Healing Priests in 4.1

Expecting an imminent patch drop! How are healing Priests stacking up? Pretty darn good actually.

No significant nerfs to Holy anywhere in 4.1. Some of our mechanics have changed slightly. Discipline suffered a slight nerf but gained buffs in other areas to the Atonement specs.

  • Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.

Pre-emptive shielding continues to remain lucrative but the practice of shielding significant amounts of players in a raid is all but gone. In most logs, Power Word: Shield should be somewhere from 30% – 45% of the healing done due to the way it works and based on encounters as well as healing assignments. With the duration of it halved, the chances of it falling off unused become much higher. Discipline Priests will need to exhibit discipline and really make sure players get full benefits out of them.

Dispel mechanics have also changed slightly. Shadow Priests won’t be relied upon to dispel members in the raid anymore. It’ll be up to us to take care of it.

Holy

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Chakra now lasts until cancelled, up from 1 minute.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.
  • Surge of Light can now also trigger from Binding Heal.

Chakra dancing is just about gone now. Your present Chakra state will last as long as you like. I guess they saw no need to keep mindlessly pressing keys to refresh your Chakra state. It’ll be easier for Holy Priests to stay in one Chakra stance from now on.

Sanctuary gets a huge buff. It’ll go from “Ugh, never use” to “Eh, I’ll use it when we all stack up”. PTR numbers looked promising, but without being able to put a raid together, I’ve never been able to gauge  how awesome it would be.

Discipline

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Divine Aegis duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
  • Atonement now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
  • The direct damage portion of Holy Fire can now trigger Evangelism.
  • Power Word: Barrier’s cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%.
  • It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest’s Power Word: Shield through Strength of Soul.
  • Holy Fire damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than Smite.

Atonement Priests get extra help now that it works with Holy Fire (at least, the direct damage portion of it). Not only that, Holy Fire gets buffed? I’m curious to see how this will play out in raids and if Atonement healing will become  more widely practiced.  

Power Word: Barrier gets nerfed with a cooldown increase along with  reduced effectiveness. Shouldn’t be too much of a bit hit. With Druid Tranquility cooldowns lowered and Shamans gaining access to the equalizer totem,  healing leaders now have much more options at their disposal.

Enjoy the patch! Looking forward to your thoughts when it goes live!

How to Discipline Heal

How to Discipline Heal

This post is intended for post 4.0.6 and is meant as a bunch of guidelines to help keep players alive as discipline.

Several notable changes are arriving with the patch which will slightly alter the play of Discipline Priests. The two biggest changes revolve around the boost to the strength of Power Word: Shield and the ability for Grace to affect multiple targets. In my playing Holy at 85 post, I mentioned about how to handle something I called “the hit”.

As a refresher, “the hit” is an ability or spell by a boss which deals enough damage which might kill players if they’re not healed up in the next few seconds. For example, Dragon Breaths are “the hit”. Any really massive explosion can be considered “the hit”. Fusion Punch is an example of a tank about to be the victim of “the hit”. It must be a severe enough blow to almost cause you to crap your pants.

Before you do anything else, I strongly advise downloading an addon called Ingela’s Rapture. It allows you to time your shields to get the best possible mana return from Rapture. In a game where mana management is important, this addon will help you.

*Sorry Ingela, meant to write about this sooner

For an alternative style of Disc healing revolving around Atonement, see this page instead.

On the tank

Stick to Power Word: Shield, Penance and the usual spells of Heal, Flash Heal or Greater Heal. Prayer of Mending is another spell you’ll want to keep activating on cooldown on the tank. Keep in mind that a Discipline Priest has two cooldowns for saving tanks: Power Word: Barrier and Pain Suppression. Unless the encounter has specific tank one-shotting mechanics that it needs to be saved for, you’ll be using those two spells on demand. With Power Word: Shield though, use Ingela’s Rapture to properly time it on the tank.

The basic play you want to make here at a raid level environment is to keep using Inner Focus on cooldown and continue dropping Greater Heals while using Power Word: Shield every time Rapture is available. Weave in Penance as necessary. The buffs to Power Word: Shield (208% effect increase) and Penance (20% increase to healing) has strengthened the position of Discipline.

2-3 players

Theoretically, the 2-3 players you’re healing would be a tanks. Since Grace can affect multiple targets, those would be the two players you want to maintain Grace stacks on. As an aside, if you were healing the 2-3 players that were in the raid itself, Grace wouldn’t mean much at all because you’d be hard pressed to heal them after the initial heal (usually the initial heal is all that’s need to keep them up). Don’t stress too much about Rapture procs here because you’re going to be balancing heals and shields on all of your tanks anyway (That does take a little more focus). Refresh the shields as necessary.

What works for me in a party environment is casting a shield on each target. Cycle through them with fast heals to keep them alive and out of imminent danger.

  1. Target A: Shielded –> Penance
  2. Target B: Shielded –> Flash Heal
  3. Target C: Shielded –> Flash Heal

Then follow it up with a quick blast of Prayer of Healing in the event another player in the group has taken damage.

4-5 players

You’ll wish to rely on Prayer of Healing for your group healing needs. Doesn’t get any easier than that and since Divine Aegis automatically activates when Prayer of Healing lands, there’s nothing else to add. You can try to get fancy and load up a few grace ticks on a few players in that group, but it might be unnecessary.

For 5+ players

I don’t foresee much of this happening, but in the event a raid healer or two goes down, you’ll need to stand on your head and try to hold it together. If health pools are dropping, get a Barrier up immediately. You know that Prayer of Healing heals a player and their group. Naturally there will be a few players left out. Let’s say there’s 3 players who are at 35% health in group 4 and all of group 5 is around the same range. Assuming everyone is in the same general location, drop 2-3 shields on players outside of group 5 and then hit a hasted Prayer of Healing on group 5 to try to account for everyone.

One last thing I want to add here is glyph selection. With Power Word Shield being buffed, the value of the glyph will rise. With shields absorbing amounts of about 35000, it might be a worthwhile glyph to consider if you’re not using it already.

Leveling, Holy and Discipline Priest specs

Here’s a quick glance at my healing and questing specs on the grind from 80 to 85. My mentality behind this was to select talents that would give me an edge in either survivability or efficiency. I went for talents that helped reduce mana costs or gave me mana back. I also opted for talents that made me a little bit tougher to kill.

Starting from level 80

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

Improved Psychic Scream – In case things get dicey with an overpull, I can couple this talent with Glyph of Psychic Scream. I don’t send mobs flying every where and pulling even more stuff. But it might buy me the precious seconds I need to DPS something down and heal up.

Mental Agility – Cheaper dots. ‘Nuff said.

Veiled Shadows – Wishbone gets to come out more often. … What, don’t you guys name your Shadowfiends?

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

I chose holy as my dungeon healing offspec. Mana won’t be a terribly challenging issue with the opening instances like Blackrock Caverns or Throne of the Tides. But you’ll want to consider grabbing Mental Agility on the way up.

Notes

Desperate Prayer – Yeah, yeah, not many people would choose this. But I personally like having a safety net in dungeons in case I pull something.

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

Chose Empowered Healing over Divine Fury. Cast time isn’t as big a factor when you’re leveling up via dungeons, I found. Still going to be using a combination of shields and Flash Heal to get over the top.

Raiding

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Sorry guys, I can’t say this is the final form of the raid spec I plan to use as shadow. I’ll use this as a baseline to work with though at least.

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

Yup, I kept Desperate Prayer and Inspiration for raiding. Darkness is another option when your mana regeneration hits a point where it isn’t a big a factor. I won’t be switching to it until I accumulate more potent gear.

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

So many options here. You can take out the points from Veiled Shadows and place them into Surge of Light or Inspiration (In case your party doesn’t already have one with it). But Disc by far seems to offer the most variety when it comes to talent placement.

Quick Priest Gear for Holy and Discipline at 85

This is not a gear guide for your best in slot list.

This is a gear guide which lists how to fill in your gear slots as fast as possible via reputations, crafting or quest rewards. You’ll notice each gear slot has a number of items. The fact is, I can’t tell you what’s the best stat to stack up on. Heck, you don’t need the best possible gear to start doing heroics or raids. Your character just needs to be geared enough to bypass the healing checks that are in place (for instance, if your priest can heal X amount of damage, then you’re good to go). Therefore, I’ve provided numerous options for each slot.

If you get a piece of equal or greater stat value, you can methodically move on from that. For example, if I get a solid helm from a dungeon I just ran, then I won’t need to blow justice points on the Mask of New Snow. I can use the points on another slot where the item is still weaker and bring it up that way.

Further notes on reputations, stat allocation and gemming on the bottom.

Helms

There are a few options available here.

Arcanum of Hyjal – Guardians of Hyjal Quartermaster, Revered

Mask of New Snow – JP vendor (2200), 346
Spiritmend Cowl – Tailoring, 333
Helm of Temperance – Earthen Ring Quartermaster, Honored, 333
Lightweight Bio-Optic Killshades – BoP, Engineering, 359

Necks

Celadon Pendant – JP vendor (346), 346
Eye of Many Deaths – JC, 346
Pendant of Elemental Balance – Earthen Ring Quartermaster, Honored, 333

Shoulders

Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone – Therazane Quartermaster, Honored
Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone –  Therazane Quartermaster, Exalted

Summer Song Shoulderwraps – JP vendor (1650), 346
Blight-Lifter’s Mantle – Quest reward: The Source of Their Power, 333
Emberfire Shoulders – Tailoring, 339 (PvP)

Cloaks

Enchant Cloak – Greater Critical Strike
Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Darkglow Embroidery (Tailors only)

Cloak of Ancient Wisdom – Earthen Ring Quartermaster, Revered, 346
Cloak of the Dryads – Guardians of Hyjal, 333

Chest

Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Spirit (Thinking this one)

Musk Rose Robes – JP vendor (2200), 346
Overly Intelligent Robes – Quest reward: Skullcrushter the Mountain, 333
Emberfire Robe – Tailoring, 339 (PvP)

Wrists

There’s like no easy way to get wrists. Pull the wrists from the Halls of Origination Quest reward and reforge the hit out to something more useful like spirit. Emberfire Bracers are another option, but you’ll need to reforge out the resilience. Forgot. You can’t reforge out resilience. Oh well. Otherwise, pray for some drops.

Enchant Bracer – Greater Speed
Enchant Bracer – Greater Critical Strike
Enchant Bracer – Exceptional Spirit
Draconic Embossment – Intellect (Leatherworking only)

True Archaeologist’s Bracers – Quest reward: Doing it the Hard Way, Halls of Origination, 333
Emberfire Bracers – Tailoring, 339
Crimsonborne Bracers – Drop, Dragha Shadowburner, Grim Batol 333

Gloves

Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery

Flamebloom Gloves – Earthen Ring vendor, exalted, 359
Gloves of Purification – JP vendor (1650), 346
Roffle’s Ruffly Gloves – BoE, 333

Belt

Ebonsteel Belt Buckle

I can either score a new belt with the tailoring cooldowns or jet for the pants. Since there is already an epic level belt offered from the Guardians of Hyjal, I’ll probably skip the tailoring belt and buy the one from the Hyjal folks.

Belt of the Depths – Tailoring, 359
Cord of Raven Queen – Guardians of Hyjal, exalted, 359
Belt of the Falling Rain – JP vendor (1650), 346
Truth-Seeker Belt – Quest Reward: A Villain Unmasked, 333

Pants

Ghostly Spellthread (Tailoring)
Powerful Ghostly Spellthread (Tailoring)

Leggings of Charity – JP vendor (2200), 346
Breeches of Mended Nightmares – Tailoring, 359
Flame-Ascended Pantaloons – Tailoring, 359

Boots

Enchant Boots – Lavawalker

Slippers of Moving Waters – BoE, Valorous Quartermaster, 359
Gogarok’s Tenderized Treads – BoE, 333
Hekatic Slippers – BoP, Rajh, Halls of Origination, 333

Rings

Enchant Ring – Intellect (Enchanters only)

Ring of the Boy Emperor – Archaeology, 359
Ring of Warring Elements – JC, 346
Diamant’s Ring of Temperance – Therazane, Revered, 346
Ammunae’s Blessing – Ramkahen, Honored, 333

Trinkets

Plenty of options when it comes to trinkets. I didn’t list trinkets obtainable only in dungeons.

Mandala of Stirring Patterns – Baradin’s Wardens, Exalted, 359
Soul Casket – Valorous Quartermaster 1650, 359
Core of Ripeness – Valorous Quartermaster 1650 , 359
Darkmoon Card: Tsunami – Darkmoon cards, 359
Tyrande’s Favorite Doll – Archaeology, 359
Baradin Footman’s Tags – Baradin’s Wardens, Honored, 333
Talisman of Sinister Order – Quest Reward: Firing Squad, 325
Electrospark Heartstarter – BoE, 316

* In depth trinket analysis to be done later on in the week.

1H

Enchant Weapon – Heartsong

Shimmering Morningstar – Baradin’s Wardens, Revered, 346
Elementium Hammer – Blacksmithing, 346
Gurgthock’s Garish Gorebat – Quest Reward: Crucible of Carnage: The Twilight Terror! , 333

OH

Enchant Off-Hand – Superior Intellect

Apple-Bent Bough – JP vendor (950), 346
Divine Companion – Inscription, 346
Skyflight Beacon – Quest Reward:Doing It Like a Dunwald, 333

Staff

Enchant Weapon – Heartsong

Staff of Ammunae – Archaeology, 359
Insidious Staff – Baradin’s Wardens, Revered, 346
Very Manly Staff – Quest Reward: Crucible of Carnage: The Twilight Terror! , 333

Wand

Wand of Untainted Power – Drop: Forgemaster Throngus, 333
Wand of Dark Worship – BoE Drop: The Stonecore
Beach-Sweeper Wand – Quest Reward: Landgrab, 318

Reputation

Whew! That’s quite the selection isn’t it? Which faction offers the most bang for the buck? At first glance, it looks like Earthen Ring will be the one I choose to get reputation for first. They offer a helm, neck, cloak and epic gloves. Not bad. I’ll be representin’ them when I go dungeon diving. If I can’t score any drops for those slots in that department, then a quick visit to them. When Deepholm is unlocked and you’ve cleared out the zones, start working on Therazane reputation so you can eventually grab the shoulder enchants. Once you’re done with Earthen Ring, pick up the Guardians of Hyjal tabard and shoot for the helm enchant.

While Baradin’s Wardens also offer numerous and appealing rewards, those should be done on the side when there’s battles going on. It will take a little longer for you to get there as it’s going to depend on your server. I think the daily quests contribute to the reputation so work on those when your faction has control of Tol Barad.

Quick note on allocating stats

REMEMBER THAT ALL YOUR GEAR HAS BEEN RESET!

Focus on your basics first. In the start of Wrath, we concentrated on throughput and and regeneration. We didn’t have the luxury to go nuts with crit or haste like we do now because we actually had to worry about mana regen. Guess what? We’re repeating that stage again. So don’t go nuts with haste, crit or mastery yet. Accumulate a solid amount of spirit and intellect. Holy priests may wish to favor spirit a little more while discipline priests will want to aim for additional intellect. Let the rest of your gear build up secondary stats over time. There is no point in having astronomical amounts of haste, crit or mastery if you don’t have the mana to cast them or the spellpower for it to be worthwhile.

Once we hit the upper raiding tiers of the initial content, I suspect that’s when we can slowly reforge and adjust our stats.

Gem selection

Meta gem

Revitalizing Shadowspirit Diamond

Red

Brilliant Inferno Ruby
Purified Demonseye
Artful Ember Topaz
Potent Ember Topaz

Yellow

Fractured Amberjewel
Quick Amberjewel
Smooth Amberjewel
Zen Dream Emerald

Artful Ember Topaz
Potent Ember Topaz

Blue

Sparkling Ocean Sapphire
Purified Demonseye
Zen Dream Emerald

Gear strategy

Since I can get the epic belt (Cord of Raven Queen) by gaining reputation with the Hyjal guardians, the Dreamcloth I’ll be self-manufacturing would be better spent on the pants (Breeches of Mended Nightmares). For weapons, I’ll most likely need to get one of our blacksmiths to create an Elementium Hammer and a Scribe to create a Divine Companion. In the long run, I’ll stick to staves. With regards to trinkets, I may just set a long term goal of the Valorous trinkets. I’m not sure yet, I need to really look into them further. I’m hoping I can buy some of the BoE blue stuff. Several of the quests offer some decent rewards that will tide me over (See the wrists, shoulders and the chest).

Did I miss something? Let me know, and I’ll try to work it in. Remember I tried to avoid relying on dungeon drops or RNG stuff simply because it isn’t a 100% guarantee that you’ll get it.

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.

Healing Roundups and We Got Our Drakes!

Healing Roundups and We Got Our Drakes!

Not quite sure where to go or what to read? Feeling overwhelmed? Yeah, I feel the same way too. Don’t worry though. I’ve got all the healing related stuff right here for you to brush up on. Next few weeks will be exciting with all the new systems.

Druids

Lissanna’s restoration healing guide (Restokin)

Keeva’s restoration 4.0 guide (Tree Bark Jacket)

Paladins

What Holy Paladins need to know for 4.0.1 (Kurn’s Corner)

Priests

WoW Insider: SG’s Reforging, gemming and GCD tactics for 4.0.1 priests (WoW Insider)

4.0 Survival Guide – Holy & Disc Specs, Glyphs and more (Tales of a Priest)

Discipline 4.0.1 guide (Malevica)

Shamans

Resto Shaman’s Guide to 4.0.1 (Life in Group 5)

Augments

Gem conversions for 4.0.1 (Revive & Rejuvenate)

Addons

No Stock UI has a nice compilation of addons that healers and raiders will find useful. Bonus: Updated for 4.0.1.

Beru’s Addon List

Don’t hesitate to suggest other resources that you think other healers might find informational.

And bloggers, you have my express permission to plug your own stuff.

Unrelated

25-drakesr

We scored our ICC 25 drakes last night!

And one of my hunters accidentally cast a buff which automatically knocked him off his mount. Extremely comical moment, actually. My timing was pretty good.

I originally planned on healing the entire encounter with three healers, but the current raid composition didn’t allow for it. Instead, we used our previous 4 healing setup. It consisted of a holy priest (me), discipline priest, holy paladin and shaman.

The first clutch moment of the night occurred during the defile phase. Valks were inbound. I was busy stacking the raid with Renews before I realized I lost all mobility.

“Matt’s picked up.”

I looked up at the second valk, and noticed it zeroing in on the other discipline priest.

“Ann’s picked up.”

At this point, I was thinking to myself it couldn’t possibly get any worse. Two healers out of four locked out?

“Rykga picked up.”

Crap. There goes our holy paladin. Wait, that’s three healers! I barked out for an immediate use of defensive cooldowns. Barkskin and other such skills were used while the DPS desperately muscled to get us free as quickly as possible (and to their credit, they did).

After something like 25+ attempts over the past few weeks, we were able to secure our drakes. Only took us something like 5 sets of Vile Spirits. Did it with 3 Boomkins. That helped immensely.

Still recruiting for Cataclysm. May not have any immediate openings now, but if you’re looking for a raiding guild, look me up.

Priest Glyphs for 4.0.1 and Cataclysm

Priest Glyphs for 4.0.1 and Cataclysm

I am happy! Hockey season has started! What does this have to do with glyphs you ask?

Well, absolutely nothing!

But first, I’ll go over the new glyph system briefly and then follow it up with a quick review and opinion of the glyphs going into patch 4.0.1.

Except I will be going at them in the style of a fantasy hockey pool analyst.

How the new glyph system works

Here’s the official blue post. But in a nut shell, there are three types of glyphs:

Prime – Straight increase to damage or healing.

Major – Offers extra stuff to existing spells or abilities.

Minor – Convenience or cosmetic changes.

When you learn glyphs, you do so permanently. You won’t have to keep buying glyphs repeatedly if you’re changing specs or styles. Once you learn it, that’s that. However, in order to switch a different glyph in, you need to use something called Dust of Disappearance (For 80 and below, we’re looking for Vanishing Powder).

glyphs-interface

I’m going to break down the glyphs into the three major categories. Some are obviously meant for holy, discipline or both. Others have utility applications and would be valuable in select situations.

  • D: Discipline
  • H: Holy
  • U: Utility
  • B: Both

Prime Glyphs

First, we’ll look at the primes. And I don’t mean Optimus, either.

Glyph of Flash Heal (B) – Having a 10% increased critical effect chance for Flash Heal on targets below 25% will help cement healing at level 85 especially when targets get that low (and they will). Great on the clutch play and will come through when you need it.

At level 80 though, you can pass on this glyph. Not likely anyone will be dropping that low. Good mid range pick. Next season his value should sky rocket. If you can’t find anything else as holy, then it becomes more of a “sure, why not” selection.

Glyph of Guardian Spirit (H) – I personally view this glyph as a nerf from its 3.3.5 iteration where the cooldown was dropped to 1 minute if it didn’t proc. As Holy, I’ve extremely aggressive with Guardian Spirit. Unfortunately, Guardian Spirit glyph didn’t do so well in training camp. It went from an extremely hardworking and beneficial glyph to a slower but more consistent glyph. Good veteran locker room presence, however.

Pass on this at 80 if you wish. Lowering Guardian Spirit to 2:30 isn’t all that bad (proc or no proc).

Glyph of Lightwell (H) – The potency of this glyph is dependant on your raid. If they’ve been raiding with Lightwell, then this glyph might be of benefit to you. Lightwell has had some unfortunate seasons over the past few years. He’s been on a variety of different teams, but most teams simply struggle with him because they haven’t quite figured out how to use his presence best. With the right team, he’d be an awesome healing scoring presence.

Mattwell says to pass on Lightwell.

Glyph of Penance (D) – By default, Penance is on a 12 second cooldown. This glyph is a virtual requirement for discipline priests to be effective in their roles. Even though Train of Thought helps in the reduction of that cooldown, you’re better off glyphing for this anyway.

For team discipline, this should be your first overall draft pick.

Glyph of Power Word: Barrier (D) – I’m going to write more about this glyph in a future post. It just got me thinking a lot about the usage.

Barrier is a new glyph just fresh out of the junior glyph league. He showed some flashes of talent and raw ability, but coaches will need to experiment with him on different lines to see what he’s capable of doing. The young product of Absorbsville is going to need to earn himself a spot on the opening night roster.

Good to draft if you have nothing better.

Glyph of Power Word: Shield (D) – The shield glyph has routine put up strong numbers in the HPS department. Team discipline simply cannot go wrong anywhere with this pick. Technically, you can use this glyph for both specs, but there is a clear edge to discipline here. Discipline shields have also been traditionally stronger (especially now coupled with the mastery).

This glyph is priority number two for discipline. Draft it.

Glyph of Prayer of Healing (B) – I’ve always preferred using this glyph in both of my specs just because it added extra AoE healing power. It doesn’t completely restrict AoE healing for discipline but it amplifies AoE healing for holy. Prayer of Healing has often been overlooked but when you need stability and coverage during frantic moments, he will have your back.

And his back.

And that other guy’s back.

And yeah, even that guy.

Excellent draft pick if you need a third slot and can’t seem to find one that really benefits you or the encounter your group is going for.

Glyph of Renew (H) – This glyph has holy all over it. I suppose you could use it for discipline, but it just isn’t as powerful. If there was a first round draft pick for team Holy, this would be it. He’s fast, he’s got great hands, he knows what he’s doing and he will get the job done quickly and efficiently.

No contest. Draft it for holy.

Major Glyphs

Next up is the majors.

Glyph of Circle of Healing (H) – No big change here. Instead of healing 5 targets, it heals 6. We all love smart heals. Team holy will once again wish to pick him up to hold down the fort.

Draft it for holy.

Glyph of Dispel Magic (U) – Not too sure about dispel magic here. He’s a bit of a grizzled veteran. Seems to come out when things get a little rough especially when it comes to some PvP action. At the very least, even if your dispel whiffs and you miss or someone beats you to it, it won’t be a complete waste as it restores 3% of their health.

More of a situational role player, in my opinion.

Glyph of Divine Accuracy (U) – Need some muscle? This enforcer glyph will help. Granted the team isn’t known for packing a whallop, but used in tandem with Smite (either for leveling or if you’re going for the Atonement build), you will want this glyph.

Situational draft pick. Depends on your team.

Glyph of Fade (U) – I can see this glyph coupled with both the Phantasm and Veiled Shadow talents for really fast movement debuff clearing. Typically, healers aren’t going to be generating a ridiculous amount of threat anyway. I haven’t pulled threat on the beta either but that could be due to having really good tanks and crowd control.

Pass at 80. Situational pickup otherwise.

Glyph of Fear Ward (U) – At the core of it, it just means priests can cast Fear Ward more often if they need to. Can’t say it has a lot of PvE applications right now (maybe the third mini boss on Halion, if that). Seems more PvP utility to me.

Really situational.

Glyph of Holy Nova (B) – In preseason, Holy Nova came in just blasting (literally). He was bugged where it had no cooldown and it just levelled the opposition no matter what they were. You could bind it to the mouse wheel and just go to town. Luckily, that has since been fixed and is now at a more stable level. Holy Nova causes no threat. The strength of Holy Nova is divided by the number of targets healed, remember.

Another decent AoE booster. Wouldn’t be opposed to drafting it for either spec.

Glyph of Inner Fire (U) – No. Just no. There are other options.

Pass on this.

Glyph of Mass Dispel (U) – Very cool glyph to have. A 0.5 second cast that removes something like 10 magic abilities? To me, this would be a unanimous pick for all specs. It used to be restricted to discipline only since it was a talent.

Highly recommended draft pick.

Glyph of Pain Suppression – (D) Not only is it meant for discipline priests, but the PvE application is extremely low. This is clearly meant for PvP. If that’s what your interested in, then yeah pick this one up. It’ll come in handy.

Situational for PvP use.

Glyph of Psychic Scream (U) – Surprisingly useful in instances as emergency forms of CC. Fear bombing them means the mobs won’t run all over the place but it prevents them from doing stuff.

Pass on it for now, but don’t forget about it when you’re grinding instances.

Glyph of Smite – Pairing Smite with Holy Fire just got a whole lot better. This duo will do wonders. Almost like an extra boost to healing if you’re into Atonement (in which case, you should get it).

Get this for leveling, but you can probably pass over this at 80.

Glyph of Spirit Tap (U) – Purely for leveling purposes. Ignore it otherwise.

Pass.

Glyph of Spirit of Redemption (H) – You know, as a priest, you shouldn’t plan on dying as a strategy. Rather nice to have, I suppose.

Pass.

Minor Glyphs

Now it’s down to the minors.

Glyph of Fading – Figure its situational for PvP or any point where the use of Fade outweighs the use of healing (Otherwise known as never, right?)

Glyph of FortitudeDraft this. There will be times when players die and they will resurrect mid fight. Fortitude is one of the must have buffs they should have once they come alive.

Glyph of LevitateDraft this as you never know when you’re going to go flying off a ledge.

Glyph of ShadowfiendDraft early in the event your Shadowfiend dies. It won’t be a total less as sparky will still grant you some mana.

Glyph of Shackle UndeadPass. Nothing to add here.

Glyph of Shadow ProtectionPass unless you don’t have any other forms of shadow protection like Paladins. Otherwise, it becomes unnecessary.

And that’s that! I suggest hitting the local auction house and grabbing glyphs cheaply (if they’re there).

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.

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)!