Is Atonement Healing Back In?

I haven’t been able to verify this on the PTR yet, but Atonement healing might be a go when 4.1 lands. For the past few months, I’ve observed that Atonement was simply too gimmicky. The relationship between that ability and Smite just kept going up and down, left and right, hot and cold, and all over the place. At the moment, it’s really awesome on Heroic Halfus due to mechanics of the fight.

So how exactly does Atonement healing get better?

  • Holy Fire damage is about 30% stronger than Smite.
  • Atonement triggers with Holy Fire.

I believe the initial Holy Fire hit and the subsequent DoT damage get the same increase. I think the DoTs from Holy Fire may even work with Atonement (But I’ll need to check). If Atonement healing is back in, you may want to brush up a bit on that style of play. Personally, I still believe its an awkward style of play. If only because the healer doesn’t get to dictate where exactly the heal from the damage ends up. I’ve had problems where Atonement heals would land on a blood worm or something.

Smite replaces your Heal. Holy Fire would function similar to a Flash Heal with a DoT. This would be a fun way to heal heroic dungeons in and such, but I’m a little afraid of allowing it in my raids simply because I don’t know enough about the strength and viability of it. The Holy Fire changes alone do warrant a closer look.

On a side note, this is great for soloing!

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About Matticus

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


  1. I can only see this happening as a third healer in 10s or a backup healer in 25s. Exactly for the reason of not being able to direct the heal…and lets face it, we don’t really care if the bloodworm stays alive.

  2. I can report that atonement, if all goes live as is in the PTR, will be awesome on live! Even in our current disco state, I tank healed with our holy pally in our guild 10m raid last night and it felt very good, possibly already the best that it has in all of this expansion.

    On the PTR those heals are only better and even more powerful. I am LOVING it! It’s yummie

  3. Currently healing on live with atonement without any problems in heroics unless the tank is low on avoidance. Sure I still use Penance and PoM on cooldowns and have to throw the occassional GHeal but generally speaking it help kill stuff that little bit faster its worth using it, especially as the heal output is > Hela and faster too.

    Raiding is slightly different as some fights it works well others its not worth the risk.

    Soloing I still prefer Shadow for my TB dailies simply because the kill speed is so much higher you dont get ganked by the ridiculous respawn timers but I guess questing in levelling zones would work well enough.

    If it gets better in 4.1 I’ll be happy.

  4. Best raid fight for atonement I have had so far is the healer on Rohash platform.

  5. Smite healing’s strongest fights will probably continue to be situations where there’s a gimmick that increases damage but not healing (Halfus) and fights with a low damage->MASSIVE BURST->low damage->MASSIVE BURST flow like Magmaw or Chimaeron where Archangel works well.

    • Aye, and I don’t think it’d be as hot on fights like Omnitron or maybe Maloriak. Largely due to all the stuff that happens.

  6. I wonder if glyph of smite (in addition to divine accuracy) is going to feel like a mandatory glyph with that play style. The 20% bonus seems pretty attractive, particularly when holy fire can’t miss anymore.

    I’m just not sure how I feel about tying up yet another major glyph slot for a play style I feel is extremely situational.

    • Good point about the Smite glyph. Sounds like it’d almost be mandatory if anyone tried to play this one out.

    • Some priests respec within the same spec based on the fight they’re heading into (mitigation vs through-put vs procs, etc), so certainly reglyphing is no big deal.

  7. Fights where I currently use Atonement healing with great success (all on 25-man)

    Halfus, Cho’gall, Maloriak, Four Winds

    Additionally, Nefarion phase 1 & Ascendant Council phase 1 are also done as Atonement, then I shift to regular heals after the first phase.

    I haven’t tried it yet, but I think Magmaw & Al’Akir could also be healed via Atonement at certain points.

  8. Just tried Smite Healing again at 10man Chimaeron heroic yesterday.

    If you are able to get your raid close enough to the boss you are able to smite heal all the non feud phases with a little penance before massacres to heal the second one hit by the green stuff up (smart heals are nice here). Using Archangel and the occassional shield on the DA tank to keep your mana up. PW:B and PS are awesome cooldowns for topping everyone of before P3 and keeping your DA tank alive during feud double attacks.
    Most likely not viable in 25man, but it works on 10man 😉

    Al’Akir is not healable with atonement, as he is just to big and his body covers up the 15y from his centre, so your Atonement heals won’t hit anything ;(

  9. This also makes the glyph worth looking at too right?

  10. tough call, as it stands attonment is only pref in some specific hard mode encounters, and seeing how i’m not pulling heroic sinestra, .. yet and heroic maloriak fell without it for us a few weeks back, halfus doens’t require it since it got nerfed to the ground… I would say only situationally. Still we put out much more healing without attonment even with the damage added in. Unless it becomes a viable mana regen (and no, not 2000 mana every archangel here and there as its looking on beta) I don’t think so.

    Good priests will be able to spec it and run it, but I think only baddies will use it full time in a regular raid setting, as now.

  11. Troll Toes says:

    I gave up on smitespec at Cata release as atonement was terribly buggy. But after they fixed the range, and sorted the modifiers etc. I returned happily to it (for 25man raiding) and I have to say I find it rather useful.

    For me smitespec isn’t really about doing loads of healing with atonement. It is about finding time during the archangel cooldown to get a 5 stack of evangelism. Thus spending most of a fight with an additional 15% healing buff. Which is really rather nice.

    I think the mistake people make with the spec is that they feel that because atonement exists it needs to be their main source of heals. It’s great for a few specific fights, or parts of fights (A very good stabiliser on the pillars at Neffy) – outside of these situations though, it’s simply a fantastic buffing tool to use alongside a normal disc playstyle.

    I don’t think the changes to holy fire are really going to make it a more viable “main heal” for raiding. But what it will do is allow good use of the smite glyph (+20% smite dmg when holy fire is on a target) on those fights where atonement is a good choice.

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