Playing Atonement and the All-Purpose healer

Looking for more reading material? I’ve been covering for Dawn (WoW Insider’s resident Priest columnist) and you can read up more on playing Discipline as Atonement in Firelands.

Playing a discipline priest is all the rage these days, it seems, especially now that many raiders are busy messing around in Firelands. There is a small selection of discipline priests who exercise the Atonement and Evangelism style of healing to great effect. In the past, I wasn’t really a fan of it at all because I felt that there were better options. The buffs Blizzard made to Atonement back in patch 4.1 involving Holy Fire made it increasingly more attractive. Maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance.

Spiritual Guidance: Playing Atonement

It’s been my biggest belief that my ideal healing team would consist of players who could tackle any healing assignment without too much difficulty. 

When it comes to setting up healing in raids, we like to lump healers into different specializations. We have players who strictly tank heal or raid heal. In some cases, there is a specific role they need to play within the encounter (like kite healing). Blizzard has done a great job of trying to equalize the healing classes to the point that they can do everything competently. Even then, we continue to instinctively place the different classes into specific healing roles. If you are a healer who has traditionally done only one type of healing, then it is time to diversify.

Raid Rx: The All Purpose Healer

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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. Good read on wowinsider Matt. I used to play smite spec a lot last tier got a WOL ranking for disc on my guild V&T Heroic kill.

    One thing that bothers me now is how crit heals are 200% and atonement heals are 150%. But I guess the cast speed of smite and holyfire kind of make up for it some what. Still it would be nice if they would make the crits on smite and holyfire increase the heal by 50%. This and not being familiar with the fights in Firelands I dropped the smite spec.

    Now that the guild is killing bosses and everyone is getting more comfortable with the bosses in FL
    I am going try out a build that has Evangelism,Archangel and no atonement. Basically I want to try and use holy fire on cd to keep stacks up and a macro that uses moonwell chalice, archangel, and power infusion during heavy AOE. This would leave me with 2 points left over. I would probably stick them in Train of Though or Darkness depending on the fight. I found a lot of fights in firelands that this spec could be useful on.

    Just a couple of thoughts I had.
    Keep up the good work and best of luck to you and the guild in FL.

    • Weeze, I’ve seen a holy spec that does the exact same thing without the atonement. My guess is that Archangel/Evangelism is triggered at the 5 stack when the healing bonus is needed. It’s just maintained exclusively via Holy Fire.

      That macro with the chalice and the power infusion seems like it’ll be insane. I’m curious to see how that’ll work out for you. My Priest gave up on dailies a while ago.

  2. Chris Smith says:

    I’ve played a healer for the past 5 years, predominantly a Resto Shaman.

    When Cata dropped I switched to Horde side and made a Priest and then I discovered AA/A spec.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun playing WoW before!

  3. Just leveled up to 85 via the lfg tool and starting to fine-tune my playstyle for raiding. I’ve really been loving the Atonement healing method. It has been absolutely a blast to heal via dps (as little as it may be). Some normal boss fights, I’ve been finding that I can simply spam smite the entire time (except maybe to refresh PoM).

  4. @ Chris:

    Right?? I healed on Resto Shaman for about three years, as well. Over the past couple of months, our guild ended up a bit shaman heavy so I quickly finished leveling my priest (she was forever stuck in Northrend)and went with the AA/A spec. SO much fun – a super dynamic and interesting style.

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