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.

    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.