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4.3 Quick Guide for Discipline Priests

Posted by Malevica on November - 30 - 2011

So, what’s in store for us Discipline Priests in 4.3?

The New Outfit

The Vestments of Dying Light are available in tasteful gold, blue or red, depending on your raiding tier of choice.

After my initial “WTF!” reaction, I sat and looked at the set for a while and it really grew on me. There’s definitely something Priestly about it, but not the gentle, friendly image of a Priest but instead has us putting our serious face on (literally), filling ourselves with smouldering, barely-restrained power of the Light and getting prepared for the grave business of taking on Deathwing.

How badass it’ll manage to look on a gnome though is anyone’s guess…

Set Bonuses

First, the bonuses themselves:

Healer, 2P — After using Power Infusion or Divine Hymn, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for 23 sec.)

Healer, 4P — Your Power Word: Shield has a 10% chance to absorb 100% additional damage and increase the mana granted by Rapture by 100%, and the duration of your Holy Word abilities is increased by 33%.

So, let’s take a look in detail.

The 2-piece bonus is handy, but also a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s been pointed out on EJ and elsewhere that this presents Disc Priests with something of a question: should we be casting Power Infusion on cooldown just for the mana reduction, or should we be saving it for when we actually need the throughput.

PI has a split personality already though, with the throughput and mana saving components. I find myself mostly using it as a throughput cooldown, popping it when I shift to the healing-intensive part of a fight, and since that’s where the expensive spells (PW:S, FH, PoH) hang out, I figure I’m probably getting a good benefit from it.

The thing to remember is to make sure you’re using it vaguely sensibly, i.e. when you’re going to be healing hard, and make sure you get as many uses as practical and don’t leave it languishing on cooldown unless you know there’ll be a point where it’s vital.

It’s also attached to Divine Hymn, which works for the same reasons – we’ll be casting DH when things are getting tight, and this mana cost reduction will help offset the costs of healing people up afterwards.

The 4-piece bonus for Discipline is a bit of a conundrum. The way it works seems to be that one in every 10 times you cast PW:S (on average), it’ll absorb twice as much and give a double-sized Rapture proc when it breaks.

This in itself is a decent bonus: Disc Priests bubble someone at least every 12-15s for Rapture, more often if you’re tank-healing, and in the Dragon Soul you might well find yourself with moments where throwing out bubbles more frequently pays off, so as long as you’re using PW:S regularly you should get the benefit. You will have to be careful when using PW:S as a pure raid-healing spell though, because a larger bubble is less likely to be totally consumed and possibly end up preventing what might otherwise have turned into a Rapture proc. It’s fine for tanks, but on the raid you may want to think about where you PW:S to make sure it will be fully absorbed. Depending on your Mastery you may need a hit well over the 60k mark to burst it.

The Patch

As usual, very little for Priests in the patch notes, although what there is is definitely worth a look:

Divine Hymn now affects 5 targets, up from 3.

Atonement will now account for the target enemy’s combat reach when calculating proper range, enabling it to be used on large creatures such as Ragnaros and Ala’kir.
Divine Aegis has a new spell effect.

Spirit of Redemption has been rebuilt to address a few functionality issues and make it more responsive. Spirit of Redemption otherwise remains unchanged.
State of Mind has been redesigned and is now called Heavenly Voice. Heavenly Voice increases the healing done by Divine Hymn by 50/100%, and reduces the cooldown of Divine Hymn by 2.5/5 minutes.
Guardian Spirit’s healing bonus has been increased to 60%, up from 40%.
Holy Word: Serenity now has a cooldown of 10 seconds, down from 15 seconds.

Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%.


For Disc, the big change of course is the new Divine Aegis bubble! Have some videos:

On the left is the “old DA” applying and then persisting, and my “new DA” video from the PTR is on the right. Unfortunately the old DA procced from a Glyph of PW:S crit, so there’s the PW:S graphic in there to confuse things, but the effect is clear enough.

And here’s the proc effects in close-up, old on the left, new on the right:

That new still is so damn tasty I’m using it as my avatar just about everywhere I can. It looks so sweet!

The old Divine Aegis used to wrap beams of light around the player as the bubble appeared, while the new one sort of expands a rainbow-coloured soap-bubble effect instead. I can see how the old effect could end up looking very flashy and noisy on screen, whereas the new one, while still really cool and colourful, has less point movement and is less bright overall.

I was really thrilled to be getting something all-new, until I noticed that this same soap-bubble effect procs when a Mage uses Arcane Blast (it’s Arcane something anyway) on a mob. Still, it looks damn good, even if it is borrowed. It’ll look better on us anyway!

OK, more seriously, the Atonement change. Finally, two tiers later, Atonement works off the boss’s hitbox rather than the boss’s centre. I presume there must have been something big and scary and technical preventing this change from making it in earlier, or perhaps Ragnaros brought it to a head in a way that Al’Akir didn’t manage to. Anyway, good news.

Finally for us, a small buff to Divine Hymn for all Priests, with it healing 5 targets rather than 3. That should help its throughput for both specs, although Holy gets a much improved version as their new raid cooldown: double the healing and a 3-minute cooldown means Holy has its own Tranquility to play with.

My initial reaction was (of course) to get all angsty and bitter that Holy gets buffed and Disc doesn’t, but actually there have been several fights I’ve ended up staying Disc because of the combination of PW:Barrier and an AoE pulse. Now that Holy gets a powerful raid cooldown of its own the dual-spec option opens right back up again, and that can only be a good thing for the class. It’s no nerf to Disc, just a rebalancing of the specs in the sorts of bursty fights where Disc currently dominates because of a single spell. GC agrees.

Just think of it as another powerful raid cooldown for the rotation and enjoy it.

Other Healers

We need to know how our other healing friends will be changing this patch too, so we know how to work well with them and play to our respective strengths.

Shaman are staying more-or-less the same in terms of playstyle, although they will be getting a buff to their Ancestral Healing talent:

Ancestral Healing now also causes the shaman’s heals to increase the target’s maximum health by 5/10% of the amount healed, up to a maximum of 10% of the target’s maximum health, for 15 seconds. This effect does not stack if multiple Restoration shaman are present, and does not apply to heals from procs.

The wording suggests that this doesn’t need a crit and is a bonus attached to the Ancestral Healing talent, not the buff, so it shouldn’t matter whether the tank has Ancestral Fortitude (the damage reduction buff) or Inspiration on them.

Your Shaman should try to keep up the Ancestral Vigor buff (the 10% HP buff this creates) on tanks. On the PTR, when it fell off it dropped the player’s maximum HP back down again, but also reduced their current HP by the same amount, which was certainly not ideal because it meant that extra healing done while the buff was up was lost again when it expired; hopefully this has been fixed before going live.

Druids don’t have much new this time, although they are getting small nerfs to Wild Growth, they shouldn’t change how they heal much.

Wild Growth healing has been reduced by 20%.
Glyph of Wild Growth now also increases the cooldown on Wild Growth by 2 seconds.

Paladins are getting a revamped version of Holy Radiance:

Holy Radiance now has a 3.0-second cast time, no cooldown, and requires a player target. That target is imbued with Holy Radiance, which heals them and all group members within 10 yards instantly, and continues to heal them by a smaller amount every 1 second for 3 seconds.

This, combined with Light of Dawn, means they will be capable of some pretty loopy (albeit costly) burst AoE numbers when the raid is all stacked up, so bear this in mind when considering healing assignments. It might be that we Discipline Priests shift more onto tank-healing when the fight mechanics favour the new HR, and swap with our Paladin brethren when the raid is more spread out.
Paladins are also getting a small mana nerf because Judgement will no longer return 15% of base mana. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, and it’ll free up a lot more GCDs for them.

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Search Term Fun

Posted by Malevica on September - 9 - 2011

Blatantly stealing a great idea, and if I could remember where I’ve seen this done before I’d give proper credit to the person who inspired me!

I thought I’d take a look through the more popular search terms that have brought people to my blog recently, and hopefully highlight some of the answers I have buried away in obscure corners of the site, or provide answers to questions I’ve not addressed directly before.

Disc Priest Stat Priority

I got a lot of searches for this or similar questions. I’m not sure there is a short answer to this one, other than “it depends on what you’re doing”. It really does depend on what you’re doing, whether it’s tank healing, raid healing, 10-mans or 25-mans.

In 25-man raids I was typically assigned to raid healing, and for that I really wanted Mastery and Haste since my rotation was generally PoH-heavy with PW:S interspersed as dictated by my mana. In 10-man raids where I’m assigned to a tank I still want Haste so I don’t panic quite so much at the enormous gaps between heals, but I prefer Crit over Mastery because apparently (as far as my reading seems to be telling me, although I do want to follow this up) my use of Divine Aegis is lower as a single-target healer and getting more crits on all my heals (and the boosted DA shields that come with them) is more valuable than boosting the DA portion directly.

The best advice I’ve read, and I happen to agree with it based on my gut feeling, is to carry Spirit on as many pieces as you can since it’s still our best secondary stat; after that don’t be afraid to grab Haste where you can regardless of your role and raid size until you feel comfortable with your cast speed, but focus on stacking either Mastery for a raid healer or Crit for a tank healer.

This gives the rough priority: Intellect -> Spirit -> Crit (tank) = Mastery (raid) -> Haste.

However, the above priority absolutely is not set in stone. If you’re feeling like you’re slow to react and it’s causing you problems, then by all means grab some more Haste. I know I’ve felt sluggish on some encounters so I’ve gemmed a couple of Reckless Ember Topaz and reforged some of my remaining Mastery to Haste instead of Crit. Especially with reforging available you can try different combinations and see what works for you, your playstyle and your raid’s needs.

[Strength of Soul] vs [Train of Thought]

An interesting question. I currently have a few specs that I use, the main ones are Archangel specs and they differ in their application and in whether or not they take SoS and ToT.

If I’m tank healing I tend to use a 32/8/1 tank-healing spec which takes both Strength of Soul and Train of Thought. ToT is great when using Greater Heal a lot, because I have Inner Focus bound to GH and PoH so I use it every cooldown and it saves a lot of mana. SoS is great in this spec to allow me to maximise my Rapture returns by making sure to throw a direct heal on the tank every 12s, or throw shields on more frequently for higher throughput.

If I’m more involved in raid healing I drop SoS in favour of points in either Soul Warding or Darkness since I don’t cast many direct heals, but although the benefit is fairly small I’ll generally keep ToT in there. I like the reduced Penance cooldown I get from spending time Smiting either to get and keep Evangelism up or just to heal the melee or the tanks during slower phases.

Cata Haste Hots

My very old post from the Cataclysm Beta about how haste affects HoTs, DoTs and some channels (not Penance), is still the most visited page on my blog on a day-by-day basis.

Here’s the summary version, but I’d invite you to read the original post if you want to understand the theory, it’s still as true today as when I wrote it back in the day.

  • The total duration of your HoT, DoT or channel does initially reduce with haste as the tick intervals get shorter.
  • When you get enough haste to fit an extra half-tick into the nominal duration you get given a whole extra tick and the duration jumps up to it’s nominal duration plus half a tick.
  • If you cast a HoT while under a haste effect, such as Borrowed Time, all your ticks will be hasted, not just the ones that go off while the buff is active. However, the spell tooltip and the HoT buff you get both (misleadingly) update as soon as the haste effect fades.
  • Haste rating per 1% Haste = 128.11

So for a 12s Renew with 3s ticks, you get an extra tick when you get enough haste to bring the duration down to 10.5s (i.e. 12s – 3.0s/2), and the duration jumps up to 13.5s (i.e. 12s + 3.0s/2), and you get 5 ticks instead of 4.

The haste points to get an extra tick for each HoT are:

HoT Name         Breakpoints at (total haste):
Penance         25%, 75%
Renew         12.5%, 37.5%, 62.5%, 87.5%
Rejuvenation         12.5%, 37.5%, 62.5%, 87.5%
Regrowth (HoT)         16.666%, 50%, 83.333%
Lifebloom         5%, 15%, 25%, 35%, 45%, 55%, 65%, 75%, 85%, 95%
Wild Growth         7.15%, 21.43%, 35.715%, 50%, 64.285%, 78.57%, 92.855%
Riptide         10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, 90%

As to whether a given breakpoint is worth going for or not, that’s a question for your class guides to answer. HPS increases linearly with haste, there’s no jumps there; the advantage is that a longer HoT needs refreshing less often, leaving you with an extra GCD or even two to do something else, and less mana required to keep the HoT refreshed.

Vuhdo Smite Macro Hostile Target

Quite a few people are looking for macros for Smite macros. I did post a few in my Smite Healing Tips post. There’s information there on making various Smite macros, from one which will Smite your target (if it’s hostile) or your target’s target (if it’s friendly, for example a tank), through a macro which will Smite your focus or let you make your target your new focus and Smite that if you press a modifier key, to a macro which will find something hostile in front of you and let you Smite it until it’s dead, then pick something else automatically.

I also included a section in there about how I set up VuhDo to show targetoftarget for the Main Tanks and bound Smite to my hostile left-click for hassle-free Smiting from the raidframes.

I’m working up to doing a UI post soon, just as soon as I’m happy enough with my UI to show it off. I’ve been saying that for at least a year though, so don’t hold your breath!

Cata Disc Priest Guide 4.1

I’ll assume this searcher was a bit confused, since Rage of the Firelands has been out for several months now.

Anyway, I don’t have a current (4.2) guide up at the moment. The closest I have is my old 4.1 guide. There’s not much that’s changed since then, but it’s not been updated since April so use with caution. An updated Discipline how-to is on my list of things to do, but I really can’t give any sort of definitive timeline.

In the meantime, by way of 4.2 disc priest guides, I’d recommend Zelmaru’s 4.2 guide or the 4.2 disc guide at Manaflask.

Penance Not Turn Me

You probably want this post about stopping Penance turning your camera.

Unfortunately, as Zinn pointed out in the comments, there’s no way to stop Penance actually turning your character. I presume this is because the developers aren’t willing to let Penance be cast while facing any direction on a hostile target, but they do want it to be castable in any direction on a friendly, and there’s some limitation in the tech that means the only way to implement two rules for a single spell was to make it turn you to face your target when that target is friendly.

It is a pain, for example when running out of fire you have to make extra sure that you’re definitely facing the way you think you’re facing after Penancing a team-mate or you might get a big surprise. Maybe 5.0 will fix it…

Healing Ascendant Council

This, and the rest of my mostly incomplete and horribly outdated Cataclysm raid guides can be found in the Cataclysm raid strategies section in the menu above.

I may, now I have more inclination to write them, get around to posting some more up-to-date guides, although I suspect I won’t bother for Firelands since other people have got that covered.

At this point I’ll throw out a recommendation for Beru’s healing video guides, which mostly cover heroic modes. I figure you’ve already seen the basics over at Tankspot, Icy Veins, Learn to Raid or your site of choice. Beru writes the Falling Leaves and Wings Druid/healing blog, but although there’s a Druid slant to them the guides are useful to any healing class.

And finally…

I Can’t Type h

Amazingly, not one but two people searched for this. We’ll leave aside the apparent paradox of using the letter “h” in a search about not being able to type “h”. We’ll assume that these people have used a different computer to search and aren’t suffering from either an inability to recognise certain letters or a fear of typing them.

My advice to you folks would be twofold: First, check for the presence of dirt/crumbs/fingernail clippings/jam/hair/insects trapped under your “h” key and preventing you from pressing it down. I use one of those “air duster” cans to blast this sort of stuff out, but a vacuum cleaner or just your own breath will work.

If that doesn’t shift it, maybe your keyboard really is just wearing out. If you’ve worn out your “h” key specifically, then maybe you should take less damage!

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Categories: Advice and Strategy