Tuesday, March 15, 2011


PAX has come and gone, and I'm officially more stoked than ever.

There was a flood of great news, and the Taral V Flashpoint was really something to watch.  I'm sure you've seen the official one, so make sure to also check out the Darth Hater folks working their magic.  Hate on!

We also got to listen to a number of devs shed some new light on several systems.  Out of all of the goodness though, leave it to me to focus in on one tiny part - the healing.  I've got a few choice quotes below courtesy of a Darth Hater interview with Daniel Erickson.  Read on!

Daniel had the following to say regarding healing:
There was some speculation on the forums about the healing capacity of each class when it comes to healing in a group. By showing off the Scoundrel as the healer, is that basically saying that the healing paths, regardless of which one of the ones you go, are all competent healers? Is the Consular healer and the Scoundrel healer on the same page for healing a Flashpoint?

Absolutely, although they heal very differently. The actual game play for them and the way that the healing feels -- and without seeing the class breakdowns, it is kind of hard to explain -- can be very different. The Scoundrel can stack various heal over times on somebody. He can actually go on his Trooper and drop three of the heal-over-time medkits on him and then kind of leave him alone for a minute, get back in, try to take some people off, go from cover, do that sort of thing. So it is a different approach than maybe you might have for the Consular, who might be taking more of a direct "Hey, hit that guy, hit that guy, hit that guy. . . ."


Yeah! Different classes really play their healers differently -- which is really fun. You can obviously also be as much healer or not. And this is something that is kind of a little odd, but when I go Inquisitor healing path, I don't put it all in there. I don't actually go dedicated. I actually find it works really well for how I play to maybe bring my healer CC, for me, and then do a little bit of healing on there, and then actually go a little more like, let's do some damage and get to stay in the fight.
And if I might draw your attention to two more bits from a Darth Hater James Ohlen interview as well:

One of the unique things about the setup is that it is a Republic Flashpoint and you have it set up so the Smuggler is the main healer for the group, and the Consular is throwing rocks and beating things up with telekinesis. Making sure that all the healers are viable is something that you are showing here. We also heard that because of game testing the Bounty Hunter and the Trooper are now getting healing trees. Are all these trees comparable? Could a Bounty Hunter come in and do the same thing the Smuggler is doing in Taral V in regards to being the main healer in a Flashpoint?

Yeah. We are always adjusting the game with play test feedback. We want people to easily be able to get a healer into their group because one of the problems with forming a group is making sure you have the right balance and if there aren't enough healers, then you're going to wait a long time before you can get into a Flashpoint. And that is not very fun.

We wanted to make sure that you get that healer as soon as you want to. We're looking at making the Trooper and Bounty Hunter to be able to spec into a healer. It will probably stay that way until ship, but you never know. We're doing lots of balance changes and modifications as we continue to balance the game and get feedback, which will probably continue until after we launch the game. We probably won't make any big changes like taking a class from being a healer to not being a healer. But yeah, we're always tweaking things.
Once again, we're talking about the healing added to other classes, and there are PvP specs on some of these classes so all classes can be viable in PvP. You have a lot of flexibility whenever your advanced class choice is made. Is there an instance of that where you can speak to that hybridization and that flexibility? The ability to pick a class and you can be a PvP spec, you can be a DPS spec, or maybe there is a healer spec. Do all the classes have this flexibility in them?

Yeah... pretty well. Even within an advanced class you're able to spec into different roles so each class has a lot of different choices. If you're the Sith Warrior, you can go with the Juggernaut role where you have the heavy armor and you have the single lightsaber. But even then you can spec into a role where you can do more DPS, or you can go with the double lightsabers where you're very much more about the DPS. Though, of course, he can't actually heal. He is not someone you can heal with. We made sure that they're all PvP viable because obviously you don't want to pick a class or an Advanced Class and then not be able to engage in PvP or in any of our raids or Flashpoints. You need to be able to play the character you chose in any of the game play situations. 
Ok, so the game looks fabulous right now.  Spell effects, animations, everything's come a long way.  But this is BioWare, and that stuff was really going to be a given.  How do folks feel about the healing, as it has been described?

What we know:
  1. The current dev intention is for all healing classes to be equally capable of healing
  2. There will be some differences between healing styles
  3. The Smuggler / Imperial Agent may be more HoT-centric in their healing approach.  This does not mean they won't be able to adequately heal directly as well.  It fits the cover system, in a way.  Toss your HoTs out, and duck back behind your cover.  Their heals consume Energy.
  4. The Consular / Inquisitor may be more direct in their healing approach.  It sounds like they have some beneficial CC capabilities also, according to Daniel.  That's not to say the other 4 don't as well, of course. Their heals consume Force Points.
  5. The Trooper / Bounty Hunter is a wild card right now.  We've seen both classes rely heavily upon shields in their tanking role, so it's possible that shields may play into their healing style as well.  Their heals... well, I'm assuming the Bounty Hunter's heals actually generate heat.  And the Trooper, I'm not sure on.  Do they somehow consume "ammo"?  Healing on these classes is still brand new, so this may change.  
Ohlen had two bits though that make me somewhat nervous:
  • "We're looking at making the Trooper and Bounty Hunter to be able to spec into a healer.  It will probably stay that way until ship, but you never know."
  • "We probably won't make any big changes like taking a class from being a healer to not being a healer."

Undoubtedly, I'm reading too far into the first quote, but it seemed that they may not be set as to how the Trooper / BH will handle their healing duties. The second part worried me more, of course. When the Bounty Hunter was added to the Empire faction, I was pretty much sold right there and then. So faction-wise, Imperial healers are looking at those options.

Now, the next question really is going to be what's more important to you - the story of your given class or how they actually go about their healing. As crazy as I am about Bounty Hunters, I really think that if the story on the Inquisitor or Agent really captured my attention, I would be just as likely to try them out. As long as each healer is equally capable (I'm looking at you, beta-testers!), I may default to storyline differences to make my final choice. I'd hate to get my hopes up now though, and find out that come launch, those other options (Trooper and Bounty Hunter) have been removed from the pool of potential healing classes.

Lots of things to watch as we continue to move closer to launch!

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