Making the Switch: Holy to Disc

This is a guest post from Seriah, a PlusHeal community member

Priests are the main healing class in WoW, the official site even says so.  But to some people on the outside looking in they might not know that there are different mechanics in the individual Priest trees.  Having leveled and raided as Shadow and Holy I recently made the change to Discipline – it always looked like a fun tree and the new changes in LK sealed the deal for me. I’ve had experience in all forms of Priesting, but by no means am I claiming to be an expert on the class – just well experienced.

The intent here is to share my experience as a new Discipline Priest with everyone, especially anyone considering the switch be it because they think it looks like a fun change of pace or if you just hate the CoH nerf that much. I’ll attempt to walk you through what would happen if you dropped the Holy hat and picked up the Disc one – starting with your talent points.

Like with any spec there are those talents that you simply have to have, nothing fills that category better than the 3 P’s for Disc talents:

  • Power Infusion
  • Pain Suppression
  • Penance

Penance is absolutely the best healing spell I’ve ever had experience with – yes, more than CoH.  PI and PS are great too, especially since there are so many bosses that frenzy now when they’re at 20%.  How to spend your talents is a different article in itself, this is a brief overview of what you can expect from a cast sequence and mechanics point of view.

Hopefully you have a decent about of crit, be it by talents or gear, because once you start to see Divine Aegis (DA) in action you’ll love it.  Before a pull you’ll still want to do the usual PoM on the tank, but now you’ll also want to pop Power Word: Shield (PW:S) on him so the weakened soul debuff will show up – yes this is a good thing because you should be talented into Renewed Hope. 

When the pull starts, PoM will bounce with a crit (if you’re lucky) wrapping a DA bubble around the tank and giving you time to hit renew with no sense of urgency at all.  As long as incoming damage is minimal, you can stick to Flashes, Renews, and PoMs and be fine. The fun starts when the damage spikes.

On those big pulls where no one likes to CC anymore or on bosses that can hit like a whole fleet of trucks is where you’ll see those damage mitigation abilities of Disc healing really shine.  Keeping a full stack of Grace on the tank helps, and since they’re probably getting beat on a good bit that shouldn’t be too terribly hard.  PoM every time it’s up and say a little prayer so that it crits for a DA proc. 

Watch the cooldown on Penance. It hits 3 times during your channel and if you’re really on a roll with the luck and it crits all 3 times you can easily see 12k healing in less than 1.5 sec. there’s no one that can touch your HPS on hastened Penance.

That’s all fine well and good, but what if you get pushed to raid healing? 

First of all, if that happens you probably want to have a chat with your raid leader about the setup, if they still want you on raid duty then you can’t go wrong with shields and flashes, penance if they really need it.  Pain Suppression also works nicely here, if you have an overzealous DPS that can’t seem to watch Omen to save their lives, literally. It’ll reduce their threat, usually enough to let a tank get above them again, and if that doesn’t work then at least they shouldn’t die from the Iron Fist that giant is about to drop on them so the tank can then taunt.

If you’re doing heroics, and at this point most of us are, then you’re going to have to deal with group damage. The best way to do so is with Divine Hymn if you’re not in a fight where damage is constantly coming in.  If it’s a constant high damage fight you can shield yourself for the haste and to avoid interruption and pop off a Prayer of Healing.  Yeah, it’s 1800 mana, but it beats casting flash heal 5 times.  Of course if you’re on the move there’s always Holy Nova as well – which I’ve learned to not hate now.

So there you have it, a basic analysis of what you can expect as a Discipline Priest.

In short remember the 5 P’s of Priesting:

  • Power Word: Shield
  • Power Infusion
  • Pain Suppression
  • Penance
  • Prayer of Mending
Holiday Reading for the Gamer

Holiday Reading for the Gamer

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If you’re like me, you’re about to spend some of the upcoming winter holiday AFK–either squished between Fatty and Snorri the not-very-attractive dwarves on a cross country flight or trapped in your relatives’ house with only dialup to connect you to the virtual world. Fear not, intrepid gamer. Instead of reading the quest text this holiday season, curl up with an enormous novel. I hear that reading is (almost) as effective as Wow for lifting mind and spirit beyond the little inanities of mundane existence. In other words–a good book can help cut down on holiday boredom.

Of course, Professor Syd has a particular book in mind for you this holiday season. It occurred to me the other day that gamers must love Tad Williams’ Otherland series.

otherland

Why Read Otherland?

This four-book series will satisfy fans of either sci-fi or fantasy novels in general, but it has a special appeal to the gamer. I’m more of a fantasy reader myself. I read this series in 2004, and at that point, I had never even heard of online gaming. In fact, I think I might not have been willing to play WoW at all if I hadn’t become familiar with the concept of virtual realities through Williams’ novels. In the Otherland books, the evocation of both character and (virtual) landscape is masterfully done. Those of you who’ve already read the series may wonder what my favorite “world” is–I’ll just go live inside The House. Incidentally, I am of the opinion that The Makers in WoW are a reference to Williams’s Builders of the House.

A Short Plot Summary

I have to admit that my memory was fuzzy on this point after four years, but the story centers around Renie Sulaweyo, a South African programmer whose little brother Stephen mysteriously goes missing. It seems that he’s been literally sucked into the computer–or rather, his personality has been downloaded into an extraordinarily detailed virtual world. This virtual universe, Otherland, has been designed as a kind of afterlife for the rich and computer literate. All the self-styled gods (programmers) of this world have created their own fantastic refuges in which they can store their personalities and memories after their physical deaths. Pretty cool huh?

However, of course the whole thing goes awry, and each programmer’s heaven becomes Renie’s hell as she tries to find her brother. To the rescue: a cast of motley characters, including a click-language speaking romantic lead who spends most of the book transformed into a baboon, an avatar who’s somehow managed to escape an endlessly-repeating WWI campaign, and two teenage MMO players. One of these gamers, Orlando, is an invalid in real life, but in his virtual life, he is the most famous hero of the fictional MMO The Middle Kingdom. Interestingly, it is his Middle Kingdom avatar that appears in Otherland. The relationship between teenage “real person” Orlando and his avatar Thargor (who I picture as an orc warrior) is the most fascinating part of the book. Looking back, I can’t believe that Otherland came out in 1998, which means that it was probably in the works as early as 1994–the Dark Ages as far as MMOs are concerned.

Interesting Ideas

With a series like Otherland, the ideas often leave a longer-lasting impression than the plot line. What, four years after reading the novels, do I still think about from time to time? Here is a short list of philosophical questions that Williams’ series is able to answer.

Q. What is the best way to connect to the internet?
A. Clearly, a neural device implanted in the skull is superior to clunky computers and cables. The characters are able to interact directly with the virtual world without the mediation of the computer screen.

Q. What is the difference between real life and virtual life?
A. None at all. The experience of the mind is just as real in either case.

Q. Where do gamers go when they die?
A. The good ones become Rangers in their own idealized Lord of the Rings world. Duh.

I hope you’re convinced. Put Otherland on your reading list or, if you’ve read it already, consider sending a copy to a gamer friend as a holiday gift.

As a side note, I’d like to invite readers to recommend books for me. I was addicted to reading long before WoW existed, and I’m still able to burn through some pages every week.

Saturday Afternoon Muses

I’m about to take off in a few minutes to get some creative work done but I wanted to share some things on what my upcoming projects are.

  • Looking for volunteer submissions of your UI! I want to round up 50 UIs and feature them on the blog. You’re welcome to participate!
  • Disc Priests, would you like to submit a brief tip for inexperienced Disc Priests that I can also show on the blog (such as myself)?
  • I scored B+s on my other 2 courses as the final grade. This brings my GPA up to a level where I can technically declare my major!
  • Work is finally starting on an E-Book. There’s a lot of guides out there for leveling and gold making. For us management types, there aren’t enough resources for players who are running a guild. This was largely inspired by Syd’s Build a Guild series and I’ll be expanding upon that with more insights. I’m also hoping to include snippets or profiles of other bloggers are players that are in guilds to give you “snapshots” of what their guild is like on the inside. I’m going to draw upon my experience, success and failures. Everything that you ever wanted to know about leading or running a guild, I’ll try to put in. If there’s anything you want to see included or questions answered, feel free to drop me a line. Most importantly, yes it will be free. No idea what to title it yet.
  • Drawing a blank for tomorrow’s Spiritual Guidance again. Sigh.

Take this Survey: Your Character Strengths in 15 Minutes

I found this interesting survey on Psyblog a few days ago and meant to try it out myself.

Psychologists Christopher Petersen and Martin Seligman devised “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Positive Strengths and Virtues”. It’s a simple questionnaire that identify your strengths as a human being.

Officially, it’s known as the VIA and it consists of 6 virtues and 24 strengths. They are:

  • Knowledge (virtue)
    • Creativity (strength)
    • Curiosity
    • Love of learning
    • Perspective (wisdom)
    • Open-mindedness
  • Courage (virtue)
    • Bravery (strength)
    • Persistence
    • Integrity
    • Vitality
  • Humanity
    • Capacity to love and receive love
    • Kindness
    • Social intelligence
  • Justice
    • Citizenship
    • Fairness
    • Leadership
  • Temperance
    • Forgiveness/mercy
    • Modesty/humility
    • Prudence
    • Self-regulation
  • Transcendence
    • Appreciation of excellence and beauty
    • Gratitude
    • Hope
    • Humour
    • Spirituality

What did Matticus get?

Your Top Character Strength

Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

Your Second Character Strength

Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

Your Third Character Strength

Perspective (wisdom)
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.

Your Fourth Character Strength

Leadership
You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen.

Your Fifth Character Strength

Social intelligence
You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.

That’s just the top five strengths that I apparently possess after taking the VIA test. I definitely agree with the second and the fifth. Not too sure about the other three =).  You can expand the results when you finish as it lists more traits and qualities from your strongest to your weakest.

Interestingly enough, my weakest point was spirituality.

Try it now

You’ll have to register first, but it’s very painless. There’s three different survey versions: The full (240 questions), the full for kids and teens that are 8-17 (198 questions) and a brief versions (24 questions).

I spent no more than 12 minutes taking the full survey. You’ll get better results that way.

Go ahead and try it now!

I’m curious to hear what your top character strength is and if you believe that’s accurate!

Breaking News: Internet Cables cut

Via EnGadget

There are 4 cables that run under the Mediterranean Sea to connect the internet servers in Europe and Asia. 3 of them have been severed – we don’t know how or why, although it’s probably a shipping accident. There are a couple of impacts to this:

  • The three cables involved carry about 75% of telecom traffic to the region. A lot of the traffic between Europe and Asia is being re-routed through the US.

  • This means your guildies playing from New Zealand and Australia may have connection issues until this is resolved, and anyone playing on Asian servers from North America will have similar issues.
  • Heavily loaded US servers may run more slowly

Thought you’d like to know – I’ll update as more information is available.

Luv,
Wyn

Epic Guest Posting Guidelines for the Matticus

Epic Guest Posting Guidelines for the Matticus

SONY DSC

Would the World of Matticus ever feature a guest post from you?

In a word, yes. The first thing you have to remember is that in the World of Matticus, there is but one god: Matticus himself. Guest posts usually happen when I put the word out that I needs help.

In the past year, I’ve opened up guest posting to bloggers and writers that were interested in getting their feet wet. Today, I’m officially announcing the green light for open guests posts as well as setting down guidelines and suggests for writing them. Here’s a few examples for you to consider.

While I admit that my standards are high, I’m not asking you to solo Illidan or do heroic Occulus. What I do want is to illustrate reasons and qualities for a World of Matticus guest post.

Why write a guest post?

Exposure - By writing compelling articles, stories or posts in general on other blogs (not just mine, mind you), you increase your own visibility and exposure. View it as a chance to promote yourself and your work! Now you be thinking to yourself "why write on someone else’s blog when I can augment my own?" I encourage you to think in a different direction. By writing an insanely awesome blog post for another blogger and having it published, that blogger’s audience will want to know more about you and what else you have to offer.

Trial – Not sure if blogging is the right thing for you? At the very fundamental core of blogging is to communicate. You are translating your ideas and visions from your mind onto the screen. Don’t spend time establishing a blog only to discover that writing is difficult for you or that your interest has waned. Do the writing first then build the blog. Try writing a sample post and determine if it’s something you think you’ll enjoy down the road. Web sites come in all sorts of designs and styles. The one thing that all blogs have in common is the display of information.

You’ve decided to write a guest post? Excellent! Here’s a few things you might wish to consider:

Consider the audience

In the beginning, this blog catered towards Holy Priests. As time went on, it slowly included aspects for the raiding Holy Priest. Guild business and leadership was mixed into the blog. A Resto Druid was added. Now it includes material that Guild leaders would be interested in reading.

The majority of readers on World of Matticus are primarily healers, raiders, and bloggers. That’s a pretty wide sphere of influence, if I do say so myself. Keep the audience in mind when you’re writing a post. For example, most healers may not understand certain tanking concepts and you may wish to elaborate more on terms that you’ll be using.

If you’re writing about the nature of Hunters, PvP skills for Warriors, or the latest fashion news on Death Knights, you’ll want to consider another blog unless you can make it relevant for the World of Matticus readers.

What makes this blog appealing for you? Chances are, your answer will be the same as the other many thousands of readers. Browse through the archives to find some of your favourite posts and you’ll get a handle for what works and what doesn’t.

Matticus is beneficial

The one thing I stress most from the team here is to make your information useful. Give the reader something to take with them when they finish.

How does a Discipline Priest react in this raid situation? Did your GM handle a particularly difficult problem in a smooth fashion? Topics like that would be right up the alley in the World of Matticus.

Content in the World of Matticus should help answer problems that players find in the World of Warcraft.

Matticus is professional

I don’t care if you’re on the top 5v5 team in the world, or the best ranked Ret Paladin on WWS. I’m not expecting you to be Dan Brown either.

Sydera, Wynthea and I are really picky. Syd’s a teacher (not high school, but the best one can professionally be). Wyn usually shreds my posts because they’re not technically correct or sound. I harp on the other two if their posts do not look good.

Keep the post as clean looking as possible. White space is good. If necessary, format the post and add images to help spice and liven it up more.

Check your tone. Have a unique style. Make sure what you write can be understood. This isn’t a journal or a computer operations manual. Be clear, be concise. Add some personality. Don’t be afraid to write as if you’re speaking. Be interesting and humorous. Feel free to tell a story to get your point across.

Most importantly, spend as much time on thinking of a title as you do on your post. No other WoW blogger puts as much thought, time or emphasis into post titles as Matticus.

Spell check it.

Fact check it. If you’re not sure about spells or abilities, use WoWHead.

Not all of us are blogging gods by any means (but that Matticus comes close). We’re not the best. We’re only human. Typos will creep in or lawn gnomes will occasionally break a few things. All of us invest a lot of time and care into making our post the best as possible.

Some guest bloggers in the past have been rejected and told to rewrite. Go through multiple drafts. Ask someone in your guild to look it over. World of Matticus does not involve writers who write drafts then immediately publish them. Posts will stew around for days or even weeks if they do’t feel right until a “Eureka” moment strikes.

Sounds great! How do I sign up?

Drop me a line on my contact form. You can include a post within the body of the form there or get in touch with me first and float an idea my way to see how it sounds. I’ll respond with a confirmation and a giant thank you! If I don’t respond within a week, I must’ve not received it or I completely forgot about it. Feel free to poke me with a gentle reminder!

If you have a blog, it’s a good idea to link to your best blog posts. Note that it’s not required that you have a blog.

Image courtesy of Cierpki

Stare Decisis in Loot Council

Stare Decisis in Loot Council

Just about a month has gone by in the formation of Conquest. Loot council continues to be an interesting challenge because the council never knows what sort of situation will present itself.

In today’s post, I wanted to talk about an important concept that’s not only valuable in the legal arena but also in an LC guild.

Stare Decisis

This is a legal principles where judges have to follow precedents established in previous decisions. How does this apply to WoW with respect to loot council? Because the decisions we make in how we hand out loot are expected to be binding. I’ll typically follow the principle of Stare Decisis but ultimately, I won’t hesitate to go a different way in decisions of loot for progressive reasons.

Unfortunately, the reality is that virtually no two decisions are going to be the same. You will have similar cases and they’ll be decided similarly. For example, we awarded a tier piece to a Resto Shaman completing his 4 set (because Chain Heal is still whoa). But if I had my 3 piece and a 4th Priest token drop, I wouldn’t award it to me purely because of the bonus (since I don’t use Greater Heal that often to justify it). It literally is a case by case decision. This is bad in that we’re not following a precedent but good in that we’re willing to remain flexible. Remember that this is a loot council not a court of law. Items will drop again.

Decision to Reward vs Decision to Gear

For guilds that have started progressing through different raid instances, realize that you’re going to come across a dilemma and I guarantee you that it will happen. Every member on your loot council is going to ask themselves the following question when an item drops:

Should I award this item to the player who has run all the 10 mans and done all the heroics or should I award this item to the player who dinged recently dinged 80 and hasn’t had the time to get as geared as the other players?

There are two schools of thought on this and let me tell you what goes through my head every time.

Reward: I like to reward players for their efforts. They hit 80 earlier on ahead of the curve. They’ve managed to work their way into pug groups to get themselves geared. Without their efforts, the guild would not be where it is right now. Their contribution is important and I want to recognize that.

Minimum standard:  The other perspective is to gear up the weaker geared player since that player hasn’t had as much time to get where they should be at. Especially for progression kills, there’s a minimum standard that every player regardless of class has to meet. To make life easier on your raid group, the weaker players have to be brought up to speed.

The past 2 weeks have been a lot of fun for all of us (I hope). Everyone has either reached the minimum benchmarks that have been set in terms of performance (2000 DPS on Patchwerk) or have exceeded it (5000+ DPS on Patchwerk). Now that the minimum standard has been reached, I can further lean towards rewarding players that can use items off of the second level bosses such as Kel’Thuzad and Malygos.

Mind you, I’m still just one person on Loot Council.

Mixed messages?

Following a decision that was made earlier for loot is good, especially when deciding on subsequent items. But don’t chain yourself to it or lock yourself.  Keep your loot council flexible because they have to adapt.

Don’t hesitate to acknowledge mistakes.

Don’t commit.

Don’t promise.

Don’t over deliver.

Don’t bind yourself.

So like Amava says, consistency does matter.

There was a case last week where a tanking neck dropped. Both of our tanks expressed interest. We were at a dead lock. The tanks wore the same neck and they could’ve equally benefited from it. We were taking too long. I gave the instruction to roll it.

I realized later on in the evening after the raid was done that it was a bad idea. Upon further reflection, I doubt I’ll give that order again. The exact reasons that crossed my mind were the same ones that Amava listed. This would’ve been the only time (not counting our first unofficial raid) that rolls were used to decide loot. Our current tiebreaker is an officer who is not a part of the loot council and does not wish to take part in decisions. That’s a temporary fix that I need to address. My options are to elevate another player to the loot council (a DPS cloth wearer, perhaps) or set it so that in the event of a tie, my choice wins (Overlord Matticus, hmm). 9 times out of 10, we do reach a consensus. But things like tier tokens always take a bit longer since they’re useful for so many players.

By the way Amava, yes I do read your blog when I can. I read it so that you can keep me honest. Keep doing what you’re doing. I won’t punish you for speaking out or voicing disapproval.

Some more food for thought for players looking and still deciding upon their loot systems.

10 Guides and Post for the Winter Veil-icious Reader

Did a quick search on Google (reader and the search engine) for any guides or posts related to Winter’s Veil. I would’ve wrote something up like this myself but holiday guides just don’t scream Matt on them. So instead, I linked to others who have already done so!

Of course, for Winter Veil related posts:

  • Destructive Reach: Can Warlocks Even BE Merrymakers? (From my faaaaavourite Warlock, Sar)
  • Game Dame: And here’s GD dancing on her Death Knight
  • Altoholic’s Are Us: A… stripper Christmas? Really? Ho, ho, er *cough*
Spotlight: Loot Council, a New Upgrade Comparison Tool

Spotlight: Loot Council, a New Upgrade Comparison Tool

loot-council-banner

If you’ve ever been in the hot seat during a loot decision like I have, you already know that it’s important to assess the relative value of the upgrade for all interested players before you weigh in on who should be awarded the item. What if there were a tool that you could use to research upgrades for all your guild members and compare them to each other? That would be pretty cool, right?

My friend Bonkers of Vek’nilash has just developed such a tool. It’s name is–not surprisingly–Loot Council, and it will help any WoW player investigate the gear from a certain dungeon and decide when to pass, and when to bid for an item.

How to Use Loot Council

Once you get to http://loot-council.appspot.com/, you’ll find that you have a form to fill out. To get the most out of Bonkers’ fantastic creation, put in the names of two or more characters of the same class and spec in your guild, separated by commas. To test out the LC tool, I used the names of Conquest’s three resto druids. Then, select a ranking type (Wowhead is working best at the moment) and a dungeon. I put in Naxxramas Heroic. Some Naxxramas normal stuff may still show up–I think Bonkers is working on that.

What you will get is a list of all the items in Naxx that might be of interest to a resto druid and a summary of the comparative upgrade for each player. As with all generic rankings like Wowhead, it can’t tell how important spirit or intellect is to a particular player. However, I find Loot Council’s suggestions to be helpful, especially when I know that I personally want an item. What it helps me see is whether someone else on my team would benefit from getting it first.

Sample Entry

Here’s what you will see when you scroll down to the items that you’re interested in. Even though I’d like to have this item, it looks like a pass to Burningpaw is in order the first time it drops.
loot-council-example

Why Use the Loot Council Tool?

Either for Loot Council members deciding how to award prizes or for individuals deciding whether to pass on an item or spend dkp, the issue of fairness is very important. I always urge people to research their gear, and this tool lets you do that–and, at the same time, research your friends’ gear. Raiding isn’t just about loot–or, in any case, it shouldn’t be. It’s also about friendships, and sharing is one of the things that helps build those bonds. I think it’s no coincidence that the opening page of the Loot Council tool features Oliver and Otto, Bonkers’ two cats–or, I should say, two greedy little piggies who happen to look like cats, and who also happen to be best friends. Oh, if only WoW raiders could be like that. No matter how much we want the loot, we’ve got to learn to share our kibble.

Interview: Holy Priest vs Discipline Priest

Interview: Holy Priest vs Discipline Priest

priest-compare

I had an idea the other day to interview two healing Priests of different specs. I wanted to see what choices they make under similar circumstances. Figured it would be fun to ask them both identical questions to determine where the differences started between them! Hopefully this post will help shed some light for Priests that are still mulling over what spec to select for in end game.

Where did I find my Priests from? The Plusheal forums naturally!

Questions Yaxley (Discipline) Deklen (Holy)
First, a brief introduction about yourself: My character is Yaxley, a discipline priest. I’m an officer of the Apostles of the Phoenix raiding guild. I am an officer and healing leader of the guild Phoenix Rising on Mannoroth (US) in which I play a Dwarf Priest named Deklen.
What is your current level of progression? I’ve cleared Obsidian Sanctum 10/25 (no drakes up), Naxx 10/25, and Malygos 10. Currently working on Malygos 25. Phoenix Rising has successfully completed all 10 man content and has completed all 25 man content with the exception of Malygos (We plan to start attempts on him this coming week).
What factors influenced your choice to pick your spec? I felt discipline was a more challenging spec than holy, and when the new talents were announced for 3.0, I was very intrigued. I liked the concept of almost having a healing rotation with many spells to choose from that integrate well together. I really enjoy the diversity of healing spells available to priests, and holy priests in particular. I enjoy the complexity that comes with having to choose the correct healing spell for the given situation.
What stats are the most important for you? Intellect is my most valuable stat, as it contributes to every aspect of my healing. A bigger mana pool means bigger returns from Rapture, Shadowfiend and Replenishment. It also boosts crit for more throughput and more Divine Aegis procs. Haste is what I look for second, but only until about 10%. After that I feel stacking it is hurting other stats. For the expansion, I have chosen to keep spirit at the top of my priority list when it comes to gear selection and augmentation; however, with that being said, I value Intellect much more so than during BC raiding. I reserve yellow sockets for Brilliant Autmn’s Glow, attempting to maintain some semblance of balance between spirit and intellect.
What trinkets are you presently using and how do they help? Right now I’m using the Egg of Mortal Essence from Emblems of Heroism along with Forge Ember from heroic Halls of Stone. I use the Egg mostly for the raw spell power, though the proc is a nice to have when it goes off. Forge Ember gives a nice hefty amount of crit and I love the proc for a nice spell power boost. I carry around a few other trinkets for different situations; I usually use Darkmoon Card: Blue Dragon for long fights as Disc casts enough spells to make it worth a fair amount of regen. I am using the Majestic Dragon Figurine and the Spirit World Glass. The two trinkets provide excellent mana regen for boss encounters. Spirit World Glass really shines when there is predictable incoming damage in which I am able to pop the on use ability after a clearcasting proc, followed up an Inner Focus + Greater Heal to allow for maximum regen time spent OO5SR. If the full 20 seconds is spent not casting or "cheating" the rule, it usually will return about 35-40% of my 20k mana pool.
Your 3 top spells in order of usage on any given raid are: 1: Flash Heal,
2: Penance
3: Prayer of Mending.
1: Flash Heal
2: Circle of Healing
3: Prayer of Mending
Which raid encounter in the game is your favourite? Kel’Thuzad. There is a lot of action going on with a lot of situations where my quick single target heals and shields help. A lot of tank damage, as well as the ice blocks which require people to be healed quickly for a large amount. Sapphiron. The encounter really tests the healers both on raw healing power as well as their regen techniques/skills. In addition, the fight in particular showcases just how awesome bouncing Prayer of Mending can truly be.
What’s the worse? Heroic Thaddius. Its a boring fight when done correctly, and a painful fight with a long corpse run (with frogger slimes and pipe boss in between!) when not executed correctly. And if it were not for levitate I’m sure the Super Mario jump would make it even worse for me. Heroic Patchwerk. While there is some skill involved in trying to keep your mana going throughout the fight, I find little enjoyment in spamming Greater Heal on the MT/OT and praying they dont get 1 shot from a hateful strike. P.S. Holy Paladins are disgusting for this fight.
How do you handle AoE healing? In a five-man, Prayer of Healing is my spell of choice. In a raid, its not as useful as you need to heal outside your own group. As Disc you need to be more aware of who is taking damage and who is going to need the most help. I usually throw shields around the raid on every cooldown for the Borrowed Time buff, but I try to keep them on the tank and the squishiest members of the raid. Prayer of Mending on cooldown as well, this is especially useful during the Vortex in the Malygos encounter. Before casting an AoE healing ability I first determine what caused this person to be damaged, and if they are in close proximity to other players. If they are alone I usually cast a Flash Heal, if they are grouped up I would obviously cast Circle of Healing. In fights like Gluth and Loatheb though, I use Prayer of Healing considerably more (After decimate and when necrotic aura drops off, respectively).
How do you gem red, blue and yellow slots on your gear? Red: Luminous Monarch Topaz
Yellow: Luminous Monarch Topaz or Brilliant Autumn’s Glow (depending on if I’m losing spell power for other stats in an upgrade).
Blue: Seer’s gems
Red: Runed Scarlet Ruby (I dont believe the +Spirit/+Spell damage gem is in the game yet).
Blue: Sparkling Sky Sapphire
Yellow: Brilliant Autumn’s Glow
Your gut reaction to the Circle of Healing nerf is: I like it, as it brings Holy spec back in line with Discipline, where you need to choose your spells carefully. I’d rather they were more creative than using a cooldown, however, as CoH spam is useful in situations. But as it is now, it is useful in nearly all situations – which lead to one button healing. I don’t think it will be as bad as everyone is thinking it will be. Yes we will loose some AoE healing ability but those who spammed the spell mindlessly never really understood the true potential of priests and instead relied on a crutch. That being said, I will miss it!
What type of healing are you assigned to by your leaders when raiding (tank or raid, etc)? I’m assigned to the main tank or an off tank nearly 100% of the time. I still heal the raid from time to time when the boss is trying to break through my shield! Either myself or the GM are responsible for healing assignments, but I usually put myself on raid healing as we have a healthy supply holy paladins but only 1 restoration shaman and 1 restoration druid.
Do you enjoy playing your spec? Does it satisfy you? I love discipline spec. I’m not sure I could heal any other way. I’ve healed as a Holy Paladin and as a Resto Shaman in the past, and discipline definitely takes the monotony out of healing. Managing cooldowns and being smart about what spells to use used to be something relegated to DPS classes. Yes, I very much enjoy healing as a holy priest. As I said before, the diversity and complexity of healing abilities available to the priest is the reason I choose to heal and, ultimately, is what keeps me interested and entertained while healing.
What 1 piece of advice would you give other players who were to play your chosen talent specs? Don’t ever rely on healing meters to judge your performance. At least until Blizzard adds absorption amounts to the combat log. The biggest problem I have observed with new healers is their inability to observe and react. It is so easy to fall into the habit of tunnel visioning your raid frames that you forget to observe what exactly is happening around you.
If you could make one addition or change to your spec, what would it be? The obvious change would be more AoE healing tools, whether it be talents to modify Prayer of Healing or Holy Nova. But since that would be trespassing into Holy’s niche, I think more talents to make Renew useful to a Disc priest would be good. Perhaps allowing it to crit, or to be included in Rapture returns. I don’t believe I would change anything currently given the present PVE environment…PVP on the other hand is a different situation entirely though.

Special thanks to Yaxley and Deklen for participating!

Image courtesy of mmagallan