27 Jul

The defintion of selling out, according to Wikipedia

The compromising of (or the perception of compromising) integrity, morality, or principles in exchange for money or “success” (however defined).  It is commonly associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream audience.  Any artist who expands their creative path to encompass a wider audience, as opposed to continuing in the genre and venues of their initial success may be disdainfully labeled by disapproving fans as a sellout.

I pride myself on being the rebel.  The underdog.  The odd one out.  Secretly, I crave acceptance and being able to fit in, but I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I were to start experiencing either of those things.

I made a vow to myself when Firelands came out that I wouldn’t go discipline unless I absolutely had to, unless I could really show that discipline was leaps and bounds better than holy.  I felt like I owed it to myself and I owed it to my readers to do this.  My most viewed posts for weeks on end have been the ones relating strictly to holy priests. 

People 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 coming to my page to see.  They don’t want to read about yet another holy priest throwing up their hands and caving into the pressure of having to go discipline to make it through this tier.

So far, I have only had to go discipline for one encounter and that was for Baleroc.  I simply could not keep my targets alive as a holy priest in Chakra: Serenity.  I wasn’t building enough stacks of Vile Spark to make a difference, mostly because the spells in my arsenal couldn’t build stacks as well as those that a discipline priest has at their disposal.  I was losing my healing assignments, people were dying.  To me, that was a no-brainer.  I went discipline for that fight and we started to down it much more smoothly and regularly.

Cut to last week and we’re working on Alysrazor.  I’m really struggling with the tornadoes and dying before P2 even starts.  That’s where I should be making my money as a healer.  I should be dropping HW: Sanctuary, dropping a Lightwell and blowing up the raid with heals.  But I’m not, because I’m dead and I’m not grasping the tornado mechanic.  As I’m running back after a wipe my healing lead asks me if I wouldn’t mind going discipline for this fight.  I tell him that I would mind because I haven’t made it to P2 enough to determine that we need another Barrier and that holy is that inefficient for this encounter. 

Once I started getting the hang of the tornadoes and making it into P2 and P3 (which is basically just a repeat of P1) consistently, I felt like I was doing quite well.  In fact, our best attempt (getting her down to 3.2%) was done when I was holy and so were the next best attempts.  My being holy had nothing to do with why we failed to get her down.  We were losing DPS in the final round of tornadoes, which a discipline priest couldn’t have prevented.  The two had nothing to do with each other.

The next day, I received a private message on our boards again asking me if I would go discipline for that fight.  I replied that I am open to going discipline, if the fight truly warrants it and based on what I was seeing and experiencing this one doesn’t require me to do that.  The person who messaged me was polite, but did mention that there could be consequences for not doing what’s best for the overall group and I should be aware of that before I make my decision.  Unlike most guilds or raids I’ve been in, I know that when this group says there are going to be consequences there will be consequences.

I really like running with these people.  I’m proud to be associated with them.  I have a lot of fun when I’m with them.  I don’t want to let these people down.  But at the same time, I don’t want this to become a habit and I’m afraid that it will be.  I haven’t seen Majordomo or Ragnaros yet.  I haven’t done anything in Firelands on Heroic mode, but I know what I’m hearing from various sources and it’s not good.  I’ve managed to shrug off the chants of “Go disc or go home.”  I’ve managed to avoid various forums and discussions that have made me lose faith in the very community that I belong to, because of how quickly everyone else seems to have thrown in the towel and given up on a spec that they love to play.  I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing those things.

I received a Tweet yesterday that literally warmed my heart and made me smile:

I love the fact Paragon uses holy priest 5/7 FL. I betrayed myself using Disc too much. I love that you’ve stayed true to holy. 

Someone out there counts on me to do the right thing, to stay true to what I believe in.  Maybe others do, too.  I can’t help but feel like I would be letting people down if I did this, if I kept doing this and by this I mean going discipline.  I would feel like I caved, like I gave up.  Like I sold out.  For someone like me, that’s the worst feeling in the world.  I want to believe that anyone can be successful on their own terms and I have been living proof of that.  Now here I am, faced with the prospect of doing something I don’t believe in just to get ahead and this may not be the last time I’m asked to do that, either. 

So where do you draw the line?  When do the ends justify the means?  What do you do when you have reached that point where compromise becomes compromising?

Is it worth it?


65 Responses to “Sellout”

  1. Tzufit July 27, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    I’m all for doing what your raid needs you to do in order for the group to succeed, but from what you’ve described here it doesn’t seem like they really “need” for you to go disc. They “need” everyone to get used to the tornado mechanic, and I would think that the only possible spec-specific tool you have to help with that would be Body and Soul … which is a Holy talent anyway.

    I hope you stick to your gut and play the game how you want to play it, and hope that your healing lead and the other raiders in your guild will be understanding. For all of the snide jokes that are often made about Blizzard’s mantra of “Bring the player, not the class [or spec],” it’s always been my experience that raiders who get to use the specs they’re most familiar with and enjoy the most are going to have better overall performances because of it. Good luck to you. :-/

    • Oestrus July 27, 2011 at 8:18 am #

      Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of damage that goes out during P2 and P4 (which is a repeat of P2) when we are all grouped up at Alysrazor. But we can heal through it. We *did* heal through it, until we couldn’t anymore.

      I’m not trying to blame the DPS or say it was their fault, per se, but there were more issues on the table than I feel a simple Barrier could have fixed. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. Barrier has become this band-aid to fix things that can’t always be fixed or could be fixed in more traditional ways. Like, ya know, by actually healing.


  2. Derevka July 27, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    In Edge (4/7 HM 25s), our typical healer crew includes THREE… yes 3, priests. Typically 2 Discipline and 1 Holy. Are there fights where I wish our holy priest was Disc? No. But that is mainly because we already have 2 Disc Priests (One spec’d/geared for Tank Healing, the other for Raid Healing/Bubbling). Are there fights where I wish he was another druid or pally… sure. However… troll our logs. He performs very well on many fights.

    The question really is, does your raid need another CD? Is that going to tip the scales from the raw healing holy can do over the mitigated damage that Disc and Barrier can do. Sometimes the answer is no, other times yes.

    Don’t write off either spec, because franky, you’d be selling out for Holy and giving up the biggest boon a Priest has: Flexibility and the fact that we do have two healing trees.

    • Derevka July 27, 2011 at 8:50 am #

      The only additional comment I would want to make is that I do think it is a bit unfair to see in this post, other forum threads, comments on blogs that prior Holy Priests are throwing their hands up and saying “I give up!” on Holy and jumping on the Disc Bandwagon. There is a /distinct/ difference between using your class’ flexibility to your advantage and running one Tree over the other, than just throwing a spec to the wayside.

      I am a HEALING Priest. That means I heal- be it Disc or Holy. What spec that is is entirely up to me, and for me to figure out what toolset my raid needs at any given moment. Right now, I am focused on Tank Healing… as such, I roll disc. Why? Because with the advent of 200% crits, Disc is a stronger Tank Healing spec in 25 HMs than Holy. Not to mention access to Barrier. Does Holy have some downfalls in current content, of course… do I have some opinions on that matter that could tilt the scales. You bet i do. (I’m looking at you Holy Concentration). But guess what… so does Disc.

      I was holy ALL of T11, and all of WOLK (Minus HM LK for LOLOLPWSINFEST) Prior to that I was Disc in Ulduar and Naxx… Leveraging your ability to use your strengths is key to being a priest. Pissing on holy or pissing on discipline isn’t productive.

      I’m not sure why this becomes such a hot topic in the Priest world… I guess it could be similar to Beastmaster Hunters in PVE.

      Being a naysayer to a spec is one thing, ignoring your class’s flexibility is something else entirely.

      • vixsin July 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

        ^ Absolutely, unequivocally agree with Derevka’s stance. Priests are amazing additions to a healing team because of their flexibility; instead of having one tree with a mash of single- and multi-target healing talents, you have two distinct and absolutely viable trees to work with. Limiting yourself to just one seems as ridiculous to me as saying that, as a Resto Shaman, I will only ever use CH and HR, and maybe some RT. No single-target heals for me!

        It’s an incredible strength to be able, and to be capable, of switching specialties to help your raid. That’s something to capitalize on, not snub.

  3. Borsk July 27, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Picking the better spec of two for a particular fight isn’t selling out. That’s like using a driver from the fairway. Specs are just tools. You are the player, you do whatever it takes to get the job done in the most efficient way possible.

    I wish I had another spec I could change to. Priests gave the benefit of carrying around two types of healing in one and should take advantage of it more often.

    • Joe Ego July 27, 2011 at 11:27 am #

      I did hear, somewhere, they were actually looking to give shaman a real healing spec. Has that happened yet? Could be something to look into.


  4. Alethiar July 27, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    First, great post!

    Secondly, thank you! Thank you for continuing to be a champion for we Holy Priests. These days there seem to be fewer and fewer, since the majority are doing as you write, and going Disc.

    As a die-hard Holy Priest, I most definitely look to you as a champion for our class and spec.

    That said, I also know how much it means to you to better yourself, and to meet new challenges. If doing that means going Disc, then it may just be that you have to sell out, (hopefully just a little, and not permanently).

    While that will be a sad day for those of us clinging to the belief that Holy can go toe to toe with Disc in every situation, if it makes you happy it’s worth it. Only you can decide if it’s worth it in your case.

    Secretly, I’ll be hoping you stick to your guns on this, but I am realistic enough to know that might not be an option, at least if you want to stay with the same group of people and see new content.

    Either way, you have my heartfelt thanks and respect for being a champion for Holy when others were abandoning the spec in droves.

    • Oestrus July 27, 2011 at 8:33 am #


      I’ll probably end up going discipline, just to save face and keep on trucking. The difference between doing it for Baleroc and doing it for Alysrazor is that I genuinely believe discipline to be better for Baleroc and would encourage most holy priests to give it a whirl for that encounter. For Alysrazor, I *know* that it can be done holy and if someone were to ask me what to do, I would tell them to stay holy if they can.

      Thanks for the praise. I genuinely appreciate it and it means a lot.

  5. Celibar July 27, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    The topic of selling out is one that always interests me. In the music industry, I think it’s both obnoxious and immature to talk about this artist or that artist selling out. Music is about entertainment. Sure, it can be an artform, but even art is about entertainment. People who think it should be only about the art and not the entertainment are deluding themselves. If that were the case, all those hipster, ‘you used to be about the music’ kind of people would either only ever put on free concerts or would only cover costs. No. Instead, they make and sell a ton of records and are loaded.

    And that’s fine.

    If you entertain me, I’m going to pay you. But let’s look at it from the perspective of gaming. Really, ‘selling out’ only matters insofar as you consider yourself ‘competitive.’ If you play to compete, whether it’s hardcore progression raiding in Warcraft, or ladder climbing on Broodwar/Diablo 2, or the Pro Tour in Magic: The Gathering, there is no such thing as selling out. The only thing that matters, when you compete, is results.

    Granted, part of resulsts will always have a bit of a meta-game element to them (such as what your opponents are playing, what you’re most comfortable playing, strategies, etc), but oftentimes there are certains choices which are just plain stronger than the alternatives. That is a reality of complex systems.

    So, instead of couching it in the rhetoric of ‘selling out,’ perhaps spec swapping should be looked at in terms of what you perform at your best with. Or, if you’re really good (which I suspect that you are), then you can go into the ‘shooting from the hip’ style and just play a ‘suboptimal’ spec.

    I am a newer player, to be honest. But I am also certain that Blizzard have it so you don’t need any particular spec in order to be successful. Fight mechanics and good awareness will almost always trump gear and spec.

    Either way, don’t lose faith! If you are more comfortable with and enjoy more playing as Holy, you should do that. If, however, you do rigorous testing and find that Discipline is just plain stronger… then you should probably be Discipline until something disrupts the status quo.

    But that PM from your guildy was a little too close to a threat for my taste. That’s pretty shitty.

  6. alcaras July 27, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    A spec is not a source of identity. It is a tool.

    Disc is better than Holy on most fights in Fireland. Why not spec the best way, instead of willfully gimping yourself?

    Our 3.2% wipe might not have been a wipe had you been Disc, since another Barrier might have let us survive long enough to get the kill.

  7. Windsoar July 27, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    What concerns me about this one is not whether or not you’re willing to go disc (which you state you are as the situation demands) but the apparent inability of your raid leader to trust you in the decision making process. Depending on your team composition, it may very well be the best thing for you to switch from holy/disc based on the fight.

    Our priest, who we recruited as DPS has also filled the hole as holy and disc when requested. While personal preference can be a make/break for some players, for me personally the needs of the raid team outweigh my need to be a snowflake, I mean, I rolled a certain class/spec just to join a raiding team I liked! ^^

  8. Zelmaru July 27, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    I woke up this morning and there you were, talking about what’s been on my mind. I haven’t encountered the problem of being unable to heal adequately in Holy. Not at all. Nor is my raid leader telling me to respec. (The raid is quite attached to the “lolwell”, our unofficial mascot.)

    I’m having the issue of my *mana* disappearing almost immediately, whereas my disc counterpart is merrily at half mana and putting out the same numbers. It’s embarrassing to be tapped out on mana and have the fiend still on cooldown, and have to call for the shadow priest’s hymn of hope. Or the disc priest’s (he doesn’t need it, like at ALL).

    It’s not that I’m unwilling to go disc, because whatever, I will. But because we already have a disc priest, I feel like it gimps our diversity of tools for our team as a whole.

    Combined with the chore of grinding VP in order to get ANY spirit gear, it makes a girl want to go druid…

    • Oestrus July 27, 2011 at 9:15 am #

      I got you covered, Zel!

      I’m actually not having any many issues, strangely. I’m having to actually use pots and Fiend and such, but I’m happy about that. I’m using them, but not to the extent that I’m relying on them to come back or anything. It just feels natural.

      Oh, I couldn’t go back to being a druid. Harmony confuses the hell out of me and I’m horrified at what they have done to druids. It’s so not what I’m used to.

  9. Adgamorix July 27, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    What’s that saying – it’s your 15 dollars a month, so do what you want, but it’s our 45/mo and we want something different? I dunno, I think I screwed that up.

    Anyway, it’s like this friend I had in BC/Wrath who played Demo as a lock. Now Demo wasn’t as good, but he was a good player and he made it work – though it was a long row to hoe, and there were fights he really had to work on to keep up.

    My advice is prove them wrong with logs. Look at the death meters and show what people are dying to. If it’s something that Disc would have fixed, then go Disc.

    In the end you have to live with yourself. If sticking to Holy is really right for you, then maybe another raid group would be better.

    • Oestrus July 27, 2011 at 9:18 am #

      I don’t think I would ever leave the group over this, though I have left groups over less. Nor do I think it would matter what group I am in. This is where priests are at right now.

      My run isn’t the only one who feels this way and I would probably have to deal with this anywhere I went. So either way, that’s so not an option.

  10. Entrails_770 July 27, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    I suppose it what goes best for you ,I’m a Mage and when cata came round it was go fire not arcane,I tried and didn’t like it and now happily arcane is better again a lot of the time so hang on in there if you feel that holy can do as hood a’ve already shown flexibility by going disc for one boss.

  11. Enlynn July 27, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    I’m glad you give thought to your decisions. I’m on the reverse side of the problem, sometimes I’m looking through logs and asking people to make changes. And sometimes, I really feel like no matter I ask people, they’d say “ok sure boss!” without regards to whether what I’m asking for even makes sense. I’ve made mistakes and flailed my arms. I’ve put blame in all the wrong places. I’ve missed core mechanics. (Not saying your lead is quite as bad as me, just saying, we’re all human! 🙂

    While in theory I believe that no one healing spec is mandatory for any fight, the other suggestion I’d offer is a compromise. It’s possible that some attempts with the extra survivability disc overs will help people tighten up their performance and see the fights. And once your raid has found the groove, maybe get a kill, you can try it again as holy.

    • Oestrus July 27, 2011 at 9:46 am #

      Hi Enlynn,

      That’s not a bad idea. I could look at it like “Yes, I may need to go disc for this one until I don’t have to anymore.” Like it’s a temporary thing.

      It’s funny because nobody asked me to go disc for Baleroc. I was aware that holy wasn’t cutting it and so I made the choice to do it. If I really felt it was necessary here, I probably would have been the first one to volunteer for the job.

      • Joe Ego July 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

        Switching on your own initiative is a great example of wanting to do what is best for the raid’s success. I’d certainly recommend becoming more comfortable with it and becoming more willing to experiment with using a different spec on more fights.

        As for the request, honor it but don’t be afraid to link to the logs for how much tornado damage people are taking.

  12. Saif July 27, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Nicely done.

    I’ve been playing with my healing lead and GM for about 2 years now, and she has always been Holy. That’s kind of who she is, it’s a lot of her identity. We made it through all of ICC and 11/12 HMs and all of T11 normals with her in Holy. It was no issue, she made it work.

    But with itemization being what it is this tier, and we only run 10s so mana, especially in the early part of the tier, is an issue as fights last 7, 8 minutes long. When she finally did go Disc, it really broke her heart.

  13. Hamaus July 27, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Wow. I am in the process of posting my thoughts on this very thing on my blog. As Zelmaru stated it is not like you can’t do the job as a Holy Priest it is that it seems light-years easier as Discipline. I have been having all sorts of angst in choosing to switch to my Holy Pally or stay on my Priest.

    I finally decided this weekend not to sell out and hold the line with my Priest but this weeks Firelands raid made me feel like I was fighting with a wet noodle. I have run both Holy and Disc in multiple specs/configurations since FL started so I feel confident that this is not a kneejerk reaction. That said Disc just feel like the way to go.

  14. Valen July 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Well, basically any spec of healer can work for normal modes. So yes, you can make a suboptimal spec or class work on any fight. Once you get to heroic, though, especially now when people are hitting most heroics somewhat below the gear the fights were designed for, then you need every advantage you get, and the margin you skated by on with one spec won’t be there in hard mode.

    Your healing identity shouldn’t be too tied with your tree of choice. One huge value of priests is the flexibility you get being the only class with two healing trees. Disc is superior to Holy for most fights (and unless someone from Paragon wants to provide logs or other justification, then that doesn’t change anything), and in no fight is holy really particularly superior to disc. You will better suit your raid and your own playtime by getting comfortable and proficient with Disc.

  15. Hamlet July 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    I somewhat agree with Derevka above, but just to spell it out some:

    If I were your raid leader, I would be quite annoyed with the attitude expressed in this post. Your raid could kill Alysrazor with you as Holy, and your raid could kill Alysrazor with you as Disc. This is true of basically any boss. Your job is to figure out which is going to make everyone’s life easier by providing something your useful. However, you don’t approach things this way–due to your personal preference for Holy, you only go Disc if Disc is _extremely_ superior on a given fight. But you should go Disc if Disc is _at all_ more helpful to your raid, because that’s what being a good raid member is.

    In your case, you seem to have some idiosyncratic attachment to one of your two available healing specs, and you constantly participate in the WoW community with this sort of “Holy pride” stuff. But none of that is your raid’s concern. They’re correct you expect you to cast Barrier during the burnout phase, which is only intense moment of healing in the whole fight. If you don’t want to cast Barrier because it conflicts with your persona as a WoW blogger, that’s your problem, not theirs.

    The raid group expects someone to come in play what’s best for the raid, and leave other concerns at the door. I played Resto or Moonkin (two entirely different roles) based on what Seb said the raid needed at any point in time, regardless of what theorycraft project I was working on at the time or anything else. Your WoW community activities should not interfere with your raiding.

  16. Velidra July 27, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Ok, lots of arguments and points to go into this here, so this may end up being a bit long, apologies in advance.

    I think there’s a giant perception issue with holy vs disc, where as people think disc completely out classes holy, and I think a lot of that is from the end of T11.

    When on farm content disc will have an advantage over other healers, thats just simply how bubbles/absorbs work. Other healers can’t heal damage thats absorbed, and shorter farm fights allow for disc to spam more in preparation of damage. So people ended up looking at logs and going “holy crap cakes bat man, their buffing that? :|”.

    Barrier was very good in T11, its still brilliant in T12. However if I had to pick the fights I absolutely needed it on, Alysrazor wouldn’t be one of them at the moment. Maybe its just the 10man version (oh I long for the days when my roster lets me do 25’s again), but we ended up 2 healing it without to much hassle (R druid + R shaman with DG from a protadin), which in fact dropped our barrier.

    I think in order to heal as a priest to the best of your ability, you almost have to have both specs and be competent in both specs. This is something I learnt coming into cataclysm for my warlock, which applys to pretty much every pure, or class with multiple specs that can fill both roles. Know them, know the strengths and weakness’s, and be aware enough of the fight to switch on your own. (although I’m honestly surprised that baelroc favors disc o.O).

    With all that said, I would do what your raid leader says. Then come in and say “well I don’t think disc is required here because of X, Y and Z”, point out that the damage isn’t that scary, point out that if anything B&S will help with it. The most frustrating this as a raid leader is having people absolutely tell you X won’t work and not even try it. If they have gone to the hassle of putting all this together then the least people can do is at least try it.

    If you can get through the raid damage phase fine as holy and instead having people dieing to the tornado phase? Guess what, disc won’t fix stupid.

    Paragon didn’t take a holy priest to 5/7 10 HMs because holy priests are crap.

  17. Jasyla July 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    I think every player should want to be as effective as possible in a raid. If I were a dps I would certainly be playing the spec that put out the most dps (unless a specific fight required something else, like good cc or interrupts and the like that required a different spec).

    However, I also think there’s something to be said for variety in healers. I wouldn’t want to raid with 3 disc priests (or holy priests, or druids…) I’d rather have each type of healer represented because they all have different strengths. Power Word: Barrier is great, but so is Guardian Spirit when a hatchling is having a tantrum, or HW: Sanctuary, CoH, PoH and EoL when the raid is grouped up and taking big damage.

    Raid leaders aren’t always aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each and every class. Unless your RL can definitively say “We need you Disc because of x,y,z, or we won’t kill this bird” I would have some reservations about switching as well. Another point to consider, which I think is extremely important, is how comfortable you are with the Discipline spec. I know there are priests out there like Derevka who consider themselves “healing priests” and can switch seamlessly between Disc and Holy, but not everyone is like that. I, for example, play Discipline pretty much exclusively on my priest. If the roles were reversed and someone asked me to play Holy in order to bring a certain benefit to the raid, I probably would not do it. Though an aspect of the spec might be great for the raid, I know that my overall performance would suffer from playing an unfamiliar spec and any benefit would be diminished.

    • Oestrus July 28, 2011 at 7:41 am #

      I’ve never been good at having an off-spec, on any toon that I’ve ever played, including Oestrus. Some people can do resto to boomkin or holy to disc at the drop of a hat, without any sort of a learning curve or pause. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.

      I did worry about what you said, where I may have what’s considered an optimal spec, but doesn’t mean that I’m going to be able to play it as such.

  18. The Devil's Advocate July 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    It’s certainly admirable that you have such pride in a certain spec and that you like to stick to your guns. This question you pose for your readers is seemingly about Spec A vs Spec B, but the answer to your question is a different topic entirely. It’s about a raiders responsibility vs how we might perceive your alleged “sellout”.

    Your primary job is to contribute to reaching the goals of the raid group.

    If you had a DPS player that could crank out an additional 5% to 10% damage but doesn’t want to because they prefer a different play style, how would you view that person’s contribution to the raid? How would you view that person’s contribution after the 6th or 7th wipe at under 5% boss health? Still want to raid with him/her knowing that they could make a difference but consciously choose not to for their own reasons?

    If YOU actually KNOW that Disc would SERVE YOUR RAID BETTER (and only you can answer that question because it’s your performance and your raid group) then do you really want to waste 9 or 24 other peoples’ precious time because of your own personal cause?

    Play the spec you love whenever practical – champion your cause in the community and prove your point every chance you get… but when it comes to raiding success… you don’t need our approval as readers, you need to get the job done as a player and gain the approval of your raid group, whatever path you choose.

    My two coppers, with respect.

    • Oestrus July 28, 2011 at 7:48 am #

      Thank you very much for the respectful comment.

      One thing I did want to respond to:

      It’s interesting that people make so many comments about team work and how the raid should be unified, but in the same breath they seem really eager to pin a wipe or the failure to kill a boss on one person.

      Regarding your example of one person, someone who is in a DPS role that could be doing an additional 5% damage if they changed specs; who is to say it’s all that person’s fault? Maybe the fight is more about other things, like interrupts rather than damage. Maybe that person has an optimal spec, but is performing their role in other ways. Maybe the group is missing a buff or two that could push performance over the edge.

      Who is to say that person with the alleged optimal spec isn’t dragging the raid down by not making the most of said spec? People have this idea in their minds that if they have this spec and this gear and you use this spell enough that you will be awesome and it doesn’t always translate that way. I can think of several people who have the character sheet that you would think would lead to success and it just doesn’t.

      If the person behind the screen can’t make the optimal spec or character work than it isn’t going to. I feel that doesn’t really get taken into account enough.

      • Valen July 28, 2011 at 11:15 am #

        So I don’t know about your raid, but in my raid, we identify mistakes so that everyone can learn from it. Raiding is a team activity, but there isn’t enough time to let everyone learn each mistake completely on their own. Instead, we go the route of making sure everyone is safe in knowing that causing a wipe or otherwise failing isn’t a huge issue, especially during progression when everyone is learning. The goal is to kill the bost as quickly as possible.

        That said, everyone does have a responsibility to the raid as a whole to do their best. That includes spec and execution. If someone fails repeatedly to the same thing, perhaps they get sat. No acrimony, no emotion really, just a calm understanding someone isn’t performing at the level necessary.

        Sometimes there is flexibility in the spec choice. Sometimes encounters expect either an entirely different spec or specific different talents. Raids have the right to expect people to fill those roles. I do think making, say, a Combat rogue play Subtlety can have a bit of a learning curve, but the best rogues will adapt quickly. Going from Holy to Disc or vice versa is a much smaller learning curve and is something any raid should expect of its raiders.

      • The Devil's Advocate July 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

        You’re 100% right with my DPS example… if the person had a good reason (interrupts, slows, add control, speed boost) to choose the spec with the lower DPS for a given fight then they are certainly doing the right thing for their raid group.

        That’s exactly why you need to be able to put aside Holy in favor of Disc for gaining that edge for a given fight. If not… then could you blame your team for asking you to sit out for that fight?

        Again though… I stress it is up to you (and perhaps your healing lead) to make that call because only you will truly know what you are capable of in each spec and the pros and cons of each.

        It still comes down to whether you are prepared to be a martyr for your favorite spec and jeopardize your raid position. No martyr has ever been admired without also being pitied as their journey ends sadly.

  19. Beruthiel July 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    I think what ends up being the crux of the issue isn’t really “disc” or “holy” or even the concept of selling out, but rather a matter of flexibility for your raid.

    I heal in a raid that sometimes has three priests. One who is always disc and two that prefer Holy, but will swap to disc in encounters as needed. Now, both of the holy priests are skilled as all get out and it’s not uncommon for all three of us to chase each other on the meters all night – and is a fun game for us on farmed content. Holy can, in fact, put out some seriously strong healing. That being said, if we feel that there is an advantage to having extra mitigation on the raid or to having an extra PW:B on the raid, and we ask them to swap, they’ll do it in a heartbeat.

    Could they have done many fights as holy and been a competitve performer? You’re damn right. I know because they are some of the most competent healers that I’ve ever had the opportunity to have played with. But it’s also foolish to ask the raid, and the other members of your healing team, to make something more difficult than it needs to be because of lack of flexibility from one player. (And as a raid that ran three druids during early T11 HMs, believe me when I know about having to take extra challenges from a lack of available raid cooldowns).

    It’s not always about being competitive – sometimes it’s about biting the bullet and being a team player. Especially when you are part of that team, and your goals are, agruably, those of your team. There is nothing wrong with being a “priest equally skilled in both specs”; or put another way a priest who is not a master of “disc” or “holy” but rather a master of being a “priest”.

  20. Leafie the Druid July 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Why on earth would that fight require Discipline? You don’t mention your tank assignment dying in p1, so what would be the gain? If preventing instead of healing damage in the aoe phase right before reset is the difference between a wipe and a kill, maybe. But people dying to tornados is not something a healer spec change will fix, unless your raid leader expects the occasional shield to prevent people from suffering the consequences of not figuring out how to chase a tornado.

    This is pretty funny to me because we’re constantly telling our two-discipline-specs priest that we’d love to see him holy for some fights. Majordomo, for instance, was much easier with him out and our shadow priest flipped to holy. Last night the holy off spec player was our 3rd healer; everything went just fine in a 6/7 run. Perhaps the fight dynamics are massively different in 25s?

    • Oestrus July 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      The Barrier would be used on the clump up phase. It wouldn’t have anything to do with tornado deaths, which I also was seriously struggling with during most of our attempts.

      • Leafie the Druid July 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

        Yeah, until that tornado thing went *click* in my head, it was a serious problem. However, even if you’ve figured it out and are merrily chasing them around, you don’t have time to heal other people. I manage to spew out a few Wild Growths and not much else.

      • Valen July 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

        Disc is actually great during/before the tornado phase. As you transition, spam shields — you won’t cover the raid, of course, but perhaps 5-8 people will now have a bigger buffer for most of the phase. Holy can’t do this; they can shield at most 2-3 people and for a sizably smaller amount.

        Also you should consider popping Divine Hymn during this phase. Smart heals are great when you can’t target people, and you can channel it while you move. It’s kind of hard to really cast targeted heals in this phase. CoH targeted on yourself may be okay but that’s about it; so it’s a great time to dhymn (especially since it isn’t a great HPS spell anyway and not something you’d use during any other part of the fight).

  21. Avalonna July 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    I love ya. You have the same headstrong attitude I do, & you’re not willing to compromise that. Dont ever change.

    That being said, there’s a reason Derevka & I called ourselves “healing priests” – we had no issues using one or another if it made the fight easier.

    Now, having quit the game after the first tier, I can’t say with any authority if one is better over the other. I will say I can understand being partial to one over the other, however when progression raiding, you have to decide what’s more important: being flexible or sticking to your guns.

    I have no doubts holy would work. The question is: does it work just as well? And can you pull it off in a way that meshes with group performance and doesn’t compromise your healing, or delay a kill while you figure it out? If the answer is ‘you’re not sure’ or even ‘no’, you might want to rethink it, or at least try to prove it AFTER a first kill.

    Another issue is a big trait desirable in progression raiders is flexibility – the willingness
    to adjust a spec or even swap specs. You have to remember progression raiding is about the groups success over what you want. It’s a big step that some don’t like, but those that tend to drag their feet usually end up riding the bench. It sucks, I know but again… Progression.

    Also, ask yourself if you’re hesitant because you’re not comfortable with disc (and be honest with yourself!). Spend more time with it, run some dungeons & farm bosses with it if that’s the case.

    Sorryto sound preachy, especially since I don’t play anymore & can’t offer solid advice. At the end of the day, it comes down to what’s important to you. But don’t get upset if a progression guild doesn’t agree with your decision.

    Hugs n kisses

  22. juulna July 27, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    I haven’t been in this position before in WoW; well not recently. I also do not play a priest at all, and really know nothing of them except what I’ve read in your blog (I’ve been ghost-reading your blog for about a month now haha) and having a holy priest partner (to my holy paladin) in raids. I’m proud of having a holy priest partner! She does great, and it’s a good fill-in to my holy paladining.

    I’m also proud of you. Stick up for your personal feelings and morals, even though they may be ‘lesser’ to some because it’s a game. But If you let go of something you feel strongly of, even in a game… it makes you feel bad about yourself. Don’t do that to yourself.

    I sold out when I was younger… don’t do it. It eats at you.

    At the same time, if the fight (or your comp) warrants Disc… it should be okay. But don’t be bullied if you feel it’s not the right thing to do. You are a very capable player, and you have my support. You can make your own dang decisions! 😉

    But let your healing lead (who, along with the raid lead(s), should be the only ones telling you what to do) know that you will only do it for as long as the occasion warrants it. If you get better gear, or the raid is making up that little bit extra dps in the night… stand up for yourself and your decision to stay holy. Let them know that you are only doing it because it needs to be done, and there actually will be benefit in the switch – but as soon as there’s no need, that you won’t do it anymore. Don’t let it be a habit.

    (But also don’t shoot yourself in the foot by losing your position in the raid – as long as they’re worth raiding with of course. And they seem to be from what you say. 🙂 )

    Cheers, and keep at it!

    • Oestrus July 28, 2011 at 7:53 am #

      Hi Juulna,

      I’m glad to see you stopped by and left a comment! It’s always nice to see new faces with something to say.

      Thank you very much for the support and the praise. I’m glad you understand or could relate to where I was going with the post and where I was coming from. Not many people could and that’s OK. I knew it was something that only those who had been there or felt what I had felt would get it and it seems like some people did. And those that weren’t able to relate were still respectful and that’s wonderful.

      The problem was that it could end up being more often or permanent than I would like. I did say that I would be fine going disc for Alysrazor, but I stressed that I didn’t want this to become a habit or a crutch and they couldn’t promise that. They want a priest who is comfortable effortlessly switching roles and I can’t give them that. That’s totally my weakness and I’m fine with admitting that.

      On the flip side, my healing lead was extremely accomodating and offered to do anything he could to make my transition to disc more easier for me. It wasn’t as if I was being left to my own devices or to fend for myself.

      • juulna July 28, 2011 at 8:09 am #

        Well it’s good that they were accommodating! But it’s too bad that they couldn’t promise it wouldn’t be a habit.

        They chose you as a holy priest… well, they better stick with it. 😛

        Good luck ^_^

        • Oestrus July 28, 2011 at 8:43 am #

          It’s funny, because I seem to recall getting some amount of flak for being holy right out of the gate. I’m not sure if it was a disconnect somewhere down the line, but I’m fairly sure they would have been more comfortable with a full time discipline priest than a holy priest with disc tendencies.

          I don’t hold it against anyone, per se, but I was pretty clear that I did lean towards holy and favored it more and yet people seemed utterly surprised that a holy priest had started showing up to raids.

          • juulna July 28, 2011 at 9:17 am #

            Well that’s dumb!

            I do believe healing leads should know what they’re bringing from the get-go. xD

            I’m kind of the ‘healing lead’ for my raid and guild, although we only run a 10 man and an alt team. No Firelands yet, unfortunately. But oh well! We’re getting there within a week. But yeah, as healing lead I’m fully aware of what my team brings to the table from the beginning. I don’t bring someone if I don’t want that spec. And if I want the person and not the spec, I talk to them before we even start bringing them. It’s just common respect to me..

  23. Jem July 28, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the priest class, but I’m suprised holy isn’t considered viable. Our holy priest shines, and not just cos of the pretty sparkles she makes 🙂 I hope your situation sorts itself out over time and you are appreciated for what you bring as a holy priest.

    Personally I’m a disc priest. Have always been disc. I have a holy spec, and I also swap like you did for Baelroc – when I think my disc healing is lacking something that Holy can give me (usually CoH oomph). Sometimes though, I swap back again after a few tries because I *heal* better disc. I’m more comfortable and I feel a stronger healer, even when Bliz has played funky games 🙂

    It’s 99% of the time left in the hands of our priests what spec they use, very occassionally when first learning something I may ask one of them to change specs for a particular thing, but once we have the fight down it goes back to being unimportant.

    I hope your situation sorts itself over time

    • Oestrus July 28, 2011 at 7:55 am #

      Hi Jem,

      It’s really all about the cooldowns. That’s all it boils down to. People don’t want a class or a person, they want a cooldown. It’s as simple as that.

      It’s sad, because all it does is provide fuel for every class and spec to demand a cooldown and it’s something that I feel not every class deserves or should have and also shouldn’t be required to have in order to be seen as relevant.

      It’s really spun out of control and it just became something I didn’t want to take part in anymore.

  24. stabexer July 28, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    You have a choice when playing WoW. You can either do everything it takes to succeed, and be an end game raider, or you can make artificial constructs about how you should and should not play that limit your ability to succeed and be a casual player. You are choosing not to be a raider. You are choosing to be a casual player. Yet you’re trying to play in a guild of raiders.

    If you were a real raider, and they asked you to go shadow tomorrow, you’d do it. You might complain about having to re-gear nearly from scratch, but you’d do it. You don’t even have to re-gear for holy -> disc. For a raider, spec, race, and even class and faction, are just a means to an end. Your character does not define you, you define yourself, and you simply use your character the way one might use the thimble or shoe in Monopoly. It’s just an tool to let you play the game.

    You need to either stop lying to yourself and admit that you’re a casual player and join a casual guild (FYI, you won’t be killing any heroic bosses beyond maybe the first 4 for the next 2 months, and probably won’t kill heroic rag until well into the next tier, assuming they even bother to go back) or man up and respec disc.

    • Solaril July 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

      What sanctimonius drivel this is.

  25. Yohannah July 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    To me, a healing priest not knowing how to play both disc and holy and being ready to play both in a raid environment depending on which was preferable to the situation would be like a pure dps class not knowing all three specs (ie a hunter not knowing survival spec or a mage who couldn’t play arcane).

    I raid in all three priest specs depending on what my raid needs, because, any advantage I can offer helps my raid team succeed. We’re currently 2/7H and I’m proud I’ve been able to contribute.

    It sounds like your guild is fairly casual, considering your progress, so I guess it shouldn’t matter what spec you play. Different strokes for different folks. But, if you want to do HMs and you want to min/max and you want to do every little thing you can to be successful, then you should be happy to change specs/glyphs/gear at a pi ndrop if it means giving your guild any slight advantage. Any other attitude is either casual or selfish. If you want to be a casual raider, that’s fine, many people raid casually and are happy, But if you aren’t in a casual guild, then it sounds like you’re being selfish by not doing what’s best for the group. A raid group isn’t a place to make a statement about individuality or personal convictions; it’s a place to come together and work as a team, including occasionally making personal sacrifices for that team.

  26. Geeni July 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    So, am I the only one who thinks it’s gimmicky to switch specs from fight to fight? It bugs me that access to CoH or PW:B matters more than carefully crafting a gear set for my primary spec and all my practice at excelling *in that spec in this patch*. If you’re constantly switching, you’re less skilled at both specs than you would be staying in only one. Especially given that Disc and Holy are the two extremes of proactive and reactive healing, so it’s not dead easy to switch your mindset…and start using the exact same spells differently! (e.g. Disc can use PoH just before a big AoE attack to get DAs running, while Holy will spam it afterwards to top everyone off.) Having two available healing specs is a neat option for me as a priest, but it’s something I make use of over the years as a raider, not *in the middle of every raid*.

    (I say this knowing I’ll get holes shot into me, as there are a lot of competitive raiders in this discussion. Obviously ranking and progression are important to those guilds, so you do *whatever* you need to do. But it seems this cut-throat attitude about using both specs is starting to filter down to mid-level guilds where it’s just not necessary.)

    • Oestrus July 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      Hi Geeni,

      That’s my problem entirely and I freely admit that. One of the reasons I was hesitant to do the constant swapping is because it’s not easy for me to change hats like that, when the styles are so different. I have my bars set the way I want to for holy, my mouseover macros, etc. It all flows and makes sense.

      Some people are really good at adapting that quickly and that often and I’m not one of them. An optimal spec only gets you optimal results if the person behind the screen is able to make it so and I know I’m not able to do that.

      I agree with you in that it’s kind of frightening how this is becoming an issue with guilds across the board. Even if I were to go drastic and leave my run for another one, I would probably experience the same issue elsewhere. People are convinced they need a certain cooldown to get by and there’s no changing that. We can choose to deal with it wherever we are or take ourselves out of the equation somehow.

      I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks for the comment.

  27. Ham July 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I have to disagree with Geeni’s :”gimmicky” statement. As someone whose primary spec was Shadow but switched so that our guild could progress through 4.1 content I feel that sometimes the need of the raid is paramount. I healed all content some fights disc, some holy and I based my decision on several factor to include feedback from other healers in raid and personal experience with a certain fights. I suppose it is easier for me as I have as I have always made it a point to be proficient in all three Priest specs. I don’t see any issue if the person in question is comfotable with doing so.

    That said it can be daunting and is not for everyone. I would rather work with someone healing in a spec they are comfortable with than struggling to get through with one they dislike .

  28. Melfina the Blue July 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    It’s an interesting debate, really. I did holy for a bit at the request of my guild, hated it, was bad at it, and went back to disc very much BUBBLES FOR LIFE!
    Then I met Atremedies (probably spelled wrong), went Holy for Body and Soul, and it finally clicked. I’ve only gone back to disc/shadow because my healing lead feels disc heals work better in our 10 man and our raid leader likes having a healer capable of decent dps (and she thinks I’m much better at disc than holy).

    In my mind, switching from disc to holy and back again is almost, but not completely, like switching from one healing class to another. I’d much rather have a druid healer who knows their stuff and is comfortable with their strengths and weaknesses than a holy pally who’s not, even if the fight favors holy pallies. On the other hands, my guild’s not SERIOUS raiding.

    In your situation, I’d probably say “Okay, I’ll try disc for a couple pulls but if it doesn’t feel better, I’ll switch back.” Kinda a “willing to take one for the team” with a side of “I’ll play what I like, provided it’s not hurting the raid as a whole”.

    Hope everything works out, and I love the blog. When I went holy, yours was the first blog I hit to figure out what the heck I was doing.

    • Oestrus July 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      Hi Melfina,

      Thank you for the incredibly sweet comment. That bit at the end really made me take a pause before I replied to you and what you said means a lot.

      My healing lead and I did talk about this and they need a priest who is comfortable effortlessly switching between the two specs. I offered to go discipline once in a while, with the understanding that it wouldn’t always be like this. No deal. It might always be like this and that’s not something I’m comfortable doing. At that point, I felt they were just better off with a full time discipline priest and that I probably couldn’t give them what they wanted

      So I’m taking some time off from raiding. I don’t know for how long. I just want to play some alts, try out some other games and step away from the scene for a bit. I still have some priest posts that I’m working on and I’m still keeping up with developments regarding our class. But I’m fine sitting out this tier while I see what happens with our class and raiding as a whole. I’m still in my guild. I’m under the impression I could come back if I wanted to. Everything is cool.

      Thanks again for stopping by, Mel.

      • Ham July 29, 2011 at 2:26 am #

        Now that makes me sad. I am very sorry to hear that and wish they could have found a way to make it work. Holy is trailing a bit but it is not like you are trying to bandage folks up or that your guild is going for world first.

        I hope you find yourself raiding again soon and that Blizz gives Holy a bit of love before the next major patch. Your situation makes me appreciate my guild a little more (woot! 5 yrs old yesterday). I also feel your pain in making the decision you felt you had to make. Much luck and love your site as well. Keep posting 🙂

        • Oestrus July 29, 2011 at 7:31 am #

          Thank you!

          This was the thing that tipped the scale, but there was more on the scale than this. Just to beat that metaphor to death a little bit.

          I had been entertaining the idea of a break for a while and I’ve certainly Tweeted about it and talked about it with people who know me pretty well. So it’s not terribly big news. I’m thinking maybe a tier off.

          Like I said, my run was great about it and I wasn’t asked to not raid and I wasn’t looked down upon in any way. There’s nothing to be sad or mad about. It just happened this way, really.

          I’m going to enjoy it! I still have a lot to write about, I’m sure as shit not going anywhere and I still have the character and can play it anytime I want.

          Nothing but happy thoughts here!


  29. Matt Johnson July 31, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    As Jason Newsted, former bassist of Metallica, once said when talking about people saying they had sold out, “Yeah, we sold out. We sell out every show we play.”

    I think everyone should play whatever spec they want regardless of what the flavor of the month one happens to be.

    • Oestrus July 31, 2011 at 11:16 am #

      Hi Matt,

      I’ve actually seen that episode of “Behind The Music” with them in it and I remember Jason saying that. I don’t even think he’s in the band anymore, is he?

  30. Lixor July 31, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Disc in was great for Sarth3D and Ulduar tankhealing. Great for LK. But I enjoy having 15 spells which I all use. I enjoy holy more.

    With the 200% crits (DA) and barrier disc looks awesome in 4.2. And it is!! I loved my 100k GH crits (on DK with VB or paladin). But now my epeen is big enough I long back to holy, but I didn’t. After Paragons 10HM run seeing they use holy priest 5/7 I have faith in holy again (even though I haven’t tried it in FL (shame on me)). Holy is competitive, I can go back to the spec I love.

    It was me who tweeted. I envy all the holy priest who stayed true. I should have too, I would enjoy FL much more.

    I will go disc for the fights that require a barrier, otherwise holy is just as good, and I’m prolly better 😉

    • Oestrus July 31, 2011 at 11:13 am #

      Hi Lixor,

      Yes! You were the one who sent me that wonderful Tweet. I would have included a screenshot or something, but my work computer has Twitter blocked and I really wanted to publish the post right away and I tend to write a lot of my posts at the office.

      I’m glad to hear that you have found a nice balance and that things seem to be working out for you, despite wishing you had stayed or could stay holy more.

  31. Arazu August 1, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    Highfive, I’m-gonna-play-my-class-MY-way friend.

    Disc is seriously strong for Baleroc, but it has nothing to do with building a spark stack. I actually think Holy would be able to build stacks faster, but with my frame of reference being heroic 10s-only I do think the advantage in general goes to Disc. I’m kind of curious if Holy mastery might be good for Bale tank healing in the same way Aegis is.

    As for Alysrazor, P4 is really short. My 10man can almost cover the whole thing with raid CDs, and even on normal mode the shorter P1 should be long enough for everyone’s cooldowns to be up for the next P4. I would hope 25s, even heroic 25s, can survive without squeezing every single raid cooldown they can get (especially when they already have so many), otherwise 25s would never bring non-paladin tanks. If you had a non-paladin tank in your raid, the same people who tried to blame game you for the 3% wipe could do the same thing to them, and it would be just as dumb.

    My guild’s only casual, but we’re getting close to 6/7 heroic, and we definitely don’t min/max hard enough to make someone play a spec they hate. Ask them to maybe, but grave consequences? No. That doesn’t sound like fun at all.

  32. clra2 August 1, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    I was like this when I was playing my hunter back during WotLK in Naxx thruTotC. I played BM to death when BM was pretty much garbage but I still did very competitive dps in a casual guild. I just loved the way the spec felt with the hunter’s dependence on the pet. It was exactly how I felt hunters should feel: you relied on your pet and your pet relied on you. Of course I also had a spirit beast! When I had to spec dance between SV and then MM through the rest of the expansion it really broke my heart. I understand your loyalty to the holy spec.

    I think the reason why I love my priest and have no interest in returning to my hunter (still at lvl 81 atm) or leveling/learning/gearing another toon (my only other 85 toon is another priest) is because each spec offers something different and that makes playing so interesting to me. I don’t care if my guild asks me to go holy, disc, or shadow for any fight. I love EVERYTHING about the priest class.

  33. Mellamo August 3, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    While I agree with you on the “sellout”, I have found myself since the end of BWD/BT going disc for more fights to help with the survivability of my raids. I made a similar post to this but less ranty :P. My thought is that once the gear is there holy will be competitive again. That in itself sucks to say but it is true.
    As for the Alysrazor fight…the best thing I found was find a tornado and follow right on it’s rear! Sometimes you will have to do a switch back but if you pick one in the dead center it is like playing ring around the rosy..just follow the same one until the phase ends around the middle! Hope this helps and as always great post!


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