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[MoP Beta] Snapshot of the Disc Priest

Posted by Malevica on May - 12 - 2012

I’ve spent a bit of time in the last week or two playing my Discipline Priest in the Mists of Pandaria beta, and trying to figure out what’s changed and what’s what in the new world order. Of course, this being Beta, it’ll all have changed again next week, so treat this as a snapshot of where things are at. (I actually delayed publishing this until I had time to see the new Spirit Shell changes, more on that below!)

As is my wont this post got a bit long, so if you want to skip to a specific part here’s links to the discussion of spells, their costs and performance, Spirit Shell, Rapture, Talents and Glyphs.

Bear in mind that I’m still only level 86 as I write this, and the experience changes a lot as you level up.

 

The Gotcha Test

The first thing I do when I log into a beta or PTR is what I think of as the “Gotcha!” test. I take a close look at the HPS, HPM and costs of all our spells. Why? Remember Flash Heal in Wrath? And in Cataclysm? That’s what I’m looking for, a go-to ability that’s undergone a drastic shift. Here’s the list at level 85, at my gear level which is ilvl 404 on Live:

Priest Spells, Costs and Performance (Build 15677)

Priest Spells, Costs and Performance (Build 15677)

Notice that the mana costs are all nice neat round numbers. That’s because all healers now have a fixed mana pool of 100,000 MP (except gnomes, who have 105,000 MP thanks to our racial!) and spells cost a fixed percentage of our maximum mana.

No huge surprises in there this time, so I won’t go into too much detail. Most of the spells are where they have been in Cataclysm, which is nice. Flash Heal and Power Word: Shield remain our fast, expensive emergency heals. They have pretty punishing HPM and high costs, but they’re quick. Penance is still earning its cooldown with comparable HPS to Flash Heal but half the mana cost, and Prayer of Healing is still good when you have 3 or more people to heal up.

On the subject of abilities, there’s a new page on the spellbook labelled Core Abilities:

Priest Core Abilities Tab (Build 15677)

Priest Core Abilities Tab (Build 15677)

This is a helpful little nugget to nudge new players in the right direction when picking up a spec for the first time, or returning to a spec after a while away. It might be nice to draw attention to this tab more obviously, maybe as a tutorial tip, because it’s not even in the Talents window so you could easily overlook it.

 

Spirit Shell

While for a while Spirit Shell was an absorb replacement for Greater Heal, that design was rolled back in a recent build in favour of giving us GH back and redesigning Spirit Shell. Personally, I like what they’ve done with the spell.

Spirit Shell is a 15s self-buff on a 1 minute cooldown that turns all the heals you cast into absorbs with their own 15s duration. According to Ghostcrawler it’s been designed to take account of Divine Aegis (by increasing the size of the bubble by your crit chance so if, for example, you have 20% crit chance your bubble will be 120% of the size of the heal), the bubble size benefits from Grace in the same way the original heals would, and the bubbles also scale with Mastery. Note that the bubbles don’t “crit”, your crit chance has already been taken into account.

To put some numbers on this, imagine you hit Spirit Shell, then cast Greater Heal on your tank. Suppose, for the sake of argument, a baseline Greater Heal is good for 50,000 HP.
I have 15% crit chance, so that gives me a bubble of 50,000 * 1.15 = 57,500 HP.
I also have 25.73% stronger bubbles from Mastery, which takes my bubble up to 57,500 * 1.2573 = 72,295 HP.
Add in a triple-stacked Grace for a 30% boost, and my Greater Heal bubble is up to a whopping 72,295 * 1.30 = 93,983 HP.

That’s good stuff!

The current implementation is still a little early. Currently it’s not actually benefiting from any of those extra effects so we’re stuck with the basic heal. There’s also the open question, which Ghostcrawler acknowledged is still one they don’t have an answer for, of how stacking and capping these bubbles will work. Currently the Spirit Shell shields from different heals stack with each other (they create separate buffs for themselves depending on the spell) but casting the same spell twice refreshes the duration but replaces the absorb amount with the latest value, even if it’s lower.

I expect both of these behaviours to change and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the effect end up working more like DA does, where all the heals contribute to a single bubble buff which stacks up to a cap. The developers did point out that they don’t like us feeling like we need to spam something up to a cap (PoH/DA, anyone?), but I don’t think I mind that sort of mechanic. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

The utility of this is centred around preparing for and preventing damage. Know the Elementium Bolt is about to splash down, or your tank’s going to get Impaled? Get those bubbles out there to take the edge off it. The fact that it scales with Mastery means that you’ll get a slight healing boost out of this cooldown as well (Mastery affects the whole bubble, rather than just the DA portion of the heal), but the tradeoff if that you’ll have to have enough damage coming out to take proper advantage of the absorbs.

 

Rapture

Rapture is something of a vexed subject at the moment.

Rapture, on Beta and on Live, returns a lump of mana when your PW:S breaks; on Live it’s a fraction of your total mana, on the Beta it’s 150% of your Spirit. On Live this is (significantly) more than the PW:S cost to cast, making it an important source of mana regeneration, whereas on Beta the return is less than the cost of PW:S.

If we consider Rapture as a regeneration mechanic, it’s a slightly problematic one. The objections been gone over several times, including in the links above, but they more or less come down to difficulties in getting PW:S to break reliably when the damage is light or unpredictable or cases where you have multiple Disc Priests fighting over opportunities to bubble a single tank.

This unreliability is a problem on Live because Rapture is a form of “active mana regeneration”, like a potion on a 12s cooldown, and it’s a major part of our mana equation – we cast a bubble every 12 seconds to give us the mana we need to do whatever it is we actually want to be doing – and because it’s so powerful we don’t bother with Spirit for the most part. Imagine if your Shadowfiend had a 50% miss chance, or your Hymn of Hope didn’t actually give you any mana back half the time. Oh, wait…

However, Ghostcrawler explained that that this wasn’t actually the intention of Rapture:

Rapture isn’t trying to be Telluric Currents. You shouldn’t spam PW:Shield when you need mana. Rapture is intended to offset the cost of PW:Shield when the latter is used intelligently.

So instead of thinking of Rapture as part of our mana regeneration, instead we should think of it as a discount on casting PW:S as long as we don’t do it too often and pick a target that’s actually going to take damage. Think of it as a proc like Surge of Light, giving us a cheap PW:S every now and then instead of a free Flash Heal, only it doesn’t proc randomly but activates every 12 seconds instead. I still think there’s a possible issue with PW:S needing to break, especially in the case where you have two Disc Priests fighting over the damage, but you can at least see why that design is there, and that might be an application of the Divine Insight talent (call-ahead!).

Have a look back at the table, and look at the HPS and HPM of PW:S with and without Rapture. Without Rapture it’s still our best HPS ability, but the cost is punishing. Factor in a Rapture proc though and it’s suddenly right up there with our best HPM abilities as well.

There’s still one small wrinkle though, and that’s Meditation. You see, Meditation for Disc Priests is 25%, whereas it’s 50% for every other healing spec. The reason for this is that because Rapture makes PW:S so cheap and so powerful (when we weave it in) we can achieve the same output as the other specs for a smaller mana cost. To balance out this lower cost, our background regen is lowered to match.

The upshot is that if we don’t use PW:S at all, or don’t use it especially intelligently, we’ll end up a little behind the other specs mana-wise. If we use it exceptionally well, we’ll potentially end up ahead. Now the ball’s in Blizzard’s court, and they’ll need to tweak the numbers as the Beta progresses and we hit the level 90 content to make sure we’re balanced.

 

Talents

I’ve not done a talent run-down in a while, so let’s see where we’re at with those.

Level 15

Priest Level 15 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 15 Talents (Build 15677)

Level 15 remains the “CC” tier. Void Tendrils summons a Tendril for every mob within 8 yards of you that roots it for up to 20 seconds; Psyfiend lets you spawn a Psyfiend at a location you choose that fears a mob attacking you every 1.5s; Dominate Mind is Mind Control. Videos of the first two are below for your enjoyment.

Void Tendrils:

Psyfiend:

Personally I’d go with Void Tendrils as my standard pick, just because fear is often a risky proposition. But I can see a lot of value in the Psyfiend in PvP. Throw it down on a flag or into a tower and watch the fun, or maybe just use it to keep people off you.

Level 30

Priest Level 30 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 30 Talents (Build 15677)

At Level 30 you’ve got the movement talents. Body and Soul is the same ability we’ve known and envied for two expansions, only now it’s available to all Priests regardless of spec. The contender for PvE is Angelic Feather, which lets you place up to 3 feathers on the ground that grant a movement speed boost to the next person to step on them. If you have a known kite patch or need to keep someone moving at speed for a while then Angelic Feather is stronger than Body and Soul, but Body and Soul is more flexible if you just need to get someone moving and don’t necessarily know who it’s going to be. Tailor your choice to the situaion.

Phantasm looks at first glance like more of a PvP choice, although don’t rule it out entirely for PvE either. It makes your Fade remove all movement-impairing effects and makes you untargetable by ranged attacks and immune to movement-impairing effects for 3 seconds. The untargetability might have niche applications (I wonder if it would make you immune to Shrapnel, for example) but the freedom of movement could be handier.

I suspect the choice will usually be between Angelic Feather and Body and Soul for PvE, but it’s nice to have the option of Phantasm as well.

Level 45

Priest Level 45 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 45 Talents (Build 15677)

Level 45 is the first tier where you get to actually improve your output. From Darkness, Comes Light (FD,CL), which still has that extraneous and slightly grating comma, gives you a 15% chance to proc a free, instant Flash Heal when you use (most of) your single-target heals. The list includes Smite, but not Penance or Holy Fire; this may change, I’d certainly expect to see Penance in that list. Given the high HPS of Flash Heal, this is a strong talent if you’re using a good number of single-target heals.

Mindbender replaces your Shadowfiend and deals double the damage and gives back double the mana. Because everything scales off base mana and base mana is fixed, your Mindbender will return 72% of your mana bar (assuming he doesn’t miss) compared to 36% for the Shadowfiend. This extra mana allows you to use more of the expensive spells, and is a great choice if you don’t think you’ll see the benefit of FD,CL, if you’re AoE healing, for example.

And finally we have Archangel, another old friends that’s been opened up to all three specs. This is a straight up output boost for 18s on a 30s cooldown, assuming you’re able to weave in the requisite number of Smites, Holy Fires and Penances to stack Evangelism up to 5. That’s right: Penance stacks Evangelism now, one stack per tick, and causes Atonement heals as well, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting Evangelism stacked.

In this tier you’re picking what you need. The first two are all about efficiency, the third is about simple output. I suspect we’ll shift from the left to the right as the expansion progresses and mana becomes less of an issue, and at the start we’ll be interested mostly in FD,CL for tank healing and Mindbender for raid healing, although I’ll admit I’ve not sat down and worked through them in detail yet.

Level 60

Priest Level 60 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 60 Talents (Build 15677)

Level 60 is all about taking care of yourself. You get a choice of an instant 30% self-heal on a 2-minute cooldown (Desperate Prayer), a shield for 20% of your HP when you’re damaged below 30% of your health every 90s (Angelic Bulwark) and the new Spectral Guise.

Spectral Guise is an interesting talent. When you hit it you spawn a clone of yourself which your enemies will attack, while you get stealthed for 6 seconds or until your clone (“your true form”) is hit 3 times. You can either use the time to run away or to throw a couple of heals on yourself unimpeded.

Spectral Guise feels more solo- or PvP-orientated than the other two since you don’t often take direct attacks as a healer in raids, but it may be useful to save you from a powerful attack directed your way (again Shrapnel comes to mind), since you don’t share in the the damage your clone takes.

Level 75

Priest Level 75 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 75 Talents (Build 15677)

Here’s where things get really weird, with a jumble of talents. Twist of Fate gives you a 15% damage or healing buff after damaging or healing a target under 20% HP. I can see this possible being useful for handling low-health enrage phases: throw a HF on the boss at 19% and enjoy 15% extra healing for a while, as well as the more orthodox behaviour of rewarding triage-style healing of the lowest people when the raid is weakened.

Alternatively you could go for Power Infusion for 20% faster, 20% cheaper spell for 15s every 2 minutes either for you or for a friend.

The real wildcard is Divine Insight. For Disc Priests this procs from Penance casts and allows your next PW:S to ignore and to not cause Weakened Soul.
I can see two main uses for this. It’d be pretty handy if you needed a quick throughput boost on a single target because it would let you to throw out a PW:S, Penance, PW:S combination, and it would also be useful to let you maximise the frequency of your Rapture-cheapened PW:S casts even if you or another Priest has already got Weakened Soul on your target.

Level 90

Priest Level 90 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 90 Talents (Build 15677)

Until we’re able to actually play with these all we can do is speculate. I’ll link the three options, but reserve comment until they’re opened up on the Beta.

Your choice at level 90 is between:
Cascade, Divine Star, and Halo.

 

Glyphs

Since the Prime Glyphs have been removed, we’re left with the utility-focused Major Glyphs and the cosmetic Minor Glyphs.

The minors are all more or less unchanged. Shadow Protection went away with the removal of spell resistances, and we got Glyph of the Heavens instead. This one makes your Levitate targets appear to be floating on a cloud. Funky!

As for Majors, a lot are unchanged, but there are a few interesting changes.

  • Glyph of Dispel Magic – Deals damage when you dispel an enemy, rather than healing when you dispel a friendly.
  • Glyph of Purify – Heals 3% of max HP when you dispel a friendly. Dispel Magic is now our offensive dispel, while Purify is our defensive dispel/cleanse ability.
  • Glyph of Fade – Reduces all damage taken by 10% when you Fade, which could be mighty handy.
  • Glyph of Holy Fire – Makes Holy Fire instant-cast. Doesn’t save you any time if you’re able to stand still, but could add a valuable extra tool to our healing-on-the-run toolkit.
  • Glyph of Levitate – Increases your movement speed by 10% while you’re levitating and for 10s afterwards.
  • Glyph of Penance – Allows you to cast Penance while moving, but increases the cost of Penance by 20%. If you need healing on the run this is a good bet. The cost just stops it from being a no-brainer.
  • Glyph of Power Word: Shield – Similar to the old version, but where the healing used to be a bonus, this time the healing is taken out of the absorb instead.


Possibly Related Posts:

MoP Priest Spells

Posted by Malevica on November - 24 - 2011

In a previous post I talked about the talents Priests will get to choose from in Mists of Pandaria. Under the new system most of the old spec-specific talents will be granted to players as they level up along with general class skills, instead of needing the investment of talent points. Yesterday Blizzard released a very early pre-alpha version of their Talent Calculator, which included lists of the spells we will acquire and the levels at which we will acquire them.

Looking at the spells and trees as posted there are some striking gaps and omissions, and some of the talent and spell descriptions don’t line up with each other. Remember that this is pre-beta information and will undoubtedly change before release. The sky is not falling! If it still looks like this a week before release, then we’ll panic.
This post, like the previous one, is simply to see what the announcements thus far suggests about the intentions of the developers and to look at how the new system may work.

Credit goes to Harpy’s Nest for getting a list up in a really handy format along with some insightful analysis, and I’d strongly recommend you head over there and check out her post then come back. I’m going to lay out the spell lists out separately, so it’s worth keeping both views in mind.
Another take comes from the legendary Derevka, who adds some very healthy ladlefuls of caution to his analysis.

And here’s mine:

Caveat: There are some big omissions in these tables, spells which seem to have vanished altogether, such as Mind Blast and Prayer of Healing. There’s also spells that don’t make sense, or which appear otherwise odd. Bashiok has already said Prayer of Healing’s absence is an oversight and that it won’t be the only quirk in these very early talent/spell lists, which makes it impossible to draw firm conclusions like “Spell X: Gone!”. Where we can draw slightly more reasonable inferences is when spells have been deliberately placed in one or another spec list, although of course even that may change dramatically.

Here’s the full quote from Bashiok:

The calculator contains elements that are experimental, still in the process of implementation, or in some cases outright failed experiments that we already intend to revise or replace. Odds are good that if it looks like we’ve forgotten some critical piece of a particular class toolkit, it’s either accounted for elsewhere, or simply a data glitch (e.g., Prayer of Healing is currently absent from the calculator – we are not taking Prayer of Healing away from priests, and Devastate for warriors probably won’t sunder armor 453%). Our hope is that revealing the calculator in this state will shed light on the philosophy behind our talent overhaul, and let you get a sense of how pieces of your core rotational gameplay, such as Hot Streak, Riptide, or Sudden Doom, fit into the new system.

The Spells

 

Class Spells

This is the set of spells that all Priests get as their baseline toolkit, which gets supplemented by their spec-specific spells.

Level Spell Tooltip
1 Smite Smite an enemy for 858 Holy damage
3 Shadow Word: Pain A word of darkness that causes 1398 Shadow damage over 18 sec.
5 Power Word: Shield Draws on the soul of the friendly target to shield them, absorbing 9123 damage. Lasts 15s. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. Once shielded, the target cannot be shielded again for 15 sec.
7 Flash Heal Heals a friendly target for 7603.
9 Inner Fire A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, increasing the armor value from items by 60% and spell power by 2052.
18 Resurrection Brings a dead ally back to life with 35% health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.
22 Power Word: Fortitude Power infuses all party and raid members, increasing their stamina by 2257 for 1 hour. If the target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected.
26 Dispel Magic Dispels magic on the target, removing 2 harmful spells from yourself or 1 beneficial spell from an enemy.
32 Shadow Word: Death A word of dark binding that inflicts 408 Shadow damage to the target. Deals three times as much damage to targets below 25% health.

If the target is not killed by Shadow Word: Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.

34 Levitate Allows the friendly party or raid member to levitate, floating a few feet above the ground. While levitating, the target will fall at a reduced speed and travel over water. Any damage will cancel the effect. Lasts until cancelled.
38 Mind Control Controls a humanoid mind up to level 93, but increases the time between its attacks by 25%. Lasts up to 30 sec.
42 Mind Vision Allows the caster to see through the target’s eyes for 1 min. Will not work if the target is in another instance or on another continent.
50 Mysticism (Passive) Increases your Intellect by 5%
64 Shadowfiend Creates a shadowy fiend to attack the target. Caster receives 3% mana when the Shadowfiend attacks. Damage taken by area of effect attacks is reduced. Lasts 15 sec.
76 Mind Sear Causes an explosion of shadow magic around the target, causing 268 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all enemies within 10 yards around the target.
80 Inner Will A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, reducing the mana cost of instant cast spells by 15% and increasing your movement speed by 10%.

You can only have Inner Will or Inner Fire active at a time.

84 Leap of Faith You pull the spirit of the friendly party or raid target to you, instantly moving them directly in front of you.

 

What we see in this table is a list of basics (e.g. Flash Heal, Inner Fire/Will, Power Word: Shield, Smite, Shadow Word: Pain) and utility spells (e.g. Resurrection, Power Word: Fortitude, Levitate). The spec-specific lists are where the differentiation is to be expected.

As noted in the caveat above, Mind Blast and Mind Spike are gone entirely. I don’t expect them to have really been removed, but neither is it clear at this stage where they’ll end up. I’m hoping they’ll be shunted out to the Shadow list, leaving healing specs with fewer less-relevant abilities to worry about. Notably though all Priests keep Mind Sear and SW:P, which is good because they have specific uses. The new skill and talent system allows the developers to separate out spells far more precisely than before and declutter our spellbooks, and it’s good to see them using that.

Our Shadowy brethren will be pleased that they aren’t going to be troubled by all those pesky healing spells in their spellbook and on their bars in the future, since all but the essentials have been shifted out to the spec lists. Shadow healing is left with PW:S and Flash Heal, while the slower heals are reserved for the healing specs now.

Another notable absentee is Shadow Protection. At this stage it’s a bit early to conclude that it’s been consigned to the bin, but I can’t say I’ll miss it if it is going.

Discipline Spells
Level Spell Tooltip
10 Penance Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing 874 Holy damage to an enemy or 3370 healing to an ally instantly and every 1 sec for 2 sec.
18 Holy Fire Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cayse 1251 Holy damage and an additional 420 Holy damage over 7 sec.
32 Rapture (Passive) When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energised with 7% of your total mana. This effect can only occur once every 12 sec.
34 Greater Heal A slow casting spell that heals a single target for 10136.
36 Inner Focus Reduces the mana cost of your next Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing by 100% and increases its critical effect chance by 25%.
44 Evangelism (Passive) When you cast Smite, Holy Fire or Mind Flay you gain Evangelism. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts for 20 sec.

Evangelism (Smite, Holy Fire)
Increases the damage done by your Smite, Holy Fire and Penance spells by 4% and reduces the mana cost of those spells by 6%.

Dark Evangelism (Mind Flay)
Increases the damage done by your Periodic Shadow spells by 2%.

45 Grace (Passive) Your Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Spirit Shell and Penance spells bless the target with Grace, increasing all healing received from the Priest by 10%. This effect will stack up to 3 times. Effect lasts X.
58 Pain Suppression Instantly reduces a friendly target’s threat by 5%, and reduces all damage they take by 40% for 8 sec.
66 Hymn of Hope Restores 2% mana to 3 nearby low mana friendly party or raid targets every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 sec. Maximum of 12 mana restores. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell.
68 Prayer of Mending Places a spell on the target that heals them for 3332 the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to a party or raid member within 20 yards. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec after each jump. This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.
70 Power Word: Barrier Summons a holy barrier on the target location that reduces all damage done to friendly targets by 25%. While within the barrier, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. The barrier lasts for 10 sec.
78 Train of Thought When you heal with Greater Heal, the cooldown of your Inner Focus is reduced by X sec.

When you Smite, the cooldown of your Penance is reduced by Y sec.

80 Mastery: Shield Discipline (Passive) Increases the potency of all your damage absorption spells by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases the potency of absorbs by an additional 2.5%.

 

A pretty familiar toolkit.

The healing spells have been split between Holy and Discipline in an interesting fashion: Discipline got to share Greater Heal while Holy wrested Binding Heal, Heal, Renew and Divine Hymn entirely from our fingertips. If this is how it ends up then I’ll be a little sad to lose so much of the flexibility that I’ve enjoyed as a result of playing a Priest; Discipline will be left with Flash Heal, Greater Heal and Penance for tanks and (possibly) Prayer of Healing for the raid, which really does push us squarely down the tank-healing road.

One could speculate that this is intentional, to split the Priest specs more definitively into tank- and raid-healing specs, but this doesn’t feel like the best way of achieving that goal. Then again, in 4.2 I don’t often find myself using anything on the list besides Binding Heal, I just like being able to when the situation demands it. As I’ve said, this is early days, so I’m hardly freaking out!

Another one to add to the list of notable omissions is Divine Aegis. I’d be very surprised if this didn’t make a reappearance, since it’s so central to how Discipline healing currently works.

I my previous post I speculated about who might be able to take advantage of the Archangel talent, and looking at these spell lists, Discipline is the only spec given an Evangelism spell. However, Shadow currently has no Dark Evangelism spell while the talent specifically refers to a dark version, so either the talent or the spells will have to be changed.

Holy Spells
Level Spell Tooltip
10 Holy Word: Chastise Chastise the target for 727 Holy damage, and disorients them for 3 sec.
18 Holy Fire Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cayse 1251 Holy damage and an additional 420 Holy damage over 7 sec.
26 Renew Heals the target for 1373 every 3 sec for 12 sec.
28 Heal Heal your target for 3801.
30 Spirit of Redemption (Passive) Upon death, the priest becomes the Spirit of Redemption for 15s. 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.
32 Holy Concentration (Passive) Increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 30%.
34 Greater Heal A slow casting spell that heals a single target for 10136.
36 Lightwell Creates a Holy Lightwell. Friendly players can click the lightwell to restore 11133 health over 6 sec. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will cancel the effect. Lightwell lasts for 3 min or 10 charges.
48 Binding Heal Heals a friendly target and the caster for 6085. Low threat.
50 Circle of Healing Heals up to 5 friendly party or raid members within X yards of the target for 2725. Prioritizes healing the most injured party members.
56 Chakra When activated, your next Heal, Flash Heal, Greater
Heal, Binding Heal, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Mind Spike or Smite will put you into a Chakra state.

Serenity (Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal)
Increases the critical effect chance of your direct healing spells by 10%, and causes your direct heals to refresh the duration of your Renew on the target.

Sanctuary (Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending)
Increases the healing done by your area of effect spells and Renew by 15% and reduces the cooldown of your Circle of Healing by 2 sec.

Chastise (Smite, Mind Spike)
Increases your total damage done by Shadow and Holy spells by 15%.

68 Prayer of Mending Places a spell on the target that heals them for 3332 the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to a party or raid member within 20 yards. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec after each jump. This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.
70 Guardian Spirit Calls upon a guardian spirit to watch over the friendly target. The spirit increases the healing received by the target by 60%, 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 sec.
74 Revelations (Passive) While within Chakra: Serenity or Chakra: Sanctuary, your Holy Word: Chastise ability will transform into a
different ability depending on which state you are in.

Holy Word: Serenity
Instantly heals the target for 6322, and increases the critical effect chance of your healing spells on the target by 25% for 6 sec. 15 sec cooldown.

Holy Word: Sanctuary
Blesses the ground with Divine light, healing all withinit for 367 every 2 sec for 18 sec. Only one Sanctuary can be active at any one time. 40 sec cooldown.

78 Divine Hymn Heals 5 nearby lowest health friendly party or raid targets within 40 yards for 4496 every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases healing done to them by 10% for 8 sec. Maximum of 20 heals. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell.
80 Mastery: Echo of Light (Passive) Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 10% over 6 sec. Each point of Mastery provides an additional 1.25% healing over 6 sec.

 

As noted in the Discipline section, Holy seems to have come away with the lion’s share of the juicy healing spells, at least at this stage. I’m not so concerned about Divine Hymn being Holy-only, since it slots in as the rough counterpart to Power Word: Barrier while Guardian Spirit counters Pain Suppression.

Honestly, I suspect this separation is just an artefact of the state of the spell lists when the snapshot was taken to create the talent calculator. It would be odd for Blizzard to implement a 3 Heals system in Catalcysm, praise its success, then ignore it again one expansion later.

Disciple/Holy Overlaps

There are a few overlapping spells too, listed here for completeness.

Level Spell Tooltip
18 Holy Fire Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cayse 1251 Holy damage and an additional 420 Holy damage over 7 sec.
34 Greater Heal A slow casting spell that heals a single target for 10136.
68 Prayer of Mending Places a spell on the target that heals them for 3332 the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to a party or raid member within 20 yards. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec after each jump. This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.

 

Conclusions

Well, as I’ve said throughout, there’s not much to conclude at such an early stage. There are some general observations though.

I find it reassuring to see that the old familiar talent abilities haven’t all been lost, and those that are missing may well turn up again in due course. This suggests that healing won’t be changing too dramatically into MoP, which is good given that it’s had one shake-up recently.

There is a note of concern that so many of the core Priest healing spells we all know and love seem to have been given to Holy only. This might just be because of the time the snapshot was taken, it might be an oversight, it might be a deliberate design decision to nudge the classes in distinct directions. I hope they don’t go quite as far as these lists suggest, because I think that could lead to a loss of flexibility. I can understand the argument that it would simplify the class for players if you simply didn’t get given Renew, for example, if you’re in the “wrong” spec for it; I’ve heard it said that possibly Priests have ended up with too many options. But a lot of the appeal of the Priest over other healing classes, for me, is having that expanded toolkit, so I’m hoping the separation isn’t permanent.

Of course, none of this may mean anything by the time the next iteration comes around, the only real way to know how MoP will play is to get in there in the beta and try it out, which I will of course be doing as soon as it’s available!



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MoP Talents and Glyphs

Posted by Malevica on November - 24 - 2011

A quick mini-post/ramble before the Priest spells post that’ll follow shortly.

I was working my way through the recent class Q&A, and one line jumped out at me:

Prime glyphs may be removed.

Now, note the word “may” in there. This is a thought thrown out there, not a well-thought-through design plan. However it did interest me, because it occurred to me when I was thinking about the new talents that they look a little like prime glyphs on steroids, especially when they’re said to be changeable as easily as glyphs are changed now. That means not one but two things that really ought to be tweaked boss-to-boss to optimise your character for the encounter (I know you can go and respec now, but given the time cost involved it’s something I tend to reserve for the trickier progression bosses only).

Removal of prime glyphs makes a sort of sense, their function being more-or-less replaced by the new talents, which leaves glyphs pretty much where they were in WotLK, as either minor utility tweaks (Major) or purely cosmetic (Minor).

On the subject of glyphs, it would be nice to get some more cosmetic customisation options to play with, which might make glyphs more appealing if their heavy influence on gameplay is removed with the prime glyphs: a different Shadowfiend (have a look in the Botanica, there’s a few different skins there to begin with), coloured Mind Sear/Flay beams, a choice of Divine Aegis bubbles (as if!), there’s plenty that could be done.



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Categories: Opinion

Mists of Pandaria Talents

Posted by Malevica on November - 8 - 2011

Ok, before I get into the talent system and the ideas that have been floated for the Priest class in MoP, I should put on the record my views about the Pandaren.

Here it comes: I’m really not bothered either way. I also have my doubts that something as small as a new race will truly ruin the game for many people all by itself.

After all, we have hooved and tentacled Draenei, giant walking cows, the extremely silly Tuskarr and, the one that would have ruined the game for me if anything was going to: the Worgen. Seriously, there must be someone at Blizzard with a real English accent that they could have been used, surely? Or give me a call, I’ll voice some lines for you. Anyway, that was a year ago, time I was getting over it. The point is, WoW is a tongue-in-cheek game, and will continue to be in the future; if you really want proper high fantasy, this probably isn’t the franchise for you.

The way I look at it is to ask myself how often I actually look at the races in the game? When I go to create a new character, or when I interact with a key NPC like the Druid trainer in Stormwind. Otherwise, I just don’t notice people’s races except in passing. It took me a fortnight to realise our new rogue was a Worgen, and even then it was only because I caught him in close-up and thought he was moving oddly. I might play one to see how they look and feel, I might even look on in snobby amusement at the 4 flavour-of-the-month Pandaren in Maraudon with me as I level yet another Priest, and I’ll certainly be on the lookout for the slew of panda-based puns that will inevitably follow, but that’s as far as Pandaren will really affect my experience.

Until they sit right on top of my fish feast with their enormous furry behinds, that is…

The New Talent System

Right, off the soapbox again!

Here’s the short version of the new talent system, just in case there’s someone out there who hasn’t heard yet: each class still has three specialisations (except Druids who get an extra new one to allow bears and cats to have their own specialisation), but instead of having talent trees tied to each specialisation there’s now a single “tree” per class. Every 15 levels you have to choose between three talents which are broadly similar in goal but different in their details. All those spec-specific spells and boosts that you used to have to talent into are now going to be granted automatically as you level.

The developers have always said that they wanted talents to be used to differentiate your character and to specialise. The trouble is that you can’t give players a new spell every level, so most of the talent points end up being spent on things that reduce the cooldown on spell X or increase the damage of spell Y. Some of those talents were stripped away with Cataclysm when the number of talent points was dropped from (potentially) 76 to 41, but the developers clearly didn’t feel that had had enough of an effect for their taste.

My experience in Cataclysm has more or less borne that out. There is arguably more choice than there used to be, but cookie-cutter specs, theory-crafted decisions and “filler talents” still predominate. At the most you get a handful of talents to play with, the rest are “mandatory”, so the new system simply grants you all those “mandatory” talents as you level (with no need to visit the trainer), and lets you pick the utility talents directly.

The developers have stated that they want talents and talent choices to be switched with a similar level of difficulty as glyphs, which to me seems like a good thing. I like the flexibilty of glyphs in their current form (although I find the range of choices still far too limited) because it gives you the option to switch a few glyphs in and out between pulls to tweak your character for the needs of the encounter you’re facing. If talents go down the same road, that would be a fantastic source of optimisation and a great way of customising your character to your playstyle and the needs of your raid group.

A closer Look

Wowhead, on top of this sort of thing as usual, has a Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator up on their site so you can check out the current iteration of the talents for you classes of choice. I’m going to go through the Priest talents, to see what sort of choices we’re likely to be making in the next expansion.

Here’s the tree as of November 8th, 2011:

Mists of Pandaria Priest Talents as of November 8th, 2011

Level 15 – Crowd Control

Here you have the choice between a small-radius mass root on a moderate cooldown (which I will not be able to say in my Kiwi guild without hilarity ensuing!), a multi-target long-range fear with a long cooldown, and the Psychic Scream we all know and love.

This is an interesting choice where different situations will favour different talent choices. Psyfiend feels a little bit more like a soloing/PvP talent than a raiding one, although maybe I’m not seeing the niche. The choice between an AoE fear and AoE root is more interesting though. Using existing content for example, rooting Sons of Flame would be more use than fearing them so you can control their direction, whereas in encounters with dangerous melee adds such as the Blood Beasts back in ICC a “proper” CC like a fear would be more useful than a root. Assuming that those two abilities applied to those creature types, of course.

Level 30 – Mobility


The choice at level 30 is all about movement – yours and the raid’s. You’re choosing from the current Body and Soul, a self-applied 25% movement increase while levitating, and a get-out-of-roots Escape Artist-alike.

Again, you have a choice depending on your situation. If you’re taking damage so that Levitate just won’t stay up, then Path of the Devout probably won’t be of much use. But for getting around dungeons or running around during an encounter it could be brilliant, especially since Levitate is instant-cast. I can see that being very handy for a number of mechanics, like getting behind Meteors on Alysrazor or getting away from Sindragosa before the Blistering Cold gets you.

If you don’t personally need the speed boost, you might instead pick Body and Soul to help your team-mates with kiting or getting out of the bad quicker. I love that Body and Soul has been opened up to all specs now, because it’s a fantastic utility spell that I’ve definitely missed since switching to Discipline.

Phantasm may take more care to find uses for it, especially since many boss root effects aren’t removable, but there are effects like heroic Beth’tilac’s Volatile Poison which this would be very handy for.

Level 45 – Healing (and Damage-dealing) Goodies

At level 45 the choice is a bit more diverse. The three talents broadly give you some way to boost your output or your efficiency, depending on your taste.

From Darkness, Comes Light (complete with bonus comma) in its healing form is the good old Surge of Light talent. You get a low but non-zero change to proc a free, instant Flash Heal. This can be a nice way of throwing a quick decent-sized heal on someone for no cost, or a simple efficiency boost.

The most interesting is Divine Star, which travels 20 yards in front of you, healing (and damaging) anything in its path, before turning around and doing the same on the way back. Sort of Light of Dawn meets Flame Orb. This could be very handy when the raid can be grouped up, but probably not so valuable on spread-out encounters, depending on the range.

Finally we have Archangel. If Archangel is going to be a viable choice for all three specs then it has to be something which is going to be granted to all three Priest specs as part of our standard toolkit, which is cool in itself. So assuming you have the opportunity to stack Evangelism, the Archangel talent gives you a pretty significant healing boost every 30 seconds, which would be great for encounters with alternating heavy and light damage phases.

Level 60 – Self-defence

At level 60, you get a selection of talents designed to keep you alive. You have Desperate Prayer for a quick 30% heal every 2 minutes, Angelic Bulwark for a permanent 30% buff to your shield effects on yourself, and Final Prayer for a stay of execution when your health drops very low.

Probably the easiest to understand is Desperate Prayer, although with such a long cooldown its utility might be limited.

Angelic Bulwark is a nice talent if you’re taking a lot of damage and are going to get the value from the larger shields. AoE-heavy fights might be one good example, or a fight where you’re soaking a debuff or DoT. It also sounds like a good pick for soloing and PvP where personal protection is high on the agenda and shields are used frequently.

Final Prayer is a complex talent. Essentially, it grants you a chance to live where you might otherwise have died, and it’s passive, although it has an internal cooldown of 90 seconds. Where might this be useful? Back to Majordomo, you get Leaping Flames on you. If you’re a little slow to react and get out, Final Prayer pops up and gives you an extra 20% of your HP as an absorb bubble, soaking up an extra tick that might otherwise have left you perilously low or even dead. All while you’re running out. You could achieve the same with a self-bubble or Pain Suppression, of course, so you’ll need to weight up the advantages to you of the passive nature of Final Prayer versus the other talents available.

Level 75 – More Goodies

Another eclectic mix at level 75: a buff to damage and healing to targets below 25% HP, our old friend Power Infusion, and the haste boost of Serendipity.

You can rule Twist of Fate in or out depending on the fight mechanics and damage profile, because it will either be near-useless or godlike depending on where those green bars spend their time, but the choice between Power Infusion and Serendipity is going to be tough.

As they stand at the moment, if you need a throughput boost and your mana will take the strain then Serendipity looks like the better pick. On the other hand, Power Infusion is a strong personal cooldown for efficiency as well as throughput, and also has application to the rest of the raid as well. So when DPS checks are your biggest problem you might want to plump for PI to help out your friendly neighbourhood damage-dealer and pay them back for all the Focus Magics over the months.

Level 90 – Tank Cooldowns and More

Here’s where things really get interesting. Two life-saving single-target cooldowns or AoE-Atonement-Lite.

First up is Vow of Unity. This one looks a lot like Hand of Sacrifice. Throw it on your tank, for example, and half the damage she takes is instead applied to you; to stop this from killing you, you also heal yourself for 20% of the healing you do to the target, and the rate of damage transferred to you is capped because if the target takes a larger hit than 30% of the target’s HP the effect is broken. What’s not clear to me is whether the hit is transferred anyway and then the transfer ends, or if too large a hit simply doesn’t transfer.

The other option you have for saving someone’s bacon is Void Shift, where you swap HP with a friendly player. Again, it’s not clear is if this is temporary or permanent. If it’s temporary, then if, say, your tank is near-death and you can’t get heals in quickly enough, you can loan her your health bar for a while, buying time for the other healers to switch in or for the enrage or whatever caused the problem to dissipate. You will still need to heal the damage up before the bars swap back though, so that’s something that might catch people out.
If it’s permanent, you just give your tank whatever health you had last, while you inherit their near-empty health bar, although you get a quick free heal for yourself to keep you out of the danger zone.
I rather hope the second case is what we’ll get, but at this point it’s not clear. The confusion comes from the words “when the effect ends”.

Picking between the two is going to end up being one part personal preference to one part damage profile. Vow of Unity seems like it’s positioned as a more conventional tank cooldown for when a tank (or other player) is going to take a lot of damage, probably over a sustained period like when picking up a few extra adds or when a boss gains a temporary enrage. Void Shift will probably be more useful after a single larger hit or when a healer is taken out of commission, because it’s more of a quick “buying time” ability than a proper damage-reduction ability. That 30% figure is one to bear in mind though, to make sure you’re not losing the benefit earlier than necessary.

Finally, we have Vampiric Dominance, which lets 15% of your damage and healing “splash” to up to three nearby targets, chosen smartly. Those who remember the old Paladin Glyph of Holy Light will find this talent familiar. A great talent when there’s players grouped up, how useful it is when we’re spread out will depend on the radius, really. Which way you go at level 90 is a choice between AoE-heavy and tank-heavy fights.

Verdict

Looking at the abilities in the tree, it’s clear that the developers have tried to play up the “choice” angle and play down the “buff” angle. Although you have abilities that will buff you, they’re interesting mechanics, procs and abilities rather than stat boosts. At each tier you have options that may be more or less useful depending on your playstyle and the demands of the encounter, such as the choice between Body and Soul that can be used on anyone or a get-out-of-roots-free-card for yourself, or between a mass root or mass fear.

As a player I can see this giving me stronger customisation and greater choice, and another avenue for me to adapt myself to be the best I can be. These choices aren’t always clear-cut and they are meaningful; there’s no change-the-colour-of-my-spells style talents here. There are a few which I can see being tweaked and improved as development continues, but if the talents went live now I think we would get along with them just fine.

Taking a different perspective, as someone who ends up reading a few healer applications I can see the interview process being a lot more interesting, as people get to really explore their choice of talents and preferences rather than “EJ told me to spec this way”. For a guild raiding heroic modes, I think that with fewer options and easier talent changes we’re going to expect people to really be in command of all of their talents and know when each talent will be best used, and that’s a good thing. Depth is always preferable to breadth, in my opinion.



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Discipline 4.0.1 Guide

Posted by Malevica on October - 6 - 2010

28th October, 2010: Updated quite a bit, having spent a couple of weeks to play around and raid. The first iteration misjudged a few aspects, particularly just how much mana we’d have and the value of Heal and talents that work with it. I think I’ve fixed that now, so it should line up better with the reality of 4.0.1.

Patch 4.0.1 is here, bringing with it some pretty big changes.

In this guide I’ll cover talents and sample specs, spell changes, stat changes, gems, enchants, glyphs and some technique pointers.

There’s still a lot of room for you to make your own choices to suit your playstyle and raid role, so engage your critical thinking skills before reading this or any guide. Also remember that this is still changing. Finally, this is aimed at level 80, not 85.
Feel free to correct me in the comments and I’ll try and keep the post updated.

 

Talent Specs

Something to remember throughout the 4.0.1 experience is that the systems we’re using are intended for level 85 rather than level 80, so if it feels a bit odd, that’s probably why.

Nowhere is this more true than in the case of talents, where you’re effectively 5 points short of where you’d like to be.

Standard 4.0.1 spec

http://www.wowhead.com/talent#bfMkrRsbcRMo0hZb:qmVdomMz

I’ve skipped Mental Agility in Tier 1, because mana is currently not a problem at all.

I’ve also put a single point in Inner Sanctum purely as filler, because I don’t see a huge need for this talent in the Wrath environment. It might prove invaluable in Cataclysm, but it’s just not valuable in WotLK.

I also skipped Strength of Soul. It’s a nice idea for a talent, but it’s essentially useless in 4.0.1 since you’ll rarely, if ever, use Heal. It’s simply ill-suited to the damage profile of the encounters.

The more straightforward omissions are Focused Will and Reflective Shield, because they’re PvP or solo talents, not raiding talents. Reflective shield only reflects damage absorbed by shields on you, and Focused Will is only useful if you’re getting physically hit, and you really shouldn’t be.

Evangelism, Archangel and Atonement, work to form the core of the Smite healing setup.
Matticus wrote about this in more depth recently, but the idea is that you can put out a good amount of healing at low cost by Smiting the boss and letting Atonement heal the tank. Pop Archangel to restore 15% of max mana whenever it’s off cooldown and Evangelism is stacked to 5.

Train of Thought – When you Smite, you reduce the cooldown of Penance by 0.5s. Assuming Smite is a 2s cast, and Penance has a 10s cooldown when glyphed, if you do nothing but Smite you can bring that Penance CD down to 8s instead. It’s not a bad talent at all.

Power Word: Barrier
The iconic spell, although currently it’s a little underpowered, since it’s used up and disappears in a very short amount of time. Use it selectively on small ground of people or location-specific effects, rather than on large raid-wide damage spikes.

Non-Smite alternative build

I had included a non-Smite build in here, but since you won’t be using Heal (so Strength of Soul is no use) and you don’t need the mana (no need for Mental Agility), realistically there isn’t anywhere to put the points freed up by dropping Atonement, Evangelism and Archangel.

I’d suggest keeping the same spec, and just using Flash Heal instead of Smiting, if you really don’t want to use Smite.

Sub-spec choices

Once you’ve got your 31 points in Discipline, you have a few choices for your sub-spec. You’ll only have 5 points to play with, so you’ll really have to choose the talents that suit your playstyle and role in raids.

In roughly descending order of interest:

Divine Fury – Reduces the cast time of Smite, Holy Fire, Heal and Greater Heal by 0.15s/0.35s/0.5s. If you’re going with the Smite/Heal healing model, this is probably your top priority. If you’re on bubble-bot duty, skip it.

Darkness – 1%/2%/3% haste. Divine Fury is more powerful for the points if you’re Smiting, so if you take that then you’ll only have 2 points left. Darkness is a good place for them though.

Empowered Healing – 5%/10%/15% healing to Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Heal and Greater Heal. I’d favour Darkness at level 80 because we use these spells so little, especially with a Smite healing model.

This is probably a good staple at 85, though.

Improved Renew – 5%/10% to your Renew. Not a Discipline talent, really.

Veiled Shadows – Reduces the cooldown of your Shadowfiend by 30s/60s. Not a good choice at 80, yet again because we just don’t need the mana.

To Smite, or not to Smite?

At the moment Smite healing is fun, different and very mana-efficient, and since you’ll be taking the points to support it in your spec anyway, I’d say give it a go.

If you really can’t stand it, then you can swap Flash Heal for Smite in your rotation for now.

 

Spell Changes

I might not touch on all of the little changes, but I’ll try and hit on the big ones.

Heal has been revamped with the goal of making it a viable filler spell at max level. It’s got the same cast time as Greater Heal, but heals for slightly less than a Flash Heal, and costs 9% of base mana compared to 28% for Flash Heal and 27% for Greater Heal.

So the new theoretical single-target heal set looks like:

Heal      Slow      Small      Cheap (9%)
Greater Heal      Slow      Large      Expensive (27%)
Flash Heal      Fast      Small      Expensive (28%)

 

However, in 4.0.1 mana is so plentiful and damage so high that a small, slow Heal simply isn’t needed. If you’re Disc with an Atonement build, you’ll use Smite instead of Flash Heal, wherever possible, or just substitute Flash Heal if you need direct healing instead.

Inner Fire hasn’t been changed much, but has had its charges removed so it’s simply a 30-minute self-buff now.

Prayer of Fortitude and Prayer of Shadow Protection have been removed because Power Word: Fortitude and Shadow Protection have been made raid/party-wide by default. What’s more, the reagent costs have been removed.
Although mana is not a problem at level 80, you might consider taking the Glyph of Fortitude as one of your minors now to avoid having to spend quite a large chunk of your precious mana to rebuff that rogue who stood in the whirlwind. There really aren’t any compelling alternatives anyway.

Power Word: Fortitude is also now equivalent to the Blood Pact buff provided by Warlocks’ Imps, and won’t stack with it or overwrite it.

Inner Focus has been given something of a revamp. It’s more restricted so now it’ll only give you a free Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing (so your old Inner Focus + Divine Hymn macros are deprecated), but the cooldown has been slashed from 3 minutes to 45s.

I’m leaning towards treating this as a passive mana saving “proc” by macroing it to Flash Heal, Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing to save a big chunk of mana when it fires.

If you want to do this, here’s an example macro you could try:

#showtooltip Greater Heal
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/cast Inner Focus
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1
/cast Greater Heal

Borrowed Time is down to 7%/14% from 5%/10%/15%/20%/25%. This changes the haste cap for bubble-spam. Quoting Medmal on PlusHeal:

The exact number is 830.02, so you’ll need 831 haste to be at the soft GCD cap with BT and Wrath of Air. Without Wrath of Air, the number is 1036. Remember that if you can spare the points, you can always spec Darkness to reduce these. With 3/3 Darkness and Wrath of Air, for example, the cap is only 711 (or 910, without Wrath of Air).

Power Word: Shield has had its base cooldown reduced to 3s (from 4s). Soul Warding allows you to subtract 1s/2s from this cooldown. However, you’re still limited by the global cooldown of 1.5s before haste, so it’s essentially no different to the current situation if you take 2/2 points here.

HoTs no longer clip if you refresh them just before the final tick, which is a great change. What happens instead when you overwrite an existing HoT the game allows the next scheduled tick to happen, then adds the “new” HoT time onto the end. You only get to finish the one next tick though, so unfortunately you can’t cast it a few times in succession and stack it up.

Refreshing a HoT also doesn’t reset the tick timer, so if your last tick was going to happen in 0.2s, it will occur 0.2s after you refresh the HoT as you’d expect, and the next tick will follow one tick interval after that.

Binding Heal has been changed slightly to take it back to its original positioning. In 3.3.5, Binding Heal cost almost twice as much as Flash Heal, but healed each target for slightly more than a Flash Heal. In 4.0.1 though, both cost roughly the same (BH: 1120 mana, FH: 1081 mana) and Binding Heal heals for 2 x 5k (8.9 HPM) while FH heals a single target for 8k (7.4 HPM). So if you’ll get the use out of both heals then Binding Heal is the way to go since it has better HPS and HPM, but you’ll get better performance out of Flash Heal if you’re not injured.

 

Stats

Spellpower

Spellpower is all but gone from gear, except for caster weapons (because they have a very high spellpower budget compared to any other slot), and has been converted to Intellect. You now get your spellpower directly from your Intellect, also at a 1:1 ratio.

The regen value of intellect has changed because Replenishment has been halved in effectiveness, from 1% of max mana over 5s in the 3.3.5 version to 1% of max mana over 10s in the 4.0.1 version. You may notice your regen taking a bit of a hit if you’re very Int-heavy, but as I’ve said elsewhere, mana is so plentiful that you probably won’t.

Because Intellect is now a throughput stat, taking the place of spellpower, it has become a red gem instead of yellow.

MP5 and Spirit

MP5 is gone as a stat, and every healer is getting Meditation just for picking the Holy, Discipline or Restoration tree to spend 31 points in. As a result Spirit is our only pure regen stat.

However, I’d not recommend stacking it in 4.0.1 because you just don’t need the regen at the moment. Focus on the throughput stats instead.

Haste

Because of the change to Borrowed Time I talked about earlier, if you’re continuing in the bubble-bot role Disc Priests play in current content, you’ll want to get your hands on a bit more haste. Repeating from earlier, you’ll now need 831 haste with BT and Wrath of Air, or 1036 without WoA.
If you’re having trouble, you can take points in Darkness in the Shadow tree, which will take the haste rating requirement down to 790/750/711 with WoA or 993/951/910 without it. Although given the low value of spirit at the moment, reforging that into haste should get you there.

The big change to haste itself is the way it now affects HoTs, DoTs and channelled spells. I’ve gone into a lot more detail in another post (it’s focused on level 85, but the principles are the same), but the short version is that haste reduces the time between ticks so the spell can finish early, and if you reach the point where you would be able to fit an additional half a tick in, you get an extra full tick and the duration is extended accordingly
.
For Priests that means that you get an extra Penance tick at 25% total haste (from gear, buffs and Borrowed Time combined) [on 4.0.1 Live this appears not to be the case. I got to 54.6% total haste and still only got 3 ticks. This is not what was happening on the beta, so it might be a bug], and an extra Renew tick at 12.5% and 37.5%. The table below shows the haste rating you need from your gear to reach these breakpoints:

Spell Rating with no buffs Rating with BT Rating with WoA Rating with BT and WoA
Penance 820 317 625 146
Renew (1 extra) 410 0 235 0
Renew (2 extra) 1230 676 1015 488

 

Crit

Crit chance is now also applied to HoT ticks by default, so expect to see Renew crits popping up quite a bit along with Divine Aegis bubbles.

Divine Aegis remains unchanged.

Mastery

You won’t find Mastery on gear before Cataclysm lands, but the stat is available in 4.0.1 and is quite handy to have at the moment.
The Disc Priest Mastery is Shield Discipline, which increases the potency of all your damage absorption spells by 20%. Once you start getting Mastery Rating on gear it will convert to Mastery points, and each of these will add a further 2.5% absorption.

Priority

Our stat priority in 4.0.1 is roughly the same as in 3.3.5, namely:

Int > Haste (to cap) > Spirit (until you don’t have mana problems) > Crit (if you tank heal) or Mastery (if you bubble more).

If you’re raiding ICC in the right sort of gear you won’t have mana problems, so Spirit is not valuable right now.

Reforging

Reforging is new in 4.0.1. This allows you, by talking to an NPC found in Enchanting shops, to convert up to 40% of a secondary stat (Spirit, Haste, Hit, Crit, Mastery) on an item into another secondary stat not currently found on the item. The process is fully reversible.

At the moment the main target for Reforging is turning as much Spirit as you can spare into Haste to get to the soft cap and then Mastery to bring your bubbles back up to where they used to be.

If you want or need more, especially if you’re a raid-healing Disc Priest, you might also reforge some Crit into Haste or Mastery as well.

 

Gemming

Gems have been converted automagically into their new variants. The Disc staples are affected as follows:

As for meta gems, the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond hasn’t changed, but the Ember Skyflare Diamond has had its 25 SP converted into 21 Intellect, and the 2% intellect has become 2% maximum mana.

Because of these conversions, you might find that you’ve lost your yellow gems, so putting a Reckless Ametrine in will help you meet the Insightful Earthsiege Diamond requirement.

 

Enchanting

None of the standard enchants have changed, and since SP or Int are still our top stats I see no reason to change.

 

Glyphing

Glyphing has changed dramatically with 4.0.1. You now learn glyphs by using them, and from then on they’re added to your glyphs pane for use in the future. Swapping them around requires a Vanishing Powder at level 80, and a Dust of Disappearance from 81 onwards which you’ll need to carry around, but it’s a lot easier than carrying around several stacks of different glyphs.

There are also now three types of glyphs instead of two: Prime Glyphs are the spec-defining, high-impact ones; Major Glyphs are more utility-focused but still significant; and Minor Glyphs are as unexciting as ever.
At level 80, you’ll have access to all 9 slots, 3 for each type of glyph.

Here’s the 4.0.1 glyphs for a Disc Priest, in descending order of interest.

Prime

Glyph of Penance – Mandatory. Penance has huge HPS and HPM, and anything that lets you use it more often is a must-have.

Glyph of Power Word: Shield – Not changed since 3.3.5. Still a nice glyph, and definitely a strong contender still.

Glyph of Power Word: Barrier – Since PW:B will become your emergency cooldown, your version of Divine Sacrifice, the 10% healing boost you get from this glyph is nice, especially in a raid.

Glyph of Prayer of Healing – Leaving a lingering HoT is really useful if you use PoH from time to time.

Glyph of Flash Heal – Since Flash Heal’s niche is being shifted to emergency healing this glyph might prove useful at 85, but not in 4.0.1 where heals are still large relative to health pools and people aren’t under 50% health for long.

Glyph of Renew – Changed from 3.3.5 to be a flat 10% boost to your Renew. If you use Renew this is very powerful, if you don’t then it’s not.

My top pick would be Penance. Other than that, I’d recommend Power Word: Shield and then Prayer of Healing. I’d love to recommend Power Word: Barrier, but on Live PW:B isn’t lasting very long (a couple of seconds in most cases) so using the bonus healing is tricky.

Major

As I’ve already said, Major glyphs are generally situational. Keep as many available as you can, and swap them in and out as appropriate. I’ve put some usage notes in this section.

Glyph of Dispel Magic – If you’re dispelling a lot, the healing is a nice bonus.

Glyph of Divine Accuracy – Increases your Hit chance with Smite by 18%. Pretty much mandatory if you’re using the Smite healing style, not useful (obviously) if you’re not.

Glyph of Holy Nova – Holy Nova heals the raid now (it’s range-limited only) making it much more useful than before. This glyph is a very powerful boost to the spell. I’d recommend it.

Glyph of Mass Dispel – Replaces the old Focused Power talent, making a quick MD cast available to all Priest specs rather than just Disc. I like this for convenience, but it’s not really a performance boost and definitely optional.

Glyph of Fear Ward – On bosses that fear this could prove invaluable, especially in smaller group sizes when a rotation won’t be practical. Highly situational, but if you run 10s without a Tremor Totem available this could save your bacon.

Glyph of Inner Fire – Not one to bother with in PvE, but the armour bonus will probably be very useful for PvP.

Glyph of Pain Suppression – Another PvP glyph, since stuns in PvE aren’t usually fatal.

Glyph of Psychic Scream – This one’s very interesting, making feared targets stand still rather than running away. Nice in heroics as safer emergency CC, but definitely not a raid glyph.

Glyph of Smite – Because of the lowered duration of Holy Fire from 12s to 7s, this glyph is not an especially good choice, because the HPS gain from the glyph is approximately cancelled out by the HPS loss from casting HF. It’s a positive but small HPS boost if you Smite for the entire duration, and definitely a DPS gain, but not much of one.
I wrote a bit more about this elsewhere.

Minor

Glyph of Fortitude – As I mentioned earlier, since Power Word: Fortitude is now raid-wide and its cost is quite high, this one might be a good choice to save a ton of mana rebuffing someone who dies during a fight.

Glyph of Levitate – As with WotLK, it’s one of the more practical minor glyphs.

Glyph of Fading – You might find yourself fading more than in WotLK, and some reports say this is the case, although I’ve not found this personally. You shouldn’t need it in a raid, really.

Glyph of Shackle Undead – If you need the extra 5 yards to avoid body-pulling, then grab this glyph.

Glyph of Shadow Protection – Since Shadow Protection now lasts for an hour, I see zero value in this glyph. I imagine it’ll be changed at some stage, maybe to line up with the Fortitude glyph.

Glyph of Shadowfiend – Another less-than-useful glyph, since they changed the Shadowfiend to not take AoE damage. Probably not worth the cost.

From this selection I’d pick up Fortitude and Levitate as mandatory glyphs, and then I’m picking between Shackle Undead if I’m using Shackle, or Shadowfiend if I’m not.

 

Healing Tips

The first thing to say is that generally speaking, people’s experiences with the PTR suggest that you won’t need to change too much of your healing until Cataclysm itself.
Discipline Priests did not get changed anything like as significantly as other specs, and with mana not being constrained at al in 4.0.1 there’s no particular need to change.

There’s some mileage in thinking about how you’ll include Heal in you bindings and maybe trying to establish some muscle memory, but if you try and heal Cataclysm-style in 4.0.1 you’ll struggle a lot.

Tank Healing

If you’re going the Smiting route, your baseline healing on the tank comes from Smiting the boss and letting Atonement heal the lowest-health player with 8 yards of the boss, which ought to be the tank, and using Penance, PW:S and PoM on the tank whenever they’re available. Pop Archangel when it’s at 5 stacks to get 15% of your maximum mana returned and that 15% boost to healing.
If you decide not to use the Smite mechanics, just substitute Flash Heal into the above.

If you’ve taken Train of Thought and Inner Focus, remember to watch the IF cooldown or macro it to your two expensive heals to get the most benefit from it.

The thing to be careful of is checking that Atonement is actually working. Tanks have to stand very close to be within 8 yards of the boss, so they might be out of range, or melee might be taking damage and be soaking up the Atonement heals. In these cases if you’re needed on the tanks then you’ll have to switch to healing them directly.

Raid Healing

Bubbling is still fairly viable, although you’ll want to reforge a lot of Haste and Mastery onto your gear to match the performance you used to get in 3.3.5. I’d use Flash Heal or Penance for spot heals, since mana is not a problem.

The simultaneous Rapture proc trick still works, and the internal cooldown’s reduced to 6s now, so you’ll see a lot more Rapture returns.

Power Word: Barrier ought to be a really nice cooldown like Divine Sacrifice was, but unfortunately it’s just not lasting in raids at the moment so it’s only especially useful on the melee or tanks.



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Categories: Advice and Strategy