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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!

~Aura

 

Unraveling the Mysteries of the Mistweaver Monk

I think I’ve done it.

I think I’ve discovered the key to Mistweaver healing.  And it only took me like… a week to figure it out.  -headdesk-

mwmonk

 

So, I made the shocking revelation (which may or may not be shocking to anyone else) this past weekend while I was doing an alt raid of Normal Blackrock Foundry.  I was doing well on the healing charts-pulling between 20-22k heals per fight, which is good, considering I was ilvl 626 (yes, they still brought me.)  But I was still having the mana issues I had been having since I got Yanshui (my Mistweaver) to 100.  And I couldn’t figure out why until we got to Hanz’gar and Franzok (I think we did him third, after Gruul and Beastlord Darmac, so we were a good 45 minutes into the raid at this point.)  Up until now, i had been doing my ususal- put Renewing Mist out on 3 people and let it get around, channel Soothing Mist on the tanks, and cast Enveloping and Surging over it as needed (I was trying to keep Enveloping up on the tanks as much as possible), then Uplift/ Rushing Jade Wind/ Detonate Chi (if I had Healing Spheres in the vicinity) to AoE heal as needed.  Revival on demand, Life Cocoon either before massive tank damage or to save a tank’s life… you know, it seemed pretty standard (all of this taking place while I had my Jade Serpent Statue down.)  I was blowing through my CD’s of Chi Brew just to make sure I had enough mana to stay int he fight.  But then the presses started dropping, and I couldn’t stand there and channel Soothing Mist anymore so I just started spamming Renewing Mist on CD.

And I watched myself go from 3 Mana Tea to 20 during that phase.  And I was like…

mindblown

Things went back to normal.  Hanz’gar jumped back into the fray, and I could start using the other rotation.  And I did.  And I blew through that stack of Mana Tea and ended up right back where I started- next to no mana and very little ways to get it back because I got myself stuck in the “mana cost chi generator- chi cost Mana Tea generator- drink to to regain mana but I can’t because I messed up” circle.  Chugged a mana potion and just… said screw it.  Thunder Focus Tea and Renewing Mist on all the things and Uplift when I had the chi for it.  When I was waiting for Renewing Mists to come off of CD- so I could put it out again and gain more chi to spend on Uplift- THEN I would cast Soothing/Enveloping/Surging Mist.  And then I had mana.  And Mana Tea.

And the heals were good.

rejoicing
Yay!

 

And suddenly, I didn’t feel like a total screw up when it came to Mistweaving.  I felt like a productive member of the raid.  And a whole new world of possibilities opened up to me!

I will admit, I am not the greatest healer in the world- people have not been reluctant to remind me of it, either- but I am a better healer than I am a DPS (except for maybe Hunter DPS, I’m pretty good at the whole Focus gain/ Focus dump cycle) and I’m a MUCH better healer than I am a tank (I can’t tank.  I just can’t.)  And I am always learning.  And it feels good to know that, through my own work and my own experiences, I have improved myself.  I know there is still a lot of room for me to grow- as a Discipline Priest, as a Mistweaver Monk, and as a healer in general as I continue to level ALL THE HEALING CLASSES.  But…

…. it’s so nice to see progress.  And to go willingly into the PuG raids and LFRs and knowing I can succeed and still learn newer and better ways of doing things makes me very happy.

Also, Mistweaving is ridiculously fun.  I like the mega absorption power of the Discipline Priest, but I am happier playing a class that actually spends most of their time actually healing.

Well, that is it from me for now.  Stand by to stand by, there will be more videos this week.  Before we go, I’m bringing (sexy- no, not really) back something I used to have on all of my blog posts a while ago- the Blogosphere!  The Blogosphere is where I feature and link some articles written by fellow WoW bloggers!  SUPPORT ALL THE BLOGS!

1. Over at Restokin, Alame breaks down the Boomkin for Patch 6.1- hey!  THAT’S TODAY!

2. Over at World of Matticus (also a member of the d20crit network!), Matticus ponders what’s going on with Mythic?

3. And finally, over at Misty Teahouse, Ashleah talks in-depth about Mistweaver Monk’s T17 2-piece set bonus!

Go forth, keep cool, and stay angry, healers!

~Aura

The Angry Healers’ Guides: Imperator Mar’gok (N/H)

And finally,  after so many weeks, we have REACHED THE END OF HIGHMAUL!!!!  -cheer-  Here it is, folks!  The final video in the Angry Healers’ Guides to Highmaul- Imperator Mar’gok, the Sorcerer King!

~Aura

 

Add-On Sanctum: GTFO

Greetings and happy Sunday!  I know everyone’s getting ready to head back to class tomorrow (my first one is at 7am.  -shudder-), but I wanted to show you the first episode of a new video series I’m doing- the WoW Add-On Sanctum!  These are quick, 3-4 minute showcases of mods you need in WoW, and the first one I talked about was GTFO by Zensumin!  Go check it out!

Don’t worry, as soon as I remember to film Imperator Mar’guk, I’ll have the last Angry Healers’ Guides to Highmaul up and ready to go (should be doing that tonight, so hang on!)  Also, keep your eyes peeled- I’m going to be doing a few more videos, as well: the Transmog Sanctuary and How To RP in WoW, each of which should have an episode out sometime in the next week!  Until then, keep cool, and stay angry, healers!

~Aura

State of the (Healing) Union Address: Pre-Patch 6.1

Greetings and Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful three-day weekend!  I am happy to report that as of Sunday, my raid finally got Imperator Mar’guk down (Normal only- we ARE casual, after all.)  To commemorate (not really), today I will be discussing my overall thoughts on healing so far in Warlords of Draenor (Normal and Heroic instances as well as Normal and Heroic Highmaul.)

State of the (Healing) Union Address- Pre-Patch 6.1

And, so far healers… we’re looking good.

DISCLAIMER:  Again I say (as it seems I have to say this every time I make a post like this), my word is not the law.  All of this is based on my PERSONAL experiences, and may not be the case for every healer on the planet, so before you come barking to me on reddit or Facebook or Twitter (or wherever you may find me) about “oh, well, you didn’t mention ‘this,'” please note that I did warn you that this is an article that is strictly my opinions on how things seem to be pre-Blackrock Foundry.  Anyone who chooses to ignore this disclaimer will be mocked publicly.  Also, cherry picking my posts to me will result in a verbal bitchslap that will sound something like, “Maybe you should include the rest of my post instead of the parts you wanted.”  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.  (If I need to put stars and sparkly shit around these Disclaimers to get people to read them I will.  Don’t test me.)

Anyone who’s seen any of my Angry Healers’ Guides to Highmaul knows my standard raid healer composition, but for those of you not in the know, I will enlighten you: I run with a Restoration Shaman, a Restoration Druid, a Holy Paladin, and a Discipline Priest (me!) so I can give you a fair assessment of their strengths as of right now and how they work in a raid (please keep in mind I am coming off of maining a Resto!Shaman myself in MoP.)  As the healing lead for my raid team, I make sure I understand how my healers do their jobs and what, exactly, they have in their arsenal that I can call on to save our collective butts.  And my team is pretty damn strong- we’re not perfect, not by a long shot, but the fights we know, we have down to an art.

First, lemme talk about mana regen (which is a topic I first started out discussing when I revived this site.)  We all know it took a significant hit at the beginning of WoD- it made healing Heroic instances and absolute nightmare of a task, but has been minimized by both player skill and overall gear scores.  Healers have a much better grasp of what heals are needed when.  We have gear that has Spirit on it (now that we finally have weapons worth spending three Temporal Crystals and five Sorcerous Fire on for Mark of Shadowmoon!) and we are balancing around it.  We have a better understanding of how our classes work and boss mechanics that require us to think outside of the box.

Second, lemme talk to you about mechanics.  Other people (being non-healers) have started understanding that THEY CAN’T STAND IN THE FIRE.  (OK, not everyone has figured this out, but hey.  It’s a start.  I’ll take it.)  Those non-healer types have realized that they can help their healers conserve mana by using personal defensive cooldowns, potions, and lock rocks.  And we can tell!  And, gods above, do we appreciate it!  Healers love running with people who understand their classes- not just how to maximize their DPS rotations, but how to survive and encounter as long as possible.  People now know that healers cannot- and will not!- heal them through avoidable damage anymore.

Let’s bring this thing to a close with healing niches- yes, they still exist, but YE GODS try outhealing a Shaman on Brackenspore.  It can’t be done!   Just because you are a niche healer doesn’t mean you can’t blow the healing charts up!  Discipline is amazingly strong right now, with the ability to heal with their shields, and holy Pallies and their double Beacon make them amazing tank healers.  Druids can literally spec to be the perfect tank or raid heals.  And nothing- NOTHING- I’ve seen so far beats the Monk on sheer all out raid healing CD with Revival.  Niches are there, and we are rocking them.

Healing right now is looking fan-tabulous.  We took the nerfs in stride and we are proving that nothing can keep a good healer down.

Well, that’s it outta me for now.  Come back later on this week, I’ll be talking about something, I’m sure.  Until then, keep cool and stay angry, healers!

~Aura