Paladin Healing Talents for MoP – Your Picks?

Paladin Healing Talents for MoP – Your Picks?

Here’s part 2 featuring the favourite class that everyone loves to hate on: Paladins!

Paladin talents

Matt’s picks

mop-talent-paladin_thumb[2]

Level 15: Speed of Light. 1 minute cooldown but at least as Holy they have a personal defensive ability.

Level 30: CC abilities. Repentance, but otherwise there’s nothing that directly affects healing here.

Level 45: Appears to be the defensive paladin section. Nothing healing related, but would personally select Sacred Shield. Never know when you might get spiked. Plus it lets you eat a fire once in a while.

Level 60: Leaning heavily toward Holy Shield. Another ability that stops incoming damage relative to your Holy Power? Cool!

Level 75: Acts of Sacrifice. But there is nothing that helps healing here. Clemency does come in handy if you need two Hand of Sacrifices back to back. I guess it could be thought of as another single target CD.

Level 90: I guess it depends how powerful Holy Shock will be at this stage. I can already see Paladins chain casting Holy Shock over and over again on different players after a large AoE hit. Holy Avenger does look attractive for 10 seconds of maximum Holy Power.

Depending on how you look at it, there are possibly 4 abilities you can grab which will help you do your job as healing. The rest of them are pure utility such as the CC. The talents do not appear to be as diverse as the priest ones in terms of healing selections. But then again, paladins fill three roles. Priests have just two roles as they are unable to legitimately tank. Overall not a bad list. I feel as though additional talents could be brought in or modified here.

Skills

Paladins receive a new skill called Blinding Light. It’s essentially an AoE disorient. Now that’s going to be a fun skill in PvP. Can’t think of too many raiding applications for it yet unless there’s additional crowd controllable mobs.

I’m not exactly a regular Paladin healer so feel free to share your insights on your own selections and why you would differ on your picks.

Shaman and Druids coming up next!

Priest Healing Talents for MoP – Which Would You Pick?

Priest Healing Talents for MoP – Which Would You Pick?

Been meaning to do this for a while. Wanted to analyze all the new proposed talents for the different healing classes to see which ones I would choose if I played that healer.

Priest talents

Matt’s choices

mop-talent-priest_thumb1

Level 15: Nothing. All various CC effects. May as well go with the bread and butter Psychic Scream.

Level 30: Nothing. All various movement effects. Probably Body and Soul for me in most cases.

Level 45: From Darkness, Comes Light would be my main selection. Depending on the encounter, strategy and positioning, Divine Star would be an excellent alternative. Not opposed to blasting the spell down one direction healing the group.

Level 60: Defensive, personal cooldowns here. Leaning heavily toward Desperate Prayer.

Level 75: Wow. This is the hardest selection to make. I think I would take Power Infusion. Not only could I use it on myself for extra healing speed but in the event I don’t need it, i can toss it onto another player. But Twist of Fate and Serendipity are both excellent choices. You really might not be able to go wrong with any of these choices.

Level 90: This would be the second hardest talent selection to make after level 75, I think. Vampiric Dominance offers the ability for you to splash or cleave heal your group. Void Shift* offers another single target cooldown. Vow of Unity is another modified single target cooldown which gives your healing spells a pseudo Binding Heal effect with the added bonus of redirecting half the damage your target takes to you. Void Shift wins!

* For those who are curious, due to the wording of the talent, I believe that the health percentage swap is only temporary. That is, if my target had 30% health and I had 100% health when I used Void Shift and I healed myself from 30% to 60%, the health pools would reverse again so that my target had 60% health and I would have his health percentage (before being healed for that additional 25%).

If the expansion were to come out today, I would be satisfied if these were the talents that came with it. It really does make you think. In some of these cases, there isn’t always a clear cut answer as a simple strategy change or a different encounter could lead to a radically altered talent choice. The latter talents are designed to really make you excel as a healer.

Skills

Where did Vampiric Embrace and Devouring Plague go? That was the first thing I noticed. Nice to see I get Lightwell folded into the Holy skillset without having to actually spec into it. Train of Thought received the same treatment as well. No word on what our level 85+ skills are. But I think Discipline is receiving the castable Shield past 85 at some point.

My thoughts on the rest of the healers will come later this week!

EDIT: WHERE DID PRAYER OF HEALING GO?!

Where in the World is Spirit Link?

Where in the World is Spirit Link?


So, it has certainly been a busy week around the office so to speak. The announcement of the Cataclysm beta has everyone chomping at the bit, eagerly awaiting their invitation to what is sure to be one hell of a party.

Since the announcement of the beta there has been a flood of information. Among that information was many tidbits about Restoration shaman. I did an analysis of those updates over on wow.com feel free to check it out. The one thing that has been missing from all of this information has been Spirit Link.

Spirit Link was the original 51 talent in the restoration tree in the first Wrath of the Lich King beta build. I fell in love with this spell very early on, and was looking forward to using it in a raid. It was, however, not to be. Shortly after the second beta build of Wrath the talent was taken away like a jealous father stealing his daughter away in a tower prison, replaced by our now glorious Riptide. I still pine for Spirit Link however. I often wonder if, when I look up at the lonely stars at night, if  Spirit Link is somewhere looking up at the same stars missing me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Riptide, but my heart still belongs to Spirit Link.

When we got the very first set of class previews, Blizzard developers stated that they were going to try and bring Spirit Link back. The restoration shaman community was incredibly receptive to this, and there was much rejoicing. I know I danced a little bit at the news. So we eagerly awaited the announcement of its presence. When the beta information was released, I am sad to say that Spirit Link is MIA. There have been no official statements as of this post as to why it was not included this round, but I have a few suspicions.

The reason the spell was removed from the Wrath beta is that it was hard to balance. here was the original wording of the spell.

Spirit Link (Rank 1): You link the friendly target with two nearby targets, causing 50% of the damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. After 2200 damage, the link will sever.

That is pretty interesting right? The problem was two fold here. First, the spell had no duration limit aside from the damage cap. So you could set it on two targets and just let it be. Second, the damage cap was either too low (2200 damage would be one swing from most bosses) or too high. Finding a sweet spot was always a problem as it was either way too weak, or way too powerful.

My guess is that either it is NYI (not yet included) or they are still having problems balancing it.  In the Wrath beta  it could be stacked and made damage mitigation moot. “Non def capped tank? We have three shaman NO PROBLEM!” type deal. I will be highly interested to see if it makes it to live, because I love it so much. If it doesn’t make it to live, it will surely still be the one that got away.  It was interesting and a brand new mechanic to play with. I love it like a fat kid loves cake, and I’m a fat kid that LOVES his cake. As a bonus here’s a video of the spell in use in the Wrath beta.

So what do you guys think? Want to see this spell make it live to Cataclysm? How would you balance it? How would you change it?

Also this week, my buddy shane has written a new Google Chrome extension called Armory Links. It allows you to look anyone up quickly and easily in any of the various armory and gear checking sites. You should check it out, I know I love it and use it frequently.

And if you’re heading to BlizzCon and are interested in custom badge art, be sure to swing by Ginny’s site and check out her stuff. She does great work, and I know she’s working on a custom Lodur piece for me as we speak.

The Issue with Discipline Raid Healing

The Issue with Discipline Raid Healing

As Priests, we exist in two healing realms: Holy and Discipline.  Discipline and Holy.  I say that because one is not superior or inferior to its counterpart.  Each specialization has its own tree.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

We were told way back before Wrath of the Lich King that these two trees were going to serve different fundamental purposes: Tank-Healing or Raid-Healing.  Seems simple enough, right?  Once Discipline Priests got past the backlash of “Disc is PvP lol” malarkey, people started learning that Discipline Priests can actually function as Tank healers.  If all of our tools are used in concert with each other, we can be a damn good single-target healer.

Is Discipline, though, viable as a Raid-Healing spec?  That’s debatable.

As with most aspects of this game, everything is going to be viable as something other than it was intended, depending on the situation.  For Discipline, Loatheb is an awesome example.  Although our talents are angled towards single-target healing, a combination of PW:S, Prayer of Healing, Penance, and quick Flash Heals (all powered by Fungal Creep) make us a formidable Raid Healer in a short amount of time. 

Another example is Deathbringer Saurfang, the last boss in the first wing of Icecrown Citadel.  It seems widely accepted now that a Discipline Priest shielding the raid helps reduce the amount of Blood Power that Saurfang gets via Blood Link.  The sooner Saurfang’s energy reaches 100, the sooner a Mark of the Fallen Champion gets put on a random raid member.  Absorbs from PW:S, as well as Divine Aegis, reduce the amount of Blood Power he receives.  Thus, fewer Marks on the raid, which means you can obtain I’ve Gone and Made a Mess with ease.  Not to mention, you get the boss down faster and easier.

Beyond the Situational Awesomeness

I’ve seen a trend of Discipline Priests insisting that they only raid heal.  They seem to hate the idea of being locked onto one or two tanks and will choose to “bubble spam” the raid.  An occasional spell other than PW:S might be used, but it tends to be a one-button spam from players like this.

I have no problem with people trying something different or off the beaten path, just so long as they’re smart about it and demonstrate a mastery of their choice.  I’m sorry to say, but playing Whack-a-Mole with Weakened Soul hardly shows mastery.  In cases like Saurfang, it’s a conscious and strategic choice.  In other cases, it’s a waste of mana.

Power Word: Shield / Rapture – Through Borrowed Time, we’ve received a nice scaling talent as a Discipline Priest.  It’s a valuable spell to the Discipline Priest, but it’s not the only spell we have available.  Since Rapture returns mana to you (ideally equal to or greater than the cost of PW:S), it increases your longevity as a healer, making PW:S one of the front-runners in our arsenal.  Notice, though, that Rapture only triggers when a shield is “completely absorbed or dispelled.”  Yes, partial absorbs are better than no absorbs at all.  However, in quite a few cases, the raid won’t take damage for a while.  Any shields that are put up on raid members that aren’t even touched is a total sacrifice of that mana.  Let’s say your PW:S costs 666 mana (yes, mine does).  If you cast it consistently, and 10 of them don’t even get touched, you just threw away 6,660 mana.  How much damage did you prevent?  Zero.  If you’re casting PW:S consistently, Renewed Hope will be up the whole time.  Since it doesn’t stack, those 10 shields mitigated no extra damage.

Grace – This fun talent, at the start of WotLK, used to be allowed on more than one target at a time.  Once Blizzard thought that was a little bit overpowered and was steering Discipline away from it’s original intent, they restricted Grace to one target at a time.  As a single-target healer, Grace is a great tool to have (though I wish it could be on up to three targets for fights like Marrowgar and Goremaw).  As a raid healer, it’s a wasted three talent points.  I find it particularly hard to assist with raid healing without using either Flash Heal or Penance (or the occasional hasted Greater Heal – all three of which activate Grace).  In most cases, you’ll be snipe-healing multiple targets.  If not, you’ll use a couple heals to top someone off, then off to the next target.  Grace isn’t given the chance to shine.

Where To Go From Here

Spec – I currently rock out a 57/14/0 spec.  I’ve tried various versions of it, but this spec just seems to work really well with the way I play.  I like to use Renew to help pad the tanks, or throw some on the raid to help out.

Given what I wrote above about Grace, I would choose to sacrifice those points and put them elsewhere.  I threw together a 52/19/0 spec if I were to try to re-work myself into a raid-healing Discipline mode.  I also took the points out of Focused Will (sacrifice some crit) and switched Spell Warding to Divine Fury.  I topped out Divine Fury (taking one point from Inspiration), and grabbed all three points of Improved Healing.  The goal is to hopefully rotate Greater Heal more into your rotation and make it (and Penance) cheaper to cast.  You still get powerful shields and good utility, but it’s not the end of the world trying to keep Grace up. 

Spells – As I pointed out above, I’m not a big fan of the “bubble spam”.  Sure it may look good on World of Logs or the estimated “absorption meter”, but I think it’s impractical.  I’m not in a raid to top a meter, I’m there to keep the whole raid alive.  With the alternate spec I suggested above, sniping Flash Heals and Penances is a great way to keep the raid up, as long as you’re also utilizing Prayer of Mending, Renew, and Prayer of Healing as well. 

If you choose to keep a variation of the first spec, then keep in mind the benefit of keeping Grace on your primary target.  You’re not going to be the most amazing raid healer, but you can certainly help out:

Prayer of Mending – I always keep this bouncing.  There are addons available to let you know when your charges have run out.  I tend to cast mine whenever it’s up.

Renew – If you put the points into Improved Renew, you can help out the other raid healers with this one.

Prayer of Healing – Although a bit of a mana drain, it’s amazing when it crits and each member gets his/her own Divine Aegis shield.

Binding Heal – ?!?!?! you say? I use this spell when I just need to single target someone.  Yes, it heals me at the same time.  Higher mana cost, the self-heal may be worth it, and I can keep the Grace stack on the tank.  I’ve tried both ways, and using Binding Heal has seemed worth it to me.

So there you have it!  I’ve always felt that Priests are incredibly versatile healers.  I don’t enjoy one-button spams or anything proved to be “easy-mode casting”.  We have an amazing arsenal of spells available, and using all of them can make us unstoppable.  There’s no reason you can’t take the intricacies of our class and harness them to do what you need them to.

My point is that if you’re going to go off the beaten path, think about what you’re doing before you take that step.

How do you feel about Discipline raid healing?  What other tricks have you figured out over time?

**Image credited to the Elitist Jerks forums**

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

It’s My Party and I’ll Spec How I Want To!

It’s My Party and I’ll Spec How I Want To!

brat

You’re the one who sits in front of your computer.  You’re the one who has to look at the back of your toon’s head all night (or day).  You’re the one who has to put the gold into gems, enchants, and glyphs.  You’re the one doing the necessary rep grinds.  Most importantly, you’re the one paying $15 each month to play the game you enjoy.

Hence, you’re entitled to play how you want to play, right?  Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean people are always going to want to play alongside you.  If you’re a chain-pulling DPS Death Knight, it might be tough for you to find dungeon groups.  If you’re a mage who is trying to mass-bandage people in battlegrounds instead of DPS, expect to get laughed at.  Most of us strive to play our characters in a way that helps and benefits a raid, battleground, or arena team.  We’re going to look at things from a raiding perspective.

If you’re an aspiring raider, two guys named “Min” and “Max” always come into the conversation pretty quickly.  Wikipedia describes this practice as:

…the practice of playing a role-playing game, wargame or video game with the intent of creating the “best” character by means of minimizing undesired or unimportant traits and maximizing desired ones.

Obviously, this doesn’t only have to do with spec, but also relates to gear, gems, enchants, and spell/skill rotation.  How beneficial is it to tweak all of these to get the most desired output from your character, whether it be healing, DPSing, tanking, etc?

PvP vs. PvE vs. Hybrid

If you really want to be effective in a raiding environment, leave your PvP spec, or your “hybrid” spec at the door.  Although it is perfectly viable to heal in a PvP spec (I usually do it after Wintergrasp), you’re lacking in true PvE potential if you’re not specced properly for raiding.  Taking talents such as Improved Ghost Wolf or Reflective Shield are not effective for raiding in the slightest.  The points you spend in talents like those are much more useful in talents that boost your raiding skills/spells.

Granted, you may be able to find yourself in a guild that doesn’t mind you being a hybrid spec.  Perfectly fine.  Just don’t be too upset if your raid spot is handed over to someone with a pure spec.  Keep in mind that the effort you don’t put into raiding has to be made up by the other raiders.  In effect, you run the risk of making their job harder.  It can be handled for a while, but there’s an often-reached breaking point.

Rusty Cookie Cutter

The term “cookie cutter” usually refers to a globally accepted spec to accomplish a certain job.  PlusHeal.com, TankSpot.com, OutDPS.com, and WoWWiki.com are all great places to get yourself a “cookie cutter” spec for whatever role you’re filling.

I usually reserve using a spec like those for when I’m first learning a new playstyle.  As a Discipline Priest, I’m not too familiar with Holy.  I lined myself up a “cookie cutter raid healing” spec, and learned the mechanics of that style that way.  The more I get comfortable with the abilities, buffs, debuffs, etc., the more I can tweak the spec to what I need, as well as what the raid needs.

If you’re joining up with a raiding guild that’s new to you, take a look at what kind of role you’re going to be filling.  If it’s foreign to you, start with a “cookie cutter” and go from there.

Juggling Stats

At a certain point in gearing, you reach a point where you can start adding on a certain stat over another.  For tanks, it’s the defense cap.  For DPS, it’s the hit cap. (Remember the expertise cap, too.)  For a healer, this point basically involves being able to keep your assignment up comfortably without running out of mana.  From there, you can stack:

  • Haste – Faster heals
  • Spellpower – Consistently bigger heals
  • Critical Strike – Chance for bigger heals / Chance for bonus procs
  • Mana/Mana Regen – Longevity

Each method serves a purpose.  Whichever path you choose, you essentially keep the minimum amount of everything else to function as a healer, and maximize what your goal is.  If you lose your ability to keep a target up or sustain mana in a fight, you’ve “min’d” too much.

The Good

If you min/max correctly for the role you’re filling, then you’re incredibly good at your job.  If you’re a tank-healing Discipline Priest in consistently short fights, and you gem into a higher Critical Strike Rating, then Inspiration and Divine Aegis are gonna stay up on the tank most of the time, making the other jobs easier.  If you’re a Resto Shaman healing the raid with a lot of AoE damage, and you gem for Haste, then you’ll be firing Chain Heals off like mad.

It also makes it easy to judge your gear upgrades.  You know what you’re aiming for, and you know what stats you don’t really need to focus on.  In fact, you may have some stats you may be able to start scaling back on to accomplish your goal.

The Bad

You go too far, and you lose versatility.  If you’re gemmed out for big heals, but don’t have longevity, you’ll be tapping out quickly.  If you’re stacking mana, but don’t have a lot of spellpower to back it up, you’re going to have a tough time lending a hand in short fights that pack a lot of punch.

A lot of us know the value of being able to think on your feet.  A good raider needs to be able to pick up the slack when someone goes down.  If you’re a one-note player, you’re going to have a tough time switching around.  A raid leader needs to fill specific roles in a raid, but he/she also needs people that can adapt if circumstances change.

Thes’s Solution

Staying within the role of your spec, do what you can to make yourself a well-rounded player.  As a Discipline Priest, my primary role is to keep the tanks alive.  However, if my target isn’t taking any damage, I’ll throw some HoTs and Flash Heals on the raid to help everyone else out.  It would be unwise of me to try to work my spec and gear to be a full-blown raid healer.  It’s a waste of my talents and spells, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help out when needed.

What do I do? I hit a point where I got comfortable with my mana pool and regen.  I could easily get through longer fights with my mana cooldowns (and keeping up my end of the healing).  I started swapping out my Brilliant King’s Amber gems for Luminous Ametrine gems.  This lets me keep my mana efficiency while upping the power of my heals.

If you need something more specialized for a long fight or for nuke heals, start building an alternate set of gear that’s more gemmed/enchanted for the task.  With all of the options for getting gear out there, it shouldn’t take that long to build a “special set”.  It’s an easy way to avoid being a one-trick pony.

Remember: Raiding is a team effort.  You have to put a lot into it if you want to get a lot out of it.  Cutting corners with spec/gear, or maxing TOO much of a certain stat can runs the risk of putting you on the standby list real fast.

ThespiusSig

Follow me on Twitter: @Thespius

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

Give Me Patch Notes and I’ll Give You Totems!

thehammer

As I’m sure many of you know by now, the PTR is live bringing with it a wonderous amount of changes to pretty much everyone. I’m going to focus today on a few things, Shaman changes and tier 10 set bonus for Restoration Shaman. First let’s take a look at the set bonuses for tier 10 Restoration shall we?

Shaman T10 Restoration 2P Bonus – Your Riptide spell grants 20% spell haste for your next spellcast.

Shaman T10 Restoration 4P Bonus – Your Chain Heal critical strikes cause the target to heal for 25% of the healed amount over until cancelled.

Hmmm, interesting set bonus. Two piece gives you more haste very much like how Tidal Waves reduces the cast time of your Healing Wave by 30%. Personally I love haste, and rolling Riptide should be a part of any Shaman’s normal healing arsenal so this set bonus really appeals to me. The four piece bonus is also very intriguing. The wording is a little weird and so it will have room for interpretation. Is it placing a HoT on a target for 25% of the amount healed similar to how Earthliving Weapon places a HoT on the target? Will it give an instant heal for 25% of the total? My moneys on a HoT. Personally I like these set bonuses. I think they are solid additions to our repertoire. Looking at them though we can take a guess at what type of damage we’re going to be seeing… I’m guessing lots of raid damage. Giving us haste, adding an additional heal component to our chain heal this just screams to me tons of raid wide damage (thoughts of Sun Well suddenly jump to mind). Now I’m looking forward to the aesthetics of the set. Hopefully we wont look like a mix between bugs and sand people.

So our set bonuses are shaping up nicely (which is pretty par for the course for us at this point). Lets swing our attention over to the patch notes shall we?

Not much is changing as of yet, of course as you know that may or may not change. For now though here are the bits though.

Orc and troll shamans now have their own unique totem art.

Shamans

* Fire Nova Totem: This totem has been replaced with a new spell, Fire Nova, which is available at the same ranks as the old Fire Nova Totem. Existing characters will automatically learn this new spell in place of the totem. With a Fire Totem active, shamans will be able to use Fire Nova (fire magic) to emit the same area-of-effect damage as the old Fire Nova Totem from the active Fire Totem, not consuming the totem in the process. Fire Nova will activate a 1.5-second global cooldown when used and has a 10-second spell cooldown. The caster must be within 30 yards of the totem to use this ability, but does not need to be within line of sight of the totem.

I’ll leave the totem art aside for a second, first lets talk about Fire Nova.

This one is… interesting. Basically getting rid of a totem that some of us were using to help with AE damage in fights like Thorim’s arena. It lets us not have to cast a different totem, but instead we can center an AE spell off our current fire totem. This still requires you to run into melee and drop said totem, but it’s a nice touch. I can run in set my totems and then when needed blast out some AE damage to help thing the gaggle of bad guys we’re killing. I’ll have to play with it more, but so far so good.

Now, onto totem art. Orcs and Trolls it has been long overdue that you guys get your own. Lets take a look at them real fast

3.3-orc-totems

The Orc one is pretty gnarly. Not only is it a totem but it can double as an axe! It seems to fit to me.

3.3-troll-earth-totem

Trolls are pretty cool too. Troll fetish hung from the totems looks like the shadow hunter’s totems in WC3.

All in all pretty good job. Now if I may I’d like to take a second to rage about another set of totems. The Dwarf Shaman Totems. Now I know that Cataclysm (or at least 4.0) is a while away, they… bother me.

3.3-dwarf-totem

I understand the concept behind it. It’s a hammer with Gryphon feathers. I’ll be honest though, as someone who is going to race change into a Dwarf Shaman I’m a little disappointed. I mean I can see the correlation between axes and Orcs, fetish masks and Trolls and I can understand the correlation of hammers and Dwarves… kinda. When I was at blizzcon and they were talking about bringing Dwarves into the fold of Shamanism, they mentioned making sure they had unique totems. They said they wouldn’t be kegs (which made us all sad) but that they were looking at maybe rune stones. I look at the above totems and that doesn’t scream Dwarf to me. Had they been chunks of stone with glowing colored runes in them I’d have been content. I mean look at the Draenei’s totems

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They pretty well scream Draenei. They have holographic rings around oddly shaped stone with the element present above it. Even the *Now* Tauren Totems fit their race

totems

So… why can’t Dwarves get something stone related? I mean think about it. They live in the mountains, they have a racial ability called Stoneform, they are known for their Gryphons, but only one clan (Wildhammer) and they aren’t playable, but we hear about is how they are awesome miners. Sure we hear about their forges and smithy’s but I think the totems could be a bit better suited to the race (read more metal/stone and less wood please).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy I can finally be a Dwarf Shaman. I’ve wanted to be a Dwarf Shaman for a long long time. I thank Blizzard for that, but that doesn’t mean I won’t weep a little bit every time I drop a set of hammers on the ground. Trolls and Orcs won out with some pretty good totem design and Tauren get to be unique snowflakes again with theirs. Overall I’m happy with it. Giving each race’s Shaman’s a unique totem is a good step. But if Goblin Shaman get cool looking gear totems, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe throw my hammer at them. Maybe cast Wrath of Carpentry.

Although maybe I can rename myself Captain Hammer and invite people back to my Hammer Cave to show them my Hammer….

So what do you guys think so far? Like the new totems, dislike the new totems? Like the set bonuses?

Until next time, Happy Healing

Sig

Images courtesy of Dr. Horrible sing along blog, WoW.com, and WoW guru

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

The other day I had the good fortune of talking with our friends over at Wow relief and our conversation got me thinking about something.
Some of us have been around for a long long time in this game. We’ve lived through PTRs and Betas and now two expansion with a third on the way. We’ve seen many things change and many things come and go, and things that were promised to us never come to be. I got to thinking what I would love to see added to the game for my class. The answer actually comes from the Wrath of The Lich King beta.

Back in Beta, restoration shaman had a rather interesting 51 point tallent to play around with. It was unique and new and fresh and odd and I loved it.

Spell_Shaman_SpiritLinkSpirit Link (Rank 1): You link the friendly target with two nearby targets, causing 50% of the damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. After 2200 damage, the link will sever.

This little baby was awesome in my eyes. The concept behind it and the possible strategic uses of it, especially considering the health pools of both Druid tanks and Death Knights  intrigued me. It wasn’t your normal everyday spell. As a healer we’re used to playing healing triage as well as Cast X spell get Y result + / – a little. This you know the values but you can effectively use this to shift some raid damage around. Alas this was not meant to be and it was replaced by Riptide, which is a very good spell, but doesn’t lend itself to the same sort of mysterious awe that Spirit Link gave me. With cataclysm coming back I’d love to see this come back as a mastery spell or some such. It was a fantastic concept that I’m sad to say got left on the cutting room floor.

So, with that I turn it over to you our readers. Anything you want to see desperately added to the game? Why? Did you find something in a Beta or PTR that you wish would have made it to the live servers?

That’s all for today, until next time Happy Healing!

Sig

Priest Guide: Part 2 – How to Build Holy

Priest Guide: Part 2 – How to Build Holy

Building-your-spec

So now that you know what each talent is, does, and have a basic idea of when it’s most effective, let’s take a look at how to build a spec:

Step 1:14-mandatory-points

To start, plug in those mandatory 14 points:

  • Twin Disciplines – 5
  • Improved Inner Fire – 3
  • Improved Power Word: Fortitude – 2* **
  • Meditation – 3
  • Inner Focus – 1

*PvEers: If you are 100% certain that another Priest in your raid will have Imp:Fort, and not mind buffing, and you REALLY feel the need for threat reduction, you can move these two points into Silent Resolve. I don’t think it’s worth it, but it is an option.

**PvPers: Choose Martyrdom rather than Imp:Fort.

Step 2:

Decide whether this is a Holy build, or a Discipline build. For this example, I’ll walk you through my Holy spec, my reasons for each point, and where you could easily change it to suit yourself – and which changes wouldn’t be as helpful.

Step 3:

Build it!

CritFor Tier 1, take a look at your crit on your character screen. The idea here is that you want enough crit to get the mana saving goodness that is Surge of Light and Holy Concentration with reasonable reliability. Since Holy is largely a raid-healing spec, your three major raid-healing spells are Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, and Prayer of Healilng. CoH hits 5 people (6 if glyphed), ProM hits 5 (6 with 2-piece T7, assuming full duration),  and ProH hits 5. If you have 2-piece T8, ProH gets 10% extra chance to crit.

Why does this matter?

Because in the first tier, Holy Specialization allows you a tremendous amount of control over the crit chance of your heals. Having around 20% crit unbuffed (25% fully raid buffed) gives you a 1-in-5 crit chance for each 5-target raid heal, with the raid buffs allowing some insurance. As with everything heal-related, you want to react as quickly as possible, and KNOWING that you will get a free, instant Flash Heal after every AoE allows you to plan ahead. If you have enough crit on your gear to get you to that threshold, you can start subtracting points from Holy Specialization. Personally, I like having the freedom to stack a bit more Spell Haste on my gear, so I choose to max out Holy Specialization so that my crit isn’t lacking.

Wynthea-holy-spec-tier-1

Next, take a look at a Recount, WWS, WoWmeter, or other combat log parse. How much do you Renew? A  lot? A little? For more research, check out the uploaded combat logs for a guild that’s farming the content your guild is learning. Do those Holy Priests use Renew? Often, if there’s a huge discrepancy between a very successful guild, and a guild that’s having trouble, a small strategy change can make a big difference for those new to the content. (I’m probably going to catch some flack for that – yes, the idea is that all Priests are individuals, and your spec should reflect that. My argument is that when evaluating the effectiveness of a particular spell, look ahead and see how effective it is for successful people in content that you plan to clear. Don’t be so attached to your personal status quo that it prevents you from achieving your goals.)

If Renew is something you use, or plan to use, a lot, pick up the three points in Improved Renew.

Healing Focus – for this talent, consider the content your guild is working on. Are you having trouble keeping yourself and your assignment alive during Mimiron? This could be a great option. Aside from that, there just aren’t many fights where the pushback will kill you, and you’ll be too far away from a Paladin that could use Concentration Aura – or another healer that can help you until the danger has passed.

 

Wynthea-holy-spec-tier-2Tier 2 gives you even more wiggle room. Spell Warding will help you if you tend to die to spell damage. If you’re building a spec specifically for Mimiron or Mimiron hard mode, this will help protect you from his Rapid Burst ability. However, it’s five points that help NO ONE except you.

Divine Fury  – points in this are a must if you still use Greater Heal a lot – more than can be helped by Serendipity, or if you also use your raid spec to solo quest grind. If neither of those are true, and you took points in Healing Focus, feel free to only put in two points. If you skipped healing focus, you have to put at least three points here to move forward. (Two will get you to tier 3, but you’ll need 3 for tier 4 if you take Desperate Prayer, and 4 if you don’t.)

Since I do all of my dailies in my Holy-raiding spec, I go ahead and max this out. It only costs me one extra point, which I steal from Improved Healing.

 

 

Wynthea-holy-spec-tier-3

Tier 3 includes an easy decision: Max out Inspiration. Even though this is a raid-healing build, it’s a guarantee that some of your AoE will land on the tank. Spreading the love around won’t hurt the rest of the raid, either – if anything, it’ll make your job easier.

Blessed Recovery won’t help you in a raiding scenario, so skip it. (If you’re getting critical melee hits regularly enough to take this, get yourself a new tank.)

Desperate Prayer is completely up to you, but I find it very useful. It’s cheap, instant, has a short cooldown, can crit, and is a GREAT “Oh Sh–!!” button, especially now that pots are only once-per-fight.

 

In tier 4, since this is a healing build, forget about Searing Light.

To move forward, you’ll need 5 points between Holy Reach and Improved Healing, or 4 if you also maxed out Divine Fury. Since Improved Healing only affects Greater Heal (which I use rarely these days) and Divine Hymn (Which I always Inner Focus), I give Holy Reach both points, and stick just 2 in Improved Healing for filler.  (You could also completely bypass Improved Healing by putting these two points in Healing Focus.) In my opinion, that 5% savings on a heal I don’t use often is less efficient than the extra radius on my AoE heals. (And I’m more comfortable putting that point into Divine Fury, where on the rare occassions I do need Greater Heal, it will be fast enough to be effective.) Although you’ll run into many people who are perfectly comfortable with 1 point in Holy Reach, you will rarely see Holy builds that skip it entirely – you want CoH and ProH to have the chance to hit as many people as possible. If you skipped Healing Focus, you’ll notice only 1 point in Improved Healing is needed to move forward. You can easily plug that point into Lightwell, Blessed Resilience, or Test of Faith later in the tree.

Wynthea-holy-spec-tier-6Once you reach Tier 5, maxing out Spiritual Guidance is a no-brainer, since it’s a flat-out increase to your spell power. Similarly, don’t skip Spirit of Redemption, since one point here buys you an extra 5% spirit. (Which, obviously, also increases your spell power in addition to your regen. It’s also nice to not ever have to inform your raid leader when you need a battle-rez, since it will be glaringly obvious.) Your other choice in this layer is Healing Prayers, and since Prayer of Healing and Prayer of Mending each benefit from set bonuses, and the AoE damage in Ulduar encounters makes Prayer of Healing your work-horse spell, skipping Healing Prayers is mana-suicide. Max it out.

In tier 6, Spiritual Healing is a misnomer, since it has nothing to do with spirit, however, it’s a straight up increase to the amount healed by all of your healing spells; max it out. Surge of Light is another talent where theorycrafters disagree: is one point sufficient, or are two required? Because I count on these procs, I max it out to ensure that I get them as often as possible. (And, really, why wouldn’t you want more mana-free, castable-on-the-move heals that stack Serendipity and take advantage of Twin Disciplines? More to the point, where could that one point buy you more benefit?)

By now, you’ve got more than enough points in Holy to get you to Tier 8, but this part of the tree is thick with awesome points. Still in tier 7, Holy Concentration is one of the best talents we have to increase our mana-regen, and you’ll find yourself gasping for water on longer fights without it. Combined with Surge of Light, this is one of the main reasons that crit is important for Priests these days. Take all 3 points. Lightwell, on the other hand, is a polarizing point. There are enough points in this particular spec that you can take it if you have trained your raid to use it properly, just either drop Divine Fury down to 4 points or Improved Healing down to two. Both of these will impact your Greater Heal (the former will nerf your cast time by .1 seconds, the latter will increase its mana cost by 5%.) Personally, I skip lightwell altogether.

Blessed Resilience used to be a strictly PvP talent. Then they re-worked it to “increase the effectiveness of your heals by 1% per rank.” Which makes it viable for PvE, theoretically. Frequent plus heal poster Sindaga posted the math over on the Elitist Jerks Priest Compendium that shows how this works:

“Empowered Healing vs. Blessed Resilience (yes, the PvP talent)

Taking two examples for empowered healing (Flash Heal & Binding Heal); this is due to the very low amount of greater heal casting, personally, done in Ulduar 25 and 10-man. Each heal will be looked at with empowered healing or with blessed resilience. Calculations will be done with 3000 spell power (a very attainable goal with even just a couple ulduar upgrades). The formula used will be as follows:

Spell = [Average + (Spellpower * coefficient)]*(talent modifiers)

i) Calculations with Empowered Healing (w/ spiritual healing modifier)
Flash Heal = [2049.5 + (3000 * 0.9668)]*1.1
Flash Heal = 5445 healing average
Binding Heal = [2237.5 + (3000 *0.9668)]*1.1
Binding Heal = 5652 healing average
Greater Heal = [4300.5 + (3000 * 2.2256)]*1.1
Greater Heal = 12075 healing average

ii) Calculations with Blessed Resilience (w/ spiritual healing modifier)
Flash Heal = [2049.5 + (3000 * 0.8057)]*1.13
Flash Heal = 5047 healing average
Binding Heal = [2237.5 + (3000 *0.8057)]*1.13
Binding Heal = 4969 healing average
Greater Heal = [4300.5 + (3000 * 1.6111)]*1.13
Greater Heal = 10321 healing average

iii) Calculations with Blessed Resilience & Test of Faith (w/ spiritual healing modifier) – I found something interesting testing with Renew. If the spell is cast below 50%, the ticks (even if the health goes higher than 50%) stay with the 12% increased effectiveness.
Flash Heal = [2049.5 + (3000 * 0.8057)]*1.25
Flash Heal = 5583 healing average
Binding Heal = [2237.5 + (3000 *0.8057)]*1.25
Binding Heal = 5818 healing average
Greater Heal = [4300.5 + (3000 * 1.6111)]*1.25
Greater Heal = 11417 healing average

So those are some pretty plain numbers. If you find yourself casting greater heal more than once in a blue moon, perhaps stick with Empowered Healing. If you regularly find yourself not casting it at all during fights then a spec for better output would first put the 5 points from empowered healing to 3/3 blessed resilience and then 2/3 Test of Faith.

Justification for taking test of faith is it provides more healing to those targets who need more health.” — Sindaga

The bottom line here is that putting 3 points in Blessed Resilience along with 2 in Test of Faith increases the amount healed on targets below 50% by a significant amount. If you’re looking to take advantage of Test of Faith in the next layer of the tree, it’s a good idea to pair it with Blessed Resilience – and you can easily take the points from Empowered Healing to make that happen. It’s entirely a play-style dependent call, and I personally prefer the constant levels of healing provided by Empowered Healing to the low-health dependent benefits of Test of Faith.

Wynthea-holy-spec-tier-9 Moving into tier 8, you’ll find some of your decisions have already been made, due to the preceding math. If you decided to put Sindaga’s 3 points into Blessed Resilience, you have already decided to skip Empowered Healing. If you decided against the BR/ToF combo, you’ll max it out instead. The other talents in this layer are Serendipity and Body and Soul. Although I’ve read some arguments that the self-poison cleanse is useful on the more poison-heavy encounters in Ulduar, if your Shamans, Druids, and Paladins are doing their jobs, you won’t need Body and Soul. Serendipity, on the other hand, plays a major role in making Holy a more synergistic healing spec. Layering spell haste for your bigger heals is a huge part of the raid-healing strategies for fights like Ignis, Deconstructor, Freya, and Mimiron. My typical heal pattern takes careful advantage of this: Inner Focus-Prayer of Healing -> Surge of Light-Flash Heal -> Binding Heal -> Circle of Healing -> Surge of Light-Flash Heal -> Serendipitous- Prayer of Healing -> Surge of Light-Flash Heal…. into infinity, peppered with Prayer of Mendings and Renews as much as possible, both of which provide extra Surge of Light procs, and, therefore, free layers of Serendipity to haste my next Prayer of Healing. Make sure you take maximum advantage of Serendipity.

Like tier 8, you’ve already made quite a few decisions regarding tier 9, without realizing it: If you picked up Improved Renew in tier 1, you would shortchange yourself to skip Empowered Renew. When you decided to build Holy, you decided to take Circle of Healing,  (I know there was a lot of noise about avoiding it when they added the 6 second cool down, but with its coefficient balanced to reflect the cooldown, the glyph to increase it to 6 targets, and its ability to proc Surge of Light, skipping Circle of Healing would be foolish.) And when you decided between Empowered Healing and Blessed Resilience, you decided whether you would take Test of Faith as part of the Blessed Resilience package. If you’re following my build, take all three in Empowered Renew, Circle of Healing, and skip Test of Faith.

For tiers 10 & 11, you’ll notice you have exactly 6 points left. Finish out your spec by finishing out the tree with 5 points in Divine Providence, and the last into Guardian Spirit.

This is my completed spec – and I fully expect as many detractors as I do compliments. Lightwell may work for you and your raid, or perhaps you think I’m foolish to finish out Divine Fury rather than taking Healing Focus. I’d love to hear about tweaks that you make (and how they work for you), but for me this is my perfect spec – Renew-heavy, allowing me to stack haste, and with Desperate Prayer the only concession to keeping myself alive rather than focusing on my raid. Wynthea-holy-spec-final

Next Post: How to Build Disc

Luv,
Wyn

Healing Priest Guide: Part 1 – Talents

Healing Priest Guide: Part 1 – Talents

Banner---Trees

In 3.1, PvE Priests are in a good place. We have two distinct and raid-viable healing specs, and enough good places to put our talents that you can make arguments for several “cookie-cutter” builds.

When I first started rooting around in the WoW-blogosphere, I came upon a post over at Dwarfpriest that laid out each talent and what it did – and it helped me understand so much about my class mechanics that I thought I’d borrow a page from her grimoire and go over the trees as they stand now. (However, while she included our shadowy brethren, I won’t. Sorry guys, it’s not that I don’t love your replenishment you, it’s just that I’m not going to claim to be knowledgeable about that strange tree of yours.)

After introducing each talent, I’ll spend some time showing how to actually make a build – by walking you through mine, as well as other examples.

Discipline

A quick note on our beloved Disc tree: If you Google Priest Specs, you’ll likely find a lot of people talking about how Priests have “14 mandatory talent points.” (Sometimes they say 13.) What they really mean is that there are some talents in the Disc tree that are so universally outstanding that every Priest should take advantage of them – PvE, PvP, Holy, Disc, or Shadow. These talents are Twin Disciplines, Improved Inner Fire, and Meditation.  It takes 10 points in Discipline to get to Meditation and 3 to max it out. The 14th point is Inner Focus, which I agree should be considered mandatory. You can fool around a little in the 2nd tier with Improved Fort, Martyrdom, and Silent Resolve, but skipping those others will handicap any spec you try to put together.

Tier 1:

Unbreakable-Will Unbreakable Will: Reduces the duration of Stun, Fear, and Silence effects done to you by %6 per rank

Outstanding for PvP, but no longer the premiere choice for the first tier of a PvE build.

Twin-Disciplines Twin Disciplines: Increases the damage and healing done by your instant spells by 5% per rank.

This is your bread and butter for any PvE build. Renew, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Desperate Prayer, Holy Nova, PW:Shield, SW:Pain, SW:Death, Devouring Plague, Flash Heal and Smite (when made instant by Surge of Light), and the Glyph effects for both PW:Shield and Dispel Magic all benefit from this. You could make a strong argument for this in PvP as well.

Tier 2:

Silent-ResolveSilent Resolve: Reduces the threat generated by your Holy and Discipline Spells by 7% per rank (capped at 20%) and reduces the chance your helpful spells and damage over time effects will be dispelled by 10% per rank.

For PvE, the threat reduction can be helpful when running 5-mans with pugs, or on fights like Auriaya or Ignis where there’s a lot of raid healing and random adds popping up. For PvP, this keeps your DoTs ticking, and your Renews and PW:Shields where they belong.

Improved-Inner-Fire Improved Inner Fire: Increases the effect of your Inner Fire spell by 15% per rank, and increases the total number of charges by 4 per rank.

This will increase the Spell Power gained from 120 to 174, and the charges from 20 to 32. For PvP or PvE, you want this talent.

Improved-PWFort Improved Power Word: Fortitude: Increases the effect of you PW:Fort and Prayer of Fortitude spells by 15% per rank and increases your total stamina by 2% per rank.

As long as one Priest in the raid has this talent, the others could technically do without it, but you’ve got to put two points into something in this tier to get to the next level. For PvE, it should either be Silent Resolve or this. For PvP, Martyrdom would probably be a better choice; the 4% total gain to personal stamina is nice in PvP, but it’s not going to make or break you.

MartyrdomMartyrdom: Gives you a 50% chance per rank to gain the Focused Casting effect that lasts for 6 seconds after being the victim of a melee or ranged critical strike. The Focused Casting effect reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting spells and decreases the duration of Interrupt effects by 10% per rank.

Brilliant for PvP (and in my opinion, more useful than Imp:Fort), but next-to-useless for PvE.

Tier 3:

MeditationMeditation: Allows ~17% per rank (50% at max) of your mana regeneration to continue while casting.

Disc, Holy, PvE, PvP, Shadow…. Take this talent, and max it out.

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

Priests argue whether this one is actually mandatory. To an extent, it’s a function of playstyle – I always use this for either Prayer of Healing or Divine Hymn since they are the most expensive. Because of that, I use this every time it’s off cooldown. The added crit also means an almost guaranteed Surge of Light and Serendipity proc. It’s also a nice last-ditch effort when you’ve run out of mana. Really, I just can’t figure out where you’d get more benefit from spending a single point.

Improved-PWShieldImproved Power Word: Shield:
Increases the damage absorbed by your PW:Shield by 5% per rank.

Brilliant for PvE or PvP disc builds. You also must max this out to access Soul Warding.

Tier 4:

AbsolutionAbsolution: Reduces the mana cost of your Dispel Magic, cure Disease, Abolish Disease, and Mass Dispel spells by 5% per rank.

For PvE-Disc, this can save you a TON of mana over the course of a fight like Hodir or Yogg-Saron. For PvP, don’t leave home without this – remember that you’re not only dispelling and curing your teammates, but offensively dispelling your opponents.

Mental-AgilityMental Agility:Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by ~3% per rank. (Caps at 10%)

If you’re this deep in the Disc tree, you’re not going to be getting Surge of Light procs, but this still impacts Renew, Prayer of Mending, Desperate Prayer (if you took it), Holy Nova, PW:Shield, SW:Pain, SW:Death, Devouring Plague,and the Glyph effects for both PW:Shield and Dispel Magic. Not a bad place to put points to get you to the next tier.

Improved-Mana-BurnImproved Mana Burn: Reduces
the casting time of your Mana Burn spell by .5 seconds per rank.

Utterly useless for PvE. Absolutely essential for PvP.

Tier 5:

Reflective-ShieldReflective Shield:  Causes 22% or 45% of the damage your absorb with PW:Shield to reflect back at the attacker. This damage causes no threat.

Originally designed to work no matter who you had shielded, the code proved too complex. For now, this only works when the shield is on you. Pro for PvP, this has basically zero application in PvE.

Mental-StrengthMental Strength: Increases your total Intellect by 3% per rank

I think if this were lower in the Disc tree, it would become another “mandatory” talent. For raiding, Int. scales your replenishment and increases your crit. The total mana regen formula is also largely dependent on int. If that wasn’t enough, you also have to max this out to access Power Infusion.

Soul-WardingSoul Warding: Reduces the cooldown of your Power Word:Shield ability by 4 seconds, and reduces the mana cost of PW:Shield by 15%.

If you’re this deep into Disc, you already know that Shield is one of your most-cast spells. This removes the cooldown (why does it have that, anyway?), and makes it cheaper. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of this one point, especially PvE-ers with the 4-piece Tier 8 bonus. (+250 Spell Power after casting PW:S.) You have to max out Improved PW:S to take this.

Tier 6:

Focused-PowerFocused Power: Increases damage and healing done by your spells by 2% per rank. In addition, your Mass Dispel cast time is reduced by .5 seconds per rank.

PvE-ers will want the increase to spell power, and appreciate the cast-reduction on fights where Mass-dispel is needed. PvP-ers will want both effects. Highly Recommended.

Enlightenment Enlightenment: Increases your total Spirit and Spell Haste by 2% per rank.

Spirit will increase your mana return, and Spell Haste is becoming more and more important. You could argue about this talent, but it’s a very solid choice for PvE or PvP.

Tier 7:

Focused-WillFocused Will: At max rank, this increases your spell critical effect chance by 3%, and after taking a critical hit you gain the Focused Will effect, reducing all damage taken by 4% and increasing healing effects on you by 5%. Stacks up to 3 times, lasts 8 seconds.

In PvE, you can make a good argument for 3% crit. In PvP, this will increase your survivability tremendously. An interesting detail is that even when you’re wearing resilience gear, this talent will work if you WOULD have been crit, but a crit is prevented by your gear. Nice.

Power-InfusionPower Infusion: Infuses the target with power, increasing spell casting speed by 20% and reducing the mana cost of all spells by 20%. Lasts 15 sec.

This is one of the defining spells of a Discipline spec. Requires 5 points in Mental Strength. You can cast this on yourself, or make best-buddy friends with a mage.

Improved-Flash-HealImproved Flash Heal: Reduces the mana cost of your Flash Heal by 5% per rank, and increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal by 3% per rank (10% at max) on targets below 50% health.

 You’ll be Flash Healing whenever penance is on cooldown – even if you didn’t need these 3 points to get to the next tier, this talent would be a major part of the mana-efficiency that makes Discipline such a strong spec.

Tier 8:

Renewed-HopeRenewed Hope: Increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Penance (Heal) spells by 4% on targets afflicted by the Weakened Soul effect, and you have a 100% chance to reduce all damage taken by 3% for 20 seconds to all friendly party and raid targets when you cast PW:Shield.

So, when you shield someone, your major heals heal for more on them. You also reduce the total amount of damage they take, period, in addition to what is absorbed by the shield itself. This talent is amazing for either PvE or PvP.

RaptureRapture: At max rank, when your PW:S is completely absorbed or dispelled, you are instantly energized with 2.5% of your total mana, and you have a 100% chance to energize your shielded target with 2% total mana, 8 rage, 16 energy, or 32 runic power. This effect can only occur once every 12 seconds.

Getting mana back is a Very Good Thing, whether you’re killing bosses or player-opponents. Helping your team or raidmates have more resources is also a Very Good Thing. This talent is awesome for PvE, and due to the Dispel mechanic, equally so for PvP. Maybe more so.

Aspiration Aspiration: Reduces the cooldown of your Inner Focus, Power Infusion, Pain Suppression and Penance spells by 10% per rank.

As Disc, these are the spells that more or less make your spec. Allowing you to cast them more will allow you to do your job without always being on cooldown. PvE or PvP, you want this.

Tier 9:

Divine-Aegis Divine Aegis: Critical heals create a protective shield on the target, absorbing 10% per rank of the amount healed. Lasts 12 sec.

This provides an additional shield to Power Word:Shield, that scales with your Spell Power. As Disc, providing preemptive healing is one of your major benefits, especially as you venture further into single-target healing. A must-have for PvE, and a solid choice for PvP.

Pain-Suppression Pain Suppression: Instantly reduces a friendly target’s threat by 5%, reduces all damage taken by 40% and increases resistance to Dispel mechanics by 65% for 8 sec.

In PvE, 5% threat shouldn’t break a tank in a raid scenario – this is an excellent extra cooldown for those fights where the boss hits extra hard on a regular basis. (Think Mimiron Phase 1, or General Vezax). For PvP, the life you save could be your own, and it’ll even help you hang onto your PW:S and Renew.

Grace Grace: Your Flash heal, Greater Heal, and Penance spells have a 50% chance, per rank, to bless the target with Grace, increasing all healing received from you by 3%. This effect will stack up to 3 times. Effect lasts 15 seconds. Grace can only be active on one target at a time.

Maxed out, this gives you a 100% chance to increase your healing on one target by 3%, stacking up to 9%, for 15 seconds. I think you can manage to throw a Flash Heal or Penance every 15 seconds on your MT. Don’t skip this for PvE. For PvP, you’ll see less benefit from this, but in 2v2 or situations where one of your teammates is being focused, it can help a lot.

Tiers 10 & 11:

Borrowed-Time Borrowed Time: Grants 5% per rank spell haste for your next spell after casting Power Word: Shield, and increases the amount absorbed by your Power Word: Shield equal to 8%, per rank, of your spell power.

As if you needed another reason to cast PW:Shield. Maxing out at 25% spell haste after casting a Shield, and an additional 40% of your spell power added to the power of your Shield means more mitigation for raid damage or single-targets, and faster heals from you. A Disc on raid duty will use this for Prayer of Healing. On the Tank, it will help you drop faster Greater Heals (or anything else.) For PvP, this also synergizes well with Reflective Shield, dealing more damage to your attacker.

Pennance Penance: Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing 375 Holy damage to an enemy, or 1484 to 1676 healing to an ally instantly and every second for 2 seconds.

Penance is a little funky, because of its dual nature. It ticks three times: Immediately, 1 second later, and 1 more second later. Each tick has the chance to crit (and proc Inspiration, Divine Aegis.) Talented, this 10 second cooldown is 8 seconds. You can glyph it down to 6.4, but remember: it has a 2 second channel time – so 2 of those 6 seconds don’t matter anyway. The damage range is 30 yards, the heal is 40. It’ll heal for something like 8-12k, and damage for 2-4k at lvl 80. This spell is AWESOME.

holy

A note on the Holy tree: as a rule of thumb, and especially in 25-man raid content, Discipline Priests will specialize in single-target (tank) healing, and Holy Priests in multi-target (raid) healing. So, Holy Priests will spend the mandatory 14 points in Disc, and Disc Priests will put enough points into Holy to get Inspiration, because of its huge benefits to tank healing. Discipline priests who don’t do this will find themselves at a serious disadvantage when healing tanks. I’m also operating under the assumption that serious PvPers will be spec’ing Disc, since it’s amazing right now, and the PvP applicable talents in the bottom of Holy are largely outshone by their Disc counter-parts. I’ll still point them out when they come up, however.

Tier 1:

Healing-FocusHealing Focus: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting any healing spell by 35% per rank.

There’s some debate over how effective this talent is, compared to your other options in the holy tree. Basically, the only top-end fight where spell pushback is bad enough to kill you is Mimiron. If you find that you cannot survive this fight due to blasts, by all means take this talent – it, and a Paladin with improved concentration aura, will help your survivability immensely. For all other PvE encounters, there are better places to put the points. For PvP, this just might save your life, or your teammates – take it!

Improved-Renew Improved Renew: Increases the amount healed by your Renew spell by 5% per rank.

Synergizes exceptionally well with Empowered Renew, for those going deep Holy. For Disc builds working towards Inspiration, this is also an excellent choice, since Renew benefits from Mental Agility and Twin Disciplines. It won’t give you the full 5 points you need to get to Tier 2 talents, though. For PvP, I find it helpful to have a bigger spell that’s castable while mobile – and with all the help the Disc tree offers to keep your spells from being dispelled, there’s a high chance it will last long enough to do quite a bit of good.

Holy-Specialization Holy Specialization: Increases the critical effect chance of your Holy spells by 1% per rank.

Another good choice for Disc Priests working toward Inspiration, this is also worth maxing out as you work towards gear caps. Personally, I find that 25-30% Holy Crit (when fully raid buffed) provides a guaranteed Surge of Light proc off either Circle of Healing (especially when glyphed) or Prayer of Healing (especially with 2-piece T8 and/or Inner Focus activated). Once you’ve reached that soft cap, feel free to reduce the points here to take either Healing Focus or max something out further down the tree. For PvP, I personally take 2/2 Healing Focus and 3/3 Improved Renew to get to the next tier – there are talents that will provide more reliability and stamina that are more worth the points.

Tier 2:

Spell-Warding Spell Warding: Reduces all spell damage taken by 2% per rank.

I’ve seen suggestions that Spell Warding also helps on Mimiron, and other AoE-heavy fights in Ulduar. My opinion is that for 5 talent points I can either increase my PW:Shield to protect me from ALL damage, or increase my healing to keep me and the other people that I’m healing (can’t forget about them!) up through the damage. For PvP, however, this can save you against burst damage attacks from pesky mages, and the ongoing drain from warlocks.

Divine-Fury Divine Fury: Reduces the casting time of your Smite, Holy Fire, Heal, and Greater Heal by .1 seconds per rank.

If you find yourself grinding solo a lot, pick this up. If you find yourself using Greater Heal a lot (and check a combat log – don’t THINK you’re using it a lot, know.), pick this up. If you 2v2 or maybe 3v3 and need to be able to dps a little, pick this up. If you need points to get to 3rd tier talents, pick this up. If you need to find talents to put into something you KNOW will be more useful, do that. Most Disc Priests rely on Penance, Shield, and Flash Heal. Most Holy Priests rely on Flash Heal, Renew, and Circle of Healing. (not to mention Prayer of Healing….) This talent affects NONE of those, so you can safely rob points from it without getting anyone killed. You do need it maxed out to access Searing Light, so Holy-DPS builds will want it. (LoL-smite!!)

Tier 3:

Desperate-Prayer Desperate Prayer: Instantly heals you for 263-325. 2 min cooldown.

At lvl 80, this hits me for around 5-6k, and can crit. This point is all about personal playstyle. I have a bad habit of staying too long to get off just.one.more.heal. This helps keep me alive when I finally run away. If you find yourself not having any problems staying alive, feel free to skip it. For PvP, anything insta-cast that helps you is a good idea, so make sure you have this.

Blessed-Recovery Blessed Recovery: After being struck by a melee or ranged critical hit, Blessed Recovery heals you for 5% per rank of the damage taken over 6 seconds. Additional critical hits taken during the effect increase the healing received.

This talent is as mandatory for PvP as it is useless for PvE.

Inspiration Inspiration: Increases your target’s armor by 8% per rank (25% max) for 15 seconds after getting a critical effect from your Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Penance, Prayer of Healing, or Circle of Healing.

Anyone planning to heal a tank is short-changing themselves if they don’t take this talent. (That should be everyone, even dedicated raid-healers. It proc’s off all your AoE heals, too.) For PvP, any increase in armor is a good thing when you’re wearing a dress.

Tier 4:

Holy-Reach Holy Reach: Increases the range of your Smite and Holy Fire spells and the radius of your Prayer of Healing, Holy Nova, Divine Hymn, and Circle of Healing spells by 10% per rank.

Holy Dpsers will want this for sure. For PvE healers, the current debate is whether 1 point is sufficient – I find that on AoE heavy, yet very spread out, fights like Deconstructer and Hodir, I appreciate any extra range I can get. Disc Priests can feel free to ignore this – If you’re going this far into Holy it’s for the next talent. PvPers will need to check their personal style – but most arenas are so mobile and small, that I doubt you’ll see much benefit.

Improved-Healing Improved Healing: Reduces the mana cost of your Lesser Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, Divine Hymn, and Penance spells by 5% per rank.

Very few Disc Priests will go this far into Holy, including PvPers. Personally, I DO take this talent in my Disc spec, (I steal 1 point from Rapture to do it), since it’s VERY SPECIFIC for General Vezax, and Rapture benefits on that fight are almost negligible. Holy Priests will likely need at least one point here to get to the next tier, but if you’ve looked at your combat log, and found that you don’t cast Greater Heal enough to justify these points, feel free to move them from this into something else.

Searing-Light Searing Light: Increases the damage of your Smite, Holy Fire, Holy Nova, and Penance spells by 5% per rank.

This requires 5 points in Divine Fury to unlock. PvE healers will find it utterly useless. HolyDPSers will love it. Disc PvP builds will have a hard time figuring out which points to steal from survivability viable talents to put into it.

Tier 5:

Healing-Prayers Healing Prayers: Reduces the mana cost of your Prayer of Healing and Prayer of Mending spells by 10% per rank.

With all the AoE damage in Ulduar, the T8 2-piece bonus (adds 10% crit chance to Prayer of Healing), the T7 2-piece bonus (adds an extra bounce to Prayer of Mending), and the fact that Prayer of Healing is now castable on ANY party in your raid…. you’d be mad not to max this out, because you will be spamming these spells.

Spirit-of-Redemption Spirit of Redemption: Increases total Spirit by 5% and, upon death, the Priest becomes the Spirit of Redemption for 15 seconds. The Spirit of Redemption cannot move, attack, be attacked, or targeted by any spells or effects. While in this form, the Priest can cast any healing spell free of cost. When the effect ends, the Priest dies.

This is your angel-form, and the beacon telling the raid that you have died. Again. I’ve been told that this is helpful after you die in PvP, but my opinion is that if you went Disc PVP instead of Holy PVP you’d probably still be alive. The reason all Holy Priests take this talent is for the 5% spirit. Increases your regen, and if you take Spiritual Guidance (why wouldn’t you?), your Spell Power.  You also have to take this if you want Lightwell.

Spiritual-Guidance Spiritual Guidance: Increases spell power by 5% per rank of your total Spirit.

You’re a Priest, so the vast majority of your gear will have a lot of Spirit. It’s likely that all of your blue sockets have either Spirit or Int/Spirit gems. You’ll get a lot of spell power out of this.

Tier 6:

Surge-of-Light Surge of Light: Your spell criticals have a 25% chance per rank to cause your next Smite or Flash Heal spell to be instant cast, cost no mana, but be incapable of a critical hit. This effect lasts 10 seconds.

Holy DPSers will like this one, too. Healers will find the mobility and mana-free benefits to Flash Heal (also great for stacking Serendipity back up after Prayer of Healing, since ProH will likely give you a proc) indispensable. The debate here is whether 2 points are required. Please note that this does not increase your chance TO CRIT, but rather for your crits to CAUSE A PROC. I keep 2 points in, because I like being able to count on this after a large amount of raid damage, and I find a noticeable reduction with only 1 point.

Spiritual-Healing Spiritual Healing: Increases the amount healed by your healing spells by 2% per rank.

Odd in that it increases healing but not damage, this should be considered mandatory for any Holy build.

Tier 7:

Holy-Concentration Holy Concentration: Your mana regeneration from Spirit is increased by ~16% per rank (50% max) for 8 seconds after you critically heal with Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, or Renew.

This talent is a large source of mana regen for any Holy Build. Don’t skip it.

Lightwell Lightwell: Creates a Holy Lightwell. Members of your raid or party can click the Lightwell to restore 4620 health over 6 seconds. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will cancel the effect. Lightwell lasts 3 minutes or 10 charges.

Most Priests who like this spell REALLY like it, and the rest of us call it LoLwell. If you can train your raid to use it properly, it can be very useful. You must take Spirit of Redemption to unlock it.

Blessed-Resiliance Blessed Resilience: Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 1% per rank, and critical hits made against you have a 20% chance, per rank, to prevent you from being critically hit again for 6 sec.

For Priests who insist on PvPing Holy, this is the entire reason you’re this deep in the tree. It is an amazing talent. The question is whether it’s more amazing than everything you give up in the Disc tree to get here, and I don’t think it is. The change to increase the effectiveness of your healing spells DOES add up in PvE, however, and if you’re soft-capped on crit, but don’t Greater Heal much, those points you robbed from Divine Fury and Improved Healing will stretch to this. HOWEVER, the amazing Sindaga did some great math over on the Elitist Jerks forums that suggests you’ll want to max out Test of Faith first. Ghostcrawler, if you’re reading this, I think this talent should be moved much further down in the tree – around where Divine Fury is. (actually, GC, if you’re reading this just make Greater Heal baseline 2.5 seconds and take Divine Fury out all together. Also, I’ll be asking for your autograph at Blizzcon!!)

Tier 8:

Body-and-SoulBody and Soul: When you cast Power Word:Shield, you increase the target’s movement speed by 30% per rank for 4 seconds, and you have a 50% chance, per rank, when you cast Abolish Disease on yourself to also cleanse 1 poison effect in addition to diseases.

Another very solid PvP talent, much too far down in the Holy Tree to do much good. (and since it would synergize so well with several talents in the Disc tree, I really do wonder why it’s located here at all…. GC?) However, aside from the situational use of the self-cleanse for poison, there are better places to spend the points for a PvE healing build.

Empowered-Healing Empowered Healing: Your Greater Heal spell gains an additional 8% per rank and your Flash Heal and Binding Heal gain an additional 4% per rank of your bonus healing effects.

Anything that increases your Flash Heal is huge at this point. Binding Heal (especially) and Greater Heal are just a bonus.

Serendipity Serendipity: When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 4% per rank. Stacks up to 3 times. Lasts 20 seconds.

With 3 stacks, this reduces the casting time of your Prayer of Healing by over a third. (36%) Mine are about 1.7 seconds, and I have less than 450 haste. While no longer glitched to allow 2 ProH casts, it’s still a huge benefit in fights like Freya and Deconstructor that involve predictable raid damage. With Surge of Light, it’s typical that your next Flash Heal will be instant to aid in re-stacking this. Do not skip this talent.

Tier 9:

Empowered-Renew Empowered Renew: Your Renew spell gains an additional 5% per rank of your bonus healing effects, and your Renew will instantly heal the target for 10% per rank of the total periodic effect.

In addition to adding more to an instant cast spell without a cooldown (great for fights where you’re running a lot – Hodir and Thorim, anyone?) it gives Renew a front-end instant heal like a Druid’s Rejuvenation. With Circle of Healing on a 6-second CD, this gives you a great option for a single player who needs a heal NOW. For you Holy PvPers, this is another heal that can’t be kicked. If you’re in this far anyway, take it along with Circle of Healing.

Circle-of-Healing Circle of Healing: Heals up to 5 friendly party or raid members within 15 yards of the target for 958 to 1058. 6 second cooldown.

The spell that changed the face of Holy Priesting. Still a powerhouse, even without being spamable – the range is increased by Holy Reach, the healing output increased by Twin Disciplines and Divine Providence, and it will nearly always proc a Surge of Light, which will then help you stack Serendipity.

Test-of-Faith Test of Faith: Increases healing by 4% per rank on friendly targets at or below 50% health.

This talent is an extension of the use effect of the Crystal Spire of Karabor. Maxed out, and combined with 2 points in Blessed Resilience, it makes for some interesting effects on Flash Heal and Binding heal – at the expense of Greater Heal. If you don’t have all 5 points to spare, you’re better off taking the crit from Holy Specialization, as this is situationally applicable. Unless you’re PvPing, in which case you already have 3 points in Blessed Resilience, which makes this a no-brainer.

Tiers 10 & 11:

Divine-Providence Divine Providence: Increases the amount healed by Circle of Healing, Binding Heal, Holy Nova, Prayer of Healing, Divine Hymn, and Prayer of Mending by 4% per rank, and reduces the cooldown of your Prayer of Mending by 8% per rank.

Circle of Healing, Binding Heal, Prayer of Healing, and Prayer of Mending are all in heavy rotation in Ulduar, and gain tremendous benefit from this talent. Max it out.

Guardian-Spirit Guardian Spirit: Calls upon a guardian spirit to watch over the friendly target. The spirit increases the healing received by the target by 40%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect, but heals the target of 50% of their maximum health. Lasts 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.

A talent worthy of capping a tree – this is amazing. You can glyph it to reduce the cooldown to 1 minute if the target doesn’t actually die, which would change it from an emergency button to a very frequently used part of your overall healing rotation. I’ve found that, due to the 40% increase to healing (from ALL healers, not just you), very often, the target doesn’t trigger the sacrifice. I’ve got mine macro’d to whisper the target that it’s on them, so that tanks know not to blow additional cooldowns. (and mages feel loved.)

Next Post: Building your spec

Luv,
Wyn

Hybrid it up on General Vezax

Hybrid it up on General Vezax

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This is a guest post by Paladin blogger Honorshammer of Honor’s Code.

General Vezax is the the last boss you must down before you cross swords with Yogg-Saron himself.

The General is one of most challenging fights in all of Ulduar due to his Aura of Despair. What is it that this lovely gift from the Developers does?

From WoWWiki (http://www.wowwiki.com/General_Vezax) we find:

Aura of Despair – Prevents mana regeneration throughout the fight by all means, except for Judgments of the Wise, Spiritual Attunement, Aspect of the Viper, Thrill of the Hunt, and Shamanistic Rage. Note that unlike the Play Test Realm version of this encounter Mana Potions and active abilities such as Evocation and Life Tap will not function.

My guild recently downed General Vezax. I was Retribution for the fight, but when one of our healers went down; I jumped in and started throwing some heals on the tank. That’s when I discovered the power of Judgments of the Wise for this fight. By Judging and stopcasting I was able to take over the 3rd healer role and concentrate on helping to keep our Main Tank alive, and do it on a Ret Paladin’s mana pool.

What exactly does Judgement of the Wise do?

Judgements of the Wise Rank 3 – Your Judgement spells have a 100% chance to grant the Replenishment effect to up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.25% of their maximum mana per second for 15 sec, and to immediately grant you 25% of your base mana. (Source)

The replenishment aspect is useless. After reviewing the WoW Web Stats, I can see that I never gained Replenishment. However I did gain over 100,000 mana from Judgments of the wise! Because it works off base mana, it would restore the same amount regardless of the current mana pool of the Paladin.

We know that for a Level 80 Paladin, Holy Light cost 1,274 mana. So with a little napkin math, we can conclude that I regenerated enough mana from Judgments of the Wise to cast over 70 Holy Lights. That’s without the use of any Saronite Vapors at all.

How practical would it be it for a Holy Paladin to get Judgement of the Wise? Let’s look at a talents build that allows a Holy Paladin to get Judgement of the Wise, and the tradeoffs it makes to get there.

The most popular Holy Paladin build according to TalentChic is 51/5/15. Let’s look at what is needed to turn that into our hybrid build.

First off, the 5 points in Divinity have to go. Divinity is a really strong Tier 1 talent, but we simply won’t have room for it in our build. It doesn’t matter how hard the heal hits if you don’t have the mana to cast it.

Those 5 points move into Sanctity of Battle and Pursuit of Justice. Sanctity gives you even more crit for your Holy spells which should offset some of the loss of Divinity. There is a ton of movement on General Vezax so Pursuit of Justice is really nice as you move away from a Shadow Crash or into a Saronite Vapor.

Then we take the points out of Beacon of Light. This is one tank fight. Let the other healers handle the Raid; you can stay on the Tank so Beacon is a minor loss. You are going to lose the Haste from Judgments of the Pure and Infusion of Light. You will also have to heal from melee range because you won’t have the range increase from Enlightened Judgments. We had our Resto Druid healing from near melee range, so we could just have just as easily had a Holy Paladin there.

You won’t have the mana reduction from Divine Illumination. Based on General Vexax’s enrage timer, you would only be able to fire Divine Illumination more than 3 times during the fight. Are those 45 seconds of reduced cost worth the mana you can get back from Judgments of the Wise?

Assuming a little haste from gear, we’ll call Holy Light a 2 second cast. In those 45 seconds, we can get off 22.5 Holy Lights. To give every advantage to Divine Illumination, we’ll call it 23.

Holy Light costs 1271 so half it’s cost is 635. So we’ve saved 635 mana times 23 casts or about 15,000 mana. It’s about 10% of what Judgments of the Wise gives you. So Divine Illumination is gone as well. Bu-bye!

Our final move is to take 2 points out of Holy Guildance which will result in about a 4% loss of spell power from Intellect. The rest of the Holy Paladin build is pretty much intact.

With these points freed up, we continue to ascend the Ret Tree. The next point taken in Ret is Sanctified Retribution. This will increase all damage done by everyone near us, even if we are running Concentration Aura.

We want to pick up Improved Judgments so we can judge as often as possible, and trigger Judgments of the Wise as often as possible. Now we need two ‘filler’ points to move into the next Tier. There aren’t any great places to put them. I chose to put them in Crusade to increase the damage of Judgment by 3%. This build relies on judging often, so you might as well have them hit a little harder.

On the next tier, we grab Divine Purpose. The 4% spell miss will act as increased resistance to Shadow Crash and Searing Flames should one get through your interrupters.

Here again we find ourselves two points short of the next tier and not really any good place to spend them. I opted for Vengeance. Maybe you could get a stack going and hit those Judgments a little harder. It’s a filler choice so anywhere you want to throw two points will probably work.

Finally, we open Judgments of the Wise.

Here’s the final 38/0/33 build in the WoWhead tool.

General Vezax is a challenging fight. Specing for a specific fight is something that used to be fairly common in late Tier 6 and Sunwell. We didn’t need it for Tier 7 raids, but as we near the end of Tier 8, it may be something to consider again.

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