Talents and Glyphs for Your Level 100 Disc Priest

Talents and Glyphs for Your Level 100 Disc Priest

When I levelled to 100 and started queueing into heroics, my mana regen was absolutely abysmal. I actually opted to pick up Words of Mending because of the extra passive Prayer of Mending that it would fire out. Heroics at 610 ilevel with non-existent Spirit with similarly geared tanks and DPS is truly a challenge.
No one has health pools high enough to soak that kind of periodic and unnecessary damage.
The damage out from the group is competing against my ability to keep the group alive long enough resulting in strategically healing the tank and the highest DPS.
My mana regeneration isn’t enough to keep everyone topped off which results in a different mindset of making sure players are above an arbitrary threshold (like 30% across the board).
Don’t mistake my observations as complaints as most of us veterans have been here before from the start of Burning Crusade, through the heroics of Wrath, the mana and healing crunch during early Cataclysm, and the slightly more relaxed Mists of Pandaria. I’ve done the dance before. I’m still trying to get over the fact that spirit’s only available on a few items. I mean, I get it. I know why. But it’s the first expansion where I’m not scrambling for as many spirit items as possible and where I’m legitimately competing against Warlocks and Mages for that cloth gear.

Normal mode dungeons and early heroics (ilvl 600 – 615)

Now, let’s talk about talents for a second. I mentioned Words of Mending because the outgoing Prayer of Mending was free. I love free (even though it’s like buying McDonalds coffee, with every 7th coffee granting you a free one after). It means my mana can be saved for other crucial spells like a well timed Power Word: Shield. At this stage of the gearing process, you probably don’t have any trinkets but you’re slowly working on your way to obtaining that legendary ring from Khadgar. Maybe you have it, maybe you don’t. You might still be using an heirloom weapon or something. The name of the game here is efficiency and low costs (or free costs). Like it or not, you’re going to be dying for mana if you intend to solo queue into heroics. The pool of players will range from skilled players who won’t take any damage to players who are attracted into standing in every fire or void zone or ignoring mechanics.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Surge of Light tends to proc after one or two taps of Holy Nova. Great if you need to bank a few instant heals in reserve for upcoming damage. Your Psychic Scream talent and glyph offers you an out in case CC breaks early or if you attract company. Power Infusion provides much needed mana relief during high pressure phases. Your Power Word: Shield will both absorb and heal with one action.

Heroic mode and Challenge Mode (ilvl 615 – 630+)

Now you’re in a slightly better position. Your spells and heals are hitting for a little more. People aren’t dying as much. You can afford to be a little inefficient here and there if you need to in order to save players. Your trinkets and neck have spirit on them now. You’ve said goodbye to Hellscream’s BoAs. You’re ready for the next step and want to gear yourself up for raids that’ll be opening in December. You want to be an asset to your guild and indispensable to your raid.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Psychic Scream stays. It’s a clutch spell that can make or break your Challenge Mode attempts. Surge of Light continues to be useful but Mindbender is another choice if you want that slight extra damage (very slight). You don’t need the Power Infusion as much since it only kicks in once every two minutes. Instead, pick up Spirit Shell because you’ll guaranteed to use it twice throughout most boss fights to help the group absorb incoming bombs or damage pulses or anything that could potentially flatten your group.
Clarity of Will becomes the winner here for the level 100 talent. You can pre-shield your tank a few times with it before they engage the boss and it gives you something to do if everyone is at full health. I managed to coat the tank with a potent 163k shield before a pull. I’m sure some of you can do much higher. Try to load up on as much mastery to help increase the power of Clarity of Will and your other absorb effects.

Raiding (ilvl 630+)

Welcome to raid finder (or normal mode or heroic mode or mythic mode, whatever your fancy). You’re now working with a team of healers and you’re in a position where you can bust out your Disc specialties and shine.
Recommended talents and glyphs
Level 30: Body and Soul
Level 45: Power Word: Solace
Level 60: Void Tendrils
Level 75: Spirit Shell
Level 90: Divine Star or Halo (encounter dependant)
Level 100: Clarity of Will
You’re going to be building up and banking Holy Fire stacks for Archangel anyway. May as well convert that into Power Word: Solace and use ‘em as you go. Your level 60 talents for crowd control aren’t going to be relevant as much so it’s a preference. Level 90 talents will center around the raid encounters. Returning priests may be shocked (and partially annoyed) to find that Halo and Cascade now have a slight cast time. Clarity of Will continues to be my pick for the 100 talent because you can pair up with another healer who can supply heals to the tank while you drop large absorb shields simultaneously.
I consider Penance to be mandatory but Fade and Purification is up to you. Some of the upcoming encounters will involve plenty of dispelling so I like having the Purification glyph. Fade adds a slight damage reduction. It might not seem like much but it’s something especially at the start of a tier.
Anyway, don’t take my word as gospel. Start of with whichever talents and glyphs you like and feel free to try out new builds as you adventure throughout Draenor. If you’ve been having success with a different build, post it! I’d be happy to hear and try it out myself. I have not had an opportunity to give Saving Grace a try. Any of you budding Priests out there use it in current dungeons?
3 Annoying Problems with Discipline Healing

3 Annoying Problems with Discipline Healing

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Time to take this beta Disc Priest out for a spin and see what he can do in a dungeon environment. I needed a tank, but where could I find one? I happened to be idling in Shrine keeping an eye on trade chat and noticed one of my bear tanks was online!

Time to con her into being my pocket tank.

She agreed and we appeared on the beta servers ready to queue up. I should’ve done a quick pass over my binds and abilities to ensure everything was in place. It took until the end of Bloodmaul Slag Mines before I finally configured everything to my specifications. There were periods where I had to open my spellbook and manually click on select abilities.

Anyway, I’m here to gripe about Disc Priest healing. Here it is:

Lack of Healing mobility: Prayer of Mending has a cast time. We’ve lost access to Renew. Divine Star has a cast time. Penance can be glyphed to allow casting while moving. Holy Nova has a really short radius (and we’ll touch on this in a second).

As a healer, I move around a ton. I don’t mean just simply dodging projectiles or dangerous boss abilities. Sometimes I have to kite or run away from any mobs or ads that are activated. Other times, my tank has screamed ahead and I’m trying to play catchup while stabilizing the rest of the group. The Hunters, Mages, and Rogues are busy trucking on trying to help the tank. Meanwhile, there I am huffing and puffing attempting to keep everyones health up while being unable to move. In Mists, we have all these tools that allowed us to help players recover some health as we were moving from point A to point B. It wasn’t that strong or efficient, but it was something. And yes, shields are great at absorbing inbound damage but they’re not the greatest at restoring health. An absorb simply buys you a little more time to dump heals on your target whereas actually healing your target has the effect of both negating the damage they’re about to take and healing them back.

This must be what a Resto Shaman or Holy Paladin feels like sometimes.

Proposal: Glyph of Mobile Mending – Allow Prayer of Mending to be cast while moving. Exclusive glyph.

Weak Multi-target Healing: Holy Nova is the new efficient Discipline AoE heal. Prayer of Healing has a 30 yard radius. Holy Nova has a 12 yard radius. It’s hard to insist that every player remain stacked. There’s attacks that will prevent the party from doing just that. Holy Nova appears to be enough to keep a players health bar from trending down long enough but it won’t be enough to shoot them back to full right away. That’s a tradeoff at this stage of the game since we’re testing dungeon content at reduced item levels. At the same time, functionally speaking, Holy Nova might not be able to reach the rest of the party if everyone has to split up. You’re reduced to a slightly weaker Prayer of Healing option. Alternatively, you can play the executioner and focus on healing yourself, the tank, and 1 or 2 other players while opting to sacrifice the fifth for the good of the party.

Proposal: De-couple Holy Nova from the Priest. Make it targetable like Prayer of Healing. Allow Holy Nova to heal any player in range of the target up to a maximum of 5 of the weakest players. If you’re still spread out, at least Holy Nova might be able to catch 2-3 other players in your party at a time.

Lack of time: As healers, we have to think of time as a resource. Is there enough time to bring the tank out of range of lethal if I use this spell? How many seconds can I buy my group if I spam this AoE spell until the deadly AoE ability stops being used? Is that player a lost cause or should I try saving them? As mentioned before with the cast time spells, choice becomes important. For example, you and your tank are within lethal range after suffering an unavoidable hit. You have about 2 seconds before the next blow comes and you’re looking at a wipe. A 2.5 second Heal might hit slightly harder and save you more mana. But a 1.5 second Flash Heal would’ve allowed the tank to survive the hit. A Binding Heal would’ve saved both you and the tank*. Most of our direct healing spells are a cast time now. A Holy priest can Renew blanket but a Disc Priest is playing catch up one target at a time.

*The correct play is to either shield one, and Penance/Prayer of Mending/Flash Heal/Desperate Prayer the other and pray the shield holds. The god play is to have never arrived in this situation in the first place.

Regardless, Binding Heal is one of those spells that allowed you to inefficiently heal yourself and your target really fast to get out of lethal range. This is a tool removed from the Priest toolbox. If Flash Heal is the wrench, then Binding Heal is the duct tape because it’s a quick fix and not necessarily the permanent solution. Sometimes you just have to be inefficient or else players die.

Proposal: Bring back Binding Heal. It’s already tough as is for AoE healing as a Disc Priest in a party.

The next step is to give Holy a shot and see how well that performs in dungeon environments. Bloodmaul Slag Mines was a piece of cake but I certainly struggled a fair bit in Upper Blackrock Spire and the Shadowmoon Burial Ground instances.

5 Killer Priest Changes Coming in Warlords

5 Killer Priest Changes Coming in Warlords

Good gravy, so many new changes coming with the alpha notes! Instead of going through all of them, I’m just going to summarize my favourites. You can turn to BlizzPro later in the week for a more in-depth analysis.

Atonement nerfs

Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming. For almost the entire expansion, Discipline Priests were considered top tier and a virtual must have in progression focused guilds. It wasn’t so much the temporarily healing buff from Evangelism, but the Archangel ratios which made us a force to be reckoned.

Let’s deal damage with any of our main DPS nukes. On top of that, a portion of the damage done is going to also heal. Oh and it’s a smart heal!

In a way, I’m disappointed that it’s lowered but I can’t help but think it’ll help equalize the state of healing classes a little more. At the very least, maybe it’ll lower Discipline representation some and allow us Holy Priest guys back into the fray as a better alternative. There was nothing really wrong with Holy (well, there was but we’ll cover that in a moment), but Holy just wasn’t quite as well sought after.

That’ll be different in the future largely because of…

Chakra changes

Remember when Chakra came into play? It was almost two expansions ago during the start of Cataclysm. It essentially functioned as a stance for Holy Priests. Certain spells would become stronger depending on which Chakra you had active and you’d gain access to a Holy Word spell that corresponded with that stance. It was intended to provide flexibility and allow Priests to select the role they were going to perform in a raid: Single target healing or multi-target healing.

If you were in a Chakra stance and wanted to do something outside of the benefit, your spells wouldn’t make quite as an impact. The alpha notes said it quite clearly: The buff from being in a certain Chakra “felt like a penalty for being in the wrong Chakra, rather than a bonus for being in the right Chakra”.

Chakra: Sanctuary provided a strong buff to Prayer of Healing which was great when I was covering groups but it was lousy if I needed to spot heal the tank for a few moments. Lowering the bonuses attained in Serenity and Sanctuary are a start. Saying “I’m only losing 10% of a healing boost instead of a 25% bonus” is much more reassuring. Instead, Holy Word: Serenity and Sanctuary are receiving more of a healing bonus. I suspect our normal baseline spells will be adjusted and balanced accordingly.

Removal of Mana Hymn

Gone.

Just like that.

How else am I supposed to get my mana back? One of our healing utilities is out the window as a victim of Blizzard’s crackdown on ability bloat. Now they’ve promised that mana regeneration rates and spirit will be monitored to offset the loss of Hymn of Hope. Now I’m really at the mercy of my own healing spells. I can’t heal full throttle and rely on Mana Hymn to provide me with a cushion anymore. I’m going to miss it.

New glyphs

To be more specific, I’m giddy with Glyph of Restored Faith. It can be used as an escape or a closer or if I just want to get next to someone. Maybe it isn’t that killer, but I really do like the fun I can get with this. I can pull myself out of harms way if I’m caught standing in a fire! It’s like a pseudo defensive cooldown!

Level 100 talents

You can find the new talents at the recently updated WoW Head calculator. I liked that old talent with Void Shift where you could use it as many times as you wanted but I guess that one was tossed.

Now there’s healing talents when you reach level 100 like Words of Mending. Every healing or absorb spell generates a stack of Word of Mending. Hit 5 stacks, cast a free Prayer of Mending! Worried about Prayer of Mending overriding itself? A minor change was introduced where Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests are able to be applied on the same target. Not only that, one Priest can have multiple applications of Prayer of Mending on more than one target!

I mean, yo dawg! I heard you like Prayer of Mending! So I put a Words of Mending on your Prayer of Mending so you can Prayer of Mending while you Prayer of Mending!

Holy Priests gain access to another talent called Clarity of Purpose. It replaces Prayer of Healing with a new spell called Clarity of Purpose. We know that smart healing spells are getting dumber. But if healing spells were given an IQ, I’m certain Clarity of Purpose would take home the smartest heal ever award. It’ll heal players within 10 yards of your target. Not only that, it splits the heal so that weaker players receive more of the healing pie.

Now that’s legit!

This is going to be a fun beta testing period. Warlords needs to come soon! I’ll do my best to keep track of any pertinent Priest changes and updates as we progress through the development stages of the expansion.

Need Gear for your Fresh Level 90 Priest?

Need Gear for your Fresh Level 90 Priest?

It’s all right here in this link. I’ve included a list of items (along with some alternatives). In addition, I’ve created a few tables with relevant priest look from each of the major reputation vendors.

Remember, it’s not a best in slot list. It’s a relatively fast in slot list. The goal is to get your Priest geared up as much as possible to hit dungeons and raids for the real good stuff. I tried to minimize the RNG as much as I can, but ultimately there’s going to be a few elements involved.

Good luck and I’ll see you at 90!

EDIT: If I run into anything on the way up, I’ll add it. I’m sure there’s a few out there I may have missed. I deliberately did not select PvP gear (but you can maybe get away with 1 or 2 pieces if you need to).

5.0.x and Mists of Pandaria: Holy and Discipline Priest Info

5.0.x and Mists of Pandaria: Holy and Discipline Priest Info

Welcome to patch 5.0.x! You’ll have a few weeks to get yourself acclimated for the great levelling push in under a month. Whether you plan to dungeon grind or quest your way to 85, it doesn’t hurt to refresh your skills.

Priest changes and additions

  • Fixed mana pools! We’re now down to 100k mana at level 85. For reference, Circle of Healing costs 3200 mana, Flash Heal costs 5900 mana, and Renew costs 2600 mana. Some reforging may be needed for regen purposes. We’ll have 300000 at level 90.
  • Our ranged slot is gone! But, we can now use Wands in our main hand. So if you happen to have a heroic Wand but haven’t been able to get a heroic main hand or staff, congratulations! Wand stats have been buffed to account for this.
  • Divine  Hymn is no longer available to Shadow Priests or Discipline Priests.
  • Dispel has an 8 second cooldown. Mass Dispel has a 15 second cooldown. Fights like Spine of Deathwing have been compensated accordingly.
  • Chakra spells can be used directly. You don’t have to follow it up with a trigger. Remember to bind both Chakra: Sanctuary and Chakra: Serenity.
  • New Discipline spell: Spirit Shell
  • Inner Fire increases spell power by 10% instead of a static value.
  • Power Word: Fortitude increases Stamina by 10% instead of a static value.
  • Evangelism built in to both Discipline and Holy. However, only Discipline can activate Archangel.

Playing styles

Holy

Holy users, you’ll just need to get accustomed to Chakra and stance switching. Nothing else has really changed dramatically. If you’ve been a Holy player before, congratulations! There isn’t much to learn. Lightwell now has the option to be made more “user friendly” via Glyph of Lightspring.

I do have one request though.

Blizzard, is it possible to add a visual distinction between Lightwells that can be clicked versus Lightwells that can’t? Maybe make Lightspring blueish instead.

lightwell-spring

Discipline

With Archangel and Evangelism available all the time (as in, not needing a talent), those of you who are familiar with keeping Archangel stacks active during heated moments will be in good shape. Sadly, Glyph of Power Word: Barrier is gone. Spirit Shell is a new ability which turns Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing into absorption shield generators.

About Spirit Shell

  • Will scale with your crit chance
  • Scales with Mastery: Shield Discipline
  • Scales with Grace
  • Unaffected by Archangel
  • Unaffected by Inner Focus
  • Maximum ceiling of ~60% of target health (Tried with different gear combinations, but needs additional verification)

General changes

  • AoE looting. By far the best change of the patch.
  • Battletags. No more having to hand out email addresses anymore. Why couldn’t they have just started with this in the first place?

But wait, there’s more!

Recommended glyphs

For raiding

Prime glyphs have been taken out. But there’s lots of glyph selections now. Take your pick!

Talent notes

Tier 1: Level 15 (Crowd control)

Tier 2: Level 30 (Movement)

  • Body and Soul: If you’re one of the few Priests in raid, great! Suggest using this for pickup raids like the raid finder.
  • Angelic Feather: Anyone who runs over this will gain the speed benefit. If you need additional precision when it comes to targeting, opt for Body and Soul instead. In practice, I’ve seen cases where the wrong person makes up a feather or someone just strolls near it without realizing it.
  • Phantasm: Probably best for PvP. Though there are a few raid encounters which have slowing effects.

Tier 3: Level 45 (Mana)

Tier 4: Level 60 (Defensive)

  • Desperate Prayer: This spell has served me perfectly in previous expansions and it’ll continue to do the same. When you get access to Void Shift at level 87, what I like to do is Void Shift a tank who has low health and then immediately use Desperate Prayer to restore health from the inherited pool I took from the tank.
  • Spectral Guise: Best for PvP.
  • Angelic Bulwark: Neat for not having to worry about your own survivability as much. Think of it as a safety net.

Tier 5: Level 75 (Extra power)

  • Twist of Fate: Don’t underestimate this. An additional 15% healing for 10 seconds if you heal someone below 20%? In a raid environment, it’s possible to keep this buff up for long stretches at a time. Heck, Circle of Healing alone should help maintain it on most bosses.
  • Power Infusion: Available only to the casting Priest.
  • Divine Insight

Tier 6: Level 90 (AoE)

  • Cascade: Loving Cascade for raid play.
  • Divine Star: Best used if the majority of the raid group is stacked together.
  • Halo: Do not use this in dungeons. The potential to unintentionally pull mobs is high (personal experience).

Less than a month to go before panda-monium hits! You’ll be ready and supporting your guild in no time!

Derevka: The biggest change in Mists is how we look at mana

Derevka: The biggest change in Mists is how we look at mana

I jumped on an opportunity to speak with Derevka about the upcoming expansion and his thoughts on the priest class in general. We chatted about the state of both healing specs, raiding encounters in Mists, and spell usage.  Keep on reading for the full interview.

Matt: Hey Derevka, it’s been a while. You’ve recently picked up activity again on your blog, Tales of a Priest after taking a brief reprieve earlier in the year. You’ve especially been hard at work lobbying for some priest changes like Chakra and have put in some research on the mana regen talents.  So what do you think is the biggest change for priests leaping from Cataclysm to Mists, in your opinion?

Derevka: Tricky question, since I’d argue that Priests were affected least by the onslaught of changes that came in MOP— at least from a class mechanic standpoint. For the most part our healing strategy will be ‘more of the same’. Perhaps the biggest change in Mists will be how we look at mana. First and foremost we need to realize that once we hit 90, we will not be getting any more mana. 300,000 is our pool. Period.

Mana pools, since they do not scale, will be something we need to really keep an eye on. For example, Greater Heal in quest greens costs the same amount of mana that it does in full epic T14. The only thing that will scale is our ability to regen mana via spirit. We will need to balance spirit and know when we have too much or too little. Mana is a zero-sum game.

Purely spamming Prayer of Healing will quickly have you running out of mana; we’ll need to be more mindful of what spells we choose to cast as well as how to use our mana cooldowns, and talents. It could be a steep learning curve for some who are too used to the Dragon Soul era of mana and are unfamiliar with mana management.

We’ll need to be more mindful of what spells we choose to cast as well as how to use our mana cooldowns, and talents.

M: Yeah, I found that out the hard way having to put Heal back in my bars again. Have you figured out any numbers for Spirit benchmarks or what we’ll need to hit at different stages of character progression? For example, how much are we going to need to adequately heal through heroic dungeons, challenge modes, or entry level raids?

D: Spirit numbers are tricky, as it really depends on your healing style. I will say that we’re going to want spirit on pretty much all of our gear in the first tier of raiding. Gone are the days of equipping non-spirit/dual stat gear!

For those who remember MP5 as a stat, think of spirit in that manner — it provides zero throughput: Just pure regen. We’ll have the ability to trade off spirit (via reforging) for throughput stats pretty easily, but it’ll depend on what your comfort level is. Personally, I would suggest being cautious with mana at first, and then pair back my regen instead of gasping for mana but my heals hit like a truck. It’ll be a fun balancing act, and will depend on individual healing style.

kite

M: What do you feel is the go-to Priest spec?

D: Hard question as they both provide some great tools and flavor. If I had to knee-jerk a response, I am going to say Holy. Holy always does well early in an expansion as it is arguably the least reliant on combat stats of the two  priest healing specs. I say this because Disc gets a good deal of it’s output from Divine Aegis. DA, apart from POH, is created by critical heals In low iLvl gear (aka Fresh 90’s) you’ll have innately lower crit chance due to less available Intellect on gear, and stats.  Now, do not misconstrue me and say “Derevka said to stack crit as disc at 90!” … No, that’s not what I am saying. I am saying that you’ll innately have lower critical strike due to your intellect and available crit, thus causing the creation of Divine Aegis more difficult (ie. 5 mans).

M: With that in mind, what does Discipline need to get itself back up to comparable level with Holy?

I do not think Disc is in a bad place at all. I think that Holy will just have an easier time early in the level 90 gear grind, only because Disc has a more strict gear requirement than Holy. Disc will be very powerful, particularly since it still has Barrier and access to the new Spirit Shell. Spirit Shell could be one of “those abilities” that winds up getting nerfed when used  “creatively”. I do worry that Spirit Shell will be used to bypass boss abilities. I mean, you have the ability to prep a tank with a 60% HP bubble– then PW: Shield on top of that, and if you wanted, Pain Suppression as well. Remember people using Guardian Spirit to avoid Valiona’s Blackout in Heroic Bastion of Twilight? This could potentially be used similarly. Time will tell.  Spirit Shell is going to be perfect for those places where you would have POH/DA prepared the raid… except now, all that POH healing will be Spirit Shells!

I mean, you have the ability to prep a tank with a 60% HP bubble– then PW: Shield on top of that, and if you wanted, Pain Suppression as well.

scenario

M: In a previous conversation, we were talking about Mastery and how the points have changed. Do you consider haste the primary secondary stat for Holy with Mastery and Crit right behind it? What about Discipline?

D: Yes, Mastery should be a bit more transparent when it comes to its benefits on the character sheet. It’ll be much easier to understand now that they have streamlined the stat conversion straight to percentage gained.

That said, it is hard to provide a concrete statweight since a number of our spells are in flux when it comes to combat stat ratings; specifically regarding what affects them and what does not.  As of build 17882, we have Holy Word: Sanctuary now being affected by haste, which has me concerned, I did the math and its not good news– but it may be a bug. That said, since HW: Sanctuary is being affected by Haste, it does make breakpoints something to keep in mind. I have calculated the required Haste Rating for each Spell’s Breakpoint and will be publishing those numbers shortly. I do not think we’ll be ‘chasing breakpoints’ in MoP, but keeping them in mind will be critical–We’ll want to know where they are, so we can ensure we aren’t so close that we should change a gem or two. I do not think we’ll be gearing to get that additional HW: Sanctuary tick.

However, a Hymn tick on the other hand…

Preliminary simming is going to put Haste/Mastery pretty close to one another for Holy; however it will depend on how you heal. Are you going to be constantly spamming? Are you going to be weaving in more Power Word: Solaces? Are you going to burst heal and then slow down to regen? Are you single target healing? These all have different impacts to your statweights. If forced to chose, I would probably suggest gearing for enough Haste (raidbuffed) for the added Hymn (both), Renew tick and for a 10th Sanctuary tick… then Mastery. We’ll likely have a good deal of mastery  since a lot of the cloth drops and craftables are covered in it!

Discipline will enjoy Mastery since it now has a 3rd spell that benefits from it: Spirit Shell. Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, and Spirit Shell will all scale from Mastery. More simming will be needed to be done to get these stats, but for the most part Haste & Mastery will likely be our top go-to stats.

For the most part Haste & Mastery will likely be our top go-to stats.

M: Level 90 talents. What do you think about each of them and what’s going to be your standard level 90 talent?

D: For raiding? Hands down, Cascade. I like them all (even beyond just the visuals). Halo is nice, but requires too much positional tweaking to make it really solid and is too expensive and too long a cooldown to be reliable. Divine Star will be great in 5 mans (I know I’ve used it a lot in heroics), and will work well in raids that have you all grouped up (a la Ultraxion). However, Cascade has proven to be the strongest for me in the test raids I’ve done. Even on 10 man— remember Cascade will hit 15 targets, and 10 man raids do not have 15 targets typically (pets).

halo

M: What about raid encounters? How about some previews for healing?

Hard to really nail this down simply. At the moment, some of the 10-man encounters have been wildly undertuned. For example, we accidentally killed Lei Shi in the Terrace of the Endless Spring due to dots when we tried to wipe/reset to get more testing/logs on the fight. Oops! Heroic Testing has just started, but has some promise to be challenging.

I will say that there are going to be some head nods to old encounters. Garalon, for example,  has a Professor Putricide-esque ability requiring you to pass a DoT/Debuff around via proximity. Not “recycled” content, but certainly some “oh this reminds me of X!”.

The one that I liked the most was Imperial Vizier Zor’lok. It is one of those fights that has different abilities in each phase of the fight, and then the final phase has all the abilities active at once. I enjoy these “progressive fights”; fights in which you learn how to manage and heal each phase, and then you have a capstone in the final phase.

M: Oh man, I love Professor Putricide. Always made jokes about who was dirty and who wasn’t. Vizier sounds something like Mimiron. If I remember right, most of these encounters were for normal mode and purely for testing of mechanics.

That’s correct as the only testing so far is Normal and it really was about testing mechanics. But the tuning of the mechanics are still important. Again, if you look at Lei Shi, you’ll see the latest patch notes took that feedback and increased some of the damage she does. Hopefully she won’t be quite the pinata she proved to be originally!

M: How much will I need to work Solace into my “rotation” (for lack of a better term) to see sizeable gains along the lines of mana hymn or fiend?

D: First, I’d be remiss not to ask people to calm down about Solace. People are really getting panicked over Solace. Yes, Solace provides the most regen potential, but there is a cost to that.

When you are casting (or chain casting) PW: Solace you are doing zero healing. Those GCDs have an opportunity cost. It is up to you, to evaluate when you can fit those in and what the cost to doing that (vs healing) is. It might mean the tank takes a couple of melee swings and goes without a heal for 2-3 seconds. You’re going to have to heal that back up, but is the cost worth it? That is the question you need to ask yourself.

When you are casting (or chain casting) PW: Solace you are doing zero healing. […] It is up to you, to evaluate when you can fit those in and what the cost to doing that (vs healing) is.

Now, as far as how do you need to work Solace into rotation? You’ll want to find the gaps in damage–which can be hard the first time you see an encounter. I strongly suggest macroing PW:Solace with a mouseover/assist macro. This will allow you to simply hover over a DPS/Tank and Solace their target, all while not losing your current target (like the tank).

For PW: Solace to work out equal to Mindbender (assuming you’re also using Shadowfiend on CD) you’ll need to do 3-4  per minute (current build has it restoring 1.5%). Its actually 3.555/minute but remember its in aggregate. If for the first minute you got only 1 Solace in, to be on par by the end of minute 2, you’ll need to have 6 during minute number 2. Here is a link to an article I put together outlining how these talents work, and specifically how the granularity of the spells can work to your advantage.
I promise you, finding those GCD’s isn’t as difficult as it may seem. You just need to find the places to do it and weigh the opportunity cost.

divine-star

M: Right, yeah. I mean if we had access to Solace right now, we’d use it on Tendon phases during Spine (oh gosh, wouldn’t that just be so awesome to have right now?). In contrast, relying on Solace on Zon’ozz while the ball is active and bouncing around is probably a bad idea since you run the risk of losing players.

D: Yep! Finding the appropriate spots to use Solace will be the marker of a priest using it correctly. Of course, given that its clearly been under the watchful eyes of Blizzard and has been kept in check… 3-4 casts per min (in aggregate) is not a meaningless number as there may be fights where that much non-healing time is too much. However, if the Normal tests so far are any indication, you should be able to find time to cast Solace if you look for it.

Players and guilds are in a flux right now. This is going to be the time where players will be jumping around different guilds and M: situating themselves for Mists. Any advice for a 10 man Priest making the switch to 25 man and what they can expect with MoP raids?

D: 25 man raids will be interesting in MoP. I do not want to turn this into an argument about which is harder or if 25’s are dying. However, 25 man raids will have a challenge on a number of fights based purely on available real estate. A few of the fights seem to be reliant on spacing aspects like spreading out and grouping (even more so on Heroic, when looking at the Dungeon Journal). With the same square footage in the boss encounter, 25 man raids could find themselves in a position where they simply run out of space.

Healers in a 25 man raid, always need to be sure they do not have “I’m the Hero Syndrome”.

I’ve seen this happen to a number of healers when making the switch from 10s to 25s. They simply do not rely on the other 4-5 healers on their team and either: deviate from assignment, go OOM from being inefficient, or ignore instruction. You really need to work as a team in 25s, arguably more so than in 10s as you have substantially more people working with you, and covering potentially greater areas.

Be the uni-mind.

M: Let’s talk about our favourite spell Lightwell. There’s a certain cost/benefit between having it clickable vs having it firing off when player health drops below 50%. Are you going to leave yours glyphed or unglyphed?

D: Well since Lightwell and Lightspring both are healing for the same amount, the only added benefit of not Glyphing Lightspring, is that you can control its output (assuming players click it) . However, there are not many Major Glyphs we can choose from and I predict this being the glyph that we will run 95% of the time, with the 5% of the time on fights that you will ‘order’ your raid to click it at a specific time (such as Chimaeron’s Feud).

Lightspring will be ‘what’s expected’ and running it unglyphed, you likely will hear “I thought it was lightspring and would auto heal me!”

lightwell

M: We were chatting briefly about the lack of Holy glyphs. It seems that there’s a certain 3-4 glyphs that are the most optimal for Holy right now. What spells would you like to see affected by glyphs for extra or altered functionality?

D: If I were to have a wish list? Whoo, boy. I’d like a glyph to allow us to channel Hymns while moving. I hate casting HoH and then having something spawn under my feet! Or perhaps something that makes Spirit of Redemption useful? I’ve always hated a talent that only is used if you die/fail. Perhaps remove the “on death” and grant something useful like an on-use throughput increase. (See Also: Archangel, Tree of Life, Ascendance, and Divine Favor)

M: Alright, that’s all I have for you, Derevka! It’s good chatting with you again and thanks for taking time out of your schedule to offer your thoughts on (what is clearly) the best class in the game. Bonus: Your MoP release date guess?

D: Well, we are in the potential final stages of testing heroic raids! I would imagine another 2-3 weeks of raid  testing before we get a date. I also will assume they’re going to test LFR as well. If I were to bet, we’ll have a release date when they debut the opening cinematic at Gamescom.

I am hoping the launch date isn’t in the two weeks where I have a vacation and big work conference in September. With that in mind I am going to say 10/2/12–but I will hope it lands before. My raid team has already been tired of farming Heroic DS since February! We want something fresh, and I know many people share that opinion!

Where’s my panda?!

Dear Blizzard: A Modest Healing UI Request

Dear Blizzard: A Modest Healing UI Request

The default healing UI in WoW has come a long way since Vanilla. One of my favourite additions is the bar they have that shows the impact of your healing done. If you look up, you can see that little green strip that shows how much health is going to be restored with your heal.

Let’s look at Discipline shields for a moment. With Spirit Shell turning into the 1 minute ability turning your heals into absorbs, it becomes even more important to show how much your Flash Heal or Greater Heal is going to absorb for.

Here’s the problem.

no-absorb-indicator

You can clearly see that I have Power Word: Shield on myself. It’s going to wear off in a few seconds. Naturally, I have full health but have no way of knowing how strong my shield is without breaking open my combat log. Then I’d have to look at the absorb value and mentally calculate that as a percentage of my overall health which then causes my head to hurt.

Bro, I am healing. There is no time for me to do that. I just want to know how much firepower my shield can fend off.

Here’s the potential solution.

absorb-indicator

Same screenshot as above. The only difference is that I darkened the right side of my health bar slightly. I didn’t put a colour to it or anything. Originally, that image had a yellow stripe going down but then I realized Rogue health bars and class colours were yellow. A colour that’s bright and stands out would be ideal.

White? Nope, that’s for Priests.

Pink? Paladins.

What about an overlay or a shadow over top of the health frames instead? The right side of my Priest health frames is darker which would show how much my shields would take. The absorb bar would go from right to left. There’s addons right now where absorb amounts extend past the frame to the side. That’s a solution but I don’t consider that elegant.

The problem with that is in a raid setting, if you put out large absorb numbers, then the absorb bar would go past the frame and it might visually impede you from healing the person in the next group over in your UI.

Drop a big absorb on Jeanine in group 1 and watch as you can’t target Nathaniel in group 2 because that absorb bar is covering up part of their health frame.

I haven’t thought of what the UI would look like if my health wasn’t at full. That paladin that’s above me is at around 50% health. If I put a shield on them, should that green healing strip be used? Or a different color? Won’t be able to use a transparent or darkening solution because then it becomes black bar on a black background.

Lightening up the background might work though. A brighter background stripe could serve to highlight the absorb amount.

Whatever the case, I’m just hoping they consider looking at quality of life visuals for any kind of shields or mitigation.

Spirit Shell Change: Burst Bubble Spam!

Spirit Shell Change: Burst Bubble Spam!

Spirit Shell: For the next 15 sec, your Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing no longer heal but instead create absorption shields that last 15 sec.

Cool! Not less than half a day since I posted that we were expecting Spirit Shell changes, they went and changed up the design of it entirely. In terms of absorb values, my guess is that they’re going to be a 1:1 value. So if you heal for 10000, you’ll be creating shields for 10000.

Instead of a spell that directly creates a shield, they’ve given us an ability that turns most of our healing spells into shield spells. Interesting design change. Can’t wait to try it in action. At least we now have a clear toggle between the times when we need to restore health and the times to create shields. Nifty ability though because even if the raid is at near full health, Disc priests can easily toggle Spirit Shell on and blanket the raid with shields and add that extra health buffer to everyone.

I suppose this is one way to shield spam the raid!

And as promised, Rapture removes the cooldown on Power Word: Shield.

Spirit Shell, Will We Find a Use For You?

Spirit Shell, Will We Find a Use For You?

Gryphonheart posted an awesome idea for Spirit Shell. Have Spirit Shell trigger the original Spirit hell’s healing component when it lands.

Honestly, I don’t really get why Blizzard is opting to cap Spirit Shell stacking when it’s mechanics seem to better lend themselves towards making new Spirit Shell casts on a target force the previous shield to expire (and thereby instantly trigger its healing effect) instead. That kind of system just makes more sense to me, since it would effectively cap the absorption numbers while allowing Disc Priests to more effectively use Spirit Shell as a direct analogue to Greater Heal.

At present, the current beta build has Spirit Shell replace Greater Heal. What I’ve been doing is dropping Spirit Shell on tanks before following it up with Heal and Flash Heal to get their health up. Forgot to weave in Penance.

Whoops.

Some of the difficulties you’ll find with Spirit Shell is that the time it takes for the heal to kick in is too long. 8 Seconds? Feels like an eternity. Cut duration down and give that a go or give us a way to detonate the shell at will to trigger the healing component whenever we want.

Besides that, we should be seeing another Spirit Shell change kicking in soon it seems.

In the (hopefully) next build you receive, Discipline again has Greater Heal, Strength of Soul, and Power Word: Shield with no cooldown. We are also trying something really different with Spirit Shell. Let us know how it feels.

Discipline Feedback

Pet Battles, Rapture, Symbiosis, and Monks

Pet Battles, Rapture, Symbiosis, and Monks

This week in The Herald.

  • An overview of pet battles
  • Why Rapture needs to retire
  • How to make Symbiosis better
  • Mistweaver Monk FAQ and Guide
Last weekend, I was over at Fan Expo Vancouver (think of it as Vancouver’s Comic Con). Not a bad event. I believe it was one of the first ones that was being organized and they were using it to test it out for future comic-ish cons. They hit capacity multiple times actually. Those who wanted to buy tickets the day of were denied shortly after lunch hour and the line was cut off. I heard both days saw around 12000+ people go in and out. Came home with this:

I miss that show.

Also, Kevin Sorbo is freakin’ tall. He was sitting next to Worf. I wonder who would win in a hand to hand fight. Hercules may be a demigod, but Worf is Klingon. Saw Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi and might I add she aged really well). I bumped fists with Tony Amendola (Master Bra’tac from Stargate).

Hope we get a bigger and better one next year with a larger gaming presence, as well.

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An overview of pet battles

This post has a video demonstration of several pet battles from start to finish along with a preview of the new pets pane interface.

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Why Rapture needs to retire

Derevka lays out his thoughts on Rapture for Discipline and why he believes that mechanic must go. In a word, I agree with his sentiments.

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How to make Symbiosis better

Jasyla offers her opinion about the related spells of Symbiosis and offers up some alternative solutions instead.

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Mistweaver Monk FAQ and Guide

EGTactics has an up-to-date guide on the basics of playing the Mistweaver Monk. It covers aspects like suggested talents, ability usage, and gear.

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Are Good Healers Born or Created? 

Personally, my belief is that good healers can be created. But great healers are “born”. You can teach the technical skills to a player but you can’t really instill the burning desire to keep everyone alive.