The Life of a Confused Priest: From Healing to DPS and back!

This is a guest post from my friend Synysta about breaking stereotypes and enjoying the game. -Lodur

My main Synysta is a Priest. She’s been many races and factions, but currently she is a Blood Elf. I think I can see the rotten tomatoes flying in my direction from the Alliance- I must duck! /cast Power Word: Shield

I’ve been playing a Priest for several years now as I rolled her at the beginning of BC and back then I did it just for kicks. The guild I was part of at the time was in desperate need of a healer and as we all know, the Priest is the archetypical healer in World of Warcraft. Was I aware of what I was letting myself in for, or was I aware of how much fun I was going to have? Absolutely not. I was a total newbie in the beginning, I hadn’t got a clue how the game worked and my experience with the universe of Azeroth was limited to Warcraft II and Warcraft III. So in I jumped, feet first and grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns. How hard could playing a Priest be?

I can hear all the Priests laughing as I typed that. As I have found out in my few years of playing the class, there’s a lot more to a Priest than you would imagine on face value. So I rolled the toon, picking Draenei as my initial class and starting as a Level 1 on the island of Azuremist. I did a few quests till level 10, smiting my way through the mobs and casting Renew and Gift of the Naaru on myself. Of course, I never realized how useful the shield could be until around level 65. Dumb? You betcha. I soon discovered dungeon healing and found I actually had a talent for healing the unclean, unwashed masses. The levels flew by and I was soon standing in Borean Tundra, dinging Level 70. Then I discovered ‘The Dark Side’.

Shadow DPS was an absolute riot and a half for me. I found that not only was I a capable Holy Priest but also a capable Shadow Priest. Now, I am aware that this is World of Matticus and I know that this is a Healing blog…but as someone who has played both sides of the coin as a Priest, I just want to say that no one should ever feel pigeonholed to heal- just because you are a Priest. It’s like saying a Warrior should only tank or a Paladin should DPS. It’s the stereotypical choice to go that path, sure…but it isn’t your only choice.

As a Shadow Priest, I was constantly bombarded from all angles about how I should heal and constant pressure was ladled onto me as I fought hard and strong on staying Shadow. Sadly, I was constantly forced to be a healer when Dual Specialization was introduced. From my early days of raiding Naxxramas through to Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel, most of my raid leaders or Guild Leaders were okay with me being a Shadow Priest but the more I held onto my new identity, the more people would try to shove me in the opposite direction. From here I decided to bite the bullet and learn to be a healer again. I leveled as a Holy Priest and had so many years of that I decided it was time for a change. So Discipline was the chosen way of the Light for me.

Having fun with Discipline has been a challenge for me. It took me a very long time for me to master it and then when Cataclysm came along and turned Healing on its head, I found myself struggling and gasping for mana like a fish out of water- flipping and sputtering around on its back. I soon learned that it was because of my gear. In Wrath of the Lich King, Discipline Priests would get mana returns through crit based heals and the use of Power Word: Shield. I never once had to sit to drink or use Shadowfiend, or even Hymn of Hope. I would watch Holy Priests seem to have a lot more issues with it than I ever did. I suppose that I really took it for granted as when Deathwing blew a giant hole in the side of the world…he seemed to blow a giant hole in the side of my mana pool too. Starting off with a 42k mana pool in my 25 man ICC gear, I thought that I was pro. I thought that I could stroll into Blackrock Caverns like the cat that had gotten the big bowl of cream. I soon found out how very wrong I was. Lets just say that panic was definitely the order of the day when 42k mana would vanish in a matter of seconds before my very eyes. It was like Pacman attacking my blue bar, OM NOM NOM NOM. I screamed. I panicked. I thought it was me. So I asked Matticus what to do. He told me to use the Heal spell more. And actually that seemed to work.

As my gear got better, I found that my mana pool doubled in size and with the added intellect and spirit, my mana gains seemed to return to normal and my anxiety levels seemed to drop. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no superstar healer but honestly- practice really does make perfect. I’ve seen Priests get so many changes since the early days of BC and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Sure, I’ve pulled out my hair in clumps and given myself heart palpitations but I really do love the challenge of relearning my character and class.

I recently leveled a Holy Paladin up to 80 too. 85 and healing though? That could well be for another time. Same place, same heart attacks. But as for the Priest? I still love DPS. It’s a nice change for when I can’t be bothered with the PUG’s ;)

Leveling, Holy and Discipline Priest specs

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

Starting from level 80

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

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

Mental Agility – Cheaper dots. ‘Nuff said.

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

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

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

Notes

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

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

Notes

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

Raiding

As Shadow (Link to talent calculator)

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

As Holy (Link to talent calculator)

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

As Discipline (Link to talent calculator)

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

Quick Priest Gear for Holy and Discipline at 85

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

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

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

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

Helms

There are a few options available here.

Arcanum of Hyjal – Guardians of Hyjal Quartermaster, Revered

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

Necks

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

Shoulders

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

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

Cloaks

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

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

Chest

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

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

Wrists

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

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

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

Gloves

Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery

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

Belt

Ebonsteel Belt Buckle

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

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

Pants

Ghostly Spellthread (Tailoring)
Powerful Ghostly Spellthread (Tailoring)

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

Boots

Enchant Boots – Lavawalker

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

Rings

Enchant Ring – Intellect (Enchanters only)

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

Trinkets

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

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

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

1H

Enchant Weapon – Heartsong

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

OH

Enchant Off-Hand – Superior Intellect

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

Staff

Enchant Weapon – Heartsong

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

Wand

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

Reputation

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

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

Quick note on allocating stats

REMEMBER THAT ALL YOUR GEAR HAS BEEN RESET!

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

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

Gem selection

Meta gem

Revitalizing Shadowspirit Diamond

Red

Brilliant Inferno Ruby
Purified Demonseye
Artful Ember Topaz
Potent Ember Topaz

Yellow

Fractured Amberjewel
Quick Amberjewel
Smooth Amberjewel
Zen Dream Emerald

Artful Ember Topaz
Potent Ember Topaz

Blue

Sparkling Ocean Sapphire
Purified Demonseye
Zen Dream Emerald

Gear strategy

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

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

Playing Holy at Level 85

It’s slightly different playing Holy at 85 compared to 80.

As a Holy Priest, do not get yourself locked into the idea of sticking to a set rotation.  For DPS players, a rotation is often necessary as it helps them maximize their DPS output (usually). Being a healer though, you need to be both proactive and reactive. You must balance healing incoming damage with your available mana. I’m going to use a new term in this post called “the hit”.

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

So treat this post as a set of guidelines that will help you with your priority: Keeping players alive.

On the tank

Your primary spells are going to be Heal, Flash Heal and Greater Heal. Heal is going to be your go-to spell in most cases. For Chakra, you’ll want to enter the Serenity state. Once you cast a Renew, continue to refresh it with Heal. Don’t dish out Power Word: Shield as often if there’s a Disc Priest in that raid group. Should your tank experience “the hit”, immediately start with a Power Word: Shield (you might be in a 5-man or something). Follow it up with a Prayer of Mending. Then a Renew. And chain cast either Flash Heal (if said tank is ridiculously low health) or Heal.

2-3 players

There are going to be situations where the tank takes a steady stream of damage followed by another player or two taking “the hit” to their health. In most cases, the 2 players hit won’t be hit again for some time. Give the tank as big a buffer as possible (Usually a Shield and a Renew). Renew will extend the life span of the tank before it falls low. Switching to the health of the non-tanks, let loose a Renew on them. If you feel uneasy, follow it up with a quick Flash Heal. My casts involve a Renew on both wounded non-tanks. Flash Heal gets them out of imminent danger. Renew keeps ticking on them (and should force their health to get there).

Warning: May not work for players who stand in melee cleave range. Stronger tactics, like shouting at them, may be necessary.

4-5 players

It’s essentially the same plan except you want to have the Serenity Chakra active (and preferably not used until the 4+ players have taken a hit). If you’re expecting “the hit”, then it doesn’t matter who you cast Prayer of Mending on as “the hit” is going to strike everyone (which means a 100% chance to shuffle to a different player). After “the hit”, place a Holy Word: Serenity on top of your (hopefully stacked) group. Personally, I prefer to follow up by dropping Circle of Healing on the group and then one or two Prayer of Healing casts should be enough to get them high enough on health.

However, if you think you have time, the alternative is to Prayer of Healing the group and then Renew them all. That takes about 5 seconds.

I know mana’s a big issue right now, but I want to stress the concept of time awareness to healers. Many player deaths I’ve seen in the past could’ve easily been prevented had healers not been stingy with mana. I include myself in that category.

5+ players

This is where true triage (which is pronounced tree-age) begins.

After “the hit”, cue up a Chakra followed by Prayer of Healing. Let’s get that Echo of Light working right away. At this point, you can either go for the AoE heal burn and continue to chain combinations of Prayer of Healing, Sanctuary and Holy Nova (thereby tanking your mana) or become an efficient and selective healing machine.

I would actually recommend option 1 if you believe the boss is going to die sometime soon (like 10% left or something, just go all in).

Option 2 is going to require additional on-the-fly thinking and prioritizing. As strange as it sounds, I don’t approach it from the standpoint of who needs healing. I take the opposite approach and think who doesn’t need healing. Just use process of elimination and heal backwards.

  • Are there Ice Blocked Mages or Bubbled Paladins? If yes, skip them.
  • Are there players who are under imminent threat like being chased by an orange goo or affected by some kind of debuff which ticks their health? If no, skip them and heal the threatened players first.
  • Are there players who are above 50% health? If yes, skip them.
  • Are ranged players at high risk of another AoE attack? If no, skip them.
  • Are melee players at high risk of another AoE attack? If no, skip them.
  • Are tanks at really low health and your assigned tank healers dad? Heal them to safe levels.

You may need to interchange the 3rd and 4th option depending on the encounter. As I’m healing, I like to remove players off the priority list based on their ability to survive (maybe I see a Pain Suppression up on them, or an incoming heal on that player). You eliminate the players who are safe in your mind and get to the players who could die soon. At that point, it’s just pick one. If you wait too long, they could all die.

Participating in 10-man raids is a great eye opener for everyone. I had to readjust and refine my priorities slightly.

Actually, use a Divine Hymn first. That should solve the first salvo. Then you’ll need to think on your feet for the next set.

I’m going to tack this post on the side and periodically update it with other common healing situations as they arise. Remember, treat it as a set of guidelines. Stay flexible in your choice and don’t overthink your healing. Just heal already.

[VIDEO] A Preview of Cataclysm Raid Healing

Cataclysm raid healing (Watch in a larger resolution if possible)

No post for today but I figured there were a number of healers out there who really wanted to see what raid healing would be like in the expansion. Here’s a video which includes the first two bosses from Bastion of Twilight on 10 man. I narrated the entire video (and if you’re tired of my voice, by all means, feel free to mute the audio) explaining what was going on and what I was doing.

I also learned how to do slow motion action which I’ve put to great effect towards the end. Don’t miss out on Life Grip in action!

Twitter followers get to watch my videos first (along with those who can find the elusive World of Matticus facebook fan page). I usually use them as guinea pigs a litmus test to see whether or not I should publish a video here.

Lastly, the official guild announcement regarding the rated BG team. 

Chakra: Renew is Gone

Chakra: Renew is Gone

Note: the tooltips in the quoted text boxes do not reflect the current changes to the abilities they describe.

Since 4.0.1 changes were even announced, I was overwhelmed with anticipation to try a Holy spec. Now, I’ve been Discipline since before Wrath of the Lich King dropped, and I’ve loved the entire playstyle (minus that “bubble spam” thing). When I saw the Chakra ability, as well as the corresponding Holy Word: Chastise states, I started to digitally salivate. I’ve always enjoyed classes that had a wealth of abilities to use (which is why I never rolled a Paladin — KIDDING!!). In the “lame duck session” before Cataclysm, I’ve been experimenting with the new playstyles and adapting to the new juicy mechanics that have been laid out for us. Chakra Heal has potential to be real potent. Chakra Prayer of Healing offers a beautiful and useful “stand in the good” zone, as well as an AoE Healing buff. Chakra Smite has been amazing for farming meat, mats, or anything else for which I need to “nuk da mobz”.

Chakra Renew has been a bit ambiguous to me. I understand that Renew is a very powerful tool in a certain-specced Holy toolbox, but its implementation into Chakra kind of baffled me. Now, I *like* to think I’m a pretty creative guy, but I just couldn’t really see the use or fun in it. Maybe it’s because I come from a Discipline playstyle, but I didn’t see a need to constantly spam renew beyond just blanketing my 10man raid. Well, we were given this nugget of info (thanks MMO-Champion):

  • Chakra no longer works with Renew. No longer costs mana. Sanctuary (Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending) now increases healing done by your AoE spells and Renew by 15%. (Old – Only increased AoE spells by 10%)
  • Effectively, they’ve killed Renew’s exclusivity with Chakra and teamed it up with Prayer of Healing, adding in Prayer of Mending, too. You’ll get more healing out of Renew, but remember that you have to activate it with Prayer of Healing or Mending. You cannot activate your steroid-juiced HoT by hitting that Renew key. Patience, grasshopper.

    Because of this change, our State of Mind talent has been altered:

  • State of Mind no longer affects Renew, affects Prayer of Mending instead.
  • Now, I use Prayer of Mending almost always on cooldown out of habit. Adding this into extending that Chakra state will benefit a lot of Priests out there. If the best play for a certain encounter is to keep that Chakra going, I’m not too big a fan of spamming one button to extend it. I think a change like this could also be implemented in our Heal Chakra or Smite Chakra. Only add one additional spell to extend it. Chakra Heal could also be extended by Greater Heal, a spell that we don’t really spam anyways. Chakra Smite could be lengthened by Holy Fire as well, since it’s impossible to spam it while it’s on cooldown. Here’s an image of the new tooltips (thanks, Matticus!):

    All in all, I’m pleased with the change. As it stands right now, I don’t use Renew Chakra as it is and didn’t see much use in the future. However, as would be my luck, I’ll step into that first Cataclysm raid encounter and think, “Man! I wish I had Chakra Renew back for this fight!” C’est la vie.

    Do you feel the alteration of Chakra and State of Mind are changes for the better or worse? Are you going to miss the Renew Chakra?

    Healing Roundups and We Got Our Drakes!

    Healing Roundups and We Got Our Drakes!

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

    Druids

    Lissanna’s restoration healing guide (Restokin)

    Keeva’s restoration 4.0 guide (Tree Bark Jacket)

    Paladins

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

    Priests

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

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

    Discipline 4.0.1 guide (Malevica)

    Shamans

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

    Augments

    Gem conversions for 4.0.1 (Revive & Rejuvenate)

    Addons

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

    Beru’s Addon List

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

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

    Unrelated

    25-drakesr

    We scored our ICC 25 drakes last night!

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

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

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

    “Matt’s picked up.”

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

    “Ann’s picked up.”

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

    “Rykga picked up.”

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

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

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

    Priest Glyphs for 4.0.1 and Cataclysm

    Priest Glyphs for 4.0.1 and Cataclysm

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

    Well, absolutely nothing!

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

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

    How the new glyph system works

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

    Prime – Straight increase to damage or healing.

    Major – Offers extra stuff to existing spells or abilities.

    Minor – Convenience or cosmetic changes.

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

    glyphs-interface

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

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

    Prime Glyphs

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Mattwell says to pass on Lightwell.

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

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

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

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

    Good to draft if you have nothing better.

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

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

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

    And his back.

    And that other guy’s back.

    And yeah, even that guy.

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

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

    No contest. Draft it for holy.

    Major Glyphs

    Next up is the majors.

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

    Draft it for holy.

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

    More of a situational role player, in my opinion.

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

    Situational draft pick. Depends on your team.

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

    Pass at 80. Situational pickup otherwise.

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

    Really situational.

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

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

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

    Pass on this.

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

    Highly recommended draft pick.

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

    Situational for PvP use.

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

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

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

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

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

    Pass.

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

    Pass.

    Minor Glyphs

    Now it’s down to the minors.

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

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

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

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

    Glyph of Shackle UndeadPass. Nothing to add here.

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

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

    Reminder: Updated Dispel Mechanics

    Just wanted to post a quick reminder of the dispel changes. Every healing class has the capability to remove harmful magic effects from friendly targets. You may have to talent into it somewhere, but it is possible.

    In encounters going forward, any highly important buffs that need to be removed will come in the form of magic. Other negative debuffs will annoy the raid or make life a little more difficult, but they will not get to the point where the encounter becomes literally impossible to do.

    For example, if Lich King were to become a Cataclysm encounter, Necrotic Plague would be a magical ability so that any healing class could remove it.

    Druids

    Remove Corruption – Removes a curse and a poison (Removing magic requires the Nature’s Cure talent).

    Paladins

    Cleanse – Removes a disease and a poison (Removing magic requires the Sacred Cleansing talent).

    Note: Protection and retribution paladins cannot cleanse remove magic.

    Priests

    Dispel Magic – Removes 2 harmful spells from allies or 2 buff spells from enemies.
    Cure Disease – Removes a disease.

    Note: Shadow priests cannot remove diseases in Shadowform but can still dispel. No change to Body and Soul. It will still remove a poison if you Cure Disease yourself only (Won’t work on others).

    Shamans

    Purge – Removes 2 buff spells from enemies.
    Cleanse Spirit – Removes a curse (Removing magic requires the Improved Cleanse Spirit talent)

    Note: Disease and poison removal abilities have been removed. Yes, that includes the totems.

    Mages, warriors, hunters and warlocks (Fel Hunter) have no changes to their dispel mechanics.

    Actually, come to think of it, Necrotic Plague is still going to be a disease in post 4.0.1. That means the only way to remove it is by having a priest or a holy paladin in the raid.

    Oh dear.

    Hopefully, it’ll be hot fixed so that it becomes a magic effect or something. Unless they don’t expect anyone to raid past 4.0.1. Right?

    Smite Healing with the Atonement Spec

    Smite Healing with the Atonement Spec

    Atonement’s one of those really curious talents in the discipline tree. We’ve never really experienced anything like it before and I can understand the reluctance behind taking it.

    But it’s got some potential. And I found it fun the few times I pulled it off.

    How it works

    The basic premise is that you’re unloading Smites on a hostile target. As you’re hitting them with Smite, Atonement activates and heals any player within 8 yards of the target for 100% of the damage that Smite does.

    For priests at level 80
    For priests at level 85

    Here are the key talents:

    Atonement: You absolutely need this. Its kind of the central focus. In an earlier build, Smite would heal 60/120% according to the damage dealt. In the current beta build, it dropped down to 40/80%. As of the current PTR for the 4.0.1 patch, it was raised to 50/100%.

    Archangel & Evangelism: Both of these talents help with buffing the damage you’re dishing out or allowing you to get some precious mana back.

    Divine Aegis: Yup, DA bubbles will appear off of heals from Atonement.

    Feel free to pick and choose the rest of them according to your own play style.

    Glyphs

    You’ll want to get some of these glyphs to help vault your utility.

    atone-glyphs

    Glyph of Divine Accuracy: I know I have close to zero hit gear. For this spec to work, you need to be able to hit the boss. If you can’t hit the boss, you can’t heal.

    Glyph of Smite: The Holy Fire DoT doesn’t last that long, but the does help.

    Those are the two main ones and everything else is up to you. However, I would recommend:

    You’re in the discipline tree anyway. May as well get some glyphs that augment that tree further.

    Spell usage

    Open up with a Holy Fire right away, then begin blasting away with a Smite. If you’re lucky, you’ll get in about 4 powered up Smites before th e DoT wears off. You’ll need to eyeball your mana here. Get a full stack of Evangelism going. Between Evangelism and the Glyph of Smite, it should elevate you to some reasonably comfortable numbers.

    Once I notice a mana deficit of about 15 – 20%, I’ll pop Archangel and instantly get my mana back and resume Smiting.

    You still have access to your healing priest spells. Don’t be tunnel visioned into believing that Smiting is the only way to heal because it isn’t. It is the main focus, but don’t forget about your other heals. Use them in a pinch if you need to. Instead of sitting back and waiting for people to take damage, you’re actively doing something which has a positive side effect.

    If you’re in a smaller group environment like a 10-man or a 5-man, you’ll need to keep a closer watch on yourself and any other ranged players that aren’t standing with the melee.

    In a raid environment, you can use this to your advantage. If you’re like me and contemplating the usage of a full time Smite priest, that’s one dedicated healer on the melee. That means you can focus the efforts of the other healers on the ranged players and maybe an additional one managing the tanks.

    Limitations

    I expect there to be some sort of diminishing return. I just don’t have the faintest clue what it would be (as in how many players before the effectiveness reduces). Unless you really want to stack your entire raid on top of the boss, the usability of this spec is going to be limited to melee friendly bosses. You don’t want to tango with Deathwhisper or Saurfang for instance. Either the ghosts or bloodbeasts will tear you and your raid up alive. You’d probably want to revert back to the traditional style of being a disc priest and resort to actual healing if those types of bosses are waiting for you.

    No word yet on whether this will  be final in either the PTR or the beta. We’ll know within the next week or so.

    What I need to now do is find a volunteer priest willing to go Smite heal in our raids. Anyone else planning on giving this a try when the patch kicks in?