Tag Archives: healing

Good Game

1 Oct

I had always imagined that the first time that I cried around my boyfriend would be because of a particularly sad scene in a movie that we were watching or maybe because of a truly heartwarming gift that he would buy me for my birthday or for Christmas.

I never dreamt that the first time that I cried around my boyfriend would be because of World of Warcraft.

It happened last night, after I called to rant about how much I was frustrated with the leveling process, how I felt like my guild had backpedaled on their initial expectations on when they wanted us to be raid ready, how I hated the prospect of having to do a seemingly overwhelming amount of dailies to get ahead, how I felt like leveling had turned into a competition to see who could hit level 90 in the most unhealthy way possible, and how I felt like Blizzard was being hypocritical by saying that they wanted to make raiding more accessible to people, while still creating even more hoops for people to jump through in order to prove just that.

Once I got all of that out of my system, I grew quiet and stared up at the ceiling.  He waited patiently on the other end of the phone, thinking that I still had more to say.  My eyes began to dart around the room, making sure that I didn’t focus on one spot for too long, because I knew what would happen if I did.  I could feel my chin quivering and the emotional dam inside my head starting to break.  Don’t cry. Don’t cry.

“I don’t love raiding anymore,” I said through tears.

I know it sounds silly to cry over a computer game and I told the boyfriend as much.  But raiding is something that I have truly loved to do for a long time.  I have compared my relationship to World of Warcraft and more specifically raiding to being in a relationship with an actual person and having to say that I no longer loved the one thing that keeps me going and the one thing that keeps me playing hurt about as much as realizing that the person you have spent years of your life with you no longer love anymore. 

If I loved raiding, I would gladly take time off of work to be raid ready.  If I loved to raid, I wouldn’t mind using my last vacation day of the year to spend it leveling and doing dailies.  I wouldn’t mind losing sleep, or temporarily putting off plans, because I would be doing those things for something that I love to do.  But I don’t love the idea of it anymore, so those things are turning into an imposition and they are turning into things that I’m starting to resent having to do.

I think another reason that I broke down at the fact that I didn’t enjoy raiding anymore is because for a long time I have felt like raiding was the one thing that I was good at.  Especially now, since I came back to Magic.  I’m not that good at Magic yet.  When I don’t do well at a Magic tournament, I can at least walk away from it knowing that I’m a Savior of Azeroth or that my guild finished in the top 300 of the United States, or that I am a competent priest that people turn to for advice.  If I didn’t have my raiding anymore, then I would have nothing to console myself with.  I would be just another player who performed poorly at a Magic event.  I would have nothing that I could turn to and say “Well, I’m not very good at this, but at least I am good at this.”

At least that’s what I thought, anyway.  As I dried my tears, the Boyfriend began reminding me about all the things that I am good at and that I could be good at anything I put my mind to.  I could turn all of the passion that I had for World of Warcraft and for raiding and put it towards something else and most likely see the same results.  He told me how smart I am and how I don’t need raiding to feel good about myself or to feel competent and that if he thought that I was that type of person, he never would have started dating me to begin with. 

That made me feel a little bit better.  I know he’s right, too.  So with that said, I think I’m going to tell my guild that I’m not going to raid anymore and take the demotion down to the social rank in the guild, provided they let me stick around at all.  And if they don’t, I am sure I can find someone on Twitter or in the community with a guild that will take me in as a casual member.  I can see myself doing some PVP in the future or maybe a fun raid with friends who just need a warm body to fill a spot.  But I think it is safe to say that my time as a serious, progression minded raider is over. 

It’s funny.  I had a conversation with a couple of people on Twitter yesterday about a custom in Magic the Gathering where your opponent tries to shake your hand after the round is over and says “Good game.”  I had mentioned how I felt that the practice was sort of condescending, mostly because it always seems like the winner is the person who puts out their hand first and that of course they are going to think it was a good game because they won. 

Then a friend pointed out to me that “Good game” is not to be taken literally and that often times the person feels that you genuinely put up a good fight or played well and that it deserves to be said and complimented on.   I didn’t even think of it that way. 

So in the future, when I think back on my time spent raiding and that I walked away from it all, I won’t be afraid to pat myself on the back and say “Good game.”

And it was.

The 4 Most Common Holy Priest Mistakes

15 Feb

Whenever I write a post about being a healing priest, or more specifically a holy priest, I try really hard not to tell people what to do.  I try not to make it seem as if there is only one right way to do things.  Most of the advice that I give is meant to be taken as a suggestion or as something that I know has worked for me and that could possibly work for you.  I have always been someone who is not afraid to try something new or break the mold when I can and I have always been really fortunate to be in guilds with great leadership that are as open minded as I am.

With that said, there are times where I see a holy priest doing something that goes so far against the grain that even I have to strain to see why such a decision or course of action would make sense.  Of course, I try to see where they might be coming from.  But more often than not I just can’t wrap my head around why a holy priest would do certain things.  Inspired by the recent trend of posts on WoWInsider that highlight common mistakes made amongst the various classes and specs of World of Warcraft, here are my selections for the most common mistakes that I see among holy priests.

 

They don’t take Heavenly Voice.
It is not completely unrealistic to say that holy priests have waited this entire expansion for a talent like Heavenly Voice.  I don’t think that we really noticed just how lackluster Divine Hymn was when compared to other cooldowns until Firelands came out.  Then we really started to feel it.  It’s not that holy priests were nerfed – it was more that we were not built to react to the encounters the same way that a discipline priest could or that our playstyle just didn’t mesh well with certain mechanics.  We watched our representation in raids fall to very depressing numbers and I was one of many holy priests who wondered if this trend would continue well into Dragon Soul or even beyond.

Then word got out that the developers were going to replace a completely useless talent, State of Mind, with one called Heavenly Voice and that this new talent would serve to compliment Divine Hymn and help make it a much more viable raid cooldown than it had been in the past.  Our proverbial prayers had been answered.  Priests from here to Kalimdor were pulling out their talent calculators and trying to figure out which talents they were going to take points from in order to make sure they had enough to max out on Heavenly Voice.  It was pretty unanimous that Heavenly Voice was going to be something that any holy priest worth their salt was not going to want to miss out on.

Unfortunately, there are still a number of holy priests out there who have not caught on to just how incredible Heavenly Voice is.  Now I know that in my recently released 4.3 guide that I indicated it was acceptable to not max out on Heavenly Voice if you had just turned 85 or were spending most of your time healing nothing but 5 man dungeons.  This is still true.  However, once you reach the point where you are ready to raid (even if it’s just LFR) you should most certainly have two points in Heavenly Voice.  If I inspect a fellow priest and I see that they are very clearly doing some sort of raid activity and they don’t have points in Heavenly Voice I really question how effective they are being in a raid setting.  Please do not make the same mistake and miss out on this amazing talent.

 

They spec for shields.
While Power Word: Shield is a spell that both holy and discipline priests have available to them, it’s a pretty well known fact that a discipline priest will get far more out of placing a shield on someone than we will.  I rarely cast it on a tank and I can’t even remember the last time I cast it on someone when I was raid healing (unless I wanted to give them a speed boost with Body and Soul).  We don’t cast Power Word: Shield for the same reason that discipline priests don’t cast Renew – because they don’t get as much out of it as the priest with the opposite spec would and they have other tools that can do the job better.  This is how it is and how it will most likely continue to be.

So I find it very strange when I see holy priests with talent points in things like Improved Power Word: Shield or Soul Warding and I see them using Glyph of Power Word: Shield.  If your chances of beating a certain encounter hinge upon you being proficient with shields, you’re not going to do this as well as you could be if you were discipline.  Even for fights where Body and Soul makes a noticeable difference (e.g. Atramedes or Warmaster Blackhorn), you’re not using the shield for the absorption effect.  You’re using it for the burst of speed to help you or someone else get out of something bad.  That doesn’t require any enhancements to your shields that could come from talent points or a glyph.  In short, it doesn’t make any sense to divert so much of your resources towards something that someone else could do with noticeably less effort.

 

They have excessive amounts of Spirit.
Healers of all stripes went into Cataclysm knowing that we weren’t going to be able to enjoy the infinite mana pools that we had come to know and love from the days of Wrath of the Lich King.  It was almost a necessity when we were leveling up and gearing up for that first initial bout of Heroics to enchant for Spirit and gem for it, etc.  Some people took really well to the idea of “triage healing” and having to put more thought into the spells that you cast and others really struggled with it.  Eventually we reached a point where we could afford to do without all of that regen and we could sacrifice some of that Spirit for throughput.  Then Firelands happened.

The pieces that many priests would have used until they had enough Valor Points to start purchasing their tier 12 armor or until they were lucky enough to win the tokens came with a noticeable loss of Spirit or sometimes no Spirit whatsoever.  This was very shocking to many priests, who basically felt like they had the rug pulled out from under them.  Many of us felt like we were getting mixed messages about just how important Spirit was supposed to be to us.  We went from needing it, to not needing it – but still having it around and on our gear just in case.  Now it was noticeably missing from several pieces of equipment and priests tended to react in one of two ways.  They either adapted and found better ways to manage their mana and to make the most out of their cooldowns or they overcompensated and started making Spirit more of a priority than it should have been.

The number one complaint that I hear from people who decide to level a holy priest is how much they feel like they are running out of mana so much faster than other healers do.  It’s tempting to try and fix this by pouring on the Spirit, thanks to talents like Meditation and Holy Concentration that have made us unusually dependent on it (or more so than other healers are).  But there is such a thing as too much Spirit.  It may not even have anything to do with your attributes.  You could be having to work harder because someone else on your healing roster isn’t bringing their A game every night or you may have people in the raid who aren’t reacting to environmental damage like they need to and so you’re having to heal more to keep up.  Adding more Spirit to the mix is not always the answer.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a set amount of Spirit that I can tell you to shoot for or that I can say is too much.  It really has to be something that you get a feel for and that you just know when you have reached that point.  I always compare it to those classic spy movies where someone is trying to come up with the combination to the safe by putting their ear up to the door while turning the dial.  They turn it ever so slowly and keep their ears open for that very subtle click that will let them know when they have found the right number or numbers to crack open the safe.  That’s what you need to do.  Watch closely how your mana bar goes up and down during an encounter and how your cooldowns and the cooldowns from others affect it.  Look at how much mana you have left over when the fight ends.  Eventually you will tap into that sixth sense of just knowing where your regen is at and whether or not you could stand to have more or less of it.

 

They don’t commit to using Lightwell.
Whether we like it or not, Lightwell has become one of the defining spells for a holy priest, if not the most defining spell for us.  It used to be Circle of Healing, then Guardian Spirit was our trademark for a while, and now it’s Lightwell.  Never has a spell been so misunderstood as Lightwell has.

The problem with Lightwell is that it is not only as good as the people who have to actively make the choice to click it, but it is also only as good as the priest who is responsible for dropping it.  I have come across very few people in my travels who actively dislike Lightwell or who try to go out of their way to not use it.  Most people would love to use it, if it was dropped anywhere remotely near them, or if they knew that you were dropping it in the first place.  This is where you come in.

The first thing I can suggest, with regards to how to get the most use out of your Lightwell is to know the fight ahead of time.  There are some fights where it will pay to drop a Lightwell at the start of the pull or slightly before it and then there are fights where you may not want to drop it until the middle or even close to the end of the encounter.  Knowing when your Lightwell will get used the most or when it will be most in demand is very important.  The people that you raid with have to feel a pressing need to click on it and if there isn’t enough damage going out to put them in danger they are not going to use it.

Second, you need to think about where you are going to drop it.  While you can click the Lightwell from a good bit of distance away, that doesn’t mean that you should drop it at the farthest point of the room.  You also don’t want to drop it on top of the raid, where it may be hard to target the Lightwell and click on it with a bunch of bodies and other graphics in the way.  If you notice that people aren’t using it, feel free to ask them where they would like it dropped or where it would be easier for them to use it. Try to meet them halfway on this one.

Like any cooldown, it helps if people know that you are using it.  I use a now out of date addon called Raeli’s Spell Announcer to let the raid know that I have dropped a Lightwell, but there are several other addons that do the same thing, or you can even make a simple macro that will do the trick.  Be careful not to make your announcement too obnoxious or people will equate your Lightwell with that and they may not click on it, simply just to spite you.

An acceptable Lightwell announcement would be:

 

“A wild [Lightwell] appears.”

 

An unacceptable one would be:

 

“This is George.  He is my Lightwell.  George is currently holding 15 charges of holy healing goodness for you and will be eagerly awaiting for you to use him for another 2 minutes and 41 seconds.”

 

You also want to make sure that you are not keeping track of who is using the Lightwell openly in raid.  There are some addons that will tell you how many charges are left, who is using them, etc.  It’s fine if you want to keep track of this information for yourself, but do not broadcast this in party or raid chat.  Remember, you have to make people associate the Lightwell with something positive and overbearing raid announcements will not help your cause any.

Along with creating a macro or using an addon to let people know that you have cast Lightwell, it helps to say in Vent or Mumble (or whichever program that you use) that you are doing this and where you have placed it.  For example, I may say “Lightwell on the left,” or “Lightwell in the back.”  Again, keep it short and sweet.

If at the end of the day you have truly done everything you can to train your raid how to use the Lightwell and they are still not meeting you halfway on this, then you can feel free to /spit on them and tell us how terrible they are in Trade chat or on the PlusHeal boards.  We’ll understand.

 

Oestrus’ Comprehensive Holy Priest Guide – Version 4.3

27 Jan

Welcome to my comprehensive holy priest guide for patch 4.3.  All of the information contained within this post is current, as of the most recent tier of content, which includes the recently released Dragon Soul instance.

Please keep in mind that anything I talk about here or that I suggest are things that have worked for me or other priests that I communicate with and that they may not necessarily work for you.  What matters more than anything else is being able to admit that something is not working for you.  If you are doing something that is a bit outside the box and you are genuinely seeing results with it – meaning that your mana bar is not always running on empty, you are keeping up the people you are assigned to heal, etc. then by all means keep doing what you are doing.

But if you are stalling on progression fights, you cannot keep people alive like you should be able to, and you never seem to have enough mana to make it through the most basic encounters, you may want to accept that what you are doing is not working and that it may be time for you to try something else.  Do not be afraid to have that conversation with yourself or with others.  You cannot fix something if you will not admit that the problem is even happening in the first place.

With that in mind, let’s get started!

Table of Contents:

I. STATS
II. STAT PRIORITIES
III. REFORGING
IV. HEALING SPELLS
V. BUFFS
VI. OTHER ABILITIES
VII. CHAKRA
VIII. TALENTS
IX. MASTERY
X. HOW TO TANK HEAL
XI. HOW TO RAID HEAL
XII. GLYPHS
XIII. ENCHANTS
XIV. GEMS
XV. CONSUMABLES

I. STATS

Intellect

  • Increases your Spell Power by 1.
  • Increases your spell Critical Strike chance by .001541.
  • Increases your mana pool by 15.

Note: The first 18 Intellect will not increase the size of your mana pool and the first 10 Intellect will not grant you any Spell Power.

Spirit

Haste

  • 128.06 Haste is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • With enough Haste, you can reduce the cast time of your spells, the time in between ticks of channeled spells, and make some of your HoTs tick faster (which can lead to extra ticks).

Mastery

  • 179.28 Mastery is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • Echo of Light: Direct heals that you cast on someone will heal them for an additional 16% over 6 seconds. Each additional point of Mastery that you have will increase the size of this heal by an extra 1.25%. This HoT will tick 6 times, or once per second, and is not affected by your Critical Strike or Haste rating.

Critical Strike

  • 179.28 Critical Strike is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • As of patch 4.2., critical heals now heal for 200% of their normal amount, up from 150%.

II. STAT PRIORITIES

The stat priorities that I would suggest you use can be quite different, depending on at where you are at as a holy priest. If you are someone who has just turned 85 or who hasn’t been 85 for that long, I would suggest the following priority:

Intellect > Spirit > Spell Power > Haste (to 12.50%) > Mastery > Critical Strike

As you start to run the high end Normal dungeons and break into Heroics, it’s going to be very important for you to manage your mana pool properly. Especially if you plan on gearing up through the Dungeon Finder. Make sure that you have Spirit on every piece of gear possible. If it doesn’t have Spirit on it, reforge into it. Even though most of the Heroic 5 mans have been nerfed, you may not be able to count on that to see you through.

At the very least, you want to make sure that you are at the first Haste breakpoint, which is at 12.50%. This will give you an extra tick from Renew and Divine Hymn. You will not have enough Haste on your gear to even come close to reducing your Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing down to a 2 second cast, much less aim for the second Haste breakpoint of 37.50%. Because of this, I would suggest taking any excess Haste you have past the first breakpoint and converting it into Mastery or gear for Mastery once you reach that point.

The other reason I suggest not going for Haste as you are just starting out as is because Haste is considered to be a “negative regen” stat, meaning that it helps you cast spells faster, which usually leads to casting more, and that leads to spending more mana. As you are in the process of gearing up and getting more experience on your priest, mana is going to be a limited resource for you. You are going to need to get the hang of “triage healing,” which is where you heal people for only as much as they need and not just to top them off. With triage healing, you may have to get more comfortable seeing your tank at 90% or lower and the DPS may sit at 75% or even 50% while you are learning the ropes of being a holy priest and how to spend your mana wisely. As you can see, stacking Haste and triage healing do not go hand in hand.

The only reason Critical Strike would be important to you is for Inspiration and you should have enough Critical Strike on your gear already or through Intellect where you do not need to go out of your way to gear for it. In fact, Critical Strike rating is usually the first secondary stat that you will reforge into something else, if you have the choice. We will talk more about reforging a bit later in this post.

If you are raiding at the current level of progression or just slightly behind it, meaning you are raiding Firelands or Dragon Soul, your stat priority should look a little something like this:

Intellect < Spirit < Spell Power < Haste  < Mastery < Critical Strike

At first glance, it looks like your priority may be the same as a holy priest who is just starting out, but there are a few changes. Even though you can do without the excessive amounts of Spirit that a novice priest might need to get by, I still suggest that you take gear with Spirit on it over pieces that do not. Spirit makes a great secondary stat that you can reforge into another stat that you might need, without having to give up other stats that are useful to you on an existing piece of gear. With that said, the Spirit that you have now should already be on your gear. You should not be reforging into Spirit, enchanting for it, or anything else like that.

The second Haste breakpoint of 37.50% is still going to be just out of your reach, although certain procs from weapons or trinkets can certainly help you get there. However, you should be able to obtain enough Haste, through your gear, reforging, etc. where you can reduce the cast time of your Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing spells down to at least 2 seconds. As you will probably spend most of your time as a holy priest healing the raid, having a much faster Prayer of Healing at your disposal can make a huge difference in your throughput and reaction time to incoming damage. You can expect to reach this point once you have about 19% Haste, fully buffed. You will probably need to gem for Haste, enchant for it, and put points into Darkness to get here, but it is well worth it.

After that I would recommend prioritizing Mastery next. One could argue that by gearing for Critical Strike over Mastery that your spells will heal for more, which in turn will leave a more powerful HoT on a target from Echo of Light. However, Critical Strike rating is not a consistent throughput stat. You could just as easily gear for Mastery, which means that your HoT will always heal for a set percentage of the original heal, rather than relying on Critical Strike to possibly make it heal for more.

III. REFORGING

If an item has Spirit and Haste on it:

  • reforge the Haste into Mastery, if you are just starting out.
  • reforge the Spirit into Mastery, if you are not.

If an item has Spirit and Mastery on it:

  • reforge the Mastery into Haste, if you are looking to go past the first Haste breakpoint.
  • reforge nothing, if you are not.

If an item has Spirit and Critical Strike on it:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Haste or Mastery, depending on your preference.

If an item has Haste and Critical Strike on it:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge the Critical Strike into Mastery, if you do not.

If an item has Haste and Mastery on it:

  • reforge either of the stats into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge nothing if you do not.

If an item has Mastery and Critical Strike:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge the Critical Strike into Haste, if you do not.

IV. HEALING SPELLS

Holy priests have a large arsenal of spells from which to choose from. It is important to know which spell is the right one to use for any given situation.

Power Word: Shield

  • Instant cast spell, which surrounds the ally and absorbs damage.
  • Does not actually provide any healing, unless you glyph for it.
  • This spell is typically not used by holy priests, unless they are trying to grant someone the speed boost that goes along with Body and Soul.

Binding Heal

  • A 1.5 second cast spell, which heals yourself and the target of your heal.
  • Generates a low amount of threat.
  • This spell will leave a HoT from Echo of Light on each person healed.
  • If you have Renew on yourself and someone else, and you use Binding Heal while in Chakra: Serenity, it will refresh the duration of the Renew on both characters.
  • This spell is twice as likely to trigger a proc from Surge of Light than other spells included in this talent. You can read more about this here.
  • Can be expensive if used repeatedly and should be used wisely.

Circle of Healing

  • An instant cast spell which heals the 5 most injured players or pets around the target.
  • You can heal up to 6 people with this spell, if you glyph for it, but this comes with an increased mana cost.
  • Should not be used too often in 5 mans, unless you need to heal on the run.
  • This is a core spell for a raid healing holy priest and is frequently used on cooldown.

Desperate Prayer

  • An instant cast self heal, which costs no mana and comes with a 2 minute cooldown.
  • Should be used in emergency situations where you need a fast, efficient heal.
  • The healing provided by this is affected by Echo of Light.

Divine Hymn

  • A channeled spell that heals the 5 party or raid members with the lowest health within 40 yards every 2 seconds for 8 seconds and increases the healing done to them by 10% for 8 seconds.
  • Divine Hymn determines who the most damaged party or raid members are prior to each tick going out and then heals them. This means that the same 5 people may not receive all of the healing from Divine Hymn, as each heal will always go to the raid member who is most in need of healing.
  • Normally caps at 20 heals, but this can be increased to 25 heals by reaching the first Haste breakpoint of 12.50% Haste.
  • This spell should only be used in situations where the group or raid is taking heavy amounts of damage that you feel you may not be able to react to in any other way. It also works well when used with other people’s cooldowns, as it will increase all of the healing done to those healed by Divine Hymn, in addition to the healing provided by Divine Hymn.

Flash Heal

  • A 1.5 second cast direct healing spell which is meant to be used as a fast, emergency heal.
  • Can be expensive and should not be spammed.
  • Use immediately after Holy Word: Serenity for a quick way to get someone back up to full health.

Greater Heal

  • A 3 second cast spell which provides a large amount of healing to a single target.
  • Greater Heal is best used in conjunction with Serendipity, due to how expensive it is and how long it takes to cast.
  • Can be used by itself, but should only be used in emergency situations. It is not meant to be a spell that you spam, or cast repeatedly.

Heal

  • A 3 second cast spell which provides a modest amount of healing to a single target.
  • This spell is very mana efficient and is best used during periods of moderate and predictable damage.
  • Heal may not provide enough healing to top someone off after a large damage spike. Use Flash Heal or Greater Heal, instead.

Lightwell

  • A unique type of heal that creates an object which people can click on to receive a short burst of periodic healing.
  • Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes and typically comes with 10 charges, or you can glyph for it and have it come with 15. Each charge gives an ally the Lightwell Renew effect, which heals them for a certain amount over 6 seconds, or three ticks of healing total.
  • If a person using the Lightwell takes damage equal to 30% of their health, it will cancel the Lightwell Renew effect.
  • The healing provided by Lightwell is not passive. A player must actively mouse over the Lightwell and click on it in order to begin receiving healing from it.
  • The healing provided by Lightwell Renew does not trigger Echo of Light and is not affected by your Critical Strike rating.
  • With enough Haste rating, it is possible to get a fourth tick out of a charge from Lightwell. Raid buffs, such as Moonkin Aura, Wrath of Air Totem, or Mind Quickening, and talents like Darkness will not have any effect on this, as they increase your Haste and not your Haste rating. This is widely considered to be a bug that has not yet been addressed by the developers. Because it is unclear how much actual Haste you need to reach this point (my research has shown anywhere between 1700 – 3600 Haste does the trick) it is not something you should go out of your way to achieve. However, if you are already gearing for Haste, it may be possible to reach this point, with the help of trinkets or weapons that come with sizable Haste procs (like Seal of the Seven Signs or Ti’tahk, Steps of Time).
  • Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes, until all of the charges are consumed, or until you move too far from away it and it despawns.

Prayer of Healing

  • A 2.5 second cast heal, which heals the friendly target and their party members who are within range of them.
  • It has a healing radius of 30 yards, but has a cast range of 40 yards. This means that the person you want to target with Prayer of Healing must be within 40 yards of you and that the people in their party need to be within 30 yards of them to receive the healing from this spell.
  • Glyph of Prayer Healing enhances the throughput from this spell, by healing all affected targets for an additional 20% of the initial heal over 6 seconds.
  • This spell is best used in situations where at least 3 people in a party require healing. Circle of Healing should be used first, followed by Prayer of Healing, when in a raid setting. In a 5 man dungeon, Prayer of Healing should be used over Circle of Healing, unless you have to heal the party while moving.

Prayer of Mending

  • An instant cast spell, which puts a reactive buff on the target that heals them when they take any damage and then moves or bounces to another party or raid member within 20 yards.
  • Comes with a maximum of 5 charges, which are not consumed by environmental damage (i.e. falling or fatigue) or spells that reduce the caster’s hit points (like Life Tap). However, spells which cause damage to the caster, like Hellfire or Shadow Word: Death will cause Prayer of Mending to jump to someone else.
  • The heal from Prayer of Mending can crit and is affected by Echo of Light.
  • Tanks make the best targets for Prayer of Mending, as they are the ones who are most likely to take damage and to keep the buff active. It is best used at the start of a pull, but Prayer of Mending does not stack, and so it is possible to cancel out a Prayer of Mending already on the target with one that is recently cast. This can cause some strife between the healing priests in your raid, if you run with more than one, so be sure to coordinate this type of thing with them, or simply wait until theirs has been consumed before you cast yours.
  • Any threat that is generated by Prayer of Mending is considered to be generated by the healing priest, not by the recipient of the heal.
  • Prayer of Mending should be used on cooldown, whenever possible.

Renew

  • A HoT spell, which provides a set amount of healing over 12 seconds.
  • Renew normally provides one tick of healing every three seconds, to give a total of four ticks. With 12.50% Haste, you can receive a fifth tick of healing from Renew and a sixth tick at the next Haste breakpoint, which is at 37.50%.
  • The ticks of healing from Renew will not trigger Echo of Light, but the direct healing component of Divine Touch will. Heals provided by Renew also have a chance to crit.
  • Renew should be kept on the tank at all times, either by re-applying it or refreshing it with the use of direct heals while in Chakra: Serenity.
  • This spell is best used as a spot heal, for situations where there may not be enough people taking damage to warrant the use of Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing. It is not meant to be used on a large number of people, like holy priests used to do in previous expansions.

V. BUFFS

There are a number of buffs available to priests that you may want to make sure are cast on people either prior to the pull or immediately upon resurrection.

Fear Ward

  • An instant cast spell which makes the target immune to a single Fear effect.
  • This effect lasts for 3 minutes and Fear Ward comes with a 3 minute cooldown.
  • The buff is consumed, even if the target is already immune to fear (like through Berserker Rage).
  • Can be used prior to a pull that you know is going to lead to a target being feared or immediately before a spell is cast which will lead to that outcome.

Inner Fire/Inner Will

  • Free, instant cast self buffs.
  • Only one may remain active at a time and you should always have one on you at all times.
  • Inner Will is primarily for priests who are just starting out and who may not have the mana efficiency required for Inner Fire just yet. Once you feel that you have a handle on your mana pool, Inner Fire is going to be the buff of choice.
  • It is possible to “dance” between buffs, as needed. For example, if you need a movement speed increase, you can swap from Inner Fire to Inner Will and then revert back once you do not need that advantage anymore. Or you can go from Inner Fire to Inner Will if you are running low on mana and feel that the buff could help your mana conservation.

Levitate

  • A utility based spell that allows the target to levitate, reducing the speed of falling and allowing them to walk on water, or other liquid surfaces.
  • Levitate cannot be cast on targets who are mounted and any damage received will break the effect.
  • Can only be cast on people in your raid group or party.
  • Normally requires a reagent to cast, but Glyph of Levitate removes the need for this.
  • While it does not have many practical purposes in a PVE environment, Levitate can be used to avoid the Quake ability from the Crystalspawn Giants in the Stonecore instance.

Power Word: Fortitude

  • A party or raid buff that provides a certain amount of Stamina to the group for 1 hour.
  • This buff should be kept up all times and refreshed promptly, if a target dies and is brought back to life.
  • Does not stack with Blood Pact, Commanding Shout, or Qiraji Fortitude.

Shadow Protection

  • A party or raid buff that provides a certain amount of shadow resistance to the group for 1 hour.
  • This buff is only required for fights that involve shadow damage, as it significantly boosts your resistance to shadow spells only.
  • Does not stack with Resistance Aura.

VI. OTHER ABILITIES

Dispel Magic

  • A spell that can remove magical debuffs from yourself or your allies and that can remove buffs from enemy targets.

Mass Dispel

  • A spell that will attempt to remove 1 harmful debuff from any friendly targets or 1 buff from any enemy targets within a 15 yard radius.
  • Can affect a maximum of 10 friendly or 10 enemy targets.
  • Mass Dispel can remove magical effects that Dispel Magic cannot, such as Banish, Divine Shield, or Ice Block.
  • Targets those closest to the center of the green targeting circle and then moves outward.

Shackle Undead

  • A form of crowd control that works on Undead enemies and makes them unable to move or attack.

Cure Disease

  • Removes one disease from a friendly target.

Chakra

  • Please see the Chakra section of this guide for more information on this ability.

Guardian Spirit

  • An instant cast ability that causes a target to receive 60% more healing for 10 seconds. If a player dies while under the effects of Guardian Spirit, the Spirit will sacrifice itself to heal them for 50% of their maximum health.
  • Guardian Spirit is not affected by the global cooldown and the heal from it is able to crit.
  • The most Guardian Spirit can heal for is 200% of the maximum health of the caster, not the target.
  • The component of Guardian Spirit that increases healing received only lasts as long as the target survives. If the target dies and is brought back to life by Guardian Spirit, they no longer have that part of the buff on them, even if there was still enough time left on the buff for them to benefit from it.
  • This spell is most often used on tanks and can either be used at your discretion or can be requested in advance.

Hymn of Hope

  • A channeled spell that restores 2% mana to up to 3 nearby party or raid members with the lowest amount of mana for 8 seconds and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 seconds.
  • Should be used in situations where you or others around you are low on mana and need help getting some of it back. For the best effect, use abilities that give you mana back, based on your maximum mana while the buff from Hymn of Hope is active (i.e. Arcane Torrent, Shadowfiend).
  • Priests now have 100% spell pushback while channeling this spell and will not be interrupted or lose channeling time because of incoming damage. However, you can still be stunned or interrupted and be forced to stop channeling because of this.

Leap of Faith

  • Also known as “Life Grip,” and pulls a party or raid member to your location.
  • Can be used to help with kiting situations or to help pull an ally out of something bad they are standing in.

Resurrection

  • Brings a dead player back to life. Cannot be used in combat.

Fade

  • Used to temporarily reduce the amount of aggro that you have or that you generate while in groups.
  • Should be used wisely and not spammed repeatedly throughout an encounter.

Psychic Scream

  • A form of crowd control that causes up to 5 nearby enemy targets to run away in fear.
  • Psychic Scream is not a reliable form of crowd control and should be used wisely in instances, especially in places where enemy targets are tightly grouped together. If you find that you have aggro, it is best to run towards the tank, so they can pull the enemies off of you. Using this spell to make them run away in fear only makes it harder for the tank to pick up threat on those targets again.

Shadowfiend

  • Summons a pet that temporarily fights for you and whose attacks help you regenerate mana when they land.
  • Each successful strike from a shadowfiend returns 3% of your maximum mana, so it is best to use it when you are under the effect of something that will increase the size of your mana pool (i.e. Power Torrent, a trinket like Fiery Quintessence).
  • Should be used on targets that are not near death, as the shadowfiend may not find another target right away if its current target dies and it may stand there and do nothing.
  • Can return more mana if used while Bloodlust or Heroism is active.
  • It was widely suggested at one point to use shadowfiend with Hymn of Hope to get the most mana back. While this strategy does indeed work, it can also be a challenge to time both abilities just right and to make sure that each ability sees its full duration (i.e. the shadowfiend does not die early or stops attacking or you get interrupted while channeling Hymn of Hope).

VII. CHAKRA

Introduced in Cataclysm, Chakra is a core ability for any holy priest, whether they are doing dailies by themselves or in a group and providing much needed healing. Chakra can be confusing and even overwhelming to some priests, but can become easy to use and adapt to with a little patience.

To place yourself in a Chakra state, simply cast Chakra and then cast one of eight spells immediately after that. Whichever spell you choose to cast next will determine which Chakra state that you enter.

Casting Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, or Binding Heal after casting Chakra will put you into Chakra: Serenity, which is our tank or single target healing stance. While in this particular Chakra, your direct healing spells have a 10% increased chance to crit and they will refresh the duration of a Renew that is already present on the target.

Casting Prayer of Mending or Prayer of Healing after casting Chakra will put you into Chakra: Sanctuary, which is our AOE or raid healing stance. This Chakra increases the healing done by your AOE healing spells and Renew by 15% and reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing by 2 seconds.

You can also choose to enter a third state, called Chakra: Chastise, by casting Smite or Mind Spike after casting Chakra. This state increases your total damage done with holy and shadow spells by 15%.

In order to get the most out of your Chakra states, you want to place a talent point into a nearby talent in the holy tree called Revelations, which will convert your Holy Word: Chastise spell into another ability, depending on which Chakra state that you are in at the time.

Being in Chakra: Serenity will give you access to a spell called Holy Word: Serenity, which provides an instant cast direct heal on a target and increases your chance to critically heal that player by 25% for 8 seconds. Comes with a 10 second cooldown.

Holy Word: Sanctuary will become available to you once you activate Chakra: Sanctuary and lets you create a zone of healing light on the ground which heals anyone standing inside of it every 2 seconds for 18 seconds. It used to provide diminished returns, if more than 6 people were standing inside of it, but this was recently removed. Comes with a 40 second cooldown.

Chakra: Chastise is the only Chakra state which does not change Holy Word: Chastise into something else. The spell remains exactly the same as it is when you are not in a Chakra state.

Chakra comes with a 30 second cooldown, so if you enter the wrong Chakra state by mistake, you will have to wait at least 30 seconds to change into the correct stance. However, once you enter a Chakra state, you can remain in it, indefinitely. In the past, you had to maintain your Chakra state by casting certain spells (the ones that you would use to enter a Chakra state, to begin with), but that was removed a short time after Cataclysm launched.

For more information on Chakra, please see my Guide to the Chakra Sutra.

VIII. TALENTS

The most popular talent builds for a holy priest do not leave much in the way of versatility or options, mostly because we have very few filler talents to speak of. All of our talent points go towards things that we need in order to do our jobs well, and so we rarely have additional points to play with or to put into less useful things.

The two most common builds tend to revolve around your stat priority or which secondary stats you decide you want to gear for. Some talents are optional, while others are quite mandatory. Here are some builds that I would suggest for you to choose from, depending on your current situation.

For the holy priest who has just turned 85 or is gearing up through 5 mans:

This spec makes a great starter build for an up and coming holy priest, with an emphasis on talents that will help you manage your mana and that will help enhance the basic spells that you will be relying on in a 5 man setting.

Darkness and Divine Fury are important, as your spells are going to feel like they take a long time to cast, and every little bit of Haste helps. You also want to try and start gearing towards that first Haste breakpoint of 12.50, so you can get an extra tick of Renew and Divine Hymn. Speaking of Divine Hymn, I only placed 1 talent point into Heavenly Voice, as you should not be using Divine Hymn too much in a 5 man dungeon. Most of your talent points in this build will go towards enhancing your single target heals, like Heal, Flash Heal, and Greater Heal.

For the raiding holy priest, who is choosing to gear for Haste over Mastery:

 

 

This build is not much different than the previous starter build, with a few noticeable differences. Surge of Light has been removed, as you will most likely not be using most of the spells that would proc this talent in a raid enough where you would really benefit from having it. A second talent point has been placed into Heavenly Voice, as Divine Hymn is a very powerful cooldown and will be used frequently. One point was placed in Rapid Renewal, as Renew will start seeing more use as a spot heal once your gear improves and you should always be keeping Renew on the tank.

For the raiding holy priest, who is choosing to gear for Mastery over Haste:

This build is a more refined version of the previous two and focuses more on survivability and raw throughput, with less emphasis on Haste. Darkness is out, which leaves 3 additional talent points to put elsewhere. I would recommend placing these points into Inner Sanctum, as Blessed Resilience only helps you if you are the focus of an attack. Any damage caused by general raid damage or things like that will not proc this talent for you anymore. The 6% reduction in spell damage will benefit you in situations like those and especially if you find yourself breaking into Heroic modes, where the incoming raid damage can be quite intense.

IX. MASTERY

Our Mastery is called Echo of Light and it allows each direct heal that you cast on someone to heal them for an additional 16% over 6 seconds. Each additional point of Mastery that you have will increase the size of this heal by an extra 1.25%. The heal over time portion of Echo of Light ticks 6 times, or once per second. This healing is not affected by your Critical Strike or Haste rating.

“How does Echo of Light work?”

Any time that you cast one of the above mentioned heals or healing effects on someone, Echo of Light will leave behind a heal over time effect on them for 16% of how much that ability healed them for. For example:

Obscene’s Flash Heal heals Obscene for 16471
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 454 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light

Admittedly, that doesn’t sound like a lot. Where Echo of Light really shines is with abilities that heal more than one person, like Circle of Healing and Prayer of Healing. Having numerous people receive an additional heal over time on them after you heal them is pretty nice and makes a difference on fights with heavy AOE damage. People standing in the effects of Holy Word: Sanctuary will also receive heals from Echo of Light and it will refresh itself as the person stands inside of it and for as long as the healing zone is generating heals.

Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 680
Obscene gains 19 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 674
Obscene gains 19 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene
Obscene gains 28 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 621
Obscene gains 28 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene

This brings up a very good point and the next thing I will talk about.

“How does Echo of Light refresh itself?”

At first glance, it is easy to think that the heal over time placed by Echo of Light from a larger heal will be clipped by one from a smaller heal and then the overall effectiveness will be reduced. I used to think this way, too. Luckily, Echo of Light works in such a way where the overall HPS does not change because of this and will still provide a consistent amount of healing. Let’s say that I cast Greater Heal on myself and then Heal shortly after it.

Obscene’s Greater Heal heals Obscene for 21408
Obscene gains Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 592 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 592 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Heal heals Obscene for 8026
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 518 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light

You may notice that the ticks from Echo of Light which came after Heal are healing for less than those that came after Greater Heal. You may also notice that refreshing Echo of Light before it was finished ticking down caused a 7th tick of Echo of Light to take place the next time around. As stated earlier, Echo of Light typically only provides 6 ticks. What does it all mean? It means that you did not actually heal for any less because you refreshed Echo of Light with a smaller heal. Let me show you how.

If you total up all of the Echo of Light ticks that took place in the previous example, you would come up with 4803. This is roughly the sum of 16% of the amount of your Greater Heal (3425) plus 16% of the amount of your Heal (1284) or what each would have normally healed for had the heal not been clipped. You can see that you have not actually lost any healing. You probably gained some, depending on how much Mastery rating you have. Mine is currently at 13.25 for the purpose of these examples.

The game took the amount of healing done by Echo of Light from the first heal (21408 x 16%), subtracted the healing that was already done (592 + 591) and then adds the healing that would take place by Echo of Light from the next spell (8026 x 16%). Then it divides that amount by 7, which give you 7 ticks of Echo of Light.

3425 – 1183 = 2242 + 1284 = 3526/7

When you add it all up, you will see that your Echo of Light was not affected negatively and you have not lost any healing by casting a smaller heal over a larger one.

(Excerpts taken from my original post, called “Understanding Echo of Light.”)

X. HOW TO TANK HEAL

For the rare occasions that you will be tank healing, you will want to make sure you are in Chakra: Serenity before you do anything else. Tank healing while holy tends to follow more of a rotation, so here are the steps I would suggest to follow when doing so.

Step #1: Cast Prayer of Mending on the tank and refresh on cooldown.

Step #2: Cast Renew.

Step #3: Spam Heal, as it is extremely mana efficient and keeps Renew and Echo of Light rolling on the tank, along with Inspiration.

Step #4: Use Holy Word: Serenity if the tank suddenly gets low. Follow it up with a fast heal, like Flash Heal. Use another Flash Heal if the previous one was not enough and then Greater Heal, if you require even more healing.

Step #5: Repeat, as necessary.

Flash Heal will give you one stack of Serendipity each time that you use it, so make sure you try to stabilize the tank with Flash Heal before you go straight to using Greater Heal. Trying to cast Greater Heal without any stacks of Serendipity present will be more expensive and it will take longer to cast.

Use Renew as a spot heal for individuals who may need healing in your party or Prayer of Healing if at least 3 people in the party require healing. If you take damage, use Binding Heal on the tank or someone else. Try not to use Circle of Healing too much in a 5m setting, unless you find that you need to heal while moving.

XI. HOW TO RAID HEAL

Chakra: Sanctuary will be your Chakra of choice, for when you are asked to heal the raid, which will be more often than not. Make sure you are in this stance before you begin tossing out heals. There tends to be less of a rotation for raid healing than there is for tank healing, but there are some important things to bear in mind.

Rule #1: Start off the pull by casting Prayer of Mending, preferably on the tank. It is possible to cast it on other targets during an encounter, depending on how much raid damage is going out. As stated in the tank healing section, you should be using Prayer of Mending on cooldown.

Rule #2: If at least 3 people in the raid, who are not in the same party are taking damage, use Circle of Healing.

If at least 3 people in the raid, who are in the same party have taken damage, use Prayer of Healing. Always use Circle of Healing first, then try to heal any groups back up to full with Prayer of Healing.

Rule #3: Always drop a Lightwell. Make sure you have a macro to announce that you have cast a Lightwell and be sure to vocalize where the Lightwell is in Vent or Mumble, if you can. If you notice that people are not clicking your Lightwell, ask people if dropping it in a better place may help. The most common reason that people do not click it is because they either cannot see it or they cannot reach it. Try to meet them halfway on this.

Contrary to popular opinion, it may not always be best to drop a Lightwell at the start of the pull. Some fights like Yor’sahj or Ultraxion have raid wide damage that takes a while to get going. Make sure you are dropping your Lightwell during times where it will get the most use.

Rule #4: Use Holy Word: Sanctuary carefully. Be sure to use this spell only during times where people are guranteed to be grouped up and standing still long enough to benefit from the healing that it puts out. For instance, you do not want to drop it when everyone is running around the platform on Hagara. But you will want to drop it throughout most of the Ultraxion fight, as you are standing in one place for the majority of the encounter.

Another piece of advice I would give you about Holy Word: Sanctuary is to give it time for it to do its thing. The healing that comes from this spell does not come quickly, but it does build up over time to eventually put out some nice numbers. It does not make any sense to drop a Sanctuary zone and then immediately override your own heals by spamming Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing. There are situations where the outgoing raid damage is so intense that you will be casting frantically, in order to keep up. But more often than not it does not hurt to cast Holy Word: Sanctuary and then keep an eye on the healing that it is slowly being put out, filling in gaps when needed.

Rule #5: Do not spam Renew. Renew makes a great spot heal for individuals who are taking damage and in situations where your group healing spells may be overkill. Renew is great to keep rolling on a tank, if you can afford to do so. But please do not use Renew en masse to keep your raid up through incoming damage. You have other spells that can handle this better and without causing you to run out of mana so quickly.

XII. GLYPHS

Prime

The first thing I would like to suggest, regarding glyphs, is that you always keep a stack of Dust of Disappearance on you. There are some fights where some glyphs may shine more than others and it helps to tailor your glyph choices to meet your needs. While there are a number of glyphs available for holy priests, there are only a select few that are worth even considering. Here are some of the top choices that you may want to pick up for yourself.

[Glyph of Power Word: Shield]
This glyph can be useful when you are first starting out, as the heal that comes from putting a shield on someone is considered a direct heal, for the purpose of refreshing Renew while in Chakra: Serenity.

[Glyph of Lightwell]
This is a vital glyph that gives your Lightwell 5 extra charges for people to use. The only downside to this glyph is that like most things concerning Lightwell, its usefulness is dependent on the people in your raid or party actually using it. If your group tends to ignore the Lightwell, this glyph may not be the best for you.

[Glyph of Renew]
This glyph can be useful, depending on how often you use Renew and how much of your healing on the tank from Renew goes straight to overhealing.

[Glyph of Prayer of Healing]
An essential glyph, which leaves a HoT on targets healed by Prayer of Healing for 20% of the initial heal. Shines in a 5 man setting, but shines even more in raids.

[Glyph of Guardian Spirit]
This glyph used to be much more powerful in the previous expansion, but still has some use in recent times. If you are about to heal an encounter where Guardian Spirit is really relied upon or you are expected to use it at specific times, this glyph may be a good choice for you. If you are using Guardian Spirit on more of a “free for all” basis, I would consider a different glyph.

Major

[Glyph of Desperation]
This glyph is considered to be more of a PVP glyph, but I have found uses for it in a PVE setting. You can use it while entombed on Hagara and also while wrapped up in a tentacle on Spine of Deathwing. While it is not overwhelmingly useful, there are situations where this glyph can come in handy for you. Feel free to experiment and see what other fights you could get some use out of this one on.

[Glyph of Circle of Healing]
The recent change to this glyph, which increased its mana cost by 20% means that it could be less useful to you in a 10m setting, where Prayer of Healing tends to be used more and often times for less mana. I would consider this an essential glyph for a 25 man raider, but more of a toss up for someone who is raiding in a 10 man group.

[Glyph of Prayer of Mending]
Another glyph that is mandatory, this glyph causes the first heal provided by Prayer of Mending to heal for an additional 60%. This should be more of an incentive for you to keep Prayer of Mending bouncing at all times and the healing from this glyph can make a nice showing on the meters, too.

[Glyph of Fade]
This glyph can be useful when first starting out, especially if you are running with tanks who have just hit level 85 and are finding their footing, too. There should not be too many situations where you would need this glyph in a raid setting. If you do, this may mean you need to have a conversation with your tanks to try and understand where the problem lies.

Minor

[Glyph of Fortitude]
This glyph can help save you a bit of mana when you are buffing the raid before the pull or if you have to buff someone who has just received a battle res.

[Glyph of Shadow Protection]
This glyph makes it so that you do not have to re-apply the Shadow Protection buff as often. Mind you, there are not many situations where you need it for more than 30 minutes at a time, but this glyph is there if you do find yourself in that type of predicament.

[Glyph of Levitate]
More of a vanity glyph or something fun to have on you. Levitate has never been an essential spell, but not having to carry reagents around is always a good thing.

[Glyph of Shadowfiend]
Some priests feel that this glyph has declined in usefulness, as Shadowfiend now takes 90% less AOE damage. I still think it is better to be safe than sorry and the added insurance does not hurt. This glyph may not be as useful as it once was, but I think it still has a place in one of your glyph slots.

XIII. ENCHANTS

Head

Arcanum of Hyjal
+60 Intellect and 35 Critical Strike Rating
Guardians of Hyjal – Revered

Shoulders

Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone
+30 Intellect and 20 Haste Rating
Therazane – Honored

Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
+50 Intellect and 25 Haste Rating
Therazane – Revered

Felfire Inscription
+130 Intellect and 25 Haste Rating
Inscription

Cloak

Enchant Cloak – Intellect
+30 Intellect
Enchanting

Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
+50 Intellect
Enchanting

Darkglow Embroidery (Rank 2)
Chance to increase your Spirit by 580 for 15 seconds when you cast a spell
Tailoring

Lightweave Embroidery (Rank 2)
Chance to increase your Intellect by 580 for 15 seconds when you cast a spell.
Tailoring

Chest

Enchant Chest – Mighty Stats
+15 to all stats
Enchanting

Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
+20 to all stats
Enchanting

Bracers

Draconic Embossment – Intellect
+130 Intellect
Leatherworking

Enchant Bracer – Speed
+50 Haste
Enchanting

Enchant Bracer – Greater Speed
+65 Haste
Enchanting

Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
+50 Intellect
Enchanting

Gloves

Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
+65 Mastery
Enchanting

Enchant Gloves – Haste
+50 Haste
Enchanting

Legs

Ghostly Spellthread
+55 Intellect and 45 Spirit
Tailoring

Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
+95 Intellect and 55 Spirit
Tailoring

Sanctified Spellthread (Rank 2)
+95 Intellect and 55 Spirit
Tailoring

Boots

Enchant Boots – Haste
+50 Haste
Enchanting

Enchant Boots – Lavawalker
+35 Mastery and Minor Movement Speed
Enchanting

Enchant Boots – Mastery
+50 Mastery
Enchanting

Weapons

Enchant Weapon – Heartsong
Chance to increase Spirit by 200 for 15 seconds when healing or dealing damage with spells
Enchanting

Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent
Chance to increase Intellect for 500 for 12 seconds when dealing damage or healing with spells
Enchanting

Which should you choose?

If you are interested solely in regen, choose Heartsong. If you are interested in less regen with some throughput on the side, choose Power Torrent.

For more information on both of these enchants, please view my original Heartsong v. Power Torrent post.

Off-hands

Enchant Off-Hand – Superior Intellect
+40 Intellect
Enchanting

XIV. GEMS

If you are looking to fill a red socket:
Brilliant Inferno Ruby: +40 Intellect (rare)
Brilliant Queen’s Garnet: +50 Intellect (epic)

If you are looking to fill a yellow socket:
Artful Ember Topaz: + 20 Intellect and 20 Mastery (rare)
Artful Lava Coral: +25 Intellect and 25 Mastery (epic)

OR

If you are looking to fill a a blue socket:
Purified Demonseye: +20 Intellect and 20 Spirit (rare)
Purified Shadow Spinel: +25 Intellect and 25 Spirit (epic)

Meta gems:
Ember Shadowspirit Diamond: +54 Intellect and 2% Maximum Mana (requires at least 2 yellow gems)
Burning Shadowspirit Diamond: +54 Intellect and 3% Increased Critical Effect (requires at least 3 red gems)

XV. CONSUMABLES

Flasks:
Flask of Flowing Water: Increases Spirit by 300 for 1 hour
Flask of the Draconic Mind: Increases Intellect by 300 for 1 hour

Food:
Delicious Sagefish Tail: Increases Spirit and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Severed Sagefish Head: Increases Intellect and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Basilisk Liverdog: Increases Haste and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Lavascale Minestrone: Increases Mastery and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour

OR

Potions:
Mythical Mana Potion: Restores 9250 to 10,750 mana. 1 minute cooldown.
Potion of Concentration: Restores 22,000 over 10 seconds, but requires you to stand still and channel to gain the full effect.
Volcanic Potion: Increases Intellect by 1200 for 25 seconds. Great for situations where mana is not an issue, but additional throughput is.

Doing The Math Behind The Hyjal Rep Trinkets

14 Nov

When you achieve Revered status with the Avengers of Hyjal faction, you are able to purchase 5 new trinkets from Naresir Stormfury, the Quartermaster for that particular faction in the Molten Front.  Only 2 of these trinkets seem geared for casters and while they may not seem to be the obvious upgrades that the trinkets directly from the Firelands instance are, they are still worth taking a look at and possibly even equipping.

Let’s take a look at how the Fiery Quintessence and the Rune of Zeth stack up against each other.  Are they worth taking?  Why or why not?

The real difference between these two trinkets is not the amount of consistent stats that you get from them – the 383 Spirit from the Quintessence and the 383 Critical Strike from the Rune – but the amount of Intellect that you get from the on-use effect, the duration of the effect, and the cooldown of each trinket.  These three factors are what set these trinkets apart from one another and will help you decide which one is right for you.  The initial stats that they come with will play a part in this decision, but not nearly as much as the on-use effect will.

Let’s start off with exploring the proc a bit further.

The Quintessence gives you 1149 Intellect for 25 seconds, with a 1 minute and 30 second cooldown.  From looking at the logs for my group’s collective boss kills in Firelands, the average boss fight lasts about 5 minutes.  Using a formula that I picked up from the forums over at AskMrRobot, we will take a look at how much overall Intellect that proc will give you, if used properly.

4 x 25 / 300 = 33%

We will start by converting a 5 minute boss fight into seconds, which is 300 seconds.  Assuming that you use the Quintessence on the pull, you will then be able to use it at the 90 second mark, the 180 second mark, and the 270 second mark.  The fight will end at 300 seconds, meaning it will end before your next chance to use the trinket, which would be at the 360 second mark.  Overall, you will be able to use the trinket 4 times.  The buff that you receive from the Quintessence lasts 25 seconds.  So, the formula goes like this:

# of times the trinket is used x  duration of the effect / duration of the fight, in seconds = percentage of overall Intellect gained over the course of an encounter

The on-use effect from the Quintessence gives you 1149 Intellect.  33% of this is 379 Intellect (rounded down).  So, if you use the trinket when you are supposed to, you can expect to have an average 379 Intellect, overall on a 5 minute encounter.  This gives you more Intellect than other trinkets with a flat amount of Intellect on them, like the Darkmoon Card: Tsunami or the Vibrant Alchemist Stone, and even comes close to giving you the same amount of Intellect as newer trinket, such as the Jaws of Defeat or the Eye of Blazing Power.

Those calculations were for what is considered to be a short fight.  Let’s see how the Fiery Quintessence stacks up on a longer fight, like on Ragnaros.  Our average attempts on Ragnaros lasted about 9 minutes, which converts to 540 seconds.  I would use the trinket at the pull, then at the 90 second mark, the 180 second mark, the 270 second, the 360 second, and the 450 second.  Because the fight would presumably end at the 540 second mark, I will assume that I won’t pop the trinket at that point, because the fight will already be over and I should have to do too much healing at that point.  So, I will be using the trinket 6 times on the Ragnaros encounter.  The formula will now look like this:

6 x 25 / 540 = 27%

1149 x 27% = 310 Intellect

On a longer fight, the amount of overall Intellect was much less than most trinkets that you would otherwise have available to you, even ones from a tier behind the current one.  So, for Ragnaros, I would probably use one of my other trinkets instead of this one.  If I’m healing a shorter encounter, like Alysrazor or Beth’tilac, I would probably use the Fiery Quintessence, but not for longer encounters that could go well beyond 5 or 6 minutes or even up to 9 or 10 minutes.

We have seen what the Fiery Quintessence can do and how much it can help you on shorter encounters, but what about the Rune of Zeth?  Does the fact the Rune of Zeth gives you more Intellect make it more desirable than the Quintessence?  Let’s crunch those numbers and see!

 

While the Rune of Zeth may give you 1277 Intellect, over the Quintessence’s 1149, the on-use effect only lasts for 15 seconds, instead of 25 seconds.  The Rune also comes with a one minute cooldown, as opposed to the 90 second cooldown from the Quintessence.  Because of these things, the formula is going to look a bit different.  Assuming that we have the Rune of Zeth equipped, instead of the Fiery Quintessence, on a 5 minute fight, the formula will look like this:

5 x 15 / 300 = 25%

You would use the Rune immediately on the pull, then at the 60 second mark, the 120 second, the 180 second, and the 240 second mark.  Again, the fight would end at the 300 second mark, and you would probably not need to pop the trinket and continue healing once the fight is over.  You would get to use the Rune 5 times during this encounter.  5 times, multiplied by the 15 second duration of each effect, divided by the 300 second duration of the encounter gives you 25% of the on-use effect in Intellect, overall.

1277 x 25% = 319 Intellect

As you can see, this is much less than what the Fiery Quintessence would give you, on a fight that lasts for the same amount of time.  You were getting more Intellect with each use and you were able to use the trinket one more time, but the duration of the effect was 10 seconds shorter each time.  This led to a lower uptime of the buff being active, which cut into your overall Intellect gained.  Now, let’s see how the Rune of Zeth works on a longer fight, like our 9 minute Ragnaros encounter.

You would use the Rune of Zeth on the pull, then at the 60 second mark, the 120 second, the 180 second, the 240 second, the 300 second, the 360 second, the 420 second, and the 480 second mark.  The fight would end at 540 seconds and the trinket should not need to be popped again.  This means you would be able to use the Rune of Zeth 9 times on a 9 minute encounter.  Your formula should look like this:

9 x 15 / 540 = 25%

Interesting.  You still get 25% of the Intellect from the Rune of Zeth’s on-use effect during a 9 minute encounter, as you would during a 5 minute encounter.  That would give you 319 Intellect, as opposed to the 310 Intellect you would get from the Fiery Quintessence on the same fight.  While both are still well below what other trinkets can give you, the Rune of Zeth would give you more in this situation.

What I choose to take away from this is that in terms of raw Spell Power, the Fiery Quintessence appears to be better, but only for fights with a short duration.  Longer fights will not give you the overall Intellect that other trinkets would and would result in a loss of Spell Power.  If you’re looking at either of these two trinkets for regen purposes, it’s safe to say that discipline priests will probably want the Rune of Zeth (as the slightly larger amount of Intellect on there will help them with Rapture, which is based on your total amount of mana at the time) and holy priests would want to stick with the Fiery Quintessence (as we get more from raw Spirit, due to Holy Concentration).

While there are certainly better trinkets in Firelands, itself and even in the up coming Dragon Soul raid, it never hurts to keep your options open and to swap out trinkets, as needed between fights.  Until I can get my hands on better, I have no problem equipping a Fiery Quintessence and seeing what kind of results I can produce.  Hopefully, I’ve given you all something to think about and maybe you will even consider trying one of these wonderful trinkets out, the next time you swing by the Avengers of Hyjal Quartermaster.

A huge thank you to the folks over at AskMrRobot, for the fantastic information and formulas that were given on the thread that I linked above.  Feel free to give their site a try sometime and see how your gear and build look, according to their calculations.  You just might be surprised at what you find there.  I know I was!

Initial Thoughts On The Mists Of Pandaria Priest Changes

24 Oct

This weekend, I was one of the 26,000 people in Anaheim, California to attend BlizzCon 2011.  I was there bright and early on Friday morning, for the opening ceremonies and for the preview panel that came shortly after that.  As expected, the trailer for the next expansion, Mists of Pandaria was released and there was much discussion afterwards about upcoming changes to our characters and many of the systems or mechanics, at large.

I was particularly interested in the proposed changes to the talent system.  To me, this is one of the most needed and noticeable changes that was brought up in the panel that morning.  For those leveling new characters, you will still choose which spec you want to focus on once you reach level 10.  You will still receive a few talents or abilities at that level, which will fit into the grand scheme of things, with regards to what your chosen spec is meant to do or how it should perform.  After that point, you will choose your talents from one talent tree.  There will no longer be a clear cut holy, discipline, and shadow tree.  Each tier of the new talent tree will give you a couple of choices and you will only be allowed to choose one, per tier.  These talents also do not come with any ranks.

With the release of Mists of Pandaria, you will receive one talent point to use at levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 (which is what the level cap will be increased to).  Let’s take a look at some images of the proposed talent choices for priests and my thoughts, criticisms, and predictions for each tier.

 

Level 15

As I mentioned earlier in this post, there are no clear cut talent trees anymore.  You will find that each tier of talents will include things that used to belong solely to one tree that now a priest of any spec can possibly enjoy.  You will see talents that were in one tree merged with talents from another tree to create a whole new talent that you could choose to put a talent point into.  I was pleasantly surprised by this and I feel like this new system goes a long way towards creating a versatile healing priest, which is something that many priests struggle with (myself included).  We will have to incorporate aspects of all of our trees to make ourselves the best healers we can be.  I am certainly up for the challenge and I hope that other priests are, too.

This first tier seems to focus on a priest using various forms of crowd control.  I don’t foresee us being asked to crowd control much in raids or dungeons, but I do see some of these abilities being used in an emergency, like if you suddenly end up with aggro.  Or they could be extremely useful in PVP situations.  I see these three talents as being more personal preference talents and not being something that will drastically affect your game play, otherwise.

Void Tendrils are very similar to an AOE root that druids are also going to be receiving.  Like the druid version, damage dealt to the roots or tendrils can terminate the effect.  This reminds me of the enhanced Earthbind Totem, which shamans can use to create a similar rooting effect.  It works really well and I’m glad to see other classes getting a chance to use something like it and hopefully with the same effect.

Psyfiend seems similar to a shadowfiend, except this minion will stay in one place and constantly use Psychic Scream on a single target.  It doesn’t sound like you will be able to choose the target or assign it to fear a specific enemy.  The tooltip itself is very vague, stating that it will only prefer to go after targets attacking you or your allies.  I wonder if the psyfiend is something that an enemy can target, like the Void Tendrils, and if doing so would cancel the effect early.  I’m also curious if the psyfiend will fear the same target repeatedly or if it will swap targets, if more than one enemy is attacking you or your allies.

Psychic Scream is something we already have in our arsenal and actually saw some use early on in Cataclysm.  I remember using it in 5 man Heroic dungeons, due to how difficult they were when the expansion first came out.  I also remember glyphing for it for Cho’gall, to help out with breaking the Worship effect on those that were affected in the raid.  If I had to choose one of the control type talents in this tier, I would probably choose this one.  It doesn’t come with any fancy gimmicks.  It does what it has always done, what you will most likely need it to do, and that is what really matters to me.

 

Level 30

This next tier of talents seem to revolve around abilities that increase your movement speed or the speed of others and allows you to remove movement impairing effects on yourself.

First up is an old favorite, Body and Soul.  From being holy for so long, I am a huge advocate of this talent and I am pleased to see that now every priest can potentially enjoy what it can do.  So far, it looks like Body and Soul will remain exactly as it is now, with the movement speed increase still coming from both Power Word: Shield and Leap of Faith and with the actual increase remaining the same.  That is good news on both fronts.

Path of the Devout is something new and increases your movement speed by 25% while using Levitate.  I see this being more of a fun talent, since you can’t give this effect to someone else and since it’s very rare that you will manage to keep Levitate on through the entire duration of a fight.  Levitate is usually something silly that you cast on yourself or others in between pulls and not necessarily something that gives you a real advantage in groups or raids.

Phantasm hasn’t changed much from its current showing in the shadow tree.  By using Fade, you can shed all movement impairing effects on yourself and then be immune to additional effects for 3 seconds afterwards.  The only problem I have with this one is that, like Path of the Devout, you can only use this on yourself.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s great for getting yourself out of a bind.  It doesn’t do anything for other people, like a tank, who I feel may be more prone to suffering from movement impairing effects and who would be at more of a disadvantage, if they had those types of debuffs on them.  I think Phantasm would be great for PVP, but I would choose Body and Soul over this or Path of the Devout, if I had to choose something for my everyday PVE activities.

 

Level 45

This tier consists of an old favorite, with a new name, an old favorite that hasn’t changed much, and a completely new spell that could be added to your repertoire.

From Darkness, Comes Light is basically just Surge of Light.  It functions exactly the same as it does right now, with certain single target heals having a chance to proc a free, instant cast Flash Heal.  Surge of Light was a very polarizing talent in Cataclysm that neither healing spec seemed to have much interest in.  Holy priests typically aren’t asked to tank heal too often, so they weren’t using the spells included in Surge of Light enough to enjoy the free heals, while discipline priests only had so many talent points they could invest into the holy tree and viewed other talents as being more important.  I don’t see this talent becoming any more important or desirable than it is now.

Divine Star is something new and will allow you to fire a star out in front of you, which will travel 20 yards and do damage to enemies and healing to allies that are in its way.  Then, the star will fly back to you, and do damage or healing to enemies or allies that are  again in its way.  I have two concerns about Divine Star.  First, I wonder how line of sight will affect this.  Let’s say you throw the star out and then are forced to get behind something that would normally prevent a spell from being cast because you are not in sight of your target.  Will this prevent the star from coming back to you?

Second, I worry about heals that require your allies to be in the right place at the right time.  I know shamans kind of had this problem with Chain Heal only reaching so far and every healing class has had issues with their zone heals, like Efflorescence or Holy Word: Sanctuary, at some point.  The neat thing about Divine Star is you can sort of steer where the star goes and who it will heal on its way out and then back to you.  You can toss it out in one direction and then move, to be in line of some other people who may need healing.  I am curious to see how wide the Divine Star effect will reach.  I know it goes 20 yards in front of you, but will it heal people in a straight, narrow line?  Will it have a nice amount of width, in order to heal people who may be standing next to someone else?

Archangel appears to have made the cut, but I feel like I can’t really talk about the future of this talent without discussing Evangelism, because the two do go hand in hand.  Right now, you can only gain stacks of Evangelism from using Smite, Holy Fire, or Mind Flay.  You can gain up to five stacks and then consume them all with Archangel.  The effects of Archangel are increased, the more stacks you have of Evangelism.  With a full 5 stacks, you will receive 5% of your total mana back, and a 15% increased healing buff, for 18 seconds.  This comes with a 30 second cooldown.

The new Archangel would give you a 25% increased healing buff, with a full 5 stacks of Evangelism and no mana regen.  The 30 second cooldown will stay the same, but there is no mention of whether this effect will last for the usual 18 seconds or not.  I wonder if the prerequisites for gaining Evangelism will remain the way they are now.  Will you only be able to get Evangelism from doing damage or will you be able to get stacks from healing spells, too?  We don’t know yet.  At first glance, I don’t like that the mana regen portion of Archangel has been removed.  I do like the buff to throughput, but it seems like a hard bargain, especially at the start of a new expansion, when you don’t necessarily outgear something enough to be frivolous with your mana.

Based on what I know so far, I would probably go into Mists of Pandaria with From Darkness, Comes Light, if only for the initial Heroic farming to gear up for raids and then I would probably take Divine Star over Archangel.  Mind you, this is just because I feel like I know more about Divine Star (as much as I can, at this point) right now and I don’t feel like Divine Star is missing something, without another talent to support it.  Once I know more about Evangelism, I may change my mind.

 

Level 60

Your choices for talents at level 60 revolve around keeping yourself alive.  I was really happy to see that just about every class will have the opportunity to put a talent point into something that will help keep them alive.  I think it is a really great idea to put more focus on the player, regardless of their class or role, and to have them do their part to stay alive longer.  I would much rather see cooldowns like this spread out across the board, rather than just seeing them all go towards healers, who usually end up being solely responsible for getting their group members out of tight spots during an encounter.

Desperate Prayer does not appear to have changed at all, which is good.  It is already quite lovely and doesn’t need to be fixed or altered in any way.  I am glad to see the developers appear to be leaving it alone, for now.

Angelic Bulwark is a new talent, which I hope will tie into other things that increase the strength of your shields (like Shield Discipline).

Final Prayer looks like it has some potential.  If you are attacked and fall below 30% health, you will generate a shield around yourself that will absorb 20% of your total health, which will last for 20 seconds.  I think this is a neat way to give yourself some time to heal yourself back up to full, if you suddenly lose a lot of health and need time to recover.  I hope that the shield generated is for 20% of your total health, when fully healed, and not 20% of your total health that you have remaining.  I am pretty sure it would work like that, but you never know.

 

Level 75

Twist of Fate contains bits and pieces of Test of Faith, from the holy tree, and Mind Melt, from the shadow tree.  I can see a talent like this being useful, especially in earlier tiers of content, where you don’t outgear everything just yet and where people aren’t necessarily guaranteed to be topped off all the time (in keeping with the triage style of healing that was briefly practiced after Cataclysm’s release).  However, once that happens, or depending on how well the healers you run with react to incoming damage, a talent like Test of Faith starts to decline in usefulness, as people spend less time being at 25% or lower health to get the benefit from this talent.  I would take this talent, but only in the beginning of a new expansion and only if I were doing more than just tank healing.

Power Infusion will now be available to all priests.  It appears that it will remain the same as it is right now.

Serendipity is primarily a holy talent that can now be picked up by discipline priests.  Like Surge of 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 talent, but I don’t feel it holds up well against Power Infusion or even Test of Faith.  I’m tempted to say that I would choose Test of Faith first and then Power Infusion, only because I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to use Power Infusion (since I was primarily holy, until recently) and so I have sort of learned to get by without it.  Ultimately, though, I think Power Infusion would win out, if I had to choose between any of these three talents in this tier.

 

Level 90

They certainly are saving the best for last.  In my opinion, these three possibilities are each nothing short of game changing.  You could hear the sounds of awe throughout the discussion hall, as Ghostcrawler was going over these new talents and what each of them can do.  Let’s dig into them ourselves, shall we?

Vow of Unity basically takes the effects of Binding Heal and applies it to any heals that you cast on a friendly target.  I don’t see any sign of a duration on the tooltip, so I wonder if this is only temporary, or if this will work sort of like Beacon of Light does for paladins.  I think knowing how long this effect will last will determine how much I might want to invest a talent point into it.  It also depends on you taking damage, as well.  If you’re not in any real trouble, then you could just get away with using Binding Heal and not having to resort to blowing a cooldown on this to heal yourself and the tank (or any other individual needing your attention).

Void Shift is a very interesting new ability that we are potentially being given.  It’s important to note that you are not swapping health points with a target, you are swapping percentages of health with them.

Let’s say your tank has 250,000 health and you have 150,000 health.  He falls down to 10% of his health, while you are at 75% of yours.  You cast Void Shift, he goes back up to 75% health, which is 187,500 (up from the 25,000 he was reduced to).  On the other hand, you will go from the 112,500 that you were at down to 15,000 and will then receive a heal for 25% of your total health.  Hopefully, this is total health that you would have had, if you were fully healed and not 25% of the health points that you are currently sitting at.  Even if Void Shift heals for 25% of your total health, fully healed, that still may not be very much.

Going back to the previous scenario, if you fall down to 15,000 health and then receive the 25% heal, you are only getting back 37,500 health, which would leave you at 52,500 hit points.  You could very well heal yourself back up from that, especially with a little help from Final Prayer, but you may also die before you get a chance to do that.  One would argue that it is better that you die, instead of the tank.  You could also use Spirit of Redemption, if you do end up dying early and that way you are still able to put out some healing before you die permanently.  Void Shift has the potential to tie in nicely with many other talents, both new and old.

Based on the tooltip, it sounds like the effects of Void Shift are permanent.  It is not like you would swap health percentages and then the effect wears off and you go back to where you were at.  I also like the sound of this, because if you were to die shortly after doing this, it doesn’t seem like it would cause the effect to wear off on the tank and put them back in dire straits.  You could still use your cooldown and know that your death wouldn’t change anything.  That gives me an enormous feeling of peace of mind.

Vampiric Dominance reminds me of a talent called Surging Flames, from the Purifier soul in Rift.  I remember thinking how great it would be for a talent like this to make its way into World of Warcraft, specifically for discipline priests.  This talent is basically a re-vamped version of Vampiric Embrace (no pun intended) and now includes healing spells, in addition to damaging spells.  This talent could be quite powerful, for both tank and raid healing, and would be a good fit for both discipline and holy priests.  Depending on whether or not Echo of Light stays in the picture, (word is that it might be getting scrapped in the next expansion) it would be nice to see a HoT placed on each target that received some of the splash healing from Vampiric Dominance.

As of right now, I’m leaning towards Void Shift being the talent of choice here, followed by Vampiric Dominance, and then Vow of Unity.  Void Shift seems extremely powerful and I get a feeling that it is going to see a lot of testing before the expansion hits and that it may not end up working the way that we are seeing it in these previews.  Vampiric Dominance has the potential to really shine here, too.  I think what you choose in this tier will really depend on your particular healing assignment for each encounter.

The developers did say that they wanted players to be able to change specs with the ease that they would be able to change glyphs, so it may not be that unusual to see people having a different spec for each fight in a raid instance.  I remember Lissanna saying something over the weekend about us bloggers potentially having to do individual suggested specs for each boss and not looking forward to that.  I have to say that I kind of like that idea.  I think something like that opens up more room for discussion and goes a long way towards making our talent choices seem less static or set in stone, which was also the goal of the developers.  They wanted “cookie cutter” specs to become less common and this could very well accomplish that.

Overall, I’m quite happy with what I have seen, so far.  I realize that anything that has been revealed could change at any moment, but I am feeling quite positive with the direction that healing priests are going in and hopefully will continue to go in Mists of Pandaria.  I look forward to seeing the lines blur between a discipline priest and a holy priest and seeing each sort of enjoy some of the benefits that the other provides (i.e. holy priests getting more cooldowns, discipline priests getting more raw throughput that isn’t just from absorption effects).  I will be taking part in the beta, so I hope to provide some input on these changes and to do my part to making priests the best that they can be in the next expansion.

Feel free to leave a comment about what talents stood out to you or which talents failed to impress you.  Are there any talents you would like to see make the cut or get removed, in favor of something else?  Let’s talk about it!

Flexible

7 Oct

I took a moment yesterday to catch up with an old friend from my World of Warcraft days, whom I consider to be a respected authority and someone that I have a lot of love and respect for.  At some point in the conversation, I mentioned that I felt a whole lot more comfortable with the idea of healing as a discipline priest, when she added that she was starting to learn how to be a shadow priest.  I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of the two of us both trying things that were so outside of our comfort zones and imagining how well each endeavor would ultimately pan out. 

This got me thinking about just how flexible healers should be.  In World of Warcraft, each healing class has the ability to perform other roles, as well.  Druids and paladins can tank or DPS.  All 4 classes can do DPS.  Priests could also choose to heal one of two ways.  I admit that I didn’t really understand the need to be flexible and how important it was until I started playing Rift.  Maybe this is because the idea of performing multiple roles is something that was ingrained into the game from the start and not something that was added in later.  I knew going into Rift that this would be expected of me and so I took to it much easier than I did before.  I think it also helped that I was so overwhelmingly curious about all of the potential souls that I didn’t want to settle for having just one set of three souls.  I wanted to try a little of everything and did not want to feel tied to just one role.

While I had become more comfortable with the idea of being a general healer and not being defined by one spec, I was less comfortable with the idea of being asked to tank or DPS, when needed.  During the last couple of raids, I have felt incredibly bored.  I feel as if either my group takes too many healers or the ones that we do have perform so well that there isn’t really anything to do.  Some healers are asked to go DPS because of this and this is something that I don’t feel comfortable enough to volunteer to do.  Even when we reduce our healing roster, I still don’t feel like I have enough to do.  I don’t feel like there is imminent danger coming from a lack of healing.  I’m really and truly bored.

Things kind of came to a head last night, during one of our farm nights.  I think we were running the bare minimum of healers that we needed to clear the zone and I still had very little to do.  Some people are fine with that, but I am not one of them.  I need constant stimulation or I’ll start to tab out and lose interest.  I saw that one of our rogues had been benched or was sitting out, so I asked if he could take my place.  I wasn’t mad or upset.  I just wanted something to do and I wasn’t finding that in my raid.  I knew that they would be fine without me and that they would have more than enough healing to get them through what they wanted to accomplish for the night. 

When I logged on this morning, I found that I had been demoted to a casual status in the guild.  I can’t say that I was surprised or terribly upset about it.  But, it did get me thinking again about healer flexibility in the games that I enjoy.

I’m sure I could have offered to go DPS and I would have been entertained enough where I wouldn’t have felt the need to leave and find something else to keep me occupied.  I didn’t have to sit out for a DPS, when I could have just re-specced and performed that role myself.  I had opened myself up to being a better healer by learning how to heal in various ways.  But now, I feel like I have to take that one step further and be a better cleric or priest, in general.  It’s not enough to just be a healer.  I have to be a tank and a DPS, too? 

The number of healers required in Firelands seemed to bounce back and forth.  This seems to be the case in Rift, too.  I was open to being a Purifier in Rift.  I am now open to the idea of being discipline in World of Warcraft.  Why don’t I feel like that’s enough?  Why do I feel like healers are being asked to be something they’re not, in order to get a raid spot?  What happened to the days when we were asked to heal and do nothing but heal?  Am I the only who feels this way?  Mind you, nobody has ever asked me to perform any of these roles.  But, if you only need so many healers to get past an encounter and you have more healers than are necessary, what else are they supposed to? 

I’m a healer.  I love to heal.  I love seeing 20 health bars falling dangerously low and knowing that I have to pick them back up again.  I get a rush from seeing a tank’s health bar bounce back and forth, from full to half-full to really low.  It gives me purpose and it gives me something to do.  I know that if I’m not there, those health bars may not fill up as fast.  It gives me a reason to log on, to sign up for a raid.  That’s how passionate I am about what I do.

When you have mages who can heal and do damage, plus clerics who can DPS while healing, and both seem to provide more utility and healing than a healing cleric can, what’s the point of even showing up?  To me, there isn’t one.  I feel that the original intent of make healing more inclusive by allowing more people to be able to heal is doing more excluding than anything else.  There are only so many spots to go around and far too many healers to fill them all up with.

Priestly Predictions For 4.3

28 Sep

Within the last few days, we have been inundated with information about everything and anything concerning patch 4.3.  Yesterday, a huge amount of data was released, which covered upcoming class changes, the first images of the hunter and priest T13 sets, and even a few words about class balance from Ghostcrawler himself.  Let’s take a look at what we do know, so far,  with regards to where priests will stand in the next patch.

 ___ of the Dying Light

Our first look at the priest T13 set came out yesterday and it looks a little something like this:

 

 

What you may notice right away is that there are three different color schemes for this set.  The one on the left is presumably made up of the pieces that you can get from the new Raid Finder feature, the second one is probably made up of the pieces that you can get from a Normal mode of a raid instance, while the last image on the right is most likely the Heroic version of the set.

I’m pretty pleased with how it all looks.  I like that they incorporated elements of Lightwell into the set, in keeping with the theme of using noteworthy spells from each class as inspiration for the set designs.  The overall theme kind of reminds me of the Royal Flush Gang, from “Batman Beyond” with bits of Jenova thrown in, from “Final Fantasy VII.” 

Information about our T13 set bonuses was released first.  They appear to be, as follows:

  • Healer, 2P— After using Power Infusion or Lightwell, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for [10|15] sec. (10 sec for Discipline, 15 for non–Discipline.)
  • Healer, 4P — Your Power Word: Shield has a 10% chance to absorb 100% additional damage, and the cooldown of your Holy Word abilities is reduced by 20%.

At first glance, it seems like the 2 piece bonus will end up being stronger for discipline priests than it will for holy priests.  The reason being is that discipline priests tend to save Power Infusion for themselves, so having 10 seconds where your spells can be cast at a reduced cost ties in nicely with the benefits of casting that spell.  Lightwell remains a polarizing spell that not every priest, or even every raid can be counted on to use often enough to warrant tying it in with a set bonus of any kind. 

Typically, Lightwell is cast at the start of a pull, where the priest in question may not be casting very many heals for the first 15 seconds afterwards, when the set bonus would take effect.  It may be handy, if a priest needs to cast another Lightwell in the middle of a fight or towards the end, but I still see the bonus that includes Power Infusion being the stronger of the two.  Power Infusion also comes with a 2 minute cooldown, whereas Lightwell has a 3 minute cooldown.  In a 6 minute fight, a discipline priest could enjoy the 2 piece bonus 3 times, and a holy priest would only be able to make use of it twice.  To me, that goes to show that the discipline priest version of the 2 piece T13 bonus is the stronger of the two.

The 4 piece bonus is a bit more exciting, especially in light of potential changes to Holy Word: Sanctuary (which we’ll cover a bit later).  For discipline priests, the 4 piece bonus is pretty stellar.  PW: Shield is a core part of a discipline priest’s rotation, as it not only ties into damage prevention, but goes along well with talents like Borrowed Time and Rapture.

For holy priests, the 4 piece bonus essentially reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity from 10 seconds to 8 seconds and the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctuary from 28 seconds to 22 seconds (with points in Tome of Light) or 13 seconds and 32 seconds, respectively without it.  This ties in nicely with HW: Serenity, as the buff to direct heals on your target that comes from this spell only lasts for 6 seconds.  

Casting Serenity off cooldown means your tank would only have a 2 second window where they wouldn’t have the critical effect buff on them, as opposed to a 4 second window before.  This could make holy priests more viable tank healers, but I’m sure more number crunching would be necessary to really determine this.  Still, it looks pretty positive.

Holy Word: Sanctuary was never a spell that holy priests tended to spam and I don’t see that changing with the 4 piece bonus in effect.  What I do see happening is a priest taking comfort in knowing that HW: Sanctuary is available more often, if you do happen to need it.  It’s always better to have the choice to use a spell, rather than not having a choice, due to said spell having an unusually long cooldown.  

 

Spirit of Redemption

  • Spirit of Redemption has been rebuilt to address a few functionality issues and make it more responsive. Spirit of Redemption otherwise remains unchanged.

I don’t seem to recall having issues with the functionality of SoR or feeling like it was unresponsive.  What I did take issue with was the fact that in most situations where SoR would go into effect, it was probably already too late to save your raid and so the healing that you could be doing wouldn’t make much of a difference.  SoR also tends to delay people who are attempting to battle res you, as they won’t be able to target you while the effect from this talent remains active. 

Lastly, when things go wrong on a progression fight, you typically want to die as quickly as possible, so you can run back.  This usually involves clicking off the effects from this, so you can start your corpse run back to the instance and make another attempt.  All of these things, combined with the fact that SoR no longer gives Spirit anymore (which was established at the start of Cataclysm), still serves to make this talent pretty lackluster.  I don’t see these changes making me want to put a talent point back into this again.

 

The return of Spirit

Speaking of Spirit, I was pleased to see that the initial batch of datamined items shows some off-set pieces and even weapons with Spirit on them.  I know many holy priests struggled with the loss of Spirit on their gear, leading up to obtaining their T12 set pieces and even beyond that.  I would have liked to have seen some change to our regen mechanics, since we are still extremely dependent on Spirit for mana regeneration, whereas other classes are not.  While Holy Concentration will still be a required talent for holy priests, I also believe that Power Torrent will remain the enchant of choice for our weapons.  You can find more information on my findings relating to Heartsong vs. Power Torrent here.

 

Glyph of Circle of Healing

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

The benefit of healing one more person with Circle of Healing comes at the cost of a 20% increase to the cost of the spell.  I don’t see this changing the value of Circle of Healing, but I do see priests being a bit more careful in how they use it.  We were using Circle of Healing pretty mindlessly, for a while.  Myself included.  We weren’t taking into account whether 5 or even 6 people really needed any healing.  We were just using it to use it, sort of on auto-pilot. 

Both Circle of Healing and Wild Growth (which is also receiving a similar treatment in 4.3, much to the annoyance of druids) have been spells that the developers have constantly tried to monitor and prevent people from spamming, even dating back to Wrath.  This change goes to show that they’re still not happy with the amount of time that we spend using these spells and how much we seem to rely on them to get by. 

 

Divine Hymn/State of Mind

By far, the biggest news to come out of the last few days has been the major changes to Divine Hymn and State of Mind.  State of Mind has been scrapped and replaced with a talent called Heavenly Voice, which will serve to buff Divine Hymn.  The two of them will work, as follows:

  • Divine Hymn now heals up to 5 targets, up from 3. Maximum of 20 heals, up from 12.
  • State of Mind has been replaced with Heavenly Voice Increases the healing done by your Divine Hymn spell by 50/100%, and reduces the cooldown by 2.5/5 minutes.

This means that every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, Divine Hymn will assess which 5 targets (up from 3) in your raid have the lowest amount of health and then heal them, which is a huge improvement from how Divine Hymn currently works.  The 8 minute cooldown can also be lowered to a very reasonable 3 minutes, with 2 points in Heavenly Voice.

While this is certainly a vast improvement from how Divine Hymn currently operates, I still worry that it won’t be enough.  If you asked a holy priest before what things they liked about their spec and which things they didn’t, you would probably get a wide variety of answers.  Of course, every class has things about themselves that they wish could be better or changed a little bit.  But, by and large, we didn’t know we were a problem or that we were at such a disadvantage until other people told us that we were.

Holy priests can be as pleased with these potential changes to Divine Hymn and State of Mind as we want to, but in the end, it’s not our opinion that matters.  It’s the raid leaders, the healing leads, and the GMs that need to believe in the changes that are going to be made and that need to see that we can bring something just as useful to a raid, even if it’s not what our discipline counterparts bring to the table. 

 

Ghostcrawler, on priests

Last but not least, some thoughts on priests from the man himself:

We were seeing too many situations where a raid wanted one or even two Disc priests at the expense of a Holy priest. We think part of the problem was Holy’s lack of a strong raid cooldown, so we replaced the State of Mind talent (which was fairly weak ever since Chakra had an unlimited duration) with Heavenly Voice that boosts the healing of Divine Hymn to make it more competitive with Power Word: Barrier. We also increased the number of targets of Divine Hymn from three to five.

 

We also reduced the mana cost of Power Word: Sanctuary. We think Holy has sufficient AE throughput, but this spell in particular was very expensive.

 

We wanted to change the Glyph of Circle of Healing to make it less of a no-brainer as I explained above under Wild Growth. In the case of the Holy priest, we thought the healing done by CoH was appropriate (which was not the case for the druid) so we had the glyph increase the mana cost instead. Relying too much on Circle of Healing in inappropriate situations (such as when only a few characters are injured) risks hurting the priest’s efficiency with this glyph.

 

We rebuilt Spirit of Redemption in a different way. We aren’t trying to change the power of the talent at all, but we did want to make it feel more responsive (less lag between death and Spirit) as well as clean up a few bugs.
         

 

I approve.  Do you?