Outlaws of Old |Site Info
Main Forum

Lobo's Guide to Innervation [Alternately Titled: A Casual-Ish Guide to PvE Healsorcification]

3 replies

2V! What in Korriban's name are you DOING?! I demand a libation this instant!

Oh. Company. Well. I suppose I have the time to address you. It has come to my attention that many of you that enjoy beating the snot out of the Republic and one another are having issues with LOSing, healing to full, and then making your opponents pay. This is not my focus. Instead, it is my hope that you will come to appreciate your unique strengths as a practitioner of the Dark Side when it comes to endgame raiding. This guide is broken up into several delicious bite-sized sections, each of a different flavor. Merely use your tuned eye-muscles to look DOWNWARD, apprentice!

I. Philosophy of This Guide
II. Philosophy and My Understanding of Corruption
III. Useful Terminology
IV. Your Movepool
V. "Optimal" Skill Tree Setup
VI. "Optimal" Gear and Stats
VII. "Optimal" Rotations
VIII. Tips and Tricks

I. Philosophy of This Guide
  • I have progressed through all 55 hard mode content; while I and many members of my guild would love to challenge some 55 nightmare mode content; it is not our first priority. Many pointers I make in this guide may still be applied to a hardcore playstyle, but this guide is designed mostly for the benefit of the casual to semi-hardcore player. Above all else, my philosophy is to have fun. If you both enjoy yourself and learn something while reading this guide, my goal has been met.
  • I have never had, currently do not have, and probably never will have any interest in PvP. You will need to look elsewhere for pointers in this regard.
  • I am neither a number-cruncher nor an absolutist in regards to things like games (when such things occur, it ceases to be a game.) While there are theorycrafters that place a lot of stock in getting The Right Stats or The Right Rotation, you will note that my sections are labeled "Optimal." By this, I hope to emphasize that this is what I have found works best for me. I encourage you to experiment and use whatever rotation, stats, or skill tree works best for you.

II. Philosophy and My Understanding of Corruption
Speaking in a very general sense, the healing classes can be summarized in the following way:
  • Scoundrel/Operative: Exceptional at single-target heals, mediocre at AoE heals. Heals tend to be slow. Energy management is relatively easy.
  • Sage/Sorcerer: Mediocre at single-target heals, exceptional at AoE heals. Heals tend to be slow. Energy management requires some skill.
  • Commando/Mercenary: Mediocre at both single-target and AoE heals. Heals tend to be fast. Energy management requires considerable skill.

While it is true that Sorcs have access to Static Barrier as a way of instantly saying "no" to pesky enemies trying to kill your patients, playing Corruption effectively requires being proactive instead of reactive; you must be able to "plan ahead." As a Healsorc, you want to minimize situations where someone is on the brink of death, because Healsorcs have relatively few options for quick "rescues." Pulling teammates out of a low-HP hole will require considerable Force expenditure, use of a cooldown, or both.

Got that, Apprentice? We are Inquisitors, masters of the evil plan. Our skills require the delicate, subtle touch of scheming. Develop a good plan that addresses all contingencies in advance of a battle, and only adapt that plan if absolutely necessary. Leave the reactive grunting and smashing to the Warriors.

III. Useful Terminology and Abbreviations
I generally like to avoid Orwellian butchering of language with TXT-like abbreviations, but below are ones that will commonly be used in this guide for the sake of giving my typing fingers a well-deserved break.
DI=Dark Infusion
DH=Dark Heal
Reviv or Puddle=Revivification
Bubble=Static Barrier
Reckless Bubble Combo=Bubbling a teammate, popping Recklessness, then following up with two DIs. The best course of action that a Healsorc can take when someone takes a massive hit.

IV. Your Healing Movepool
Without further ado, let's get into the Dark Side powers that are at your disposal.

Dark Heal (Benevolence)
Type: Cast (1.5s windup)
Force Cost: 66 (with Dark Mending; I do not include the Force cost reduction provided by the Electric Induction perk in this number)
Description: Remember me saying that Sorcs have reasonably few options for quick rescues of teammates? Here's your first evidence of that. While Dark Heal has a quick windup, the amount it heals for is relatively small, while the amount of Force that it requires is huge. This is probably the lowest priority healing move in your lineup, and it should only be used when you know an individual cannot be saved by a Reckless Bubble Combo.

Dark Infusion (Deliverance)
Type: Cast (2.5s with Dark Mending)
Force Cost: 55
Description: While Innervate is arguably your most important single-target heal, Dark Infusion has the responsibility of being the "old reliable" that you always fall back to whenever Innervate is on cooldown. While Innervate can produce bigger overall numbers if it crits twice or more, DI produces the biggest numbers per single tick. Once you're fully geared in 55 raid gear, this is the spell that you'll use to brag about "10k heals" to your friends and rivals. You should note that the windup for DI is very slow, therefore make sure to bubble your patient before using it if you think there's a chance they're going to die or get critically injured.

Overload (Force Wave)
Type: Instant
Cooldown: 20s
Force Cost: 0
Description: What? A conal lightning attack is a heal? Once you take the Force Suffusion perk, yes. While the amount of healing done to each person standing in the conal is relatively low, Overload is the only move in your arsenal that allows you to heal others without any Force cost. Based on my very brief testing, it does not appear to have a cap on the number of people that it can heal, either. While pretty shrimpy when healing in Flashpoints, Overload becomes quite useful in 8-man Operations and indispensable in 16-mans.

One caveat: make sure not to knock back any mobs that melee DPS or the tanks are trying to get to, or prepare for an endless stream of whining. On second thought, this a great way to get back at your "favorite" raid team members, other than the ever-popular "Sorry, Dark Infusion took too long to cast," but you didn't hear this from me! Nope! No sir!

Static Barrier (Force Armor)
Type: Instant
Cooldown: Global cooldown
Force Cost: 35 (with Efficacious Currents)
Description: Affectionately referred to in the SWTOR community as the "bubble", Static Barrier is one of the gems of this class. It activates instantly and soaks an amazingly high amount of damage for a relatively low cost. Its uses are seemingly endless: reducing the amount of damage a tank takes when an enemy is about to pound them with a big burst hit, "stopping the bleed" on a dying party member to give you some time to launch a big heal at them, and providing you, the Sorc, with a small regenerative heal for as long as you're inside one.

Force Barrier (Force Barrier)
Type: Channel (10s)
Cooldown: 3 min.
Force Cost: 0
Description: The Sorcerer's new level 51 move added in Rise of the Hutt Cartel. Although it has such a long cooldown that you may even forget it exists, Force Barrier is a situational but extremely potent move that experienced Healsorcs will learn to appreciate. While Force Barrier is active, you are completely invincible for 10 seconds. No damage. No knockbacks. Nothing can touch you. The only drawback is that you cannot heal while channeling. Depending on whether or not you invest a point in Reverse Corruptions (more on that later), you may use the move slightly differently than as the "give the tank time to taunt off the ravenous wolves currently feasting on you" move that it usually is.

Cloud Mind (Cloud Mind)
Type: Instant
Cooldown: 45s
Force Cost: 0
Description: What MMO players refer to as an "aggro dump," this move reduces the amount of threat (or aggro) that you have accumulated towards nearby enemies. In other words, enemies not currently attacking you are less likely to break ranks and start attacking you, while enemies that are attacking you may lose interest. This will help your tank keep enemies on them and off you. Some healers prefer to use it on every c/d; I generally only use it when I am surrounded by angry mobs and my tank needs some help with taunts. Try out both ways and see what works best for you!

Consumption (Noble Sacrifice)
Type: Instant
Cooldown: Global cooldown
Cost: 11% of your maximum HP (with Dark Resilience)
Description: Sacrifice your HP to restore 8% of your maximum Force per use. Without Force Surge buffs to shield you, it also imposes a debuff that reduces your Force regen by 25% per stack. The debuff is a Very Bad Thing that should be avoided if at all possible. However, Consumption is the reason you have any staying power in extended battles and an invaluable move once mastered.

Unnatural Preservation (Force Mend)
Type: Instant
Cooldown: 30s
Force Cost: 0
Description: A powerful self-heal; Unnatural Preservation is most commonly used to recover HP after a Consumption burning spree or as an "oh crap" button when a boss lands a big hit on you. It is your choice whether to use this move liberally (every cooldown) for maximum burning fun or to save it so that you know it will be around in emergencies.

Purge (now known as Expunge post-2.5) (Restoration)
Type: Instant
Cooldown: 5s
Force Cost: 15 (with Sith Purity)
Description: Removes up to two mental, Force, or (with Sith Purity) physical debuffs from a single target. It is important to note that Expunge cannot eliminate tech debuffs, much to the consternation of every raid team that has attempted to run Ops Chief with two Sorc healers. A situational move that shouldn't be used as part of normal healing rotations, but of vital importance in certain battles. Be sure to catch up on your boss strategies to find out which!

Resurgence (Rejuvenate)
Type: Instant
Cooldown: 6s
Force Cost: 30
Description: The first of the three unique moves in the Corruption tree, Resurg produces a slow, regenerative heal commonly referred to as a HoT (or Heal over Time) in the MMO community. While it doesn't cause a lot of HP recovery on its own, it is important in two respects: it buffs the armor rating of your target and provides you with a buff called Force Bending that will enhance your next heal. Generally, Resurgence should be used every time it's off cooldown.

Innervation (Healing Trance)
Type: Channel (3s)
Cooldown: 9s
Force Cost: 40
Description: The second of the Corruption moves; Innervate is one of your most crucial moves for several reasons. For one, it is the only heal that allows you to begin patching up a target instantly (or near-instantly). Secondly, whenever it scores a critical heal, it provides you with a single charge of Force Surge, which can be used for a degeneration-free Consumption, or to speed up your use of...

Revivification (Salvation)
Type: Cast (2s)
Cooldown: 15s
Force Cost: 100
Descrption: Aww yeah. Meet the reason why Healsorcs are the unquestioned lords and masters of area healing. Unlike the dinky Recuperative Nanotech of Operatives or Kolto Missiles of Mercenaries, Reviv can heal up to 8 people at once. Not 4. 8. Eight. A quick disclaimer for those of you who are not healers, when your Sorc healer is screaming "STACK!" over the VoIP program of your choice, it is probably because they want as many people inside one of these as there possibly can be.

The only drawback of this move is the extremely high Force cost; make sure that you have at least three people stacked up so that you're not wasting precious Force.

V. "Optimal" Skill Tree Setup
As Reviv is your most powerful heal and single-target Sorc heals are only average, you have no choice but to invest at least 36 points into the Corruption tree to reach it. What follows are 3 builds that are generally considered the best in terms of raid utility. Again, if you find a build you like better and allows you to heal your comrades effectively, by all means use it.

1) The Noxxic Build
This build sacrifices a point in Empty Body, the perk that increases the amount of self-heals, in order to dump a point into Corrupted Speed, which slightly increases the potency of your Force Speed ability. While Force Speed can be useful on occasion, it is my opinion that the buff provided by Corrupted Speed is too low to warrant investing a precious skill point. Additionally, Sorcs are not mobile healers--they are best when they are entrenched.

2) 37/7/2 Reverse Corruption Build
Similar to the Noxxic build, this moves the point in Corrupted Speed to Empty Body, providing the opportunity for more powerful self-heals. Reverse Corruptions allows you a "burn away" phase once every 3 minutes by popping Force Barrier to get rid of the Consumption debuff. Make sure to coordinate with the other healers in your team so that they can anticipate your burn phase and heal you accordingly. Overall, this is a good build that works especially well for:
  • Less experienced Healsorcs that are having issues getting enough Force back solely with Force Surge procs.
  • High power/high alacrity/low crit rating builds that don't get as many Force Surge procs as high crit builds.
  • Very, very long battles where even veteran Healsorcs are running into Force exhaustion issues.

3) Defensive 36/7/3 Build
This build uses the bare minimum 36 points necessary to reach Reviv in the Corruption tree and allocates the remaining single point to Sith Defiance in the Madness tree for an increased 1% damage reduction. This is as durable as you're going to get as a Healsorc, and this is my current preferred build for Hardmode Terror From Beyond/Scum and Villainy. A drawback of this build is that it requires a strong sense of Force management; you do not have a Reverse Corruption burn to save your hide if your Force gets too low. For this reason, I recommend this build if you meet the following two criteria:
  • You are running a mid or high crit build.
  • You have been playing Healsorc for a while and are confident in your Force management skill.

VI. "Optimal" Gear and Stats
You'll hear many math heads talk about HPS (heals per second) or eHPS (effective heals per second). You may also hear conventional wisdom that states "crit sucks; don't use it." I have good news--don't worry about either one of these perspectives! Sufficiently good healers that plan ahead rarely--if ever--need to furrow their brows and agonize over math and numbers and can make both high power and high crit builds work marvelously.

Speaking generally, there are two schools of thought as to what stats are "best" for Sorc heals:
1) The Ideal Math Build (high power/high alacrity/mid surge)
  • How-to: All but 2-3 pieces of your gear should be power/alacrity; the remaining 2-3 should be power/surge; you should have 0 points in critical rating until you are in 75+ gear.
  • Rationale: With this build, it is more difficult to get Force Surge procs from Innervate critical hits, but you gain back more Force "naturally" from an extremely high Alacrity rating. Not needing to use Consumption as much also frees up more time for actually throwing out heals. Additionally, single-target Sorc heals like Dark Infusion are improved because of the shorter casting time.

2) The "balanced" build (high surge/mid crit/mid power/mid alacrity)
  • How-to: Get Surge to ~70% and ensure your buffed crit chance is at 25-30% using crit rating, then invest remaining points in power/alacrity.
  • Rationale: This build maximizes the amount of healing that you do with criticals while respecting that fact that most moves aren't going to crit. While power/alacrity builds sound great in theory and many people can make them work, the amount of Force that alacrity helps to generate isn't enough to be preventive/proactive with heals.

I have used both. Both work up through hard mode, and I assume both also work in nightmare mode. Try out both and figure out which one works best for you! And even if there is some disagreement regarding optimal stat distribution, there is a lot of agreement between the two sides:

What Augments and Relics should I use?

-Augments: Always use Resolve (Willpower/Endurance) Augments.
-Relics: Always use a Relic of Boundless Ages with one other relic that you're comfortable with (usually Ephemeral Mending or Serendipitous Assault; I prefer the latter.)
Posted Aug 28, 13 · OP · Last edited Feb 5, 14
VII. "Optimal" Rotations
Broken record time--there is no magical panacea rotation. This is not DPS where enemies need to be brought down in the most efficient manner possible, and there can be said to be the One True Rotation that will be most effective in this manner. This is healing, where you must prioritize your teammates' health bars against both each other and against your remaining amount of Force. First, I'll start off with a general list of single-target priorities.

1) You, if critically (one more good hit by the boss will be enough to off you) injured
2) Tanks regardless of health (unless both are in very good shape, usually all tanks >75-80%, but boss-dependent)
3) Your best DPS if critically injured
4) You/other healers if moderately injured
5) Your best DPS if not critically injured
6) Chopped-liver DPS regardless of health

Here's the somewhat misleading thing about this list, though: it assumes that you only have single-target heals. You are a Healsorc--you are an area healing specialist! Therefore, it is possible to use Revivification and Overload to help treat yourself, a tank, and DPS all at the same time! Therefore, I think a better overall priority list might look like so:

1) You, if critically (one more good hit by the boss will be enough to off you) injured
2) Tanks (unless both are in decent shape, usually all tanks >65-70%, but boss-dependent)
3) Your best DPS if critically injured
---Prioritize single target, reactive heals above this line. Prioritize AoE, proactive heals below this line---
4) You/other healers if moderately injured
5) Your best DPS if not critically injured
6) Chopped-liver DPS regardless of health

Now that we have an idea of who to focus on while our eyes are glued to the health bars, let's look into the best ways to keep people alive.

Single-target rotations:
1) The Old Reliable (target likely to take further damage immediately):
Bubble--->Resurgence--->Innervate--->Dark Infusion X 1 or 2 Dark Infusion X 1 or 2 depends on target health after initial DI and whether Innervate is off cooldown.

This will be your go-to single-target rotation on tanks for all manner of cuts, bruises, and mutilations from mild to severe. Using the bubble acts as a "stall" that buys your teammate some time while you get Resurg/Innervate off and begin to cast DI.

2) Proactive Old Reliable (target unlikely to take further damage immediately):
Resurgence--->Innervate--->Bubble--->Dark Infusion X 1 or 2

A modified version of the Old Reliable that works well if someone takes a big hit but is unlikely to immediately incur more damage--perhaps if you have a raid-unaware DPS member that's standing in a boss's targeting reticle but suddenly gets a clue when their health bar starts dropping. In this rotation, the bubble doesn't act as a stall--the team member is no longer taking damage--it's more of an "insurance policy" in case whatever happened to the team member reoccurs 10-15 seconds down the road.

3) Reckless Bubble Combo:
Bubble-->Recklessness (+optional use of Polarity Shift)-->Dark Infusion X 2

Your most powerful single-target healing burst. You only get one of these every 90 seconds, so use wisely and sparingly. I typically reserve this solely for tanks, but if you have two party members that are both in fairly bad shape, you can "split" the Infusions between each person.

Multiple-target rotations:
1) Traditional use of Reviv:
3+ raid members are mildly to moderately injured and clustered: Resurgence on self if injured, highest priority tank/healer otherwise--->Revivification centered on clustered raid members

The Force Bending buff provided by Resurgence lowers the cost of the next Reviv by 30% while costing 30 Force, which effectively makes the use of Resurg free. I always make it a point to use Resurg first before throwing out an AoE.

2) Burn phase/heavy AoE damage rotation
Overload--->Self-bubble if possible--->Resurgence--->Reviv--->Follow single-target until OL/Reviv are off cooldown, then reuse.

This rotation works great on bosses like Styrak where there is a huge amount of damage being done simultaneously to the whole raid. I use Overload first for several reasons: the small HP boost from Overload acts as a "stall" while Reviv is being cast, it has a longer cooldown than Reviv, and Overload reliably procs my Serendipitous Assault relic, which will increase the amount of healing that Reviv will do.

The bubble is thrown in to decrease the amount of pushback that the boss inflicts on you while you're trying to cast Reviv.

VIII. Tips and Tricks/FAQ
Q: Where exactly should I be on the battlefield?
A: In spite of Sorcs being labelled "ranged DPS/healers," Healsorcs should be in the fray along with the tanks and melee DPS unless there is some battle mechanic that prevents this (enemies frequently using powerful conal attacks, Sunder's Fixate, necessity of standing on the center during the Operator IX battle, etc.) This allows the Healsorc to take advantage of standing in their own Revivification AoEs, which helps to restore HP after Consumption burning.

Q: How should I coordinate with other healers?
A second Healsorc: Tons of fun in stationary battles. You and your partner can lay down Reviv puddle after Reviv puddle and provide a bare minimum of single-target healing only when necessary. It is your choice whether to use Reviv simultaneously for an extremely powerful burst-like AoE healing area or "step" them (one healer lays down Reviv, second healer uses it only after the first Reviv disappears) for constant healing. Battles become more difficult if mobile and/or if enemies have tech debuffs. If you choose to lay down your Revivifications simultaneously, it is best to place them in a Venn diagram-like pattern to spread the healing radius outward. Those in the overlapping area will receive the most healing benefit.

Operatives: Because Operatives are the best single-target healers, they can focus on keeping the tanks patched while you focus on spreading bubbles and AoEs. You may need to occasionally jump to single-target heals, but generally the two classes cover each others' weaknesses extremely well. The primary danger here is when someone takes significant damage but remains in a Danger Zone between 35%-50% of maximum HP, low enough to die, but not low enough to benefit from an Operative's free Surgical Probe spams. You should coordinate in order to minimize instances of this happening; your best course of action in this situation is probably to bubble the person and toss in a Resurg while the Op handles most of the HP recovery with Kolto Infusion and similar moves.

Per Ino at MMO-Mechanics, the presence of bubbles and Reviv puddles allows an Operative, normally a distance healer, to get within melee range. This will enable the Operative to use Shiv, which will both help with DPS and allow them to generate even more Tactical Advantages.

Conventional wisdom holds that Sorc/Operative is generally the optimal healer combination for difficult HM and NiM content.

Mercenaries: Because each Merc heal generally heals for less than an Operative or Sorc heal, you may find yourself running more single-target duty than you would with a Sorc/Op combination. The advantage of this setup, however, is the amount of security it provides in the case of "oh crap" moments. A Healsorc can bubble a dying party member and use Resurgence while a Merc simultaneously dumps Supercharged Gas and their quick instant heals on the target. This will ensure that the Sorc has enough time to cast DI and other slow heals with minimal danger of the target dying. A somewhat difficult combination to play until both healers are aware of each others' strengths and weaknesses, but very effective when played correctly.

Q: How should I use the charges of Force Surge that I get from Innervate crits?
A: While throwing down Reviv puddles faster can be nice, it's usually not necessary when healing proactively. Unless my Force is in really good shape, I typically spend all my Force Surge procs on Consumption burns. If my Force is in good shape, I might use a single Force Surge charge on speeding up a Reviv, but no more than that.

Q: What should I do in really mobile battles (Dash'roode when the shield generator fails, EC Kephess, Dread Commanders once Heirad is dead, etc.)
A: Some of the emphasis on Reviv goes away. Spam Overload as much as you can, proactively use bubbles on people that you think will be/are actually being clobbered by enemies. Good tanks realize that Healsorcs are at their best when they aren't frequently moving, so they will often try to slowly "walk" enemies (take a few steps, stop and wait for a heal, take a few steps, stop and wait for a heal, so forth) rather than running from point A to B without stopping.

Q: I want to help DPS the boss!
A: You want to be chopped liver?

Q: Yes!
A: In that case, use Affliction--->Crushing Darkness--->Force Lightning--->Shock--->Lightning Strike, then get back on heals. Keep in mind that the more you DPS, the more you put yourself in jeopardy of running out of Force; you don't have any method of conserving resource through damage like DPSers do. It is, however, good to know how to throw out a little damage, especially on bosses with tight enrage timers like Styrak HM.

Q: You keep using this "proactive" word...
A: In all seriousness, I believe that keeping HP bars as high as possible instead of merely reacting when they get low is the way that that the class works best. The only method of individual burst heals that a Sorc is capable of is Dark Infusion (maybe Innervate), which implies to me that proactive healing is how the devs intended for the class to be played.

Q: But...
A: I'm not interested in comparing the size of my method's e-peen to yours. This is not DPS; this is healing, and at the end of the day, keeping people alive is what matters most. If your method works better for you, use it.

Q: Can I repost this guide elsewhere or make derivative works?
A: By all means! Simply give credit where credit is due and share alike.
Posted Aug 28, 13 · OP · Last edited Jan 18, 14
x 1
x 1
Abish a
You are the man Lobo. Either that or you have too much time on your hands.
Posted Sep 4, 13
Guide updated to version 1.01. A couple of minor revisions have been made:
  • Purge is now known as Expunge in the post-2.5 world.
  • Updated recommended DPS rotation guide.
  • Some minor updates to coordination with Operatives.
  • Alternative "split" use of the Reckless Bubble Combo.
Posted Jan 18, 14 · OP · Last edited Jan 18, 14