Tag Archives: leveling

Blizzcon 2011 Poll: Favorite Zone(s) For Leveling

Every six hours DA will bring you the finest in question-askery, from now until the end of Blizzcon! All polls open until the end of Blizzcon.

View All Blizzcon 2011 Polls

 

Hey, who says we can’t have fun just because our butts are glued to cubicle chairs instead of frolicking in the pools of Anaheim with the pilfered contents of your next-door rogue’s minifridge? That’s loser talk! And we’re winners! POLL winners!

Are you mad for Hyjal? Does the thought of meeting Nesingwary in Stranglethorn make you swoon? Step right up and make your choice or choices; where do you most like to level your characters?

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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)
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Discipline Priest Builds for 4.0

Check out our guide to Disc Priest Gear in Cataclysm

These builds are now active in patch 4.0.3. You can add onto them- without respeccing- in Cataclysm, when the level cap increases to 85 and you can pick up the last four talent points. Consider them a starting point for experimenting with all the fun new elements of the disc priest!

Check out DA’s main priest: Liala’s Current Build and Stats at WoW Armory

SAMPLE BUILD #1: The Standard Shielding Disc Priest (aka SHIELDSPEC)

Interactive Talent Calculator for Build #1

This build includes many talents familiar to WotLK disc priests, including Improved PW:Shield, Grace, Rapture, and Divine Aegis, among others. I’ve also picked up a few new talents:

  • Darkness: Improves spell Haste by 3% (Shadow)
  • Power Word: Barrier: Summons a barrier in a certain location that shields any friendly target within it.
  • Soul Warding: Reduces cooldown on PW:Shield by 2 seconds.

This build should feel very familiar to current Disc Priests. For variation, I’d recommend dropping 2 points of Veiled Shadows (Shadow; reduces cooldown on Fade and Shadowfiend) for two ranks of Inspiration (Holy; increases healing of Holy heal spells).

Recommended Glyphs
Prime: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Power Word: Barrier
Major: Glyph of Mass Dispel … and the rest currently suck for us; try Dispel Magic and Holy Nova, just for giggles
Minor: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Fortitude, Glyph of Shackle Undead (I’d switch this one out with Glyph of Levitate, but it’s a personal preference)

SAMPLE BUILD #2: The Smite/Shield Hybrid Disc Priest (aka SMITESPEC)

Interactive Talent Calculator for Build #2

This build is highly experimental; Blizzard clearly wanted PvPing Disc priests to do more damage through the use of Smite, as you can see from the inclusion of a number of new talents (Evangelism, Archangel, and Atonement). This might also be a nice leveling build, enabling a dedicated Disc priest to heal through 5-man instances and solo quest without changing specs. New talents include:

  • Evangelism: Increases the damage and decreases mana cost of Smite, Holy Fire, and Penance each time you cast Smite (or Mind Flay).
  • Archangel: Consumes your Evangelism effect so that, rather than increasing the damage, etc., of your next Smite (see above), restores a percentage of mana and boosts your healing effects.
  • Atonement: Heal a nearby target (or yourself) for 80% (40% for yourself) each time you Smite.

For a possible variation, I’d consider dropping 2 points in Darkness (haste increase) for two points in Veiled Shadows (Shadowfiend and Fade cooldown reduction).

Recommended Glyphs
Prime: Glyph of Penance, Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Renew
Major: Glyph of Mass Dispel, Glyph of Divine Accuracy, Glyph of Smite
Minor:  Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Fortitude, Glyph of Fading (all that Smite-ing’s going to be generating threat that you’ll have to control much more than the Shield build)

Don’t be afraid to play around with the new talents; good luck and have fun!

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Disciplinary Action on the WoWphiles Podcast

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

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

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

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Liala’s Priest Leveling Challenge

I get a lot of mail asking about alternatives to heirloom gear for people without sugar daddy 80’s. It’s one of the reasons that the Discultimate Gear Guide is dedicated to non-heirloom leveling gear.

A particular email struck me, though:

“So, I don’t have any level 80 characters, and I don’t have any heirlooms. How long has it been since you leveled your priest? Will it take me forever without them?”

I had to ask myself how long it had actually been since I leveled my priest- and… phew, it’s been a while. More than two years!

It feels like just yesterday, gentle readers, and I’ve been writing the leveling portions of the blog from the excellent memories of those days. But things change, and it’s been positive ages since I’ve tried to level all on my own.

No moneybags alts to keep me rolling in dough. No free enchanting mats, no maxed-out bags. No enchanter at the ready, no jeweler to cut on command. No solo-running low-level instances to pick up the best blue for your alt’s level and shipping it off to them.

When Cataclysm drops, lots of people will be playing WoW for the first time. Even now, we’re rolling alts on new servers to pass the time, or to lay the groundwork for multiple alts on a new server (I don’t know about you guys, but I hit my realm’s character max light years ago- and I NEED a goblin and Tauren drood, dammit!).

It’s time to revisit the leveling process for priests. I’ve decided to roll a brand-new priest on a brand-new server.

I chose Drenden-US, which is another server on my Battlegroup whose members I’ve always enjoyed PUGging with, and where I have no other alts. And because I did it Alliance last time, I’ve chosen to go with the Horde.

Say hello to my leetle friend...

Feel free to stop by any time to say hello. She’s taking her first steps tonight… Let the games begin!

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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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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 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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