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What I Do and Why: Discipline Priest, Part 3


Took a week off there, but I’m back in the game!  My friends at d20crit and I have some exciting things going on, but that’s not what you’re here for, is it?

Time to finish off this post series with a bang!  Or… Glyphs.

Let’s get right into it, then!

Glyph #1: Glyph of Weakened Soul.  Now, I knoew before I touted using Glyph of PW:S, which transferred 20% of the shield’s total absorb to the target as a heal.  It’s OK.  It still is OK.  But this one is better.  This one reduces the duration of Weakened Soul (the debuff a player gets when you bubble them with PW:S) by 2 seconds.  It stacks with Empowered PW:S, which reduces the Weakened Soul effect by 3 seconds for a total debuff reduction of 5 seconds.  Without either of these things, Weakened Soul lasts 15 seconds, so you can see why its kind of great- more bubbles faster, bubbles where you need them and when, which is phenomenal since bubbles last 15 seconds (or until they’ve absorbed the damage they need to.)  Admittedly, tank bubbles usually get beaten off in a second, but you can put another one on them in short order with this Glyph.

Glyph #2: Glyph of Penance.  Because it still allows you to cast it on the move.  That is so important because one of our strengths is our mobility- ut you have to remember.  Your job is to mitigate incoming damage, not actually heal (you can, and if you have to, do, but only in an emergency, when it is needed to save a life.)

Glyph #3: Your Choice

Really, there is no third glyph I can recommend.  I have Glyph of Mass Dispel, but I rarely use MD anymore, so I am on the lookout for a good third glyph.

Well, that concludes this post series!  Stay tuned here for more upcoming news about BlizzCon and Con Before the Storm, some 6.2 looks, and the new tier set coming with Hellfire Citadel!  Until then, keep cool and stay angry, healers!


What I Do and Why- Discipline Priest, Part 1

Now, I’ve seen recently that the Discipline Priest is considered the “scrub spec” for healers because even a slack- ass Priest can pull some pretty good numbers on fights.  I hate that.  I hate that people think this.  And I hate even more that people are OK with being a mediocre Disco Priest.  I hate saying that.  I do, because I don’t want to be that person.  But here’s the thing- I am invested in this class.  I love this spec.  And I want to see as many people as I can doing it well, because a decent Discipline Priest can pull amazing heals, and a good one can change a fight.  So here’s what I’m going to do.  This post is going to be super cereal- no, I’m still not going to theorycraft or number crunch.  I suck at it, so I’m not going to do it.  Instead, I’m going to tell you what I do and why I do it.  I’m going to impart upon you all of my experience- as well as the research I’ve done- that should be helpful.  Consider this something of an updated guide to Disco Priesting.  So let’s get into it.

What I Do and Why: Discipline Priest Edition

Anyone can play a Disco Priest and be OK.  But a great Disco Priest plays with finesse and knows how to work their spells, abilities, and talents.

1.  It is important to understand that you are not a healer in the standard sense.  I like to tell my raid that I am a bubble mage, because you will rarely catch me dropping actual heals (I do use Penance defensively and I make use of Enhanced Archangel, but there are specifics that I need to cover with these which I will go over in a bit.)  Your go to spell is Power Word: Shield.  Bubble and bubble often.  To facilitate the “bubble often” portion of that last statement, you NEED the Glyph of Weakened Soul (which reduces the Weakened Soul debuff to 10 seconds from 12, since you have Empowered PW:S.)  Plainly put, you don’t actually heal- you prevent damage.  To full understand why this is important, you need to look at what you can do.  PW:S lasts 15 seconds (or X amount of damage).  That is a long time to have a shield up.  This allows you a bit of time to prepare and forces you to think ahead and look at those ability timers on DBM.  When is the next big wave of damage coming in?  Who is soaking the Inferno Slice on Gruul?  How long do you have until the next Stone Breath on Kromag?  Look at the timer.  This gives you time to mitigate that damage.  Remember- your shields last 15 seconds.  This gives you a very unique perspective and allows you to be prepared.  A normal healer typically recognizes when damage is incoming about 3-4 seconds before it actually hits (this is just an average, obviously it depends on the person.)  However, you saw that damage coming 15 seconds ago- and you have bubbled the raid to mitigate that damage.  This is imperative as it significantly affects your other healers- they don’t have as much damage to heal up, so they aren’t blowing as much mana.  Thinking that far ahead can change an encounter drastically and make it easier on pretty much everyone.  Remember that your job isn’t to heal people up- that’s what they other healers are for.  Your job is to mitigate as much damage as you can to make the other healers’ lives easier.  Discipline priests exist symbiotically with the other healers in a raid team- you focus on preventing damage.  Let the other healers worry about filling the health bars.  We’re, henceforth, going to refer to the ability to look 15 seconds ahead as future sight.

2.  Know how to build stacks of Evangelism quickly (AKA get your 2- piece Tier Set bonus ASAP!!)  One of the best tools in your kit is Archangel, but to get it, you need to cast offensively.  Every time you cast Holy Fire (or Power Word; Solace), Penance (offensively), and Smite (don’t unless you REALLY need to), you gain a stack of Evangelism.  Evangelism stacks to 5 and is spent on Archangel, which increases your healing (and absorbs) by 5% per stack consumed and lasts for 20 seconds, but has a 30 seconds CD.  This is tremendous.  Yes, it forces you to put some damage on the boss, but it is well worth it.

Now, you’ve seen above that in order to use Penance to gain stacks of Evangelism, you need to cast it offensively.  Don’t be afraid to use Penance OFFENSIVELY!  You should be using Penance on CD- either offensively or defensively- so make sure you’ve got it where you can actually cast it on the boss.  Now here is where we talk about the Tier 17 set bonuses- your 2 piece bonus allows you to channel Penance for 1 extra second, and allows defensively cast Penances to grant you a stack of Evangelism.  Guys, this is massive.  This set bonus is GAME CHANGING.  Using Penance (which deals a significantly higher amount of damage and healing) as a heal and as damage, and both give you Evangelism?  You are going to have stacks of Evangelism waiting after your first use of Archangel.  Which means you can plan when you want to use it.

3. Know when to use Archangel.  There is nothing wrong with using Archangel on CD.  You’ll still pull decent numbers if you do that.  But use your future sight- Archangel lasts for 20 seconds.  PW:S lasts for 15.  You know when the boss’s next major damaging ability is coming in.  Plan it out!  Save that Archangel for the 25% increase absorbs on the group eating Inferno Slice!  Managing this CD is critical to being a great Discipline Priest.

4.  Use Empowered Archangel.  So, you’ll notice when you pop Archangel that you get another mini buff on top of that- Empowered Archangel.  EAA gives your next Flash Heal a 100% chance to crit.  This is one of the times where you should not be afraid to heal a bit- Flash Heal is a fast cast (and mana heavy, but you shouldn’t be having problems with mana) and a guaranteed critical strike.  This is good for saving a life (I usually use it on a tank.)

Ok, I’m gonna cut this off before it becomes TL:DR (which it may already be.)  Remember, Disco Priests- your job is not to HEAL damage, its to MITIGATE it.  Tune in later on this week, I’ll be talking about Talent Choices and Glyphs (more than the one I talked about above.)  Until then, keep cool, and stay angry, healers!



Why We’re Not Entitled Brats

Why is it that people think that healers act like we’re entitled?

Say that again. After you pull something. Go ahead.

Yep.  This is gonna be a rant.  But you don’t come here for anything less.

I am tired of people telling me, when I do random instances (which admittedly, isn’t often)- whether I’m healing or DPS- that healers act like people owe them something.  People are making healers out to be the Millennials of the WoW universe.  Now, I will admit, there have been instances where this has been the case.  But in the great, overwhelming majority of cases, healers don’t think you owe them anything.

Why do I heal?  Because I love it.  Because its fun.  Because its engaging.  Because I don’t have to constantly look at Recount or Skada to makes sure I’m pulling enough DPS (this is the real reason- I hate comparing myself on the DPS charts.  Even if I’m at the top.)  Because healing is how I want to play my game (except in PvP- Frost Mage all the way there.)  And it takes quite a lot to get me to say something in party or raid or instance chat- I mostly try to be helpful, especially if I have done the fight before.

But there is always a point of no return- a point that I have learned to recognize early on.  There is a point where I realize that “this isn’t working and it probably won’t.”  And that’s usually when I start seeing the “stop acting like a privileged brat,” and “blame the healers for not healing through that,” and “bad heals.”

And we hit the heart of the matter.  Ultimately, no matter what else happens, healers are almost always the first people to be blamed when things go wrong (that or tanks.)  And so, this has engendered a knee-jerk reaction in healers to defend themselves.  It makes sense- no one likes to be wrong, and human nature demands that we defend ourselves from most sorts of attack.  But this seems to be the way of things- things go wrong, healers get blamed, and chat blows up.  Healers are so used to having all of the wrongs and mistakes and wipes blamed on them that we have started preempting the blame game.  And that makes us look like we’re spoiled brats.

We aren’t.  We really aren’t.  We’re just tired of being jumped on for shit that isn’t our fault.  You would be, too.

So, instead of jumping on one particular role, why don’t you stop and figure out what went wrong.  Its a game.  No one’s going to crucify you if you make a mistake.  No one’s going to shun you if you admit it.  I admit when I make mistakes (read: I facepulled Gruul on Heroic once.  I was actually hilarious, I hit him with my wand and he punched me in the face so hard i swear I reset the instance.)

This is easy to solve- be kind to strangers.  Be excellent to each other.  Be understanding.  People make mistakes.  And remember- we’re all here to have fun.  No one likes being blamed for the group’s failure.  No one likes being ridiculed for making a mistake.  We are all people behind the screen, it’s really not that hard to be respectful.  So remember, the next time you call your healer an entitled brat that you’re addressing a person, not a bunch of pixels.  And that you will probably receive no heals for the remainder of the time we have together.  I do have a reputation to uphold as an Angry Healer.



Climbing the Learning Curve of Blackrock

Wow, its Tuesday already?  Where is the time going?  Oh yeah- to writing papers due just before Spring Break in a couple of weeks!  -facepalm-

Anywho, welcome back!  With today’s release of the third wing of Blackrock Foundry for LFR, I would like to take a few moments of your time and talk about raid and raid difficulties.  Specifically, I would like to address the GLARING difference between Heroic Highmaul and Heroic Blackrock Foundry.

DISCLAIMER:  This is fairly standard by now- My word is not law.  This is just the impressions that I’ve gotten (read: my own experiences) of Heroic BRF.  Remember, I’m a filthy casual, so you’re not getting in-depth theorycrafting here- you can get that a million other places.

So, when Highmaul released, I started doing Normals.  But Normal quickly became “farmed content.”  Which is good, right, because Normal (WoD) is Flex (MoP)?  I mean, we killed Imperator on Normal once before we were like, “Heroics all the time.”  So my raid group (comprised of 15-16 people of varying skill levels, classes, etc.) were geared up with Heroic stuff- ilvl 670+ for the most part.

When Blackrock Foundry dropped, OF COURSE we were going to go right into Heroic.  Why wouldn’t we?  Isn’t that how its supposed to work?  You go from Heroic Highmaul to Heroic BRF?

I was so wrong.  We did Heroic Gruul for the first time, and I swear my raid looked like this:

"... ow....."
My raid being Vegeta, and Frieza being Gruul pretty much pulverizing our spines.

And it raised a resounding question: why was it so much harder?  The mechanics of the fights aren’t any different between Normal and Heroic.  Sure, it was our first time in there, but we had the gear for it- or we thought we did.  So what was the problem?  Were we really so unprepared?  Or was it really just that damn hard?

I’m thinking it’s really just that damn hard, and I want to know why.  Maybe it’s just me, but the natural progression of raids should (in my honest opinion) be Normal to Normal, Heroic to Heroic, and Mythic to Mythic- not “gear in Normal BRF for Heroic BRF, even though the gear you got from Heroic Highmaul is five ilvls higher than the gear you get from Normal BRF.”  It just… doesn’t make sense.  Aside from Tier (which is game changing, let me tell you), the possibility of better stats on BRF gear (Highmaul gear did have a lot of Versatility and Multistrike), and just plain learning the fights, I see absolutely no point to doing Normal BRF.  I should be in Heroic.  I had heroic gear.  I was ilvl 670 when I went into BRF.  Almost nothing in BRF Normal is an upgrade for me- and that’s saying something because I have actually DOWNGRADED pieces because they had better secondary stats on them (getting rid of some of that Versatility because HOOBOY do I hate it.)  Going into Normal BRF after coming out of Heroic Highmaul almost makes me feel like I wasted all of that time progressing through the much harder difficulty- and makes me wonder how screwed I’d be if we’d only done Normal Highmaul.

So here’s the question then, dear readers: is the disparity between Heroic Highmaul and Heroic BRF too great?  Is it not enough?  Is it just right?  Let me know!




Things You Don’t Say to a Healer… if You’re Another Damn Healer.

I can’t believe I actually have to go here, but… I do.

Now, obviously, this is only going to crop up in situations where you’re going to have more than one healer- like raids.  I don’t heal in PvP (Frost Mage, FTW), so I can’t say if this applies there or not, but… I do raid.  So.

DISCLAIMER:  All of this that I’m putting here is OPINION ONLY.  Nothing I say here is law.  And all of it is shit that I have personally witnessed.  And ALL OF THIS is from a raider’s (and healing lead’s) perspective, since that is the only situation I can think of that you would have more than one healer.  And I’m gonna keep putting these disclaimers here until people start paying attention to them.

Things You Don’t Say to a Healer if You’re Another Damn Healer

1.  I used that CD already.  For the love of God, DO NOT use your healing CD’s until they are asked for.  Period.  I, personally, am a little more flexible with absorption/ damage reduction CDs (like PW:B and Devo Aura) as it can be difficult for me- as the healing lead- to know when best to optimally use them.  But if you have an honest to God HEALING CD, do not use it until it’s asked for or its fucking obvious when it should be used, i.e. high raid AoE damaging phases like Darmac’s Trample.  This obviously does not apply to LFR (nothing I put here will ever really apply to LFR.)  And…

2. I’m almost OOM (and we’re only halfway through a fight.)  There is absolutely no excuse for this now.  If you are raiding, you know that mana conservation is one of your top priorities.  I expect you, as a healer, to know what you need to heal, when you need to heal it, and what heal you need to use for it.  If your problem is gear, YOU need to take the initiative to go out and help yourself- I have no problem doing a little bit of carrying if its needed and “funneling” a bit of gear towards you if that’s what it takes.  But you have to understand that the raid is relying on you to keep them alive.  That’s your job, and if you can’t do it, then I won’t bring you.  Know how to heal, understand your mechanics and talents, and do your best to make sure you have as much gear as possible.

Well, that is it from me for this week!  Don’t forget to go and check out my YouTube Channel (I put out a vidja yesterday, so make sure you check it out!)  Until then, keep cool and stay angry, healers!