Smite Healing with the Atonement Spec

Smite Healing with the Atonement Spec

Atonement’s one of those really curious talents in the discipline tree. We’ve never really experienced anything like it before and I can understand the reluctance behind taking it.

But it’s got some potential. And I found it fun the few times I pulled it off.

How it works

The basic premise is that you’re unloading Smites on a hostile target. As you’re hitting them with Smite, Atonement activates and heals any player within 8 yards of the target for 100% of the damage that Smite does.

For priests at level 80
For priests at level 85

Here are the key talents:

Atonement: You absolutely need this. Its kind of the central focus. In an earlier build, Smite would heal 60/120% according to the damage dealt. In the current beta build, it dropped down to 40/80%. As of the current PTR for the 4.0.1 patch, it was raised to 50/100%.

Archangel & Evangelism: Both of these talents help with buffing the damage you’re dishing out or allowing you to get some precious mana back.

Divine Aegis: Yup, DA bubbles will appear off of heals from Atonement.

Feel free to pick and choose the rest of them according to your own play style.

Glyphs

You’ll want to get some of these glyphs to help vault your utility.

atone-glyphs

Glyph of Divine Accuracy: I know I have close to zero hit gear. For this spec to work, you need to be able to hit the boss. If you can’t hit the boss, you can’t heal.

Glyph of Smite: The Holy Fire DoT doesn’t last that long, but the does help.

Those are the two main ones and everything else is up to you. However, I would recommend:

You’re in the discipline tree anyway. May as well get some glyphs that augment that tree further.

Spell usage

Open up with a Holy Fire right away, then begin blasting away with a Smite. If you’re lucky, you’ll get in about 4 powered up Smites before th e DoT wears off. You’ll need to eyeball your mana here. Get a full stack of Evangelism going. Between Evangelism and the Glyph of Smite, it should elevate you to some reasonably comfortable numbers.

Once I notice a mana deficit of about 15 – 20%, I’ll pop Archangel and instantly get my mana back and resume Smiting.

You still have access to your healing priest spells. Don’t be tunnel visioned into believing that Smiting is the only way to heal because it isn’t. It is the main focus, but don’t forget about your other heals. Use them in a pinch if you need to. Instead of sitting back and waiting for people to take damage, you’re actively doing something which has a positive side effect.

If you’re in a smaller group environment like a 10-man or a 5-man, you’ll need to keep a closer watch on yourself and any other ranged players that aren’t standing with the melee.

In a raid environment, you can use this to your advantage. If you’re like me and contemplating the usage of a full time Smite priest, that’s one dedicated healer on the melee. That means you can focus the efforts of the other healers on the ranged players and maybe an additional one managing the tanks.

Limitations

I expect there to be some sort of diminishing return. I just don’t have the faintest clue what it would be (as in how many players before the effectiveness reduces). Unless you really want to stack your entire raid on top of the boss, the usability of this spec is going to be limited to melee friendly bosses. You don’t want to tango with Deathwhisper or Saurfang for instance. Either the ghosts or bloodbeasts will tear you and your raid up alive. You’d probably want to revert back to the traditional style of being a disc priest and resort to actual healing if those types of bosses are waiting for you.

No word yet on whether this will  be final in either the PTR or the beta. We’ll know within the next week or so.

What I need to now do is find a volunteer priest willing to go Smite heal in our raids. Anyone else planning on giving this a try when the patch kicks in?

Priests: Inner Fire vs Inner Will

We’re gaining a new self buff in the expansion. In addition to Inner Fire, we’re gaining a new one called Inner Will.

So the question is, which self buff should be used?

More power?

You can’t ever go wrong with having increased spellpower from Inner Fire. That’s an extra 1080 spellpower that you otherwise wouldn’t have had. I consider if the de facto self buff to use in most cases. The extra armor buff isn’t going to hurt either. Probably the default buff to use once our regeneration hits a point where we’re not struggling for mana as much. If I’m leveling, then I’ll definitely be using this for extra fire power.

More speed?

Inner Will reduces the mana cost of your instant spells by 15% and it increases your run speed. I’ve noticed myself resorting to using Inner Will more often in some of the dungeons I do and leaning towards a heavier spell usage involving Renew, Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending. This sounds like its going to be the armor buff of choice for Renew Priests if the viability is still there. Anything involving lots of running? Yeah, I’m going to toggle this on as well.

Don’t forget about Inner Sanctum. I wouldn’t spec into it normally. But if you find yourself using Inner Will more than Inner Fire just to run around faster, then it might be a worthwhile investment. I don’t know if I find the 6% spelldamage reduction side of it useful. I guess it will come down to hard mode specific fights where it would be needed to help with survivability. 6% feels a bit low to me. I mean if they were going to combine it with Spell Warding, shouldn’t it be upped to 10% instead? Of course, I’m probably forgetting the fact that we have a massive health pool.

Yes, I’m positive there are going to be encounters where that 6% is going to make or break you. Anyway, when you’re leveling, go with Inner Fire. When you’re doing dungeons or raids, use the one that’s going to benefit you the most.

More Surge of Light Cues

More Surge of Light Cues

After speaking with Joe about the supposed DPS spells we need to use to help sustain our mana, I couldn’t help but notice the Surge of Light UI additions. If your Smite casts happen to activate a Surge of Light, this is what appears on your screen:

sol

In the middle of my screen, you can see the two wings appear on either side of my Priest. This indicates Surge of Light is up. Not only that, if you look on the bottom left, my Flash Heal is now glowing. Its these little UI enhancements and improvements which should help make it a little easier on everyone especially for players who are just getting started as Priests. You get a visual cue that you have the option of a free heal and where it is on your bars. Traditionally, most Priests relied on addons such as Power Auras or some other addon which gave them visual cues when Surge of Light was up. Other stubborn Priests (like me) simply kept a close eye on buff bars to see when it was up.

Personally, I think this is a nice touch for the Priests.

Raiding discipline specs for priests in the Cataclysm 4.0.1 patch

Raiding discipline specs for priests in the Cataclysm 4.0.1 patch

disc-401-header

If your guild still has intentions on raiding when the Cataclysm pre-patch occurs (patch 4.0.1), then you might be at a loss as to what to grab when you’re Discipline. I’ve got 2 specs for you to keep in mind today: 1 for straight support and 1 for farm content

 disc-401

31/3/2

Link to talent tree here

This is the one I would select if I was working on newer/progression oriented content still (any hard modes or getting Arthas down, for example).

Notes

I did not get Archangel and Evangelism.

1 point in Inner Sanctum was needed to put me over the top in order to get Power Word: Barrier, although that point can be used anywhere in that tree.

I opted for Empowered Healing instead of Divine Fury. At level 80, you’re not really expected to use the updated Cataclysm healing model anyway. That changes when you hit 85, of course. Although the health of players may jump up slightly (and the pools aren’t even finalized yet), I think the harder hitting heals are still better. I’m not using Heal much myself even though I grabbed Strength of Soul.

Darkness in the Shadow tree makes up the last 2 points. It was simply a filler for 2 talent points. Seems like it speeds up the times of all priest spells instead of just the shadow ones.

If you’re having mana issues, you might want to consider switching to Veiled Shadows. I honestly haven’t played much with it, but it could be the difference between having 1 shadowfiend in an encounter or 2. Again, its just an option.

The base talents are fairly self explanatory, but you have 5 points or so points you can shuffle around between Empowered Healing, Divine Fury, Darkness and Veiled Shadows

Playing it

Power Word: Barrier has a 3 minute cooldown. Use it where it can do the greatest good. Expect to see the bubble burst within a second or two of some type of AoE damage (which is the point).

If no one is in immediate threat of dying (anything less than 80%), and if you’re looking for a filler, use Heal on your recently shielded tank. Don’t rely on Heal too much as the method to spring someone from the brink of death. It would be used as a way to speed up the Weakened Soul Process.

You’re still using the Power Word: Shield, Flash Heal, and Penance spells the most.

Above all else, keep a close eye on your mana bars and adjust your spell usage accordingly. I think Discipline priests will have the easiest transition (alongside resto shamans) when it comes to healing in the next patch.

What about spec number 2?!

disc-401-a

33/3/0

Link to talent tree

This is the spec you’re using if you want to heal but help accelerate the DPS process a little bit. You have other strong healers in your raid and you will only pinch in when necessary to help. Don’t expect to crack top 10 DPS here or anything.

Notes

You’ve got the full Archangel and Evangelism combination going.

Completely skipped out on Inner Sanctum.

No access to Inner Focus.

Divine Fury is used for faster Smites.

Playing it

When you’re in DPS mode, simply build up Evangelism stacks to maximum and let it hold. When you reach a stage in the encounter where you need to do some healing (say after a Festergut explosion or after a bunch of ghosts from Lady Deathwhisper obliterated your raid), trigger Archangel. This gives you back some mana and more importantly it increases your healing by 15% (assuming full stacks). Use that time to get your tanks back up, your healers to full, and anyone else that’s low.

Its a fairly straightforward spec. It might take an encounter or 2 to fully adjust and appreciate the DPS side of things.

Feel free to post any alternative specs or suggestions in the comments. How are you liking the look of the Discipline tree so far?

Cataclysm: Spammable Body and Soul? Sure!

Cataclysm: Spammable Body and Soul? Sure!

bsspam

Discipline talents got slight revamps. There are two big things that jumped out at me when I logged in earlier in the evening.

  • Soul Warding moves to tier 2
  • Borrowed time returns

Moving Soul Warding up to tier 2 opens up some interesting speccing options as Discipline. Previously, it was thought that Archangel and Evangelism was required in order to advance deeper in the tree (to me, that didn’t make logical sense). Now it looks like Priests have two routes they can go when progressing. You can pick up Improved Inner Fire and Soul Warding to get past (and I predict that being the optimum raid spec) or you select the Archangel and Evangelism combination (useful for either leveling or powering through older raid content).

If Archangel and Evangelism were in the game right now, I’d dual spec into them for sure. Just being able to power through certain farm bosses in ICC or 5 mans gives us a little bit more of something to do. Think being in Icecrown gear and tackling ToC or Ulduar on normal.

Can’t Holy Priests get Soul Warding?

It certainly looks that way.

With Soul Warding at tier 2, Holy Priests will want to snag it at max level. And who wouldn’t? Being able to cast a massive amount of Body and Soul’d shields on assorted players? Multiple sprint buffs? Hell yeah!

But there’s a problem so don’t get too excited about the prospects. As Holy, you don’t get access to Rapture which offers some mana return when your shields get punctured. This means it will be an increasing drain on your mana so you’ll need to Body and Soul your targets wisely. Remember, we’re supposed to be using out mana intelligently in Cataclysm.

All I know is, between Life Grip and Body and Soul, there will be zero reason for anyone to die in a fire now.

Also, losing internet connection at 12 AM sucks when you have a post ready for immediate publishing. Sad panda.

Show Your Holy Priests Love With a Glowing Twilight Scale

Show Your Holy Priests Love With a Glowing Twilight Scale

Not happy with your trinkets?

Feeling disappointed about your lack of throughput?

Getting teased by other healers in the raid?

Then get yourself a Glowing Twilight Scale today!

In all due seriousness, this is one of the best trinkets you can get. If you can snag one of these, you’re virtually set for the rest of the expansion. Let’s ignore the spellpower bonus for now and look at the proc alone. Every time you use it, your direct heals will cause the target of your heal to heal both themselves and friends within 10 yards.

Not quite sure which spells will activate it?

  • Prayer of Mending bounces
  • Prayer of  Healing
  • Circle of Healing
  • Power Word: Shield glyph

That’s not including your direct healing nukes. But yeah, it will trigger off each target hit by your AoE spells. In theory, you can overlap your raid with these HoTs within seconds. It’s called Twilight Renewal.

It will also activate Trauma’s proc.

I’t’s something like 356 HP per second for 6 seconds. Multiply it by 25 players in the raid, and you have a large number.

At least, in theory. And you don’t have to be a theorycrafter to understand that you’re providing a lot of painkillers and Asprins to your entire raid during those 15 seconds that the trinket is activated.

What it won’t work with:

  • It doesn’t seem to work with Glyph of Holy Light for Paladins (needs confirmation)
  • Riptide (Sorry Shamans)

The HoT effect is amplified by the ICC zone wide healing buff. It doesn’t seem to gain any benefits from your character’s spell power.

Here’s a comparison from the logs of select volunteers on Plus Heal.

A Discipline Priest on heroic Sindragosa 25 (Time elapsed: 6:30)

twilight-disc-priest

A Holy Paladin on heroic Sindragosa 25 (Time elapsed: 7:24)

twilight-holy-pally

A Holy Priest on normal Sindragosa 25 (Time elapsed: 7:06)

 twilight-holy-priest 

It’s difficult to create lab conditions, but this is the best I can do. Two of the encounters were on heroic and one was on normal for Sindragosa. Just a few things to note though:

When the trinket is activated, you gain Eyes of Twilight (which is when your heals get amplified and start spreading around). In this example?

  • Discipline Priest – 3 activations
  • Holy Paladin – 2 activations
  • Holy Priest – 4 activations

The heal gains for Holy paladins aren’t as bad as it’s made out to seem here. I think if they all used it the same number of times (like 3), we’d see fairly close margins. Maybe within 2-3%? I’m still going to bet money that a Holy Priest has the slide edge in terms of proc maximization (and purely proc maximization).

So who does it go to?

Give it to your best healer.

If they’re all equally deserving of it, and you want to approach it from a raid min maxing perspective:

  1. Holy Priest
  2. Resto Shaman
  3. Disc Priest
  4. Resto Druid
  5. Holy Paladin

At least, that’s my personal take on it. You’re free to assign it however you like and you’ll want to look at any number of combinations such as who needs it, attendance, looks, etc.

Anyway, don’t be like me and give it to a Holy Pally who quit the guild within the next week because he wanted to devote his time to PvP instead and joined a straight PvP guild.

Any Holy Pallies or Mages out there? We’re looking for some really excellent ones. Bonus points if you can do the invisible thing on Putricide.

Understanding New Talents and Thoughts on Priests

Last week, it was announced that talent trees would get sliced. Reason being that there was too much unnecessary crap and not enough fun talents. Most of us sort of got the idea of what they wanted to do. Include more talents that do something tangible, that we can feel or use.

Potentially free Lightning Bolt after casting a Lightning Bolt? Cool.

Gradually increasing healing by some random percentage of which you can’t really see? Not quite as exciting.

Preview the new trees and see what they’ll look like

How specialization works

Okay, so the way I understand it, the moment you ding level 10, you get to start specializing your character. The moment you invest your first talent, you get access to a myriad of spells and abilities which define that particular tree.

Let’s use a Priest for example.

As Holy

I get access to:

  • Desperate Prayer
  • Holy Priest (Pushback reduction on discipline and holy spells)
  • Meditation

As Discipline

I get access to:

  • Penance
  • Pushback resistance
  • Meditation

From what I can see, no special training is required. You are well on your way to becoming that specialized priest of your choice. There won’t be any 20/21 type builds either. You need to fully invest your points down one tree before you can fork over to a different one. The rate at which you receive talents points have been roughly halved as well. Figure you get a new point every 2 or maybe 3 levels.

What do I think?

My opinion though, I’m not sure what can be done to entice players to select holy at the lower levels. I notice a few sad face Priests when they notice that Desperate Prayer is the innate spell we get. Desperate Prayer makes the most sense for balance and logistical reasons (like what’s the point of getting Circle of Healing at level 10?) At that stage of the game, you’re hardly doing much in a party anyway. At least with the prayer, you can fire off a desperate heal if you pulled one too many murlocs.

I can’t count the number of times where I could’ve easily leveled the murlocs and their huts if I had access to Desperate Prayer.

Anyway, I can certainly see the foundation of Holy taking place. I’m trying to remember what the original 41 point talent was back in vanilla (Spirit of Redemption? Lightwell?). Now if they can just somehow throw in something new in place of Renew or Empowered Healing at the first level under Holy. What would be a decent ability at that level?

Holy seems quite top heavy in the sense that any of the deeper talents could easily fulfill the role as the 31 point talent. Guardian Spirit is the current one. Circle of Healing used to be the end talent back during Burning Crusade, if memory serves. I wouldn’t mind seeing Chakra and Guardian Spirit switched. From a symbolic perspective, I think a talent like that which gives your spells nifty bonuses whenever you string them together should be an ultimate skill.

But that’s inspired from assorted limit breaks from Final Fantasy.

From a logistical and practical standpoint? It might be better off if priests get a feel for Chakra earlier in their leveling life.

The Discipline side of things looks great! Power Word: Barrier as the 31 pointer? Awesome. It appears that Discipline is destined to be the leveling spec (due to Evangelism and Archangel).

One thing I noticed is the placement of Inner Focus. At 11 points in, it will not be accessible to Holy priests. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not. Inner Focus has been one of those taken-for-granted type talents that all healing priests usually get. For it to be cut off like for those that choose the path of Holy is going to be quite the impact. Here’s hoping it gets switched with Archangel.

Anyway, I like the direction the talent condensation is going. Obviously they’re not all complete or finalized yet. Some classes still have a few placeholders or leftover talents from live that aren’t supposed to be there.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have a heck of a time figuring out which healing priest type I want to switch to. I’ll probably end up dual speccing both anyway. I might just go back to my roots and be straight up holy again in the expansion.

How are you liking the talents so far? (And it doesn’t have to be restricted to just priests either)!

The Body and Soul Spec

I’ll admit, I’ve always dismissed Body and Soul as an odd talent that had little to no use in raids. Players should be able to run out of anything dangerous on their own or with the aid of a boot speed enchant if they’re slow. As such, I’ve never really considered it at all.

But ever since that Power Word: Fail round table event held by the Raid Warning guys where Aliena, Derevka and myself chatted, I had to reconsider. Have I mentioned that they’re my personal favourite podcast crew to work with?

The spec

Here it is (14/57/0)

This is the one I’d use as it has many of the traditional elements of a Holy spec. You can shift your points around from Empowered Healing, Blessed Resilience, and Test of Faith accordingly based on your own preferences. Personally, I favor Blessed Resilience but that’s because I’m aware of what kind of an effect it has. You may prefer Test of Faith for the extra throughput (even though it is conditional). If you’re not a Flash Heal or Greater Heal type of player, you might opt for full points in Blessed Resilience and Test of Faith. Anyway, that discussion is for a separate post entirely (hopefully soon assuming Derevka has spare time at some point).

Why would you ever use Body and Soul?

For me, I’ve discovered that it has extra utility in progression fights. The talent a minor run speed increase for 4 seconds which is enough to give players a quick boost when running away. When learning fights for the first time, I often use this at specific times.

In an extremely high level raiding guild, I would argue that this talent is unnecessary. Players can easily handle movement fights and do not require the aid of extra sprint abilities to escape hostile spells. It’s just not necessary. Connections and computers are at peak efficiency resulting in near-zero lag. Situational awareness is so high that players will move without realizing that they had to move.

But not every guild is like that. Not every raid can perform like that. For me, I need to look at every possible edge I can utilize in an encounter. Nothing frustrates me more than a player who is unable to outrun a Sindragosa explosion, or a Necrotic Plague on Lich King or any number of other abilities because of technical problems. Doesn’t matter how good the player is as bad connectivity connections will almost always negate that. I can’t make everyone’s connection super awesome. I can’t magically snap my fingers and create 102 FPS conditions. The next best thing I can do is cast a spell that’ll make people run quicker and get them out of dangerous situations faster. I may not be able to account for lag, but I can at least function as a safety net and buy an extra second or two for that player and help them live when they otherwise would have been lost.

Just keep in mind that it might annoy your Discipline Priest. 

Anyway, it’s largely used on progression fights to help “smooth” things over until a fight “clicks”. You’re giving up potential throughput for increased (but selective) movement speed which comes in handy for heavy movement bosses. Plus it also makes the run back from wipes slightly quicker and I know I won’t be last back! Go ahead and give it a shot. Let me know what you think.

Death of the Niche Healer

Death of the Niche Healer

Recently a topic has sprung up among many healers. There are lots of blog posts popping up about it so I figured since I’ve been going on about it for a while now, I’ll add my two copper to the public domain here, but first a story.

In the days of vanilla World of Warcraft, each faction had access to 3 healing classes. Priests and druids on both sides and paladins for alliance balanced by shaman for the horde. The lines between the roles of the healing classes was not as defined as it could be, but raids stacked healers and slogged through 40 man content with two simple commandments;

“Heal thy group! Keep thine tanks alive!

Then along came Burning Crusade. The developers evened out the sides and gave everyone access to paladins and shamans despite faction. The developers then looked at the classes and said,

“LET THERE BE HEALER SPECIALTY NICHES!”

Thus healer niches were born. In Burning Crusade each healing class had something it excelled at. Shaman healers fought with priests for the title of group healer supreme, Paladins ruled the tank healer slot and druids were perfect healers to roll between targets. The roles however got a bit too specific. Restoration shaman spent the vast majority of BC casting nothing but Chain Heal, priests spammed Circle of Healing,  paladins Flash of Light and Holy Light spammed and druids just put a hot on everything they could. As healers our jobs could be boiled down to one button push in many cases. Players geared for it and played accordingly. Needless to say this got boring. As a person who cast nothing but Chain Heal through all of Black Temple I can vouch for this.

With Wrath of the Lich King on the horizon, the devs looked upon their world and saw that groups were picking healers based on class and not skill. So from on high they spoke out their voices echoing from the heavens

“LET THERE BE EQUALITY AMONGST HEALERS!”

Thus each healing class was gifted with new tools to help them fill various healing roles in the group. Shaman gained the ability to heal on the move and gained even stronger single target healing, druids joined the ranks of an accomplished swing healer. Priests rejoiced as discipline became an accepted way of life and paladins embraced their bacon. Raid leaders reveled in the choice of skill versus class and the land was truly flowing with milk and honey.

I hope you liked my little story there, I know I enjoyed it. It is however a true story. In the early days of the game no one really cared what the healers were doing as long as everything stayed alive long enough for the boss to drop. In BC everyone had a specific role or at least a lot more so than the one we had in vanilla. As a shaman I personally cast down-ranked chain heal more times in one night raiding than most people blink. Point was people began to take very specific healing classes for encounters as the healing strengths were specifically needed for that encounter. This is largely how BC ended with each healer falling into the category  of raid healing, tank healing and then the specifics of which flavor of each. To be honest it got a little out of hand. There were several points where shaman for example would claim they couldn’t heal Magisters Terrace, and unless they woefully out-geared the place, they were right. Some healers could walk into a 5 man heroic and not break a sweat while others had to work and work hard in even some of the simplest dungeons. It simply wasn’t balanced.

When Wrath came along all of that changed. The game devs actually went out of their way to make sure tools were put in place to allow each healer to fill each role. Whether it was a glyph, a new spell or tweaking talents and abilities, they went all out in trying to sure up healer equality. It has been a balancing act since that’s for sure, and if anyone remembers back in may when I got on my soap box about the State of Chain Heal, in some cases healers were tweaked too much to the point they were way too far homogenized. However even with the hard mode debacle, for the most part there was healer equality. Each of the classes could heal a tank, or heal a group and each could walk into a 5 man heroic and as long as the player was on their feet and paying attention they were capable of doing it. After the last set of tweaks from the devs this became even more the case. As it stands now each of the classes and in the case of priests, each healing spec, is capable of healing a tank or raid healing effectively. While some excel slightly better than others in those varying situations, the truth is they can still perform in the role and that is what evening out the healing lines is all about.

With all the options we have, I for one am very happy. Recently however there has been a new, for lack of a better term here, healer subculture emerging within the community. Players of each of the healing classes / specs are starting to demand their niches again. Whether it’s a shaman demanding to be the king of chain heal once more or a paladin begging to be only useful on tank heals, the proof is out there. People are actively trying to secure a niche in raid groups. This honestly strikes me as odd. Why would you want to go back to a way of doing things that honestly people complained bout incessantly. Why try to cling to a system that forces you to cast only one spell when you have an entire arsenal of heals available to you for any task you could be handed?

That’s the part I don’t get. I’m ok with wanted to be the best at something or even better than someone else but to actively shoe-horn yourself into a single role seems counter productive. As a healer I love being versatile, being able to sling chain heals until I’m blue in the face or swap out and lay some nukes on a tank, I like having the option. As a raid officer and healing lead I enjoy this versatility even more. I love being able to take a disc priest and tear them off of tank healing to make them raid heal. Same goes for shuffling priests and healers. I like being able to give my healers a little variety so they aren’t doing the same thing every day. I like to think they appreciate it as well. What I love most about it though is not having to rely on specific classes to be present to proceed through content like it was back in BC. So after many players struggling for so long to have this amount of versatility, why try to limit yourself. This subgroup centers around the idea that a healer should perform one function incredibly well, but not much else. A perfect example would be shaman who feel that they should only focus on casting and buffing chain heal, while ignoring all other spells.

So after clawing your way out of the niche market to be viable in all circumstances, why try to go back?

That’s it for today folks, until next time Happy Healing!~

What do you think? Do you think healers should focus on their specialty and nothing more? Do you think healer versatility is key?

Priest Tier 10 Changes: Right Idea, Wrong Timing

Thespius covered his thoughts on the proposed tier 10 changes yesterday so I won’t rehash his words. In this post, I’m going to try see if I can logic out why the changes were made.

You know, there was a PTR patch not too long ago where Priests received similar tier changes. I can’t remember if it was tier 8 or tier 9, but the details were some percentage increase based on some spells. Actually, it might have been tier 10.

Whatever. The point was, it was the PTR, and the change wasn’t final. In fact, the finished product ended up being radically different to what it was initially (I have a strong hunch it was tier 9).

Right now, I’m really super skeptical that this change will make it live as it is. The entire internet blinked at the changes. Personally, I think its a placeholder change. Numbers can always be adjusted later. I’ve done a lot of PTR bosses and they’ve always worked on fleshing out the encounter details before tweaking the numbers (Faction Champs on the PTR was AoE’d down instead of CC’d and single targeted). Maybe set designs are the same process.

Now, let’s discuss the bonus itself. I’m in a fairly unique position where I can say I am neither a Holy Priest or a Discipline Priest. I am a healing Priest and I’ll switch to whatever spec is deemed necessary. Naturally, I shot straight for the 4 piece right away because I wanted to give them a shot. I’m also going to compare this with the Ret Paladin 2 piece (On melee swing, resets the cooldown timer on Divine Storm).

  • How often does it really get used? I know there are clutch moments when you’ve chained 2 back to back Penances or got that extra Circle of Healing when it counted. But that’s not exactly the norm. I get those too. But more often than not, I get the cooldown reset and I end up not using it because no one needs a heal at that particular moment in time. What ends up happening is that by the time I use it, the amount of time that passed would have been the same when the spell was on cooldown without the reset anyway.
  • Overhealing and not enough health: To build upon the previous point, the heals are held when the cooldown resets to preserve mana and preserve the cooldown. No point in using it when no one needs that heal. Looking my Ret Paladin for a second, I watch that Divine Storm cooldown like a hawk. The moment it’s up, I slam that ‘3’ key like no other. Sometimes I’ll get 3 in a row and I’ll not use my Judgment or Exorcism or whatever spells simply to work that Divine Storm cooldown again. What’s the difference between this and the healing? When you’re DPSing, the mobs you fight end up having a lot of health. This makes the spell much more useful because there is a chance you can end up using it more times then you normally would. In fact, as a DPS, you end up using those abilities everytime the cooldown is 0. Anything that resets the cooldown is a plus.

    But as a healer, you’re not healing players with 80000 health. You’re not getting a maximum gain back every chance the cooldown is up because it isn’t always used. The health ceiling is too low. The only encounter where you would use up the Penance cooldown every time would be on the Dreamwalker fight. A Disc Priest just alternates between Penance and Flash Heal and lights up Penance everytime it resets on Valithria herself. In that sense, they are no different than a DPS player. The difference is that the bar increases instead of decreases.

    With the current raid health, we just don’t get those kinds of opportunities enough.

  • Constant versus proc: You can tell where I’m going with this one. The proposed changes are a constant. They will always be in effect. One of my Priests in the guild likes to refer to proc chance items as “The Vala’nyr Effect”. Its absolutely awesome when the proc lights up, but its just like any other item later. Having a constant is (usually) better since it’s always there. I love my Vala’nyr to death, but sometimes it just fires off at non-opportune or non beneficial times (“Crap, I got the buff when I’m stuck inside a giant frozen ice block or am busy running out of this really long trail of purple fire”). Straight buffs are straight buffs.

All in all, if our current tier bonus does end up changing, I do hope they file this set bonus in the “future tier 11/12/13 set bonuses”. It was a great idea and I know many of you were pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. Maybe when the increased health pool changes go up (during Cataclysm), we can make it really shine.

Anyway, I still maintain that the PTR is the PTR. This is the direction they’re leaning toward and it’s either a placeholder or the numbers will be changed later. What we do definitively know is that there will be a change to it.

Now if you really want to make it interesting, here’s my proposed T10 change:

4 piece: Your Circle of Healing and Penance spells have a 20% chance to cause your next Flash Heal cast within 6 sec to remove the Weakened Soul debuff on that target.

How is that for complicated? Probably overpowered. But that’d be kinda fun to play with.