The Rules of Engagement is the column that provides Republic Troopers with highly detailed intel on everything a Trooper needs to know to adapt and overcome on and off the battlefield.
Our resident Combat Medic goes in-depth in discussing changes to the Advanced Class in Patch 1.2: Legacy
Written By: Mike Kern
In Patch 1.2, Medics face a change in their deployed abilities. Now that we’ve gotten our hands on the live patch, here is what we’ve found.
Let’s look at each change separately.
Field Training now increases critical chance by 1% per point
This change brings this particular ability down from 2%, which means a 50% reduction to this ability, but is this as painful as it looks?
The Old Republic uses a mechanic of diminishing returns when it comes to Critical Caps. This means that as your Aim increases, and your critical increases, the critical multiplier begins to lower. After a while, stacking more and more Aim and Crit becomes fruitless, creating a Soft Cap for your Crit chance.
Reducing Field Training from a maximum of 6% to 3% is a pretty big change, since it looks like this bonus stacks on top of your other bonuses.
While this partially helps balance out the Gunnery tree as well, since Field Training is a first tier talent, time will tell whether this change greatly impacts Medics or not. Our guess is that it will only truly impact those hardcore raiders who are trying to get every min-max possible. The casual healer probably won’t notice a change in their efficiency, especially at end game when your Crit chance is more impacted by Critical Rating gear.
Field Triage now reduces the cost of Medical Probe by 1
Troopers are plagued with the constant problem of Ammo conservation and our Medics need to master this or people don’t walk out of flashpoints, operations or warzones alive (they float out on carts). Field Triage now reduces our Medical Probe cost by 1 instead of 2. It is a 3-point skill, going from 33.3% chance to proc to 100% after deploying your Advanced Medical Probe.
There is not a whole lot to examine here. That is a 50% reduction in the skill’s effectiveness, creating a more serious Ammo conservation situation than we had before. This change forces Medics to make some slight alterations to their healing rotations, instead of relying on spamming Medical Probe after a successful Advanced Medical Probe launch.
Kolto Bomb now affects up to 4 targets (up from 3), improving reliability in group and Operation situations
Kolto Bomb is one of those abilities that when used correctly can save a group from a wipe. When skilled out, Kolto Bomb also leaves a residue on your teammates that increase healing done to them by 3% (down from 5% thanks to 1.2). In patch 1.2, this ability now affects 4 targets instead of 3. For a group situation, when fighting a boss or holding an area in PvP, this can be a lifesaver. Having it now affect 4 allies over 3 grants a net 33% bonus to your healing and only costs 2 Ammo.
However, Kolto Bomb only has an 8 meter radius, so unless your whole group is in a tight area and taking a lot of damage, this buff becomes fairly tactical. I often deploy it before a fight in conjunction with Trauma Probe, right before my companion or Tank draws aggro.
In warzones, this ability is very hit or miss depending on your team. I find it most useful in areas that group your team together, such as bomb deployment areas on the Voidstar, zone captures on Alderaan and Novare Coast and before flame traps in Hutt Ball. Anywhere your team comes together is an opportunity for Kolto Bomb to lay out some moderate healing very quickly, and to a great number of people.
With 1.2 changing how many people Kolto Bomb affects, more is better. We’ve lost 40% of its effectiveness but gained 33% more targets affected. If you’re hitting the max amount of people, you’re gaining more healing than you’ve lost. If you heal 1000 HP in one shot, your 3% bonus will net you an additional 30 HP, instead of 50 HP, yet you’re gaining another person healed for 1030 HP. That’s a net gain of 970 HP!
Kolto Residue now increases all healing received by 3% (down from 5%)
This change speaks for itself. Your healing bonus is nearly halved, but Kolto Bomb’s Kolto Residue is still a bonus and 3% of a critical heal is still significant. When combined with the right rotation and a group keeping you from being pummeled, this change should only prove to keep you more alert. See my statements above on how effective this ability still is.
Psych Aid no longer reduces the cost of Field Aid. It now causes Field Aid to heal the target for a small amount
I’ve found this change to be mostly inconsequential. I use Field Aid regularly but it does not greatly harm my Ammo conservation and the new inclusion of a minor heal is only helpful. It won’t save anyone at high levels, but it can provide a decent buffer until your bigger heals arrive.
Supercharge Cells now restores 1 Energy Cell (down from 2) when used and increases all damage and healing dealt by 5% (down from 10%). The shield applied by Kolto Bomb now reduces damage taken by 5% (down from 10%)
This one hurts; I can’t find any other way around it. As I’ll state later in this article, a good rotation and steady vigilance will keep most of these changes from removing Medics as prime healers, but it has made our job harder.
What this change really does is continue to make us employ Supercharge Cells more often. I found that before this change, I would hold onto my 30 charges and skate along gracefully with 1 Ammo Medical Probe spamming and Hammer Shots. With 30 charges, I’d be doing a good bit of healing bonus without having to build up any additional charges. Now I find myself spending my stacks almost as soon as I get them (both for the shield and additional healing).
This all adds up to a point I’ll make at the end.
Trauma Probe now costs 2 Energy Cells to activate
What did it cost before? Nothing. Bioware must have assumed we’d use this ability prior to combat and perhaps once in a while during combat. I use this ability constantly, switching its target several times in the middle of a fight. During PvP matches, I can’t count the number of times I’ve activated it on myself while being attacked, only to throw it on another ally as their health rapidly dropped, buying time while I called in more advanced healing.
This change gives us pause and makes us integrate the ability more actively in our rotations. I now often find myself deciding between a Medical Probe (which has an activation time) or Trauma Probe (no activation time but less healing on the spot). Whatever your use for it, Medics now have to more carefully consider its deployment.
Healing Rotation Strategy
As our resident Medic, I’ve found it effective to deploy Trauma Probe and then a Kolto Bomb before a fight. This takes the edge off those initial, often traumatic hits. As the fight wears on, I build up 30 charges of my Combat Support Cell in order to lay down another Kolto Bomb with a 5% shield. Often times I simply use Hammer Shot on my primary Tank in conjunction with Trauma Probe. With Kolto Bomb active, healing is boosted already and this is often enough to keep someone at a manageable health in normal PvE environments (excluding bosses and such).
Intersperse this continuous effort with Advanced Medical Probe and then follow up with a regular Healing Probe. Using the above strategy keeps my Ammo at optimum levels and my Tanks happy customers. Remember to also remove any negative effects with Field Aid, as it often clears DoTs. Keeping a vigilant eye out for such things will make your job easier; keep your Ammo high and your Tank from panicking.
If you found more useful tactics and ability deployment strategies, please leave us a comment and tell us all about it!
Has the Role of Medics changed?
This patch changed my Medic in one very fundamental way. I found myself DPSing a whole lot less and concentrating on healing a whole lot more. It has taken me away from a “dual class” to a more focused class. I have to carefully consider my healing rotation and throw out my damaging abilities on the rare occasions I can spare the Ammo.
Bioware set out to make healers more dynamic, give us more options for play than simply watching health bars. This patch seemed to reduce our ability to do so, instead dropping Medics down into a secondary Healer with DPS ability, or a primary Healer that throws out some damage once in a while.
I agree with many of these changes, but time will tell if the overall feel of playing a Medic has truly changed. Before I could spam healing probes over and over and then go back to DPSing. I can’t do that as easily anymore and instead have to give careful thought to managing the health of my squad.
I’m back to watching the red bars (now with fancy UI changes!) but the rotations I’ve had to come up with make my job interesting enough that I’m not bored. In conclusion, they’ve stopped Medics from being heavily armored healing machines with the ability to throw lots of heavy ordinance down range, but they’ve also forced us to be creative, agile in our ability deployments and smarter healers.
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Tags: Advanced Class, Advanced Medical Probe, Aim, Alderaan, Ammo, Bioware, Combat Medic, Combat Support Cell, crit, EA, Electronic Arts, Field Aid, Field Training, Field Triage, Flashpoints, Gunnery, healing, Hutt Ball, Kolto Residue, Kolto-Bomb, LucasArts, Medical Probe, Novare Coast, Operations, Patch 1.2, Psych Aid, PvE, PvP, Republic Trooper, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Supercharge Cells, SWTOR, tank, TOR, Trauma Probe, Trooper, Voidstar, Warzones