Saturday, May 7, 2011

Moving on!

I've moved on over to Wordpress as Blogger is giving me a buggy comments section.

My new site is:

I will leave this site up for a while so people may find me elsewhere.


Preventative vs Reactive Healing: A Discipline vs Holy Discussion

As some of you already may already know, I have recently moved to a new guild.  I was looking for "greener pastures" and I believe I have found one.  Undying Resolution of Elune has welcomed me with open arms (thanks to a certain Druid) and I'm already signed up for raids for next week.

In my last guild I was Holy for 99% of the time in our little 10 man team. We ran with a Disc Priest and a Resto Druid as well.  After having a Vent interview with a few of the officers, they let me know they have room for a Holy or Disc Priest for their team and that they do already have 1 Holy Priest (who use to be Discipline).

I decided to pry a little deeper into the makeup of their healing team.  It seems they usually run with 6-7 healers give or take.  This includes:

1x Holy Paladin
1x Holy Priest
1-2x Restoration Shaman
2-3x Restoration Druid

So now the question is, what would a Discipline or an additional Holy Priest bring to the table for this raid team?  Do they need more Preventative or Reactive healing?

Holy is a Reactive healing specialization with a few powerful cooldowns to help bolster and stabilize the raid.  Holy's Mastery, Echo of Light, is about throughput and it causes all of the priest's healing spells to be even more potent.

Holy Cooldowns:

Guardian Spirit- The crown jewel of the Holy tree.  This spell prevents a person from dying by sacrificing itself and instead healing the party/raid member for 50% of their health.  It's the ultimate Reactive cooldown.  When glyphed, it has a 2 1/2 minute cooldown

Lightwell- Once called "LoLwell" back in Wrath, this spell is no longer a laughing matter.  The amount of healing this spell provides for it's miniscule mana cost is extraordinary.  It just requires raid members to be a little more proactive and click it for the healing effect.  It has a 3 minute cooldown.

Holy Word: Serenity/Sanctuary- This spell varies depending on our Chakra state.  Serenity is a very mana efficient single target heal, similar to a Holy Paladin's "Holy Shock."  This spell is usually available when a Holy Priest is tank healing and is used to bolster the healing on the tank through an extra 25% critical strike chance for 6 seconds.  It has a 10 1/2 second cooldown when properly talented.  Sanctuary is a ground AoE healing effect similar to a Shaman's "Healing Rain."  It's affected by our Mastery and is used to help stabilize the raid during heavy damage.  Sanctuary is also the longest lasting healing ground effect in the game.  It's mana cost is quite steep and if not used correctly, it can be a waste of mana.  It has a 40-second cooldown.

Circle of Healing- One of the most powerful raid heals in the game and what Holy Priests are most known for, Circle of Healing is a healing cooldown  that is used to heal multiple party/raid members for a large amount.  What makes it so powerful is that it's instant cast and can be used on the move.  It's on a 10 second cooldown.

Discipline is a Preventative healing specialization that specializes in preventing damage to tanks and the raid.  Discipline's Mastery, Shield Discipline, enhances the Preventative healing aspect of the specialization and protects the raid from incoming damage.

Discipline Cooldowns:

Pain Suppression- The most powerful Preventative cooldown in the game. Pain Suppression reduces 40% of incoming damage.  It's best used when the tank is about to take serious damage.  3 minute cooldown.

Power Word: Barrier- It has recently been nerfed, but is still an extremely valuable cooldown for raids.  It reduces 25% of incoming damage to everything that is inside it for 10 seconds.  3 minute cooldown.

Power Infusion- Surprisingly, this is more of a Reactive cooldown than a Preventative one. It increases your casting speed and reduces the mana cost of spells by 20%, greatly increasing your throughput for a short time.  On a short 1 1/2 minute cooldown.

Inner Focus- Another Reactive cooldown.  This spell causes your next Flash Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing to be free of cost and have an increased 25% chance to critically strike.  It's on a 45 second cooldown but can be reduced through talents and by casting Greater Heal.

Archangel/Evangelism- This cooldown is available with an Atonement specialization.  It temporarily increases the potency of your healing spells by 15% and restores 5% of your mana. It's on a relatively low 30 second cooldown.

Penance- The bread and butter Discipline spell.  This is an extremely mana efficient single target heal that is channeled.  When glyphed, it's on a short 10 second cooldown.  It's used to effectively heal and stack Grace on a target.

Shared Spells for Holy and Discipline:

Divine Hymn- A channeled heal that is used for emergencies.  It increases the healing received by affected party/raid members by 10% for the duration.  It's most potent form is in Chakra: Sanctuary where the 15% bonus to AoE healing is applied to the spell.  While it's not as potent as a Druid's Tranquility, the extra healing effect somewhat makes up for it's lackluster throughput.  For Discipline Priests, it proc's Divine Aegis when the heals critically strike the raid member.  It's on a lengthy 8-minute cooldown and is used once per fight.

Hymn of Hope- A channeled spell that restores and increases a few party/raid member's mana pools for a short period of time. This spell is best used in combination with Shadowfiend for our personal maximum return.  5-minute cooldown.

Prayer of Mending- This spell is the most unique spell for Priests.  It's primarily cast on the tank and proc's up to 5 times, bouncing to different raid members when they take damage.  It has a short 10 second cooldown.

Desperate Prayer- You have to put a point in for the ability, but it's available to both Discipline and Holy Priests.  Discipline Priests will find it a little harder to find the point to put it in, however it should be in every Holy Priest's arsenal.  It is instant cast, free of mana cost, and heals the Priest for a considerable amount.  2 minute cooldown.

Power Word: Shield- A Preventative spell that absorbs a certain amount of damage.  While the spell itself not technically a cooldown, the debuff it leaves on the target causes it to be cast only once every 15 seconds on the same target unless you are properly spec'd into Strength of Soul in the Discipline tree.  This spell is invaluable to Discipline Priests and helps proc their mana return through Rapture.  It also benefits from Shield Discipline, increasing the absorption amount.  Holy Priests will find considerably less use for this spell, as there are more mana efficient alternatives.  However, Body & Soul gives a unique utility to the spell for Holy Priests.

Now, looking at the raid teams makeup we can see that the only Preventative healer currently on the raid team is the Holy Paladin.  Discipline Priests and Holy Paladins have long been the staples in preventative healing through the use of powerful cooldowns.  This Holy Paladin is likely a tank healer, mainly because that's where they shine the most.

Druids and Shamans are considered Reactive healers, like Holy Priests.  They are about throughput and their Mastery revolves around it.  Those healing classes/specializations lack tank cooldowns, but really shine with raid healing.  That's not to say they can never tank heal, because they most certainly can.  But there are other healing classes that are better equipped for the job, especially for Heroic modes.

So that's why I chose Discipline.  Currently, the raid lacks a Disc Priest and they bring A LOT of utility to raids.  While I love Holy, a second Holy Priest wouldn't really be needed for this raid setup.  A second Holy Paladin or a Disc Priest would be preferred for their preventative healing.

And who know? Maybe I will get a wild hair and try an Atonement specialization!

Friday, May 6, 2011

T12 Set Bonus: A Disappointment

T12 set bonuses were revealed yesterday and I have to say the priest bonuses are currently underwhelming.

First of all:

2-piece Bonus- Your Flash Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal spells cause you to regenerate 2% of your base mana every 5 sec for 15 sec.

Anything that increases our mana regeneration is a worthwhile bonus.  According to Kurn, this ends up being a gain of 412 Mp5 or 1236 every 15 seconds. Sounds great right? For tank healing, yes it's fantastic. For raid healing, it's a letdown.

Priests who tank heal as Holy or Discipline won't see an issue with this bonus. The raid healing Holy Priest will find the bonus underwhelming, mainly because they rarely cast single target heals.  Holy Priests who raid heal mainly utilize Prayer of Healing/Circle of Healing and usually spot-heal with Renew. I can see this being less of a problem in 10-mans where Holy Priests will help out the tanks when needed, but in 25's where their AoE healing specialty is cherished, we don't use single target heals with cast times very much.  Even just casting a "Heal" every 15 seconds would be a waste because the "Heal" spell costs more mana then what you regen back.

Fix: Have the bonus proc off of Penance and Circle of Healing instead.  Good Discipline and Holy Priests will always have Penance and Circle of Healing on cooldown and it makes the bonus more attractive to raid healing Priests.

4-piece Bonus- You have a chance when you cast a helpful spell to summon a Cauterizing Flame. Friendly raid and party members can use the Cauterizing Flame to be instantly healed for 4625 to 5375. Lasts for 45 sec sec or 10 charges. After using the Cauterizing Flame, players cannot benefit from it again for 10 sec.

Anything that requires raid members to "click" something to be healed isn't a good bonus. It's essentially a second Lightwell or Healthstone.  While I like Lightwell and value its addition to raids, it's hard enough to get raid members to click the Lightwell as it is and the mechanic is unreliable depending on how aware your raid is about their own health bars and even what they are carrying in their bags. They don't need to be looking for ANOTHER type of "Healthstone" to be looking for while they are moving out of the fire.  On top of all this, the healing component is pretty low.

Fix: I'd rather have the bonus proc automatically, like Althor's Abacus or something similar. Have it heal 5 party/raid members and make it benefit from our Mastery (similar to a second, weaker Circle of Healing).

As it stands, if the 4-piece is not changed I won't be taking it.  It's too unreliable. On top of this, the Shadow 2-piece set is looking like a tasty option for healing priests.  With the 75 second cooldown reduction on Shadowfiend and with 2 points in the Shadowfiend cooldown reduction talent, we will see a Shadowfiend cooldown of 2 minutes and 45 seconds.  This is a more valuable option over a mediocre "Healthstone" bonus.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Greener Pastures

I love my guild. I've been with them for quite a while, almost 2 years. I've made quite a few lifelong friends and we've had some great times together.

Band of Brothers of Caelestraez is a guild that that was originally part of Gamblers, a much larger and progression-oriented guild. I was only in the guild for maybe 2 weeks before the split happened. To be honest, I can't even remember what the issue was, but a very serious argument broke out between a few of the officers and it resulted in Gamblers losing a very valuable raid leader. This particular raid leader was the one who actually recruited me.

It was like a domino effect. One after the other people left the guild. I also left the guild because I held no loyalty to the person that was in charge. My loyalty was to my recruitment officer. I quickly whispered him and he said he was making his own guild with progression in mind. I immediately asked for an invite and thus I was the first unrelated member of Band of Brothers.

And thus the recruitment crusade began. We started out small, with a generic 10-man setup. We did some Ulduar, but didn't get very far. When ToC came out we did much better. We managed to clear the content before ICC came out. By the end of Wrath, we were 11/12 HM and had our lovely undead drakes. We also had a second 10 man running in addition to a 25 man team on the weekends.

This is what I loved about our guild. There was always someone online, always something happening. Logging on was a joy.

With the introduction of Cataclysm all of this ended. With the new "same lockout" scheme that Blizzard implemented, it caused our 25 man team to crumble making us a 10-man only guild. This seemed ok at first because we still had our 2 10 man teams going. But slowly and surely one of them crumbled. Lack of leadership from the raid leader and laziness was the main cause of this group to split. Some people had RL to go back to. Others left the guild in search of a better experience.

But my team held on strong. We stayed together with only a few minor hiccups in our lineup, but we never crumbled. Unfortunately, boredom and RL has taken a toll on the team. Hardly anyone logs in anymore and if they do it's just to raid. Our raid times have been cut by 1/3 to a mere 2 hours a night mainly due to some new schedule conflicts with team members.

Personally I feel my team should be 12/12 normal right now, but because we raid only 6 hours a week, there's little chance for progression, so we are currently 8/12 Normal. If we have a sour night (which we all do) it seriously hampers our progression and causes bad feelings. We talked about changing the days of the week, but unfortunately RL strikes again with scheduling. People either work or have school or need to sleep. We just can't win.

It's not that we haven't made progress, because we have. It's just I don't enjoy raiding with my team anymore. I don't have that thrill of logging on and getting excited for raid night. It's almost like an old married couple when they lose that "spark". I honestly think its time I go my own way.

I have already spoken to my Co-GM and she understands where I'm coming from. I'm sure she spoke to the GM (her husband) to let him know I'm thinking about moving to a different guild.

So if you are in a guild that is in need of an uber Priest or Holy Paladin please let me know! I'm open to faction changing as well. 10-man is ok, but I would like to start trying 25-man as well.

Feel free to leave a comment. You can also reach me on Twitter at @LunarthePriest.



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Loot Wars and Raider Alts

It's really hard to explain things in a blog post. So many things can be misread or misinterpreted. I'm going to try to be as coherent as possible while trying to sound objective and fair. I have been mulling over this particular post for a while and I feel enough time has passed to explain my feelings about the situation. No names will be mentioned except for myself.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Holy Word: Sanctuary in 4.1

Holy Word: Sanctuary recently got a buff on the PTR.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.
This is a welcome buff for a spell that before was fairly unattractive to use.  In addition, it got a much needed graphic upgrade.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mana Regen and You: Maximizing Your Mana for Raids

My last post made me want to expand on the ideals of maximizing our mana efficiency.  I admit that my last post was a bit garbled with druid and shaman information, so today I will be focusing on priests with ways to maximize the efficiency of your precious blue bar.

Holy Priests

Holy Concentration- Increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 15/30%

Holy Concentration is the staple mana regeneration talent for Holy priests and is absolutely mandatory to take in any Holy build. It causes Holy priests to benefit from 80% of mana regeneration that is provided by Spirit which is 30% more than other healers.  This causes Spirit to be the most favorable regen stat available.  Spirit-based gear/trinkets (Mandala of Stirring Patterns or Jar of Ancient Remedies) will be more favorable for Holy priests compared to other healers.

Discipline Priests

Rapture- When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energized with 5/7% of your total mana. This effect can only occur once every 12 sec.

Rapture is an important part of a Disc priests rotation.  It causes you to regain 7% of your total mana every 12 seconds, which is a significant amount and can be further increased through Intellect.  And because of Rapture and the passive ability Enlightenment work so well together, Intellect scaling for Disc priests is unparalleled by any other healer and makes Intellect the primary regen stat.  Utilizing Power Auras or another mod to track your Rapture proc is highly recommended. Gear/Trinkets that focus on Intellect are highly preferred over Spirit-based ones.  While Spirit is still a good regen stat, Disc priests will always benefit more from Intellect.

Derevka over at Tales of a Priest has a nice Rapture tracking mod for Power Auras that I use.  I modified it a bit to my preference and you can do the same.

The Synergy Between Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend

Hymn of Hope- Restores 2% mana to 3 nearby low mana friendly party or raid targets every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 sec.

Shadowfiend- Creates a shadowy fiend to attack the target. Caster receives 3% mana when the Shadowfiend attacks. Damage taken by area of effect attacks is reduced. Lasts 15 sec.

Dawn Moore over at Spiritual Guidance did a fantastic writeup about the synergy between these 2 abilities and the way to maximize both of them.  It is mainly because Shadowfiend's mana restore is based off of the priest's maximum mana that makes it so valuable with Hymn of Hope.  Hymn of Hope temporarily boosts your maximum mana pool by 15% for the duration and your Shadowfiend scales extremely well with that boost.  So for maximum mana regen benefit, cast your Shadowfiend FIRST, then cast Hymn of Hope SECOND.  You will recieve the mana ticks from HoH while your Shadowfiend restores your maximum mana at the same time.  Even if your HoH is interrupted, as long as you get off one tick you will still benefit from the temporary mana pool boost.

Warning!  Make sure you are LOWER on mana than your fellow healers and DPS!  Hymn of Hope only benefits the 3 raid members with the lowest mana at the time it was cast.  If you aren't the lowest, you may be giving your HoH benefit to a Mage or Warlock by mistake!