peal's heals – a swtor blog


a new home
June 20, 2012, 10:21 pm
Filed under: pvp | Tags: ,

Wow, so apparently I disappeared for a month. Apologies for that. I’d blame RL stuff like getting married and adjusting to a new job but that’s just a bunch of excuses, innit?

Seriously, though, I haven’t been playing much. Right around the time that DIII came out, my guild practically disappeared. It was sad. I’m still sad. Those were some great times.

But I did get back on last night and played a bit on my new server. Choosing to transfer was not a decision, nor a choice. It was either go and have a shot at playing with people or stay and kick tumbleweeds. So we went.

The mega-servers are indeed interesting. There were almost three hundred people on the fleet and more than one instance (I’m not sure if that’s three hundred total or three hundred on one plus more on the other, but either way, it beats the pants off of logging in at prime time to see twenty-two people in the hub).

There’s a lot of people. I’ve already started to recognize some, but others had to change their names so it’s a learning process. And of course, there’s lots of new people I haven’t met before, and on a server this size I won’t ever get to know anyone. I hope that some of the folks from Tarro Blood will keep their community spirit (we had a great PVP community), but on the plus side I’m in a guild with a handful of the ones I enjoyed playing with most.

It’s been a little weird getting used to names all over again. Surprise, surprise, I was able to keep Temblor and Peal. Apparently my names are so uncommon no one would ever claim them. But hey, I’m okay with that. I once had a paladin named Enlynn. I mean, seriously. That’s kinda ridiculous.

And by kinda, I do mean very.

Last night I lost over and over and over again but it was still fun. There’s a newness to the game all over again that I’m sure will only last a few more days (if that) but hopefully the server transfer injects fresh energy that lingers. Am I too optimistic? Perhaps. A part of me feels that it’s too little, too late, but I would like to be wrong on that.

How about you? How are you enjoying your new home?

Advertisements


gg- or not?
May 22, 2012, 12:00 pm
Filed under: for fun, pvp | Tags:

It’s my pet peeve when people use GG in general chat incorrectly.

Okay, let’s pretend it’s… Huttball. We have the ball, they get the ball. They almost score, we get the ball back. Back and forth. Frogdog crushed! Rotworm down! At the end of the match, it’s 3-3 and with thirty seconds left it’s a total tossup who will have the ball when the countdown ends.

That, my friends, is a good game. I think it’s great to share this sentiment with the opponent, even if they lose, because clearly this was a tension-filled match with ups and downs, crazy feats of derring-do, and battle scars in the making.

So it really irks me to see either a teammate or opponent use GG in general chat after a ROFLstomp. 6-0 in 4 minutes is not a good game. Fun for the winner, definitely, but not “good” because GG should be for friendly sportsmanship, acknowledgment of a worthy foe, appreciation of a hard-fought match… not for gloating.

Unless, of course, you’re the loser and you want to tell me GG even though you never had a chance. But if you win? You just look like a jackass. Save that GG for a game you actually had to work for, thanks.

/rant



i’m level 11 and muckin up your queue

In an attempt to fight the problem we have with 6-8 people wanting to queue and dealing with how we split up our parties, how we stagger the queues (which ends up being time consuming, less games for one team), or if we’ll fight against each other, well, we thought we’d all roll lowbies so we could get a group of 50’s playing and a group of lowbies and it’d all be good.

Except we’re all kind of in love with our lowbies so we’re stuck with the same problem: 6-8 wanting to run together.

I made a sorcerer to heal. Of course I did. I love them. I miss my sorcerer. And the lowbie queue is really fun. It’s average faster queue times, and for some reason crushing losses are funnier when you’re level 11 with only 1 heal than when you’re 50 and still 2k points from your next War Hero upgrade.

We do experience crushing losses. When four of us level 11-12s join and the highest level person is 33 on our team, well, we realize we’ve kinda gimped everyone. But I don’t care, it’s still fun. It’s not all losses, and sometimes even at level 11 you can lead the scoreboard (in places like Voidstar where everyone can get face time) and still feel like you did good things.

I’ve even scored in Huttball. And here I thought I wouldn’t get the chance to score till I had Force Speed. Can’t wait for that, btw, and bubble, and Innervate… The nice thing about leveling this way is there’s so much to look forward to. I think most of us will do class quests but mostly focus on leveling PvP. And this time? Dark side all the way.

Seriously, though. BioWare, we need 8-man queues. Right away. We can’t be the only guild that’s suffering with this awkward size thing. Oh, and I’ve had a ticket open since 4/21 that no one has touched. Some customer service would GREAT.



surgical probe is my new favorite thing
April 24, 2012, 4:24 pm
Filed under: gameplay, pvp | Tags: , , , ,

I don’t really have a good excuse for it, but I haven’t done a whole lot of research for theory-crafting my healers. And for a while there wasn’t much information out there. But now, there’s no excuse.

A few things I’ve learned:

1. Surgical Probe is actually awesome. My first instinct was that SP doesn’t heal for a whole lot – in terms of straight HPS there are better spells. But that wasn’t taking account for utility. Instant cast and no energy make this spell awesome, coupled with free TA refresh on targets less than 30%? This is pretty great, especially if you’ve got hots ticking on said target. Mobility is pretty darn important in warzones.

2. Surge is sadly lacking in battlemaster gear-for most classes. I realized at the beginning of the weekend I had no surge (literally), and that even continuing my upgrades, I was still on the path to zero surge. So instead of picking up a belt (which I got yesterday) I picked up the two earpieces that have Surge first. It helped a little. A healthy amount of crit and surge help a lot more than more tech power, in my biased experiences.

3. I found this link for Sang’s Operative Healer PvP guide and was surprised at how much I didn’t know. Okay, okay. For utility I was actually doing alright with my escape, dispels and stuns (You can dispel Flash Bang on other players!). But for actual healing I was a noob. For instance, stacking 2 Kolto Probes on everyone in sight is overkill and a waste of Energy. I was doing 2 by default and since I read this, I’ve been making a point to do 1 on everyone taking any damage, and going to 2 when I was being forced to kite and people had gone below half health. Between this change and using more SP, my Energy bar is a lot fuller… and I’m still doing about as much healing as before. In some cases more (though it’s so situational it’s hard to tell, Voidstar heals should not look like Huttball heals. PS I hate Voidstar).

4. I changed specs from Recuperative Nanotechnology to going a bit further into the Lethality tree for Improved Stunination (Slip Away) and Combat Stims. The extra energy helps a bit, especially now that I’m getting used to the TA proc sound.

 



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?



the nerf bat swingeth

So… how do you like the changes?

1. The new warzone is a lot of fun. I like the push/pull way of holding bunkers and turrets. The all-or-nothingness of Voidstar and Civil War (you either plant the bomb or get interrupted) works… but it’s nice that even a few seconds of channeling control does something for the team–and the fact that more people clicking is a much faster channel! It’s smooth and fun.

The map is also a good size. Sometimes when I’m stealthed I feel like it takes forever to get from one to the other but it’s not. You can see your teammates (and the enemy) all across the map. And any complaints I have about traveling are from my seething jealousy of Force Speed, that’s all.

2. I missed the memo and thought we’d get some things we haven’t gotten yet, like auto-group-keeping between warzones and 8-man queues. But that’s alright. As much as it’s annoying to reform your group between each, there are much worse things.

3. The new UI is neat. I’m still holding out for some healer-friendly changes but we got a few neat toys you may want to play around with. You can enable target of target by going into UI editor–there’s a couple of red boxes near the mini-map. Clicking and then clicking enable (kinda sounds like I should have taken a screenshot of this, eh?) will show your target’s target. This is less important to me now than it was while I was still learning the game; it seems I’ve gotten used to not having it. But it’s still nice. The narrow red bar near the target’s target is the target’s target’s cast bar (say that three times fast!). Also handy.

4. Still really wish offensive/healing spells had a reflexive targeting quality like you could set them up in WoW. Like, if you healed the boss it healed the boss’s target. Or even if you could heal a target you didn’t have targeted. Because it’s really annoying to interrupt people while healing. Possible, but annoying.

5. Had a blast last night PvPing. That was all we did now that our points max out at 2k. It’s crazy that when we ding 50 we’ll have access to Battle Master gear. It’s pretty expensive, but it should be. There’s still a bit of grinding to get a full set, just much less of a grind than there used to be. But I’m glad that Bioware seems to be interesting in doing a tiered leveling system–once new shiny gear is introduced, the old new-shiny is made highly accessible. Because seriously, new level 50s have enough going against them without having to do a separate grind for each tier of gear.

6. The change to allow medics up to 3 stacks of Tactical Advantage ended up being a much bigger, better change than I’d initially thought. It’s a lot more on-the-move healing flexibility, for one, and Energy is a lot easier to manage. When I only had 2 stacks, I ended up wasting so many TA points. With up to 3, less get wasted and there’s more to spend more often it seems.

7. I miss our giggling already – but – there is a silver lining to the storm cloud that is the giggle-nerf. When we get TA procs via Kolto Probe, there is a sound. If I had to describe it, I’d call it a clank noise, something like a wrench tightening a bolt with sudden finality. But better yet, why not hop on your Operative and spam some Probes until you get used to what it sounds like yourself? To me, it’s louder and more obvious than a free Consumption proc on my Sorcerer (I had a hard time training myself to listen for that one, it’s too quiet IMHO). We do have an audio cue to help manage our TA it’s just not a fun cue anymore.

8. May or may not get 50 tonight. We’re level 49 and enjoying it. For the Empire!



three months in

Following in the brave tradition of Kristalys at All For the Wookiee and Shintar from Going Commando, I’d like to reminisce on the last three months of the game.

In the past three months I’ve leveled a whole lot of toons. A 50 Sorcerer, first and foremost, but the moment I hit max level with her I realized I needed an Operative. And on the way, I’ve made a Mercenary (got lazy around level 14), another sorcerer (got lazy around level 12), a Trooper (7) and a Sage (13). That’s on one server.

On another server (because for some reason I thought the people I went to high school with would be nicer than the random guys I met in WoW, oh god who was I kidding?! Now my librarian is my guild officer!)… Well, I made an Operative. Healing, of course, though this time I didn’t wait till mid-twenties to use the spec. Lux and I are leveling duo-operatives and spending quite a bit more time PvPing.

But, I… ahem. Already have a placeholder for a sorcerer. Quake was already taken on the Tarro Blood server, but (surprise) Peal was not. So if you ever see Temblor in a warzone, throwing darts of healing and shoving probes in your face, well, wave at me. 🙂

So that’s what I’ve done. In retrospect that’s a lot, though I never got into what I thought I wanted most: hard mode raiding.

Now I’m not even sure I want that. I’ve heard here and there that people leave because quite frankly the group play sucks. But I still don’t see it. I mean. The tank shortage seems to be a really big deal but at the same time we’ve got healers in abundance. Now I’ve enjoyed healing in games even when healing was awkward and clunky and resource management was a fickle creature, and in games like this healers/support were really rare. Remember looking for a bard or red mage simply to gain a level or two in FFXI?

Speaking of FFXI, remember camping HNMs for hours against several other guilds, only to lose the pop to a Japanese guild (lower ping) who would play with the boss for hours just to move its respawn timer to a more convenient pull time for that guild the next day?

At least we can run into an instance and play when we’re ready. I haven’t touched hard modes, like I said, but the normal seems well-tuned for casual play. As it should be. I’ve run flashpoints ad nauseum without actually having nausea. So I feel the content has decent replay value, if only for the satisfaction of knocking Captain Yelto to the floor again.

So… lots of healers means that lots of people find healing fun. And why not? The pace of healing is perfect, IMHO. As is the time spent healing -in new content where I’m undergeared it’s a challenge, sure, and it should be, but once me and the tank get a few upgrades I can throw out a grenade once in a while. And I love that. My DPS doesn’t compare at all to real damage dealers, but I still find it worthwhile to use a burst ability when there’s nothing else to do. Why not? Why should I be defenseless because I’m a healer?

(Explosive probe is my favorite when I have just a split second to help burst someone down in a warzone, because it’s so dramatically… explosive).

My biggest complaints are the interface (I get very tired of the bug where a player or two won’t load into my Operations frames, so I’m stuck trying to heal a warzone without an easy way to target them) and the lack of click-to-cast. But honestly after three months I’ve managed to forget. I logged enough gametime in SWTOR healing that I’ve just plain gotten used to it, awkward and clunky as it is.

Granted, it helps that I have a mouse with extra buttons on the side. And I hope that we’ll still see some upgrades on the interface for healers. Just because we forget something is broken doesn’t mean we wouldn’t benefit from it being fixed.

I’ve noticed (in my entirely limited experience) that warzone healers on my new server are rarer than my old one. More often than not, I’m the only one on my team… but I’m not complaining. I get a ton more MVP votes that way!

In the next three months, I look forward to more leveling, more PvP and maybe even a dash of raiding. We’ll see. But I’m definitely still excited about the game. How about you? Can you believe it’s been three months of SWTOR already?