Mists of Pandaria: Talent Preview for Healing Priests

The new expansion is here! I’ll be honest, when I first saw the preview I REALLY thought it was a joke. I mean, Pandas? Really? But as I thought about it more and more, it started to grow on me. Well, as you all know, with a new expansion comes CHANGES! Our talent system is completely getting overhauled. Blizzard is “cutting the fat” from our talent trees. No more “Increases X by Y” talents! They are all finally pure utility talents and you can choose the ones that suit YOUR character and YOUR play-style the best! Continue reading

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History of the Holy Priest

I’m a Wrath baby. I admit it. I played very casually in BC, but I didn’t start raiding until Wrath of the Lich King. My knowledge of Holy tree history only extends back to the last expansion, so it’s not nearly as vast as some other players, but I think it would still be interesting to take a look back at Holy viability and desirability between the two expansions. Continue reading

Class Feedback- Priests

What type of content do you focus on? [PvE/PvP/Both]

Both

If PvE, what type of PvE? [Heroics/Raids/Other]

Normal-mode Raids

If PvP, what type of PvP? [Arenas, BGs, Rated BGs]

BGs

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.

I’d like to see Dispel Magic and Cure Disease be merged into one spell. All other classes have had this done. It helps free up button space on our bars and makes it easier when binding spells to our mouse or keys.

I’d also like to see Priests (Shadow more-so than any other spec) receive a LEGIT CC-type ability so they may contribute more to raids. Psychic Scream is too risky unless it’s glyphed and doesn’t last nearly long enough. Shackle Undead is situational and had much more use in the last expansion. Mind Control is also risky. I like the idea of Mind Control, but it doesn’t last long enough in PvE. It also takes the casting Priest out of combat because of it having to be channeled. I think I’d like the ability just to “incapacitate” humanoids for a greater amount of time rather than control their movements. A humanoid CC could also help leveling Priests as well.

What makes playing your class more fun?

I really like how Priests have a tool for just about everything. I’m happy that we have 2 types of healing trees that are very different from each other. I also like how both trees center around 2 different types of abilities (Power Word: Shield and Chakra).

What makes playing your class less fun?

We have a ton of spells in our arsenal, but we tend to spam ones that have the most efficiency. This causes many of our spells to take a seat on the back burner when they should be utilized just as much as our most efficient ones. Priests have a few spells that are very powerful (Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending) while the rest are merely mediocre (Renew, Heal, and Holy Word: Sanctuary).

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)

Discipline:

  • Disc tank healing is very fun, especially with the Strength of Soul talent.
  • I would like to see Atonement healing become more viable with future bosses. Currently some boss hit boxes are so large that the heal can’t reach the tank (Al Akir, Ragnaros, etc.)
  • Raid healing as Disc is very spammy right now. Disc Priests spam Prayer of Healing with the occasional Power Word: Shield. I’d like to see more options for raid healing, such as a new AoE ability or make current spells like Renew more worthwhile to cast for Discipline.

Holy:

  • While Holy Priests have the ability to tank heal (much better than in Wrath) they still are extremely lacking. They don’t have the longevity and single target throughput required for many boss fights (Baleroc comes to mind). At a certain gear point, Disc Priests have the ability to spam Greater Heal without the fear of going oom. Holy does not have this luxury.
  • Raid healing as Holy is also very spammy, much like Disc. We have a ton of spells that can contribute to raid healing yet Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing, and Prayer of Mending are the 3 that see the most use. Spells like Renew and our Holy Word spells have taken a backseat due to them not having the “oomph” required for the situation. It’s a real shame about Renew in particular because we have 5 talent points, a Chakra state, and a Prime Glyph dedicated to the spell and it is still lackluster.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary can be so much more useful. It hardly gets used because of it’s outrageous mana cost compared with the minor amount of healing it does. It does ignore the “6-player or more” rule which has helped it gain more favor, but whether this was intended or whether it’s a bug is still yet to be determined (I’m leaning more towards intended).

What’s on your wish list for your class?

Priests:

  • Dispel Magic and Cure Disease be merged into one spell.
  • A viable CC (for Shadow if nothing else).
  • A reduction in mana cost for Priest DoTs. Holy and Disc can’t be offensive with DoTs in PvP because of the outrageous cost of Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague. Restoration Druids don’t have this issue.

Discipline:

  • A change with the Atonement heal range. Make that type of healing viable for bosses with larger hit boxes.
  • Implement another spell for Disc raid healing such as Renew or a brand new spell.
  • A change to the Shield Discipline mastery. Currently Shield Discipline only affects absorbs, which makes it a very weak stat for raid healing. It currently only affects Divine Aegis and Power Word: Shield. I’d like to see a Disc mastery that boosts both Healing and Shields to make the stat more attractive for raid healing. That, or bump the scaling that Prayer of Healing has with Divine Aegis.

Holy:

  • An increase in single target throughput. Make it more competitive with other healing classes like Druids and Shamans.
  • A talent that increases Spellpower. If the Devs want Spirit to be the primary source of regen for Holy then that’s fine, but give Holy a Spirit-to-Spellpower talent to help keep up with classes whose primary regen source is Intellect.
  • A buff to Renew. The Holy tree dedicates a lot to the spell and it’s current output is not making the cut.
  • A buff/change to Holy Word: Sanctuary. If you’re not gonna cut the cost of the spell, then buff it so it makes it worthwhile to spend the mana. The spell would be so much better if it scaled with Haste rather than Mastery.
  • A buff to Circle of Healing. It’s one of our staple abilities and it just doesn’t compare to it’s Druid equivalent Wild Growth. Part of this reason is because Wild Growth scales with Haste as well as Mastery and Crit whereas Circle of Healing only scales from Mastery and Crit. A buff to compensate would be great.
  • A change to the Holy Mastery: Echo of Light. Echo of Light is a unique Mastery and it is pure throughput for Holy Priests, but because it’s made into a HoT it tends to over-heal for most of it’s effect reducing it’s value in comparison to Haste. It also hardly scales with Renew, one of Holy’s defining abilities. I’d like to see it’s value increase to become more competitive with Haste.
  • A unique raid CD. This is another one of the main reasons why Holy Priests aren’t very desirable right now. Holy doesn’t offer any worthwhile CDs for raids right now, just a few mediocre ones. Power Word: Barrier is extremely strong for raids and is one of the reasons why players choose Disc over Holy. Holy has Divine Hymn (which is nothing, but an extremely weak Tranquility that temporarily boosts healing received for those affected) and Lightwell (which requires players to click it to even be effective.) Guardian Spirit is a very powerful tank CD, but it’s just that, a TANK CD. I would love it if Blizzard scrapped Divine Hymn entirely and had Chakra affect how Guardian Spirit works. In Chakra: Serenity have Guardian Spirit work like it currently does. In Chakra: Sanctuary have Guardian Spirit turn into a 3 min raid CD that prevents deaths and increases healing received for a certain number of players. Have it be place-able, and maybe even use a Spirit Healer graphic.
  • Example: Guardian Spirit- Summons a Guardian Spirit to watch over raid and party members. The Guardian Spirit will prevent up to 5 deaths and increase healing received by 10% to all party and raid members within 20 yards. Lasts 10 seconds.

How awesome would it be to summon a Spirit Healer in the middle of your raid knowing it would prevent raider deaths?

What spells do you use the least?

  • Renew- Just doesn’t pack the punch needed.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary- Expensive and doesn’t heal for a lot.
  • Heal- Slow and doesn’t heal for much. Really only used to refresh Renew for Holy.
  • Flash Heal- Fast but expensive. Only good when Surge of Light procs.
  • Mind Soothe- I’ve only used it when soloing low level instances and want to avoid mobs.
  • Shackle Undead- Extremely situational.
  • Mind Control- Really only effective sometimes in PvP, like at the Lumber Mill or in Eye of the Storm.

Transmogrification: Vanilla and BC Tier Fashion for Priests

With the release of Patch 4.3, Blizzard has introduced a unique feature: Transmogrification.

From Blizzard: “The Ethereals, emerging from the nether, will bring with them a new technology they call Transmogrification. They’re heading to the capital cities of Azeroth to set up shop and to offer adventurers a unique service — copying the appearance of one magical item onto another. They only ask for a modest gold donation to recoup their costs.”

No words can describe how awesome this feature is. But there is a catch. Currently, it seems you would need to obtain the original piece of gear for you to use the graphic on your current loot. Priests have had some REALLY GOOD sets, and some kinda ugly ones. Lets take a look at each one. Continue reading

Raid Composition Can Affect Your Stat Priority

I had an interesting conversation with Lodur on Twitter about how your personal raid composition can heavily influence your personal stat priority. In his case, he said that depending on how many Restoration Druids are present in your raid, Restoration Shamans might consider Haste over Mastery after the Haste Soft Cap. It got me thinking. Does this same theory apply to Priests?

For you to understand how your raid composition can affect you, you must first understand how other healers function. Restoration Druids in particular can heavily affect how you should gem/enchant due to their HoT-style of healing. They primarily lack any “burst” healing, but make up for it with healing spells that can greatly stabilize the raid over time.

Holy Priests:

This can cause an issue for Holy Priests who stack Mastery in 25’s. In my particular case, we usually run with 3 Restoration Druids (they are extremely popular in my guild, just ask Lissanna). With this many Druids, our raid’s health bars are usually more stable for most of the fight and it seems less bursty due to HoTs continually rolling.  With raider health bars being more stable and because of Echo of Light’s HoT-type of healing effect, a lot of over-healing can occur which causes the Mastery stat to be wasted.

In a raid with this many Druids, Haste would be a more beneficial stat. Getting your big, bursty heals off sooner would be more beneficial than a lingering HoT that has a greater chance of over-healing. It gives you more throughput with less over-heal, which is what most healers strive for.

Discipline Priests:

Depending on your roll in the raid, Druids can affect your stat priority as well. It is general knowledge that Disc Priests favor Crit, Haste, and Mastery fairly equally without one significantly outclassing the other. However, I believe Mastery becomes a stronger stat with a more HoT-based healing team. Disc Priests and Druids/Shamans have a very good synergy with each other. This is mainly due to the heavy mitigation abilities of the Priest that causes less over-healing for the Druid/Shaman. Mitigating future damage rather than healing it lets Druid/Shaman HoTs tick for their full potential rather than over-healing, benefiting both healers to their full potential.

So take a look at your raid team. If you’re running with a Druid Bonanza, you might want to rethink your stat priority. It wouldn’t be mandatory, but if you want to heal at your full potential then it should be heavily considered.

Do You Use Lifegrip in Raids? No? Well You Should!

One of my favorite aspects about being a Priest is the sheer amount of tools we have in our arsenal. All other healers pale in comparison to the amount of buttons we have to click. They make us extraordinarily versatile and we have the tools to whether any situation that is thrown at us. Probably my favorite tool to use is Leap of Faith or “Lifegrip” that was introduced to us in Cataclysm.

Leap of Faith- You pull the spirit of the friendly party or raid target to you, instantly moving them directly in front of you.

Lifegrip is obtained at level 85. You don’t have to be any particular spec to obtain it. It is usable by all priests, both of Holy or Shadow faith, although Shadow Priests need to be aware that using Lifegrip drops you out of Shadowform. It essentially works the same as a Death Knight’s Deathgrip except you can only target party/raid members. Holy Priests have an added effect that gives a speed boost to the Lifegrip target after the target is pulled to your location when they are appropriately talented into Body & Soul.

There are many uses for Lifegrip in current Cataclysm encounters:

Bastion of Twilight:

Halfus Wyrmbreaker- I’ve used Lifegrip on the tank when we’ve done the annoying 3-drake pull (in fact he requested it). It gives the healers a few extra seconds to get him back up to full health. The drakes don’t cleave and should just follow where he is pulled.

Valiona and Theralion- Your blackout target is outside the group and is too busy DPSing? Lifegrip him into the group! It’ll save his butt! Also, if you notice someone standing in Valiona’s flame breath path, yank them away! This fight in particular has many uses for Lifegrip.

Ascendant Council- Lifegrip is a savior for Phase 1 Heroic mode where raids need to take advantage of the frost/fire debuffs. Pull the debuffed target into your group and dispel! If you notice someone needs to get grounded and your standing near the vortex in Phase 2, pull’em over! Phase 3 is a bit trickier. You can Lifegrip the person who gets pulled into the air only after they start to fall. Levitate or Lifegrip can work well if timed appropriately.

Chogall- You notice someone completely ignoring the Corrupting Crash mechanics? Yank’em out! It might wake them up!

Black Wing Descent:

Magmaw- Lifegrip is great for moving people who don’t notice Magmaw’s body slam technique, even when people are screaming on Vent.

Omnotron Defense System- Lifegrip is great when Toxitron is active. If you notice someone isn’t able to kite the adds, pull them to you! It gives DPS the extra few seconds needed to get the adds down!

Maloriak- There isn’t too much use for Lifegrip here. I would suggest that if you notice someone not stacking up during the Red Phase, feel free to pull them in! Just make sure they don’t have the Consuming Flames debuff otherwise that will kill them. Also, if you notice a healer is getting whacked on by adds, feel free to pull them to you out of harms way!

Chimeron- Lifegrip is good if you notice someone not stacking up during Feud. During Phase 2, feel free to Lifegrip the targeted person to you. It helps with kiting the boss and allows a few extra seconds of DPS that could mean the difference between a kill and a wipe!

Atramedes- Lifegrip was created for this fight. Just like Valiona and Theralion, this fight requires a lot of raid awareness and movement. Lifegrip is great for the person who is kiting Atramedes during his air phase. It buys a few extra seconds and may mean the difference between having to use a gong or not.

Nefarian- Someone not standing under the Disc Priest’s Barrier during Electrocute? Lifegrip them in! Someone is still struggling to get on the platform for Phase 2? Lifegrip them on! You can also help the tank kite the adds in Phase 3 by utilizing Lifegrip. Just make sure your tank is aware and prepared for the extra yank.

Throne of Winds:

Conclave of Winds- I’ll be honest, I have only ever done the Rohash platform, so I’ll explain from that point of view. Lifegrip is great for Rohash. When you see that someone won’t dodge his circular Wind Blast technique, pull them towards you, even if it’s through the blast. They won’t get knocked off.

Al Akir- Lifegrip is a savior for this fight. Anyone who gets sucked into a tornado can be pulled to safety. In fact, Lifegrip is the ONLY spell that can get someone out of a tornado safely (unless your a warlock). I’ve used it many times on DPS, fellow healers, and even the tank! It’s priceless for this fight!

Lifegrip has a TON of uses for this part of the expansion and I foresee it being just as useful for Patch 4.2 as well. We have the spell in our arsenal, so make sure it’s on your bars! It’s UNIQUE and could mean the difference between a clear and a wipe!

In my opinion, a Priest who actively uses Lifegrip in appropriate situations is a far better healer than one that tops the meters. It shows they are aware of their surroundings and are prepared to deal with whatever is thrown at them. That’s worth more than any Recount or World of Logs topper.