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Boost To 90: A Beginner’s Guide to Discipline Priest Healing in Warcraft

It’s finally happened. You upgraded to Warlords of Draenor or purchased a level 90 character upgrade and have made the best choice of your life: you’ve boosted a priest.

Congratulations on your decision-making skills!

But now that you’ve transmogged your gear and picked out that perfect matching mount and pet twinset, you are, as the British say, for it. You’ll have to learn how to play your new priest. Not to worry! Your favorite* disc priest is here to take your grimy little paw and lead you to the promised land. You’ll be smiting like a pro** in no time at all.

* I assume.

** This guide is a basic introduction to the rotation of a Discipline Priest. It is in no way, shape, or form intended to include all of the nuances of the class or spec. My aim is to give you the basic tools you’ll need to become a solid, middle-of-the-pack healer †. With any luck, you’ll enjoy the basics so much that you’ll seek out advanced enlightenment in the ways of the Discipline Priest.

† If I see any theorycrafting/not-the-way-I-do-it-as-a-Heroic-raider/wiener-waggling nonsense in the comments, I will reach through the internet and slap the glasses right off your face.

Basic Information for Healing as a Discipline Priest

Discipline Priests heal using a combination of direct healing on a friendly target- i.e. Shield, Prayer of Mending, Prayer of Healing- and indirect healing generated by damaging an unfriendly target- i.e. Penance, Holy Fire, and Smite.

Your first challenge will be becoming comfortable switching targets between a tank and an unfriendly target. If you are not using addons- I’ve used none for the purposes of this tutorial- you may find it is helpful to right-click on the main tank and choose ‘Set Focus’. You can then easily find your tank in the hurly-burly of a raid setting and switch quickly between her and her target (her target will appear directly under her portrait).

Setting Up Your Quick Bar

As Marlo Thomas reminds us, we are free to be you and me- so don’t hesitate to experiment with your own setup once you feel comfortable with the basic Disc Priest healing rotation.

Here is my quickbar, without any addons or fancy keybinds:

Discipline Priest Healing Quick Bar | Disciplinary Action

Basic Rotation

Buff yourself using Inner Will (it is not timed but will fall off if you die or change specs).

Buff your party using Power Word: Fortitude.

Primary Rotation for Discipline Priest Healing Quick Bar | Disciplinary Action

Most of the time, your spell rotation will be fired off at a hostile unit. Weird, right?

  1. Target an unfriendly unit
  2. Cast Penance > Holy Fire > Smite
  3. Use Penance and Holy Fire when they come off of cooldown; use Smite as filler
  4. Whenever Archangel procs, use it

Your secondary rotation requires targeting a friendly unit. I generally wait until Penance is off cooldown and if I’m lucky, when Power Word: Shield or Flash Heal- or both- have procced.

  1. Target a friendly unit
  2. Cast Penance, a raid-wide heal
  3. Cast Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending
  4. Cast Flash Heal only if it has procced (can proc twice in a row)
  5. Target an unfriendly unit and go back to your Penance> Holy Fire> Smite rotation

Advanced Maneuvers

You can run a decent healing game by just using the rotation above. You can. I often do, too, when I’m healing a raid but also simultaneously watching Downton Abbey, getting coffee, or doodling.

Discipline Priest Rotation - Quick Bar Spells and Mana Return | Disciplinary Action

Mana Control

After you feel somewhat comfortable with your primary rotation, you’ll most likely be going out of mana regularly and will need to learn your Mana Control spells. Your options are:

  1. Inner Focus: Reduces the cost of your next Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing to 0 mana. I personally like to use Inner Focus in conjunction with Prayer of Healing, a spell that heals and creates little bubbles for five people in a party. Useful if you’ve remembered to target the tank, and even more useful if both of the tanks are in the same party. Don’t bother using it with Flash Heal, since Flash Heal will proc one or two free casts regularly.
  2. Shadow Fiend: Spawns a fiend that attacks your current target and returns mana to you. Use this during your attacking phase, since if you don’t have a target he’ll just stand there and look at you.
  3. Hymn of Hope: You stand in one place and channel mana back to yourself. Any movement or damage interrupts it, so wait until you can find a safe-ish spot before casting.
  4. Mana Potions: Use them.
Cooldowns

An advanced Disc Priest rotation takes into account your three major cooldown abilities: Pain Suppression, Spirit Shell, and Power Word: Barrier.

  1. Pain Suppression is a pain in the ass. You cast it on a friendly target to dramatically reduce the damage they’re taking, BUT it also reduces their threat level dramatically. Since tanks who are taking a ton of damage are almost always trying to maintain threat, you can really screw up two tanks’ taunt/stack situation if you’re not paying very close attention. Use with extreme caution.
  2. Spirit Shell creates absorption bubbles instead of direct healing when you cast Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing. Your main problem here will be that you’ll forget to use it, though if you think of it try to cast Inner Focus > Spirit Shell > Prayer of Healing for a nice, big, free bubble fest.
  3. Power Word: Barrier is your only positional spell. It increases the healing that you do for everyone standing in your little bubble, which is useful when the raid stacks in one place, like on the Calamity phase of the Fallen Protectors fight.
  4. Desperate Prayer: A free 30% self heal. No more, no less.
Utilities

Dispel is your… um, dispelling spell, which you’ll need in fights such as the Sha of Pride. You also have Mass Dispel, but it has limited uses as many debuffs are currently immune to it. I accidentally dragged it off my quick bar a few months ago and haven’t even bothered to put it back.

Leap of Faith drags any friendly player from where they are standing to where you are standing, which is excellent for expressing your well-founded irritation in LFR.

Levitate is a slow fall spell.

Fade drops your threat temporarily. It won’t save you from certain death like the night elf racial Shadowmeld, but if your tank is alive and you need to get an add or two off of you, casting Fade can give your tank a moment to pick them back up again.

I have Renew on my bars almost as a utility spell; I only use it when people are running back from a wipe and I want to top them or myself off.

Talents

Take these talents:

Discipline Priest Level 90 Talents | Disciplinary Action

Glyphs

Take these glyphs:

Discipline Priest Level 90 Glyphs | Disciplinary Action

Major Glyphs: Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Holy Fire, Glyph of Smite
Minor Glyphs: Whatever the hell you want. Glyph of Confession is pretty funny.

Advanced Information

As you get more familiar with your priest and- with any luck- want to pursue your disciplinary adventures, check out these resources for a more nuanced look at the Discipline Priest rotation:

Icy Veins Disc Priest Site

Ten Ton Hammer Guide

A forum thread I just happened to like on WoW Reddit where people start having romantic feelings for Spirit Shell

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Boosting a Warcraft Character from Level 60 to Level 90: An Illustrated Guide

Pre-ordering the Warlords of Draenor expansion gives your account the ability to boost any character on your account to level 90. You can boost a level 1 character all the way to the top, or you can level them up to 60 and then apply the boost. Additional boosts may be purchased for $90.

Why bother leveling a character all the way to 60 when you could just apply it right away? One word: professions. If you choose to boost a level 60 character who has already learned two professions- even if they’re sitting at 1/600 skill points- those will immediately max out to 600. Professions can be very lucrative, but leveling them can cost you thousands and wipe out the tidy profits associated with them at end game.

I pre-purchased the Warlords of Draenor expansion as soon as it became available, and after an awful lot of hemming and hawing, decided to use my free level 90 boost on my Paladin, Acima, who had stalled out while leveling in the 40’s and never really recovered. I already had all the professions leveled on other characters, so I wanted to choose the best ‘overlap’ profession for money-making cooldowns. After asking around on Twitter and doing a bit of research, I decided to make her an alchemist/herbalist. I already had a Transmutation-specialized Alchemist on my Shaman, and many Twitter friends suggested Acima should pick up the Flasks specialization.

Click on the images to enlarge.

Level 60 to Level 90 Character Boost: An Illustrated Case Study

Character: Acima
Class: Paladin
Spec: Protection

DisciplinaryAction_BoostTo90_Warcraft_Standard

Note the changes to the spell bar; everything has been moved around.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to UI

Character Pane view at 60 (left) and after boosting to 90 (right)

Class Specialization: The primary specialization is chosen at the loading screen; secondary class specialization (dual spec) was reset.
Reputations
: No reputations change. No Pandaria reputations are learned if you did not already know them.
Talents: All Talents reset and all were opened to level 90
Glyphs: All glyph slots were opened and all glyphs reset. No new glyphs are learned.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to Talent Pane

Talents are reset and opened to 90

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to Glyphs

All glyph slots are now open; no new glyphs are learned.

Professions: I chose Alchemy and Herbalism; no new recipes are learned.
Profession Specialization: If you choose Engineering or Alchemy, you will not learn a specialization.
Secondary Professions: Cooking, First Aid, and Fishing
Secondary Boosts: Only First Aid was boosted to 600. Cooking and Fishing remained at 1/600.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to Professions - Alchemy and Herbalism

Your primary professions are boosted to 600, but no recipes or specializations are learned.

Quests: Your account-wide quests remain active, and the quest A Flash of Bronze, which gives your character access to the Timeless Isle, is added to your log book.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Quest Log pane

The Timeless Isle quest ‘A Flash of Bronze’ is added to your quest log.

Gear: All gear replaced with 483 iLevel items; item ‘look’ is the same as the Mists of Pandaria items purchasable from ‘Adventuring Supplies’ vendors throughout Pandaria.
Bags: All existing bags are replaced with Embersilk Bags. Everything is emptied out of your bags, and then mailed back to your character (from you to you).
Flying: Character learned Flight Master’s License, Cold Weather Flying, Expert Riding (level 60), and Artisan Riding (level 70), but NOT Master Riding or Cloud Serpent Riding

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to Bags

Bag contents are removed and mailed to your character; bags are replaced with 22-slot Embersilk.

The Boost Process: Once your character is level 60, if you’re choosing to get her there for the profession boost, you may click on the gold shield to the left of your character list in the WoW character login page. From there, the level boost process moves forward. Your character is deposited in the Eternal Vale at either the Shrine of Seven Moons or the Shrine of Seven Stars, depending on your faction.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Boost Leveling Process Screenshots

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