Mercenary Healing Basics

So, it’s coming up on about a month since I received my email that told me I could log on to early-access and start finally playing a character that I can keep in The Old Republic. Thus, Jetpackjesus, of the StarMessiah legacy was born unto a Galaxy Far, Far away.

Jesus is a Mercenary who has a soft spot for credits and Twi’leks, and not a lot else. He’s seen the dirty underside of Nar Shadda and helped enact a regime change on Corellia, healing himself and his friends along the way. Through these 50 levels of shooting people with green love, he’s learned a lot about how to keep people alive, and how to make the others die like the scum that they are(Republic of course).

Bodyguard healing can be a very fun and rewarding experience, but only if you know what you are doing and what you have to work with.  Currently I feel like we have a very, very good ability to keep a tank alive who is taking a decent amount of damage, as well as some damage spread out over the raid. We have a few less tools for healing multiple targets at once, but can overcome those limitations by playing to our strengths.

Combat Support Cylinder and Supercharged Gas

Everything that we do is focused around the building of Combat Support Cylinder (CSC)stacks, and triggering the Supercharged Gas(SG) Ability.  Combat Support Cylinder should be the ONLY cylinder ever active if you plan on being the primary healer.

Having this cylinder activated allows your abilities to build up stacks of Combat Support Cylinder, this is done by using either Rapid Shots to build 3 stacks, or Rapid Scan to build 6.  Each stack increases all damage and healing done by roughly 0.1%, reaching a maximum of 3% at 30 stacks.  These stacks can be maintained indefinitely to reap the healing bonus, but a better option is also available, at 30 stacks the Supercharged Gas ability becomes available.

SG will increase all damage and healing by 10%, along with venting 16 heat when activated, for 10 seconds.  While active, this ability buffs our other primary damage and healing abilities further:

  • Power Shot: Heat cost reduced by 17.
  • Unload: Heat cost reduced by 8.
  • Healing Scan: Cooldown reduced by 100%.
  • Kolto Missile: Places a shield on all targets, reducing damage taken by 10% for 15 seconds.
Therefore, we always want to be building towards 30 stacks, waiting for a time when we need a little extra healing or damage, and then firing off SG.  Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Handling the Heat

Every class has to have a resource, that’s why Bounty Hunter’s have Heat.  Heat works like it does in other games which use it(I’m looking at your Mechwarrior), the less of it you have, the more that you can do.  Unlike managing a Mana bar that we have to keep full, we need to make sure we keep our heat level as low as possible.  Most of our abilities cost some amount of heat, with some taking more than others.  The highest cost ability costs 25 heat, which is 25% of our total(I like even math).

The trick about managing heat is to understand how it dissipates or vents.  Every second you have any amount of heat, it is being vented at a rate that is proportional to the amount you have.  The more heat, the slower it vents, the less heat, the faster.  What this means is that if you find yourself at 100 heat, it is going to take a long time to vent all of that back down to zero.

This makes ours a game of cast a little, let it vent, cast a little, let it vent.  More precisely, what we are trying to do is always stay in the amount of heat that vents the fastest, while trying to avoid getting into the danger zone.  The number of arrows next to your heat bar will tell you how much heat your are venting per second, up to a maximum of 5.  Generally the rule of thumb is to keep your heat, below 40%.  This keeps the highest automatic vent rate going, while leaving you with room cast a bunch if things go bad quickly.

There are a couple of other ways to vent your heat, but they are on a cooldown and not always available:

  • Vent Heat - This vents 50 heat over 3 seconds, but can only be used once every two minutes.  I try to use this the first time I get over 75% heat to drop me back to down to the fast vent zone, as long as I know I will need to keep casting for a while. Works even better when the Improved Vents ability is trained, increasing the vented amount to 66.
  • Supercharged Gas – When this is activated you immediately vent 16 heat, something to keep in mind as this should be happening as part of your normal rotation.

The Bodyguard’s Toolbox

Here is a list of abilities that Bodyguards should have on their bars, and use A LOT.

  • Rapid Shots - Free Healing is Free, our no cost ability we receive at level 1 turns into a decent little heal when Combat Support Cylinder is active.  This will heal for 100% of your Tech Bonus Healing. Most importantly, this ability will generate 3 stacks of Combat Support Cylinder.  Can be cast while moving. Cannot be cast on yourself.
  • Rapid Scan - Our base heal, 2 Second cast with 2 points in Med Tech, no cooldown, costs 25 heat on its own, but if cast after Healing Scan will only Cost 8 Heat with the Critical Efficiency buff. This guy can burn through our heat like crazy if used too much without Healing Scan and Rapid Shots woven in.
  • Healing Scan - A smaller(~70%), faster heal(1.5 seconds) than Rapid Scan, but comes with lots of goodies attached.  Costs 16 heat and has a 6 second cooldown with Med Tech.  Will apply a 6 second HoT for a small amount with the Proactive Medicine ability.  Can also apply a 10% armor buff on the target for 6 seconds.  Finally, after casting Healing scan you receive the Critical Efficiency buff which reduces the Heat cost of your next Rapid Scan. While Supercharged gas is activated, the cooldown is removed from Healing Scan.
  • Emergency Scan - Doesn’t show up for us until at least level 40 if we go to the top of the Bodyguard tree, but still useful none-the-less.  This is a free cast, with a decent single target heal, the only real downside to it is the 20 cool down on its use. If this is up and you would cast a spell that costs heat to heal someone, cast this instead.
  • Kolto Missile - In tier 3 of the Bodyguard tree, we get our only and only AoE heal ability.  This is an instant cast that requires you to target the ground to aim it, costs 16 heat and will heal up to 3 allies in its radius for a decent amount.  When the Kolto Residue ability is trained, Kolto Missile will also leave a buff on the players that it healed increasing their healing recieved for the next 15 seconds.  Because of this buff, Kolto missile should be used quite frequently even when only healing single targets.  The Arsenal tree also contains the sexy ability Madalorian Iron Warheads, which provides a flat healing boost to this ability.  Finally, when Supercharged Gas is activated, targets hit also get a damage absorption shield placed on them.
  • Kolto Shell - Not a direct healing ability, but a nice little buff to keep up on the friendly in the group who is taking the most damage, or yourself if you are feeling greedy.  This is an instant cast, free spell which places a shell on the target which has 10 charges.  Every time the target takes damage, one charge is expended and the target receives a small heal.  Basically its free healing, when its needed. Only one of these can be deployed at a time.



  1. illyanna says:

    Nice run down of the merc looking forward to more in the future.

  2. Keegan says:

    What do you believe is the correct PVE spec? What about PVP?

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