peal's heals – a swtor blog

the operative healer’s warzone survival guide
April 17, 2012, 5:26 pm
Filed under: gameplay, pvp, strategy | Tags: , , ,

I’m totally unqualified to write this article! Hurray!

1. Gear does help, some. Having 13k HP is infinitely better than 9 or 10k. Crits are amazing. So if you’re leveling, keep your orange gear modded with recent stuff to make sure you have comparable HP to the guys you’re playing against. I’ve seen -some- Operative DPS prioritize Endurance over Cunning (Patron Mod over Skill Mod, basically) and they still can wreck the charts. BUT. Said DPS also don’t worry about the ball or the ball handler. They go for easy kills. But if you’re frustrated with being an easy kill, why not switch around your gear a bit? Credits are cheap.

2. Stealth is awesome but it has weaknesses. One of my favorite things about Operative healing is that I get to choose where to fight. That’s powerful and awesome. But. Sometimes enemies can see you – some can spec for it but even those without talents for stealth-seeing can notice you, and sometimes even from max range. I’ve been popped out of stealth at 30 yards by a Merc after using Super-Sneak. I don’t understand and I was certainly frustrated, but the lesson I’ve learned is that Stealth isn’t perfect. Don’t try to sneak through a group of 5 enemies unless you’re actually going to fight them. When I notice someone stealthing near me, I can’t help but pop them out, just because. It’s irresistable and fun, so don’t tempt your enemy.

3. There are two games you can play in Warzones. One of them is heal all the players, the other is Huttball. Or Defend the turrets. Or Guard the bunker. As Operatives, we’re terrible ball carriers. And by ourselves, we’re not assaulting blast doors. But. We’re pretty great at sneaking up with another player. One of my favorite things to do is attack a turret guarded by one enemy and stay stealthed until my partner absolutely needs a heal. By the time the enemy realizes he’s outnumbered, it’s too late. And same with guarding. I know, being stealthed and staying at a node that doesn’t get attacked is boring and sometimes I hear healers qqing that they shouldn’t be guarding, they should be healing. Um, no. You just want the most healing done so you get more MVP votes. But now we get plenty of points for defending and what do you care more about – winning the match or winning the meters?

4. Currently (and let’s hope this gets fixed) you only get points and valor IF AND ONLY IF you get five or more awards in a match (update: It’s three. Thanks, Shintar!). When you win, this is easy. When you’re losing, not so much. You may need to do a mix of guarding your sole turret and attacking other turrets to get enough awards to win commendations. Otherwise, it’s a double-whammy of losing loseyness: no points and no win.

5. Speaking of winning and losing, you can have a good team, do everything right… and still lose. Sometimes some asshole on the other team will put a mark on your head and it will be the personal mission of four of their players to kill you the moment you pop out of stealth. Other times the enemy will just seem ten times faster than you and be one step ahead of your brilliant plans. Still others, you’ll raise your fist in the sky and say “how can that bounty hunter heal for so much even though we killed him 12 times?!”. I don’t have answers for that, friend.

6. As operative healers, we have a mite less utility than our sorcerer and merc counterparts. But don’t let that dishearten you. Sure, they can stun/interrupt/cc at range and have a full arsenal of spells they can cast (at range) and we don’t. At heart, Operative is a melee class so our utility only shines in close quarters, which many times we don’t want to be. But then when that sorc get focused down and you decide the other bunker is the place to be, well, Vanish gets the job done. It’s faster than running back from the graveyard.

Situational Awareness: So important it gets its own list

SA1: Your place in the world. Obviously, don’t stand in shit. But there’s more, so much more! Where are you in relation to the other team, your teammates? Fight near turrets/bunkers but be aware of LoS obstacles keeping you from healing. What does the field look like? Where will you be the most likely to heal in peace? I like to keep a pillar handy and/or stand at a far edge so that the other team’s ranged DPS approaching from their graveyard won’t be in range unless they specifically gun for me.

SA2: Not just who’s in range, but who isn’t. Because if 6 of your team are fighting 2 enemies here, that means you’re about to lose something big somewhere else. And sometimes, it’s just gotta be you who gives up all that juicy potential healing to haul ass and help out elsewhere.

SA3: Typing and healing at the same time is a pain but it’s a necessary evil. If no one else is communicating, get the ball rolling. How’s mid? NW is clear. They’re going East. INC OMFG HELP S NOW I’M A HEALER SQUISHY. Splat. Players are more likely to help people who lead. Though, in all fairness I’m terrible at calling doors in Voidstar. I can’t remember which is which, and saying “help other door” isn’t terribly effective.

SA4: Who’s your enemy focusing? That friendly needs a lot of heals. The sniper in the back at half-health who they’re ignoring to focus your other healer? Slap a hot on the sniper and spam heals on your partner-in-healing like there’s no tomorrow. They’re gonna need it.

SA5: What are your enemies? I hate to be all “this and this are overpowered now” but different enemies call for different strategies. A sniper sniping you from max range is easy to avoid by either stepping back a few yards or sliding behind a rock. And sometimes you get lucky-a ranged DPS will switch targets rather than chase you. If you’ve got a melee on ya, well, you probably don’t want to just stand there and take it. You want to kite and kite some more and when they do catch up, dole out stuns as needed to buy space and hot-ticking time. Oh, and once you know there are two stealthies on the other team, you may as well pretend they’re about to gank you at any moment. Because they are.

SA6: What are your teammates? A tank-specced assassin takes much less damage than a sorcerer. Healing next to another healer also changes the dynamics, the kinds of spells you can use, and how you manage your energy. And sometimes you have to make hard choices: if I have to heal one person at the risk of losing another, who do I keep? It takes a lot of PvP to learn intuitively how to make these kinds of decisions, and many times the answer isn’t ever clear.

SA7: Some areas in warzones are prime targets for AOE-fests. The blast doors in Voidstar. Turrets and bunkers. If you aren’t trying to claim something right away, stay near but not in those areas and avoid some damage. Likewise, don’t get buddy-buddy with your teammates. One AoE stun on both healers can hurt the team, and when you both try to move out of the Orbital Strike, you’re both doing less healing.

SA8: How much time is left in the match? Sometimes it’s better to waste 30 seconds than it is to try to go for one last score. When there’s less than a minute left in Huttball and we’re winning, my team often will drag the ball into our pit. Why? Because at that point, controlling the ball is more important than another score. Same with the final countdown in Voidstar – with 20 or 15 seconds left on the clock, it doesn’t matter if you’re the only person going against 5 players. All you need to do is keep all of them from arming a bomb and then they don’t get the door at all. And is it really worth stressing if the enemy takes a turret when they have 10 defense left and you have 240? Enjoy your win.

SA9: Cooldowns. What do you have left in the fight to use? What will be coming up again and about how soon will it be ready? Proper cooldown management can be difference between OOE and “haha, sucker, you can’t stop me!”. Don’t just think about healing cooldowns, either. Explosive Probe is great burst damage and our stuns can turn the tide in a fight. Oh, and relics! I’m a relic-noob and I would probably heal more if I remembered to use them, like, ever. Same with stims and medpacs, though I only use them when I see it making a clear difference in the fight.

How do you survive in warzones?


8 Comments so far
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Your opening line is why I read this blog. Thank you and may I add “huzzah.” 🙂 Regarding gear, it’s my estimation, one performed with little regard to math, tables, or logic, that the change in how expertise performs, means that in 1.2, pvp gear really is better for pvp than pve gear is. It used to be that you’d want to keep certain pve pieces on because it was a better stat return than the corresponding pvp gear. I am thinking that’s no longer the case, which is as it should be. On my scoundrel, I swap between recruit and my nearly completely columi set when switching activities. 14% bonus to damage given is ridic. Take that surge.

Also along those lines, where previously I would have suggested that someone ignore pvp at 50 until they’ve at least got rating 126 cores in most of their armor, now we have recruit armor. You can buy it for credits. If you haven’t been a crafting (but not selling) maven (which may not even be the right word), and you didn’t blow them on speeder 3 yet, then you have credits after hitting 50. It’s supposedly ~300k for a full set of recruit gear. Go for it, and if you saved wz comms on your way up, you can skip a piece or two of recruit gear and get the corresponding BM piece instead, like our intrepid blogger here has done. That will also help you do pve dailies, unless you’ve got some really uber crafted gear. I’d recommend Corellia Black Hole stuff first because it’s 1 area, one mission terminal, and they don’t take long. I haven’t figured out how much cash you get from them, because I’m lazy, but it’s probably about 70k before any repair costs (which were also lowered greatly). Belsavis gets you up to 17 daily comms and Ilum 8 or 9 I think. Between those and Ilum and Belsavis dailies, you can make ~300k / day from dailies. You can apparently make about the same from running every space daily mission. Personally, I only run dailies on one character per day, and usually I do not do the full circuit. I don’t want to be burning my play time doing repeatables, but I do need the money. So I keep things fresh by badmouthing guild mates in chat, making baseless statements about Ithorians in /1, standing around doing nothing, and alt tabbing to see the latest burner on the forums.

Otherwise….Target of Target. Turn it on. Use it, love it. Talk about it and how using it makes you better than unidentified others. And then, when you just can’t pvp anymore…..make sure you ran through Boarding Party and Maelstrom Prison, or Taral V and Foundry on your way up. If you haven’t, run through them now and get lots of orange drops and credits. Run Kaon Under Siege. Don’t bother running it on normal, just check a guide and then hit it on hard. It’s not that much easier on normal than it is on hard. And the loot is certainly better on HM. Finishing Kaon will open up Lost Island for you, which is probably the hardest FP in the game right now, and should only be attempted on normal mode once you’ve got some, though not necessarily all, gear. IMO anyways.

Comment by mooftak

Ah, I should have mentioned ToT! It does help see who’s getting focused and what people are doing.

I’m, um, terrible about doing dailies. This is my third fifty, so I probably have just run out of steam. But they are good for money and at some point I’ll run out… Eh. I’d probably do more if my guild did flashpoints but we do so much pvp that why would I want to do a HM when we’re all queuing? 🙂

Comment by barb

Still others, you’ll raise your fist in the sky and say “how can that bounty hunter heal for so much even though we killed him 12 times?!”. I don’t have answers for that, friend.

Fun post! 🙂 This was definitely my favourite line. And I like that you talk about the enemy in Imperial terms. For Republic, the Empire is the enemy… and for Empire, the Empire is the enemy too! For some reason that amuses me.

In regards to getting popped out of stealth, you might already know this but troopers and bounty hunters have a stealth scan ability, which is like a hunter’s flare in WoW and busts you out of stealth if they manage to hit you with it, super-stealth or no.

The lower medal limit for getting rewards from warzones is actually three, not five I think. Was quite depressed when we got pwned by a Huttball premade tonight and due to that new restriction, only one person on our entire team got anything at all out of that game. 😦

Oh, and I agree that calling Voidstar doors is annoying. I like to say east and west, but for some reason most people say left and right. Apparently this convention is meant to be in relation to which way you face upon respawning, but often this is the opposite of how things look on your mini-map, so it gets hella confusing quickly.

How do you survive in warzones?

I don’t! 😛 WTB some sort of escape ability! No stealth, no speed boost, no slows… seriously though, “staying as far away from the enemy as possible” seems to be the only thing that works for me.

Comment by Shintar

I’m glad you don’t mind me picking on bounty hunters! Pretty much the only time I see Republic teams is Tuesday night and the more I play the more I think Tuesday might just be my night off. Or something.

Ah, I had wondered if it was three not five. I’ll update the post. Three is easier than five but can still be hard depending on how the game goes.

Even with stealth and Vanish I don’t survive very long, once the other team decides it’s time for me to die. @_@

Comment by barb

The stealth breaker she’s referring to is an “acknowledged by the players but not the devs” “stealth” stealth nerf. Though TBH, it’s not just a stealth thing. Players will take some insignificant amount of damage while well away from others, their aoe’s, and while no one is casting any stealth detect ability, yet stealth will be broken. It can happen from 50m out on approaches in voidstar, where no aoe is present, or while you’re defending voidstar and waiting for the door to open in the respawn chamber. On my scoundrel/op, I’ve been broken out of stealth and considered in combat, though I’m in the respawn zone. It happens on other classes, but you don’t usually notice. I noticed because my marauder refused to holster his darned lightsabers and I like to leave them holstered until the last second. In combat, but in the respawn zone. This has happened while both a healing and a scrapper scoundrel, so it’s not due to my level of talented stealth.TBH I haven’t played voidstar in awhile, so they may have fixed these issues, but from Peal’s description, it certainly doesn’t sound like it. But then again, you know, people would unsub if they always got killed by teams of stealth operatives, so we need to break their stealth (and not tell anyone about it) and their burst. We can probably leave assassin’s/shadow’s alone because people always rant about operatives. /sarcasm off.

Comment by mooftak

They really haven’t… I’ve gotten into the habit of hitting stealth FIRST THING after I respawn then buffing. Because if I can’t at least get to the doors (or whatever) in stealth I’ll die before I can do anything good for the team.

Comment by barb

You’ve probably already seen they really lowered the # of medals you need to get decent wz loss rewards. Calling sides on VS is pretty horrid because half the folks aren’t smart enough to use east/west and speak to the map. For Alderaan, many are using grass and snow, since the two sides have different ground textures. I’m trying to get into that mode.

Comment by mooftak

I like grass and snow.

Thankfully, it looks like people are using E and W for Novarre Coast… Not that E and W are all that complicated, really, and sometimes I see confused people. I get why Voidstar is overwhelming, though – sometimes you’re attacking, sometimes you’re defending, so your perspective (and “the map”) changes every round. Like if someone says “help left” and I’m dead, I know which way to go. But once I’m fighting at a door and I need to call it out? Yeah, I don’t know where I’m at once the brawl begins.

Comment by barb

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