3 Annoying Problems with Discipline Healing

3 Annoying Problems with Discipline Healing

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Time to take this beta Disc Priest out for a spin and see what he can do in a dungeon environment. I needed a tank, but where could I find one? I happened to be idling in Shrine keeping an eye on trade chat and noticed one of my bear tanks was online!

Time to con her into being my pocket tank.

She agreed and we appeared on the beta servers ready to queue up. I should’ve done a quick pass over my binds and abilities to ensure everything was in place. It took until the end of Bloodmaul Slag Mines before I finally configured everything to my specifications. There were periods where I had to open my spellbook and manually click on select abilities.

Anyway, I’m here to gripe about Disc Priest healing. Here it is:

Lack of Healing mobility: Prayer of Mending has a cast time. We’ve lost access to Renew. Divine Star has a cast time. Penance can be glyphed to allow casting while moving. Holy Nova has a really short radius (and we’ll touch on this in a second).

As a healer, I move around a ton. I don’t mean just simply dodging projectiles or dangerous boss abilities. Sometimes I have to kite or run away from any mobs or ads that are activated. Other times, my tank has screamed ahead and I’m trying to play catchup while stabilizing the rest of the group. The Hunters, Mages, and Rogues are busy trucking on trying to help the tank. Meanwhile, there I am huffing and puffing attempting to keep everyones health up while being unable to move. In Mists, we have all these tools that allowed us to help players recover some health as we were moving from point A to point B. It wasn’t that strong or efficient, but it was something. And yes, shields are great at absorbing inbound damage but they’re not the greatest at restoring health. An absorb simply buys you a little more time to dump heals on your target whereas actually healing your target has the effect of both negating the damage they’re about to take and healing them back.

This must be what a Resto Shaman or Holy Paladin feels like sometimes.

Proposal: Glyph of Mobile Mending – Allow Prayer of Mending to be cast while moving. Exclusive glyph.

Weak Multi-target Healing: Holy Nova is the new efficient Discipline AoE heal. Prayer of Healing has a 30 yard radius. Holy Nova has a 12 yard radius. It’s hard to insist that every player remain stacked. There’s attacks that will prevent the party from doing just that. Holy Nova appears to be enough to keep a players health bar from trending down long enough but it won’t be enough to shoot them back to full right away. That’s a tradeoff at this stage of the game since we’re testing dungeon content at reduced item levels. At the same time, functionally speaking, Holy Nova might not be able to reach the rest of the party if everyone has to split up. You’re reduced to a slightly weaker Prayer of Healing option. Alternatively, you can play the executioner and focus on healing yourself, the tank, and 1 or 2 other players while opting to sacrifice the fifth for the good of the party.

Proposal: De-couple Holy Nova from the Priest. Make it targetable like Prayer of Healing. Allow Holy Nova to heal any player in range of the target up to a maximum of 5 of the weakest players. If you’re still spread out, at least Holy Nova might be able to catch 2-3 other players in your party at a time.

Lack of time: As healers, we have to think of time as a resource. Is there enough time to bring the tank out of range of lethal if I use this spell? How many seconds can I buy my group if I spam this AoE spell until the deadly AoE ability stops being used? Is that player a lost cause or should I try saving them? As mentioned before with the cast time spells, choice becomes important. For example, you and your tank are within lethal range after suffering an unavoidable hit. You have about 2 seconds before the next blow comes and you’re looking at a wipe. A 2.5 second Heal might hit slightly harder and save you more mana. But a 1.5 second Flash Heal would’ve allowed the tank to survive the hit. A Binding Heal would’ve saved both you and the tank*. Most of our direct healing spells are a cast time now. A Holy priest can Renew blanket but a Disc Priest is playing catch up one target at a time.

*The correct play is to either shield one, and Penance/Prayer of Mending/Flash Heal/Desperate Prayer the other and pray the shield holds. The god play is to have never arrived in this situation in the first place.

Regardless, Binding Heal is one of those spells that allowed you to inefficiently heal yourself and your target really fast to get out of lethal range. This is a tool removed from the Priest toolbox. If Flash Heal is the wrench, then Binding Heal is the duct tape because it’s a quick fix and not necessarily the permanent solution. Sometimes you just have to be inefficient or else players die.

Proposal: Bring back Binding Heal. It’s already tough as is for AoE healing as a Disc Priest in a party.

The next step is to give Holy a shot and see how well that performs in dungeon environments. Bloodmaul Slag Mines was a piece of cake but I certainly struggled a fair bit in Upper Blackrock Spire and the Shadowmoon Burial Ground instances.

Shadow Priest Warlords Leveling not as Easy

Shadow Priest Warlords Leveling not as Easy

As you might have guessed, I was one of the privileged few to have been offered a slot in the Warlords of Draenor friends and family alpha that went live a few days ago. I was quite intent on making my mark in Wildstar’s Nexus but I’ll have to put that on hold.

Unfortunately, only the Horde side is available for play meaning I had to create a Blood Elf priest.

I’ll need to take a long cold shower after this play session.

I feel so filthy.

Anyway, I’m not going to delve too much into garrisons too much. The only base building I can do effectively is in Starcraft 2. But, head over to BlizzPro for their hands-on with garrisons.

Just as I’ve done in previous expansions, I plan to blitz my way to the max level as quickly as I can. Each expansion brings with it new tools, new systems, and new spells to help that process.

spriest-leveling

For Shadow Priests, Warlords made it a little tougher. The changes to Shadow and the loss of certain healing spells slowed down leveling. No Renew means I can’t simply keep refreshing Renew whenever it wears off. It means I have to stop and eat more to replenish my health. Flash Heal is obviously no help since it wasn’t designed to top a player off quick in Shadow. Prayer of Mending’s cast time means it can’t just be applied on the run either. Divine Star also lost the healing component.

Thankfully, I can still rely on Power Word: Shield to soak at least some of the damage. Vampiric Embrace, glyphed Psychic Scream, and Dispersion are going to be workhorse cooldowns during the grind.

At the moment, I’m capped at level 92 but level 100 talents are unlocked and can be selected. Auspicious Spirits is a neat talent but Clarity of Power seems to be useful when grinding or farming mobs since you can just go straight to Mind Flay instead of applying a DoT that isn’t going to last the full duration anyway.

draenor-perk-unlocked These Draenor perks are actually quite nice. They offer bits of quality of life improvements. I managed to obtain the Enhanced Shadow Orbs perk quickly after hitting 91 and Enhanced Mind Flay at 92.

More to come later! I’ve got a Shaman I want to try out.

I have never seen healing or DPS numbers this low in a long time.

Active Mana Regeneration: Not a Fan

Active Mana Regeneration: Not a Fan

Have you seen the latest news for healers? They took away our Hymn of Hopes, our Innervates, and stuff.

Actually, they gave Innervate back. Have a gander at the latest section from the patch notes:

Active Mana Regeneration (New)

Another part of the changes to healing is providing a way for them to better manage their mana. There are ways to spend more mana for more healing but, we’re also adding methods for healers to trade extra time or healing or more mana to use later in a fight when they really need it.

Druid

  • Innervate has been redesigned to now have a 2-second cast time with no cooldown, and causes the Druid to gain 2.5% of maximum mana every 4 seconds for 8 seconds.  Spending any mana on a healing spell will cancel this effect.

Monk

  • Crackling Jade Lightning‘s channel duration has been reduced to 4 seconds.
  • Stance of the Wise Serpent now also causes Crackling Jade Lightning to cost no mana, and restore 2% of the Monk’s maximum mana if the ability is channeled for its full duration.

Paladin

  • Divine Plea has been redesigned to be instant cast with no cooldown, and consume 3 Holy Power to immediately regain 7% of maximum mana.

Priest

  • Atonement is no longer triggered by Penance.
  • Penance now also refunds 1.1% of the Priest’s maximum mana each time it deals damage.
  • Chakra: Chastise in addition to existing effects, now also causes Smite and Holy Fire to restore 0.75% of maximum mana each time they are cast instead of costing mana.

Shaman

  • Telluric Currents is now a passive ability for Restoration Shaman and causes Lightning Bolt to restore 1.25% of maximum mana each time it is cast instead of costing mana.
  • Glyph of Telluric Currents: This glyph has been removed.

Huge, yes? Our combat regeneration has evolved quite a long way. During vanilla, we had to work with the 5 second rule: Stop doing anything for 5 seconds to unleash the full power of our mana regen. Then we went to a model where classes had different abilities to use on cooldown (while other classes just didn’t have to worry about mana at all). More changes are being worked with now to shake things up.

What happened to Druids?

I can see Druids are understandably upset with how Innervate’s going to work now. It was originally supposed to be removed but now it’s back. Are Druids really supposed to just sit there for 8 seconds and not do anything while Innervate does what it does? Any healing spells automatically interrupt it. But if you cast your damage spells, you’re negating the damage you’re regenerating.

Doesn’t make sense.

Unless you consider that Wrath isn’t going to cost you any mana.

Now you’ve got something to do while you wait for Innervate to gas you up. Spam that Wrath! But know that you can always cut Innervate off at anytime with a healing spell. Useful for those unexpected emergencies that tend to flare up during raid combat.

What happened to Priests?

Out of all them, the Priest mana abilities are the most interesting. And I say that not because I’m a Priest. I’m just that biased. Because Priests are the master class.

I’m a little concerned about the Penance one. It’s normally used on cooldown for me. There’s almost always someone that can benefit from a fast burst heal. So to use that on a hostile target instead of a friendly is concerning. Can’t quite place my finger on the why.

The Holy Priest side of things is going to be even more engaging. Now I have to actually bind a key to the Chakra: Chastise stance specifically. Priests will need to really get used to Chakra dancing. There were times through this expansion you can get away with being a little lazy and be in the non-optimal Chakra. But with the removal of Hymn of Hope, you have to pay attention and ensure you’re in the right stance or else you’re not going to have any mana left to do anything.

What’s this mean for healers overall?

Much of the regen mechanics are designed to give healers key decisions to make. Do I continue to burn through my mana reserves? Or should I take a moment now and risk raid integrity and regenerate mana? If you’re not already communicating with your other healers now, you need to start. Practice with mana potions or something. Raids in Warlords will typically be rocking 4 to 5 healers at most. If a Resto Druid needs to stop healing for a bit, the rest of the healers need to know. That’s 20% to 25% less healing power during those brief seconds. It helps to know the encounters inside and out. When are the less stressful parts of the encounter? When is the most stressful part? At what stage should I ensure I have a sufficient amount of mana reserves remaining? Not sure how tightly tuned the next raid instances will be, but you’re going to have to practice doing some DPS.

I’m going to miss just relying on Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend. As if we didn’t have enough to do already. Didn’t exactly sign up to DPS. I just want to stare at health bars and do what I do best: Heal players, not spend part of my time DPSing because I have to.

Eh, I have no doubt I’ll probably change my mind later when I can give the game a spin. Until then, I’ll just keep on griping.