Tag Archives: healing

The Discultimate Leveling Guide: Zero to Twenty in Five Seconds

Levels One Through Twenty: The Early Years

Of Certain Interest: The Discultimate Gear Guide, Levels 0-10 and Levels 10-20

IF ONLY IT did take five seconds, my little discipline priestlings. But hope springs eternal, and while it may take longer than five seconds, you can zwish through your first 20 levels with only minor inconvenience and light bruising without once being tempted to walk the sad path of Shadow Priest ( I see you there, with your finger on the button! Don’t do it, you fool!).

Grind your way up to level 10, enjoying the sights and sounds of your native land for a mere hour. Take a moment to savor the transitory ease of leveling, and then bounce into 11 with a good basic understanding of your introductory Discipline spells and talents.

It’s worth thinking at this point about whether you’ll be willing to respec often, perhaps as the healing alt of a moneyed character, or whether you’ll need this spec to go the distance (translation: you’re a cheap bastard), pulling into 80 without once changing your course.

In this guide, I’ll be outlining specifically how to stay disciplined the whole long road. Leveling as a Disc Priest is challenging, certainly compared to leveling as a Shadow Priest, but I think provides unparalleled opportunities to learn your Disc character inside and out.

I’m also assuming that your leveling will be a combination of Random Dungeon Findering and solo questing. I used to argue strenuously against using quests to level as a Disc Priest, but with the pacing of the new Cataclysm quests, I’ve done exactly that five or six times now (what can I say? I’m a fool for love!). With a little bit of know-how, solo questing as a Disc Priest is not only possible, but gleefully dangerous.

And we’ll not be taking on Discipline PvP- at least, not yet.

Patience, my pets.

THE FACTS

Talents are the choices that you make on your character Talent Tree screen. You get to allot one point every two or so levels. Abilities are the spells that you learn from a trainer, which show up in your spellbook. You can drag abilities to your quickbar to cast them more rapidly.

TALENTS

ABILITIES

GLYPHS

  • None

The Big Idea: You can get into a Dungeon Finder group quickly and easily as a healer, but I’m assuming you’ll be splitting your time between instancing and questing. Power Word: Shield will be your go-to spell in both places; you’ll use it to protect the tank in instances, as well as using it on yourself while questing.

As you solo quest, you’ll need a bit of oomph behind your Shadow spells. As Disc, though, oomph is severely lacking. Because of that, I highly recommend picking up Twin Disciplines as soon as possible to increase the effectiveness of your damage spells while questing (and, incidentally, your healing spells while instancing).

After all, there’s only so much abuse you can take from low-level cloth-geared LFD warrior tanks, amirite?

Discipline Priest Build at Level 20

 

ROTATION IN INSTANCES

  • Buff all with Shadow Protection and Power Word: Fortitude, and yourself with Inner Will
  • Shield the tank and hit him with a Renew *just* as he starts to run forward, then sit and drink just before they draw aggro (you’ll spend a lot on drinks, but it’s worth it to top off at the beginning of every fight)
  • Flash Heal small damage
  • Greater Heal big damage
  • Shield specific DPS/yourself if they or you are consistently taking a lot of damage
  • Use Fade often. Tanks don’t have a lot of threat tools yet.
[Instance Toolbar Image Coming Soon!]

ROTATION IN QUESTS

  • Buff yourself with Shadow Protection, Power Word: Fortitude, and Inner Fire
  • Cast Holy Fire (or Mind Blast, if you don’t have Holy Fire yet) at your target, then cast PW: Shield on yourself. Immediately cast Shadow Word: Pain and then SmiteSmiteSmiteSmite
  • If you’re running out of mana, use your wand (I know, I know)
  • When your bubble wears off, renew it unless your target is at less than 20% health
[Questing Toolbar Image Coming Soon!]

QUEST AREAS

  • [Your Racial Starting Area] (0-10)

If you play a Horde character, I highly, highly recommend that as soon as you hit level 10 you get your butt over to Brill, outside of Undercity, and begin the beautifully epic/hilarious Forsaken quest chain, which will take you through to level 35 without pausing for breath.

If you’re Alliance, move with speed to Darkshore (you can get to Darnassus by taking a boat from Stormwind Harbor, then take the boat to Lor’Danel) for the revamped Cataclysm quest chains there. It’s no Dark Lady, but hey.

ALLIANCE:

  • Westfall (10-15)
  • Bloodmyst Isle (10-20)
  • Darkshore (10-20)
  • Loch Modan (10-20)
HORDE:
  • Azshara (10-20)
  • Ghostlands (10-20)
  • Northern Barrens (10-20)
  • Silverpine Forest (10-20)
ALLIANCE & HORDE:
  • Ruins of Gilneas (14-16)
  • Redridge Mountains (15-20)
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Circle of Healers Questionnaire

There’s a revived meme going around, originating with Miss Medicina, that consists of a questionnaire about how and why you heal. I’m glad it’s making the rounds and have loved reading the responses to it, and was delighted when fellow guildmates (and classy guys) Rades and Snack tagged me to join in the fun.

DAS RULES: Post this questionnaire, with your answers, on your blog. Pick the healing class you know most about (or is the focus of your blog) for the questionnaire, and then send it over to another healing blogger you know and love who heals with a DIFFERENT class. Include a link to the blogger who sent you the questionnaire, as well as a link to the blogger to whom you are sending it.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

Liala, Disc Priest. Natch.

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

10-man raids.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

Penance. Penance is a huge Ohshit healing spell, but also turns you (and your camera) in the direction of your target. I know a lot of people hate that, but I frequently Penance people just to figure out where they’re standing.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

Heal (the irony!). It now costs too much and heals for too little to be a part of our toolbox. Oh, and I use Flash Heal much, much less than other Disc priests, preferring to give Renew time to tick in most cases.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

Instant response time. Disc healers can plug several health gaps at once- not just on the tank- while waiting for a big group heal to come in from a Shaman, Druid, or Holy Priest. Of course, all that requires you to be more communicative than any other healing class, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the company you keep.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

Instant response time. The other side of the hyperactive, short-term healing coin is that if you look away for more than two seconds- your mind wanders, say, or you sneeze more than once in a row- you’ll come back to find everyone is dead.

In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

On the off-tank with an eye on the rest of the raid. If a large healing spell is incoming from a fellow healer, it’s easy to bubble several melee or more than one tank to bridge the gap between casting and healing. When a raid co-healer knows that, and lets me know they need a few seconds of preventing additional damage without necessarily healing everyone up (“Big heals inc, need ten more seconds!”), I get all misty-eyed.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

Shamans. The offical reason is that Chain Healing works amazingly well with that whole You-Prevent-Damage-While-I-Poo-Out-A-Huge-Heal situation described above. The unofficial reason is their totems. I like to stand in the middle of ‘em. Makes me feel safe.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

Paladins. The standard answer to this is, I think, Disc priests, and that can truly be abysmal if you don’t like the other Disc priest you’re healing with, but you can actually work with another Disc priest to coordinate your bubbles. Paladins, though, rely on someone NOT preventing damage on their targets (and I frequently bubble their targets in a confused panic). It always ends in tears and recriminations.

What is your worst habit as a healer?

RENEW RENEW RENEW!!! … RENEW! …. …. …. …. RENEEEEEEEEWWWWWWW!

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

Unsolicited advice. This makes me want to punch a fool in the face. I don’t give anyone advice on how they play the game they’ve bought to pass the time in the manner of their choosing and certainly don’t want it. On the other hand, I adore it when people give me feedback when asked, and it’s nearly always spot-on (Corollary: I’ve found people who give unsolicited advice invariably aren’t worth listening to.)

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

Not at all. We’re dominating, unadulterated, masterful MACHINES of PvP!! /flex

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

I check my World of Logs records against the WoL records of the same fight for the top Disc priests (Ensidia, etc.) and the logs of friends whom I know to be solid Discos.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

It’s hard to say. When I first started playing in Wrath, people kept expecting me to raid heal, which was completely impossible and very perplexing. Now, we’re just as firmly pigeonholed as tank healers, but I really think our best utility comes from tank healing while simultaneously bubbling the occasional raid member to give a raid heal time to finish casting.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

The variety of spells. Blizzard’s spoken intent for Cataclysm was to improve the ‘granularity’ of healing for Disc priests, and I think they succeeded well in so doing. However, increased granularity does mean increased choice, which in turn makes life more difficult for beginners. That, along with the fact that Disc priests really have two specs within one tree- the SmiteSpec (using Atonement) and the ShieldSpec (no Atonement), as I think of them- and there is really a lot of choice and experimentation required that may not be to everyone’s liking.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

Like most Disc priests, my overhealing is pretty low, and total healing looks abysmal (until you add in prevented damage through shields). My use of Renew is higher than most, just because I like it, and I don’t cast Power Word: Barrier nearly as often as I ought to. In general, though, I blow all my cooldowns- needed or not!- because I’d rather use them too early than wait until I really need them and potentially not use them at all.

Haste or Crit and why?

Crit. Balance in all things, sure, but you can manage your casting choices and time to minimize the effect of Haste; you can’t manage anything to get a big heal.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?

Paladins.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

I don’t use many add-ons at all. The only raiding add-ons I use are Skada to check trends in damage taken and DBM to get the warnings. I do write a huge number of my own macros, though, and think that the most useful macros for Disc priests are (a) smart Shadowfiend to lock in a target for him to attack, (b) a Warning Yell before casting Hymn of Hope and (c) a raid announcement for casting and on whom you have cast Pain Suppression. Other than that, I use the default raid frames and no key modifiers! SACRILEGE!

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I tend to overstack Crit Intellect and understack Spirit and Haste. By not prioritizing Haste, my mana situation rarely gets out of control since I’m not casting as quickly. Conscious casting can, I think, minimize the need for more mana, reduce overheals, and forces you to play a very rapid-fire class with more deliberation- which, in turn, I think makes you a better Disc priest.

The tendency for Discos is to shoot out a huge number of spells incredibly quickly, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. It’s what makes us so different and fun! However, playing to deliberately minimize that aspect of Disc priesting, once you have mastered doing it that way (that bit’s important), creates a zen state quite unlike any other class I’ve ever played.

But, of course, I’m biased.

——————————–

Many thanks to my prompters, Rades and Snack, for their kind prompting to participate in this questionnaire; it was very fun to do and absolutely fascinating to read the responses of the many people who have participated thus far! I’m now supposed to tag someone not of my class to do their own version of this, so I’m passing the baton to Vixsin at Life In Group Five, a Resto Shaman.

Tagged ,

Discipline Priest Macros for Cataclysm

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

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

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

Power Word: Fortitude +  Shadow Protection +  Buff All:

Inner Will + Alert

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

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

Free Greater Heal:

Inner Focus + Greater Heal

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

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

Self Infusion:

Target Self + Power Infusion

/showtooltip Self Infusion
/tar self
/cast Power Infusion

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

Raidwide Damage Redux:

Power Infusion + Divine Hymn

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

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

Possible Addition:

Inner Focus + Prayer of Healing

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

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

 

Improved Shadowfiend

Acquire Target + Shadowfiend

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

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

Heal ALL The Things!:

Barrier + Alert + Power Infusion +   Prayer of Healing

#showtooltip Big Barrier Heal
/cast Power Word: Barrier

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

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

Polite Priesting:

Alert + Hymn of Hope

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

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

Resurrection Alert:

Resurrection +  Alert

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

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

Bonus Macro!

Super Suppression:

Target your tank + Pain Suppression + Alert

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

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

Useful Sites For Macro Creation:

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

Wowpedia’s Useful Macros for Priests

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

Wowpedia’s General Guide To Macros

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The 4.1 Nerfs: How To (Keep) Disc Priesting

So… So… So…

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

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

THE GOOD

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

THE BAD

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

THE UGLY

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

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

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

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

You know how to pray, don’t you?

You just put your hands together… and Penance.

Tagged , , , ,

Don’t Panic: Disc Priest Tips for Cataclysm

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

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

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

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

You wipe.

And then the group boots you.

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

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

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

1. LFD? LFG!

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

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

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

And then there are guild runs.

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

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

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

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

2. Dress for Success

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

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

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

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

3. (Key)Bound for Glory

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

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

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

My own goes something like this:

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

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

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

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

4. Get Right Back To Where We Started From

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Tagged , , , , , ,

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:

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Disc 101: Working With Other Healers

I know.

We’re imba.

Sooner or later, though, if you want to have chance of running 10-man raids, you’ll have to learn to get along with at least one other healer in a group. Working with other healers is a ton of fun, especially when you’re running with skilled individuals who do things totally differently but get fantastico results and make your job easier.

Getting along with your healing team is the single most important thing you can do to improve your success rate in raids. Learn to love them, listen to what they have to say, and always throw them a bonus heal.

They might even make you look better, if such a thing is possible! Then you can all retire to Ironforge for a beer amidst the cheers of your raid group for their healing team.

Understanding is the key to success!

Raid Healing Crib Sheet

Disc Priest & Paladin

Spells They Use:

Holy Light. Beacon of Light. Cleanse.

How This Affects You:

Holy Paladins are exclusively tank healers. If you don’t wanna be a tank healer, *footstomp*, tough shit. Unless there’s a shaman lurking around the back and you get to have that off-tank all to your lonesome, you WILL be the raid healer.

This is the trickiest combination of healers.

Neither of you have much in the way of group heal spells (oh, wait, what’s this under a rock? Circle of Whatnow?)- Paladins have none- and by the time your raid DPS’s get to 25% health it may already be too late to save them. And there’s not even another Disc Priests’ Penance bouncing around to help you out. You’re on your own completely, so be prepared to do a metric ass-ton of casting.

Keep Power Word: Shield up on all your targets. Start off with a rotation and then stick to it- “Click- shield, click-shield, click-shield”. If a DPS is taking damage, throw a Renew on them and keep moving. Watch who’s taking the most damage and hit that person with your Penance (sad fact: it may be you). Don’t bother bubbling the Pally, who has plenty of self-healing spells… besides which you’ll quite simply be too busy to bubble them.

Unlike the Marines, you may be leaving a man behind. On the plus side, your healing rotation gets much easier when you have one less person to keep alive!

Bonus Tip: Cast ‘Inner Focus’ before you slam down that last-ditch ‘Circle of Healing’. And pretend we don’t both know that if you’re doing that, it’s already too late.

Disc Priest & Shaman

Spells They Use:

Chain Heal. Healing Wave. Rip Tide.

How This Affects You:

Restoration Shamans are well-rounded raid healers. Congratulations! You’re bubbling the tanks.

It’s important to note that their Healing Stream Totem only heals the people in their party; Chain Heal, however, hits raid-wide. Shamans’ single-target heal spells are their Healing Wave and Rip Tide. Their raidwide heals aren’t as strong as a Druid’s, but they do have more flexibility to top up DPS who are taking more damage than the rest of the raid, which is reassuring if you run with one eye on the raid.

You’ll be perfectly fine just paying attention to your tanks without worrying too much about what’s happening in the raid, though bubbling the Shaman is a gentlemanly gesture which is always appreciated.

Bonus Tip: Stand within 30 yards of their Mana Tide Totem for better mana regeneration, and praise the Gods for giving you a Shammy.

Disc Priest & Disc Priest

Spells They Use:

Power Word: Shield. Penance. Flash Heal.

How This Affects You:

This can be a disaster waiting to happen, but it doesn’t have to be. The biggest issue here is that you’ll both end up trying to shield the same target that’ll screw up your cooldowns on Weakened Soul, or that you’ll place Penance on the same person.

This combination is particularly brutal when one or both of you don’t stick to your healing assignments.

Not sticking to the assignments means that on your frantic rotation through your raid group (let’s say you’re raid healing), you find that another shield is already up on one of your DPS. Now that person is off the scheduled clock- you don’t know how long that shield’s been up, how long it’ll be up, or how long the Weakened Soul will last, so you skip that dude and keep going. But it messes up your momentum, that DPS will invariably go without shielding for a while as you go on to the rest of your rotation, and it messes with your flow, man, your fuckin’ FLOW!

Don’t be that Disc priest.

With any other healer, you’re a saint for throwing a few raid bubbles on hard-hit DPS targets as you wait for your assigned tank’s bubble to wear off. With another Disc healer, you are just making them MAD.

Stick religiously to your assignments if you’re thrown in with another Disco. Keep Penance up on your targets (only your targets! You don’t want to hit the same person the other priest just hit and waste it). If you have the time and mana to assist on some non-assigned heals, you may feel free to dole out some Flash Heals.

Remember, if everyone in the raid just took a few huge hits, another disc priest cannot effectively heal them all at once. This isn’t like playing with a Shammy who has one enormous long Chain Heal she’s just on the verge of finishing; if you see seriously empty bars, you must help out your fellow Disc by Flash Healing the snot out of the second-worst damaged.

It’s the Code of the Discos.

Bonus Tip: Let each other know when you’re about to cast Hymn of Hope. Stand close to each other if possible. Trade off to ensure that the priest who’s casting is shielded, and you both get the most mana out of those two Hymns that you possibly can.

Disc Priest & Holy Priest

Spells They Use:

Prayer of Healing. Prayer of Mending. Circle of Healing.

How This Affects You:

A Holy Priest can perform single-target heals, but hopefully your Holy Priest will relish his role as a raid healer.

Lots of PUGing and LFD, though- especially if he’s overgeared- may have seduced your Holy into some bad habits: namely, using disc spells as quick fixes. This can be legendarily bad if it happens when you run together.

With any luck, your Holy Priest will not try to bubble. If they do, you’re going to have to figure out a way to ask them as politely as possible to stop. This is a recipe for disaster as it will screw up your Weakened Soul cooldown rotation and is a terrible waste of his mana to boot.

Otherwise, Holy priests make excellent raid companions. Do, do bubble them whenever you can; for some reason, I see Holy healers go down before any other healer class, and a fairy loses its wings every time a priest dies.

Bonus Tip: You both have Fade. Use it!

Disc Priest & Druid

Spells They Use:

Healing Touch. Nourish. Rejuvenation. Wild Growth.

How This Affects You:

Druid healers have lots and lots of loooooong HoTs (Heals Over Time). They are, to my mind, on the absolute other end of the healing spectrum from us fast and flashy disc healers. This is definitely a good thing: You perform triage, they keep up steady infusions.

You may find it helpful to keep up a bubble on the one DPS who is taking a ton of damage, simply because the Druid repertoire is very light on single-target heals. Tossing a Flash Heal or Penance on a DPS whose health is falling way behind everyone else’s will get you very far indeed with your tree.

The problem you may have with healing with a druid is mainly personal. It’s incredibly hard for me to see several low health bars and not do anything about it, ohmigod STAN, ohmigod he’s DYING *flash heal! flash heal! flash heal!*. The problem is internal. We aren’t patient, or we wouldn’t be Disc priests.

Trust your druid to keep on top of it. Repress the desire to bubble spam the raid when you’re tank healing (and you will be tank healing, if there’s a druid in the group). If you absolutely must, just avoid looking at any health bars that aren’t assigned to you. Be at one with nature, and compliment your druid’s foliage.

Bonus Tip: Always, always, always keep a bubble up on the druid healer. Yes, I know it’s not your assignment. No, I don’t care.

Tagged , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 117 other followers