Astounded at Discipline

Astounded at Discipline

Some quick thoughts for Wednesday morning…

My mind is just blown right now at the state of Discipline. Power Word: Shield can easily command the most healing done (for a disc priest, not compared to other healers). From a raid healing standpoint, you’re going to want to use that when you’re Rapture’s ready to rock.

Even if your Rapture isn’t ready, be liberal with it if you’re expecting big hits. You can’t be stingy with it. At the same time, this isn’t Wrath levels where you can simply unload it on 10 players.

Each time I cast the shield, my mana pool drops by about 4%. Follow it up with a hasted Prayer of Healing, and you’ll see your numbers climb.

In single target healing mode, you’re still cycling Inner Focus and then chain casting Greater Heal (with shields and Penance sprinkled in between).

This is a great time to be a priest. I need some more practice. I think Disc might be easier of the two priest specs to pick up if you’ve decided to try out healing at the end game. I can’t say for heroic raids, but any raid leader who says right now that discipline priests aren’t worth their salt needs to get checked out. I’m almost considering switching from holy back to discipline.



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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Disc 4 lyyyfeee ~

  2. I disagree with your last statement there. If disc is easier, why were there so many complaints about people not being able to heal 5-mans in disc for the first month of the expansion? Disc requires a lot of spell weaving to play to it’s max potential and almost all the other spells they want to use are casted. Holy is much easier to play starting out, and with the patch you can trip over maintaining Chakra (which is what holy had going for it for difficulty.) Holy also has a lot more instant cast healing, faster ways to deal with party/raid damage, and increased mobility to make up for when we do have to stop and cast. Don’t assume something is easier cause you don’t have to maintain a stance. Whenever I queued for a pug the first month of cata, if I wasn’t holy the group would remark on my spec and when I asked why, they’d say all the disc priests they played with couldn’t keep the group up and holy was clearly better.

    • Dawn: Hey Dawn, I was referring to post 406. The buffs just make it feel ridiculously simple. We’ll see if the world agrees with me or not. This is just based after one raid night where I’ve been mostly holy for the past few months.

    • Funny Dawn. My experience is just the opposite. At the start of Cata heroic dungeons I was Disc and often got remarks that Holy sucked. Ofc I rocked in both speccs 😉

    • Given the recent shift post 4.0.6 I only have three words for you: “Strength of Soul”

      While I’m still looking at the specifics my priest healer is extremely excited by the changes.

      Strength of Soul has been around since 4.0 but it was limited for some pretty simple reasons. One, Heal in raids is essential but far from the only spell cast on tanks. Now that it’s Flash Heal and (more important for my priest) Greater Heal it’ll see a lot more use.

      The other big problem is.. well.. bubble sucked. So you could make bubbles happen faster on a tank, who cares? It felt about as effective as another block for a shield tank. Woopty doo.

      I’d asked my priest to give holy a try just as the AOE healing of disc was lackluster and my Pally did a bulk of the tank healing.

      Now? I’m really excited. Strength of Soul allowing more super-bubbles, Grace on both tanks easily, Surge of Light procs from 3/5 of the tank healing spells instead of 1/5? Booyah. Really want to see this bad boy in action this week.

  3. Based on our experiences in hard modes last night, the PW:S change was a huge one, easily making Disc the preferred Priest spec once again. With a chain of innervates, our regular disc (and our holy-priest-turned-disc) simply spammed shields on the raid and a la ICC, celebrated their 1-button spam to victory. The whole concept of “spell weaving” was simply non-existent.

    So yes, I’d strongly recommend capitalizing on the power of Disc at the moment, but I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a patch or hotfix incoming because performance is just that disproportionate.

  4. @Dawn I disagree I started heroic healing as Holy before Christmas. I sucked and switched to Atonement healing as Disc. My healing output was increased despite the fact that my only heals were Penance, PW:S, Renews and on the rare occassion the tanks started to lose health rapidly GHeals.

    My time actually healing was 20% most times and some fights I spammed Smite and healed well enough that my guild group didn’t suffer. Pugs vary wildly and the quality of info they feed is dubious many times a bad healer will be bad regardless of spec (just like any other role).

    Sure some fights were better suited to Holy pre-4.0.6 especially with certain healing team compositions in 10 man raids (eg 2x pallies or a pally/druid).

    What Matt is referring to here is the post 4.0.6 buffing of Disc and having read the changes (I haven’t got home yet to actually play) I am really excited to be playing a class that is probably a little over powered as of now and was imho quite balanced before 4.0.6.

    @Matticus What glyphs are you using instead of Glyph of PW:S?

    • Evlyxx: Since I am a baaaaad, bad Priest who forgot to reglyph, I had Barrier, Prayer of Healing and Penance. I’d probably drop Barrier for PW:S I think.

  5. I was going to say that the patch notes made Disc look awesome, but then in our raid last night I cleaned the floor as holy.

  6. No Glyph of PW:Shield in those meters?


    Glyph can be easily about 10% of your healing if you spam enough.

    Also don’t get too used to this shield buff… its gonna be toned down a bit quite soon I suspect. Shield spam will still be good though, just not to such a broken degree.

  7. Fascinating… I was really frustrated with Disc and ended up as holy/shadow. May have to give it another peek.

  8. I imagine the nerfs will be coming to Disc, as the buffs were, well… ridiculous in actual play, unfortunately. From your logs clip it looks like you were doing more of what Blizzard’s overall healing intent is – weaving in different spells along with the shields. Our disc priest tested just PW:S spamming the entire night though with ridiculous success. PW:S was easily 80% of his healing done with ~10% of his healing done coming from the PW:S glyph, and though he ran low on mana, just with pots/innervs/tide and his own mana CDs and rapture he didn’t oom so badly that he couldn’t heal. While the spamming itself isn’t necessarily bad (even if it is a complete return to Wrath style healing, which is a shame in itself), the amount it absorbed (and healed for with the glyph) was insane – all of the healers thought the Acid Rain debuff had been nerfed on Al’akir and our priest piped up ‘no, that’s just me shielding’ – when he did have to stop to channel a Potion of Concentration the change in incoming damage was noticeable.
    Unfortunately no way it’s balanced atm. I play a priest as well and actually always preferred the Disc style of healing so was looking forward to maybe playing Disc more than Holy again, but yah… the buffs were unfortunately too strong and have just completely skewed the healing balance again.

    • I should perhaps add, our disc priest easily topped all the other healers with the PW:S spam – saw 20k hps on Halfus HM (even over our atonement/smite disc priest with the +damage modifiers) and ~15k on the other fights. crazy

  9. I have to say I have only been using disc for my pvp spec of late and switched to Holy for the first time when cata hit. We didn’t raid last night but I did pvp and holy cow what a difference with the shields. I am on a 2’s team with a feral druid and we were nervous with the nerfs that hit him. But we cleaned up and won our first 7 matches till we went up against a class mismatch (pally/DK).

    In those first 7 matches I did not die once (a rare occurrence for this clothie healer) and the matches were never really in question. I may have to try discipline tonight on raid night…but I do know that I am definitely a better healer now for having dabbled in holy:)

    Knights Who Say Ni

  10. Troll Toes says:

    Back to playing whack-a-shield with the raid frames for the time being it seems.


    • Don’t get used to it though. I’m expecting a nerf gun at some point

    • Troll Toes says:

      Yes, I expect they will.

      Though having just spent the evening crashtesting various levels of shieldspam whilst wiping on heroic Maloriak it seems it’s not as sustainable as some of the logs would lead you to believe.

      Purely shielding require a constant chain of mana cooldowns, and even then I was scraping the barrel. Perhaps it also requires a certain gear level to maintain the spam and I’ve simply not reached that point yet.

      I ended up settling on something that looked more like the log you linked Matticus – and it allowed the druids to have their innervates back which they were very happy about.

      So it seems I am safe from whack-a-shield mode for now =)

  11. as holy from vanilla to early tbc, and forced into bubble botting wrath, and now back to holy..

    this is very broken. not an “emo i’m quitting” post, but more of I’ll probably play rift, stop about 5/12 heroic 25 and move on. It’s clear he dev’s are out of ideas in wow and just bowed to the wrath baby QQ that followed it.

    Thank’s for making it beyond dumbed down blizz, guess you were lucky for the last 42 bucks you grabbed from me.


    btw 5/12 heroic, endagmame discipline raider in wrath too =(((

    pretty much this shit is a joke, and a good indicator of the state of the game.

    wrath babies rejoice…

  12. Katherine says:

    Never had a problem keeping heroic groups up as Disc even in early-mid December, if the rest of the party were pulling their weight.

  13. Good to hear that Disc is viable, but I do hope they can curtail shield spam being the de-facto strategy. Shields are of course awesome, but I think spell weaving and choosing the best spell for any moment is more fun than having one button that is always the best choice for any situation.

  14. cute excerpt from wol. care to compete? :>

    maloriak 25 hc farmkill. also, i topped the meter by a huge amount, coming in before our most seasoned holypriests and palas.

  15. Maximumbob says:

    I think that the state of play is about right with Disc shields, it is the SPAM that needs taken care of.

    If there was some diminishing return that was effective, or perhaps a debuff similar to bloodlust/heroism for innervate; that in itself may be enough to tackle spam.

    Also, I think we need to be VERY careful when interpreting WoL, and recount as I feel they are not as accurate as they might be atm. This is not a calculated theory, its just a feeling I get as I’m healing.

    My biggest impression of Disc healing right now, is that its balance with other classes is about right. The synergism with other healer styles is the biggest thing it brings to the table in raid heals and I really like that.

  16. I’ve really found that at an avg ilvl of around 365-370 I can use Inner Will and shield spam for almost the entirety of a fight pushing 18k HPS reliably. I’ve been using and stacking mastery and intellect.

    • Maximumbob says:

      I was thinking. (dangerous i know)

      What IF, the weakened soul debuff was increased to 30 secs, and the strength of soul talent was changed to 4/8 secs reduction and included penance.

      Would that address shield spam?


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