03/08/2012

State of the Combat Medic

In non-depressing news... in the latest episode of TOR Reporter, the hosts pointed out that Bioware is currently gathering feedback on all the advanced classes and their specs on the forums, something that I wasn't previously aware of. The threads are over two weeks old by now, but people are still posting in them daily, so I thought that I might as well add my two cents. Better late than never.

The two questions asked are:

1. How do you think your (Commando in this case) spec is perceived by other classes?

and

2. How do you perceive your own spec?

As you would expect and as Anexxia also pointed out in the podcast, most people tend to answer with something along the lines of "my spec sucks and needs a buff" to both questions, which is not very useful, but at least vaguely entertaining. I'll try to maintain a more balanced view.

How others perceive the Combat Medic

I believe that the vast majority of the time, people are happy to have a healer at all and don't care about which class said healer plays. They are more likely to be worried about whether the character is sporting an adequate level of gear than whether his or her class is the current flavour of the month.

However, there are some trends. In operations, I get the impression that Combat Medics are considered adequate, but people would probably be a bit weary of a raid in which all the healers were Commandos. We have good synergy with the other healing classes, but nothing about our advanced class screams "I'm awesome no matter what" like a Sage's floor heals for example. (Full disclosure: I play a max level healing Sage as well, so it's not like I'm hating on the competition here or anything.)

In high end PvP, Commando healers are definitely less popular than other advanced classes, as LFM requests for ranked warzones always seem to specify that they want a Scoundrel, or maybe a Sage.

In random warzones, I wouldn't be surprised if many players found our kind a bit of a nuisance to kill. This might be true for any well-geared healer though.

How I perceive the Combat Medic

I'm not a hardmode raider really (though I have done some), but as it stands I haven't run into any content that made me feel like my class's performance was inadequate. Ammo management is challenging sometimes, but I also enjoy it. In heavy AoE situations I eye the Sages somewhat jealously, considering how hard I have to work to keep people alive while they can just dump their floor heal and call it a day, but it doesn't feel truly bothersome.

In PvP I only do random warzones, and there I feel that Combat Medics have both pronounced strengths and weaknesses which pretty much balance each other out.

Our main strength is our heavy armour and survivability, which can make a world of a difference in an environment where you can't necessarily count on other players to help a healer that is under attack. Our burst healing is also quite good, which works like a charm to bring people back from the brink of death when an enemy tries to burst them down in turn. Kolto Bomb as a short-cooldown AoE that can be cast on the move is quite powerful as well, even if it doesn't heal for much.

Our main weaknesses are a lack of mobility and being very obvious targets. We can do a little bit of healing while on the move, but unless we can knock our pursuers off a handy cliff, we have no way of escaping an enemy without help, as we have no speed boost, charge or counter to snares, knockbacks and stuns. We just have to sit there or walk along really slowly and take it. Even with heavy armour that rarely works well.

As far as being an obvious target goes, the fact that all our main abilities have a cast time means that any enemy can immediately identify us as healers. Worse, trying to do any healing with Hammer Shot is like painting a giant target over your head. While I kind of love the green beam in PvE for its sheer weirdness, I think that this is the only thing that I truly find unbalanced in Combat Medic PvP, as our Mercenary counterparts don't have a visual equivalent and can heal from the back without announcing their presence quite so loudly.

Have you submitted any feedback? And how do people who don't play Combat Medics actually perceive them?

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