Shadow Priests Are Allowed to Divine Hymn

Yesterday’s post on hybrids spawned a great discussion on when it becomes useful for DPS players to switch out to different roles. Today, I wanted to expand it further and delve into the topic of Priests.

Now according to the Rules of Raiding #77:

DPS and tanking players should not have to heal.

It’s a good rule that states that if you’re in a DPS position or in a tanking position, there is no reason for you to have to change your role to heal. For one thing, you don’t have the spec or the bonuses or the gear to pull it off long term in an encounter.

If you’re a Shadow Priest, all you need to do is simply wail on the boss.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Rule #10 for instance states:

Every possible course of action should be considered by every player no matter what they do in order to beat the encounter.

In a case where rules may clash, rules that are lower on the scale will supercede the ones above it.

Let’s apply it.

Shadow Priests will almost never be called upon to drop their Shadow form to heal. It’s inefficient and often times unnecessary. But a Shadow Priest is still a Priest and they have access to some valuable cooldowns.

There is one in particular called Divine Hymn.

Don’t shy away from using it if you have to. As one of the healing leads, I look and see what cooldowns are available. I won’t hesitate to ask for Shadow Priests to Divine Hymn. I won’t hesitate to ask a Ret Paladin to use their bubble-sacrificing abilitiy. Feral Druids know that my Priest is the Hummer of healers in the guild and that I am one heck of a mana guzzling machine when I hit the accelerator. Yet I’m playing a hybrid class, right? (That’s a joke).

Anub’arak is a stressing fight for healers. This oversized frost beetle ramps it up a notch when he hits the 30% mark and everyone in the raid starts taking damage. A quick glance at the cooldowns available is followed by me barking out names and abilities. They respond with either an affirmative or a negative. This isn’t the time to debate why their cooldown isn’t up. Maybe a Paladin had to bubble earlier in the fight to survive. Stuff like that gets discussed after the fact, not during.

I run a total of four Priests during raids. Two are Shadow and the other two heal. Shadow Priests know they’re not going to be asked to drop form and heal (usually). But four Priests means access to four Divine Hymns which is extremely powerful during a a phase with high incoming damage.

The final point I want to stress is that a Shadow Priest isn’t required to keep the raid alive for long periods of time. That’s not their job. But they can help keep the raid stable enough for everyone else to stay alive and pile on their damage.

If you’re in a top 100 worldwide raiding guild, your Shadow Priests might not have to do it. For the rest of us, every option needs to be considered.

Tip: Inner Focus and Divine Hymn

Just a quick tip for new Priests who don’t know about this powerful spell combination.

Inner Focus

3 min cooldown

When activated, reduces the mana cost of your next spell by 100% and increases its critical effect chance by 25% if it is capable of a critical effect.

Divine Hymn

63% of base mana

40 yd range

10 min cooldown

You recite a Holy hymn, summoning the power of the Divine to assist you in your time of need. Heals 3 nearby lowest health friendly party or raid targets for 3024 to 3342 every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases healing done to them by 10% for 8 sec. Maximum of 12 heals. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell.

Individually, these abilities are great. Inner Focus helps provide a free spell every so often. Divine Hymn can be an emergency heal that helps stabilizes raids.

But combined together?

You get a free smart heal that automatically targets the weakest 3 friendly players and hits them with heals that have a 25% chance to crit.

It’s great for fights such as:

  • Mimiron Phase 2
  • Hodir’s Frozen Blows
  • Deconstructor’s Tympanic Tantrum

Usable every 10 minutes. But still a cool setup regardless.

Did I Read Divine Hymn Wrong?

Here’s the updated PTR wording on Divine Hymn:

You recite a Holy hymn, summoning the power of the Divine to assist you in your time of need. Heals 3 nearby lowest health friendly party or raid targets for 4320 to 4774 every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases healing done to them by 15% for 8 sec. Maximum of 12 heals. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell.

At first I was under the impression that it would only heal the three lowest nearby targets, period. After staring at it a little more, I realized that Divine Hymn is a smart heal similar in kind to Circle of Healing. My guess is that every time it ticks, it will constantly scan your group for lowest health players and heal them up accordingly.

So 3 players per tick every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. That’s potentially 12 different targets or the ability to save nearly half the raid from one of Kel’Thuzad’s nasty Ice Blocks. Of course, that’s assuming you have 12 players all standing on top of each other. Actually, no that isn’t the case. Only 6 can be saved.

I can see why the cooldown on it was increased to ten minutes. Yeah, it’s a channeling spell. I think if you cast a Shield on yourself while channeling, the chances of being interrupted go down (since the damage is prevented). A lot of players indicated that because it is a channeling cost, it’s underpowered and not worth using. But what are the alternatives?

  • Instant cast: A fire and forget spell allowing the Priest to cast it and forget about it. Priest would be able to move around and let the spell run the course throughout the raid.
  • X second cast time: Heals 12 different people at the conclusion of the spell? Too overpowered also.

The intent of Blizzard here is to create a potentially raid saving spell usable once every two or so attempts at a raid boss. This fits the bill just fine. Because it’s a channel, it will force the casting Priest to use discretion and time it in such a way that it won’t get interrupted. Yeah it’s a slight handicap. But it’s no different in the way we’ve been using Hymn of Hope over the past half a year. Let’s stop trying to hope for the things that may not change and start planning on adapting this spell to our needs on our terms.

Making the Switch: Holy to Disc

This is a guest post from Seriah, a PlusHeal community member

Priests are the main healing class in WoW, the official site even says so.  But to some people on the outside looking in they might not know that there are different mechanics in the individual Priest trees.  Having leveled and raided as Shadow and Holy I recently made the change to Discipline – it always looked like a fun tree and the new changes in LK sealed the deal for me. I’ve had experience in all forms of Priesting, but by no means am I claiming to be an expert on the class – just well experienced.

The intent here is to share my experience as a new Discipline Priest with everyone, especially anyone considering the switch be it because they think it looks like a fun change of pace or if you just hate the CoH nerf that much. I’ll attempt to walk you through what would happen if you dropped the Holy hat and picked up the Disc one – starting with your talent points.

Like with any spec there are those talents that you simply have to have, nothing fills that category better than the 3 P’s for Disc talents:

  • Power Infusion
  • Pain Suppression
  • Penance

Penance is absolutely the best healing spell I’ve ever had experience with – yes, more than CoH.  PI and PS are great too, especially since there are so many bosses that frenzy now when they’re at 20%.  How to spend your talents is a different article in itself, this is a brief overview of what you can expect from a cast sequence and mechanics point of view.

Hopefully you have a decent about of crit, be it by talents or gear, because once you start to see Divine Aegis (DA) in action you’ll love it.  Before a pull you’ll still want to do the usual PoM on the tank, but now you’ll also want to pop Power Word: Shield (PW:S) on him so the weakened soul debuff will show up – yes this is a good thing because you should be talented into Renewed Hope. 

When the pull starts, PoM will bounce with a crit (if you’re lucky) wrapping a DA bubble around the tank and giving you time to hit renew with no sense of urgency at all.  As long as incoming damage is minimal, you can stick to Flashes, Renews, and PoMs and be fine. The fun starts when the damage spikes.

On those big pulls where no one likes to CC anymore or on bosses that can hit like a whole fleet of trucks is where you’ll see those damage mitigation abilities of Disc healing really shine.  Keeping a full stack of Grace on the tank helps, and since they’re probably getting beat on a good bit that shouldn’t be too terribly hard.  PoM every time it’s up and say a little prayer so that it crits for a DA proc. 

Watch the cooldown on Penance. It hits 3 times during your channel and if you’re really on a roll with the luck and it crits all 3 times you can easily see 12k healing in less than 1.5 sec. there’s no one that can touch your HPS on hastened Penance.

That’s all fine well and good, but what if you get pushed to raid healing? 

First of all, if that happens you probably want to have a chat with your raid leader about the setup, if they still want you on raid duty then you can’t go wrong with shields and flashes, penance if they really need it.  Pain Suppression also works nicely here, if you have an overzealous DPS that can’t seem to watch Omen to save their lives, literally. It’ll reduce their threat, usually enough to let a tank get above them again, and if that doesn’t work then at least they shouldn’t die from the Iron Fist that giant is about to drop on them so the tank can then taunt.

If you’re doing heroics, and at this point most of us are, then you’re going to have to deal with group damage. The best way to do so is with Divine Hymn if you’re not in a fight where damage is constantly coming in.  If it’s a constant high damage fight you can shield yourself for the haste and to avoid interruption and pop off a Prayer of Healing.  Yeah, it’s 1800 mana, but it beats casting flash heal 5 times.  Of course if you’re on the move there’s always Holy Nova as well – which I’ve learned to not hate now.

So there you have it, a basic analysis of what you can expect as a Discipline Priest.

In short remember the 5 P’s of Priesting:

  • Power Word: Shield
  • Power Infusion
  • Pain Suppression
  • Penance
  • Prayer of Mending