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.


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.


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…


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.



  1. Aye. I’ll be stacking mastery and praying that the patch is quickly followed by a hot fix of stupidity again. I just cannot wrap my mind around the ‘balancing’ that Blizzard claims we need across the healing classes. Pewpew an QQ. Why even have 5 different types of healers then at all? Bah!

    Vespers begin tomorrow at dawn. See you there.


  2. I’m going to have to disagree on the nerfs, which I don’t think are nerfs at all – just adjustments. It never made sense to me that PW:B had a shorter CD than Pain Suppression. I always felt a group CD should have longer or the same duration as the single person CD so the PW:B change is acceptable to me. What surprised me is that they didn’t do it sooner.

    I’m indifferent on the PW:S duration down from 30 seconds. I was more hurt by the increased cost of the spell – that was something I got highly upset over. In raids today, I don’t expect PW:S to last more than a few seconds on the tank so whether it’s duration is 15 or 30 seconds it doesn’t amount to much. I raid 10 mans with just the 2 tanks and one melee Shaman so my mileage may vary on it. I don’t ever find myself spamming bubbles like I used to in Wrath.

    The only change I can imagine that I make after these changes go into effect is yelling “pull before my bubble wears off!” more than I already do. 🙂


    • You raise an excellent point- how long is the tank’s bubble realistically going to last, anyway? We all know (too well! too well!) the popping qualities of our bubbles.

      I personally am more aggrieved at the time loss for the off-tank, or the odd essential DPS, than its usefulness on the tank. I feel that it’s an unnecessary nerf on a spell that really has been robbed of so much of its usefulness already- and while priest healing is so much more than that, I still feel disc healing maintains the bubble as its centerpiece. There’s no real danger of us spamming it endlessly, what with the mana cost, so why nerf the length?

      There’s a lot of correction, needed or not, as you’re so inclined to view it, that I really think comes down to all this ANGER with Disc Priests being rather- let’s face it- OP in Wrath. We’re certainly on par with other healers now, and I didn’t myself see the need for a change which- again, just to me- appears to be more about showing other classes disc is being punished than actually solving an issue here or there.

      As you say, the PW:B cooldown should perhaps share a cooldown on par with other group heals/buffs… but should it simultaneously perform less absorption? I wonder if we’ll get any of this quietly grandfathered back in on subsequent patches, as has happened to other classes whose public OPness has been highly visible in the nerf arena (pallys, I’m looking at you!).

      In the meantime, I’ll take a page out of your book and yell “pull before my bubble wears off!” with more frequency, as well! 😀


  3. If, as some people have claimed, the purpose of the duration nerf is to incentivize using other spells, you wouldn’t expect a mana cost increase. It seems more like a regen nerf, when you consider the other cooldown changes. But, as with all the changes to healers so far in this expansion, the subtext seems clear: Only the dedicated need apply. If you wanted to see big numbers, roll dps. 🙂


  4. I really have no problem with the PW:S change. I agree with Tobeume – PW:S doesn’t last 30 seconds (or even 15) on a tank. This change doesn’t mean Blizzard doesn’t want priests to shield. I’m positive that PW:S will still be my top spell on most fights.

    All this really does is force you to not cast shields on people who might take damage sometime in the near future. Only cast them on people you know will take damage soon. To anyone who is currently playing smartly and managing their mana, this isn’t going to cause that much of a change.


  5. Yeah I’m not pleased. It sends a clear message “BUBBLE THE TANK AND THE TANK ALONE.” along with “FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, DON’T BUBBLE EARLY”. As it was, I was only bubbling the tank and the dps who is targeted with the single-target soul-crushing nasty. I just have to be more careful about when I toss that bubble now so it doesn’t wear off before the soul-crushing nasty hits.


  6. My priest recently went holy, but disc is still special in my heart (mostly cause i ❤ my power word: Shield). In my opinon with the new shortened duration of PW:S they should lower the mana cost slightly since it won't be blanketable anymore, absorb effects are in there nature extremely strong (see concepts of shielding post on my blog if you want explanation) so I understand blizzards concern. Its hard to balance it to where disc is viable but not required for the highest level of progression.


  7. As it was, I was already moving to forge more mastery onto my gear as of late, so if the cool thing to do is stack more mastery, I’m already on my way there! And like Zel, I’ve been trying to train myself into bubbling just the tank and occasionally melee DPS getting wailed on. No longer do I just bubble everyone just because I could. I suppose I can get used to the ‘nerf’s’, I’m just tired of the constant fiddling and wish Blizzard had maybe put more thought into the balancing of things up front instead of tweaking spells and talents after people have gotten used to how things are. It feels, to me, that they want to homogonize the healing classes more than ever and it’s like…why? Blarg.

    QQ! My poor bubbles! QQ!


  8. I wholeheartedly agree with those who are not concerned. Being that we’re as gear dependant as has already been stated previously, with the gear that we’ve been aquiring in the current tier and proper mana management, I have found my playstyle getting dangerously close to the bubble spamming mindlessness of wrath. PW:S won’t stop scaling with gear, that much is certain. Without an increase to mana cost there would be no regard to throwing it around like candy off a parade float. The reduction to duration shouldn’t be a concern either because even in wrath we should have disciplined ourselves to only pre-bubble right before high raid damage was about to go out in order to get the full benefit of rapture.

    As far as PW:B is concerned, I’m just happy it’s still around to begin with. So we don’t get an easy out EVERY time that one boss ability comes up? Awww… When it IS off cd the rest of the raid will still love us just as much.

    Maybe I have too much faith in our class, but I think we’ve proven time and time again that we can suffer through. I read the patch notes and STILL welcome 4.1 with open arms. ZA and ZG baby!!!


  9. I personally am not too bothered with the 4.1 changes, though I’ve not been on the PTR just yet to test them out. I love tank healing (hence my holy pally main and discopriest alt) for 10s and the AA changes will only enhance. And I hate bubblespam so anything to keep us in the tank healing niche makes me a happy healbot 🙂

    I raided last night with my priest as atonement for the first time in weeks and it felt REALLY REALLY strong as a tank healer, the only off-healing I did was some PoH. I only bubbled the tanks or those in DIRE need.


  10. in my homble opinion pw:S is both of a nerf and a boost, concidering tha rapture is on a 12 sec cd when the ppl shielded get low dmg we will get our 6% mana back much quicker, and as many ppl said before, the tank wouldn’t use the tank for moree tha 10 sec in a raid boss, as for the. barrier, it’s more of a last resort anyway, disc now are good for theire tank healing, aoe is for holy, so extending the barrier cd to 3 won’t be a problem, I don’t think any disc priest uses it more than twice in a single boss fight any
    way… now as for the mana cost, its something we should have been ready about, when in random hc we end a boss with 80% mana and everyone topped , blizz had to do something. to sum up with, blizz is just making high-end healerz job a bit more difficult, aand a bit more of a chalenge, if you gut the guts aand the skillz you will be a good one, if not, you’ll get oom in 5 sec and wiped in 10…


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