Tag Archives: 4.1

Patch 4.1: New Gear for Discipline Priests

With the arrival of patch 4.2, Discipline Priests came into a few new items that rival tier gear and- perhaps more importantly- can be achieved with 5-man heroic Zul’Aman or Zul’Gurub runs.

Non-tier gear can assist greatly in gearing up to raid progressively if you’re low on Valor points, or have bad luck with the drops, or for non-raiders to keep up with raiders if you want to stay in shape to jump in later.

All of these drops have some combination of Intellect, Spirit, Spellpower, Critical Strike, Mastery and Haste. None has Hit.

Good luck!

BACK
Spiritcaller Cloak 353
Zone: Zul’Gurub | Boss: Zone Drop

CHEST
Hexing Robes 353
Zone: (H) Zul’Aman | Boss: Daakara

Robes of Dissention 353
Zone: Zul’Aman | Boss: Quest Reward for Warlord of the Amani

FEET
Boots of the Ursine 353
Zone: (H) Zul’Aman | Boss: Nalorakk

HANDS
Charmbinder Grips 353
Zone: Zul’Aman | Boss: Zone Drop

HEAD
The Hexxer’s Mask 353
Zone: (H) Zul’ Gurub | Boss: Jin’Do

LEGS
Leggings of Ancient Magics 353
Zone: (H) Zul’Aman | Boss: Akilzon

OFF-HAND
Lost Bag of Whammies 353
Zone: Zul’Gurub | Boss: Zone Drop

RING
Signet of Venoxis 353
Zone: (H) Zul’Gurub | Boss: High Priest Venoxis

Soul Drain Signet 353
Zone: (H) Zul’Aman | Boss: Hex Lord Malacrass

SHOULDER
Claw-Fringe Mantle 353
Zone: (H) Zul’Gurub | Boss: High Priestess Kilnara

WAIST
Sash of Anguish 353
Zone: (H) Zul’Gurub | Boss: High Priestess Kilnara

WAND
Touch of Discord 353
Zone: (H) Zul’Gurub | Boss: Blood Lord Mandokir

WEAPON
Amani Scepter of Rites 353 (1H mace)
Zone: (H) Zul’Aman | Boss: Daakara

Voodoo Hexblade 353 (1H dagger)
Zone (H) Zul’Aman | Boss: Zone Drop

Legacy of Arlokk 353 (2H staff)
Zone: (H) Zul’ Gurub | Boss: Jin’Do

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The Discipline Priest Rotation in 4.06 & 4.1: Raids and Instances

Some very major changes came down the pipe for Discipline priests in WoW’s 4.1 update. Our bubbles got stronger, but  don’t last as long. Prayer of Healing got a nerf; Renew got a buff. Prayer of Healing gives a better Divine Aegis bonus. It’s time to re-examine the rotations we use in instances and raids.

I’m not usually one for a ‘rotation’ guide, but as I’ve been leveling a mystifying druid lately- and desperately looking for such a thing as I do (a bear can be a warrior tank OR a rogue?!)- I’ve come to look more kindly on the idea of looking at someone’s rotation with associated explanation. As such, these are not hard rules about what you must be casting, but rather a starting point to get you comfortable enough with your arsenal of spells to build upon.

For reference, my spec and current gear is here on the Armory.

INSTANCES, NORMAL OR HEROIC

1. When you zone in, cast Inner Will on yourself, and Power Word: Fortitude and Prayer of Shadow Protection on your group.

2. Before the tank begins to run (or as he’s running, if he won’t give you a ready check), cast Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending on the tank.

3. When the tank begins to take 15%+ damage, hit Inner Focus and then Greater Heal. Keep Power Word: Shield up on the tank at all times. Try to keep Prayer of Mending up on the tank; it’s useful to have your sound on for this, as you can hear the jingly-shoosh noise it makes as it jumps from target to target. When the noise stops, I reapply the Prayer of Mending.

For big heals, use Penance. For small heals, use Flash Heal or Renew. Personally, I never, ever use Flash Heal and would be hard-pressed to find it on my quickbar, but we’re all supposed to shun Renew (I LOVE IT!).

Every time Inner Focus comes back up, hit it and use Greater Heal on the tank.
Every time Pain Suppression comes up, use it on the tank.
Every time Power Infusion comes up, use it on yourself.

Don’t be afraid to apply a Renew to the tank if the group as a whole is taking heavy damage and your attention is split; it will give you a small buffer of heals if you look away from the tank’s health for longer than you should.

4. As you’re keeping your bubble and PoM up on the tank, watch to see who else in the group is taking damage. In a good group that’s the tank and possibly yourself; in a great group, it’s just the tank! Back in reality, though, it’s probably going to be you, the tank, and another melee DPS.

Put a bubble on the melee DPS who is taking the damage, and possibly a Renew for insurance. Use Penance on the melee if they’re taking a lot of damage, but hopefully you won’t have to do that too often.

If you’re taking a lot of party-wide damage, don’t be afraid to put out a few more bubbles. We’re not back to the Wrath days of being able to spam Power Word: Shield on every group member all the time, but it’s still our best tool. Trust your Prayer of Mending to hit lots of targets, healing as it goes, if you’re taking a lot of group damage, and keep it up at all times.

If you can spare it, use Inner Focus and then Prayer of Healing as your big group heal, but don’t expect miracles. It’s slow and it does not do a whole lot of healing. At best it’ll keep everyone alive long enough for Penance and Renew and PoM to make the rounds to pick everyone back up.

5. Keep the tank alive, and then yourself alive. If the tank goes down and you have a tough melee DPS like a DK, they are now the tank. Treat them thusly.

RAIDS

1. During the buffing/eating/waiting for people to pee phase, buff the group with Power Word: Fortitude and Prayer of Shadow Protection. Use Inner Will on yourself.

2. Ask for healing assignments. Druids and shaman should be on the raid; discipline priests and paladins should be on the tanks. Holy priests can go either way*.

If you’re running 10 mans, you’re going to be running with two or three healers.

If you have two healers, one of you should be assigned to the tanks and one to the raid. Ask to be assigned to the tanks (unless your other healer is a paladin, which is going to suck for everyone).

If you have three healers, a healer each should be assigned to the tank and off-tank, and the third should be on the raid.

If you’re assigned to the raid despite the maximum amount of QQ you can generate, don’t panic and see below.

*Disclaimer: I’m going to get a lot of crap for this in the comments, and I’d like to  deflect some of that by recognizing that (a) Paladins are not crap raid healers, as much as I dislike them as people, (b) discipline priests used to be perfectly fine raid healers, but now we simply are not, and (c) if you have no druid or shaman you are not completely screwed, just mostly screwed.

3. Don’t forget to flask and eat.

4. TANK HEALING: On the plus side, tank healing in raids is much easier in lots of ways than healing an instance because in theory you’re going to be focusing on one person; at the same time, it can be more challenging because you don’t have complete control over the healing of the raid that you have in an instance.

This leads to a healer-centric phenomenon that I think of as the Savior Complex. You’ve slogged through 85 levels of misery, the lone healer of your group, and you’ve become conditioned to save EVERYBODY ALL THE TIME! The fate of the world rests on your shoulders!

The problem with trying to save everyone in a raid is that you simply can’t, of course. You have to actually trust other healers, those useless bastards, to do their job. It’s incredibly difficult to let go of the fear that everyone will die if you don’t heal them, but let go of it you must.

If you are healing both tanks, three people exist in the raid: the main tank, the off-tank, and you.

You cannot spare the mana to assist anyone else in the raid, with the possible exception of a bubble every now and then on the raid healer. If the boss gets loose and starts savaging a DPS or two with no regard to the tank waving his hands up and down, sure: you can jump in and start healing that DPS. The raid has just gone all weird, and no one’s going to blame you for wiping it.

However, there’s a big difference from the boss actually getting well and truly loose and really focusing on a DPS, and occasionally turning around to playful maul a DPS with his amusing razor-sharp claws just for the fun of it. The only way to know the difference is to run the fight a few times, or watch a few different versions of it on YouTube. (“Is he hunting down that deeps or just playing? Oh, just playing- Magmaw, you fool for comedy!”).

Until you get a feel for that part of the fight, just focus on your assigned tank(s) and self. No one else.

When the tank begins to take 15%+ damage, hit Inner Focus and then Greater Heal. Keep Power Word: Shield up on the tank at all times. Keep Prayer of Mending up on the tank at all times.

For big heals, use Penance. For medium heals, use Heal. For small heals, use Renew.

Every time Inner Focus comes back up, hit it and use Greater Heal on the tank.
Every time Pain Suppression comes up, use it on the tank.
Every time Power Infusion comes up, use it on yourself.

Keep a bubble up on yourself and possibly on the other healers if they need it.

5. RAID HEALING: You’re not completely screwed, believe it or not, if you’re assigned to heal the raid. Take a deep breath and remember that these guys aren’t going to be taking nearly the damage that the tanks will.

Before you start, look at your raid composition and mentally or physically separate out all the melee DPS. Melee DPS are warriors, DKs, rogues, druids dressed up like cats, and paladins.

I physically move them in my raid frame box to one side (the right, if you must know), leaving myself and the other ranged casters on the left.

The melee DPS will be taking the most damage in most fights, generally because they draw aggro away from the tanks more easily than ranged DPS.

Once you drag all the melee to one side, you’ll see when the fight starts that they’re taking most of the damage among the DPS, and that one or two of them is taking most of that damage. Occasionally a big damage-taker turns out to be something weird like a warlock; in that case, I drag the warlock over to the right with the melee and mentally treat him as a melee for the rest of the raid.

You will not have the attention or mana to heal the other healers in this raid. You also do not have big, raid-wide heals that will incidentally keep them going.

You must warn the other healer(s) that you will not be able to heal them. This is more important than you might think, as some people (paladins) will not be paying attention, not to mention it’s just plain polite.

Now that you’ve effectively erased both tanks and any other healers from your mind, you’re facing a situation that’s actually not unlike healing an instance. You’ll get one (or two) DPS who routinely draw aggro; treat them as your new tank. Bubble the most aggro’d DPS and apply Prayer of Mending religiously (ho ho ho).

For big heals, use Penance. For medium heals, use Heal. For small heals, use Renew.

Every time Inner Focus comes back up, hit it and use Prayer of Healing on the group.
Every time Pain Suppression comes up, use it on your most aggro-ing DPS.
Every time Power Infusion comes up, use it on yourself.

Pray.

IN CONCLUSION

4.a brought the strength back to our bubbles, and I love it for that, but, like you, I hate it for the nerf to the length of bubbles. Disc is a tough spec to master, but so worth it as it just gets stronger and stronger with gear.

If you find yourself really struggling in instances or raids, do ask yourself: is my gear really good enough for this? What can I improve? Is my build all that it can be? Disc priests are extraordinarily gear-dependent- perhaps more than any other class- and it’s impossible to hide behind bad gear in our spec.

Soldier on, noble discos, and keep those bubbles popping!

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The Discipline Priest Handbook

A Short and Complete Manual of Healing as a Discipline Priest

Permanent Link to the most up-to-date version of the Discipline Priest Handbook

Not everyone dedicates the entirety of their Warcraft life to the incomparable experience of being a Discipline Priest.

I can’t explain it, but there it is.

Recently the difficulties associated with playing an alt- long-forgotten, rolled to fill some raid niche that evaporated, miraculously reaching the level cap by picking flowers- were brought home to me when I picked up my dusty mining druid and determined to shape him into a lean mean healin’ machine.

Things went badly. Okay, more than badly. I didn’t know what to spec, I had no idea what a healing rotation even looked like as a druid, and I was- to my shame- booted out of my first pug after two rounds of trash.

To my delight and pathetic gratitude I stumbled upon Tree Bark Jacket’s wonderful Resto Druid Cheat Sheet. Specs immediately become clear, spells made sense, and I stopped wearing cloth.

I asked Keeva of Tree Bark Jacket if I could steal her layout to similarly assist those 85 Disc Priests who needed similar help -the short, sweet version of How To Disc- and she graciously allowed me to lift whatever I could carry.

May this be of some use to you in your new- or continuing- journeys as a priest.

Godspeed, noble Discos!

The Discipline Priest Handbook

Spec Smite Spec:
Sample Smite Spec, WowheadNon-Smite Spec:
Sample Non-Smite Spec, Wowhead
Talent Specs
Stat Priority Intellect >> Spirit >> Haste > Crit > Mastery Stats Guide
Stat Goals Stack Spirit and then Haste (to @12.5%) at lower gear levels.Stack Crit and then Mastery at higher gear levels.
Enchants
Rotation Smite Spec:

  • All of the Non-Smite Spec information, plus…
  • Smite a hostile target five times to proc Archangel
  • Use Archangel to return mana and buff healing

Non-Smite Spec:

  • Apply Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending to the tank just before she pulls. Keep Shield up on the tank.
  • Re-apply Prayer of Mending to the tank whenever it expires
  • Optional: Apply PW:Shield to a DPS who is taking a lot of damage, or to yourself
    *ProTip: When you get aggro, use your Fade ability.
  • Small Heal: Renew (HoT)
  • Medium, Fast Heal: Penance
  • Large, Slow Heal: Greater Heal
  • Group Heal: Prayer of Healing
    *ProTip: Use Inner Focus every time it’s off cooldown before a Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing.
  • Use Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend to regen mana
Rotations
Glyphs Smite Spec:

  • Primary: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Power Word: Barrier (or Glyph of Renew)
  • Major: Glyph of Mass Dispel, Glyph of Divine Accuracy, Glyph of Fade
  • Minor: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Fortitude, Glyph of Fading

Non-Smite Spec:

  • Primary: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Power Word: Barrier (or Renew)
  • Major: Glyph of Mass Dispel, Glyph of Dispel Magic, Glyph of Desperation
  • Minor: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Fortitude, Glyph of Shackle Undead
Glyphs
Reforging Destroy:

  • Hit
  • Parry
  • Dodge
  • Expertise

Take:

  • Spirit
  • Haste
  • Crit
  • Mastery
Gems & Reforging
Gems When in doubt, gem for Intellect.Primary Gems:

  • Red = Intellect gems
  1. [Brilliant Inferno Ruby]
  • Yellow = Critical, Haste, and Mastery gems
  1. [Smooth Amberjewel] Critical Strike
  2. [Quick Amberjewel] Haste
  3. [Fractured Amberjewel] Mastery
  • Blue = Spirit gems
  1. [Sparkling Ocean Sapphire] Spirit

Secondary Gems:

  • Green
  1. [Zen Dream Emerald] Mastery + Spirit
  • Orange
  1. [Potent Ember Topaz] Int + Crit
  2. [Reckless Ember Topaz] Int + Haste
  3. [Artful Ember Topaz] Int + Mastery
  • Purple
  1. [Purified Demonseye] Int + Spirit
Consumables
  • Elixirs
  1. [Flask of the Draconic Mind] +Int
  2. [Flask of Flowing Water] +Spirit
  • Food
  1. [Fortune Cookie] or [Seafood Magnifique Feast] +Top Stat
  2. [Severed Sagefish Head] +Int
  3. [Delicious Sagefish Tail] +Spirit
  4. [Basilisk Liverdog] +Haste
  5. [Baked Rockfish] +Crit
  6. [Lavascale Minestrone] +Mastery

And don’t forget [Superior Mana Oil] for that little extra edge.

Professions
  • Tailoring: +580 Intellect chance or +580 Spirit chance (cloak embroider)
  • Jewelcrafting: +81 Intellect (3 red gems)
  • Alchemy: +80 Intellect (mixology)
  • Engineering: +80 Intellect (bracer enchants & tinkers)
  • Enchanting: +80 Intellect (2 ring enchants)
  • Blacksmithing: +80 Intellect (bracer & glove sockets)
  • Inscription: +80 Intellect (shoulder inscription)
  • Leatherworking: +30 Intellect (bracer enchants)

For theorycrafting, more in-depth discussion, and alternative ideas, visit the PlusHeal.com Priest Forum or the Elitist Jerks Discipline Priest Forum.

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Discipline Priest Macros for Cataclysm

Macros are useful ways to bind several actions to one key or quickbar slot. Any class has an infinite variety of ways they could bind spells, actions, or alerts, but I thought it would be useful to share the few macros I use as a discipline priest in Cataclysm.

To use the following macros, load your character in WoW and hit ‘Esc’. Chose ‘Macros’ from the menu, select ‘New’ and paste the code for each macro into the empty space below the icon. Choose a nifty icon, name it, hit save and drag the icon to your quickbar. Done!

If anyone would like to share their own useful disc healing macros in the comments, please feel free!

Power Word: Fortitude +  Shadow Protection +  Buff All:

Inner Will + Alert

/showtooltip Buff All
/tar self
/cast Inner Will
/say Priest buffs applied.

Buff your group and yourself and announce that you have done so. Works in party, raid, or all by your lonesome.

Free Greater Heal:

Inner Focus + Greater Heal

/showtooltip  Free Greater Heal
/cast Inner Focus
/cast Greater Heal

Casts Inner Focus, which decreases the mana cost of your next Greater Heal, Prayer of Healing, or to zero, and then casts Greater Heal on your target.

Self Infusion:

Target Self + Power Infusion

/showtooltip Self Infusion
/tar self
/cast Power Infusion

Casts Power Infusion on yourself to speed your spell cast time and reduce mana cost.

Raidwide Damage Redux:

Power Infusion + Divine Hymn

/showtooltip Raidwide Damage
/tar self
/cast Power Infusion
/cast Divine Hymn

Casts Power Infusion on yourself, speeding the cast time and reducing the mana cost of your Divine Hymn. Good followed with a Prayer of Healing.

Possible Addition:

Inner Focus + Prayer of Healing

/showtooltip Raidwide Damage Plus
/cast Inner Focus
/cast Prayer of Healing

Casts Inner Focus- if it’s not on cooldown- with Prayer of Healing, to make PoH free.

 

Improved Shadowfiend

Acquire Target + Shadowfiend

/showtooltip Improved Shadowfiend
/cast [nopet,harm][nopet,target=targettarget,harm]Shadowfiend
/petattack [harm][target=targettarget,harm]
/petaggressive
/cast [harm][target=targettarget,harm]Shadowcrawl

Summons a Shadowfiend  and makes him aggressive. If a Shadowfiend is already out, it casts Shadowcrawl.

Heal ALL The Things!:

Barrier + Alert + Power Infusion +   Prayer of Healing

#showtooltip Big Barrier Heal
/cast Power Word: Barrier

Next macro:
/raid DPS: Please get under the yellow dome now.
/tar self
/cast Power Infusion
/cast Prayer of Healing

Casts a Barrier, alerts all the DPS to stand inside of it, casts Power Infusion on yourself for speed and reduced costs, and then casts Prayer of Healing on everyone in your party. Be sure you’re in the party with your DPS for this to work as advertised!

Polite Priesting:

Alert + Hymn of Hope

/showtooltip Hymn of Hope Plus
/tar self
/raid Casting mana regen. Mana users, please within 10 yards of %t.
/cast Hymn of Hope

Alerts the raid that you’re about to cast Hymn of Hope to regen mana for everyone within 10 yards of you, then casts HoH.

Resurrection Alert:

Resurrection +  Alert

/showtooltip Resurrection
/y Incoming resurrection on %t.
/cast Resurrection

Casts Resurrection on your target and announces you are doing so in a yell.

Bonus Macro!

Super Suppression:

Target your tank + Pain Suppression + Alert

#showtooltip Super Suppression – YOURTANKNAMEHERE
/tar YOURTANKNAMEHERE
/cast Pain Suppression
/raid Pain Suppression on %t.

This one requires a little customization but is well worth the effort. If you regularly heal a particular tank, put their character name into the macro wherever you see YOURTANKNAMEHERE. The macro will then target your tank, cast Pain Suppression on her (reducing her damage by 40% for 8 seconds) and announce it to your raid.

Useful Sites For Macro Creation:

For some reason, macro sites  are dominated by an unbelievable number of junk sites with viruses and the like. Please use caution when searching for macros on the interwebs.

Wowpedia’s Useful Macros for Priests

WoW 300 Macros: A mess of a site, but the generators are helpful

Wowpedia’s General Guide To Macros

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Beginning Raid Leader Resources for Cataclysm

Most guilds out there, even if they want to raid, have gotten just about as far as… Magmaw. The vast majority of guilds haven’t gotten even him down yet.

The elite raiding core of the game may be chomping at the bit for Firelands, but the majority of us are still cooking dinner, dropping small humans at school, picking them UP from school, doing laundry, washing dishes, studying for exams, and, if we have the time, gearing for raids- to say nothing of actually running the raids themselves.

For guilds and groups that are just now starting to look at Magmaw, or have progressed only a few raid bosses into Cataclysm, most raid guides do nothing more than give you a wicked bad case of gear envy.

So for those of us who have more enthusiasm than time, can reliably expect someone to take a bio break to change a diaper, and run their dailies for points once in a blue moon, I’ve compiled a selection of indispensable real-life raid leader- and raider- resources:

1. Boss Blueprint: You’re standing in the middle of Blackwing Descent, trying to communicate to your DPS (who are assuredly not listening) that they need to go THERE and then HERE and then run THAT way when everything turns to steam, when it hits you: These damn colored floor flares are never, ever going to get your point across.

What you need is Boss Blueprint, a drag-and-drop online Strategy creator that you can easily customize and then mail out to your raid team. It’s so easy it’s stupid.

The beauty of Boss Blueprint is that you can do it at work, and then email it to your raiders, who can then look at it at work- which, as we all know, is the only place where any Real-Life Raider has time to think about strategy.

I'm realize I'm only amusing myself

 

 

2. Deadly Boss Mods: Everyone on your team should realistically have this. I realize there are some people who get all bent out of shape about add-ons, but… c’mon. C’mon.

When you look up ‘deadly’ on Google, the first suggestion that pops up is ‘boss mods’. Doesn’t that say it all? (PS- I don’t know why almost as many people are searching for ‘deadly women’, but it can’t mean anything good.)

DBM gets you out of the bad, reminds you to stand in the good, and shouts at you when it’s time to run away. Yes, that’s right: DBM is your mother.

 

3. Boss Loot Lists: Everyone likes to be encouraged to raid, and what better way to encourage your raiders than to remind them the phat lewts they might get their grubby paws on if they can actually remember to make it to the raid on time?

Just go to Wowhead, type in the name of the boss you’re attempting to kill, scroll down to ‘Drops’… and mail that list to your raiders. I guarantee your attendance will improve.

As an added bonus, Wowhead lists a nice, simple strategy for each boss, as well- a guide to create that Boss Blueprint image you’ll be sending around to the group?

For your ease and convenience, I’ve linked the normal raid bosses here:

BLACKWING DESCENT:
Magmaw
Omnotron Defense System: Arcanotron, ElectronMagmatronToxitron
Maloriak
Atramedes
Chimaeron
Nefarian

BARADIN HOLD:
Argaloth

BASTION OF TWILIGHT:
Halfus Wyrmbreaker
Double Dragons ValionaTheralion
Ascendant Council
Cho’gall
Sinestra

THRONE OF THE FOUR WINDS:
Conclave of Wind
Al’Akir

4. Email and Prosper: REMEMBER: With a group of mature gamers who have complicated lives and not nearly as much time as they’d like, email is a great way to get in touch with them. We can all read email at work. As most of us are blocked from viewing game websites, this is your best chance to get in front of your raid team when they have time to actually listen.

If a raider doesn’t want to give you their personal email address, fine: have them create a new one on Yahoo or Gmail and then forward it to their work address.

DO NOT put links in your email. If you want them to see anything, copy and paste it. Darned Websense, ruining our fun…!

Don’t overload them with emails, but one before each raid night is great. Include:
– The loot list, right at the top, to get everyone psyched

- A list of every person’s character name and their role, to remind everyone that they are important to the success of the team as a whole
Example:
Zacariah – Main tank (warrio)
Zoe – Off tank (bare)
Zebidiah – Healing Zachariah (disco)
Zusterke – Healing Zoe (pally)
Zoot – Healing Raid (tree)
Zounds – Ranged DPS (warlock)
Zeke – Ranged DPS (huntard)
Zabra – Ranged DPS (mage)
Zorym – Melee DPS (d nugget)
Zasha – Melee DPS (d nugget)

- A SHORT strategy (I find Wowhead’s length is good) with pictures you create at Boss Blueprint illustrating each stage or major change.

List people by name to tell them what they are doing at each stage. You may have to replace them, but at least everyone will know who is being replaced.

And when you have an entire raid yelling at a puggee to do exactly the same thing, it will- shock!- occasionally sink in.

 

IN CONCLUSION…

Just because you’re not finished with every boss in the game doesn’t mean you can’t raid and raid well. You have the inestimable bonus, with your group, of having actual fun.

Wiping is not fun. Losing is not fun. Knowing what’s going on, what your raid expects from you, and where you ought to be is. As a good raid leader, your job is to make it easy for everyone to come and have fun with you.

Now get out there and take down Magmaw!

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The 4.1 Nerfs: How To (Keep) Disc Priesting

So… So… So…

Your hair looks pretty. And your robes are nice! And… uh… is that a new wand?

There’s not a lot good to be said for the discipline priest changes coming down the pipe in the 4.1 patch. Atonement now procs with and is helped glyphically by Holy Fire, but as SmiteSpec continues to under-perform in raids, this comes as cold comfort to all disc priests. Smite or not, we want any flavor of disc priest to prosper.

THE GOOD

We’re still gear-dependent, perhaps more than any other class in the game. With the new 353 gear dropping in Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman, we have potential to pwn the Magmaws and Halfii of the world. So… yeah. That’s theonlyppositive I could think of.

THE BAD

Inner Will lasts until canceled. Divine Aegis lasts 15 seconds, up from 12. But wait! Why is this categorized under bad, and not mildly good? Because these pathetic buffs made it okay for Blizzard to bitch-slap us with…

THE UGLY

Power Word: Shield to last 15 seconds, down from 30 seconds. To add insult to injury: Power Word: Barrier is now on a 3 minute cool down, up from 2 minutes.

So what does all this mean? Basically, that Blizzard doesn’t want you to use your signature ability, because it just Isn’t Done. How presumptuous of us to depend on it, the spell around which our class is based- particularly given our “alternate spec” is a running joke in raids.

We keep going, because that’s what we do, and we focus with all our might on casting while moving and being in the right place at the right time.

Here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to make a druid love us, and beg for Innervate early and often. Consider stacking Mastery to a greatest degree than ever before, be positively jealous with your bubbles, ignore the DPS as much as you can in all good conscience do it before they rise up in a Boxer Rebellion of hurt feelings and dangling appendages, and, above all, pray.

You know how to pray, don’t you?

You just put your hands together… and Penance.

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Sneak Preview: Zul’Gurub Items

I took the liberty of datamining some of the items the well-dressed Zul’Gurub NPC native will be wearing in the upcoming WoW Cataclysm patch 4.1.

Disclaimer: This is, of course, speculation and this all may end up differently in the final build!

The renovated 5-man instance replaces the former 20-man raid, and everything’s gotten a visual upgrade. The detailing on the items is beautiful; here’s hoping we get our own PC paws on these in upcoming drops!

Enjoy!

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Disc Priest Gear: Using Wowhead To Your Advantage

Wowhead.com has a most excellent feature that I think few of us use to its fullest extent.

If you click on “Database > Items > Armor”, you can choose ‘Priest’ and then ‘Discipline’ (or whatever) from the dropdown menu titled “Start Weighting… Preset:”.

Doing this gives you a list of all gear for Discipline Priests in one huge list (I’d recommend limiting the required level or iLevel – 333 or higher if you want to run Heroics).

In the results, off to the right, there’s a ‘Score’ that shows how good it is for the spec you selected in ‘Presets’.

The down side is that it doesn’t have any commentary, but for pure numbers and names, it can’t be beat.

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SmiteSpec v. ShieldSpec: Builds & Rotations at 85

I’ve put together this little down-and-dirty guide to discipline priest healing because being a Disc Priest these days is, truly, complicated.

The main source of this complexity lies in the fact that Disc Priests are now essentially two distinct specs: the SmiteSpec and the ShieldSpec.

The variance in style of the two versions of disc priesting is pretty pronounced, so disc priests tend to lean quite heavily toward their favorite version of discipline. It’s created something of a rift in the Disc community. Much shouting and pulling of beards.

ShieldSpec focuses on shielding, doling out standard priest healing spells, and managing a variety of cooldowns (Inner Focus, Power Infusion, Rapture) to return mana. It functions similarly to how Discipline worked throughout Wrath of the Lich King.

Pros: Similar to the Wrath disc healing style and thus familiar to Wrath Discos. Intuitive.

Cons: (Possible) lower mana return. Boring.

SmiteSpec is based on an entirely new healing mechanic for Warcraft. SmiteSpec disc priests use a combination of offensive, DPS (primarily Smite) spells for mana return and indirect healing spells, coupled with more classic Discipline direct healing spells (including Shield).

Pros: New and different way to heal, unique to Discos. (Possible) higher mana return. Wings (WANGS!).

Cons: Focus diverted between DPS targets and healing targets. Minimal DPS damage. Unfamiliar mechanism.

Personally, I’ve been running the two specs simultaneously to see which better fits my needs/playstyle, and I have to confess that I lean more towards the ShieldSpec. However, both are viable and fun Discipline Priest options.

Sample ShieldSpec Build
View Liala’s Current ShieldSpec Build

Click to Embiggen

 

Sample ShieldSpec Rotation

With this build, I like to Shadow Protection/Fortitude everyone pre-fight. The low-cost instants of Inner Will are worth more to me right now than Spellpower (plus I think the increased movement speed helps me stay out of AoE trouble).
For a rotation I generally bubble (Power Word: Shield) the tank, hit him with Prayer of Mending, then watch. If another DPS is taking a lot of damage, I’ll throw another bubble and a Renew on him or her, and then go back to refreshing Prayer of Mending and bubble on the tank. For a big, quick tank heal I use Penance; for a slow, big tank heal I use Greater Heal.

If damage is going all over the place, I use Inner Focus and then Prayer of Healing; if damage is focused on the tank, I use Inner Focus and then Greater Heal. I use Inner Focus on every cooldown religiously.

Sample SmiteSpec Build
View Liala’s Current SmiteSpec Build

Click to Embiggen

Sample SmiteSpec Rotation

[Incoming!]

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Don’t Panic: Disc Priest Tips for Cataclysm

Healing as a Disc Priest in these early days of the Cataclysm expansion can be cataclysmically horrifying.

The average LFD group is explosively bad: DPS refuse to utilize crowd control. The tank pulls seven mobs as though he’s an overgeared ICC Kingslayer running Mana Tombs with every buff in the game. No one will stop for you to drink.

You’re running out of mana every two mobs and the group keeps pulling, oblivious to your panicked squeals for mana, mana, mana! Bars are dropping. You pop triage heals on the DPS, even though you can’t spare the mana, because you know you’ll wipe for sure without that strangely tough hunter because your tanks’ health is dropping faster than a brick on fast-forward and he’s vying for the title of World’s Biggest Dick anyway.

The ‘lock Life Taps six times in quick succession, the tank pulls the boss while you’re counting the seconds on your Shadowfiend cooldown and sobbing softly while whacking the last three mobs feebly with your stick, and then it happens:

You wipe.

And then the group boots you.

I wish I had more encouraging news for you, gentle discos, but the best I can say is that we’re not alone. Every healer I’ve talked to is going through this same agony. Tanks are squishier, DPS are slower, your mana is nonexistent, and somehow in LFD all those problems add up to THE HEALER SUCKS!

I feel your pain. Hell, I’m living your pain!

We’re all in this together, all embattled and embittered and embarrassed in these bludgeon-fests, but here are a few tips that may assist in that horrifying slog we’re facing these days. They’ve helped me regain my sanity- what little remains, that is- and I hope they do the same for you:

1. LFD? LFG!

The LFD tool is an odd monster. It at once impersonalized the leveling experience and yet exposed you to far more content. Blizzard certainly took the impersonalization to heart: just look at the new guild system for confirmation that they really, really want you get to know players on your realm at least a bit better.

The lone leveler got hit with the nerf bat in terms of guild achievements and rewards, but perhaps- perhaps!- the extreme difficulty of healing right now is intended to do the same thing.

I have to be honest with you guys, now: I have not finished a single random LFD instance since Cataclysm began. I’ve been kicked (“You suck!”), I’ve ragequit (“You guys suck!”), I’ve been in the fetal position and crying too snottily to seize hold of my mouse (“I suck!”).

And then there are guild runs.

I moved my main priest to another server (to act as temporary financial support to a low-level alt), and ended up in a new guild about two weeks ago. I don’t know all of my guildmates very well, but I *do* know them better than my LFD-sponsored Ipwnunoobz tank.

When I need to stop for mana, they stop. We pull cautiously and steadily. We make good time, because we don’t wipe. No one yells. No one curses (there is excessive /mooning of bosses, however). No one pitches a fit.

If you haven’t yet, or if you’re not in a guild that runs instances regularly. do seriously consider getting in with a guild to run with outside the LFD Disaster Relief System.

I can highly recommend Mortem Vitae Sequens on A-Farstriders, Waypoint on A-Medivh, Tsu Tain Guu Faitaa on H-Drenden, and Business Time on A-Moonrunner. If those guilds are aren’t hiring, I know each one would be happy to recommend a good one on-server.

2. Dress for Success

It’s tempting- oh, so tempting- to gear up as a Shadow Priest, run a few quests in Vash’jir and Mount Hyjal, and in the meantime queue up as a healer for a few (invariably disastrous) PUGs through the Looking For Group tool.

Do not do this. If you’re picking up gear with Hit and chucking the gear with Spirit, well- you’re gonna have a bad time.

Now is the time to commit to running in Spirit gear with no Hit as a dedicated Disc Priest instance healer (or partner-in-crime of a tankish questing friend).

If you can’t bring yourself to do that, admit to yourself that you’d really like to see those new areas while you level, dropping Spirit gear for Spellpower and Intellect (and Hit), and level as a  Shadowpriest, may the gods forgive me for saying it.

3. (Key)Bound for Glory

Go into the game. Hit ‘Esc’. Select ‘Macros’.

Creating macros is easy, and it’s awfully nice to have a pre-programmed little ditty that you can slap out at the beginning of LFD. It might not make any difference, but you’ll feel like you at least made the effort.

Just select ‘Create New…’ on the Macros screen, select an attractive icon, and type in anything you’d normally type in the chat screen. Once done, pull the icon(s) to your quickbar and press at will.

My own goes something like this:

/p Hi, everyone! I’m Liala and I’ll be your healer for this evening’s run.
/p Healers are really low on mana right now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, so I’m going to have to ask for a few more mana breaks then we’re all used to. I promise I’ll make it as quick as I can.
/p Deeps, I’m really sorry, but I’m probably not going to be able to heal you as much. Please don’t hesitate to use bandages if we’re getting creamed. That’s it! Thanks for reading!

Then I have a few macros that I’ve always had:

/p Mana break after this mob, please.
/p Focusing on tank heals, please bandage at will.

Employ your macros to give your tank a verbal heads-up whenever possible, and reap the rewards of a happy tank.

4. Get Right Back To Where We Started From

We all want to get ahead, to see the new instances, to see the new content!

The last thing on Azeroth any of us want to do right now is go back to the Lich King or any of those Heroic Wrath instances we’ve run ten thousand times, but there is, I swear, benefit to doing so.

Queue up for a random Lich King Heroic and run it paying complete and total attention to your rotation.

Running these suckers is a great way to familiarize yourself with all the new bells and whistles we Disc Priests have without stressing the hell out over everyone dying all over the place. No matter how much I read or study or crunch numbers, I find nothing ever, ever replaces the actual experience of playing with a new build.

Since healing should be cake, you’ll be able to take stock of your new talents without being terribly distracted.

Try out new rotations. Pay attention to the numbers that are popping up as you heal, and check out which spells give you the biggest results and how much your mana bar sinks with each. Get used to using Inner Focus and Hymn of Hope and Barrier, and whatever else you haven’t been using lately. Try out the new Smitespec and see if that fills you with joy (and wings).

Whatever else you do, remain calm and remember we’re all right there with you, bitching about our tanks and DPS in the ethereal super-reality that all Disc Priests share. Your QQ is our QQ. Godspeed.

For more information on gear and builds, check out:
Cataclysm Disc Priest Builds (Shieldspec and Smitespec)
Gearing a Disc Priest: 80-85
Gearing a Disc Priest: The Beginning Raider (85+)
Cataclysm Disc Priest Gems and Reforging
My current build on the Armory

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