Tag Archives: how to heal as disc priest

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

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

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

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

INSTANCES, NORMAL OR HEROIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAIDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Don’t forget to flask and eat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pray.

IN CONCLUSION

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

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

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

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