This article will give you a preview of the Healer Combat Styles proposed changes coming with SWTOR Update 7.1.1. I’ve also got a detailed analysis of the changes – how they will affect the combat styles, the healing in general; and I also shared some personal thoughts and suggestions for further changes that BioWare should implement.

Table of Contents:

Current State of Healing in SWTOR

Operatives / Scoundrels reign supreme. They are capable of doing gargantuan amounts of AoE healing by spamming Kolto Injection / Underworld Medicine on themselves to turn it into an AoE heal with the Kolto Burst / Medical Burst ability tree buff.

Mercenaries / Commandos and Sorcerers / Sages can still bring acceptable numbers, but you’re not doing your group any favors by taking both of those instead of at least 1 Operative / Scoundrel right now.

Operatives / Scoundrels aren’t without their limitations. They’re less flexible than Mercenaries / Commandos and especially Sorcerers / Sages because pproximately half their GCDs have to be spent maintaining Kolto Probes / Slow-release Medpacs. If they unexpectedly have to burst heal someone up, they risk letting probes fall off of others, forcing them to spend extra GCDs reapplying them later.

They also don’t have much survivability at all, especially in PvE content, even compared to other healers. That said, PvE survivability has been an issue for Operatives / Scoundrels in general for quite a while though and will only finally be fixed for DPS with 7.1.1.

Current State of Healing in SWTOR

Mercenaries / Commandos are well-rounded and they’re particularly good at offering frequent, reliable, potent burst healing thanks to Supercharged Gas / Supercharged Cell. However, Heat / Energy Cell management became harder and less forgiving with the launch of 7.0 because Vent Heat / Recharge Cells and Thermal Sensor Override / Reserve Powercell were combined into a single ability.

Their mobility is also very poorly suited to the new R-4 Anomaly operation where fast, extremely precise movement is preferred. On the other hand, Sorcerer / Sage mobility is incredible. They can travel as far as Mercenaries / Commandos with Force Speed, but while having complete control over where they end up and without having to spend multiple GCDs and while they can’t make themselves immune to knockbacks, Phase Walk is almost always able to get the job done.

Sorcerer / Sage healers are truly the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. Their flexibility is unparalleled among the healer disciplines. They have multiple options for a given scenario and are rarely locked into doing a specific ability at a specific time like Operatives / Scoundrels are with refreshing probes and Mercenaries / Commandos are with Supercharged Gas / Supercharged Cell and somewhat with Kolto Shell / Trauma Probe.

Thanks to their Volt Rush / Telekinetic Blitz build, Sorcerers / Sages also have the easiest time off-DPSing by far and can consistently deal a comparatively high amount of damage while keeping HPS numbers up.

Their biggest, and in my opinion, appropriate drawback is that they aren’t as strong as other healers in any given category. They have less frequent access to consistent, reliable, potent burst next to Mercenaries / Commandos and considerably weaker AoE healing next to Operatives / Scoundrels.

7.1.1 Announced Healer Changes

Bodyguard Mercenary / Combat Medic Commando

  • Increased the healing done by Rapid Scan / Medical Probe, Emergency Scan / Bacta Infusion, Progressive Scan / Successive Treatment, Kolto Missile / Kolto Bomb, and Kolto Pods by 2%.
  • Increased the critical healing bonus given by Warden / Potent Medicine from 5% to 10%.
  • Increased the healing bonus given by the Integrated Scanning / Integrated Probes ability tree buff from 3% to 5%.
  • Increased the critical chance bonus to Healing Scan / Advanced Medical Probe from the Critical Scanning / Critical Probes ability tree buff from 5% to 10%.

Medicine Operative / Sawbones Scoundrel

  • Reduced the Kolto Burst / Medical Burst ability tree buff’s healing on secondary targets by 50%.
  • The Kolto Stim / Underworld Tactics ability tree buff now additionally grants 10% increased healing to Kolto Injection / Underworld Medicine.
  • Reduced the healing received bonus given by the Nano Mark / Kolto Mark ability tree buff from 20% to 10%.
  • Redesigned the Defensive Injection / Defensive Medicine ability tree buff, which is now called “Reactive Substance”, and does the following: Kolto Injection / Underworld Medicine applies a reactive substance to the target for 10 seconds. If the target is dealt damage during this time, they are healed. Stacks up to 2 times.
  • Evasion / Dodge now lasts 1s longer and lowers threat by a moderate amount. (general Operative / Scoundrel change)

Corruption Sorcerer / Seer Sage

  • Increased the healing given by Penetrating Darkness / Clairvoyance to Resurgence / Rejuvenate (and Renewal) from 10% to 15%.
  • Dark Heal / Benevolence now gains a 60% healing increase up from 50% from Dark Concentration / Altruism.
  • Each stack of the Corrupted Bastion / Resurging Power ability tree buff increases the healing done by Dark Heal / Benevolence, Dark Infusion / Deliverance, and Rally / Keeper of the Peace by 5% per stack up from 3% per stack.

Source: SWTOR Forums.

7.1.1 Healer Changes Analysis

Operative / Scoundrel and Mercenary / Commando are getting the biggest changes with Operative / Scoundrel getting a nerf and Mercenary / Commando getting a considerable buff. Sorcerer / Sage is also getting buffed, but the effect is smaller.

Bodyguard Mercenary / Combat Medic Commando

Mercenary / Commando healers will be getting nearly a 2% HPS increase. The only heal that isn’t buffed by the first change is Kolto Shot / Med Shot. At 22k HPS, this is a 440 HPS increase. Integrated Scanning / Integrated Probes will do the same, so we’re looking at nearly a 1k HPS increase just from that, and then the 5% increase to critical healing gets us another ~2.3% increase, so we’re gonna be sitting at about 23.5k HPS for 22k HPS of healing.

7.1.1 Healer Changes Analysis

The 5% boost to Critical Scanning / Critical Probe will boost the average healing dealt by Healing Scan / Advanced Medical Probe by an additional 4.4%, or 8.8% total, including the buff to Warden / Potent Medicine. It’s still gonna be tough to justify taking that over Integrated Scanning / Integrated Probes because it’s really only 3.8% more on a single one of your heals, even if it is your strongest.

Medicine Operative / Sawbones Scoundrel

The nerf to Kolto Burst / Medical Burst will bring the healing power of AoE Kolto Injection / Underworld Medicine back down to earth, such that its HPS will be comparable to Kolto Waves, and which one heals for more will depend on which tactical item is equipped and whether Kolto Injection / Underworld Medicine is instant or not.

BioWare clarified on the forums that each stack of the new Reactive Substance buff will heal for about as much as a tick from Kolto Waves. However, it’s still unclear if the 10% healing boost to Kolto Stim / Underworld Tactics only applies when Kolto Injection / Underworld Medicine is used on yourself like the additional TA / UH it currently generates or if it will be a flat bonus.

Medicine Operative / Sawbones Scoundrel

I think players are still going to have a hard time justifying taking either option over Kolto Burst / Medical Burst even after the nerf unless it’s just really not possible for players to stack up or AoE healing isn’t needed. I think Kolto Burst / Medical Burst might need to come along with an Energy cost increase for Kolto Injection / Underworld Medicine as well

The change to Nano Mark / Kolto Mark should help to make the other options more viable outside of single-target healing situations.

Corruption Sorcerer / Seer Sage

A 6% boost to Corrupted Bastion / Resurging Power is insufficient. So long as Resurgence / Rejuvenate spreads to at least 1 person, it’s gonna come out ahead in terms of HPS, but Resurgence / Rejuvenate can spread to up to 4 people, so it’s basically never gonna get better.

If BioWare is serious about Corrupted Bastion / Resurging Power, they need to think way bigger, like having each stack increase the critical chance of that ability by 25% and making it stack up to 4 times instead of 3.

Corruption Sorcerer / Seer Sage

The other changes are similarly small as well. The 5% buff to Resurgence / Rejuvenate healing will mostly cancel out the “buff” to Corrupted Bastion / Resurging Power since it makes Resurgence / Rejuvenate spread stronger. It’s better than nothing, but it kinda feels like a token buff next to the Mercenary / Commando buffs and power that Operatives / Scoundrels will still have.

Mercenary / Commando

Add Directionality to Rocket Out / Propulsion Round

Rocket Out / Propulsion Round is fine in PvP because it’s mostly just a getaway tool and going backward is typically not dangerous, but there are a ton of instances where going backward in PvE is lethal.

Yes, you can spin your toon around really fast to go in the direction you want, but it feels extremely clunky and is way more difficult to do than it should be. No other ability in the game requires such technical skill to use.

The best way to fix it would be to make it so Rocket Out / Propulsion Round sends you in the direction you’re moving rather than always backward, and perhaps it could still move backward if you’re not moving at all or are backing up when you activate it.

Give Hydraulic Overrides / Hold the Line +45% Movement Speed

Powertechs / Vanguards have an extra 45% movement speed granted by Hydraulic Overrides / Hold the Line (75% total). It used to be part of a special utility, but now it’s baked into the base ability. Powertechs / Vanguards don’t have to give up nearly as much to take Hydraulic Overrides / Hold the Line either, only also Electro Dart / Cryo Grenade and Shield Cannon (4% heal per Shoulder Cannon), which I think we can all agree is objectively worse than Responsive Safeguards / Echoing Deterrence.

It’s time for Hydraulic Overrides / Hold the Line to be equally strong for all Mercenaries / Commandos and Powertechs / Vanguards by giving Mercenaries / Commandos the 75% Hydraulic Overrides / Hold the Line.

This would definitely take a lot less work to implement compared to adding directionality to Rocket Out / Propulsion Round and would probably be enough on its own to put the combat style on more even footing with regard to mobility.

Swap the Kolto Surge / Adrenal Surge and Trauma Regulators / Trauma Stabilizers Ability Tree Buffs

Kolto Surge / Adrenal Surge (65% Kolto Overload / Andrenaline Rush) is so much more consistently useful in PvE because it actually lets the ability work reliably as a DCD because attacks that chew through 35% of your HP in a single hit are a whole lot more common than ones that can get through 65%.

It wouldn’t make much of a difference in PvP because both buffs pretty similar in terms of overall power and Mercenaries / Commandos could use 1 more thing to help reliably mitigate big hits since Chaff Flare / Diversion is so inconsistent.

Swap Electro Net and Responsive Safeguards

Electro Net is primarily a PvP ability. Yes, it provides a small DPS increase akin to an offensive cooldown, but it’s pretty pointless for healers to have access to a beefy DoT with a 2 min cooldown (especially if it messes). Responsive Safeguards / Echoing Deterrence is situational as well, but at least it’s useful to everyone.

It would be better for everyone to have access to Responsive Safeguards / Echoing Deterrence and have Electro Net be part of the level 68 choice instead. It would also make more sense since Mercenaries / Commandos really seem to have a toolbelt feel with their ability tree buffs and would be a more appropriate choice where they have to choose between CC and mobility.

This change would be less necessary if Kolto Surge / Adrenal Surge and Trauma Regulators / Trauma Stabilizers were swapped.

Improve Supercharged Celerity

Supercharged Gas / Supercharged Cell is far too essential to Mercenaries / Commandos to give up in exchange for Supercharged Celerity, especially considering they don’t have an ability like Frenzy / Valorous Call to auto grant 10 stacks of Supercharged Gas for free. Here are several ways to fix this issue:

  • Make it cost 0 or 1 Supercharge stack instead of 10 OR
  • Make it so Supercharged Celerity also grants Supercharged Gas OR
  • Give Mercenaries / Commandos an ability like Frenzy / Valorous Call that immediately grants 10 stacks of Supercharge,

Supercharged Celerity also doesn’t sufficiently accelerate the speed at which abilities can be activated when going from the 1.4s GCD to the 1.3s GCD. In 10s at the 1.4s GCD, In 10s with the 1.4s GCD, you can activate 7.14 abilities; with the 1.3s GCD, you can activate 7.69 abilities. This is the only GCD threshold where 10% alacrity doesn’t result in an additional ability activation over those 10s.

If it were to grant 20% alacrity instead, that would be enough to bring players down to the 1.2s GCD, where players could get that single extra ability in because they could do 8.33 abilities in those 10s.

Rebrand Hydraulic Overrides as Jet Speed or Gyroscopic Alignment Jets

Hydraulic Overrides doesn’t make a whole lot of sense conceptually as an animation and the VFX have always looked pretty outdated. It would be so much cooler if the ability got rebranded to make use of the jetpack / rocket boots where activating Jet Speed / Gyroscopic Alignment Jets would grant you the movement speed and CC immunity by having the jets keep you stable and speed you up.

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To be clear, the effects of Hydraulic Overrides would remain the same, just the animation / VFX and name would be different. Jet Speed would fit better if Mercenaries / Commandos got access to the 75% movement speed boost while Gyroscopic Alignment Jets fits better with the CC immunity aspect. Hydraulic Overrides could take over as the name of the ability tree buff and I think that’s a more fitting name for the effect anyway.

Operative / Scoundrel

Buff Operative / Scoundrel Healer-Only Survivability

Operative / Scoundrel DPS will be in a fine spot with 7.1.1 in terms of survivability thanks to the AoE DR being added to the Countermeasures / Surrender ability tree buffs. It’s understandable that healers are not receiving that buff since BioWare does not seem to want to give AoE DR to healers, but Operatives / Scoundrels are still way too far behind the other healers in terms of (PvE) survivability.

To put this in perspective, I was talking to one of the Operative healer mains on my team about the Operative / Scoundrel healer balance, he brought up that he feels he has to take Tactical Overdrive / Hotstreak because it can reset the cooldown on Shield Probe / Defensive Screen and has used it exclusively to reset the cooldown on that ability.

It’s so depressing to watch someone waste such an insanely powerful ability just to get one more use out of what is arguably the weakest DCD in the game. It gives off the same energy as Finn becoming drinking buddies with a Happabore on Jakku.


There are several unique ways to improve healer survivability without adding another ability or affected the balance of the DPS disciplines:

  • Add the following effect to an existing discipline passive: You gain 3% damage reduction for each stack of Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac you have. (this is the Fortified Kolto / Supplemental Medpac utility)
  • Add the following effect to Clever Countermeasures / Clever Surrender: Activating Evasion / Dodge grants heals you for 10% of your maximum health over 10s. (this is the HoT component from the old Curative Agent / Sly Surrender utility)
  • Add the following effect to Medicine Stim Boost / Sawbones Pugnacity: Activating Stim Boost / Pugnacity immediately heals you for X% of max health (15-25% seems appropriate).

Healers could really use some DR on a DCD, but I couldn’t come up with anything that felt unique without adding a new ability or affecting DPS balance. The only way I can see to get around this would be to split the Revitalizers / Surprise Comeback DCD given to Stim Boost / Pugnacity for Lethality / Ruffian where Medicine / Sawbones gets the DR component and Lethality / Ruffian gets the HoT. Lethality / Ruffian could theoretically tolerate that nerf with the upcoming addition of AoE DR.

Redesign the Kolto Probes / Slow-release Medpac Mechanic

Operative / Scoundrel healer will continue to be difficult to balance without making it overpowered until the functionality of Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac is changed.

  • Kolto Probes / Slow-release Medpac can no longer stack and heals for the same amount as a single stack of Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac currently heals for
  • Enduring Kolto / Prolonged Prescription now increases the duration of Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac by 6s (up from 3)
  • Using Surgical Probe / Emergency Medpac or Kolto Infusion / Kolto Pack on a target affected by your Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac refreshes its duration and immediately heals the target for any remaining healing from the previous Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac.
  • Surgical Probe / Emergency Medpac now heals for 50% more
  • Medical Engineering / Medpac Mastery now has a 15% chance to grant a TA / UH and can additionally be triggered by your Diagnostic Scan

I envision Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac acting as an IV drip and by applying Surgical Probe / Emergency Medpac or Kolto Infusion / Kolto Pack, you’re squeezing the IV bag. Individual probes would be substantially weaker, but you could give them a stronger, immediate burst whenever it’s needed by spending a TA / UH.

By making Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac no longer stack, Operatives / Scoundrels become less dependent on maintaining probes on so many targets for healing because the overall output of Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac is reduced.

Operatives / Scoundrel healers would have a clearer option when burst is required by spamming Surgical Probe / Emergency Medpac to effectively direct the healing previously provided by the second stack of Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac Medpac to whichever player actually needed the healing.

Tactical Advantage / Upper Hand would become far more of a limiting factor to healing output compared to how many people have Kolto Probes / Slow-release Medpac. Operative / Scoundrel HPS would be lower than it is now when you have Kolto Probes / Slow-release Medpacs on more than 4-5 targets, so that amount needs to be viable which is why Medical Engineering / Medpac Mastery is returning to having a 15% chance.

Surgical Probe / Emergency Medpac would also likely need to heal for 50% more to compensate for the lower HPS from not needing Kolto Probes / Slow-release Medpacs on so many players. A 50% boost to Surgical Probe / Emergency Medpac would be equivalent to 50% of the healing dealt by one of these new 24s Kolto Probes / Slow-release Medpacs over its full duration.

The core “rotation” would involve maintaining Kolto Probe / Slow-release Medpac on the ~4 players you think will be taking the most damage, using Surgical Probe / Emergency Medpac spam and Kolto Infusion / Kolto Pack to burst people up, and then using your other heals on cooldown in between.

The ideal skill play would be to apply Kolto Probe / Slow-Release Medpac the GCD before the player takes a bit hit and begin casting Kolto Infusion / Kolto Pack that would land just after the damage followed by additional Surgical Probes / Emergency Medpacs as needed. Fundamentally, healing output would be more limited by TA / UH generation rather than GCDs in between refreshes as it is now.

Such significant changes would absolutely need to happen on the PTS. I’m curious to hear from healers about if they would like this redesign or not. I know I would personally be way more inclined to play Operative / Scoundrel healer if it wasn’t so rotational.

Sorcerer / Sage

The additional rebalancing with the release of 7.0 put Sorcerer / Sage healers in a pretty good spot. They don’t need nearly as many tweaks as the other 2 disciplines.

Redesign Polarized / Potent Resolve

Polarized / Potent Resolve is laughably bad. I propose it be replaced with the following effect that I call Sustaining Innervation / Soothing Trance:

Healing an ally with Innervate / Healing Trance while they are affected by Static Barrier / Force Armor causes them to gain 1 stack of Sustaining Darkness / Soothing Protection rather than lose 1 stack. In addition, activating Polarity Shift / Mental Alacrity finishes the cooldown on Innervate / Healing Trance and while Polarity Shift / Mental Alacrity is active, Innervate / Healing Trance applies Static Barrier / Force Armor to the target if they can benefit from it and grants an additional stack of Sustaining Darkness / Soothing Protection per tick.

In order to make this work, the Sustaining Darkness / Soothing Protection discipline passive would also need to stack up to 20 times (technically only 18) and be granted at level 35 instead of 78.

Basically, each full channel of Innervate / Healing Trance would give 4 stacks of Sustaining Darkness / Soothing Protection while Polarity Shift / Mental Alacrity would allow for more significant burst healing that fits with the overall theme and builds upon the current terrible effect.

Sustained healing output would remain a fair bit lower than what is offered by the Resurgence / Rejuvenate spread option in exchange for superior burst. The Unmatched Haste legendary implant would also synergize with this option, making it a better choice to use with the Volt Rush / Telekinetic Blitz build.

Bring Back Dark Resilience / Valiance

The only real thing I’d like to adjust for Sorcerer / Sage healers would be for Unnatural Preservation / Force Mend to heal for more. It didn’t get an appropriate increase compared to how much our health pools were raised with 7.0, just like Shield Probe / Defense Screen, and it’s a bigger issue for healers compared to the DPS disciplines which have more options to boost survivability.

Perhaps the Dark Resilience / Valiance utility that increased its healing by 30% and made Extrication / Rescue grant DR could be made into a passive or swapped out for the Conspiring Force / Confound ability tree buff. I always liked Dark Resilience / Valiance as a utility and was sad that I couldn’t take it more in 6.0 because of Surging Speed / Metaphysical Alacrity being a DPS boost thanks to the set bonus.

Special thanks to Zab and Malka for their help and presence in the Featured image.

Author Lokzmir
Categories SWTOR News
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