard to kill while stunned, and even harder to kill if you have Reactive Shield or Adrenaline Rush active at the same time.
- Reflexive Shield – Each time you take damage, the cooldown of Reactive Shield is reduced by 3 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. In addition, taking damage has a 20% chance to grant Energy Redoubt, absorbing a small amount of damage and lasts 6 seconds. This effect cannot occur more than once every 10 seconds. This is the new toy that have Combat Medic really ought to pick up. During intense firefights where you are taking damage constantly, this utility gives your Reactive Shield a 1-minute cooldown. Toss in the fact that your Reactive Shield lasts 10 seconds and the cooldown dips to 50 seconds (and then there’s usually about a ~5 second reduction in the cooldown from alacrity, too). Combine this with Med Zone and Combat Shield and you will be very difficult to kill for 10 seconds out of every 50. This utility is essentially mandatory; I cannot even imagine going without it.
- Overclock – Reduces the cooldown of Tech Override and Concussive Round by 15 seconds. In addition, Tech Override grants a second stack, allowing your next two abilities with an activation time to activate instantly. When I first saw this, I was very excited. That excitement has since been tempered. Overclock is really good for a mobile Combat Medic, especially if you’ve been picking up those movement/crowd control utilities. But for the more “traditional” turret Combat Medic, it is hard to choose this. I want to, but I feel the tradeoffs are too great. Keep in mind that Tech Override doesn’t apply to your Successive Treatment, and also note that your interrupt immunity (that is granted by Tech Override) doesn’t take effect until the second charge is consumed. These aren’t Overclock’s doing, but these are restrictions that should be considered when making your decision to pass/take it.
- Reflexive Battery – Increases the damage dealt by Concussive Charge by 20%. In addition, taking damage reduces the cooldown of Concussive Charge by 1 second. This effect cannot occur more than once every 1.5 seconds. This is the “capstone” to the Concussive Charge utilities, and is what makes Concussive Charge a really nice part of one’s rotation, particularly for your mobile Combat Medics. While I may experiment with a more mobile build in the future, Reflexive Battery really doesn’t fit into the utility build unless you take the other upgrades lower in the utility tree.
- Forced March – Full Auto, Bulletstorm, and Successive Treatment may all be channeled while moving. This looks to me to be a very good utility for a mobile Combat Medic. In fact, there is probably some potential here to be a good build, I just don’t see it — and haven’t yet seen — anyone pull it off. It’s a shame too, this is the kind of utility that Combat Medics have been long missing; there just doesn’t seem to be enough room in the build to make this work.
- Supercharged Reserves – Reduces the cooldown of Field Aid and Disabling Shot by 3 seconds. In addition, 10 stacks of Supercharge are granted by casting Recharge and Reload. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds. The first effect of this utility is good; the rest not so much. In most situations, there is enough time to build a Supercharge from casting Med Shot before you get to wherever you’re going that its useless. I do think having a Supercharge ready to before any fight IS important, but tying it to Recharge and Reload drastically undermines it because you must remain in place while casting it (delaying you from getting wherever you have to go). Besides, compared to other utilities on this tier, there’s no good reason to take this as a healer.
- Kolto Wave – Concussive Charge heals you and up to 7 allies for a small amount over 3 seconds. Patch 3.0 has done nothing to make Kolto Wave more compelling for a Combat Medic. In fact, having it in Tier 3 seems really problematic, because I don’t think its more important than Overclock or Reflexive Battery (and I didn’t take either of them anyway). For all the utilities in the tree, this one is the most underwhelming for a Combat Medic. And of course its healing needs to be somewhat meager because its available to DPS (and because there are the other utilities that make Concussive Charge much more prominent in a rotation), but its lackluster numbers make it out of place not only in the tree, but also in your healer build. This is also a shame, because I think the idea behind Kolto Wave is really good.
Gear and Stats
The next step in building your character is the gear, and this is very important. Your gear set-up should be supplementing the choices you made in the skill tree, not working against it. For instance, if you’ve taken most of the alacrity skills in the trees, you need minimal alacrity on your gear.
Relevent Stats for Healers
Before jumping into the gearing aspect, though, let’s quickly take a look at what stats you should be paying attention to on your Combat Medic:
- Aim – Increases the healing/damage of all abilities, increases your tech power healing and damage (an additional modifier), and increases your critical rating. For the most part, stacking your main stat is almost always your best choice if it is a large margin.
- Endurance – increases your hit points. You’re going to need that HP so you can take a beating, but you rarely need to go out of your way to stack Endurance. For the most part any piece that is an improvement for Aim also improves Endurance, but check the numbers (there are exceptions) to be sure.
- Expertise – Always stack this stat. While Expertise may seem counter-productive on paper, the healing boost and damage reduction it offers are priceless (and otherwise unavailable if you do not use Expertise).
- Tech Power – this stat is found only on Mainhand and Offhand weapons. It plays a massive role in your damage and healing output, so it is almost always a good idea to take the option with the most Tech Power. Along with power, it has no diminishing returns.
- Power – an additional stat that stacks on top of your Aim and Tech Power for bonus healing or damage. Keep in mind that Crit competes with Power in your item budget so you must sacrifice one to get the other — this plays a role in planning your gear.
- Crit – increases the frequency of critical damage or heals. Note that its diminishing returns make it problematic to stack, especially beyond a 30% critical chance. It competes with power so once you have a critical chance that satisfies your needs pour the rest in power.
- Surge – increases the magnitude of critical damage or heals. It is also subject to diminishing returns, but is a great secondary stat to build up if available.
- Alacrity -Lowers your global cooldown, accelerates your channel times, and provides a bonus to your regeneration rate. Also lowers the internal cooldowns of select abilities (e.g. Trauma Probe) and the cooldown of abilities. Stack enough to satisfy your preferences (probably the channel time) and then pour the rest into surge.
- Defense – allows you to dodge/parry/etc an incoming attack, and thus dealing no damage. You can play around with some defense but it most likely won’t be enough to make a difference when you need it.
Also worth noting is that Shield Rating and Absorption Rating have no effect for Commando healers. Those stats are reserved for Vanguards. Also, Accuracy is only useful if you are dealing damage — as a pure healer it is pointless because heals are guaranteed to hit.
Gearing in 3.3
The latest iterations of PVP gear have been fairly well itemized for the Combat Medic role and should be prioritized. The main value of taking the DPS equivalents is to gain access to secondary or tertiary stats that may complement your build. For instance, I’m a big fan of stacking power over critical rating so that my heals always hit hard (versus only hitting hard on a critical heal), so I’ll usually drop critical rating once at 25% critical chance (30% with Target Lock). Keep in mind that if you are going to mix and match DPS and healing gear, the healing set-bonuses are quite important for long-term healing. Consequently, the healing armors mods must be in what ever gear you plan on wearing so that you receive the necessary bonuses.
The “Left Side” of your character sheet: Earpieces, implants, relics (and augments)
Unlike the “right side” (the armor and weapons), the left side of you character sheet has more options to suit your needs. Indeed, this is the best opportunity to fill any gaps that may have developed in your gear while optimizing. Personally, I prefer taking the Aim and Power relics, Aim/Endurance augments on all gear, and typically DPS implants and earpieces since these usually have high surge and power versus critical rating and alacrity.
Make sure you have around a 25% critical chance before stacking power, and make sure you have a satisfactory amount of alacrity. Of course, both of these limits are very easily attained through the opening tier of gear, so its not too difficult..
Patch 3.3 is now live, which has made a few changes to the Combat Medic/Bodyguard Discipline. The guide currently continues to have the pre-3.3 notes for the Discipline list; this will be updated after patching completes.
Note on this section:
CC, Resolve, and You – What is Resolve, how it works, and how can you take advantage of it – Link
Setting Up Healing Frames, Focus Target – Two UI features that can be useful for healers – Link
– May 22, 2012: Posted first two sections of guide: Fundamental Combat Medic Mechanics and Ammo Management. Sections on Survival, and Builds and Gear still being edited for 1.2.
– May 23, 2012: Stickied! And added the first part of the Survival section.
– May 29, 2012: Added last of three sections to Survival, “Damage”.
– June 26, 2012: Making finishing touches to Gearing/Building section of guide, which has been delayed due to a few changes in Update 1.3 which need review.
– June 28, 2012: Added first part of Gearing/Building section, “Skill Trees and Builds”.
– July 15, 2012: Guide Completed.
– July 19, 2012: Added a section to Ammo Management about the effects of Alacrity. Also added a section about building a Combat Medic in the 10-49 bracket to the Builds/Gear section. Made other minor grammatical changes.
– September 4, 2012: Updated the First Impressions section to mention preliminary changes for Combat Medics in 1.4 . Expect further updates to this and the rest of the guide when the patch notes are released.
– September 27, 2012: Guide is being updated for Patch 1.4. Changes include: no true interrupt is no longer a class weakness, changes to CC, interrupt strategies (now that we have one!), Kolto Bomb slow strategies, and more.
– Early 2013: Added links to sections on first page for easier navigation. Updated First Impressions for Patch 2.0.
– April 10, 2013: Updated first impressions following the early access launch of 2.0. Review of guide, particularly survival and ammo management (specifically Alacrity’s impact), is in progress.
– May 2, 2013: Began the process of updating the guide for 2.0. Chapter 1 and most of Chapter 2 is complete. Chapter 3 is the next to be updated. Updating should be completed by May 18, 2013 at the latest.
-May 11, 2013: Guide fully updated for 2.0.
-October 15, 2013: Made a few updates to my posted build and gear, edited a few suggestions to account for Areans where applicable, and updated a few sections with observations/ability changes (e.g. Adrenaline Rush now triggers at 35% instead of 30% after 2.4; Hold the Line does not provide a speed boost outside of combat).
– January 2014: First Impressions updated to reflect Patch 2.6 changes.