More on the Power Word: Barrier Glyph

Disc priests, how has your experience with Power Word: Barrier been so far? If you have been engaging i raids, you might discover that the Barrier seems to simply fall over and crash upon absorbing a large hit spread out over multiple people. At least it is doing the job of prevention and absorption. If there is no damage flying around, it lasts for 25 seconds tops.

But did you see the glyph for Power Word: Barrier?

Increases the healing received while under the barrier by 10%.

Assuming you utilize the prime glyph, this begs the question.

If the barrier only lasts a couple of seconds, then the glyph will be of little to no use. This begs the question. Is it better to deploy the massive shield in anticipation of a big hit? Or is it better to top everyone off, allow the big raid ability connect, and then put up the shield to help accelerate the healing process somewhat.

On the other hand, the barrier is meant to absorb damage. Doesn’t that go against the spec? If we simply let the big damage attacks go through and then healing right afterwards, we’re not using our full skills.

I guess this means there are two variables to figure out:

The maximum amount of damage people will take under the bubble versus the actual healing that would be delivered with the 10% increase.

I’m not quite sure if this would affect anything in my healing plays. I can see myself calling for a barrier after a big hit. That is largely to help accelerate the healing and to get everyone back in the green. It seems to me though that barrier already has a “cap” in place in the amount of damage it absorbs. But with the glyph, anyone under the barrier gets extra healing done on them. The only way that will wear off is if the barrier disappears due to time elapsed or if it breaks from absorbing too much damage. In fact, it is very possible that a doctor can take pictures that fast.

More stuff to get used to, sadly.

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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. How much damage does your PW: Barrier absorb? I haven’t been able to find the equation for its absorption, do you have it by chance?

    I saw a utube video of it and the bubble is considerably larger than I was expecting. I was thinking it would be smaller, more like the old unholy DKs magic purple spell damage absorbing thing.

    • Xeonio: According to WoWhead’s tool tip, the equation is something like: ((21225 + (6 * $SP)) * .20) where $ SP is your spell power (I assume).

  2. Aetherforge says:

    I haven’t had much of a chance to play my priest. Only a few instances to be honest, but when I threw the barrier up in HFoS on the big six pull, it immediately popped. I don’t have access to my stats at the moment but I think with my SP it is absorbing 7k from each hit with a 35-37k-ish absorption cap. So five absorbed hits and it’s gone.

    In a raid situation, I’d say use it for recovery, not prevention if you glyph the barrier. Unless numbers are super inflated at 85, it seems the barrier is rather weak in it’s current level 80 state.

  3. Hmm. I wish they’d clarify the wording on the glyph a bit. Assuming though that it actually means ‘Increases all healing recieved on all party/raid members under the Barrier by 10%’ and not just, ‘Increases heals on you by 10%…’ or ‘Increases heals done by you…’ then I don’t think it’d be much of a contest.

    Putting it up after the ‘big hit’ would be preferable given that even after the buffs it received a little while ago it still lasts mere seconds as you mentioned.

    If it means either (or worse, both) of the weaker interpretations of the glyph, then I just hope there are better options available. 😉

  4. Running with the barrier today I found a few good times for use even though it popped quickly. For example, when marrowgar spins on the raid in heroic, on myself during bq’s air phase if someone stacks on me, someone targeted by taldaram’s fireball on heroic princes.

    Currently in raid my bubble is ~45k. On one person taking spike damage its working out to make a huge difference.

  5. I’m sorta wondering how it plays with HLK and infest. That barrier is going to break on the output and noone will get extra healing.

    Do multiple barriers stack? how do they split the dmg if not both fully absorbed.

    Do multiple glyphs of barriers stack?

  6. You are way too good a writer to make the mistake of using “begs the question” where you mean “asks the question”.

  7. Power Word: Barrier, despite being billed as an AoE actually works much better as a single target shield. Think of it like an external cooldown for your tank similar to Pain Suppression. At level 80 a Barrier might absorb somewhere in the 9k range per hit for six hits. If a boss is swinging for 25k every 1.5 seconds and missing 30% of the time then that’s a 36% damage reduction effect for at least 9 but more likely 12 seconds. If the boss is hitting for 35k then it’s only 25% reduction, but that’s still respectable. The glyph supports this use, not the AoE healing use.

    Of course I think the glyph is not even worth considering. It should be a major rather than a prime glyph.

    • I agree Sthenno. I tested it in ICC the other day and was fairly unimpressed. It said it was supposed to absorb about 60k which sounds sweet. I dropped it just before the first exhale on Festergut and it was gone in literally 2 seconds.
      However I used it on the tanks and it worked well for absorbing some damage when we either weren’t in a position to heal or just wanted to soak some damage. For example I dropped one on the other side of Marrowgar for the lead tank to run into since almost always the first tank is out front a tad and can take a solo swipe. He had PW:Shield and hopped into the barrier and took much less damage before the other tank got lined up. It also worked well on Saurfang for base mini-enrage hits or for just in case someone in melee range pulls agro on a bloodbeast.
      At this point for the Raids we have available its uses are a bit limited but can take a little edge off. Noty quite and end of tree talent IMO but could be in Cata.
      I say use on a smaller group of people 2-5. If you think you need it on 8-10 just start your group heal spells instead.

  8. It’s designed to be used after a big hit. It’s the hit after the big one that is the problem so putting it up just after and with this glyph gets people back up nice and quick.

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