Hymn of Hope is Removed and New Power Infusion Graphic

Hymn of Hope is Removed and New Power Infusion Graphic

I checked.

I checked all possible trees (including Shadow but I didn’t screenshot that). Hymn of Hope is gone.

Yes, I know there was a new glyph added:

Glyph of Hymn of Hope *new*  — Your Hymn of hope provides 3 times the normal amount of mana per time, but its duration is 50% shorter.

But Hymn of Hope isn’t there and I have nothing new to learn from the trainer.

disc-tree holy-tree  base-line-tree

Below is the new Power Infusion graphic on my Shaman. It sort of looks like the Shaman’s Elemental Mastery but with a bit more flare to it.

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I’d say it blends with the Shaman set quite well!

Holy Light Spam – Less Calories than the Original

Holy Light Spam – Less Calories than the Original

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This is a guest post by Sientina, a Holy Paladin

I’ve been reading a few (okay, a bit more than a few) paladin threads lately, sifting through the arguments about what to gem and what is the premiere paladin stat. It never fails that in every single thread at least one or more people comment how ‘I have X amount of Y and I spam Holy Light for the entire boss fight’.  With how healers mana is in the current content, I can understand why they would just spam Holy Light, and if glyphed, AoE five melee around that particular tank.  But with the exception of Patchwerk or Instructor Razuvious (on the Understudies if your priests were a bit off their game) I can’t think of a single boss fight in the current content that would warrant Holy Light spam.

There’s always a defensive reply from the paladins who spam the light when they’re confronted.

“My overhealing meters don’t count if no one dies!”

No, but unless you’re healing a five man, there are others healing with you.  Are your raid healers going low on mana?  Think about helping them out.  Why not spread some Flash of Light throughout the raid? If the tank needs a heal bomb, Divine Favor + Holy Shock + Instant Flash of Light at the cost of two global cooldowns for about the same healing as one Holy Light will work just fine.  Perhaps you’ve been working on the 6 minute Malygos achievement but haven’t gotten it yet. If more healers were being mindful of who else is taking damage and taking care of it instead of mindlessly spamming, maybe you could run it with one less healer. Who’s pulling the healing weight in your raid?

“If I have the mana to support spamming Holy Light, why shouldn’t I?”

If you have the mana, you’re overgeared for the content. Plain and simple. If you are overgeared, your overhealing is through the roof and into outer space assuming your tanks are overgeared as well. If you don’t need the extra healing, why do it? DPS a little, judge a bit more often.  Of course, keep an eye on your tank but watch everything else around you.  Get in the mindset of watching what happens to the raid. Warlocks that get high up on threat and need a Hand of Salvation. That mage that tends to pull aggro at the wrong time and needs a BoP.  We are currently in Kara-like content, people.  This is easy mode.  Ulduar will not let you get away with just pressing 2-2-2-2-2,. Getting healer tunnel vision will screw you over later.

Ask yourself this question. Why would Blizzard change the paladin class from spamming Flash of Light to spamming Holy Light?

Back in vanilla wow, Flash of Light was a paladin’s bread and butter spell.  All one did was hit FoL over and over and over again while refreshing 5 minute blessings.  In Burning Crusade, we were gifted with Holy Shock, a very mana inefficient spell with a long cool down, but it was great when everything went to hell.  Once Wrath came, we were reworked into a healing machine. Holy Shock got a longer range, critting with it made our Flash of Light instant or our Holy Light faster.  On top of that, we got Sacred Shield and while it was active, our Flash of Light gets an extra 50% to crit.

Blizzard made our spells to be synergistic. Use the mechanics to make the best out of the paladin class. Play with your spells. We are still the healers of the main tank more than any other class, but we are not limited to just that.  Sure we don’t have a chain heal, a wild growth, or a circle of healing, but who cares? With the mana regen changes coming in 3.1, Shamans, Druids and Priests will have to be more mindful of mana. I know I’ll be there backing them up.

So please, lay off the canned meat. Its just not healthy for you or for your raid.

Guardian Spirit Works on Kel’Thuzad

Derevka from Tales of a Priest asked me to issue a World of Matticus all points bulletin:

8:50 PM Derevka: word to the wise, Kelthuzzad CAN be buffed with Guardian Spirit while you are MC’d. We had 10 seconds of “OMG DONT KILL HIM!”

For those of you unaware, if you kill a subject with the Guardian Spirit buff active, they gain 50% of their health back. For most of us, 50% is no big deal. But if you’re sporting a bajillion health, 50%’s a pretty honkin’ big deal that would make Howie Mendel proud.

So if you’re on the last legs of the encounter and a Holy Priest get’s MC’d, make sure you CC him like crazy. If he gets the wings off, try to break it with a Purge or Dispel.

As Wyn always tells me, you can’t spell success without CC!

Healing Rotation: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Look at this blue post below. It appears that Priests are about to get additional sweeping changes to the class.

We have some exciting changes planned for priests. Many of them will make it in 3.1 (Ulduar). We hope to have them finalized enough to be able to announce some in the next couple of weeks, but that date might not work out for a number of reasons. The community has a way of overlooking all those caveats such as “at this time” or “assuming nothing changes” and suddenly we are “breaking promises.”

Source: Two Non-QQ QUestions for the Devs

I don’t plan on being a cynic. I am not particularly good at being a cynic. I’m far too hopeful and optimistic for my own good. Other bloggers are way better at that than I am. All I can say is that I’m really looking forward to see what these changes are.

Despite all the improvements and changes made to the Discipline tree, I can tell from the amount of emails I read, tweets I get, and forum posts I peruse that there is a significant number of players who remain skeptical about the healing capability of Discipline.

A change like that doesn’t occur overnight. A change happens like that from player to player. All it takes is for one Discipline Priest to heal a Heroic expertly. Then those 4 players that partner with them will spread the word allowing that Priest to heal for other players. Then he gets invited to raids and so forth. Being accepted as Discipline takes time.

Even I was skeptical until I tried it out myself.

I asked everyone around the table if they would feel comfortable having a Disc priest on main tank duty even with no paladin. Every one of them said yes.

Source: 8 Reasons

Healer Rotations

Here’s another forum post located in the same thread as the last one.

When I say we want healers to have rotations, that doesn’t necessarily mean you always press 112311231123 forever and install cooldown timers so that you don’t go insane. Some dps classes are closer to that, but dps classes in general don’t have to be as reactive to situations as do healers, so they can handle it.

What I am really getting at are things like Swiftmend and Riptide. Swiftmend is a very fun spell — IMO one of the best ones in the game. But you can’t spam Swiftmend. In fact, you have to be pretty smart about when you set it up and when you use it. And yes it has a cooldown. Riptide has a similar mechanic where you want to X when Y happens and you can come up with a lot of other examples. Riptide is fun. Swiftmend is fun. Greater Heal… eh, it does the job. But it’s not a particularly fun button to use.

Disc gets this vibe with some of their shield mechanics, Grace and Penance. I do think that Holy could use a lot more of it though. The main "interesting thing" that happens with Holy is Holy Concentration and its Improved version. That’s not bad, but we’re not sure it’s enough. I don’t think we would actually use this specific example, but imagine a talent that sped up Greater Heal’s cast time when you cast enough Flash Heals. Now you have a reason to "weave." You have a mechanic that rewards you (but doesn’t require you) to switch from one thing to another. Another idea (off the top of my head) is that CoH healed more on targets with Renew on them (this steals too much from the Resto playbooks IMO). These don’t necessarily have to be random procs or cooldowns, though sometimes these systems end up using those specific mechanics.

This is the kind of thing we’d like to do to Holy.

This is an approach that has merit. I admit I have not played my Shaman as Resto yet. Therefore, I don’t know what it’s like to use Riptide with its bonus effect.

I know for me when it comes to healing, I will make whatever move necessary to keep my players from dying. I’d call it the Dominik Hasek approach since he was known for doing whatever was necessary in keeping pucks out of the net.

And the same thing applies here. As a healer, it’s your role to do everything in your power to save. Calling it a healing rotation though implies that there should be a specific sequence of spells you should cast to best “optimize” healing done. By doing that, you’d gain additional bonus effects of some sort if you can combo 3 Flash Heals and a Greater (as an example).

Unlike DPS players, it is not always possible for healers to to stick to a specific sequence. On my Elemental Shaman, it’s Flame Shock, Lava Burst, and about 5 Lightning Bolts before I start it all over again (Single mob, will throw in Chain Lightning for multiple ones).

We’re not going to constantly use up our Global Cooldown because we might need it (although to be fair that is encounter specific).

On the other hand, I have a feeling that by implementing a change like this into the game, it may slow down some healers. I’m referring to the decision making aspect.

“I could use this Instant heal now, or I could cast my big heal which activates my other healing increase bonus to my lesser heal but if I do that he might di- Oh crap he’s dead.”

The point

I am totally in favor of more changes to the Priest class to add in bonuses for using specific spells after certain conditions. But I won’t always exercise the option to use them because of how the nature of healing is.

When I was Holy, I’d often get Surge of Light procs. I’d wait and watch for players to heal before I converted it to a free Smite instead. Sometimes we just don’t have an occasion to use spells.

This is especially true when tanks have a hard time taking damage.

The Question

Do you think added bonuses from using spells at specific times is going to help you or hinder you? (Don’t worry about the class you play. It’s directed to all healers).

Single Target Healing in a Multi Target World

Single Target Healing in a Multi Target World

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This is a guest post by Holy Paladin and Disc Priest blogger Ambrosyne of For the Bubbles

By the time I dinged 80 with my paladin, I was about ready to throw in my hat.  "This is insane!" I huffed.  "I feel as if Blizzard hates holy paladins." 

This is likely an exaggeration, but I’m a dramatic soul.  Regardless, let’s take a look at what pushed me to this point.

Aoe damage.  Wrath instances seem to have a lot of it.  Sometimes it’s just masses of mobs, some of which inevitably peel off try to eat the overzealous mage.  There’s also cleaves and whirlwinds and poisons thrown everywhere and rain of fire and blizzards and mojo puddles… 

Sometimes it seemed as if taking heals off the tank for even a heartbeat resulted in a wipe.  Most instances ended up sending my mind into chaos.  Peeking into it you might have seen something like this:

“Aaaah! Poisons everywhere I need to cleanse them!”
”OH MY GOD THE TANK IS DYING!”
*heals the tank”
“OH MY GOD THE DPS IS DYING!”
*heals the DPS”
“OH MY GOD THE TANK IS DYING”
*dies*

The only good thing to come out of this (aside from the fact that I decided to roll a priest) was that I learned very quickly to make the most out of a holy paladin’s limited arsenal.

How A Holy Paladin Can Cope

Beacon – Sweet, so I can heal TWO targets at once with a semi-expensive spell that only lasts a minute!  Sadly a group has five people in it, but we do what we can. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love beacon.  I just wish I could make it magically expand to the entire group.

In a five man you’ll often beacon the tank while topping off the DPS.  This works fine, except on longer fights where beacon seems to eat up your mana, and on fights where the tank is taking really heavy hits.  Beacon alone will not keep the tank up.

Sometimes I’ll beacon myself while healing the tank, if we’re talking something really not fun like the mojo puddles in Heroic Gundrak.  

Learn to predict incoming damage – This is easiest if you run with the same tanks all the time and come to know their gear and play style, but just being familiar with their class and the boss can be enough.  When I deemed it ‘safe’, I would judge for haste, toss a holy light on the tank so that he was at full, and then quickly throw Flashes at the DPS to keep them alive.  They might not have been at full health, but they were still alive.   If I guessed correctly, by the time I cycled back to the tank he was a bit lower on health but in no danger of dying before the next Holy Light.  If I had to, I let the rogue die.  Sorry man (I’m kidding!  I let the DPS warrior die).

Sacred Shield – In most cases, you don’t need to be afraid of rage or mana starving the tank.  The additional flash of light crits are great, and the damage absorption means you have less to heal!  Don’t be afraid to toss it on yourself, either, if you have the bad tendency to get healer tunnel vision.  Or if there are mojo puddles.  I hate mojo puddles, by the way.

Grab the Holy Light glyph – The splash heal sure as heck can’t hurt.

Holy shock - It’s expensive, it has a cool down, but as an "oh no!" button, it’s great.  I have an oh no macro set up for casting divine favor, holy shock, and then flash of light. 

Be adaptable – Don’t get your mind stuck on ‘spamming flash of light’ or ‘spamming holy light’.  Read the situation and use what’s best.  In a raid, forget the meters.  Healing meters suck.  You know what a holy paladin on top of the meters is a lot of the time?  OOM. 

Have patience.  A lot of my problems resolved once I started picking up some gear out of the very same heroics that were making me weep.  There seems to be a gear plateau for the holy paladin at 80, beyond which things become manageable again.  Trust me!  If you raid, that too will make your life easier.  You have someone else healing and as a single target healer this is where you shine.  I just love healing Patchwerk.  I look forward to it every week.  It’s like Blizzard gave me cookies for being a holy pally!

Discipline priests, I have not forgotten you!  You too are considered primarily single target healers, and hey, I have one too.  What, I was frustrated with single target healing so I rolled another one?  Yes!  Guess what: you are not as limited as you think. 

If the occasional tossed renew (no, they’re not that efficient for you; yes, they’re still useful in a pinch) and a bouncing prayer of mending isn’t enough, don’t forget prayer of healing.  If it’s on cooldown, use inner focus first!   I sometimes save inner focus just for PoH.  Use your bubbles and borrowed time to your advantage. 

Hopefully my experiences, as frustrating as they were at the time (and still are-I’m looking at you, mojo puddle), allowed me to share some useful information with you.  Stick with it.  All of Azeroth needs you!

Happy healing!

Image courtesy of barunpatro

4 Reasons Healing Meters Suck

4 Reasons Healing Meters Suck

Thumbs Down (with Clipping Path)

This is a guest post by Ulkesshern, an EU Holy Paladin from Hellfire

Matticus put a plea out for guest posts and despite it been something I’ve never done I figured ‘Hey, why not?’ and offered up my services and here I am! I’m a Holy Paladin from the EU realm of Hellfire and I’m currently enjoying the delights of the 25 man content.

For my inaugural post I’ve decided to focus on one of my major bug bears, the absolutely terrible creations that are healing meters and the issues I perceive with them.

Issue 1: More Healing does not equal Better Healers

Without trying to oversimplify the job of DPS their job is basically to do damage, the more damage they do the (arguably) better they are, boss health is constant so the more damage they do the quicker the boss dies, the quicker people get their loot and the quicker you progress. However that really isn’t the case for healers. Picture this scenario, you’ve all just hit 80, you’re all predominantly in your old Tier 6 or quest rewards and you head to Naxx.

People are going to be taking massive amounts of damage, Tank mitigation will be low, DPS will be low so the encounters will be lasting longer and as such you’re going to be healing your heart out. Fast forward to the point when you go back with everyone in shiny Level 80 epics. The tanks don’t lose as much health every hit, encounters last half the amount of time and you’re not going to be breaking a sweat.

Then out come the meters!

“Oh wow my DPS is almost double what it was when we started here” cries StabbyStabster your top Rogue.
“Yeah mine too, we’re awesome now” join in the rest of the DPS.

Then someone links the healing comparison.

Well look at that, you’ve healed probably half of what you healed last time and instantly the people who don’t get it start moaning at you for not pulling your weight. The thing is we scale almost inversely with the raids gear level, but in the minds of so many people bigger numbers equals better players.

Issue 2: Situational Situations are Situational

This is something that an amazing amount of people just fail to understand, who you are assigned to heal can greatly affect your position on the meters, and I saw a wonderful example of this in a raid I was in last night. We were twenty manning Patchwerk for the achievement (yes I like achievements). Our tanks were a Death Knight, a Druid and a Warrior and our healing team comprised of 3 Paladins, a Priest and Shaman. The Paladins were assigned one Tank each while beaconing a different Tank, so all 3 Tanks had one Paladin and were the recipient of one Beacon, while the Priest and Shaman were assigned to just go crazy on all of the tanks.

We killed him pretty easily and were impressed with ourselves, and then someone linked the healing meter, Two Paladins at the top, followed by the Priest and then the Druid. Languishing at the bottom was the Third Paladin.

At first glance, it seemed that the Paladin was failed as his healing done was absolutely terrible. However when you thought about it, there were reasons.

Firstly, he was topping the over healing meters by a large margin. Then realization sets in, he was healing the main Tank, not the hateful strike soaks, and as such there was a lot less damage to heal and because Beacon of Light only transfers effective healing (of which there was very little). Whereas the other Paladins were hitting with ~14k effective heals and getting them beaconed across for about the same, the “bottom Paladins” heals weren’t needed as much and as such weren’t getting beaconed either.

3 Paladins, 3 Targets, 3 Players spamming the same heals with very different results. To some people that means that one of them was failing, a scenario that had entered no ones mind until the meters were linked. Just seconds earlier everyone was congratulating the Healers on such a good job!

At the end of the day, no one died except the boss and it was a good clean kill, only once the meters were show did any doubt suddenly arise as to the performance of healers.

Issue 3: Some Classes outclass Classes

A sad but true truth is that some classes usually end up beating others, Paladins can’t HoT or multi target as well (if at all) as Priests, Shaman, Druids and a lot of players just can’t understand that.

I once had a Guild Master state that “All of our healers are fantastic except our Paladins”. His reasoning? The other healers always beat the Paladins on meters (Late TBC Content). We tried to explain that no one ever died so we were doing our job but it just didn’t cut it, as far as he was concerned, the other classes were topping the meters so they were better and the Paladins were failing. We weren’t failing; he just couldn’t get his head around the different class mechanics and intended roles of the healing classes. Amusingly all the Paladins left soon after.

I daren’t even poke the sleeping bear that is absorption/mitigation effects. I feel for you Discipline Priests, I really do!

Issue 4: Meters are not infallible

Nothing and nobody is perfect (even me!) and meters are no exception, I’ve seen five people link meters from the same fight that have shown completely different results. I’ve seen WWS reports where I apparently wasn’t even there! I’ve spoken to Paladins who make a deal with a Warlock to keep them beaconed and instruct them to life tap like crazy. I’ve played with Priests who did nothing but spam Circle of Healing relentlessly and Shaman who may have just had a keyboard with one button marked Chain Heal. I’ve seen people of all spec that completely ignore whatever healing assignments they have in order to just spam quick heals on someone the second they take damage, I once had a Warlock point out that they really didn’t need 9 separate people to heal him the second he life tapped. I’ve even known people just type random numbers into raid chat and try and pass them off as a meter!

Final Thoughts

Meters do have a place, they’re amazingly useful for DPS, they also do serve a purpose for Healers, but they sure as anything aren’t something you can just glance at quickly and pick out who is top. If no one in the raid is dying our job is getting done and getting done well. If people are dropping like flies then perhaps consult some meters, look at what’s happening though, don’t just assume that the person on the bottom is there because he is terrible!

I’ve had meters running since Kara and I think I’ve looked at them perhaps once, coming top on a little chart doesn’t make you the worlds greatest Healer, doing your job and keeping people alive no matter how much or how little healing it requires makes you a good Healer.

(And no I don’t live at the bottom of meters!)

An Event Every Guild Leader Goes Through Once in Their Career

An Event Every Guild Leader Goes Through Once in Their Career

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At present, my healing corps consists of the following: 2 Priests, 4 Druids, 2 Paladins, and 2 Shamans. Note that both 1 Druid and 1 Shaman are on a part time rotation. I figure that’s more than enough to handle any sort of outages or benches that need to occur.

But a few nights ago, I received an in game mail from one of my Paladins. Let’s call him Wayne.

“Hey Matt, I’ve decided to take a break from WoW until Ulduar comes out. I’ve gotten what I need to prepare myself for it and I don’t want to burn myself too early. Thanks for understanding.”

The feeling I experienced after reading his in game mail could only be described as “disappointment”. Here was a player that had showed up to all of the raids we asked him to do before the holiday break. He was one of the earliest healers we had in the guild. For a time, he was the only Holy Paladin we had in our raids as our other one wasn’t ready to go yet.

Perhaps in this aspect, Loot Council may have failed as we awarded him nearly all the spell power plate gear until our second Paladin was able to join us.

The alternative would have been to shard upgrades to keep him coming for more. My guild and my friends would know that I would never consider that as an option.

Skepticism

Hmm… - I shouldn’t have to question the motives of my raiders. My experience in the game has taught me that there are some legitimate excuses for going on a hiatus and some that make you raise your eyebrow and go “really?”. This is one of those times. I would’ve been more than happy to accept a temporary leave of absence if a player was going out of town. Life does happen and there’s nothing I can do to change that (nor would I).

Conquest is now able to effectively clear out all heroic level content in the game.

Actually, we took down Sarth with 2 drakes up tonight.

And we’re able to do this within 6 hours. I intentionally split this into 2 days of 3 hour raid nights to avoid wear and tear on my troops.

Short term effects

Newsflash – This reduced our number of active healers down to 6 but I plan to rotate the other 2 healers I have on standby as needed. Both myself and my other Priest were both deep Holy. After some consultations and careful consideration, I decided to join Vonya and respec Discipline myself. This means I have to toss out the 16 Spirit gems in my blues and replace them with some Intellect heavy gems (Dazzling Forest Emerald although I probably should’ve used Seer’s Forest Emerald instead, but alas the AH doesn’t always have what you need).

Feel free to check out my character’s armory.

The impact this has on our healer corps is the fact that we are back up to having 2 solid tank healers who are myself and a Holy Paladin. We still have a strong supplement of Resto Druids, Shamans, and another CoH Priest to maintain raid wide heals.

Long term effects

We are down to 1 Holy Paladin. That’s 1 less set of blessings and auras among other things. I know for the time being I am willing to stand pat on my corps. But I would not be against the idea of recruiting another Holy Paladin for part time purposes. I’ve spoken with several around the server, but they’re all interested in a full time raiding and starting position. That’s not something I can promise. I don’t want to say one thing only for them to switch over and find out that I failed to deliver. I try to maintain a record of meaning what I say.

As for Wayne, I’m not going to think about any actions for the present. Those are his choices to make and I have to react accordingly. I can’t help but feel anything else but disappointment right now.

To me, it’s just another day behind the desk.

PS – If you’re a Holy Paladin looking for for a home and not expecting a lot of raiding hours, get in touch with me.

Image courtesy of TouTouke

Keeping your Healers Happy: a Death Knight Tank’s Perspective

Keeping your Healers Happy: a Death Knight Tank’s Perspective

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This is a guest post by Scourge of his self titled Death Knight blog, The Scourge!

First of all, I’d like to thank Matticus, Wynthea, and Sydera for allowing me to guest post. I have been reading this blog for a long time and followed SYTYCB intently. I didn’t participate at the time for two reasons. One, I don’t heal and two, I didn’t have a niche to discuss. Wrath changed one of those drawbacks.

I originally planned on continuing to tank on my Feral Druid but I rolled a Death Knight for fun. Next thing I know I’m the 3rd level 80 in my guild as an Unholy Death Knight and I specced to tank.

Now let’s talk about keeping your healers happy. Some of this advice will apply to all tanks and some to Unholy Death Knights only.

I love healers.

I love the two healers in my small guild
I love all the healers that are on my friends lists from guilds past
I love all the healers that I pug with.

I pug a lot.

My first goal in every Heroic or raid is to complete the run. The second is to make my healers so happy that they want to heal me again. As I write this, patch 3.08 is still on the PTR and keeping healers happy as a DK isn’t always easy. It seems the damage we take can be inconsistent. For some reason healers like consistency, I figure Matticus and crew can tell you why.

Overall basics to keep your healer happy

  • First: Make sure you are geared for the content you are running. That means defense capped, plenty of health, armor and avoidance, proper gems, chants, and glyphs and a kitchen sink. You never know when you’ll need the kitchen sink.
  • Second: you better be specced properly for the job. When Ghostcrawler says all DK specs can tank he doesn’t mean spend 71 talent points willy-nilly however you want and you’re golden. There are clear mitigation talents in every tree and you need to have them if you want to tank.
  • Third: come prepared. Food, pots, flasks, repaired, all standard stuff. But if you want to get on a healers friends list, which makes pugging a heroic real easy, you need to be prepared.
  • Fourth: Healers get mad when other players take unnecessary damage because they have aggro. Now Ron White says you can’t fix stupid and any DPS who focus fires secondary targets get what’s coming to them, but you should provide enough AOE or set up enough CC so you are the only one taking non AOE damage.

Death Knights take inconsistent damage because we try to avoid it altogether. Let’s face it we stack parry and dodge to avoid incoming damage and reasonably geared have around 50% avoidance. That’s a coin flip. Every time the boss swings we either get hit or we don’t. Right from the start we are inconsistent in the damage we take.

Death Knights also have a number of talents, spells, and abilities that either increase our avoidance or pump up our mitigation for a short period of time. These also lend themselves to taking inconsistent damage.

To start us out, let’s look at the two abilities all DKs have.

Anti-Magic Shell and Icebound Fortitude

Both of these are on a one-minute cooldown and provide great mitigation. For 5 seconds, Anti-Magic Shell will mitigate 75% of the magic damage a DK is taking, while Icebound Fortitude will reduce all damage by 50% currently for 12 seconds. Fantastic mitigation while in use, if we use these whenever the cooldown is up that creates sudden drops in the damage we take which may lead to greater over healing. Whoops. Healers don’t like wasting their mana.

That leaves talented mitigation abilities. Any DK tank worth their salt will have at least 3 of these, some may have four. We’ll break these down into avoidance, mitigation, and healing efficiency.

Avoidance talents

The avoidance talents are Blade Barrier and Lichborne. Blade Barrier procs off of using both your blood runes and increases your parry by 10%. A good tank will have this up just about the entire fight, which contributes to the coin flip. Lichborne, on the other hand, adds a flat 25% chance to be missed and has a cooldown. Needless to say, when your healer is charging up a big one and the tank pops this and the boss misses a couple in a row the healer may have wasted their time and mana.

Mitigation talents

For mitigation DK tanks will have either Bone Shield, Unbreakable Armor, or even Anti-Magic Zone. Once again, all three have a cooldown and provide excellent mitigation when active. BS can by glyphed and kept up around half the time in most boss fights. UA increases the armor damage reduction even further, while AMZ drops a stationary bubble everyone can get into to avoid all the magic damage flying around.

Healing efficiency

Blood tanks (yeah I know lolbloodtank, for now) have a couple talents that help with the healing load. Mark of blood will give back 4% of damage dealt by the boss for 20 seconds out of every three minutes and Vampiric Blood will increase healing efficiency by 50% when its in use. Want to see a big fat heal, crit a blood tank when Vampiric Blood is up.

The trick to keeping your healers happy with all these talents at our disposal is to use them judiciously. Pop them when you know there is an incoming damage spike, whether an enrage, adds, or whatever. The other time to use them is when your healers are low on mana; just let them know you will be giving them a break. Nothing says healer love like telling them the next 16,000 in damage won’t need to be healed and they can score some non-casting MP5.

I’d like to close this guest post with a shameless plug. My blog titled The Scourge has several posts dealing with achieving and maintaining the defense cap, talent discussions, and tanking strategies.

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
Interview: Holy Priest vs Discipline Priest

Interview: Holy Priest vs Discipline Priest

priest-compare

I had an idea the other day to interview two healing Priests of different specs. I wanted to see what choices they make under similar circumstances. Figured it would be fun to ask them both identical questions to determine where the differences started between them! Hopefully this post will help shed some light for Priests that are still mulling over what spec to select for in end game.

Where did I find my Priests from? The Plusheal forums naturally!

Questions Yaxley (Discipline) Deklen (Holy)
First, a brief introduction about yourself: My character is Yaxley, a discipline priest. I’m an officer of the Apostles of the Phoenix raiding guild. I am an officer and healing leader of the guild Phoenix Rising on Mannoroth (US) in which I play a Dwarf Priest named Deklen.
What is your current level of progression? I’ve cleared Obsidian Sanctum 10/25 (no drakes up), Naxx 10/25, and Malygos 10. Currently working on Malygos 25. Phoenix Rising has successfully completed all 10 man content and has completed all 25 man content with the exception of Malygos (We plan to start attempts on him this coming week).
What factors influenced your choice to pick your spec? I felt discipline was a more challenging spec than holy, and when the new talents were announced for 3.0, I was very intrigued. I liked the concept of almost having a healing rotation with many spells to choose from that integrate well together. I really enjoy the diversity of healing spells available to priests, and holy priests in particular. I enjoy the complexity that comes with having to choose the correct healing spell for the given situation.
What stats are the most important for you? Intellect is my most valuable stat, as it contributes to every aspect of my healing. A bigger mana pool means bigger returns from Rapture, Shadowfiend and Replenishment. It also boosts crit for more throughput and more Divine Aegis procs. Haste is what I look for second, but only until about 10%. After that I feel stacking it is hurting other stats. For the expansion, I have chosen to keep spirit at the top of my priority list when it comes to gear selection and augmentation; however, with that being said, I value Intellect much more so than during BC raiding. I reserve yellow sockets for Brilliant Autmn’s Glow, attempting to maintain some semblance of balance between spirit and intellect.
What trinkets are you presently using and how do they help? Right now I’m using the Egg of Mortal Essence from Emblems of Heroism along with Forge Ember from heroic Halls of Stone. I use the Egg mostly for the raw spell power, though the proc is a nice to have when it goes off. Forge Ember gives a nice hefty amount of crit and I love the proc for a nice spell power boost. I carry around a few other trinkets for different situations; I usually use Darkmoon Card: Blue Dragon for long fights as Disc casts enough spells to make it worth a fair amount of regen. I am using the Majestic Dragon Figurine and the Spirit World Glass. The two trinkets provide excellent mana regen for boss encounters. Spirit World Glass really shines when there is predictable incoming damage in which I am able to pop the on use ability after a clearcasting proc, followed up an Inner Focus + Greater Heal to allow for maximum regen time spent OO5SR. If the full 20 seconds is spent not casting or "cheating" the rule, it usually will return about 35-40% of my 20k mana pool.
Your 3 top spells in order of usage on any given raid are: 1: Flash Heal,
2: Penance
3: Prayer of Mending.
1: Flash Heal
2: Circle of Healing
3: Prayer of Mending
Which raid encounter in the game is your favourite? Kel’Thuzad. There is a lot of action going on with a lot of situations where my quick single target heals and shields help. A lot of tank damage, as well as the ice blocks which require people to be healed quickly for a large amount. Sapphiron. The encounter really tests the healers both on raw healing power as well as their regen techniques/skills. In addition, the fight in particular showcases just how awesome bouncing Prayer of Mending can truly be.
What’s the worse? Heroic Thaddius. Its a boring fight when done correctly, and a painful fight with a long corpse run (with frogger slimes and pipe boss in between!) when not executed correctly. And if it were not for levitate I’m sure the Super Mario jump would make it even worse for me. Heroic Patchwerk. While there is some skill involved in trying to keep your mana going throughout the fight, I find little enjoyment in spamming Greater Heal on the MT/OT and praying they dont get 1 shot from a hateful strike. P.S. Holy Paladins are disgusting for this fight.
How do you handle AoE healing? In a five-man, Prayer of Healing is my spell of choice. In a raid, its not as useful as you need to heal outside your own group. As Disc you need to be more aware of who is taking damage and who is going to need the most help. I usually throw shields around the raid on every cooldown for the Borrowed Time buff, but I try to keep them on the tank and the squishiest members of the raid. Prayer of Mending on cooldown as well, this is especially useful during the Vortex in the Malygos encounter. Before casting an AoE healing ability I first determine what caused this person to be damaged, and if they are in close proximity to other players. If they are alone I usually cast a Flash Heal, if they are grouped up I would obviously cast Circle of Healing. In fights like Gluth and Loatheb though, I use Prayer of Healing considerably more (After decimate and when necrotic aura drops off, respectively).
How do you gem red, blue and yellow slots on your gear? Red: Luminous Monarch Topaz
Yellow: Luminous Monarch Topaz or Brilliant Autumn’s Glow (depending on if I’m losing spell power for other stats in an upgrade).
Blue: Seer’s gems
Red: Runed Scarlet Ruby (I dont believe the +Spirit/+Spell damage gem is in the game yet).
Blue: Sparkling Sky Sapphire
Yellow: Brilliant Autumn’s Glow
Your gut reaction to the Circle of Healing nerf is: I like it, as it brings Holy spec back in line with Discipline, where you need to choose your spells carefully. I’d rather they were more creative than using a cooldown, however, as CoH spam is useful in situations. But as it is now, it is useful in nearly all situations – which lead to one button healing. I don’t think it will be as bad as everyone is thinking it will be. Yes we will loose some AoE healing ability but those who spammed the spell mindlessly never really understood the true potential of priests and instead relied on a crutch. That being said, I will miss it!
What type of healing are you assigned to by your leaders when raiding (tank or raid, etc)? I’m assigned to the main tank or an off tank nearly 100% of the time. I still heal the raid from time to time when the boss is trying to break through my shield! Either myself or the GM are responsible for healing assignments, but I usually put myself on raid healing as we have a healthy supply holy paladins but only 1 restoration shaman and 1 restoration druid.
Do you enjoy playing your spec? Does it satisfy you? I love discipline spec. I’m not sure I could heal any other way. I’ve healed as a Holy Paladin and as a Resto Shaman in the past, and discipline definitely takes the monotony out of healing. Managing cooldowns and being smart about what spells to use used to be something relegated to DPS classes. Yes, I very much enjoy healing as a holy priest. As I said before, the diversity and complexity of healing abilities available to the priest is the reason I choose to heal and, ultimately, is what keeps me interested and entertained while healing.
What 1 piece of advice would you give other players who were to play your chosen talent specs? Don’t ever rely on healing meters to judge your performance. At least until Blizzard adds absorption amounts to the combat log. The biggest problem I have observed with new healers is their inability to observe and react. It is so easy to fall into the habit of tunnel visioning your raid frames that you forget to observe what exactly is happening around you.
If you could make one addition or change to your spec, what would it be? The obvious change would be more AoE healing tools, whether it be talents to modify Prayer of Healing or Holy Nova. But since that would be trespassing into Holy’s niche, I think more talents to make Renew useful to a Disc priest would be good. Perhaps allowing it to crit, or to be included in Rapture returns. I don’t believe I would change anything currently given the present PVE environment…PVP on the other hand is a different situation entirely though.

Special thanks to Yaxley and Deklen for participating!

Image courtesy of mmagallan