5.2: Returning to Wrath level Shield spam?

5.2: Returning to Wrath level Shield spam?

Okay, that’s not actually going to happen. As much as I miss the days of 1 button Circle of Healing during Burning Crusade and non-stop shielding in Wrath, it was largely so I could keep watching my NHL games without having to compromise my performance too much.

In a recent thread about PTR class and set bonus issues, Ghostcrawler mentioned the following:

We are going to nerf Divine Aegis for Prayer of Healing, but also lower the cost of Power Word: Shield (for Disc only) and increase the healing and damage of Penance. In 25 raids, Disc is using Prayer of Healing almost exclusively and we don’t think the Spirit Shell change will be sufficient to change that. We actually want Disc to get back to using PW:Shield a little more, along with Penance. Disc’s throughput is overall too strong in PvE, not even counting the fact that absorbs are often more beneficial than heals.

The Divine Aegis aspect on Prayer of Healing gets tuned down but we get cheaper Power Word: Shields instead.

I don’t know what it’s like at the 10 man level, but at the 25 man level, Disc Priests are predominantly using Prayer of Healing. It’s just that effective! More tactical usage of Penance and PW: Shield needs to be done clearly. Right now, we have the ability to run two Priests in our composition. You’d think that 2 Disc priests would limit the amount of shields being thrown up because of the whole Weakened Soul debuff and the fact that shields cause a dent in mana.

But realistically at the 25 man level, two Disc priests sharing the burden isn’t going to shoot the raid in the foot. There’s lots of targets to go around. There’s damage coming from all over the place (in most cases). Those shields provide an extra buffer and can buy players an extra second or two. Bonus points for cheaper shields.

Remember when Discipline sucked back in the day?

I just hope it doesn’t go too far in the other direction and we find out massive quantities of shield spam are back in season. I don’t think it is because we learned how that was in Wrath and while it was strong, it wasn’t fun.

What other clarifications?

The Golden Apparition from the Healing 4pc heals the lowest % health friendly target within 40yd. Note that it has no visual yet, but will not work like Shadowy Apparitions. It is a simple missile, not a summoned unit.

Good to hear. I’m getting annoyed at my Shadow Apparitions sometime just sitting there. Glad to know my healing priests won’t have to suffer from that. Cant’ wait to see this bonus in action though. I hope the missile isn’t as slow as the Shadow Apparition. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if, you know, by the time your holy guardian activated and healed your ally they were already at full health because your healers were already doing their job?

Angelic Bulwark and Spirit Shell can no longer be dispelled.

On the one hand, this sucks because I can’t offensively get rid of these buffs on people in PvP. On the other hand, this is awesome because now I won’t lose them during PvP.

We are going to redesign Shadow Word: Insanity.

Can’t wait to see this. There’s something about this ability that strikes me as off whenever I try using it. I’ve mainly stuck with From Darkness, Comes Light. Honestly, 4 seconds isn’t that small of a window to get Insanity off on a boss.

So then why do I feel so awkward using it?

Our current though on Solace is that it will provide damage and healing for both Disc and Holy. So Holy could use it for some Atonement-like healing, as could Disc, but Disc won’t double dip and shouldn’t feel like it’s mandatory. That could change (all of this could change) as we try it out and iterate more.

Took a look at this on the PTR. Holy Fire gets changed to Power Word: Solace so it’s one less button that takes up your spell book.

Neat! I think we’re approaching that point where we’re starting to have too much crap in our spellbook so I do like the fact that we’re condensing something. Unlike Holy Fire, Solace is instant, offers you 1% mana back, but has a 10 second cooldown.

The current version of Solace is a 1.5 second cast time which restores 0.7% maximum mana but has no cooldown.

Doesn’t the new version of Solace seem a little too low in the mana return area?

Khendra, we have no objection to using Prayer of Healing when you need to heal a bunch of people. That’s what it’s for. But when you’re using Prayer of Healing in preparation for future damage because DA and SS make your AE heal better at shielding than actual Power Word: Shield, then that even further reduces your options. (In 10s, Disc tends to use Atonement more, so they’re doing something more than just PoH spam. In 25s, we see some Atonement use, but it’s fit in when possible and healers in 25s are just always going to be able to specialize more.)

We might in the future add another AE heal for Disc (I think you can make a compelling argument that in this day and age, healers need a variety of interesting AE heals and maybe only a couple of ST heals, while healer design for years went in the opposite direction) but that’s not the sort of thing we want to drop on you in the middle of an expansion. In the meantime, if Disc uses Penance and PW:Shield some more (and Flash Heal in PvP) and doesn’t trounce all the other healers, we will be satisfied and hopefully so will priests.

Won’t be seeing that until 6.0 is my guess. We’ve got a ton of single target healing. Having Divine Star, Cascade, and Halo access were all great because we could customize our AoE healing based on the task at hand.

Another baseline AoE would be interesting though. You’d be hard pressed to find a method for AoE absorbs that isn’t already covered by what Spirit Shell can do.

Okay, I’m guessing it’s an AoE absorb. They think it’s a little excessive to chain cast Prayer of Healing in advance of a Bonestorm even though that’s the best method in countering incoming damage (even if every player’s at full health).

Can’t wait to see what they’re thinking about doing though though!

As for me, I’m still rolling around in Shadow. We’ll be challenging Blade Lord tonight. We’re getting picked apart by Wind Step and Unseen Strike combinations. Not quite sure how to counter that. It’s not like we’re losing half the raid. But each time an Unseen Strike hits, we always lose a player. I’m sure we can battle through it and add another heroic notch to our belt but if anyone has any pointers or suggestions, I’d be grateful.

Are these changes going to cause you Disc Priests to consider reverting back to Holy? Or no change at all? What do you think about the proposed Solace change?

Healing Priests in 4.1

Expecting an imminent patch drop! How are healing Priests stacking up? Pretty darn good actually.

No significant nerfs to Holy anywhere in 4.1. Some of our mechanics have changed slightly. Discipline suffered a slight nerf but gained buffs in other areas to the Atonement specs.

  • Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.

Pre-emptive shielding continues to remain lucrative but the practice of shielding significant amounts of players in a raid is all but gone. In most logs, Power Word: Shield should be somewhere from 30% – 45% of the healing done due to the way it works and based on encounters as well as healing assignments. With the duration of it halved, the chances of it falling off unused become much higher. Discipline Priests will need to exhibit discipline and really make sure players get full benefits out of them.

Dispel mechanics have also changed slightly. Shadow Priests won’t be relied upon to dispel members in the raid anymore. It’ll be up to us to take care of it.

Holy

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Chakra now lasts until cancelled, up from 1 minute.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.
  • Surge of Light can now also trigger from Binding Heal.

Chakra dancing is just about gone now. Your present Chakra state will last as long as you like. I guess they saw no need to keep mindlessly pressing keys to refresh your Chakra state. It’ll be easier for Holy Priests to stay in one Chakra stance from now on.

Sanctuary gets a huge buff. It’ll go from “Ugh, never use” to “Eh, I’ll use it when we all stack up”. PTR numbers looked promising, but without being able to put a raid together, I’ve never been able to gauge  how awesome it would be.

Discipline

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Divine Aegis duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
  • Atonement now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
  • The direct damage portion of Holy Fire can now trigger Evangelism.
  • Power Word: Barrier’s cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%.
  • It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest’s Power Word: Shield through Strength of Soul.
  • Holy Fire damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than Smite.

Atonement Priests get extra help now that it works with Holy Fire (at least, the direct damage portion of it). Not only that, Holy Fire gets buffed? I’m curious to see how this will play out in raids and if Atonement healing will become  more widely practiced.  

Power Word: Barrier gets nerfed with a cooldown increase along with  reduced effectiveness. Shouldn’t be too much of a bit hit. With Druid Tranquility cooldowns lowered and Shamans gaining access to the equalizer totem,  healing leaders now have much more options at their disposal.

Enjoy the patch! Looking forward to your thoughts when it goes live!

Primal Mooncloth – Do You Need to Upgrade?

Primal Mooncloth – Do You Need to Upgrade?

lecture 
Have we been teaching wrong? Image courtesy of gozdeo

There’s a gearing question I get asked more frequently than any other. I also see it all over the Priest-related interweb. It goes something like this:

My Priest just started running Kara/Heroics, and I have the Primal Mooncloth Set. I’m dying a lot. When can I/ should I break PMC bonus so I can get more stamina?

The answer is invariably along these lines:

PMC has no Stam and makes it hard to stay alive. As soon as you have 2 of the 3 slots replaced, go ahead and break it. Shopping List: Robes of Heavenly Purpose or Gown of Spiritual Wonder, Light-Mantle of the Incarnate or Mantle of the Avatar, and Belt of the Long Road or Cord of Braided Troll Hair.

This always kind of bothers me a little bit, probably because I’m a crotchety oldster who was working my way through T5 content before the 2.3 badge rewards and ZA were introduced. Back in MY day, the only pieces that would add stamina to your stats without gimping your +healing and regen abominably were your Tier tokens. Which, with the infamous Warrior-Priest-Druid combo, in most raiding guilds, went to tanks first. And especially since Druid tank itemization meant they needed the T4 set bonus, preferably from their chest, Priests were pretty much out of luck. (I’ll spare you a very compelling QQ-anecdote about the injustices visited on my Priests specifically when it came to Tier-gear. Just know that it was very tragic, compelling, and you should pity me. Thank you.)

Basically, Primal Mooncloth meant you could keep your raid alive, and whether or not YOU stayed alive was your own business – weren’t you the healer??

As a result, many, many healy-Priests (myself and Matt included), worked their way into T6-level content with dramatically less stamina than recommended. For me, especially given the pressure-cooker of being the first and only female in my hardcore raiding guild, it meant I had to learn to stay alive. This is the origin of the “Oh s***!” macro, and why my UI is painstakingly designed to keep my field of vision clear.

My point is, I’ve done the content that the Priests asking about Primal Mooncloth have done – and I stayed alive. So I know it’s possible. So it bothers me to blame the prolific Priest-mortality rate on the gear and nothing else. If I wasn’t positive that people would feel attacked, accused, and offended, here’s what my response would be:

“Primal Mooncloth is perfectly adequate for the content you’re running. Rather than worrying about what gear to exchange to boost your stamina, let’s treat what I think is the real problem. Tell me about your raids: What’s killing you? Loose mobs, or AoE damage?”

And working from there, I’d like to go through a trouble-shooting dialogue. If loose mobs are running around and slaying healers, either your Tanks need to work on tanking, your CC needs to work on CC’ing, your DPS needs to work on not breaking CC, or YOU need to work on heal-timing. These are all very important skills, and, often, healer-deaths are simply symptomatic of underperforming raiders.

If AoE damage is killing you, then you simply need to learn how to keep yourself healed.

  • Do you have PW:S and Inner Fire up at all times?
  • Are you using profession-related bonuses appropriately? (Fel Blossom, Nightmare seed, Bandages – yes really)
  • What kind of consumables do you bring? (Stam + Spirit food, Super/Major Rejuv potions)
  • Are you using the right cooldowns? (Healthstones, trinkets)

And the biggest one:

  • Are you fully playing your Priest? Priests are unique in the sheer variety of tools in our healbox. Binding Heal, Renew, CoH, ProH, Fade, and ProM (and Desperate Prayer, if you have it), will ALL keep you alive. In fact, they are designed to keep you alive. Priests can and should be able to heal themselves without ever neglecting their duty to the rest of the raid.

It’s not that good Priests never die – Spirit of Redemption points out that Blizz KNOWS we’re going to die. It’s that the best Priests know that gear is not the major limiting factor in your performance. And as much as I advocate using the best gear available to you, it should be to augment your skill as a player, not to replace it.

Notice: I hesitated to post this entry, for the same reason that I hesitate to reveal my real answer to the pertinent gear-question. I realize that my opinion will hurt some feelings, and it is not my intention to imply that people looking to break PMC with any of the numerous options in the post 2.4 game are bad players.  It is my intention to imply that perhaps, as a community committed to improving our gameplay, our first instinct shouldn’t be to swap gear, but rather to ascertain how we can out-perform our pixilated limitations. If, after determining the REAL cause of death, we find a certain stat to be lacking, then we can recommend gear to augment that stat.

Luv,
Wyn

Going Priestly in Patch 2.4: Things Adam Holisky of WoW Insider Forgot to Mention

Going Priestly in Patch 2.4: Things Adam Holisky of WoW Insider Forgot to Mention

priest-forgot 
Photo courtesy of Carey Tilden

A couple of days ago, WoW Insider had a quick summary article on Priests and what they can look to expect in 2.4. Although Adam Holisky was able to nail some of updates that were made to the Priests, there were a few things that he might have glazed over. But don’t worry! Matticu^ will save the day!

The Technical

  • The amount of players that can be Mass Dispelled has dOubled. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the radius has improved in size any. At least during phase 2 of the Zul’Jin fight, you’ll only need one Priest to Mass Dispel now.
  • Power Infusion: Perhaps this is the one change that could very well fly under the radar. Discipline Priests are still considered a rarity in raids. Unfortunately, it can’t be stacked with other haste-like effects (IE, Heroism) but with the proper coordination, I do think it can be chained one after the other for longer periods of heavy fire power. Is it possible to PI a mage, then pop Heroism, then blow Icy Veins or some such? To my Knowledge, there are no drawbacks or debuffs. Lucky mage that would be, I think.
  • Silent Resolve: Nice. It now affects more spells. Too bad most Priests I know don’t spec into Silent Resolve. Why? Because real PvE Priests know how to manage their aggro. If you’re PvPing, I totally understand.
  • Kirk broke this news first courtesy of an email he received. Now I may be Asian but my math skills are T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. He’s calculated that with the rigt talent points in the Disc tree (namely, Enlightenment) there is a potential for 33% mana regen to continue in combat.
  • I notice I don’t have to drink as often during raids. Before, I topped out at around 296 MP5 while casting with consumables. Now I hit about 340ish with full ‘onsumables.

The Gearical

  • When (and I do mean when, because I know everyone’s going to want to hit exalted) you manage to grind your way up, there’s a nice neck piece just waiting for you. It’s the Shattered Sun Pendant of Restoration. It goes for a c0ol 23g. The only stats it has is Stamina. So you don’t get Int or Spirit. It’s also got some healing on it. For some reason, I smell Holy PaladiN trinket, but I could be wrong. Anyway, it has a chance on heal to proc a different effect depending on whether you are Ald0r or Scryer. The Aldor proc is known as Light’s Salvation which increases healing done by 220 over 10 seconds. The Scryer proc is known as Arcane Surge which instantly heals a target for 618 – 682 (Source comments: WoWDB, WoWHead, WoWWiki). This item is listed as level 115 which is supposed to be on par with Shining Chain of the Afterworld. I’m going to assume that there is a hidden coldown of some sort, but I have yet to find out what it is. I won’t be replacing Lord Sanguinar’s Claim, that’s for sure.
  • Finally there is now a purchasable blue 1H for freshman 70 Priests to use. You won’t have to rely on the auction house to pick up the Essence Focuser. For a nominal fee of four daily quest rewards (43g), you can have K’iru’s Presage.
  • Vial of the Sunwell. Obtainable in Heroic Magisters Terrace. It’s got nice MP5 on it, and it’s a guaranteed 2000 heal every 2 minutes. I’m not too sure about this one, to be quite honest.
  • Start saving up or pumping out Primal Mooncloth. You’ll need it for both the Robe of Eternal Light and Hands of Eternal Light. They require 20 Primal Mooncloh and 18 Primal Mooncloth respectively in order to craft. The items are bind on pickup. Sweet deal for the lucky Sunwell Raiders.

The Face Melters

  • With the changes made to haste, I think Shadow Priests are going to take a good hard look at that as a stat to invest in since it alters global cooldowns. Hey! Shadow Priests! Is haste changes good or bad? Educate me so I can educate everyone else! I don’t have an idea!

No doubt I’ll have forgotten a few important other important things. Suffice it to say, this latest patch does have a few things all of us varsity Priests or otherwise can look forward to. Any other substantial, earth shattering changes that raiding Holy Priests might stand to be aware of?

SRETCARAHCNEETHGIETSOPEHTNITIDIHI?ELZZUPEHTEVLOSUNAC

+81 Healing vs Spellsurge

A special big worldofmatticus.com shoutout to Netherlord who was kind enough to give me the recipe for Spellsurge at no cost at all. Thank you VERY much sir and welcome to Carnage!

Here is an important question that needs to be answered. You’ve hit 70 and you just got that ultimate 1H mace or that ultimate healing staff. What enchant do I put on it? Do I want an additional +81 Healing or Spellsurge? Neither of them are cheap to begin with but both will really benefit healers. But, let the analysis begin.

81 Healing

This enchant increases the amount of healing you can potentially do by 81. It’s sold by a vendor (Almaador, at the center of town) and requires you to be revered to learn how to perform the enchant.

Spellsurge

This enchant offers a unique mechanic in that it does not offer a constant benefit like 81 Healing does. It’s a random world drop so you might have a better chance of winning the lottery instead of getting it. The tooltip suggests that it has a 3% chance of proccing the effect which provides 100 mana over a period of 10 seconds to your entire party. But for the effect to occur, your party members need to be within 30 yards of each other.

Analysis

So which is the better one to get? 81 Healing will increase your healing by that amount. Assuming you heal for 1000 points without any modifiers, then 1000 casts of that same flash heal will net about 1,081,000 healed. But Spellsurge restores mana over time. Furthermore the effect stacks from multiple players who have that enchant on their weapon. So, if 5 players had it and all 5 procced, you’re looking at 500 mana over 10 seconds to everybody in the party. I’ve seen on the WoW Forums as well as WoWWiki that the actual proc percentage is approximately 15%. If you’re in the raid environment, it wouldn’t work if all 25 players had it. It applies strictly to your party within the raid. It’s important to keep in mind that Spellsurge has a hidden cooldown of approximately 50 seconds. That means that if you kept spamming any kind of spell, the Spellsurge effect can only happen once every 50 seconds assuming it does proc.

Ideally, I’d be able to test this in a lab setting with three groups: An experimental group with all 81 healing, an experimental group with all Spellsurge, and control group. But alas, I don’t have access to such resources.

The Argument for 81 Healing

If you don’t see yourself raiding very often or if you are placed in a group that does not have a whole lot of other casters in it, then you will want to augment your own heals and add that extra power. Who needs Spellsurge if you’re going to be the poor guy who has to sacrifice 81 healing so that everyone else in your party can get that extra mana back?

The Argument for Spellsurge

On the other hand, as you progress through the game you will begin to encounter bosses that will test your endurance. If you can work with four other spellcasters and agree to get this enchant, your longevity will increase by a lot. You will see a lot of mana returned. More mana means you last longer, right? Utilitarianism is the the concept of the day.

The Middle Ground

Get both. All you really need is two weapons. Don’t forget that you can switch weapons while in combat. So slap Spellsurge on a mace that as mp5 or Spirit or something that helps you regenerate mana. Keep your 81 Healing on the weapon that you use most of the time. If you start running out of gas, switch from your Healing mace to your Spellsurge mace and let the rest of the group know. Now if you really want to be fancy, pick up another mace or staff which has high intellect and put 30 Int on it. Equip it before the encounter so you have a high starting mana pool. Once you get a spell or two off, switch back to your healing mace. You will essentially be getting an extra flash heal or two. That’s my personal opinion. Be flexible, adapt your enchants to your needs.

Anyways, back to Fathomlord now. We were able to take down the Shaman and the Priest. Pretty good progress… 3 more hours left. I love my macbook. It lets me blog and raid at the same time. Doing it in windowed mode will lag. I’m tempted to install WoW on it and see how it performs, but I purchased my Macbook purely for academic reasons.