Understanding Serendipity

21 Jul

Serendipity is a talent in the holy tree that I feel a lot of priests take without realizing how important it is or how much they can get out of it. I have always had a great appreciation for Serendipity and I thought I would take the time to explain just how this talent works and how you can get the most out of it, too.

What is Serendipity?”

Serendipity is a 15 point talent in the holy tree that gives you a buff that stacks up to two times when you use Binding Heal or Flash Heal. Each stack of Serendipity reduces the cast time and mana cost of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing. Having one point in Serendipity reduces the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing by 10% and its mana cost by 5% per stack. Two points in Serendipity will reduce the cast time by 20% and the mana cost by 10% with each stack.

How does it work?”

Normally, my Greater Heal costs 5559 mana and takes 2.16 seconds to cast.  My Prayer of Healing costs 5353 and also takes 2.16 seconds to cast.  Let’s take a look at how each stack changes these two spells.

One stack (reduces the cast time by 20%, the mana cost by 10%)
Greater Heal – 5003, 1.73 seconds
Prayer of Healing – 4817, 1.73 seconds

Two stacks (reduces the cast time by 40%, the mana cost by 20%)
Greater Heal – 4447, 1.3 seconds
Prayer of Healing – 4282, 1.3 seconds

Let’s see what you would have been spending, if you didn’t have points in Serendipity.

Binding Heal/Flash Heal #1 – 5765
Binding Heal/Flash Heal #2 – 5765
Greater Heal – 5559
Total spent:  17,089

Binding Heal/Flash Heal #1 – 5765
Binding Heal/Flash Heal #2 – 5765
Prayer of Healing – 5003
Total spent:  16,533

Now with both points in Serendipity:

Binding Heal/Flash Heal #1 – 5765
Binding Heal/Flash Heal #2 – 5765
Greater Heal – 4447
Total spent:  15,977
Mana saved:  1112

Binding Heal/Flash Heal #1 – 5765
Binding Heal/Flash Heal #2 – 5765
Prayer of Healing – 4282
Total spent:  15,812
Mana saved: 721

From looking at these numbers, we can see that you save more mana by putting Serendipity towards Greater Heal instead of Prayer of Healing.

Does that mean you shouldn’t use Serendipity for Prayer of Healing?”

Absolutely not.  While you may not save as much mana by casting Prayer of Healing after building a stack or two of Serendipity, it can be incredibly helpful to have a powerful 1.3 second AOE healing spell when you need it.

Here are some other things to bear in mind, regarding Serendipity:

You don’t always have to use it.
Sometimes a situation just calls for a Binding Heal or a Flash Heal.  Serendipity tends to be one of those buffs that you may feel obligated to use or to build a second stack of.  I would encourage you to only do this if the situation calls for it.  Remember, you’re still spending mana for a spell you may not need.  Serendipity does not make your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing free, it just reduces its mana cost.  So if you find that you have a stack or two of Serendipity to burn and you don’t have a use for those stacks, just let them fall off.  Don’t feel obligated to use them up or to maintain stacks of Serendipity, because you can refresh them with additional casts of Binding Heal or Flash Heal.

Sometimes one stack is enough.
Along with the urge to use your Serendipity stacks when the situation doesn’t call for it, there’s also the temptation to always use two stacks instead of just one.  Again, if the situation calls for a Greater Heal or a Prayer of Healing and you only have one stack of Serendipity, go ahead and cast that Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing.  You’re still saving some mana and casting your next spell at a reduced cast time.  I wouldn’t suggest making people wait for much needed healing, just because you feel you could save a bit more mana or shave off a few more seconds from your next spell’s cast time.

Know which spell to use and when.
You can use any combination of Binding Heal and Flash Heal to give yourself Serendipity.  Because these two spells cost the same amount of mana and have the same cast time, it really boils down to what’s happening with yourself and the rest of the group.  If you have taken damage, use Binding Heal.  If you’re trying to get someone else’s health back up relatively quickly and you don’t need the healing, use Flash Heal.  Flash Heal will heal a single target for more than Binding Heal will, so you want to make sure you’re giving out the right amount of healing.

Once you have a stack or two build up, take a look around.  If the tank or someone else is really hurting for health, use Greater Heal.  If the tank happens to be fine, but now the rest of your party is hurting, use Prayer of Healing instead.  Remember, you have 20 seconds to use Serendipity before the stacks fall away.  Make sure you’re choosing the right spell that can do the most good for that particular situation.

Time Surge of Light procs appropriately
There’s a chance that one of your Binding Heal or Flash Heal casts may proc Surge of Light and give you a free, instant cast Flash Heal to use.  If you already have two stacks of Serendipity up, use those up before you cast the free Flash Heal.  The Flash Heal that came from Surge of Light will give you another stack of Serendipity and if you cast it when you already have two stacks (the maximum amount of Serendipity stacks you can have), then it goes to waste.  Consume your stacks first, then use the free Flash Heal to get another stack right away.

Use it proactively.
Some people choose to use Serendipity as a way to prepare for big, incoming damage by making sure they have two stacks up so they can react more effectively to whatever is about to happen.  I haven’t found too many situations where I’ve needed to do this, but I have seen other priests who enjoy using Serendipity this way.  Use whichever combination of Binding Heal and Flash Heal will do more good and try to time your stacks for whatever big damage is about to hit.  Then respond appropriately with a fast Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing and try to clean up as much of the forthcoming mess as you can.

Does Serendipity work with Power Auras?”

Yes!  The standard Blizzard interface does come with a visual notification that you have Serendipity, but it doesn’t tell you how many stacks you have.  I received an e-mail from a new blogger on the scene named Rooster, with the following Power Auras export that you can use to track how many stacks you have.  I tweaked it a little bit to fit in more with my current setup, but it should be a good fit for yours, too.  Copy the code below into the import dialog box and enjoy!

Version:4.21; anim1:4; icon:Spell_Holy_Serendipity; buffname:Serendipity; begin:1; x:-2; texture:2; alpha:0.25; owntex:true; combat:true; size:0.35; y:-145; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:BOTTOMRIGHT; stacks.Transparent:true; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.h:1.3

Serendipity can be a tricky thing to manage or use properly.  There are times where you don’t want to obsess over how many stacks that you have and then there are times that you do.  There are times you want to pay attention to the fact that you have Serendipity and then there are times where it’s not as important.  In the end, it’s really all about being aware of your situation and knowing that you have that tool there if you need it.  Like I said earlier, I enjoy having Serendipity a lot and I can think of many times where it has made a huge difference to me and to my group.  You can really tailor Serendipity to meet your needs and I think that’s what makes it so interesting and useful.

Hopefully this post will have done something to inspire other priests to find more creative uses for Serendipity or will inspire others just to use it more, in general.  If you have any other uses for Serendipity that I didn’t already cover, please feel free to leave a comment here and tell me all about it.

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7 Responses to “Understanding Serendipity”

  1. Zelmaru July 21, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Thank you for writing this. Understanding Serendipity is KEY if you are called upon to tank heal. And if you run 10’s, chances are you will be called upon to tank heal.

    • Oestrus July 21, 2011 at 8:45 am #

      You’re welcome!

      I’ve been tank healing or single target healing a lot more in Firelands. I tank heal on the ground during the Beth’tilac encounter while a tank picks up the bigger spiders. I get to tank heal or heal one or two Torment targets on Baleroc. It’s a lot of fun!

  2. Solaril July 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Very nice column. The part about not using Serendipity just because its there is a big one. I have seen other priest that will throw out a Gheal due to dipity about to drop off whether its actually needed or not. Even with the mana saved its still mana wasted in the end, not to mention the overheal waste.

    I would not necessarily use the two stacks of serendipity just because I happen to get a SoL proc. You could be basically using a uneeded spell and actually using mana that you do not need to. SoL is free and instant, and even if you already have two stacks, I beleive it resets the timer, so you still have time.

    As for tank healing, I actually enjoy it more than I do raid healing. With crit heals now so much stronger ‘hitting’ persay, and the bonus crit chance you get to direct heals from your chakra you can put out some very nice healing.

    • Oestrus July 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

      Hi Solaril,

      You’re right about using SoL with Serendipity. I was trying to say that if you are in a situation where the healing is needed, I would think you would get more out of the 2 talents by consuming the 2 stacks with a Greater Heal (or possibly a PoH) and then using that free heal to get another stack right away. That way you’re closer to having *another* 2 stacks and can get off *another* reduced cost/speed Greater Heal or PoH.

      Sorry if that came across wrong.

  3. Slice July 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Good ol’ serendipity. My favorite talent in the Holy Tree. The strategy of when to use or not to use. When to drop and when to possibly maintain. What to use – GH or PoH. Maybe I should OS Holy again…..

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Initial Thoughts On The Mists Of Pandaria Priest Changes | The Stories Of O - October 24, 2011

    […] Light, this was another hotly debated talent that priests could never seem to agree on.  I wrote a post about Serendipity a while back and highlighted some ways to get the most out of it.  It is a moderately useful […]

  2. » Initial Thoughts On The Mists Of Pandaria Priest Changes The Stories of O - December 22, 2011

    […] Light, this was another hotly debated talent that priests could never seem to agree on.  I wrote a post about Serendipity a while back and highlighted some ways to get the most out of it.  It is a moderately useful […]

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