>This discussion has been going on for quite a while now. Every time I hop on the forums there is always a priest thread arguing about “haste vs mastery” and how one is more valuable than the other. To figure out which one is better, we need to dig a little deeper into the facts.
Echo of Light- Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 10% over 6 seconds. Each point of Mastery provides an additional 1.25% healing over 6 seconds.
Every spell we use, from Heal/Flash Heal to Prayer of Mending and even Renew (as long as you’re properly talented) all benefit from our Mastery. And because Mastery increases our healing done, it makes it an attractive throughput stat. It doesn’t top Intellect which increases our spellpower, but it certainly tops Critical Strike Rating which relies on the Random Number Generator.
Haste- Decreases the cast time of your spells, reduces the Global Cooldown of spells, and also adds HoT ticks to some spells based on various points of Haste.
Most spells we utilize are affected by our Haste Rating. Haste is very valuable for Holy priests because many of our biggest healing spells have a long cast time. Lowering this cast time increases our throughput in the sense that we can cast more spells in the same time allotted for a boss fight. Also be aware that casting more spells equals more mana used, so having the mana regen to handle the increased Haste is essential.
Renew and the Legend of the Soft Haste Cap
Renew is a HoT available to priests and it is very similar to a druid’s Rejuvenation. The Holy tree has talents that buff Renew and make it the preferred single target heal when raid healing. Haste rating increases Renew’s efficiency because in Cataclysm all HoT effects are affected by Haste Rating (with the exception of our Mastery, go figure). A fresh-85 Holy priest will most likely only get 4 ticks out of Renew over 12 seconds. When you get geared for raiding, hitting 12.5% will squeeze a 5th tick out of Renew in that same 12 second time frame, increasing it’s efficiency. Because Renew becomes more efficient than Heal at 12.5%, it becomes essential for a raid healing Holy priest to hit this “soft haste cap.”
Why is it called the “soft haste cap?”
Because the next tick for Renew won’t be achieved until 37.5% Haste which is impossible to get at our current gear levels. This is called the “hard haste cap.” Haste is still valuable after 12.5%, but it is diminished since our primary HoT doesn’t benefit from it until 37.5%.
Haste vs. Mastery after 12.5% Haste Rating
Here’s my theory:
At lower gear levels when you are clearing out normal mode content, mana regen will still be a problem for most healers. And because high Haste depends on high mana regen, it’s not a preferred stat past 12.5% for a priest starting to raid.
Meanwhile, Mastery makes your heals hit harder at no cost to your mana. Echo of Light can account for almost 15% of your effective healing depending on your Mastery rating all while keeping your mana efficiency in check.
But what if I’m geared and I’m comfortable with my mana regen?
Then Haste will take the lead over Mastery, especially with Cataclysm Heroic-modes. Mastery is still a good stat, but getting off your Prayer of Healing quicker without having to worry about mana is better for Heroic-mode encounters where damage can be extremely spiky and getting everyone to full health ASAP is our top priority.
- If you are a priest still working on normal modes and are still struggling with mana, gear for Mastery rating.
- If you are a priest working on Heroic-modes and are comfortable with your mana regen, gear for Haste rating.