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Disc Priest Cataclysm Gear: Levels 60-70

ABOUT LEVELS 60-70

Most of your level 60 to 70 leveling experience will be undertaken in Outland. Quest rewards continue to offer a viable route to gearing your disc priest, but you will, as always, find better gear by running dungeons either with a dedicated group or using the LFG tool.

A great deal of gear becomes available at level 70, when Northrend ‘officially’ opens to your priest, but since you are probably trying to get to 70, I’m leaving all of those out except the BiS pieces.

We’re still maximizing:
Spirit > Intellect > Critical > Haste > Stamina

Check out our Disc Priest Leveling Guide: Levels 60 – 70 (incoming!).

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

ENCHANTING LEVELING GEAR

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

BEST DISCIPLINE PRIEST GEAR AND ENCHANTS: LVL 60-70

CHEST

Best In Show: Shroud of Absolution (70+)

Alternative 1: Robes of the Augurer
Alternative 2: Raiments of Divine Authority
Alternative 3: Chemise of Rebirth
Alternative 4: Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown

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

LEGS

Best In Show: Leggings of Channeled Elements (70+)

Alternative 1: Khadgar’s Kilt of Abjuration
Alternative 2: Haramad’s Leg Wraps
Alternative 3: Lifegiver Britches

Enchantment: [None until Level 50]

FEET

Best In Show: Slippers of the Seacaller (70+)

Alternative 1: Slippers of Serenity
Alternative 2: Frostwoven Boots BEST BUY!
Alternative 3: Abyss Walker’s Boots

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

SHOULDERS

Best In Show: Hatefury Mantle (70+)

Alternative 1: Pauldrons of Sufferance
Alternative 2: Terrorcloth Mantle
Alternative 3: Rime Covered Mantle

Enchantment: [None until Level 60]

WRIST

Best In Show: Fury of the Ursine (70+)

Alternative 1: Bracers of Havok BEST BUY!
Alternative 2: Blackstrike Bracers

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

HANDS

Best In Show: Studious Wraps (70+)

Alternative 1: Tempest’s Touch
Alternative 2: Manaspark Gloves

Enchantment: [Enchant Gloves - Minor Haste]

HEAD

Best In Show:  Cowl of the Grand Engineer (70+)

Alternative 1: Evoker’s Helmet of Second Sight
Alternative 2: Destruction Holo-Gogs (Requires ENG 350)
Alternative 3: Cenarion Thicket Circlet

Enchantment: [None until Level 50]

WAIST

Best In Show: Belt of Blasting (70+) BEST BUY!

Alternative 1: Mindfire Waistband
Alternative 2: Sash of Sealed Fate
Alternative 3: Eyestalk Waist Cord

Enchantment: [None until Level 70]

BACK

Best In Show: Cloak of the Betrayed (70+)

Alternative 1: White Remedy Cape
Alternative 2: Ogre Slayer’s Cover
Alternative 3: Cloak of the Necropolis
Alternative 4: Cloak of the Black Void BEST BUY!

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

NECK

Best In Show: Vindicator’s Pendant of Reprieve (70+)

Alternative 1: The Sun King’s Talisman
Alternative 2: Winterfall’s Frozen Necklace

FINGERS

Best In Show: Kharmaa’s Ring of Fate (70+)

Alternative 1: Band of Eternity
Alternative 2: Violet Signet
Alternative 3: Spiritualist’s Mark of the Sha’tar
Alternative 4: Band of the Guardian

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

TRINKETS

Best In Show: Will of the Red Dragonflight (70+)

Alternative 1: Neltharion’s Tear
Alternative 2: Rejuvenating Gem

WEAPON (Staves Only)

Best In Show: Amani Divining Staff (70+)

Alternative 1: Soulseeker
Alternative 2: Serpentcrest Life-Staff
Alternative 3: Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian (very hard to get)

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

 

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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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Disciplinary Action Adventures: Laws, Sausages, and Comics

I get a lot of emails asking me how I create Disciplinary Action Adventures each week. I thought it might be interesting for aspiring and fellow cartoonists, as well as fun for readers, to see what goes on behind the scenes to create a World of Warcraft cartoon.

1. THE SEED OF AN IDEA

The first stirrings of a comic begin when I think of something funny to write about. For me, this is almost always a single line or character facial expression that makes me laugh. Frequently I’ll wake up with a clear sentence in my head that demands to be explained, and it goes from there.

Insider Moment: For Episode #1, it was “WTB Boobies”, which I overheard on a crowded trade chat. In Episode #2, the phrase “SPLORT!” came to me during lunch. These things cannot be explained.

2. THE POST-IT NOTE OF AN IDEA

Once I have the key phrase, I generally flesh out the comic in an extremely poorly-drawn sketch. These are usually perpetrated on Post-It notes (which I always keep handy), or, if I’m feeling fancy, notepaper. They’re unlovely but help me block out the number of panels I’m going to need and firm up the actual text of the comic. I pull the Post-Its into general coherency with a final, single-page draft of the comic:

 

The horror! The horror!!

 

3. CREATING THE BOILERPLATE

My first order of business is to pull up my blank comic template in Photoshop and start sketching out the frames.

 

Good morning, computer! Computer?

 

I load in the header, which is the same for each comic, and change Liala’s talk bubble in the heading.

 

Clearly this is one was the product of sleep deprivation

 

The next part is certainly one of the most tedious for me, which is blocking out and then drawing the frames. I’ll reference my original sketch, but start to rework the flow if more or fewer panels are needed to keep the page looking uncluttered. The comic is organized by left page and right page, and then by frame within each page. It helps keep the multiple layers (having over a hundred per comic is not unusual) straight in my head.

 

Organization, I has it

 

4. ADDING THE DIALOGUE

After the frames have been drawn, I go into each panel and add the dialogue roughly where I think it will fall in each panel. After that, I go back to each piece of dialogue and add the talk bubbles to the layers underneath.

 

Note to self: Be funny

 

 

5. CREATING THE CHARACTERS

At this point I have a pretty clear image in my head of how each panel will look: the size and placement of the dialogue helps to guide the ‘look’ of each panel, as well. With that information in my head, I open up WoW Model Viewer and create my first character. For new characters, I play around for a bit getting their hair, face, and clothing right, and then I begin to pose that character for each frame.

 

What is dis I are doing here?

 

 

I cut away the non-character background noise, and repeat the process for each panel that the character is in. At the end of the process I’m left with a single file with all of that character’s poses for the strip.

 

It's cool, ladies, there's plenty of Kachunk to go around!

 

 

6. POPULATING THE COMIC

Once all of the characters have a sheet of poses for each panel, I import each pose into the corresponding panel. At this point, everything looks ferociously untidy, but in fact it’s the most fun part of the process.

 

Disorganization, I has it

 

After that’s all set, I go into WoW, visit the location I want, and take a few screenshots to use in the background. After that’s done, the background gets sized and pasted into each panel.

 

There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills...

 

Then it’s back into the panels to move and resize the characters, add the tails of the talk bubbles, and paint the shadows. This is when I go back through and make all the little changes or add details.

 

This is usually when I notice something that requires rebuilding the entire comic

 

 

A quick final check, and then it’s ready to post for my readers’ amusement and edification:

Disciplinary Action: Episode #6

The entire process, from idea to finished post, takes about ten to twelve hours, which I tend to spread out over two or three days.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about what goes on behind the scenes here at Disciplinary Action Adventuuuuuuuuures!

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The Discultimate Leveling Guide: Levels 40 to 50 In Five Days

Level Forty To Fifty: Tanaris Is For Lovers!

BY LEVEL FORTY, you should have this whole healing thing well in hand. Whether you’ve taken up with a sympathetic tank and the two of you terrorize the countryside, or you’ve become a past master of the Looking For Dungeon Tool, this stretch of leveling road is an opportunity to truly hone your craft.

Your Satchel of Helpful Goods these days will contain items for your shoulders and fingers; with two fingers, you’ll likely make out with three free blues in this leveling section, rather than two. Don’t forget and accidentally purchase those expensive, uber-sexy shoulders right when you ding 40.

Acquiring higher-end (read: more expensive) crafting mats should drive much of your choices about where to level. Mats for items in the 200-300 level range can be more expensive than top-tier crafting mats, and buying them on the auction house is likely going to bankrupt you (unless that tank you found happens to double as your sugar daddy). To add insult to injury, much of what you’re crafting at these levels isn’t going to sell for much, if anything. Mageweave in particular is tough on the pocketbook at this point, but can be farmed successfully in Felwood at this level. Tanaris becomes particularly profitable for miners and skinners from these levels forward, and you can quest there to boot.

And don’t forget to pick up your Journeyman riding skill and a sweet new mount when you hit 40.

QUICK FACTS

TALENTS

  • 40    5/5 Mental Strength
  • 41    1/2 Focused Power
  • 42    2/2 Focused Power
  • 43    1/3 Enlightenment
  • 44    2/3 Enlightenment
  • 45    3/3 Enlightenment
  • 46    1/1 Power Infusion
  • 47   1/3 Improved Flash Heal
  • 48   1/3 Focused Will
  • 49   2/3 Focused Will
  • 50   3/3 Focused Will

ROTATION

  • Shield/Renew tank
  • Flash Heal small damage
  • Greater Heal big damage
  • Shield specific DPS/yourself if they’re consistently taking a lot of damage
  • Spam Fade if you’re taking a lot of aggro
  • Power Infusion on yourself at 25% of your mana level

QUEST AREAS

  • Feralas (40-50)
  • Tanaris Desert (40-50)
  • Badlands (35-45)
  • The Hinterlands (40-52)
  • Stranglethorn Vale/Searing Gorge (43-50)
  • Feralas (40-50)
  • Tanaris Desert (40-50)
  • The Hinterlands (40-52)
  • Searing Gorge (43-50)
  • Azshara (45-55)
  • The Blasted Lands (45-55)
  • Felwood (48-55)

LEVEL 40-50 SPELLS

40 – GREATER HEAL

A slow casting spell that heals a single target for X to Y.

Slow and big. Big and slow. Though the name couldn’t be more boring, and it is a spell geared towards Holy priests, this is a handy spell to rely on when you know your tank is about to take a massive damage hit. Also useful for topping yourself up from near-zero after a particularly nasty solo leveling run-in.

48 – PRAYER OF FORTITUDE

Power infuses all party and raid members, increasing their Stamina by X for 1.00 hour.

Prayer of Fortitude, like the later Prayer of Shadow Protection and  Prayer of Spirit, is a party-wide buff that uses one Devout Candle as its reagent. You’ll be casting all three before every raid and instance, and it’s useful not to have to stand around and hit five people individually with Power Word: Fortitude. Party-wide buffs are your responsibility as a good healer, so do stock up on the candles.

LEVEL 40-50 TALENTS

MENTAL STRENGTH

5 out of 5 points: Increases your total intellect by X%.

Continuing from last time, you’ll finish picking up these talents at 41, 42, and 43. At this point, your mana pool can handle the drain of mana that all those more powerful spells will require.

FOCUSED POWER

2 points: Increases damage and healing done by your spells by X%. In addition, your Mass Dispel cast time is reduced by Y sec.

Focused Power is a no-brainer, now that it increases your healing by 2% with the first rank and 4% with the second rank. Mass Dispel also gets a boost, but that will come in handy more in the Icecrown Citadel fights than in the earlier instances.

ENLIGHTENMENT

3 points: Increases your Spell Haste, and Spirit by X%.

It’s popular these days to pooh-pooh Spirit, but its importance to the size of your mana pool is undeniable. As mana management becomes more of an issue,  Spirit’s importance grows. As you level, mana pool size is more important than it is during raiding, when gear can pick up the mana slack, so pick up both levels here. And in no universe is more haste not a good thing!

POWER INFUSION

1 point: Infuses the target with power, increasing spell casting speed by 20% and reducing the mana cost of all spells by 20%. Lasts 15 sec.

Though I hesitate to add anything to your casting bar so early on, I go for Power Infusion this early in the game to give every aspiring Disco priest an opportunity to remember to use it. Power Infusion is a fantastic ability, but with its long cooldown and slightly obscure usage, its easy to forget to mash it when needed. Part of the reason you’re leveling as a Disco is to really learn to use your spells to their best effect: picking up Power Infusion early will hopefully increase your use of this, the most underutilized of utility spells.

IMPROVED FLASH HEAL

1 out of 5: Reduces the mana cost of your Flash Heal by X% and increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal by Y% on friendly targets at or below 50% health.

Start pushing points into a very unexciting but useful talent that improves your Flash Heal substantially by the time you take all five points (which you will, in the end). Though unsexy, you’ll be glad you did.

FOCUSED WILL

3 points: After taking a critical hit you gain the Focused Will effect, reducing all damage taken by X% and increasing healing effects on you by Y%. Stacks up to 3 times. Lasts 8 sec.

Finish out your talent tree to 50 by picking up all three ranks of Focused Will. Though ostensibly a PvP talent, if you find yourself running a lot of PUGs with tanks who can’t hold aggro, or solo/duo leveling, you’ll be glad you did. This makes it onto my list of essential talents in the as you finish up towards fifty solely because when you hit level 60, the Outlands instances you’ll be running introduces you to a massive influx of Death Knight tanks who have little to no experience tanking. There are exceptions of course, but chances are enormous that you’ll be on the receiving end of a larger number of hits than ever before. It’s nice to roll with the punches.

LEVEL 40-50 TALENT TREE

By level 50, then, your talent tree will look like this:

Discipline Priest Talent Tree, Level 40 to 50

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The Discultimate Leveling Guide: Levels 30 to 40 In Five Hours

Levels Thirty To Forty: Alterac Mountains? But I'm Squishy!

IT SEEMS LIKE just yesterday you were languishing for your mount, navigating the troublesome world of the Dungeon Finder for the first time, and exalting in your first Satchel of Helpful Goods. Now the feeling of excitement is waning, perhaps (Tumultuous Cloak of the Bandit AGAIN?), but the 30 to 40 grind actually has quite a bit to recommend it.

From levels 20 to 30, your Satchel of Helpful Goods contained back and waist items, so you could safely ignore spending money on those upgrades. From levels 30 to 40, however, your bag will give you items for your neck and hands. Whatever else you do, don’t bother getting that snazzy, expensive necklace upgrade right when you hit 30!

This stretch of leveling road is an absolutely excellent time to get serious about your trade skills, particularly cooking, which will pay off with real money in the long run, and fishing, which will make cooking even more profitable. Selling high-end buff foods before raid nights- Firecracker Salmons, Giant Feasts- will pad your pocket most comfortably.

At level 30, you’re high enough level to breeze through the primary gathering skill spots (you do have one gathering skill, right?) with ease.  This is the perfect time to visit them. You should also keep your hands on all the wool and silk you’re accumulating to turn in to capital city Quartermasters for increased faction reps.

QUICK FACTS

TALENTS

  • 30    1/1 Soul Warding
  • 31    1/5 Holy Specialization
  • 32    2/5 Holy Specialization
  • 33    3/5 Holy Specialization
  • 34    4/5 Holy Specialization
  • 35    5/5 Holy Specialization
  • 36    1/5 Mental Strength
  • 37    2/5 Mental Strength
  • 38    3/5 Mental Strength
  • 39    4/5 Mental Strength
  • 40    5/5 Mental Strength

ROTATION

  • Shield/Renew tank
  • Flash Heal small damage
  • Greater Heal big damage
  • Shield specific DPS/yourself if they’re consistently taking a lot of damage
  • Spam Fade if you’re taking a lot of aggro
  • Inner Focus at 25% of your base mana

QUEST AREAS

  • Arathi Highlands (30-40)
  • Desolace (30-40)
  • Thousand Needles (30+)
  • Stranglethorn Vale (30-45)
  • Hillsbrad Foothills (20-30)
  • Arathi Highlands (30-40)
  • Desolace (30-40)
  • Badlands (35-45)
  • Stranglethorn Vale (30-45)
  • Dustwallow Marsh (35-45)

LEVEL 30-40 SPELLS

30 – MIND CONTROL

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

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

30 – PRAYER OF HEALING

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

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

30 – SHADOW PROTECTION (Buff)

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

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

30 – DIVINE SPIRIT (Buff)

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

See Shadow Protection.

32 – ABOLISH DISEASE

Attempts to cure 1 disease effect on the target, and 1 more disease effect every 3 seconds for 12 sec.

Pre-Cataclysm, casting Abolish Disease didn’t cost you mana unless there was actually a disease to dispel, meaning you could smack it down any time someone looked peakish (just in case). In Cataclysm, however, you pay the price for casting even if you have no diseases to dispel. Sadly, you’ll have to learn what icons stand for disease and what icons stand for poisons to make this an effective, mana efficient spell.

34 – LEVITATE

Allows the target to levitate, floating a few feet above the ground. While levitating, the target will fall at a reduced speed and travel over water. Any damage will cancel the effect. Lasts 2 min.

Though I thought of this as a ‘slow fall’ spell for years, its greater utility is actually the ability to travel over water. This can save you vast swathes of time while leveling through Outland, and with a minor glyph- Glyph of Levitate- you can eliminate the Light Feather it normally costs to cast. An under-appreciated but very useful little trick!

40 – GREATER HEAL

A slow casting spell that heals a single target for X to Y.

Slow and big. Big and slow. Though the name couldn’t be more boring, and it is a spell geared towards Holy priests, this is a handy spell to rely on when you know your tank is about to take a massive damage hit. Also useful for topping yourself up from near-zero after a particularly nasty solo leveling run-in.

LEVEL 30-40 TALENTS

SOUL WARDING

1 point: Reduces the cooldown of your Power Word: Shield ability by 4 sec. and reduces the mana cost of your Power Word: Shield by 15%.

Nothing says happiness to a disco priest like shielding more and harder. If you use this spell and Rapture, a later talent, together, you’ll be returning truly unseemly amounts of mana to yourself.

HOLY SPECIALIZATION

5 points: Increases the critical effect chance of your Holy spells by X%.

Yeah, yeah, yeah- we’re not Holy. I get it. But think about all the Holy spells you use that could benefit from going all the way into Holy Specialization: Lesser Heal, Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Holy Fire, Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing, and Holy Nova. So there.

MENTAL STRENGTH

2 out of 5 points: Increases your total intellect by X%.

Increasing your Intellect grows the power of your spells. I don’t go straight for this talent in all five points yet because having too much Intellect can make your spells so powerful that they drain your mana pool too quickly; give it until levels 41 and 42 to take the next two levels, when your mana catches up to your power.

LEVEL 30-40 TALENT TREE

By level 40, then, your talent tree will look like this:

Discipline Priest Talent Tree, Levels 30 to 40

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Holier Than Thou: Basic Priestsources

The web abounds with resources for priests, but separating out the wheat from the chaff can be an exhausting slog. The following is a brief but comprehensive list of priest-centric resources that don’t suck, won’t give you a virus, and don’t try to sell you gold.

GENERAL REFERENCE

- PlusHeal: Extensive forums for all healer types, with excellent priest-specific boards.
World of Matticus: A group-run blog from multiple healing perspectives.
BobTurkey: Theorycrafting and healer math.
Spiritual Guidance at WoW.com: A dual-author column focusing on priest healers on Mondays and priest DPSers on Wednesdays. The healer writer is dull as ditchwater, but the shadow priest is ace.

DISCIPLINE

- Disciplinary Action
Tales of a Priest
– Righteous Orbs

HOLY
Priest Is The Word
Holy Form
Holy Fire Spec: A blog dedicated to DPSing in a Holy spec. So weirdly fab I had to include it (though even he admits he’s not a meter-topper).

SHADOW

- Pugnacious Priest
Misery
Twisted Faith: A super-helpful comprehensive guide to raids, leveling, and the like.

ADD-ONS

- Vudho is an excellent healer add on but can be (well, was for me) extremely intimidating to start using. Check out Tamarind’s idiot-friendly guide to Vudho setup at Righteous Orbs.

Have a great go-to blog or guide? Share the love here!

Reposted from the Mortem Vitae Sequens guild priest guide.
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Disc 101: PvE v PvP

Separate But Equal

One of the trickiest problems with gear, I find, is the internal debate over whether you should take a readily available PvP piece of equipment that is a big iLevel upgrade for you, or if it’s better to keep going with your PvE gear and just keep grinding out those badges. When I PvP, my problem is exactly the reverse: dip into that tempting Frost pile I never use to replace those ancient gloves, or grit my teeth and Arena until I pile up the points there?

How do you when it’s better to take the lesser PvE gear over the higher-level PvP gear, or vice versa?

Here are a few tools to help you decide:

  • Rawr: Rawr is a program which runs on your computer, looks up your character, then gives you automated suggestions for gear upgrades for PvP or PvE. Take the suggestions with a grain of salt, though; it’s been known to make mistakes, as Bang & Blame notes this week.
  • WoW Armory:
    – For PvE: Look up a high-level, endgame raiding guild on a guild progression website like GuildProgress.com. Search within the ranked guilds for a discipline priest who has completed the raid you’re currently on, and then check out his gear on the armory. Compare and contrast with yourself.
    – For PvP: Look up a high-level arena team who is doing the same arena numbers that you are (or for battlegrounders, look up a 5v5 team) at an arena team ranking site like Arena Junkies. Find a team with a disc priest of the size you want, then check out her gear on the armory. Compare and contrast with yourself.
  • PlusHeal: PlusHeal is a forums-driven healers website divided into classes. Check out the PlusHeal Priest section, and specifically this thread to compare your own stats with those on endgame raiders (or PvPers, if that’s your bag).

This all comes with a caveat we all know only too well: Even if you choose the lesser piece of equipment for all the right reasons, raids and guilds will look at your gearscore and not your gear nine times out of ten. If you’re not getting into high-level raids, you’re not going to be pulling down extra Frost. If you’re not pulling down extra Frost, you’ll be stuck in that noble, low-level, perfectly appropriate PvE gear for a very long time.

Walk the line, my little priestlings. Walk the line.

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Discipline Priest Stats for 4.0

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

It can all get a little confusing.

QUICK STATS CHEAT SHEET

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

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

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

FINDING YOUR STATS

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

You’ll find your base stats section here:

Base Stats

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

Strength

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

    What Strength Means for Disc Priests
    : Nothing.

Agility

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

    What Agility Means For Disc Priests
    : Nothing.

Stamina

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

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

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

Intellect

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

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

Spirit

  • Spirit (SPI): Health and mana regeneration.

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

Armor

  • Armor (ARM): Physical damage mitigation.

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

Spell Stats

SPELL STATS

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

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

Hit Rating

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

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

Crit Chance

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

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

Haste Rating

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

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

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

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

Spells, Buffs, and Talents That Increase Haste:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Disc 101, Discultimate Gear Guide

The Discultimate Gear Guide: Levels 20-30

Let's See Those Psionic Aliens Get Through THIS!

ABOUT LEVELS 20-30

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

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

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

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

FINDING & PURCHASING GEAR

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

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

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

ENCHANTING LEVELING GEAR

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

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

BEST DISCIPLINE PRIEST GEAR AND ENCHANTS: LVL 20-30

CHEST

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

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

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

LEGS

Best In Show: Gaze Dreamer Pants

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

Enchantment: [None until Level 50]

FEET

Best In Show: Acidic Walkers

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

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

SHOULDERS

Best In Show: Batwing Mantle

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

Enchantment: [None until Level 60]

WRIST

Best In Show: Glowing Magical Bracelets

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

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

HANDS

Best In Show: Hotshot Pilot’s Gloves

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

Enchantment: [Enchant Gloves - Minor Haste]

BACK

Best In Show: Cloak of the Faith

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

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

HEAD

Best In Show: Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator

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

Enchantment: [None until Level 50]

NECK

Best In Show: Darkmoon Necklace (30+)

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

FINGERS

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

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

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

TRINKETS

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

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

WEAPON

Best In Show: Kam’s Walking Stick

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

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

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Disc 101, Discultimate Leveling Guide

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

Levels Twenty To Thirty: The Wetlands Await!

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

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

QUICK FACTS

TALENTS

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

ROTATION

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

QUEST AREAS

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

LEVEL 20-30 SPELLS

22 – MIND VISION

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

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

24 – MANA BURN

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

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

30 – MIND CONTROL

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

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

30 – PRAYER OF HEALING

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

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

30 – SHADOW PROTECTION (Buff)

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

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

30 – DIVINE SPIRIT (Buff)

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

See Shadow Protection.

LEVEL 20-30 TALENTS

IMPROVED POWER WORD: SHIELD

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

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

INNER FOCUS

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

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

MEDITATION

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

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

MENTAL AGILITY

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

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

LEVEL 20-30 TALENT TREE

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

Discipline Priest Talent Tree, Level 30
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