Tag Archives: discipline priest changes

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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Best Races for Priests in Cataclysm

Cataclysm is here, and we’re asking the same questions: what new alt should I roll?

If you’re rolling a new disc priest and need to know how racial bonuses will benefit you, look no further!

(Racial Traits from Wowpedia.org; thanks as always, guys!)

HORDE

  • Blood Elf
    • Racial Traits
      • Arcane Affinity : 10 point skill bonus to Enchanting (note, this also raises the cap by 10 at each level of enchanting).
      • Magic Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by spells by 2%.
    • Assessment
      • Excellent. Arcane Torrent serves as an additional mana return ability, to be used in rotation with Shadowfiend, Hymn of Hope, and mana potions. to me, that’s a game-changing racial, and the best in the game for disc priests. Enchanting is a great choice of profession for priests as well, so go us.
  • Forsaken (aka Undead)
    • Racial Traits
      • Will of the Forsaken : Removes any CharmFear and Sleep effect. 2 minute cooldown.
      • Cannibalize : When activated, regenerates 7% of total health and mana every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Only works on Humanoid or Undead corpses within 5 yards. Any movement, action, or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect. (Mana aspect added in Cataclysm)
      • Underwater Breathing : Underwater breath lasts 233% longer than normal.
      • Shadow Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%
    • Assessment
      • Good. Mana regen through Cannibalize is nice, but requires an actual humanoid corpse, which will be awkward in high-level instances. Will of the Forsaken is great if you’re going to PvP with your Disc Priest, but isn’t as important for the raider/leveler.
  • Goblin
    • Racial Traits
      • Rocket Jump : Activates your rocket belt to jump forward. 2 minute cooldown, shared with Rocket Barrage.
      • Rocket Barrage : Launches your belt rockets at an enemy, dealing X-Y fire damage. (24-30 at level 1; 1654-2020 at level 80). 2 min. cooldown shared with Rocket Jump.
      • Time is Money : Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed.
      • Best Deals Anywhere : Always receive the best discount regardless of faction standing.
      • Pack Hobgoblin : Calls in your friend, Gobber, allowing you bank access for 1 min. 30 minute cooldown.
      • Better Living Through Chemistry : Alchemy skill increased by 15.
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. Time Is Money is a decent haste bonus, and Best Deals Anywhere is nice for everyone! The bonus to Alchemy is solid, but only if you’re taking the Alchemy/Herbalist route for professions (a solid priest choice). Overall the bonus to haste is not that big of a game-changer, and the other talents are too non-priest-specific to make it our recommendation pro-goblin. On the other hand, a goblin priest would look fantastic in Tier 10 gear and their hair choices are fabulous.
  • Tauren
    • Racial Traits
      • War Stomp : Activate to stun opponents – Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
      • Endurance : Base health increased by 5%.
      • Cultivation : Adds a 15 point skill bonus to Herbalism as well as increases the speed you can gather herbs. (Note, this also raises the cap by 15 at each level of herbalism). Faster gathering speed added in Cataclysm.
      • Nature Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%.
    • Assessment
      • Poor. The only marginally useful trait would be the Herbalism bonus for an Alchemy/Herbalism-trained priest; the rest are not useful to priests in the least.
  • Troll
    • Racial Traits
      • Berserking : Activate to increase attack and casting speed by 20% for 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown.
      • Regeneration : Increase health regeneration bonus by 10%. Also allows 10% of normal health regen during combat.
      • Da Voodoo Shuffle : Reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%. Trolls be flippin’ out mon!
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. In theory, you won’t need health regeneration as you’ll be protected from direct hits by your friendly local tank, but if mana management is as restrictive as promised, a small personal health regen bonus may be welcome. Berserking offers haste increase similar to goblins’ Time Is Money, but the other bonuses are not priest-specific.

ALLIANCE

  • Draenei
    • Racial Traits
      • Gift of the Naaru : Heals the target of X damage over 15sec. The amount healed is increased based on the caster’s Spell Power or Attack Power, whichever is higher. 3 minute cooldown.
      • Heroic Presence : Increases chance to hit with all spells and attacks by 1%. No longer affects nearby allies as of Cataclysm.
      • Gemcutting : 10 point skill bonus to Jewelcrafting (note, this also raises the cap by 10 at each level of jewelcrafting).
      • Shadow Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%.
    • Assessment
      • Poor. Gift of the Naaru is a decent self-healing spell when the mana chips are down, but really- Binding Heal would be even better. Heroic Presence doesn’t help you, as healing spells on friendly targets always hit. But you already knew that, right? And you don’t have any hit on your gear, RIGHT?
  • Dwarf
    • Racial Trait
      • Stoneform : Activate to remove poison, disease, and bleed effects; +10% Armor; Lasts 8 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
      • Gun Specialization : increases chance to critically hit with Guns by 1%.
      • Mace Specialization : Increases expertise with maces and two-handed maces by 3.
      • Frost Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Frost spells by 2%.
      • Explorer : You find additional fragments when looting archaeological finds and you can survey faster than normal archaeologists. Cataclysm
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. None of these are useful to disc priests. But dwarf priests! Will wonders never cease? Hard lobbying by the pro-dwarf community made me rethink my original ‘Poor’ rating of dwarves; the high mana cost of Remove Disease and other cleansing abilities in Cataclysm renders their Stoneform pretty valuable (even if they can’t cast it on others). I think that’s worth a bump up to the next level. Now stop biting my kneecaps.
  • Gnome
    • Racial Traits
      • Escape Artist : Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect. Instant cast. 1.45 min cooldown.
      • Expansive Mind : Increase mana pool by 5%. Change to mana pool from Intellect occurred with Cataclysm.
      • Arcane Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Arcane spells by 2%.
      • Engineering Specialist : 15 point skill bonus to Engineering (note, this also raises the cap by 15 at each level of Engineering).
      • Shortblade Specialization : Expertise with Daggers and One-Handed Swords increased by 3. Cataclysm
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. The only thing we care about here is the mana pool increase by 5%. It’s a nice little bonus, and- while not being the best in the game- is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
  • Human
    • Racial Traits
      • Every Man for Himself : Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character. This effect shares a cooldown with other similar effects, 3 minute cooldown.
      • Diplomacy : Reputation gains increased by 10%.
      • The Human Spirit : Increase spirit by 3%.
    • Assessment
      • Good. The Human Spirit is the only real bonus we get here, but the extreme emphasis on mana regen in Cataclysm bumps the human race from Mediocre to Good in my book.
  • Night Elf
    • Racial Traits
      • Shadowmeld : Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threatis restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect, 2 minute cooldown.
      • Quickness : Reduces the chance that melee and ranged attackers will hit you by 2%.
      • Wisp Spirit : Transform into a wisp upon death, increasing speed by 75%.
      • Elusivesness: Reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while Shadowmelded and increases your speed while stealthed by 5%. Faster stealthed speed added in Cataclysm
      • Nature Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%.
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. I play a nelf priest myself, despite the lack of decent racials. The one bonus of nelf priestness is the excellent Shadowmeld, with which you can (with luck) hide in the shadows during a group wipe and rez everyone without the run.
  • Worgen
    • Racial Traits
      • Darkflight : Activates your true form, increasing movement speed by 40% for 10 sec. 3 minute cooldown.
      • Viciousness : Increases critical strike chance by 1%.
      • Aberration : Increases your resistance to harmful Nature and Shadow effects by 1.
      • Flayer : Skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin 0.5 seconds faster.
      • Two Forms : Turn into your currently inactive form. 1.5 sec cooldown.
      • Running Wild : Drop to all fours to run as fast as a wild animal. Serves as the worgen “mount”.
    • Assessment
      • Mediocre. The only thing that salvages worgen from poor priest racials is the small increase in Critical Strike… Bbut you know that’s not going to stop us from rolling the baddest priest on the shape-shifting block.
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Disciplinary Action on the Twisted Nether Blogcast

This Saturday (…aturday …rday) Disciplinary Action will be taking on the Twisted Nether Blogcast in a live evening show!

Tune in at 8pm PST / 11pm EST for all the action with Liala and Fimlys and much talk about the comic, disco priesting, and the state of Azeroth as we poise on the brink of a sea change.

A live chat room will be simultaneously rolling for any and all to pose questions (but not that one. OR that one. Ew, or that one, sick!).

See you then!

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Disciplinary Action on the WoWphiles Podcast

WoWphiles made the tactical error of inviting Liala from Disciplinary Action on to their show to discuss the changes to the Discipline Priest class in 4.0. We had a great time talking about disc healing and you can check out the podcast in its entirety at the WoWphiles site (and once and for all answer the burning question: is Liala really a burly northern Canadian woodsman or a Japanese schoolgirl?).

WoWphiles is inviting three spec experts per episode until they get through them all. This, the first of their podcast series, explores Disc Priests (with yours truly), Survival Hunters with Bliky from One Man Raid, and Protection Warriors with my personal Prot guru, Linedan from Achtung Panzercow.

If you’ve already listened to the show and would like more information on the topics I discussed, please check out:

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Reforging And Gems for Discipline Priests in 4.0

Be sure to check out our Discipline Priest Builds for 4.0

The 4.0.1 pre-Cataclysm patch introduces us to the wonderful world of reforging. Blizzard describes it thusly:

Originally a magic brought to the citizens of Azeroth by the Highborne, reforging will provide a new means for players to customize their gear in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. NPCs offering reforging services will be located in all major cities, ready to assist in customizing items by altering the stats they provide. Players can use reforging to modify an item’s stat values, or to undo any previous changes and allow different customization choices.

So, how do you get all your gear in top working order as a discipline priest? By using this handy guide, of course!

GENERAL GUIDE TO STATS

Intellect > Spirit > Mastery > Haste (to 25%) > Crit
If you’re running out of mana, use: Spirit > Intellect > Crit > Mastery > Haste (to 25%)

Temporary Edit: Don’t bother with Mastery right now in 4.0.1. The return on your investment is very, very low for the time being.

You Want…
Intellect: Size of your mana pool
Spirit: Regeneration rate of your mana pool
Critical Strike: The chance a spell will provide be critical (larger than normal)
Haste: The speed at which you cast spells
Mastery: A bonus to your talent tree specialization (mana regen, healing bonus, and PW:Shield bonus for us disc priests)

You Don’t Want…
Agility
Strength
Dodge
Parry
Hit Rating
Expertise

GUIDE TO GEMS

Good Gems:
Anything ‘Brilliant’ (+intellect)
‘Energized’ (+haste, +spirit)
‘Forceful’ (PvP only; +haste, +stamina)
‘Misty’ (+crit, +spirit)
‘Nightmare Tear’ (+all stats)
‘Potent’ (+intellect, +crit)
‘Purified’ (+intellect, +spirit)
‘Quick’ (+haste)
‘Reckless’ (+haste, +intellect)
‘Smooth’ (+crit)
‘Sparkling’ (+spirit)
‘Timeless’ (PvP only; +intellect, +stamina)
‘Turbid’ (PvP only; +spirit, +resilience)
‘Wilful’ (PvP only; +intellect, +resilience)

Bad Gems:
‘Accurate’          ‘Bold’                ‘Champion’
‘Deadly’             ‘Defender’        ‘Deft’
‘Delicate’           ‘Etched’            ‘Fierce’
‘Flashing’          ‘Glinting’           ‘Inscribed’
‘Jagged’             ‘Lightning’        ‘Lucent’
‘Mysterious’     ‘Nimble’            ‘Polished’
‘Precise’            ‘Radiant’           ‘Regal’
‘Resolute’         ‘Resplendent’   ‘Rigid’
‘Shifting’           ‘Solid’                ‘Sovereign’
‘Splendid’         ‘Stalwart’          ‘Steady’
‘Stormy’           ‘Subtle’             ‘Veiled’

GUIDE TO REFORGING

You can’t change the four primary stats (Stamina, Intellect, Agility, and Strength), but you can modify the eight secondary stats (Spirit, Hit Rating, Expertise Rating, Critical Strike Rating, Haste Rating, Mastery Rating, Parry Rating, and Dodge Rating).

So far, there are no Mastery gems; if you want Mastery stats on your gear, reforging is currently the only way to get it.

You can find yourself on wowarmory.com and check out your stats- they’re under your feet. Look at your overall ratings and see where you need improvement, then reforge to pick up anywhere you have low ratings.

Reforgers are located in every capital city; just ask a guard with a map icon for directions.

You Want…                               You Don’t Want…
Spirit                                              Parry
Haste                                              Hit
Critical Strike                                Dodge
Mastery                                         Expertise

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4.0: PTR Priest Review

New Cataclysm Launcher

- MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD -

- I MEAN IT. MASSIVE. -

Disciplinary Action is in the 4.0.1 pre-Cataclysm PTR beta and here to give you the inside scoop on all the changes coming to priests dropping in the next patch. Now, on with the show!

I rolled a brand-new Liala the Priest on the EU Brill server (hey, when am I ever going to get to talk to our brethren across the pond again?). The Character Transfer is still in stasis for me, so we’re focusing this time around on all the shiny new things you get to play with from the get-go.

The new patch downloader (above) allows you to start playing, with the patch continuing to download in the background, after only a fraction of the patch has been completed. Early problems with this system seem to have been very nicely cleaned up; I jumped in when the downloader was at a tiny 5% complete, and had very little trouble accessing the areas I needed.

Blizzard’s done a great job of prioritizing the download of places you’re currently viewing. Non-downloaded content shows up as a shimmering blue smoke, which soon coalesces into the docks at Auberdine, say, or Stormwind castle. If you’re an impatient hothead like myself, you will have a brief (1-3 minute) layover in screenshot land while your starting area is loaded for the first time. The whole process is greatly improved, though, and seems to be working as intended.

THE NEW SPELLBOOK

For All Screenshots: Click to embiggen. The Spellbook has undergone a complete overhaul. Spells now increase in size automatically as you level, rather than needing to be trained at each level at a trainer. With a new look and this new scaling functionality, the Spellbook is looking pretty sharp:

Spellbook: Main Abilities Pane

Spellbook: Discipline Spells Pane, Page 1

Spellbook: Holy Spells Pane, Page 1

Spellbook: Holy Spells Pane, Page 2

Spellbook: Shadow Spells Pane, Page 1

Spellbook: Shadow Spells Pane, Page 2

For those of us with 80 priests, note that we’ll be getting back on that leveling treadmill and fast if we want to get back some of our precious spells: Inner Will is not available until level 83, and the new and exciting Leap of Faith (for you Holies) is unavailable until level 85. Mind Spike, Shadow people, is available at 81.

THE NEW PRIEST TRAINERS

Here as well a new interface makes visiting your Priest trainer feel far more streamlined:

Trainer: Priest Spells, Page 1

Trainer: Priest Spells, Page 2

Trainer: Priest Spells, Page 3

Trainer: Priest Spells, Page 4

Trainer: Priest Spells, Page 5

Trainer: Priest Spells, Page 6

I sincerely doubt the cost of every spell will be, in the end, 10 coppers; however, we can make the educated assumption that the prices will be somewhat similar to the price levels we currently have in Wrath. My guess is that an endgame-level spell will run you something like 10 to 20 gold.

Looking more closely at the Priest trainer screens, we encounter our first new spell, Mysticism, at level 50. Mysticism is currently tooltipped as a passive bonus that increases Intellect by 5%. Further down the list, Mind Spike provides a Shadowfrost damage and debuff with 1.5 sec cast and no cooldown for the Shadow Priests. Leap of Faith, aka ‘Life Grip’, is available at level 85 and- in case you’ve been hiding under a rock- enables a priest to seize an errant DPS and pull him out of harm’s way. Certainly no one would abuse this privilege for the purposes of base amusement. Ahem. Onward.

Mastery, as for all classes, allows you to specialize in one field of priesting: Discipline Priest Mastery (Absorption) gives you a shield absorb bonus; Holy Priest Mastery (Radiance) places an HoT on any target that is the target of a direct heal. Shadow Mastery is a new mechanism, Shadow Orbs, a chance-cast floating ball system (I see you sniggering in the back) that fly around the caster and cause shadow damage.

MAPPING

You’re now able to select multiple tracking types on the minimap. Not specifically for priests, but for the gathering professions among us, WOOT!

Select a few...

... select 'em all!

PROFESSIONS

With the addition of Archaeology, we now have four secondary professions (First Aid, Cooking, Fishing, and Archaeology) in addition to our standard two primary professions. The professions pane is greatly cleaned up and enchanced, and profession trainers have the same streamlined look as the class trainers.

The Horde Archaeology trainer is Belloc Brightblade, in Grommash Hold, Ogrimmar (he’s a belf wearing a white hat and jacket); the Alliance Archaeology trainer is Harrison Jones in Stormwind Keep, Stormwind.

Professions Pane

Fishing Trainer. Note the 'I'm still loading' smoke in the bottom right.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first look at the 4.0.1 priest changes. As soon as the character transfers unblock themselves, we’ll take an in-depth look at the higher-level spells and get a peek at the new Talents pane!

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Patch 4.0.1 Live On Public Test Realms

Possible spoilers ahead!

Yes!

Patch 4.0.1 is live on the Public Test Realms (PTR).

Yes!

You can go copy your character and play around in there and get so excited you’re going to die.

Yes!

We will be going there directly this evening, copying our priest, and reporting back tonight.

No!

There was nothing specifically about priests in the PTR Patch Notes posted on the forums, but you can read the blue post in its entirety here. Basically, the actual Cataclysm has not yet happened- Dragonwing hasn’t spread his wings of destruction across the continents- but there are enough strange changes to keep us happy for some weeks. For now, here are the known quick-and-dirty changes for the priests:

  • The Spellbook interface has changed
  • Profession and class training interfaces have been upgraded
  • New alerts about which new talents/abilities are available at each level
  • Redesigned character pane which can be organized through click-and-drag
  • New, toggle-able raid frames (!!!). Access through ‘User Interface’
  • Durability has been normalized across armor types so all players pay about the same amount for repairs… :(
  • Talent trees have been changed and all points (in both specs, if you’re dual-specced) will be cleared
  • MP5 is gone
  • There are now three types of glyphs, instead of two
  • Spells and abilities scale with level; no more training ranks
  • Talent tree overhaul
  • Spells overhaul
  • Professions overhaul
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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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News You Can Use

News You Can Use: Cataclysm Discipline Priest Changes

Out With The Old, On With The Plate Mail!

Priest Changes From Blizzard

IT WOULD BE remiss of me to leave off discussing the upcoming changes, even though there has been a lot really excellent analysis around the internet already, notably here, here, and here, oh yes, here. But I’d like to focus exclusively on what all these changes will mean to a Discipline Priest (Mind Spike? I vom on you).

Let’s start with the drama queen:

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or “Life Grip”) is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can’t seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

No one sums up like Tamarind, so I’ll let him take the con:

What the hell, Blizzard?!

They might as well have called this “I don’t trust my arcane mage.” Or “Stupidity Grip.” Or “I Just Fancy Pissing Someone Off Today, Maybe Myself.”

Can you imagine the crap we’re going to get? It’s going to be why u no heal me but 1000 times worse: “lifegrip plz.”

So everybody makes mistakes now and again, and I’m the first to look sheepish when I stand in the bad shit, but if you can’t get out the fucking fire, you don’t deserve to be in a fucking raid group. It’s that simple.

My job is to heal other players. It is not to compensate for them.

There’s already an infuriating culture in which individuals are unwilling or unable to accept responsibility for their own actions: “just heal through it, lol.” I could really really do without this being hardcoded into the game.

So maybe Stupidity Grip has some PvP utility but MOVING OTHER PLAYERS AROUND NON CONSENSUALLY reduces in-game agency. Nothing says “I know what you need better than you do, baby” than yoiking somebody 45 yards across a map.

A QQ-less con point comes from Orcish Army Knife, and such a good point it is, too:

But let’s assume a different, perfect-case scenario. Let’s say you’re stunned or something, and Marrowgar’s coldflame is about to wash over you as a swarm of death and destruction. A timely Life Grip could pluck you out of harm’s way, sure. But do you know how disorientingthat would be? How much it would disrupt your rhythm and concentration? Anyone who’s gone up against a DK in PVP should know exactly what I mean. It throws you off, and costs you precious seconds re-orienting yourself and figuring out exactly where you are and what direction you’re facing. I think this ability may cause more harm than help.

And the pro comes from a number of commenters on wow.com, namely Cyanea, Hivetyrant, and Dameblanche, in that order:

Complaining about something that’s not really broken, especially before we really know how it works as is the case here is how we lose cool abilities like this one and get crappy generics.

I personally can’t understand all the hate for Leap of Faith.

Moron players are still going to be moron players, and have always been moron players so if they bitch about you not LoF’ing them in Cata, they probably bitched about you not shielding them in ICC.

I can’t wait to see some of the cool strategies and fights we could get into with tools like this.

My thoughts exactly. The obvious candidates for a life grip moment are players who already are getting on my nerves big time because they have the situational awareness of a doormat, and I’d only be happy not having to press multiple keys to type “Oi, Lolzipwnu, get yer damn ass out of the bloody fire”; just having to press one single life grip key to hammer the message home, is much much more convenient.

The only thing I was wondering is if Leap of Faith could also have a handy threat reset ability, because yanking a trigger happy dps out of harms way is less fun when the mobs that are pounding on him come towards you as well.

And of course, what I look forward to the most: when you are bored waiting for the rest of your raid group to show up, you only need two priests and one dwarf to entertain yourselves with the ancient sports called Dwarf Hurling.

Generic is bad. Weird is good. Weird might be bad, but let’s see how we can have fun with it in beta. Dwarf Hurling is very, very good. Besides, it’s not like our DPS don’t bother us already.

Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can’t have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.

Now this I like, and I like it because I’m so tired of watching polymorphed droolcats snatch up my Easter eggs, dammit. I’m going to throw this sucker on myself pretty much endlessly while leveling from 83 and up just to zip around. Even if you don’t use it in raid all that much, it easily comes in handy for the bosses who toss you in the air at random- more than a few tanks have bitten the dust while I’m sprinting. Generally thumbs up for giving a nod to the pew-pew/spastic runaround style of healing which comes so naturally to us discos.

Heal (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the “new” Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest’s go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

El yawn. Moving on.

  • All HoTs and DoTs will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).
  • While we want to keep the priest’s role as a well-rounded healer, we also want to make sure the class is a viable tank healer, which is something priests moved away from a little in Wrath of the Lich King. Greater Heal will probably be the tank-healing spell of choice, though we’ve also discussed giving Discipline a second shield so that they have a small shield to cast on lots of different targets, and a big, more expensive shield to cast on a tank or anyone else taking a ton of damage.
  • Divine Spirit and Prayer of Spirit will be removed from the game. As Spirit will be the primary mana-regeneration stat, we don’t want it to vary as much between solo, small group, and raid play. Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild will not boost Spirit either.
  • Mana will be a bigger consideration for all healers. We aren’t trying to make healing more painful; we’re trying to make it more fun. When the cost of a spell isn’t an issue, then casting the right spell for the job is less of an issue because you might as well just use your most powerful spell all of the time. We are, however, getting rid of the five-second rule, because we don’t want to encourage standing around doing nothing. We’re also going to cut back on the benefits of buffs such as Replenishment so priests (and all healers) don’t feel as penalized when those buffs aren’t available.

Now, as we all know, Spirit, Spellpower, and MP5 are getting the Big Nerf. Divine Spirit and Prayer of Spirit will bid us a fond farewell as there’s no need for them, and along with their removal is a 33% reduction in wear and tear on devout candle inventory. Nice. You can take candle.

Haste will clearly be a much bigger thing for healing priests, though it really leads me to wonder: what’ll the difference be between Shadow and healing gear if there’s no Spirit and Haste is needed for everything? I’m predicting a deluge of Shadow priests who assume healing can’t be that tough picking it up to get into raids and PUGs faster without having to invest even minimally in new gear. In other news, water is wet.

I love the idea of graded shields. I could use one right now, in fact. And I appreciate that Blizz sees how we’ve fallen by the tank-heals wayside in Lich. Discipline priests are arguably the best of the priestly tank healers, and even we are pretty much balls at it when compared to our non-priest brethren (yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, pally).

Mana management is going to be huge. You can see it all over the blue posts and feel it in your water. There’s no cure other than learning how to (1) prioritize your spells and really maximize your rotation and (2) gird your brain-loins for a 127% uptick in why u no heal me’s.

  • We want to improve Discipline’s single-target healing capacity. One key is to make sure shielding isn’t always a more attractive option than healing.

>_<

Shieldpriest is shielding.

  • Discipline will finally be getting Power Word: Barrier as a talented ability. Think of it like a group Power Word: Shield.

Wait, so we’re going to put more emphasis on shielding, but don’t go getting all emotionally dependent on shields? Mommy loves daddy. Mommy loves daddy! *rocks back and forth*

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Discipline
Healing
Meditation
Absorption
Absorption: Improves the strength of shields such as Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, and Power Word: Barrier.

But don’t go getting all emotionally dependent on your shields!!

In conclusion, I really, really, really wish I’d named this blog whyunohealme.com.

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