Tag: 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.


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.




  • 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



  • 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!]


  • 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!]


  • [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.


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

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?


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?


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.

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]
/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
/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

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.

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

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!

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: