How to Discipline Heal

How to Discipline Heal

This post is intended for post 4.0.6 and is meant as a bunch of guidelines to help keep players alive as discipline.

Several notable changes are arriving with the patch which will slightly alter the play of Discipline Priests. The two biggest changes revolve around the boost to the strength of Power Word: Shield and the ability for Grace to affect multiple targets. In my playing Holy at 85 post, I mentioned about how to handle something I called “the hit”.

As a refresher, “the hit” is an ability or spell by a boss which deals enough damage which might kill players if they’re not healed up in the next few seconds. For example, Dragon Breaths are “the hit”. Any really massive explosion can be considered “the hit”. Fusion Punch is an example of a tank about to be the victim of “the hit”. It must be a severe enough blow to almost cause you to crap your pants.

Before you do anything else, I strongly advise downloading an addon called Ingela’s Rapture. It allows you to time your shields to get the best possible mana return from Rapture. In a game where mana management is important, this addon will help you.

*Sorry Ingela, meant to write about this sooner

For an alternative style of Disc healing revolving around Atonement, see this page instead.

On the tank

Stick to Power Word: Shield, Penance and the usual spells of Heal, Flash Heal or Greater Heal. Prayer of Mending is another spell you’ll want to keep activating on cooldown on the tank. Keep in mind that a Discipline Priest has two cooldowns for saving tanks: Power Word: Barrier and Pain Suppression. Unless the encounter has specific tank one-shotting mechanics that it needs to be saved for, you’ll be using those two spells on demand. With Power Word: Shield though, use Ingela’s Rapture to properly time it on the tank.

The basic play you want to make here at a raid level environment is to keep using Inner Focus on cooldown and continue dropping Greater Heals while using Power Word: Shield every time Rapture is available. Weave in Penance as necessary. The buffs to Power Word: Shield (208% effect increase) and Penance (20% increase to healing) has strengthened the position of Discipline.

2-3 players

Theoretically, the 2-3 players you’re healing would be a tanks. Since Grace can affect multiple targets, those would be the two players you want to maintain Grace stacks on. As an aside, if you were healing the 2-3 players that were in the raid itself, Grace wouldn’t mean much at all because you’d be hard pressed to heal them after the initial heal (usually the initial heal is all that’s need to keep them up). Don’t stress too much about Rapture procs here because you’re going to be balancing heals and shields on all of your tanks anyway (That does take a little more focus). Refresh the shields as necessary.

What works for me in a party environment is casting a shield on each target. Cycle through them with fast heals to keep them alive and out of imminent danger.

  1. Target A: Shielded –> Penance
  2. Target B: Shielded –> Flash Heal
  3. Target C: Shielded –> Flash Heal

Then follow it up with a quick blast of Prayer of Healing in the event another player in the group has taken damage.

4-5 players

You’ll wish to rely on Prayer of Healing for your group healing needs. Doesn’t get any easier than that and since Divine Aegis automatically activates when Prayer of Healing lands, there’s nothing else to add. You can try to get fancy and load up a few grace ticks on a few players in that group, but it might be unnecessary.

For 5+ players

I don’t foresee much of this happening, but in the event a raid healer or two goes down, you’ll need to stand on your head and try to hold it together. If health pools are dropping, get a Barrier up immediately. You know that Prayer of Healing heals a player and their group. Naturally there will be a few players left out. Let’s say there’s 3 players who are at 35% health in group 4 and all of group 5 is around the same range. Assuming everyone is in the same general location, drop 2-3 shields on players outside of group 5 and then hit a hasted Prayer of Healing on group 5 to try to account for everyone.

One last thing I want to add here is glyph selection. With Power Word Shield being buffed, the value of the glyph will rise. With shields absorbing amounts of about 35000, it might be a worthwhile glyph to consider if you’re not using it already.

How To Tank Heal As A Holy Priest

“I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I still can do something and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

- Helen Keller

Holy priests have always had a reputation for being extremely versatile healers.  Somewhere down the line we lost that and I don’t know if that was driven more so by the developers or by the player base, but we did.  We soon found ourselves being trapped in the mindset of being nothing more than Circle of Healing and Renew bots, which meant that we were often competing for raid spots with resto druids, who were practicing a similar style of healing, albeit with Wild Growth and Rejuvenation.  The only thing that really set us apart was Guardian Spirit and even that wasn’t enough to guarantee us a raid spot over a druid or any other class that could do our job better than we could.

With the release of Cataclysm, we found ourselves reclaiming that identity of being extremely flexible healers with the help of an incredible new ability known as Chakra.  For those not in the know, Chakra is a new talent in the holy tree that allows a priest to place themselves into a state that enhances certain abilities and opens up new ones for them to use, depending on the kind of role that they will be filling in a group or raid.  Currently, there are three Chakra states that can be described as the tank healing or single target healing Chakra (Serenity), the AOE or raid healing Chakra (Sanctuary) and the last one being a Chakra that enhance your damage dealing spells (Smite).

Sadly, old habits die hard and there are a still a number of misconceptions out there that holy priests either cannot tank heal or should not tank heal, due our having such strong AOE healing capabilities that many feel are not worth giving up to have us tank heal or heal a single target.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to have an amazing healing lead who is not afraid to try new things and knows her healer’s strengths and to be part of a healing core where my fellow healers are not afraid of change and can excel at things that most people would feel are not possible or not worth it to try and do.

Here is a run down of the abilities you will most likely use and the talents that will help you best in tank healing as a holy priest, in my experience.

Chakra.  The Chakra of choice for tank healing is Chakra: Serenity, which you enter by casting Chakra and then immediately casting Heal right after it.  Recent patch notes from the PTR have indicated that Binding Heal, Flash Heal and Greater Heal are being added to the list of spells that will activate this particular Chakra.  Being in this Chakra takes Holy Word: Chastise and changes it to Holy Word: Serenity.

By simply being in Chakra: Serenity, your chance to crit with direct healing spells is increased by 10% and they will refresh a Renew that is present on the target.  Currently, only Heal, Flash Heal and Greater Heal are capable of refreshing the Renew.  Binding Heal and Holy Word: Serenity are slated to be added to the mix, based on information found in the patch notes that were released last week.  You will want to remain in this Chakra for the entire time that you are responsible for healing the tank.  Being in this Chakra does not lock you out or prevent you from casting other spells, not related to the tank healing state.  You can still use a Prayer of Healing, if the group that the tank is in gets low on health or use a Circle of Healing if those around them are taking damage.

Holy Word Serenity.  This spell can be used a number of ways and has drawn comparisons to being our version of Holy Shock.  One way you can use it is to use it off cooldown.  The buff that Holy Word: Serenity leaves will increase the crit chance of your direct heals on the target by 25% for 6 seconds, in addition to the 10% increased crit chance that you have from being in Chakra: Serenity.  Having this buff on the tank regularly means that any incoming heals that would need to be used have a chance of healing for more and being more effective.  You can also choose to use this more selectively and wait until the tank is taking large amounts of damage, use it first and then take advantage of the crit buff by following it by spamming direct heals.  Either way is fine, but this spell is a core part of tank healing and should not be left out when you’re doing that.

Prayer of Mending.  As always, Prayer of Mending should be used every time it is off cooldown.  Be sure to toss it out either before you cast Chakra or after you have safely entered the correct Chakra state, which is Serenity.  If you don’t cast it at the right time, you may accidentally find yourself entering the wrong state and being in Chakra: Sanctuary, which is the AOE or raid healing state.  This will prevent you from using Holy Word: Serenity, which is only available by being in Chakra: Serenity and your direct heals will not be nearly as effective.

Renew.  Slap a Renew on the tank and if you are using your designated Chakra state to its fullest, it should never fall off of them.  Talents like Improved Renew and Divine Touch can help make Renew more effective by increasing the healing that it does and by eliminating the usual delay in healing output that comes with using a heal over time ability.

Empowered Healing. Placing three points in this talent increases the healing done by Binding Heal, Flash Heal, Heal and Greater Heal by 15%.  These spells are going to be your bread and butter for tank healing, so you are going to want to have that added boost of healing.  You are also going to want three points in Divine Fury, so that your Heal and Greater Heal have their cast time reduced by 0.5 seconds.  That may not sound like a lot, but compare to it the cast time when you don’t have points in this talent.  Believe me, you will feel and notice the difference.

Surge of Light.  Surge of Light allows you the chance to get a free, instant cast Flash Heal that is incapable of critting each time you use Heal.  Unless you’re facing a fight with unpredictable spike damage, Heal is going to be your core spell for tank healing.  It’s been determined that roughly 1 out of every 17 Heals cast will result in a Surge of Light proc.  That may not sound like a lot, but every little bit helps and Flash Heal is extremely expensive to cast on its own, without an immediate reason to do so.  If you’re still not convinced that this talent is useful to you, Surge of Light was mentioned in the recent patch notes, stating that Flash Heal and Greater Heal will be added as one of the spells that can trigger Surge of Light and the heal generated by the proc will be able to crit.

Inspiration.  This talent is considered a must have, since you probably won’t be throwing shields on the tank that often, if at all and you want some kind of damage reducing ability to fall back on.  More on that later.  It’s also the only ability that warrants you having any kind of critical strike rating to speak of.

Serendipity.  There are times where your tank is going to take a lot of damage really quickly and you’re going to need to act fast.  You want to have options available that will maximize the heals you will need to throw out, while also being mindful of your mana bar.  Serendipity can help you with that and you can customize it to meet your needs.  If your tank is in trouble and you need a heal, use Binding Heal.  If it’s just your tank that has taken a lot of damage, use Flash Heal.  You now have one stack of Serendipity, which will reduce the cast time of your next Greater Heal by 10% and its mana cost by 5%.

If that single heal wasn’t enough, you can follow it up with another Binding Heal or Flash Heal and gain a second stack of Serendipity, which will now reduce the cast time of your next Greater Heal by 20% and lower the cost by 10%.  Two stacks is the most you can have on yourself at any given time.  You are now prepared to do what I call a “Serendipity bomb,” which is what I call using Flash Heal –> Flash Heal –> Greater Heal.  It is extremely mana intensive to do this, even with the reduction in cost from the talent.  This method should only be used for emergencies, not as a regular style of healing.

Other talents that can help for emergency situations are Test of Faith, which increases all healing done to targets below 50% health and of course, Guardian Spirit.  There are two ways you can use Guardian Spirit.  You can use it when the tank is getting dangerously low and allow it to activate, healing the tank by a large amount and allowing you a few seconds to focus on others who may need healing.  Or you can cast it on the tank and follow it up with some heals, which will be enhanced by having the effect on them and get them back up to snuff.  To make the most out of Guardian Spirit, make sure that you glyph for it and it also helps to create a macro that will announce in the raid or your healing chat channel (if your raid has one of those) that you have cast Guardian Spirit and on whom you have cast it.  That will alert other healers that your target needs heals and will prompt them to toss some heals on them, if they are able to do so.

Power Word: Shield.  Throwing a shield consistently on the tank while healing them may not always be the best idea, because discipline priests rely heavily on Rapture as a way to get mana back.  The best people to place a shield on, where it will get absorbed the most are the tanks.  If you have shielded the tank, that means they can’t and that could affect the amount of mana they get back in the long run.  I would coordinate this with your discipline priests if possible, by finding out if they are going to be anywhere near where you and your tank will be located and how diligent they are about shielding tanks other than their own.  Some are more consistent about this than others.  If you do have the all clear to shield at will, save it for when you see them taking a large amount of damage.  I wouldn’t throw a shield every time it’s off cooldown or if the tank is nearly topped off.  Use it as a way to buy yourself some time to heal them back up, either by using a “Serendipity bomb” or other combination of heals to get the job done.

A lot of holy priests may get flak from the community at large for attempting to tank heal, but we’re really not bad at it and in fact, we have tools that can really be useful when we’re called into action as tank healers.  The strength of a discipline priest has always been mitigation and preventing damage whereas ours has always been raw healing and reacting to damage.  Just because we lack the mitigation strengths does not mean we do not have the healing capacity to successfully heal a tank and should not be considered for such a task.  Some have argued that our strength is in our AOE heals, but we only have two extra AOE spells (Circle of Healing and Holy Word: Sanctuary) that discipline priests don’t have access to and one of them is on a 10 second cooldown and you need to be in the appropriate Chakra state to even activate it.  We have obviously been given the tools mentioned above for a reason.  What other reason would there be to have shields or to have Chakra: Serenity, if we’re meant to go back to the Wrath style of healing?

Hopefully, this post will give people the encouragement or the motivation to try out tank healing, if you are a holy priest or to consider a holy priest as viable candidate to do such a thing, if you’re a raid leader or a GM.  What are your thoughts on this topic?  Can it be done?  Should it be done?

How to Smite Heal Your Way through Heroics and Raids

I’ve written about the Archangelism spec and style before, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t make it work at all on live. I thought it might’ve been a personal “learn to play” issue on my end and it turned out that’s what it was. Conversing with Priests who prefer the style of Archangel and Evangelism, I ultimately learned that I was doing it wrong.

A Fresh Slate

First thing’s first. Wipe out everything you know about Discipline healing. Approach it with the eye of a new healer because I would refer to this as the 6th healing spec in the game.

Setting up

The spec

33/8/0 is a spec I’m currently experimenting with with heroics and raids.

Essential glyphs

Select whichever Prime glyphs you like as it’s more personal style than anything else. I personally shoot for:

The Major glyph you must have:

The style of play

Atonement is the key talent here. Damage dealt with Smite heals the closest, weakest target which is usually the tank. Think of Smite as the spell used in place of Heal. Use it to help soften the blows your tank will take. When they get to a certain health level, switch back to Penance or healing spells and get the tank back up to the green.

So when do I trigger Archangel?

Do not look at Archangel as a mana return talent. Look at it as a healing buff talent. When you use Archangel, your healing spells get buffed. The tradeoff is that Smite does not get that extra damage boost therefore you must rely on actual healing spells during the period the period that Archangel is used. You must keep an eye on the buff timer though.

For me, everything clicked when I looked at it as a form of stance dancing: Smite healing during slow and steady periods and then activating Archangel to begin casting standard healing spells (Prayer of Healing, Shields and Penance) during intense moments.

When Evangelism is able to be stacked up again, resume the Smite fest.

Numbers wise, Smite will heal anywhere from 9.5k to me to top end critical heals of 15k+ with a mix of dungeon blues and heroic dungeon blues.

Problems

In a raid environment, you don’t have precise control over who gets the heal. I’ve had the Heal off of Smite hit a Bloodworm or a hunter pet instead of the tank (or worse, Ret Paladins). Quick reactions were needed to level off the tank with a Power Word: Shield or something. It’s because of this variability that I wouldn’t use this for raid healing unless there was a gimmick about the encounter.

An example of this is the Halfus encounter. The more drakes and whelps you take down, the more damage your Smite does which leads to stronger heals.

Another issue I ran into is that I’d let my Evangelism stacks fall off. Either I was moving around or the group started to take damage. At the first sign of not being able to refresh Evangelism, activate Archangel so you don’t incur the mana loss.

It’s certainly a fun spec to play and offers a fresh change to the normal healing grind that Priests have had. It takes a bit of getting used to.

Just don’t forget that you have other healing spells in the event things start going sour, so please use them.

The Life of a Confused Priest: From Healing to DPS and back!

This is a guest post from my friend Synysta about breaking stereotypes and enjoying the game. -Lodur

My main Synysta is a Priest. She’s been many races and factions, but currently she is a Blood Elf. I think I can see the rotten tomatoes flying in my direction from the Alliance- I must duck! /cast Power Word: Shield

I’ve been playing a Priest for several years now as I rolled her at the beginning of BC and back then I did it just for kicks. The guild I was part of at the time was in desperate need of a healer and as we all know, the Priest is the archetypical healer in World of Warcraft. Was I aware of what I was letting myself in for, or was I aware of how much fun I was going to have? Absolutely not. I was a total newbie in the beginning, I hadn’t got a clue how the game worked and my experience with the universe of Azeroth was limited to Warcraft II and Warcraft III. So in I jumped, feet first and grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns. How hard could playing a Priest be?

I can hear all the Priests laughing as I typed that. As I have found out in my few years of playing the class, there’s a lot more to a Priest than you would imagine on face value. So I rolled the toon, picking Draenei as my initial class and starting as a Level 1 on the island of Azuremist. I did a few quests till level 10, smiting my way through the mobs and casting Renew and Gift of the Naaru on myself. Of course, I never realized how useful the shield could be until around level 65. Dumb? You betcha. I soon discovered dungeon healing and found I actually had a talent for healing the unclean, unwashed masses. The levels flew by and I was soon standing in Borean Tundra, dinging Level 70. Then I discovered ‘The Dark Side’.

Shadow DPS was an absolute riot and a half for me. I found that not only was I a capable Holy Priest but also a capable Shadow Priest. Now, I am aware that this is World of Matticus and I know that this is a Healing blog…but as someone who has played both sides of the coin as a Priest, I just want to say that no one should ever feel pigeonholed to heal- just because you are a Priest. It’s like saying a Warrior should only tank or a Paladin should DPS. It’s the stereotypical choice to go that path, sure…but it isn’t your only choice.

As a Shadow Priest, I was constantly bombarded from all angles about how I should heal and constant pressure was ladled onto me as I fought hard and strong on staying Shadow. Sadly, I was constantly forced to be a healer when Dual Specialization was introduced. From my early days of raiding Naxxramas through to Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel, most of my raid leaders or Guild Leaders were okay with me being a Shadow Priest but the more I held onto my new identity, the more people would try to shove me in the opposite direction. From here I decided to bite the bullet and learn to be a healer again. I leveled as a Holy Priest and had so many years of that I decided it was time for a change. So Discipline was the chosen way of the Light for me.

Having fun with Discipline has been a challenge for me. It took me a very long time for me to master it and then when Cataclysm came along and turned Healing on its head, I found myself struggling and gasping for mana like a fish out of water- flipping and sputtering around on its back. I soon learned that it was because of my gear. In Wrath of the Lich King, Discipline Priests would get mana returns through crit based heals and the use of Power Word: Shield. I never once had to sit to drink or use Shadowfiend, or even Hymn of Hope. I would watch Holy Priests seem to have a lot more issues with it than I ever did. I suppose that I really took it for granted as when Deathwing blew a giant hole in the side of the world…he seemed to blow a giant hole in the side of my mana pool too. Starting off with a 42k mana pool in my 25 man ICC gear, I thought that I was pro. I thought that I could stroll into Blackrock Caverns like the cat that had gotten the big bowl of cream. I soon found out how very wrong I was. Lets just say that panic was definitely the order of the day when 42k mana would vanish in a matter of seconds before my very eyes. It was like Pacman attacking my blue bar, OM NOM NOM NOM. I screamed. I panicked. I thought it was me. So I asked Matticus what to do. He told me to use the Heal spell more. And actually that seemed to work.

As my gear got better, I found that my mana pool doubled in size and with the added intellect and spirit, my mana gains seemed to return to normal and my anxiety levels seemed to drop. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no superstar healer but honestly- practice really does make perfect. I’ve seen Priests get so many changes since the early days of BC and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Sure, I’ve pulled out my hair in clumps and given myself heart palpitations but I really do love the challenge of relearning my character and class.

I recently leveled a Holy Paladin up to 80 too. 85 and healing though? That could well be for another time. Same place, same heart attacks. But as for the Priest? I still love DPS. It’s a nice change for when I can’t be bothered with the PUG’s ;)

Were the Priest Buffs Needed?

Yeah, probably. I didn’t realize that Priests were a little underpowered in the regen department. That’s one of the benefits of doing stuff in guild groups. I was getting the encounters down, but they weren’t exactly the prettiest kills. Over the previous weekend when we were grinding out the heroics, I would almost get to the of end fights with zero mana. Actually, it wasn’t uncommon for me to hit 0 mana at 10% of encounters and just tell the rest of the DPS they’re on their own because I had to dump all my spells on the tank.

I haven’t had a go with Discipline yet, but I understand there’s a few challenges with it on the heroic side of things. I want to try it out sometime on the weekend. 

  • Blessed Resilience now increases healing received by 15/30%, up from 5/10%.
  • Focused Will now reduces damage taken by 5/10% and 10/20%, up from 4/8% and 6/12%.
  • Healing done by Glyph of Dispel Magic no longer improperly caps out at a certain health pool range.
  • Holy Concentration’s mana regeneration component has been increased from 10/20% to 20/40%.
  • Player-controlled vehicles return an Invalid Target error when attempting to use Leap of Faith on them.
  • Rapture’s mana regeneration component has been increased from 1.5/2/2.5 to 2/4/6%.

On the raiding side of things, we’ve started entering 25s and put in several legitimate shots on Halfus. Him and his drake buddies are kicking our butt. The current progression focus is going to be on him but I’ve authorized guild groups to take charge and set up their own 10 mans if they wanted to try to push for Throne of the Four Winds or Blackwing Depths. With the logs data from Argaloth and the observations on the Halfus attempts, the leadership team’s going to try to split the top 20 performing players so they can  head back in on monday. I want that sucker down before Christmas. I had no illusions that were going to be able to get him down on 25 largely due to gear, inexperience and other factors. That fight changed since beta and it’s incredibly front end loaded. I think we if can just time our cooldowns a little better (we’re able to get the first drake down) and really shut down the interrupts, we should be able to get him. Nether Scion and Storm Drake are tough cookies though. Our current approach is unlocking both Nether Scion and the Emerald whelps simultaneously. The whelps are split between both tanks but they’re still getting almost insta-gibbed.

By the way, if you’re having trouble healing heroics (as in you’re not sure what to do from the healer side of things), check the YouTube channel. I’ve been trying to upload a video a day of a boss on heroic from my viewpoint and narrating what I do. Wasn’t able to get to one yesterday night since it was a raid night.

If there’s any specific ones you want to see, give me a shout here. I’ve done just about all of them except for that Lord Commander guy in Shadowfang Keep (third boss). He just keeps stoning my group.

Leveling, Holy and Discipline Priest specs

Here’s a quick glance at my healing and questing specs on the grind from 80 to 85. My mentality behind this was to select talents that would give me an edge in either survivability or efficiency. I went for talents that helped reduce mana costs or gave me mana back. I also opted for talents that made me a little bit tougher to kill.

Starting from level 80

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

Improved Psychic Scream – In case things get dicey with an overpull, I can couple this talent with Glyph of Psychic Scream. I don’t send mobs flying every where and pulling even more stuff. But it might buy me the precious seconds I need to DPS something down and heal up.

Mental Agility – Cheaper dots. ‘Nuff said.

Veiled Shadows – Wishbone gets to come out more often. … What, don’t you guys name your Shadowfiends?

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

I chose holy as my dungeon healing offspec. Mana won’t be a terribly challenging issue with the opening instances like Blackrock Caverns or Throne of the Tides. But you’ll want to consider grabbing Mental Agility on the way up.

Notes

Desperate Prayer – Yeah, yeah, not many people would choose this. But I personally like having a safety net in dungeons in case I pull something.

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

Chose Empowered Healing over Divine Fury. Cast time isn’t as big a factor when you’re leveling up via dungeons, I found. Still going to be using a combination of shields and Flash Heal to get over the top.

Raiding

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Sorry guys, I can’t say this is the final form of the raid spec I plan to use as shadow. I’ll use this as a baseline to work with though at least.

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

Yup, I kept Desperate Prayer and Inspiration for raiding. Darkness is another option when your mana regeneration hits a point where it isn’t a big a factor. I won’t be switching to it until I accumulate more potent gear.

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

So many options here. You can take out the points from Veiled Shadows and place them into Surge of Light or Inspiration (In case your party doesn’t already have one with it). But Disc by far seems to offer the most variety when it comes to talent placement.

Quick Priest Gear for Holy and Discipline at 85

This is not a gear guide for your best in slot list.

This is a gear guide which lists how to fill in your gear slots as fast as possible via reputations, crafting or quest rewards. You’ll notice each gear slot has a number of items. The fact is, I can’t tell you what’s the best stat to stack up on. Heck, you don’t need the best possible gear to start doing heroics or raids. Your character just needs to be geared enough to bypass the healing checks that are in place (for instance, if your priest can heal X amount of damage, then you’re good to go). Therefore, I’ve provided numerous options for each slot.

If you get a piece of equal or greater stat value, you can methodically move on from that. For example, if I get a solid helm from a dungeon I just ran, then I won’t need to blow justice points on the Mask of New Snow. I can use the points on another slot where the item is still weaker and bring it up that way.

Further notes on reputations, stat allocation and gemming on the bottom.

Helms

There are a few options available here.

Arcanum of Hyjal – Guardians of Hyjal Quartermaster, Revered

Mask of New Snow – JP vendor (2200), 346
Spiritmend Cowl – Tailoring, 333
Helm of Temperance – Earthen Ring Quartermaster, Honored, 333
Lightweight Bio-Optic Killshades – BoP, Engineering, 359

Necks

Celadon Pendant – JP vendor (346), 346
Eye of Many Deaths – JC, 346
Pendant of Elemental Balance – Earthen Ring Quartermaster, Honored, 333

Shoulders

Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone – Therazane Quartermaster, Honored
Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone –  Therazane Quartermaster, Exalted

Summer Song Shoulderwraps – JP vendor (1650), 346
Blight-Lifter’s Mantle – Quest reward: The Source of Their Power, 333
Emberfire Shoulders – Tailoring, 339 (PvP)

Cloaks

Enchant Cloak – Greater Critical Strike
Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Darkglow Embroidery (Tailors only)

Cloak of Ancient Wisdom – Earthen Ring Quartermaster, Revered, 346
Cloak of the Dryads – Guardians of Hyjal, 333

Chest

Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Spirit (Thinking this one)

Musk Rose Robes – JP vendor (2200), 346
Overly Intelligent Robes – Quest reward: Skullcrushter the Mountain, 333
Emberfire Robe – Tailoring, 339 (PvP)

Wrists

There’s like no easy way to get wrists. Pull the wrists from the Halls of Origination Quest reward and reforge the hit out to something more useful like spirit. Emberfire Bracers are another option, but you’ll need to reforge out the resilience. Forgot. You can’t reforge out resilience. Oh well. Otherwise, pray for some drops.

Enchant Bracer – Greater Speed
Enchant Bracer – Greater Critical Strike
Enchant Bracer – Exceptional Spirit
Draconic Embossment – Intellect (Leatherworking only)

True Archaeologist’s Bracers – Quest reward: Doing it the Hard Way, Halls of Origination, 333
Emberfire Bracers – Tailoring, 339
Crimsonborne Bracers – Drop, Dragha Shadowburner, Grim Batol 333

Gloves

Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery

Flamebloom Gloves – Earthen Ring vendor, exalted, 359
Gloves of Purification – JP vendor (1650), 346
Roffle’s Ruffly Gloves – BoE, 333

Belt

Ebonsteel Belt Buckle

I can either score a new belt with the tailoring cooldowns or jet for the pants. Since there is already an epic level belt offered from the Guardians of Hyjal, I’ll probably skip the tailoring belt and buy the one from the Hyjal folks.

Belt of the Depths – Tailoring, 359
Cord of Raven Queen – Guardians of Hyjal, exalted, 359
Belt of the Falling Rain – JP vendor (1650), 346
Truth-Seeker Belt – Quest Reward: A Villain Unmasked, 333

Pants

Ghostly Spellthread (Tailoring)
Powerful Ghostly Spellthread (Tailoring)

Leggings of Charity – JP vendor (2200), 346
Breeches of Mended Nightmares – Tailoring, 359
Flame-Ascended Pantaloons – Tailoring, 359

Boots

Enchant Boots – Lavawalker

Slippers of Moving Waters – BoE, Valorous Quartermaster, 359
Gogarok’s Tenderized Treads – BoE, 333
Hekatic Slippers – BoP, Rajh, Halls of Origination, 333

Rings

Enchant Ring – Intellect (Enchanters only)

Ring of the Boy Emperor – Archaeology, 359
Ring of Warring Elements – JC, 346
Diamant’s Ring of Temperance – Therazane, Revered, 346
Ammunae’s Blessing – Ramkahen, Honored, 333

Trinkets

Plenty of options when it comes to trinkets. I didn’t list trinkets obtainable only in dungeons.

Mandala of Stirring Patterns – Baradin’s Wardens, Exalted, 359
Soul Casket – Valorous Quartermaster 1650, 359
Core of Ripeness – Valorous Quartermaster 1650 , 359
Darkmoon Card: Tsunami – Darkmoon cards, 359
Tyrande’s Favorite Doll – Archaeology, 359
Baradin Footman’s Tags – Baradin’s Wardens, Honored, 333
Talisman of Sinister Order – Quest Reward: Firing Squad, 325
Electrospark Heartstarter – BoE, 316

* In depth trinket analysis to be done later on in the week.

1H

Enchant Weapon – Heartsong

Shimmering Morningstar – Baradin’s Wardens, Revered, 346
Elementium Hammer – Blacksmithing, 346
Gurgthock’s Garish Gorebat – Quest Reward: Crucible of Carnage: The Twilight Terror! , 333

OH

Enchant Off-Hand – Superior Intellect

Apple-Bent Bough – JP vendor (950), 346
Divine Companion – Inscription, 346
Skyflight Beacon – Quest Reward:Doing It Like a Dunwald, 333

Staff

Enchant Weapon – Heartsong

Staff of Ammunae – Archaeology, 359
Insidious Staff – Baradin’s Wardens, Revered, 346
Very Manly Staff – Quest Reward: Crucible of Carnage: The Twilight Terror! , 333

Wand

Wand of Untainted Power – Drop: Forgemaster Throngus, 333
Wand of Dark Worship – BoE Drop: The Stonecore
Beach-Sweeper Wand – Quest Reward: Landgrab, 318

Reputation

Whew! That’s quite the selection isn’t it? Which faction offers the most bang for the buck? At first glance, it looks like Earthen Ring will be the one I choose to get reputation for first. They offer a helm, neck, cloak and epic gloves. Not bad. I’ll be representin’ them when I go dungeon diving. If I can’t score any drops for those slots in that department, then a quick visit to them. When Deepholm is unlocked and you’ve cleared out the zones, start working on Therazane reputation so you can eventually grab the shoulder enchants. Once you’re done with Earthen Ring, pick up the Guardians of Hyjal tabard and shoot for the helm enchant.

While Baradin’s Wardens also offer numerous and appealing rewards, those should be done on the side when there’s battles going on. It will take a little longer for you to get there as it’s going to depend on your server. I think the daily quests contribute to the reputation so work on those when your faction has control of Tol Barad.

Quick note on allocating stats

REMEMBER THAT ALL YOUR GEAR HAS BEEN RESET!

Focus on your basics first. In the start of Wrath, we concentrated on throughput and and regeneration. We didn’t have the luxury to go nuts with crit or haste like we do now because we actually had to worry about mana regen. Guess what? We’re repeating that stage again. So don’t go nuts with haste, crit or mastery yet. Accumulate a solid amount of spirit and intellect. Holy priests may wish to favor spirit a little more while discipline priests will want to aim for additional intellect. Let the rest of your gear build up secondary stats over time. There is no point in having astronomical amounts of haste, crit or mastery if you don’t have the mana to cast them or the spellpower for it to be worthwhile.

Once we hit the upper raiding tiers of the initial content, I suspect that’s when we can slowly reforge and adjust our stats.

Gem selection

Meta gem

Revitalizing Shadowspirit Diamond

Red

Brilliant Inferno Ruby
Purified Demonseye
Artful Ember Topaz
Potent Ember Topaz

Yellow

Fractured Amberjewel
Quick Amberjewel
Smooth Amberjewel
Zen Dream Emerald

Artful Ember Topaz
Potent Ember Topaz

Blue

Sparkling Ocean Sapphire
Purified Demonseye
Zen Dream Emerald

Gear strategy

Since I can get the epic belt (Cord of Raven Queen) by gaining reputation with the Hyjal guardians, the Dreamcloth I’ll be self-manufacturing would be better spent on the pants (Breeches of Mended Nightmares). For weapons, I’ll most likely need to get one of our blacksmiths to create an Elementium Hammer and a Scribe to create a Divine Companion. In the long run, I’ll stick to staves. With regards to trinkets, I may just set a long term goal of the Valorous trinkets. I’m not sure yet, I need to really look into them further. I’m hoping I can buy some of the BoE blue stuff. Several of the quests offer some decent rewards that will tide me over (See the wrists, shoulders and the chest).

Did I miss something? Let me know, and I’ll try to work it in. Remember I tried to avoid relying on dungeon drops or RNG stuff simply because it isn’t a 100% guarantee that you’ll get it.

Embracing the Dark Side

I never thought I would see the day. You know, when I first started this journey on my character, I’ve always envisioned myself as that of a career healer. It was my purpose. I was to heal, to sustain, and to cure players. Restore them back to full health. I have tried the dark arts before but it was beyond my skills and comprehension. And yet, with the guild expanding to a include PvP, I noted we had a fair number of healers already. And so, I activated a dormant side of Matticus that I thought I had suppressed forever. I vowed never to use that side ever again unless I had a significant reason to do so. But the time had come.

I went Shadow.

It was amusing at first. I already had a full set of 264 healing gear and a full set of 264 shadow gear. Within the span of minutes, I turned myself into a potent weapon. For those moments, I was no longer the shield of the guild. I was now the sword. The transferable gaming knowledge I picked up over the past 10 years came flowing back. The art of chain stunning and disabling from playing hundreds of hours of DoTA. The stacking, force firing and position playing from Guild Wars. The willingness to attract the ire of 6 opposing horde players and keeping them busy for that one second at the blue gate graveyard in Strands of the Ancients so that my team mate could capture that graveyard. Everything came rushing back. I was a whirlwind of death. Targets were identified and crushed with ruthless efficiency (unless they were resto druids, then it was just plain ruthlessness).

And you know what I discovered? I can’t get enough of it. Double tapping players with Shadow Word: Death is too much… fun.

Do not worry. You won’t be seeing shadow related posts here anytime soon. I am not quite qualified in that regard just yet. For me, the time has come to learn the dark arts. By doing so, I allow myself to play both roles in our raid as necessary and won’t be quite as restricted when it comes to roster flexibility. I have much to learn.

I will strive to learn everything I can and be the best at it. Yet, I know that it is truly impossible to master something. Here’s the thing I’ve noticed when it comes to trying to master a class. I mean, if I were to graph learning the skills to master a class, I would draw an asymptote. After all, although one can always get closer and closer to mastery, one will never reach it.

Have to admit, it is a welcome pace from healing. Except I have a disgusting 24% hit from all the spirit stuff I’m packing.

Chakra: Renew is Gone

Chakra: Renew is Gone

Note: the tooltips in the quoted text boxes do not reflect the current changes to the abilities they describe.

Since 4.0.1 changes were even announced, I was overwhelmed with anticipation to try a Holy spec. Now, I’ve been Discipline since before Wrath of the Lich King dropped, and I’ve loved the entire playstyle (minus that “bubble spam” thing). When I saw the Chakra ability, as well as the corresponding Holy Word: Chastise states, I started to digitally salivate. I’ve always enjoyed classes that had a wealth of abilities to use (which is why I never rolled a Paladin — KIDDING!!). In the “lame duck session” before Cataclysm, I’ve been experimenting with the new playstyles and adapting to the new juicy mechanics that have been laid out for us. Chakra Heal has potential to be real potent. Chakra Prayer of Healing offers a beautiful and useful “stand in the good” zone, as well as an AoE Healing buff. Chakra Smite has been amazing for farming meat, mats, or anything else for which I need to “nuk da mobz”.

Chakra Renew has been a bit ambiguous to me. I understand that Renew is a very powerful tool in a certain-specced Holy toolbox, but its implementation into Chakra kind of baffled me. Now, I *like* to think I’m a pretty creative guy, but I just couldn’t really see the use or fun in it. Maybe it’s because I come from a Discipline playstyle, but I didn’t see a need to constantly spam renew beyond just blanketing my 10man raid. Well, we were given this nugget of info (thanks MMO-Champion):

  • Chakra no longer works with Renew. No longer costs mana. Sanctuary (Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending) now increases healing done by your AoE spells and Renew by 15%. (Old – Only increased AoE spells by 10%)
  • Effectively, they’ve killed Renew’s exclusivity with Chakra and teamed it up with Prayer of Healing, adding in Prayer of Mending, too. You’ll get more healing out of Renew, but remember that you have to activate it with Prayer of Healing or Mending. You cannot activate your steroid-juiced HoT by hitting that Renew key. Patience, grasshopper.

    Because of this change, our State of Mind talent has been altered:

  • State of Mind no longer affects Renew, affects Prayer of Mending instead.
  • Now, I use Prayer of Mending almost always on cooldown out of habit. Adding this into extending that Chakra state will benefit a lot of Priests out there. If the best play for a certain encounter is to keep that Chakra going, I’m not too big a fan of spamming one button to extend it. I think a change like this could also be implemented in our Heal Chakra or Smite Chakra. Only add one additional spell to extend it. Chakra Heal could also be extended by Greater Heal, a spell that we don’t really spam anyways. Chakra Smite could be lengthened by Holy Fire as well, since it’s impossible to spam it while it’s on cooldown. Here’s an image of the new tooltips (thanks, Matticus!):

    All in all, I’m pleased with the change. As it stands right now, I don’t use Renew Chakra as it is and didn’t see much use in the future. However, as would be my luck, I’ll step into that first Cataclysm raid encounter and think, “Man! I wish I had Chakra Renew back for this fight!” C’est la vie.

    Do you feel the alteration of Chakra and State of Mind are changes for the better or worse? Are you going to miss the Renew Chakra?

    Holy Word: Sanctuary vs Efflorescence

    Holy Word: Sanctuary vs Efflorescence

    I love using Holy Word: Sanctuary on players in melee only to find that the Efflorescence from druids already beat me to it. Both effects can easily be stacked on top of each other for extra AoE healing. Great times for this would be on Blood Queen or on Festergut, for example.

    On the other hand, I’ve found that it can be a redundant AoE overheal especially when the affected players aren’t taking that much damage. As a priest, I can place a Sanctuary down wherever I like. A druid can just about do the same, but the flowerbed only appears beneath the target of their heal.

    Already in raids, I’ve been in situations like this:

    eff-vs-sanc

    Blue dots represent players. The large, transparent circles represent the area of the AoE healing effects. A well placed Sanctuary can cover players standing far from each other but Efflorescence is limited to the target’s location. Has anyone else seen cases similar to this? I just find it funny in a sense. Come on guys! Recognize that these circles are good things to stand in! As a guideline, I think druids have melee players covered. Holy priests can park Sanctuary on range if the melee isn’t in need of it. Thinking ahead to Sindragosa for tonight, I have a feeling we’ll be stacking these for players at melee range.

    Side note, I participated in beta tests for Blackwing Descent and Bastion of twilight on sunday. They’ll be appearing on WoW Insider sometime soon. Great encounters, Omnitron especially. Blizzard has not shown any signs of lacking any raiding creativity yet. Lots of promise for us raiders.