PvP healing in SWTOR really isn’t that different from PvP healing in other games like WoW or Rift. Sure, some of the battleground mechanics work a little differently even in similarly-themed maps, but it’s still mostly a goal of keeping your team’s health bars fuller than the other team’s health bars.
The really neat dynamic that SWTOR throws at healers, however, is the inclusion of tank effectiveness in PvP. Guard and Taunt spells can really change the tide of battle, essentially forcing the enemy to stop wailing on you, the dear healer, in favor of lightly tickling your beefy tank.
That alone brings up some variety in PvP healing. As a Scoundrel healer who usually queues with a Vanguard tank, it’s my job to know that I’m suddenly going to be taking less damage at the same moment the tank’s incoming damage might be spiking or at least increasing. Being able to anticipate that change in momentum can mean you’re more effectively prioritizing who to heal. Note that with the upcoming Patch 1.1, Taunt should have a more obvious graphical effect to keep an eye out for.
Knowing that you can suddenly stop or slow healing yourself in favor of your teammates can mean that you’re wasting fewer resources by using less heals to keep someone less squishy alive. It might even allow you to spread your heals out more generously or let you stop and throw more crowd control or damage abilities than you otherwise would have been able.
PvP healing is all about prioritization and critical thinking. Sometimes, you just can’t keep the whole team around you alive. This is especially true now, prior to the separate bracket for level 50s being added in 1.1, what with the poor survivability of a level 20 against a level 50. Sometimes it’s most beneficial to your team to let someone die in favor of keeping yourself alive to keep healing the rest of the battle. Other times, throwing one last heal on a damage dealer who’s about to finish off the last of the current attackers just as you go down can be the thing that saves the door in Voidstar.
Huttball offers another set of challenges for the PvP healer. The real trick to PvP healing in a game is awareness. All those levels and line-of-sight challenges can make escorting the ball carrier tricky. Plus, some healers might prefer to stand closer to the goal in hopes of setting up a good pass play, while still keeping line of sight for healing. Consular or Inquisitor healers also have access to Rescue or Extrication, a friendly target pull ability, that can help move the ball around the map.
Of course, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. A well-timed knockback into fire pads, acid pools, or off ledges can be your team’s saving grace. Knowing how your position and your team’s position on the map can help or hurt is key. In Alderaan, if your team owns the left or right turret points, the far left and far right speeders in the respawn area will take you directly to the left or right turret point respectively. If you can defend your turret long enough for reinforcements to arrive, by all means try. It’s okay to succumb to personal defeat if it means saving the objective in the long run.
All of the SWTOR warzones are small-scale content. You’re running in a team of 8, which will often shave down into smaller teams of about 4 as you all work toward the game’s objectives. Hopefully, we’ll see larger-scale PvP skirmishes in Ilum and Tatooine’s Outlaw’s Den soon.
As a last thought, for those that don’t like the size of the Operation health frames, there are options to change their height and width under Preferences. You can also unlock the frame and move it where you’d like it to be on your screen.
Note: For anyone unfamiliar with the SWTOR warzones or just looking for a refresher, Ask A Jedi has a great post that walks you through the different games: Breakdown: Warzones and You.