The Killer Instinct of Healing

The Killer Instinct of Healing

Aunaka wrote a nifty post wondering if great healers could be taught. Not quite sure if a truly great healer can be. How would you even start defining that? Someone who shows up all the time? A player capable of carrying the raid? A Druid who’s able to solo heal the last 10% of a raid boss? I’d classify a great healer as a player who is not only technically sound, but results-oriented. They’re the players who put aside everything and find ways to win.

Would you have thought to Life Grip the tank away from the boss to buy time for them to live?

What about using Pain Suppression on a DPS player so that it was one less player to worry about when healing your group?

You did the research. You read the forums. You followed along with the discussion. You gained the technical knowledge on the best times and best targets to use your spells on. What you’re not taught is that there’s multiple right answers to the same problems and different degrees of success.

This is where the killer instinct of healing comes into play.

There’s a marked difference in approach between an alt healer that has played for years versus a healer that’s done nothing but heal. It’s easy to teach a new healer the basics about their spells, resource management, and so on. However, I don’t believe it’s possible to instil that survival instinct of healing. That alt healer guy mains a Retribution Paladin, perhaps. All they’re interested in is unloading the DPS and only comes in to relief heal as a break from DPS or because there isn’t enough healers for that day.Having a killer instinct is an approach that needs to be embraced and can’t be taught. You start making your own decisions and throw “the book” out the window because “the book” didn’t cover the situation you were in.

Case study

Hard mode Yor’sahj calls for two Paladins to help heal during the purple phases. Guess what? You might not have two Paladins. Find a work around. Sometimes that means letting the tank die on one occasion and using the Battle Res. I struggled when I didn’t have two Paladins to work with. 1 Paladin healed the first tank and I took the second one. We ended up using 3 Rebirths because I struggled like crazy to keep my tank alive during the various purple oozes. Relied endlessly on Prayer of Mending so as to not detonate our tank and really strategic cooldowns.

Listen, as much I want to, I can’t teach you to be desperate.

I can’t teach you how to be hungry.

I can’t teach you to want a boss kill badly enough that you’ll consider using unorthodox specs, weird spells, and what-the-hell inducing plays.

One thing I learned when playing hockey is that you play hard every shift between the whistle. In WoW terms, you don’t stop what you’re doing until the raid leader says “Wipe it up”. If you’re busting your ass healing, you better expect everyone in your raid to be right there with you. This isn’t a casual philosophy in any aspect.

As my uncle Freudicus, a psychologist, once told me, “It’s all in the id, kid!”.

You’ll be a good healer by reading, asking, and watching other healers play. Being a great healer requires the attitude, the work ethic, and the burning desire. It can’t be taught but maybe it can be learned.

10 Tips for the New Discipline Priest

Last week, I surveyed the Plus Heal forums (Priest regiment) for any quick advice they’d like to offer for any Priests that had just turned Discipline (like me). This is what they came up with:

The Tips

Remember the four Ps, and use them! Penance, Power Word: Shield, Pain Suppression, and Power Infusion.

- Joveta

It’s not your job to top the healing charts; you’re there to prevent crisis moments.

- Wistoovern

Play to your strengths; don’t be afraid to chain cast. If it’s truly warranted, you are at your strongest. Penance does not consume Borrowed Time yet still benefits from it

- Arcady

Your job is about damage mitigation, and speed healing.

- Melchizedeck

Power Word: Shield does so many things for you. If you’re not keeping that up consistently on your tank, you might be missing out on some emergency opportunities!

- Kitts

During fights that you know involve AoE damage, I’ve found it very helpful to use my spare time to toss PW:S on the DPS. They end up being protected if they get hit by something, and you really get to abuse Borrowed Time.

- Juzaba

As far as the AoE damage is concerned, I’ve found that PW:S on myself plus a Holy Nova followed immediately by a nice Prayer of Healing really did wonders for everyone’s health box.

- Seriah

You benefit more from MP5 than spirit. It goes against everything you have learned as a holy priest, but because you chain cast there is no chance to cheat the five second rule with Clearcasting (you don’t even get this) and Inner Focus.

- Takka

With the threat generation being made easier for tanks, any tank crying about the bubble should scare you and make you think twice about healing them in a group or raid.

- Beanne

You can also use Renew & PoM without consuming Borrowed Time, if you still want to save it for a Flash or Greater Heal.

- dunia

I turned Discipline for the weekend and had a lot of fun with it PvPing. It took me a while to get used to it at first, but I really freakin’ enjoyed it! I hope these tips from the more experienced Discipline Priests will benefit you as it did for me. I’ll definitely be tapping their minds in the future for more advice.

Don’t forget to read more about Discipline healing from guest writer Seriah that went up earlier!

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

Pain Suppression, Meditation, Arenas and blogging

Patch is coming soon next week, doo dah, doo dah, Priests get mana up the butt, oh the doo dah day. I guess we’ll find out how good the increased mana regeneration buff will be when it debuts (Meditation). Considering we’re running five Priests in our raids, we should be able to project our spells slightly longer then usual. I’m rather curious as to the viability of the redesigned Pain Suppression. Right now, it reads:

Pain Suppression redesigned: Now castable on other friendly targets; Reduces target’s threat by 5% and the damage they take by 40%. Cooldown reduced to 2 minutes.

Typically, a Raid consists of three types or roles: Tank, DPS/CC, and Heals. In the past, the Discipline tree has always been considered a support tree. The talents have been designed to increase the survivability of a Priest and the amount of utility it brings. I find it unlikely that Raids will find room for such a role as outlined above. It’s easy enough to get Improved Divine Spirit and invest the rest into the Holy Tree and you’ll come out great. That’s the Priestiality of the situation. Alternatively, you join the dark side and melt faces for a living. Those are the primary reasons why Priests are brought into Raids. I find it unlikely for many Guilds to bring in a Discipline Priest because they do not fulfill the three roles as highlighted above. True, a Discipline Priest can heal, but not as well as their Holy counterparts. Smite damage? No thanks. You shouldn’t be Pain Suppressing a tank when they’re trying to get aggro.

So then what’s the point of the post-modern Discipline tree?

Combat. Pure PvP combat. You’re going in close quarters and instead of being two shot by that rogue, you’re going to get four shot. That mage that’s getting focused fired by a 4 DPS team? He’s going to last 6 seconds longer (but there’s a 35% chance that it might get purged/dispelled/etc). Are we going to see a huge influx of Discipline trees in the Arena? I don’t know, it’s tough to say. On paper, it looks plausible. But the assets that are brought in do not seem enough to nudge another class out of a PvP line up. It’s too early to say right now, so we’ll need to see. I can’t help but wonder if we’ll begin to see a 5-caster type team in the Arenas.

Speaking of PvP and the patch, here’s some healthy advice from the Out of Mana blog. The announcement of 2.3 heralds the end of Season 2, which means:

  1. Alterac Valley will change (hopefully for the better)
  2. Arenas will be in a frenzy when the Season 3 begins
  3. Honor points can now be used to purchase Season 1 swag

World of Matticus is about to undergo some minor additions. You’ll note that the middle column was removed in favor of extending the right and left bars. I’m going to make my RSS feeds more prominent on the front page somewhere. There’s a lot of things I want to do, right now.

By the way, I purchased Call of Duty 4. AWESOME GAME! GREAT way to relieve the stress and tensions of WoW.