Understanding Heart Of Unliving

25 Dec

As mentioned in my updated loot listing for patch 4.3, Heart of Unliving is widely believed to be one of the best in slot trinkets for healing priests.  However, it wasn’t always that way.  Let’s take a look at how far Heart of Unliving has come, since it was first made available on the PTR, and just what exactly you can and should do with it.

“What is Heart of Unliving?”

Heart of Unliving is an epic quality trinket, which comes from the Spine of Deathwing encounter, in Dragon Soul.  When it first came out, Heart of Unliving had no Intellect on it and only provided a stacking Spirit buff.  Shortly after patch 4.3 went live, it was changed to now look like this (from Normal difficulty):



“How does Heart of Unliving work?”

Heart of Unliving comes with a flat amount of Intellect, but healing spells that you cast can give you a buff called Expansive Mind, which gives you 88 Spirit for the next 10 seconds and this effect can stack up to 10 times.  So, if you are good about watching and maintaining your stacks of this buff, you could enjoy a near constant 880 Spirit.  That’s pretty mind-blowing.

“What spells/effects will proc Heart of Unliving?”

Unlike similar trinkets that you may have had in the past, like Majestic Dragon Figurine or Solace of the Fallen, the stacks from Heart of Unliving are a bit more difficult to keep up. You may have noticed that when I answered the previous question that I said “healing spells that you cast can give you a buff called Expansive Mind,” meaning that not every healing spell in your toolbox is guaranteed to give you a stack.  It’s important to not only know what spells or abilities will give you stacks, but which ones will also help you keep those stacks up, so they don’t fall off and so you don’t lose the Spirit buff.  Also, please note that you do not gain a stack of Expansive Mind until you finish casting a spell.  So, there is a possibility that you can lose your stacks in mid-cast.


The following spells/effects will give you one stack of Expansive Mind, unless otherwise stated:

Binding Heal – Gives 2 stacks, one for each person healed.
Circle of Healing – 1 stack, per person healed.
Divine Hymn – 1 stack per heal, per person healed.  Using this spell with Heart of Unliving is guaranteed to give you a full 10 stacks of Expansive Mind.  Any heal from Divine Hymn that would give you more than 10 stacks will instead refresh the stacks that you already have.
Flash Heal
Greater Heal
Holy Word: Serenity
Penance – 1 per tick of the channeled spell.
Power Word: Shield
Prayer of Healing – 1 stack, per person healed.
Prayer of Mending – 1 upon casting, no stacks are given when the spell bounces.
Renew – 1 for the cast, the HoT portion does not give any stacks.


These spells or abilities will not give you stacks of Expansive Mind:

Cure Disease
Desperate Prayer
Dispel Magic – Does not give a stack, even if you glyph for it and it heals the target.
Fear Ward
Guardian Spirit – The cast itself and the heal given by the spell both do not give stacks of Expansive Mind.
Holy Fire – Atonement healing from this spell did not give any stacks.
Holy Nova
Holy Word: Sanctuary
Hymn of Hope
Inner Fire
Inner Focus
Inner Will
Lightwell – Neither the cast itself or using charges from the Lightwell will give stacks.
Mass Dispel
Pain Suppression
Power Infusion
Power Word: Barrier
Power Word: Fortitude
Shadow Protection
Smite – Atonement heals from this spell did not give stacks of Expansive Mind.


“Should you be using Heart of Unliving?”

Yes!  However, I didn’t start really needing it, for regen purposes, until I started working on the Warmaster Blackhorn encounter with my group.  My mana was fine, when I was healing everything up to that point.  As we started working on Blackhorn, Spine, and Madness, I was really having to watch my mana usage and I had to make every cooldown count.

One thing that will benefit you in the long run is to make sure that the resto shaman in your raid get this trinket before you do.  Heart of Unliving is one of the few trinkets that works in tandem with a shaman’s Mana Tide Totem – something that every caster in your raid will benefit from, including yourself.  It may be tempting to take the trinket for yourself first, but you will gain more by giving it to a shaman, instead.  Think of what will benefit the raid as a whole, before you think of what benefits only yourself.

If you find that you’re not having any luck with Heart of Unliving dropping in your raid, try running LFR and getting it that way.  While you will get slightly less Intellect and Spirit than you would from the Normal version of the trinket, it’s still a mighty nice item to have on you.  I would take it any way that you can get it.


13 Responses to “Understanding Heart Of Unliving”

  1. Orvillius December 25, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Do an atonement specced Disc priest’s smite casts trigger a stack?

    • Oestrus December 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

      Hi Orvillius,

      I’m sorry that I forgot to include Atonement heals in my initial run of testing. I did try it out after you left this comment and it looks like those heals do *not* give stacks of Expansive Mind.

      Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Thespius December 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Nice write-up, O! I’ll have to keep an eye out for it if it drops =) As a Resto Shaman… should be yummy!

    • Oestrus December 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      Vixsin did a write up recently about it, for shamans, and she thought highly of it, too.


      It pretty much blows any other trinket out of the water, in terms of mana regen, at least for shaman. Although, I would like to think that would translate somewhat for other classes, too.

  3. Cymre December 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Nice guide there O 🙂

  4. Mia December 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Very informative post 😀 I absolutely love it. I got this trinket off of Raid Finder on my Shaman, and thought about possibly getting it for my priest. (^_^)

    • Oestrus December 25, 2011 at 8:36 pm #


      I just felt the need to write about it, seeing as how I assumed it would ramp up as quickly as DMC: Tsunami did and that it would be just as easy to maintain. It’s going to involve a smidge more effort, in order to get it off the ground, but once you do it should be just as nice.

  5. AmerPriest December 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    I still yet to get this trinket, definitely need another trinket upgrade and this would seem to really help me. Thanks for informative post O. Thanks for sharing! Ill keep an eye on this trinket. =)

  6. Kiedra January 1, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Hi Oestrus, thanks for the writeup!

    I was hoping I could easily pre-stack Heart of the Unliving (eg by spamming Renew) much like how Warlocks could pre-stack Illustration of the Dragon Soul by using Rank 1 Lifetap/ Rank 1 Hellfire repeatedly).

    I initially thought too that it would be as easy to keep up as DMC: Tsunami so thank you for dispeling that erroneous belief. 😛

    Good luck to all healers wanting this trink! 🙂

    • Oestrus January 3, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      Hi Kiedra,

      The good news is that certain spells do give you stacks rather quickly. You could choose to spam something cheap like Heal to build stacks, prior to the pull, or you could just use PoH and CoH to get you there, too. Again – it’s possible, it just takes a bit more effort or work. Overall, it’s still a fantastic trinket and I think it really shines on fights where you get breaks and the Spirit based regen can do its thing (like when you’re jumping between platforms on Madness).

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Niikita January 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Do you think this will be a BiS for holy pally or resto druid too or will they still find the Seal and Windheart as their BiS? I can see this as a really nice trinket for my holy set, but if it will be BiS for our druid/pally as well, I would feel bad rolling against them if I’m only going holy 2 out of the 8 fights. :/ Your input is much appreciated! ❤

    • Oestrus January 17, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      I asked a few people on Twitter what they thought of HoL for their respective classes and it seems like druids agree that HoL is not that great and that Jaws of Defeat is a better choice for them.

      Holy paladins, on the other hand, seem to value HoL just as much we do, as they have a +30% bonus to Spirit based regen, just like us, and Holy Radiance builds stacks fast.

      Hopefully this helps, Niikita. If you need more insight into what each class thinks of their trinkets or about other things, let me know and I can forward you to the folks who were nice enough to give me their opinions on this topic.

      • Niikita January 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

        Thank you soooooooo much for this info!! ❤ v<)/ I guess I wouldn't feel bad rolling on it for now since our pally has her mind set on the Windward heart and already has the seal 😛

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