Discipline Priest Stats for 4.0

As you work on creating your character, you’ll find yourself faced with a dizzying array of numbers and acronyms. Buzzwords fly around like mosquitos in August: Stam, Haste, spell Crit and holy Crit, Spirit and nerfed Spirit.

It can all get a little confusing.

QUICK STATS CHEAT SHEET

  • Intellect: Size of your mana pool & strength of spells
  • Haste: Spell casting speed.
  • Crit: Chance to cast a more powerful than normal (critical) spell.
  • Spirit: Mana and health regeneration rate

For a standard, endgame level 85 discipline priest build:
Intellect > Spirit > Haste (to 22%) > Crit

If you’re having trouble running out of mana:
Spirit > Intellect > Haste (to 22%) > Crit

FINDING YOUR STATS

The Blizzard-run WoW Armory will be a powerful ally in figuring out the whys and wherefores of your character statistics, otherwise known as your stats. When you log into or just visit the armory, you’ll search for your own character name and choose the correct realm for your personal ‘Ihealunoobz’.

You’ll find your base stats section here:

Base Stats

Also known simply as your ‘stats’, your base stats include the six main combat components of your character: strength, agility, stamina, intellect, spirit and armor.

Strength

  • Strength (STR): Increases your melee power, block power, and parry rating.

    What Strength Means for Disc Priests
    : Nothing.

Agility

  • Agility (AGI): Increases your ranged attack power, armor, weapon critical hit rating, dodge, and armor rating.

    What Agility Means For Disc Priests
    : Nothing.

Stamina

  • Stamina (STA): Stamina determines your available pool of health.

    What Stamina Means For Disc Priests
    : In the theoretical world of PvE raiding or instancing, your health pool won’t be an issue. You’re a clothie, at the back and squishy as hell, protected by a die-hard phalanx of plate-wearing warriors whom you trust to throw their dying corpses in front of enemies to protect you.In reality, however…When one is running PUGs for leveling or profit, frequently the discipline priest finds that he or she is at the mercy of a tank with very low aggro-holding abilities. And almost all raids these days have at least two bosses with guaranteed, uninterruptible area of effect damage spells (bone spikes, anyone?). In either case, it’s very nice to stand up to slightly more abuse than an average cloth wearer.

    Staying alive means more time healing, less time running, and less money spent on repairs.Because of all that, I tend to stack Stamina to an unseemly degree. And if you’re running PvP battlegrounds or arenas, it is, of course, a no-brainer.

Intellect

  • Intellect (INT): Intellect determines your available pool of mana, your chance to score a spell critical strike, and mana regeneration.

    What Intellect Means For Disc Priests
    : Intellect’s powerful effect on your mana pool is, to me, deeply reassuring. Perhaps it’s the placebo effect, but just a small increase in my mana pool really calms me down in large fights. In case you were curious, Intellect also determines the rate at which your weapon proficiencies increase, so feel free to order a Knuckle Sandwich.

Spirit

  • Spirit (SPI): Health and mana regeneration.

    What Spirit Means For Disc Priests
    : Spirit is a tricky stat for discipline priests. Holy priests are far more dependent on spirit, as their more-powerful spells take longer to cast and require more mana. Disc priests, on the other hand, have an arsenal of lightweight and fast-casting spells, mainly of a preventative nature, with far lower casting costs.We’re less likely to have mana issues, and as a result I tend to give up increases in Spirit for increases in Intellect. When I do find myself running out of mana more often than I’d like, I prefer to increase Intellect- and grow my available mana pool- over Spirit.

Armor

  • Armor (ARM): Physical damage mitigation.

    What Armor Means For Disc Priests
    : While I always enjoy the opportunity to be slightly less squishy (see Stamina), I tend to let Inner Fire and party buffs fill my armor needs.

Spell Stats

SPELL STATS

Your spell stats include the six main casting components of your character: bonus damage, bonus healing, hit rating, spell critical chance, haste rating, and mana regeneration.

If a different set of stats than the one pictured here is displayed on your WoW Armory page, click the left or right arrows (next to the word ‘Spell’ in the picture).

Hit Rating

Hit Rating: Spell Hit Rating is the chance your spells have to land on your target. It is countered by the opponent’s resistance rating.

What Hit Rating Means For Disc Priests
: Healing spells always hit friendly targets, so nothing.

Crit Chance

Crit Chance (aka Crit, Criticals, Crit Rating, Spell Critical Strike): Increases the chance a spell you cast will produce an extra-large ‘critical’ strike.

What Crit Means For Disc Priests
: Spells cast on friendly targets will always hit their mark, so as a dedicated healer you don’t ever have to worry about Spell Hit rating. Spell Crit, on the other hand, is of great importance to us as- since we’re guaranteed to always hit our target- any increase in Spell Crit translates directly into higher healing power. In addition, Divine Aegis and Inspiration talents proc only on spell criticals.If you hover your mouse over the words ‘Crit Chance’ on your WoW Armory page, you’ll see that your criticals are broken up into Holy, Fire, Nature, Frost, Shadow, and Arcane. Your Holy will (probably- well, hopefully!) be higher than the other forms, and will be higher, too, than your listed Crit Chance.Your Holy Crit Chance can be increased by 5% by taking all five levels of the Holy talent ‘Holy Specialization’.

Haste Rating

Haste Rating: Haste can be incredibly difficult to understand, and may be the most hotly contested stat for priests. In its simplest form, increased Haste reduces the time it takes for your Global Cooldown (spell countdown timer) to reset.

A cap is the maximum haste rating, usually given in percentages, from which a priest can benefit. The absolute fastest you can cast Flash Heal (the spell we generally use to measure the Global Cooldown speed) is one second. A cast time of greater than one second means you could be casting Flash Heal faster. If you’re already casting a one-second Flash Heal, any additional Haste will be wasted.

A hard cap on haste is your maximum beneficial haste rating with spells, buffs, and talent effects. The maximum haste you can have is 50%.

A soft cap on haste is your maximum beneficial haste rating without any spells, buffs, or talent effects. This is the number you will see on your WoW armory page. The best soft haste cap number is the source of much debate.

Spells, Buffs, and Talents That Increase Haste:

- Power Infusion: Disc talent. Increases spell casting speed by 20%. Lasts 15 sec.
– Borrowed Time: Disc talent. Grants (5 to 25)% spell haste for your next spell after casting Power Word: Shield. Lasts 6 sec.
– Heroism: Shaman party buff. Increases melee, ranged, and spell casting speed by 30% for all party and raid members. Lasts 40 sec.

Here’s the take-home point: If a Shaman has cast Heroism on you, do not blow your Power Infusion or Borrowed Time. Doing so will likely put you over the Haste hard cap and the extra haste they provide will be wasted.

What Haste Means For Disc Priests: We always want to cast Flash Heal in one second, but we don’t want to have Haste in excess of that one second Flash Heal. Personally, I’d rather err on the side of having too little Haste. I don’t mind if my Flash Heal takes 1.2 seconds. Many Theorycrafters, though, get very into walking that line precisely.

I like to have a Haste rating of about 22%. Any more and I feel like I’m sinking too many resources into Haste; any less and I find my Flash Heal is casting too slowly to be responsive.

Additionally- as a very reactive and stressed-out player with a strong tendency to overheal- I look at my Haste rating as a way to stop myself from casting a Flash Heal (or two or three) on a tank at full health. I’d rather move my resources into powering up my heals and deepening my mana pool (Intellect).

If you’re just itching for more mathematical information about Priest class Theorycrafting, after all this, I recommend BobTurkey’s WoW Blog. And a visit to your friendly local psychiatrist.

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22 thoughts on “Discipline Priest Stats for 4.0

  1. Saga says:

    Really nice run-down of the Priest stats and what to look at! I’m a little bit out of the cycle when it comes to Priests (I was one back in the day, but currently I run around with a tank for some odd reason) and it’s a really good way to refresh what’s the most important stats and everything. Also good for people new to priests I imagine :)

    • So glad to be of service! I imagine this (sort of thing) will come in handy when we’re all rolling new characters during Cataclysm, and I’ll keep it updated with the newest possible information as it unfolds.

  2. Tom says:

    I loved this guide, very easy to understand and clarified a lot of questions I had.

  3. Sexy Gnome says:

    Holy smoke

    Thank you so much a guide to stats for use priests thats informative and straight as it is. No stuff for your head to explode all easy to read and laid out well so thank you very much for the info its a great asset to read and will be advising others to come here and read up.

    Sitac

  4. Hot Disco Mess says:

    Thank you so much. My second main is a Disc priest (I know, that doesn’t make much sense. lol). I really wish someone would do such a well thought out and understandable explanation of the Haste hard and soft caps for mages and what the numbers I should be shooting for are. Anyway, fantastic guide and thanks again.

  5. Endyme says:

    Just found this blog (yay for trolling through other people’s blogrolls!) and I’m a fan. My main is a holy pally, but my #1 Alt is a disco priest and I sometimes troll around disc-related blogs to see what new things I can learn about how2disco. I’ve searched a few places for info about haste and where to stop (I’m just shy of 600 now) and a few of the other stats so I know how to gem. It’s easy on my pally, she just likes her int. On my DK, strength, strength and moar strength! But my priest is just a conundrum wrapped in a mystery for me. Based on what I read here, I may need to swap out some of her split SP/spirit gems and put in something with more crit.

    • So glad to be of service! We’ll do our damndest to drive all holy thoughts out of your head and replace them with a great big Disco ball. And I don’t have any spirit gems currently (and very, very little on my gear), and have no trouble healing through ICC. Of course the buff/potion situation in our guild is pretty sweet, so that may account for it!

  6. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stark, Stark. Stark said: Disc 101: Discipline Priest Stats: http://t.co/dyoyRVZ – best compliation of priest info I have seen yet!!!<3 [...]

  7. IRONMONKUS says:

    Thank you so much! This post was so wonderful and has helped me so much as I level up my smooth and refreshing Dwarf priest.

    Keep up the great work at informing us of all the wonders that priests have to offer.

    Thank you, again!

  8. Kynyia says:

    Hey Great Guide!
    I was wondering if there were any kind of macros I should be using?
    Thanks….

    • Glad you enjoyed it! I dont’ actually use any macros myself (I mainly stick with the Shield spec mentioned above), but I know that the Smite spec really lends itself to macros (Enlightentment/Atonement, Smite+ a number of spells, etc). I’ll dig around and see what I can find.

  9. Another Bubble Priest says:

    Point of note: The reference to the Knuckle Sandwich achievement is now obsolete, since they got rid of weapon proficiency in 4.0.1.

    *I had JUST gotten mine too, and I was 1 pt in maces away from the 4 proficiencies achievement too before they dropped it!*

    As for stats, I usually go Int > Spirit > Crit > Haste.
    Proccing those free healy crit bubbles that last for quite a while, is a nice aid, and one I love to exploit. And crit heals are divine when you’re only healing a tank in a raid. I rely on my HOTs to buy me the time for global cooldowns. Only rarely do I have issues with it, but that’s usually because my attention was forced to divert from the main tank.

  10. Disc-ography says:

    Thanks! You helped me disc-ern the difference between some of the ‘lesser’ stats that have eluded me for years. I’m not a number-cruncher, so this helps a lot in determining where my ‘caps’ and gaps are. I have asked several people what my disc priest caps are, and no one ever seems to know. “You’re a priest. You don’t have a cap” is a frequent answer. So again, THANKS FOR THIS!!

  11. Jo says:

    Cheers mate, this answers some questions I had, but had difficulty finding answers to because peeps tend to get stuck in details. Especially the bit on haste is invaluable.

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