SWTOR Operative Healing Guide

SWTOR Operative Healing Guide by Krain

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Mechanics
2.1 Energy
2.2 Tactical Advantage
2.3 Cast Priority
2.4 Cover
3. Stats and Gearing
3.1 Stats
3.2 Stat Priority
3.3 Gear
3.4 Mods
3.5 Consumables
4. Talents
4.1 Talent Details
4.2 Talent Builds
5. Crew Skills

1. Introduction
This is a compendium of information on the Imperial Agent Operative. My goal is to provide answers to the most common questions regarding how to heal as an operative and properly gear and spec yourself.

Spending 31 points in the medic tree will give you six different heals, and lots of buffs to your healing abilities. While BioWare has a stated goal of letting healers and tanks do some damage as well as fulfill their main roles, you will spend the vast majority of your time in any boss fight just healing, and you will want any and all talents toward that end. The operative gains an AoE group heal at the 31st talent point, but the class seems best suited as a single-target healer.

While a full investment in the medic tree is all but required for endgame PvE, you do have some nice hybrid options for soloing, leveling and PvP. There will be some competitive agent PvP builds that are hybrids, allowing some decent heals, good CC and utility, and a respectable amount of damage. You can provide decent PvP healing after investing between 11 and 25 points in the medic tree, and spending the rest of your points between concealment and lethality. The concealment tree specializes in stealth attacks and melee damage, providing good burst damage and a higher damage potential than lethality. The lethality tree relies on DOTs and AOE damage, and the damage effects are usable from range. While there will surely be some 31-point medic tree operatives in PvP, you have to sacrifice some important survivability to invest that many points in medic.

2. Mechanics
There are two class mechanics that every operative will need a good mastery of to perform well. Agents use energy as their main resource. The rate at which agents regenerate energy changes depending on current energy levels. The less energy the agent has, the slower it regenerates. This is a fairly unique mechanic; the proper management of energy will mark the difference between an average operative and a good one. The second important game mechanic is Tactical Advantage. Tactical Advantage (TA) is a buff that is also used to execute certain skills that consume the buff. You can have up to two stacks of TA, allowing you to maintain the buff while still consuming one stack to perform some of the more useful skills available.

2.1 Energy
Base energy regeneration is 5-points per second. Operatives need to balance energy regeneration with sustained healing output, while also allowing for situations where burst healing is required. Energy regeneration slows as energy levels drop:
Energy Level Regeneration
60-100: 5/sec
20-60: 3/sec
0-20: 2/sec

The operative has three methods, other than base regeneration, to increase energy. Stim Boost increases energy regen by 1 energy per second for 45 seconds. The cooldown for this ability is 35 seconds, meaning you will be able to keep this buff up most of the time. However, Stim Boost consumes one stack of Tactical Advantage to execute. Tactical Advantage is discussed in full in the next section, but this means you will have to skip using one of your better heals every 45 seconds, in order to keep energy regeneration maximized.

The next energy management tool is Adrenaline Probe. This ability offers a nice burst of energy for when your levels have dropped into the low regeneration zone. Once improved through the Endorphin Rush talent, Adrenaline Probe gives 16 energy on use and an additional 50 energy over three seconds. The resulting gain of 66 energy represents two-thirds of an agents complete energy pool, allowing you to utilize several heals quickly when needed and then return to a manageable level of energy. While Adrenaline Probe offers a nice tool for heavy-damage periods, it is only usable every two minutes.

The last energy management tool is utilizing Diagnostic Scan after investing four points in talents that improve the ability. The Prognosis Critical talent increases the crit chance of Diagnostic Scan by 24%, and [urlhttp://www.torhead.com/ability/5VjIAT8]Patient Studies[/url] grants 2 energy on every crit of the scan. Diagnostic Scan is a very small, channeled heal that lasts 3 seconds. The heal does not cost any energy, meaning that once it is talented, it can serve as a filler heal that also helps increase energy levels. This method of energy regeneration is not very useful in PvP situations or any PvE situations that require a lot of movement.

2.2 Tactical Advantage
Tactical Advantage is a buff that is granted through the use of a few different abilities, and the agent can have a maximum of two stacks of TA at a time. The buff and abilities that consume TA work the same whether you have one or two stacks at the time. After placing three points in the Medical Consult talent, healing is increased by 6% while TA is active. TA also grants a 2% bonus to damage. Maintaining at least one stack of TA will benefit healing output, but there may be times that consuming both charges is worth it, especially when burst healing is required.

In addition to using TA every 45 seconds for increased energy regen with Stim Boost (discussed in the Energy Regen section above), operatives have two heals that consume the TA buff. Kolto Infusion is available at level 14 and provides a decent heal, with a cast time of 1.5 seconds. Surgical Probe, the operative’s only instant heal, is available at the 21-point skill level and has no cooldown or energy cost. Once you acquire Surgical Probe, you will stop using Kolto Infusion. Surgical Probe can be improved through the Surgical Precision talent, re-granting the TA buff on targets below 30% health. This will allow the operative to spam Surgical Probe on a target that is below 30% health. While this may not save a target that is being focused down, it will serve as a real nice emergency heal until help arrives. Since some PvP specs will not invest 21-points in the medic tree, there will be some higher level operatives that use Kolto Infusion.

There are several methods to acquiring and maintaining the Tactical Advantage buff.
The Incisive Action talent, available in the 2nd-tier of the medic tree, decreases the casting time of Kolto Injection and gives a 100% chance to grant Tactical Advantage. The Medical Engineering talent in the 4th-tier of the medic tree adds a 10% chance on every tick of Kolto Probe to grant TA. You can stack Kolto Probe to have two applications of it on one target. Once you acquire Medical Engineering, you will mostly use Kolto Injection only to regrant TA when you hit an unlucky streak with Kolto Probe. Outside of healing abilities, the TA buff is also granted through two offensive actions: any time you land the killing blow on an opponent or on use of the melee skill Shiv.

2.3 Cast Priority
Your first priority is to generate a couple stacks of Tactical Advantage. I suggest stacking two Kolto Probe, and then cast Stim Boost for the energy regen buff. Maintaning Stim Boost should be a priority; don’t be afraid to use Kolto Injection if TA is not proccing quick enough from Kolto Probe, or if you have not selected the Medical Engineering talent. Your second priority is to keep 1-2 stacks of Kolto Probe on your target. Focus on maintaining energy above 60 during normal, non-burst healing situations. In PvE, use Diagnostic Scan as a filler heal and to regen energy. In PvP, use Toxin Scan for debuffing. If you have the Tox Screen talent, Toxin Scan will provide a small heal as well, which is useful considering the skill consumes no energy and has no cooldown.

If your target is taking heavy damage, use Tactical Advantage to cast Surgical Probe. If you do not have Surgical Probe, use Kolto Infusion, but do not expect to keep your target up for long in a burst situation. Once your energy drops near 20%, use Adrenaline Probe and either keep plugging away to outlast the burst, or go back to your normal routine if the danger has passed. Remember, if you invested in the Surgical Precision talent, you can spam Surgical Probe when your target’s health drops below 30%.

If you need to heal more than one target, try to keep one stack of Kolto Probe on each healing target and selectively use Surgical Probe and Kolto Injection when one of your targets is under pressure. Attempting to heal 2 or more targets in a heavy-damage situation will not last long, unfortunately. Recuperative Nanotech, the 31-point AoE healing talent in the Medic tree, is useful when you need to heal several targets, but the 12-second cooldown will make it difficult to sustain your targets for long.

2.4 Cover
No operative abilities require you to be in cover. This includes heals and operative dps skills. Cover may be useful in cases where you are receiving ranged damage and mobility is not important, but for the most part operatives will rarely use cover.

3. Stats and Gearing
3.1 Stats
Primary Stats:
Agent heals, melee attacks and grenades are considered tech, while blaster-based attacks are considered ranged. Your primary stat is cunning. Cunning increases your tech and ranged critical chance, and your tech and ranged damage per point. Aim only affects your ranged crit and damage. Strength and willpower have absolutely no value for agents.

Secondary Stats:
Accuracy – increases hit and, once it’s over 100%, adds armor penetration
Alacrity – increases channel haste (reduces cast time). Alacrity does not affect the GCD and it does not increase the effects of HoTs or DoTs.
Armor – reduces physical and kinetic damage (all Tech and Force powers unless listed otherwise are Kinetic)
Crit – increases melee and tech critical chance
Defense – increases parry and deflect chance (deflect is ranged parry)
Endurance – increases health points
Expertise – PvP stat. Increases damage and healing done, reduces damage taken.
Power – increases melee and tech damage
Presence – increases companion health, damage and healing
Surge – increased critical effect
Tech Power – increases tech damage and healing, found on weapons only

3.2 Stat Priority
Every piece of gear you have should have cunning, unless the secondary stats on an aim piece are amazingly better than your current cunning piece. Avoid strength and willpower completely. Alacrity, power, crit and surge will be the best secondary stats for the operative. Further information on ranking of these stats will be provided once more theorycrafting is available.

3.3 Gear
to be added at a later date

3.4 Mods
to be added at a later date

3.5 Consumables
to be added at a later date

4. Talents
The recommendations below assume that you will be primarily healing. Hybrid PvP builds with an emphasis on damage will not go as far into the Medic tree as I recommend. I have noted where certain skills have different recommendations based on Pve or PvP focus. Talents in Tier 5 and above for Concealment and Lethality are omitted, as healing builds will usually not get past Tier 4 of the off-trees.

4.1 Talent Details
Medic Tree
Tier 1: Incisive Action – reduces cast time of Kolto Injection and grants Tactical Advantage; Required
Tier 1: Precision Instruments – reduces energy cost of Corrosive Dart, Debilitate and Sever Tendon; Skip
Tier 1: Imperial Education – increases cunning; Required
Tier 2: Endorphin Rush – adds instant energy restore to Adrenaline Probe; Required
Tier 2: Medical Consult – increases healing done, with bonus if Tactical Advantage active; Recommended
Tier 2: Surgical Steadiness – reduces healing pushback and reduces threat; Optional for PvE, Required for PvP
Tier 2: Chem-Resistant Inlays – reduces damage taken; Optional
Tier 3: Prognosis: Critical – increases crit chance of Diagnostic Scan; Recommended for PvE, Skip for PvP
Tier 3: Kolto Probe – instant cast HoT; Required
Tier 3: Sedatives – adds damage reduction debuff to Sleep Dart; Optional
Tier 4: Patient StudiesDiagnostic Scan crits return energy; Recommended for PvE, Skip for PvP
Tier 4: Medical Engineering – ticks of Kolto Probe have chance to grant Tactical Advantage; Required
Tier 4: Evasive Imperative – Evasion increases movement speed; Optional for PvE, Recommended for PvP
Tier 5: Tox Screen – Toxin Scan removes mental debuffs and gives small heal; Optional for PvE, Recommended for PvP
Tier 5: Medical Therapy – increases healing done by HoTs and Surgical Probe; Recommended
Tier 5: Surgical Probe – instant heal with no cd or energy cost, consumes Tactical Advantage; Required
Tier 5: Surgical PrecisionSurgical Probe has increased effect, and grants Tactical Advantage if target under 30% health; Required
Tier 6: Med Shield – increases healing received while Shield Probe active; Optional
Tier 6: Accomplished Doctor – increases healing crit bonus of Kolto Injection, Kolto Infusion, and Recuperative Nanotech; Optional
Tier 7: Recuperative Nanotech – provides AoE HoT; Optional

Concealment Tree
Tier 1: Concealed Attacks – increases crit chance of Backstab and Hidden Strikes; Skip
Tier 1: Imperial Brew – increases damage of Corrisive Dart; Optional
Tier 1: Survival Training – increases healing done and received; Optional
Tier 2: Infiltrator – increases movement speed and stealth level; Skip for PvE, Recommended for PvP
Tier 2: Surgical Strikes – increases damage of Shiv, Overload Shot and Lacerate; Skip
Tier 2: Inclement Conditioning – increases endurance; Optional for PvE, Recommended for PvP
Tier 2: Scouting – increases stealth detection and defense rating; Skip for PvE, Optional for PvP
Tier 3: Waylay – reduces energy cost of Shiv and Backstab; Skip
Tier 3: Laceration – high damage finishing move, consumes Tactical Advantage; Skip
Tier 3:Collateral Strikes – adds chance for additional damage from Laceration; Skip
Tier 3: Revitalizers – adds HoT to Stim Boost; Skip for PvE, Optional for PvP
Tier 4: Energy Screen – removes healing debuff from Cloaking Screen and restore energy on dodged or resisted attacks; Skip for PvE, Recommendedfor PvP
Tier 4: Pin Down – adds brief immobilization to Sever Tendon; Optional for PvE, Recommended for PvP
Tier 4: Tactical Opportunity – Collateral Strikes gives Tactical Advantage, and reduces energy of next Lacerate; Skip

Lethality Tree
Tier 1: Deadly Directive – increases alarcity; Recommended
Tier 1: Lethality – increases crit chance of all abilities; Required
Tier 1: Razor Edge – increases damage of Shiv; Skip for PvE, Optional for PvP
Tier 2: Slip Away – reduces cd of Debilitate and increases movement speed after; Skip for PvE, Recommended for PvP
Tier 2: Flash Powder – reduces targets’ accuracy after Flash Bang; Optional
Tier 2: Corrosive Microbes – chance for extra damage on Corrosive Dart; Optional
Tier 2: Lethal Injection – increases duration of Corrosive Dart; Optional
Tier 3: Corrosive Grenade – AoE DoT; Optional
Tier 3: Combat Stims – adds instant energy restore to Stim Boost and reduces its CD; Recommended
Tier 3: Cut Down – increases damage of Overload Shot, Carbine Burst and Cull; Skip
Tier 4: Lethal Purpose – Reduces CD of Adrenaline Probe, plus crit poison restores energy; Recommended
Tier 4: Adhesive Corrosives – Optional; Required
Tier 4: Vanish – reduces cd of Evasion and Escape; Skip for PvE, Recommended for PvP
Tier 4: Lethal Dose – increases crit chance of all periodic effects; Recommended

4.2 Talent Builds
Without any points in the medic tree, you will have access to three heals. These heals each have a cast or channel-time, greatly limiting your ability to heal in all but the most basic situations. You can get by leveling and running quests with your companion without any points in the medic tree, but you’ll need to invest in the tree for group content or PvP.

11-Point Medic Builds
You gain your first instant-cast heal (Kolto Probe) with the 11th point in the medic tree. It is possible to invest in medic just up to Kolto Probe, and then go 30-deep in one of the damage trees, but you will be lacking an instant heal (KP is instant cast, but is also a HoT). The result of a healing build with 11 points invested in medic is a damage-oriented build, with some healing capability. A build such as this could be useful as PvE dps with some off-healing or adequate self-healing, and will also be useful in many PvP situations. Examples of such a build include:

11/23/7 Heavy Concealment PvP Build
This PvP build offers heavy burst damage, an emphasis on stealth and lots of single-target CC. You have some basic heals and Kolto Probe, with an emphasis on healing yourself more than providing heals to others. I avoided talents that buff Corrosive Dart, as you would want to avoid placing DoTs on your target that could break CC. You could shuffle around the points in the 2nd-tier of the Medic tree – I opted for the energy boosting talent Endorphin Rush over the increased healing of Medical Consult. I also chose Razor Edge over Deadly Directive, but you could swap those points depending on play style.

11/3/27 Heavy Lethality Support Build
Similar to above, but with a heavy investment in the Lethality tree. This build focuses on AoE damage, along with buffs to your DoTs and could be used for off-healing/damage dealing in PvE or PvP. I’ve selected every talent that buffs Corrosive Dart, with the thinking that you will keep that up on as many enemies as possible. Lethal Purpose delivers some nice energy gains, and Lethal Dose buffs your Kolto Probe, as well as your DoTs. I don’t expect this to be a popular build, but it does offer a unique set of tools that some may wish to explore.

22-25 Point Medic Builds
At 21 points in the medic tree, you gain your only instant heal (Surgical Probe). This ability provides a very powerful heal with no energy cost and no CD. Surgical Probe does consume Tactical Advantage, but the Surgical Precision talent regrants TA when Surgical Probe is used on targets below 30% health. Many PvP builds will utilize between 22 and 25 points in the medic tree, as will some PvE builds that aschew the AoE heal available with the 31st point. Examples of builds with 22-25 points in the medic tree include:

25/9/7 PvP Medic Build
Operatives that are focusing in PvP healing will select something along the lines of this build. This includes all of the important talents in the Medic tree, other than Recuperative Nanotech. While an AoE heal would suit this play style fine, its not worth the extra 6-points to get, as the 6-th tier talents are mediocre. Med Shield only buffs your self-heals, and only while you have Shield Probe active, and Accomplished Doctor does not buff your two main heals (Kolto Probe and Surgical Probe). This build picks up some key survivability and CC talents in the bottom tiers of Concealment and Lethality. You could shift the two points from Medical Therapy to max out Scouting and take Revitalizers, buffing your own survivability over the strengthening your heals. You could also move the point(s) in Scouting to Inclement Conditioning, if the effects of endurance are greater than the defense buff and you don’t care about the increased stealth detection.

24/0/17 PvE Healing Build with Energy Regeneration Focus
This build eschews the AoE heal of Recuperative Nanotech for added energy regen. The two talents that buff Diagnostic Scan are selected, providing a decent filler heal with bonus energy regen. I have dropped the Tox Screen, but some boss fights may require the mental debuff removal. There are lots of iffy Lethality tree talents taken, but it allows you to go deep enough to take both Combat Stims and Lethal Purpose. The build also offers some buffs to Corrosive Dart, for some added damage dealing when your energy is at a decent level.

31-Point Medic Builds
The final heal available to an operative is gained at 31 points (Recuperative Nano Tech). This heal is an instant cast, AoE HoT, with a 12-second cooldown. The AoE heal will be useful in any PvE battle with group damage, but can be skipped for PvP. Not that an AoE heal wouldn’t be welcome in a PvP build, but you will sacrifice many useful survival and cc abilities in the other two trees to get to 31 points. Some PvE builds will skip the AoE heal also, as the two talents available in the 6th-tier of the medic tree are mediocre. An example of a 31-point Medic build:

31/3/7 PvE Max Healing Build
This build invests in the Medic tree fully to gain Recuperative Nanotech. Like the 24/0/17 build, the two talents that buff Diagnostic Scan are selected, providing a decent filler heal with bonus energy regeneration. Deadly Directive and Lethality are standard here, with the other 5 points outside of the Medic tree to be used as you see fit. I selected Survival Training for the small healing buff, and Slip Away for the occasions you grab agro.

5. Crew Skills
The crew skills system in SWTOR is designed so that each production skill offers a convenience to players, but not an advantage. Armor and weapon crafting gives you easily available upgrades while leveling, but the gear is eclipsed by max level raiding and PvP gear. Biochem and cybertech offer resuable consumables, but the effects of these items are no better than items that others can purchase. I recommend that you do not worry to much about which crew skill is best, and just take a set of skills that work well together and appeal to you. Unless something changes down the line, crew skills will not be a fertile ground for the min/maxers. Some crew skill combos that fit well with the operative are:

Biochem, Bioanalysis, Diplomacy
Biochem includes BoP reusable medpaks, stims and adrenals. If you don’t gain these items through biochem, expect to spend a lot of credits to keep stocks high for any endgame activities. Bioanlysis supplies the basic ingredients for biochem, and diplomacy supplies the rare ingredients, along with the bonus of providing another source of light/dark-side points.

Cybertech, Scavenging, Underworld Trading
Cybertech provides BoP reusable grenades, along with mods and earpieces. You can get equivalent mods elsewhere, but keeping a stock of various grenades can be useful, especially in PvP scenarios. Scavenging provides the basic mats and underworld trading provides the needed rare ingredients.

Armormech, Scavenging, Underworld Trading
Armormech provides good armor upgrades while leveling, and some decent endgame gear. However, you can get equivalent armor elsewhere. Scavenging provides the basic mats and underworld trading provides the needed rare ingredients.

Armstech, Scavenging, Investigation
Armstech provides good blaster upgrades while leveling, and some decent endgame weapons. However, you can get equivalent weapons elsewhere. Scavenging provides the basic mats and investigation provides the needed rare ingredients.

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