Tag Archives: 4.0

Elevated Discourse: Déjà Vu All Over Again

It's A Burning Question

A number of exceedingly interesting posts this week talk quite a bit about potential changes in Cataclysm (I think this is all pretty spoiler-free, though the posts themselves are not):

”This [varying your main] is one of the reasons why Cataclysm will shake things up, even for people who don’t expect it. You may think you are in a tight knit raid guild right now, but how many of those raiders will decide that actually they’d rather focus on a different alt on a different server when the expansion hits?”
Spinksville

6. The road gets approval.

7. The loot gets approval.

8. And that gets TOTAL approval. Now we’re angry about the last years of not having it.

9. And that.”
Big Red Kitty

“Blizzard has big plans for gnomes and trolls, with brand new starting areas and questing experiences available for those races when Cataclysm launches. But before that can happen, they need your help! There are some awful baddies that’ve been crashing on their couches, and they’ve been kickin’ around for far too long.”
Michael Sacco, WoW.com

All this speculation put me into a very curious state of wondering what things people (a) expected last time, but didn’t happen, and (b) didn’t expect at all that totally changed the way they play.

As a non-player when Lich King came out, no doubt there were huge, burning issues that became burnier or moot in the actual expansion that I know nothing about.

If you played pre- and post- Lich King (or Burning Crusade, for that matter), how would you answer the two questions above? (Assuming that I’d posed them as questions, natch, which I’m too lazy to go back and do.)

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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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Disc 101, Discultimate Gear Guide

The Discultimate Gear Guide: Levels 20-30

Let's See Those Psionic Aliens Get Through THIS!

ABOUT LEVELS 20-30

Now that you have your first twenty levels under your belt, it’s time to branch out. If you’ve accumulated enough gold you’ll be purchasing your mount at some point during this leveling block. Increased speed equals increased questing equals more money, which translates into MOAR STUFF!

At this point you’ll be looking at more serious business gear. Your discipline specialization is starting to become more pronounced as you add in talents, and your gear less disposable. You’ll be looking at it a lot longer too, so do try and get something that looks pretty. Last but not least, real headgear is now available to you.

At this point, we still want:
Spellpower > Intellect > Spirit or MP5 or Stamina

Check out our Discultimate Leveling Guide: Levels 20 – 30 In Five Minutes

FINDING & PURCHASING GEAR

Particularly for the first forty or so levels, the fastest way to gear up will be through the Auction House. If you’re playing the well-funded priest alt of a high roller, all well and good. If this is your only character, you are, as the British say, for it.

I’ve tried to include gear that comes from a variety of sources that may not be the absolute top stat gear to provide the non-high-rollers with a selection of gear that allows for some variation in following quest lines, and just plain personal preference (I refuse to set foot in Silithus, for example, no matter what Discipline Robe Of Shazaam might be there).  And for those of you with a Daddy Warbucks alt suppling you with a steady stream of allowance packets, or far-reaching hopes, there’s a ‘Best In Show’ category as well.

Heirloom gear is not included in this list, but is discussed here.

ENCHANTING LEVELING GEAR

An exhaustive list of enchantments would be too exhausting to contemplate, so for each piece I simply recommend one enchantment that I think gets the job done and will serve you well for most of your ten levels. Re-enchanting leveling gear is, I think, neither time nor cost effective given the relatively small benefit you’ll enjoy.

SECRET TIP O’ THE DAY: I always carry two extra pairs of gloves with me at lower levels. I buy the cheapest gloves I can find and then enchant one with [Enchant Gloves - Herbalism] and one with [Enchant Gloves - Mining] (my two professions), then make a macro to slip them on quickly. When I hit that “just a little too high!” herb or mine, I’ve got them in the bag and ready to go.

BEST DISCIPLINE PRIEST GEAR AND ENCHANTS: LVL 20-30

CHEST

Best In Show: Robes of Arugal (Usable at 20!)

Alternative 1: Green Silk Armor
Alternative 2: Azure Silk Vest BEST BUY!
Alternative 3: Death Speaker Robes

Enchantment: [Enchant Chest - Greater Stats] or [Enchant Chest - Major Mana]

LEGS

Best In Show: Gaze Dreamer Pants

Alternative 1: Azure Silk Pants BEST BUY!
Alternative 2: Sanguine Trousers
Alternative 3: Leech Pants

Enchantment: [None until Level 50]

FEET

Best In Show: Acidic Walkers

Alternative 1: Spider Silk Slippers BEST BUY!
Alternative 2: Silver-thread Boots
Alternative 3: Boots of Darkness

Enchantment: [Enchant Boots - Minor Speed] or [Medium Armor Kit]

SHOULDERS

Best In Show: Batwing Mantle

Alternative 1: Resilient Mantle
Alternative 2: Luminescent Amice
Alternative 3: Silver-thread Amice

Enchantment: [None until Level 60]

WRIST

Best In Show: Glowing Magical Bracelets

Alternative 1: Nightsky Wristbands
Alternative 2: Fingerbone Bracers
Alternative 3: Silver-thread Cuffs

Enchantment: Enchant Bracer – Mana Regeneration or Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect

HANDS

Best In Show: Hotshot Pilot’s Gloves

Alternative 1: Gloves of Old
Alternative 2: Hands of Darkness
Alternative 3: Phoenix Gloves BEST BUY!

Enchantment: [Enchant Gloves - Minor Haste]

BACK

Best In Show: Cloak of the Faith

Alternative 1: Cloak of Rot
Alternative 2: Yeti Fur Cloak

Enchantment: [Enchant Cloak - Greater Resistance] or [Enchant Cloak - Greater Defense]

HEAD

Best In Show: Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator

Alternative 1: Shadow Hood BEST BUY!
Alternative 2: Moonsoul Crown
Alternative 3: Azure Silk Hood

Enchantment: [None until Level 50]

NECK

Best In Show: Darkmoon Necklace (30+)

Alternative 1: Crystal Starfire Medallion
Alternative 2: Amulet of the Moon
Alternative 3:  Brilliant Necklace BEST BUY!

FINGERS

Best In Show: Advisor’s Ring [H] / Lorekeeper’s Ring [A]

Alternative 1: Electrocutioner Lagnut
Alternative 2: Seal of Argas
Alternative 3: Wicked Moonstone Ring BEST BUY!
Alternative 4: The Queen’s Jewel

Enchantment: [None until Level 70 and then enchanters only]

TRINKETS

Best In Show: Defiler’s Talisman [H] / Talisman of Arathor [A]

Alternative 1: Rune of Perfection
Alternative 2: Gnomish Universal Remote (Requires Engineering 125)
Alternative 3: Minor Recombobulator (Requires Engineering 140)

WEAPON

Best In Show: Kam’s Walking Stick

Alternative 1: Bloodscalp Channeling Staff
Alternative 2: Wind Spirit Staff
Alternative 3: Rod of the Sleepwalker

Enchantment: [Enchant 2H Weapon - Major Intellect] or [Enchant 2H Weapon - Major Spirit] (or Lesser versions of either)

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Disc 101, Discultimate Leveling Guide

The Discultimate Leveling Guide: Levels 20 to 30 In Five Minutes

Levels Twenty To Thirty: The Wetlands Await!

NOW THAT YOU have the first twenty levels under your belt, and a fancy-pants mount to boot, it’s time to start digging in for the long haul. You’re starting to get comfortable with a spell rotation, you have general idea what it is this priesting lark is all about, and with any luck you’ve even gotten a few PUGs under your belt.

The 20-30 level grind is lightened by the availability of your new mount, the chance to take in new leveling areas, and some of the funnier quest streams going. So let’s talk about how you can get the most out of your healer in this range with the minimum personal fuss.

QUICK FACTS

TALENTS

  • 20   1/3 Improved Power Word: Shield
  • 21    2/3 Improved Power Word: Shield
  • 22    3/3 Improved Power Word: Shield
  • 23    1/1 Inner Focus
  • 24    1/3 Meditation
  • 25    1/3 Mental Agility
  • 26    2/3 Meditation
  • 27   2/3 Mental Agility
  • 28   3/3 Mediation
  • 29   3/3 Mental Agility
  • 30    1/1 Soul Warding

ROTATION

  • Buff yourself with Shadow Protection, Divine Spirit, and Power Word: Fortitude
  • Shield/Renew tank
  • Flash Heal small damage
  • Greater Heal big damage
  • Shield specific DPS/yourself if they’re consistently taking a lot of damage
  • Spam Fade if you’re taking a lot of aggro

QUEST AREAS

  • Redridge Mountains (15-25)
  • Ashenvale (18-30)
  • Wetlands (20-30)
  • Duskwood (18-30)
  • Ashenvale (18-30)
  • Wetlands (20-30)

LEVEL 20-30 SPELLS

22 – MIND VISION

Allows the caster to see through the target’s eyes for 1 min.

Of great utility in PvP (you can see through hostile and friendly players’ eyes), Mind Vision has very little utility in PvE or instancing. If you’re watching your pennies, don’t even bother purchasing the spell for now.

24 – MANA BURN

Destroy 10% of the target’s mana (up to a maximum of 20% of your own maximum mana). For each mana destroyed in this way, the target takes 0.5 Shadow damage.

If you come up against a boss who keeps healing himself, mana burn can be critical in halting the damage/self-heal cycle. I can’t say I use it very often, though, and a set of obscure rules keeps it pretty underpowered in PvE. In PvP, though, it’s handy, and I hear it’s a laugh riot if you use it as a Shadow Priest in conjunction with Vampiric Embrace.

30 – MIND CONTROL

Controls a humanoid mind up to level X, but increases the time between attacks by 25%. Lasts up to 1 min.

Feel like being a DPS for a hot minute? Healing failPUGs got you down? Why not mind control a nearby enemy and use him to bash the brains out of his companions! Fun for the whole family! … Except, you know, if you need to, say, heal someone. Absolutely a Shadow-only spell unless you’re just having a larf.

30 – PRAYER OF HEALING

A powerful prayer heals party members within 30 yards for X to Y.

Finally, something useful. When you hit 30, the long slog of no new spells you’ve endured since 20 is finally broken. PoH is worth waiting for. It’s pretty great in 5-man PUGs when all of your party members take damage at once from some AoE, but it really shines in raids. You can target any raid member and heal their entire party, wether or not you’re in it. Hit your ‘Inner Focus’ cooldown just before using PoH to obliterate its long-ass casting time and staggering 48% of base mana cost.

30 – SHADOW PROTECTION (Buff)

Increases the target’s resistance to Shadow spells by X for 10 min.

Until level 56 and 60, when you pick up Prayer of Shadow Protection and Prayer of Spirit, respectively (which buffs the entire party at once), you’ll have to individually cast this buff on every member of your party (including yourself, natch). But there’s a lot of shadow damage out there and SP comes in handy, as do all your buffs. Don’t skimp on buffing, as you’re the one who’ll pay the price for people taking more damage.

30 – DIVINE SPIRIT (Buff)

Holy power infuses the target, increasing their Spirit by X for 30 min.

See Shadow Protection.

LEVEL 20-30 TALENTS

IMPROVED POWER WORD: SHIELD

3 points: Increases the damage absorbed by your Power Word: Shield by X%.

Sweep in and pick up all the points in Improved PW:S right away while leveling. From 20-23, this should be a no-brainer way to spend your talent points. Your shield is the best weapon in your arsenal; why wouldn’t you devote as many resources as possible to it?

INNER FOCUS

1 point: When activated, reduces the mana cost of your next spell by 100% and increases its critical effect chance by 25% if it is capable of a critical effect.

Inner Focus is a very nice “Oh, shit, I’m out of mana” save. If you use it in conjunction with Circle of Healing, in particular, it gives you a massive party-wide heal for free. Since you won’t pick up CoH until level 30, though, don’t spend this talent point until you reach level 29. Between 29 and 30, play with using it to make regular Heals cost-free.

MEDITATION

3 points: Allows X% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting.

You won’t be regenerating an immense amount of mana with Meditation, but you have to spend at least five more points in Tier 3 (that’s this current set of talents) in order to move on to the juicier Tier 4 talents you’ll pick up in the next ten levels. Meditation is as good a way to spend your points as any, and as you move onto more challenging instances, you’ll realize just how much of your time you do spend casting. Pick up all three points here.

MENTAL AGILITY

3 points: Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by X%.

Our best spells- Power Word: Shield, Renew, and later Prayer of Mending- are instant cast. Reducing the mana cost of those suckers is essential. Grab all three points.

LEVEL 20-30 TALENT TREE

By level 30, then, your talent tree will look like this:

Discipline Priest Talent Tree, Level 30
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