~ FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS WELCOME! ~
UPDATED for Game Update 5.8.
I will keep this guide updated as best I can.
Disclaimer: I definitely am not the best at my class in PvP. I have however been playing it for a very long time and find it a highly enjoyable spec. I’d like to think I at least know a little bit about playing the class.
Hopefully, this guide can help get you started with learning how the class works. There are other skill sets needed to excel at healing which I will highlight later. But first, I can help by highlighting the most useful abilities and utilities for Mercenary/Commando healers.
For reference: I always put the Mercenary ability first then the Commando equivalent.
- Rotations and Priorities
- Gearing and Stats
- Warzone Tips and Survival Strategies
- How to Improve your PvP Game
- UI, Settings and Keybindings
- PvP Experience and Conclusion
Key Healing Abilities
- /: Basic heal, builds Supercharge charges.
- /: AOE heal.
- /: 4 target AOE heal.
- /: HoT, heals on damage taken.
- /: Instant heal, increases armor.
- /: With Proc from ES/BI is instant cast.
- /: Filler heal, also builds Supercharge charges.
- /: Increases healing done by 5% for 10 seconds. Build 10 charges, using Med Kolto Shot/Shot and Rapid Scan/Medical Probe, then activate it off cooldown.
Key Defensive Cooldowns
- /: Triggers at 35% health and heals you for 35% of your total health.
- /: Increases damage reduction by 25% for 12 seconds.
- /: Activates an advanced response system that absorbs all incoming direct single target damage for the next 6 seconds, reflecting 50% of the absorbed damage back at the attacker and healing you for 5% of your maximum health each time an attack is absorbed. Can be used while stunned.
Additional Key Abilities
- /: Get away ability
- /: Another get away /escape ability introduced in 4.0.
- /: Makes next ability (or 2) instant cast.
- /: Makes next ability cost free.
- /: An ‘oh shit’ button for venting heat/recharging cells (over 3 seconds).
- /: Your CC Breaker.
- /: Your cleanse. Can cleanse tech based CC’s (8 second stuns).
- /: 4 second stun.
- : A snare that reduces targets speed by 50% and does damage.
- /: Knocks back enemies away from you.
- /: AOE DPS ability with no cool-down to stop caps.
Stance: Stances are now tied to Disipline. So need to worry about it.
Here are the Utilities I use on my Mercenary and Commando.
I’m basically using a defensive/mobile build at the moment. It means I don’t have any interrupt immunity but the defensives make up for that to an extent. I’ve listed a couple of additional utilities that are good that could be used instead if you prefer interrupt immunity.
- Gyroscopic Alignment Jets/Paralletic Combat Stims: You Vent 10 Heat/Recharge 10 Energy Cells when stunned, immobalised, knocked down or otherwise incapacitated. You will get stunned quite frequently so it is worth taking advantage of this.
- Jet Escape/Tenacious Defense: Reduces the cooldown of Jet Boost/Concussion Charge by 5 seconds and Determination/Tenacity (CC Breaker) by 30 seconds. Reducing the cooldown of your CC breaker is always handy and the reduced cooldown of Jet Boost/Concussion Charge is a good bonus.
- (Additional useful) Improved Vents/Cell Capacitor: Vent Heat/Recharge cells now immediately vents/recharges an additional 15 heat/energy cells and grants 10 alacrity for 6 seconds. Pretty self explanatory but other two utilities above are more worth the points in my view.
- Heat Damping/Efficient Conversions: Eliminates the heat generated/energy cell cost of Jet Boost/Concussion Charge, Concussion Missile/Concussive Round, Cure/Field Aid and Electro Dart/Cryo Grenade.This utility obviously helps with heat management as you’ll likely use 3 out of 4 of these abilties fairly reguarly.
- Supercharge Reserves: Reduces the cooldown of Cure/Field Aid and Disabling Shot by 3 seconds each.You will find yourself probably using your Cleanse more then your Interrupt but having them both on a shorter cooldown is always handy.
- (Additional Useful) Power Barrier/Charged Barrier: Rapid Scan/Medical Probe and Power Shot/Charged Bolts generate a Power Barrier that increases damage reduction by 1% for 15 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times. Nice little defence bonus but I prefer the other Utilities above.
- (Additional Useful) Torque Boosters/Advance the Line: Increases the duration of Hyraulic Overrides/Hold the Line by 4 seconds. Not really worth it compared to the main two abilities above. More of a situational thing.
- Power Overrides/Overclock: Reduces to cooldown of Power Surge/Tech Override by 15 seconds. In addition Power Surge/Tech override grants a second charge, making your next two abilities with an activation time activate instantly. This gives you more mobility and gives you two abilities which would be prone to interrupts and makes it impossible for them to be interrupted.
- Trauma Regulators/Trauma Stabalisers: While Energy Shield is active, you gnerate a stack of Trauma Regulators each time you recieve direct damage. Stacks up to 10 times. When Energy Shield expires, each stack of Trauma Regulators heals you for 4% of your maximum health. This is one of our critical defensive utilities.
- (Additional useful) Power Shield/Combat Shield: Energy Shield/Reactive Shield now further decreases ability activation pushback and makes you immune to interrupts. This would pair well with the Trauma Regulators/Trauma Stabalisers Utility if you’re willing to sacrifice having two instant cast heals.
- Thrill of the Hunt/Forced March: Allows Unload/Full-Auto and Progressive Scan/Successive Treatment to be activated while moving. This is brilliant, more mobility is always a good thing.
- Koloto Surge/Adreneline Surge: Kolto Overload heals you twice as fast and heals you up to 60% of your maximum health. Additionally, the duration is increased by 2 seconds. Another very useful defensive utility.
- (Additional Useful) Supercharged Defence: Increases defence chance by 15% and grants immunity to interrupts for 8 seconds. In addition, your healing recieved and endurance is increaced by 3%. I personally feel that as good as interrupt immunity is, I prefer to be able to move while casting Progressive Scan/Successive Treatment.
Rotations and Priorities
Before each Warzone/Arena starts, there are two things you should do.
- Build up your 10 stacks of (/, Rapid Shots/Hammer Shot & /) are main abilities which build up Supercharge.
- Put a / on everyone.
Emergency Scan/Bacta Infusion, Healing Scan/Advanced Medical Probe and Progressive Scan/Successive Treatment are your three main healing abilities which you should aim to use when they are off cooldown. You can use PS/ST before or after ES/BI – HS/AMP but you should always use ES/BI before HS/AMP. I use the filler abilities (Kolto Shot/Med Shot, Rapid Scan/Medical Probe & Kolto Missile/Kolot Bomb) in between the cooldowns of ES/BI, HS/AMP and PS/ST.
/: Use Kolto Shot/Med Shot (1 charge) and Rapid Scan/Medical Probe (2 charges) to build up 10 charges of Supercharge Gas/Supercharge Cell then activate it. Try to use it off cooldown. You should build up 10 stacks fairly quickly and regularly from using Kolto Shot/Med Shot frequently as fillers.
Rapid Scan/Medical Probe also builds up stacks of / which reduces the cost your your next Healing Scan/Advanced Medical Probe per stack (stacks up to 3 times). Having 3 stacks of Critical Efficiency/Field Triage will make your next Healing Scan/Advanced Medical Probe free.
As Rapid Scan/Medical Probe uses a fair bit of your Heat/Energy Cells use Kolto Shot/Med Shot in between to help keep your Heat/Energy management in check.
- Use Kolto Missile/Kolto Bomb on cool-down it’s an effective and underutilised AOE heal.
- Refresh Kolto Shell/Trauma Probe.
- Weave in Kolto Shot/Med Shot to build up your supercharge and pop it every time it’s off cooldown when in a fight or build it up and save when there are breaks and save it for the next engagement. Just get into the habit of continuously hitting your Kolto Shot/Med Shot!
- Don’t use Rapid Scan/Medical Probe too much. It will drain your resources so use it along with a Kolto Shot/Med Shot or two. Both of these abilities, again are fillers.
The key to healing well is to be able to quickly switch targets and be able to predict who’s going to take the damage. Use your filler abilities when there isn’t much damage going out.
Gearing and Stats
This section will have to be continually updated due to the nature of the Galactic Command System. As of 5.4 248 Legendary Gear is the best you can get. But 240 (or 246) Purple crafted, 242 legendary Gear and 246 purple drops from Command Crates will be just fine until you can get full 248’s.
Basics: Mastery and Power are the main stats you get. There is no longer Expertise stat. Important secondary stats are Critical Rating and Alacrity. Other secondary stats are useless for healers. You should be aiming for 1860 Alacrity. Once you get 1860 Alacrity, the rest of your Stat budget goes into Critical Rating. You should end up with over 2020 Critical Rating.
Here are my Game Update 5.8 Stats*. Note: I’m using an Advanced Polibiotic Versatile Stim and have all the Relics in the Game.
My Current Gear – Full 248’s (subject to change)
[Will do new pics when full 236 augmented
Set Bonus: 6 Piece Combat Medic Set Gear
Barrels: 248 Legendary Barrel x2
Colour Crystals: Eviscerating (Critical) x2
Mods: Lethal Mod (248) x9
Enhancements: Adept x4 / Quick Savant x3 (248)
Augments*: Advanced Critical Augment x4, Advanced Alacrity Augment x10 (228)
Relics: Devastating Vengeance & Focused Retribution 248
Implants: 248 Adept x1, 248 Quick Savant x1
Earpiece: 248 Quick Savant
*In 5.6 two new Tiers of Augments were introduced into the game. 230 and 236. I have very slowly been upgrading my existing Augments to 236 level Augments. 236 Augments give you an additional +33 Power and +2 Tertiary Stat. Once I’m fully 236 Augmented, I will update my Stats accordingly. The main difference will be an increase in Power Stat with small increases in Critical Rating and Alacrity.
For more information on how to get gear, see my PvP Gearing Guide.
Resolve is a system that mitigates the effect of impairing/crowd control abilities on a player. Even as a healer you need to understand how resolve works, how it will affect you and how your stun, CC (crowd control/mezz) and knockback (all CC effects) will affect resolve. When you stun, CC or use a knockback your opponent it will fill up their white bar incrementally. Once their bar is full they are immune to stun’s, CC’s and knockbacks for a short duration until their white bar gets reset to zero. The resolve bar appears under the character name.
If you have a full resolve bar most of the time, this generally gives you an advantage. However good players can use the resolve system against you. If they know how much resolve an ability builds, they can time their abilities out to prevent you from getting white-barred. Or they can deliberately white-bar you (when they know you’ve used your CC breaker already) and potentially cap an objective.
The Resolve Bar is divided into 4 sections which each have 4 parts totalling 16 parts.
Here is a table that shows how much Resolve Stuns, CC’s and knockback builds.
|AOE Crowd Control||10/16|
The rate at which resolve diminishes is 1/16 per 2 seconds.
Warzone Tips and Survival Strategies
- Positioning – Make sure you position yourself towards the back of the pack. Stand near something like a pillar that you can use to ‘line of sight’ incoming damage. Use the environment to your advantage.
- Kite – Learn to move around while healing (yes you can do that) regularly even if it is not necessary so that when you do have to run away or run around pillars (eg. Civil War Mid & Voidstar) you can keep healing.
- Find a Pocket Tank – If you can find one (good luck finding one who knows what they’re doing) you won’t know yourself! Trust me, it makes a difference to your survivability having a tank around to taunt incoming damage, peel, stun and annoy anyone trying to kill you.
- Learn to not use your CC Breaker – you’ll find yourself white barred and stun locked pretty frequently. So save your CC breaker for only dire circumstances and only use it when you’re white barred except in exceptional circumstances.
- Space out your defensive cooldowns – Never ever use more than one defensive cooldown at a time. When you’re being focused by multiple people and losing health fast, use Responsive Safeguards/Echoing Deterrence. Do not use it if you’re below 10% health as the first 2 seconds of damage won’t be reflected back and you’ll likely die anyway. AOE damage is not reflected back so keep that in mind when using this ability. Energy Shield/Reactive (if specced into Trauma Regulators/Trauma Stabilisers) is also good for burst damage if you can keep yourself above ~40% health until you get to 10 stacks. Once you hit 10 stacks you can click off the shield on your buff bar and get healed to full. Kolto Overload/Adrenaline Rush is a nice way to top up your health if you’re under pressure as well.
- Smart Healing – Accept that you’re not going to be able to keep everyone alive. This is the reality of healing. Don’t waste your time chasing after someone who is LOSing you or chasing a melee that is too far away from the node. Know your limitations. If someone is close to death don’t waste your resources trying to get them back up unless you know you can do it without compromising you Heat/Energy Cells or if it’s crucial for keeping the objective. This is where playing other classes comes in handy (more on that below) as you can know the type of damage going out and then know what you can and can’t heal through.
- Node Guarding – Yes, this will likely happen on the odd occasion (but really, you shouldn’t be guarding unless there are 2-3+ other healers on your team). All you need to do is stand around 30 meters away from the objective and out of sight if possible. That way, it makes it harder for stealther’s to sap cap you. Remember to call out as soon as you see someone coming. While you wait for reinforcements run around, LOS and stay alive for as long as possible while you wait for reinforcements.
How To Improve your PvP Game
Playing Other Classes – Can help you to better play your own class by learning how to deal with other classes. Learning how to play other classes, especially in PVP, means you’ll know what they can do and in turn know how to counter their abilities, know how they can counter you, know what to interrupt and know roughly how much damage you will/can take!
This is just one method that will help some players. Other players may learn better what other classes are capable of by specialising in one class in PvP. But it doesn’t hurt to at least familiarise yourself with other classes abilities.
Situational Awareness – This is also a very crucial skill. Not just being aware of your surroundings, there’s more to it than that. You need to be able to play your class/role while also knowing how many of their team there is and how many of your team is at a particular location. You need to be asking yourself, where is my team? Where is the enemy team? Am I needed here or am I more needed elsewhere? Make a mental note of who is guarding a node so if you notice their health drop you can help quicker (I discuss this concept further below).
Practice! Practice! Practice! When you’re healing being able to predict who is going to take damage, how much damage and judging the rate someone is taking damage so you know which heals to use on them and who get healing priority takes time and practice. Learning your optimal damage rotation for your class takes time and practice.
PvP a lot. Don’t get discouraged by yourself or anyone else. Just keep at it and you will get better!
This is an absolutely critical skill that you should work on if you truly want to master PvP.
So what is Situational Awareness? Basically, it is the ability to be aware of your surroundings (what is happening around you) while simultaneously being able to perform your designated role within the ruleset of whatever environment you’re in.
In PvP in SWTOR, this means simultaneously:
- Being aware of the current circumstance of the Warzone. Is your team winning or losing? How many points does your team have?
- Constantly being aware of where your teammates are and where the enemy team is. Essentially, you should be asking yourself: Do I need to be here? Should I be elsewhere? Where is my team? How are they doing? AKA the numbers game.
- Being aware of your own situation. If you’re taking a lot of damage, pop a defensive cooldown or LOS the damage. Melee DPS in particular need to be mindful of if they’ve strayed too far from their team. A good melee DPS will go back to their teammates for healing when their health starts to drop real low. Healers generally will not chase after melee DPS who stray too far away and don’t have the smarts to come back into range of healing.
To further expand on the second point, here a few strategies you can use to help you be more situationally aware.
- If you are not defending, at the very least, note who is. That way, if you see their health drop, you know they’re under attack! Yes, the person defending should call out but most of the time this does not happen or they call too slow or too late. Being aware of who is defending and being able to get to them to help them quickly could mean the difference between winning and losing a match. One way to help you keep a better eye on who is defending the node is to have them on ‘Focus Target’. That way, you can see if they’re get sapped as well as more easily monitor their health.
- Yes, you literally should constantly count how many teammates are with you versus how many enemies there are.
- For example, if you’re in a Civil War or Yavin Ruins and there are 6 of you verses 4 of the enemy team at a control point, then you should be asking yourself, where is the rest of the enemy team? Am I needed elsewhere? Depending on the enemy teams composition, the answer will definitely be yes.
If you can master situational awareness then you will absolutely excel at PvP. It does take time to master as it does take time to learn all about the various things you need to be aware of simultaneously.
UI, Settings and Keybinding Tips
SWTOR’s User Interface is very highly customisable. You can move any UI element to anywhere you want on the screen and show or hide just about any UI element. Note unlike other MMO’s, SWTOR does not allow Add-ons (click on the image to enlarge).
To get to the User Interface Editor, all you have to do is access it through the System Menu or through the Quick UI Customisation Window.
From there you can click on any element to change its settings. You can move any element to anywhere you want on the screen and change each elements individual size. Each element has its own additional specific settings you can customise.
Be sure to spend some time playing around with the various settings in the Interface Editor. Especially for the Operations frame and Player Frame. You may want to increase the size of player buffs and debuffs in the Player Buff Tray and click Show Health Text to get health to show up as a percentage. Note any UI elements that show up in Red in the Interface Editor are not enabled and you have to click on them and tick Enable to get them to show up.
To access the PvP Interface specific elements, use the highlighted drop-down menu then select ‘Warzones’. This will allow you to move all the scoreboards for the various Warzones to wherever you like.
Generally, when it comes to PvP UI’s, it’s better to be more minimalistic. After all, you don’t want too many UI elements to distract you. But personally, I’m lazy and find it easier to just have one UI for all the content I do. But in the end, it’s all up to personal preference. As long as you have all the information on the screen you need in a configuration you like, you’ll be fine.
Essential and Useful Settings Options
Enable Focus Target
This will allow you to have a target focused. This is useful for tanks and healers to focus each other as well as for keeping an eye on who is defending the off-node.
How it looks:
To set someone as your focus target, all you have to do is select who you want as your Focus Target and hit ALT+F. It is useful for keeping an eye on the player on your team grabbing the node or a tank guarding you (it allows you to better see their situation then just using the Operations Frame).
Max Camera Distance
Set the Camera distance to 100% to ensure you can always see what is going on.
You can also increase the distance by more than 100% by going into the game files manually and editing the Camera Max Distance Value value.
The file is located using this path:
The App Data folder may be hidden so you will have to find the folder by copying the above in the RUN Command Line (making sure you substitute WindowsUsername for your own Windows Username obviously) or change your settings to show hidden folders.
Open the file SWTORAccountName_Account.ini
For example, my SWTOR Account name is Pandoras_Jar so my file is called: Pandoras_Jar_Account.ini
In the file find Controls_CameraMaxDistance. Then you set the value to 50.0 or 75.0 (or even higher) to increase the zoom out distance. You MUST put a .0 in front of any value you put in. If your Camer Distance is set to 100% in-game, the value will be 25.0.
For more details, read Segundus’ Guide from on the forums.
Ability Action Queue
If you experience high latency or lag sometimes in PvP, you may want to try out this setting. It basically allows you to queue your next ability. I have mine set to 0.75 seconds but feel free to experiment!
Show Cooldown Text
This setting allows you to see the cooldown timers on your abilities that have a cooldown.
This is how it will look on your quickbars:
Keybinding is generally seen as superior to clicking when it comes to gameplay in SWTOR. Keybinding allows for a faster reaction then clicking. It does take some practice to get used to keybinding but once you do, believe me, you’ll never go back to clicking except for those random abilities you don’t need to use that much.
How I Keybind
There are countless ways you can keybind. Personally, I had a hard time getting used to using just the keyboard for keybinding all my abilities. So I decided to try an MMO Mouse and that did the trick! I use a Logitech G600 as it allows you to keybind over 24 keys on the mouse itself!
Here in the screenshot below, you can see how I tailored my UI to mimic the 12 key layout of the Logitech G600 Mouse.
The Logitech G600 Mouse while it only has 12 side buttons allows you access to 12 more keybindings by holding down the (extra) far right button (G-shift button) on your mouse (keybinds show up as C+1, C+2 etc. on UI). The G7 key on the top of the mouse (s+B on UI) is my Cleanse button.
I have my defensive cooldowns, stun, interrupt, knockback, an AOE ability in the exact same spot on all of my characters. Also, remember to have Medpacs and Adrenals within easy reach.
Prioritise your important abilities to the easiest to press positions. You do not need every single possible ability you have for your class on your quickbars so be smart. You should not have to use every single quickbar slot in all 6 quickbars, ever. You’ll notice that I have only 5 quickbars and 2 of them are almost entirely filled with fluff.
Take your time to play around with all the UI elements and your keybinds. Set up your UI in a way you feel is comfortable with your play style. It does take at least a week of gameplay to get used to keybinds so stay focused and keep at it! Trust me, once you get into keybinding, you won’t know how you played without them!
My PVP Experience
I have a Warlord Commando (96) and an Elite Warlord Mercenary (100). I’ve been playing Mercenary/Commando heals at max level since 1.x days. I have experience PvPing on almost every Advanced Class and Discipline. Some more than others. I’ve levelled most of my alts through PvP (or predominately PVP). Other classes, I have experience with include Carnage Marauder, Sage/Sorc DPS & Heals, Scoundrel/Operative Heals. I do not claim to be the best PvPer, PvP is a game mode I really enjoy and I’m always looking to improve and be a better PvPer.
The key to being a good player is knowing which abilities are useful to your spec, when to use the ones that are useful and how to best use all your abilities. As a healer this involves knowing when and who to heal, predicting incoming damage and knowing when to use your secondary abilities/utilities. Most of that comes with experience and practice.
Thank you for reading my guide! If you have any tips, suggestions or questions about my guide, let me know/ask!