Fact Or Crap – Priest Edition

7 Jul

Hello everybody and welcome to this very special edition of Fact Or Crap!  I’m Oestrus and I will be your host this evening.  Tonight, we are going to play a game to determine if some of the things you have been hearing about priests lately is either Fact or Crap.

Here’s how it works.  I’m going to read off a statement or an opinion that has been making the rounds, regarding priests in 4.2 and you tell me if you think what I’m saying is a Fact or if it is Crap.  The person who correctly identifies the most statements will receive a prize, to be determined at a later point in time.

Are you ready?  Let’s play!

4.2 Will Ruin Holy Priests
Correct Answer: 
Make no mistake, discipline is doing incredibly well for itself.  This is mostly due to the changes that were made regarding how critical strike rating interacts with healing spells.  Discipline priests have always had more use for critical strike than holy priests and now they are really starting to reap the benefits of doing so.  Talents such as Renewed Hope, Inner Focus, Divine Aegis and Grace all benefit from critical strike rating and give discipline priests an incentive to have more of it.

Holy priests don’t really have anything in particular that stands to be improved because of the critical strike changes.  We make sure to take Inspiration, but usually have enough innate critical strike rating to get the desired effect from that without really trying.  Lightwell doesn’t benefit from it and neither does our mastery.  The only thing I could see being affected by this change is Chakra: Serenity and by extension, Holy Word: Serenity.

Being in Chakra: Serenity increases the chance of your direct healing spells to crit by 10%.  If you cast Holy Word: Sanctuary on someone, you will give them a temporary buff that increases the critical effect chance of all healing spells on that target by an additional 25%.  It’s not bad, but discipline priests can certainly do a lot more with critical strike rating than that and they don’t need to be stuck in a certain stance in order to do that.  Chakra: Serenity is typically a single target healing stance and tends to not see as much use in raids as Chakra: Sanctuary might.

Here are some logs from the first night of attempts in Firelands that I participated in:

This graph shows the total amount of healing that was done over 11 Shannox attempts, including our Shannox kill and 2 Beth’tilac attempts (which we stopped trying for, because we were facing disconnect issues which prevented us from going any further).  You will see that the discipline priest and I have less than a 1% gap between us, regarding our overall output.  On the other hand, she did nearly the same amount of healing that I did with a 67% uptime as I did with an 82% uptime.  One could argue that this is a throughput issue and that her spells were doing inherently better than mine were.  She may have spent less time actually healing or casting, but was still putting out more healing than I was.

These are the logs from our Shannox kill.  Again, you can see that the discipline priest and I have a narrow margin of healing between us.  You will also see that her uptime was slightly less than mine, but she still put out more healing than I did.  Is it enough for me to say that my spec performed poorly or that things would have turned out differently if I were discipline, too?  I don’t believe it is.  At this point in our progression, we are performing at comparable levels.  If I were to start seeing huge gaps in our healing output, I would first try and determine if other factors may be involved.  Maybe there’s a gear disparity or one of us died earlier than we should have.  I would try to eliminate all other possibilities before I come to the conclusion that I performed worse because I was holy.  Right now I don’t have enough evidence to say that is the case and only by spending more time in Firelands will I be able to know for sure.

Priests Will Have Less Spirit Than Everyone Else
Correct Answer:  Fact
This one is definitely true, but I think it goes a bit deeper than that.  If you compare the off-set pieces that we have available to us in Firelands versus those of other classes, you will see that healers who don’t wear cloth will end up with more spirit than we will.  Even off-set pieces that come from other sources, like Valor Points or Avengers of Hyjal dailies will give us less spirit than druids, shaman, or paladins.  This is due to the fact that there are two other classes competing for cloth spell power gear (mages and warlocks) besides priests versus the other healers who have no competition for spell power gear of their desired type.  On the bright side, the full set of T12 armor for priests has more spirit on it than the complete sets that belong to other classes.

Just because other healers stand to have more spirit than we do doesn’t necessarily mean that they want or need it.  Take shamans, for example.  According to Lodur, shaman tend to fall into one of two camps.  They either stack spirit to help the raid and to buff their Mana Tide Totem or they don’t stack it and focus on their personal throughput instead.  Shamans also have a talent called Resurgence, which allows them to regain mana when their direct heals crit and while they have Water Shield active.  Crit also helps them benefit from talents like Ancestral Awakening and Ancestral Healing.

Paladins have become more interested in spirit lately, due to recent changes that increased the mana cost of some of their spells.  However, they also have other means of regaining mana, like Seal of Insight and Divine Plea.  Another way that paladins can save mana is by casting spells that only consume Holy Power, like Word of Glory and Light of Dawn more frequently or whenever they are off cooldown.

Druids have always been as interested in spirit as priests have, but they also have some other things going for them that may make spirit less attractive as they gear up.  While not directly tied to mana regen, druids do get their choice of two top tier talents in both the feral and the resto trees that can increase their maximum mana and/or their intellect.  Furor increases a druid’s maximum mana by 5/10/15% while Heart of the Wild can increase a druid’s intellect by 2/4/6%.  They also have a talent called Revitalize, which gives them a 20% chance to instantly regain 1/2% of their total mana when they periodically heal with their Lifebloom or Rejuvenation spells.  Plus, druids can bring Replenishment to up to 10 party or raid members when they cast or refresh Lifebloom.  Let’s not forget that druids can also put points into Malfurion’s Gift, which gives them a 2/4% chance to gain Omen of Clarity each time they heal with Lifebloom (this includes periodic healing).

By itself, the fact that priests won’t have as much spirit as everyone else or as much as they’re used to wouldn’t be as much of a deal if they had other things they could rely on.  Again, discipline priests stand to fare a bit better at this than holy priests will.  For one thing, a discipline priest can choose to run with an Atonement build that relies on using Evangelism to build stacks and then consume them with Archangel.  Each stack of Evangelism that the priest gains lowers the cost of the core spells in that build by 3/6% per stack and this can stack up to five times.  When the priest consumes their stacks with Archangel, they receive 1% of their total mana back and a temporary spell power buff.  On a 30 second cooldown, Archangel can be used quite often and can do wonders for a discipline priest’s regen abilities.  Discipline priests also have Inner Focus, which gives them a free Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing every 45 seconds; Power Infusion, which they can use on themselves to reduce the cost of all spells by 20%; and Rapture, which many priests track meticulously and is considered to be a core regen talent.

In contrast, holy priests have Surge of Light, which only seems to trigger from spells that they don’t use very often and that comes with an abysmal chance to proc; Lightwell, which is often considered the most mana efficient heal in the entire game, but only if your raid decides to use it; Spirit of Redemption, which you have to be dead to enjoy; Serendipity, which again thrives off spells that we don’t use that frequently; and Chakra, which only increases our healing output and does nothing to reduce the cost of our spells or to help us get mana back.  This leaves us with the basic cooldowns that every priest has to rely on, which are Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend.  As you probably already know, those two seem to work best when used together and each comes with a lengthy cooldown.

And lastly:

The T12 Set Bonuses For Priests Are Crap
Correct Answer:  Crap
I find it interesting that most of the people who have an issue with the quality of our T12 bonuses are the same ones who are concerned about the lack of spirit on their gear.  Let’s break it down!

The off-set helm, shoulders, chest, gloves and legs that come from Firelands have no spirit on them.  There are alternatives that you can find outside of a raid instance, but they’re not guaranteed to have spirit on them, either.  If you’re someone who insists on having that much spirit on your gear, you’re going to have to purchase your tier pieces in order to make that happen.  You’re probably not going to achieve that goal, otherwise.  Based on stats alone, the T12 pieces are comparable to anything else out there.

Then you have the bonuses.  Priests are the only healing class whose two piece bonus does not boil down to chance.  Druids, shaman, and paladins have a 40% chance to make ___ happen.  Priests simply cast one of three spells and regain 2% of their base mana every five seconds for fifteen seconds.  I would imagine there is some sort of an internal cooldown, but I would also think that the uptime on that has got to be better than the other effects that simply have a chance to happen.

Our four piece bonus could also save you some mana.  Having four pieces of T12 gives you a chance to summon a Cauterizing Flame when you cast a helpful spell, which will heal injured party members standing nearby for a set amount over five seconds.  Free healing is free healing and I certainly won’t turn that down.  You shouldn’t, either.

At the end of the day, it’s really easy to buy into everything that you see or hear.  It’s easy to fall victim to peer pressure or the mob mentality that can be found on message boards, Twitter, blogs, etc.  What I implore you to do is tune all of that out and find out what works for you.  Don’t stop doing what you’re doing because someone else tells you that it won’t work or that it can’t work.  Don’t get mad about something that’s affecting your class just because someone tells you that you should be angry or upset about it, too.  Do your best to sympathize with those around you, even if feel like you can’t empathize with what they are going through.

Until next time, Azeroth!


7 Responses to “Fact Or Crap – Priest Edition”

  1. Jasyla July 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Ugh, I fail at commenting under the right user name.

    *FIXED* There has been a lot of complaining coming from Holy Priests. I do think the choice to not include spirit on the Firelands cloth gear is strange, but there’s always reforging.

    Since Cata release I don’t think druids are quite as interested in spirit as holy priests (at least I’m not). Unless I’m mistaken, spirit is the best source of regen for priests because of Holy Concentration. Druids on the other hand get a lot of mana back based on their mana pool (revitalize, replenishment, innervate).

    • Oestrus July 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      You’re right, Jasyla. There are plenty of options that exist for people who might still feel they need all of that spirit and who feel more comfortable knowing they have spirit on most (if not all) of their pieces.

      They can reforge. They can switch up their gems or their enchants. They can use a regen trinket or a different flask, even. There are choices out there and that’s even if you find that you need all of that spirit.

      I haven’t had any mana issues, so far and I would like to think I would be OK if I scaled back on my spirit (whether or by choice or not). Without knowing why others are having such a difficult time, I can’t say what they can do to fix it or if the issue really does exist. From my perspective, I can say that I’m not experiencing it and I’m inclined to think I may not be the only one.

  2. Sakkula July 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    This is a good read! I would like to say, that as a disc priest, spirit is almost a non issue. As you said, we have rapture, which fully buffed returns around 10k mana for me, and usually goes off ~ every 15 seconds, we have Power Infusion, And to top it off, Inner focus, not to mention everything that isn’t in the disc tree exclusively. I currently run at around 2300 spirit with buff from DMC: tsunami, and could probably even run a little lower than that.

    I’ve actually built myself a “BiS”(I use that term loosely) list, with the only pieces of gear that have spirit on them is my tier, wand and the reputation trinket from the firelands people, who’s name totally escapes me at the moment.

    Will this end up working? Who knows, but If I can get to my intended goal of 20% unbuffed crit, and enough mastery to get to 50% increased absorbs, I don’t think I’ll much care 😛

    • Oestrus July 11, 2011 at 8:55 am #

      Hi there!

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, Sakkula. Thank you for the compliment! I had a feeling that disc priests wouldn’t be too worried about spirit and I’m sure with all the resources you have available that’s probably a fact.

      Do you plan shaving off any of the extra spirit from the tier pieces? Or do you want all of that spirit?

  3. Sakkula July 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    That is a very good question, and I don’t really have any kind of good answer for it. Throughput will never replace regen, so even disc priests will need a decent amount of spirit, along with a hefty amount of intellect for rapture, but at the same time, I get both throughput and regen from intellect. The plan at the moment, and it will probably change once we get into hardmodes, is to shave off an spirit that puts me above ~1800, no matter where it comes from and reforge it all to crit/mastery.

    I’ve also though about taking only the tier pieces for the spirit, and having all my other gear be general caster gear, and taking the rep trinket from avengers of hyjal. That way, I should reach my spirit goal, and my gear will have a lot of throughput stats on it.

    Honestly though, I have a feeling this will end terribly. I imagine hardmodes will tax my mana to the point where I need regen more than throughput, so this may all be moot, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to piss off all the clothies in my guild and try it 🙂

  4. Healing T July 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    I’ve done some number crunching and my intuition so far is that Holy Priests are not as gimped as people say that they are in mana terms in tier 11 gear.


    I haven’t completed a comparison across tier 12 with the loss of spirit, but given approximate 20-25% scaling across tier, holy priests scale better than all other classes, so my guess is that it is not as bad as it seems, even with the itemisation.


  1. Sellout « The Stories Of O - July 27, 2011

    […] want to see a holy priest doing well.  They want to see a holy priest telling them that things are OK and that they don’t have to go discipline to get by in Firelands.  My loot listings, my theorycrafting posts, my trinket discussion; those are what people are […]

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