Cataclysm and Cataclysm prepatch notice
This guide will not be updated for the Cataclysm expansion or the patch 4.0.1 introducing the new game mechanics. If a new guide is made available, this will be done in a new thread. The end of the guide now has a section with an overview what would need to be done for a 4.x guide. Until then, you may use this list as a hint which section might still be relevant in 4.x
This compendium for healing priests has a long history. The original compendium (several versions) has been written by Constantinus (Nidaba) with a total of 3 million (!) thread views. Starting around ToC, Sinndir has done a very substantial rewrite. In addition, many posters in this forum have contributed to this guide, sometimes supplying small tidbits, sometimes performing elaborate research. Starting after patch 3.3.3, I have taken over to make necessary changes for ICC and to do maintenance until Cataclysm hits. This is a huge legacy, and I surely feel the weight of it. As it turned out, I rewrote and changed more things than I intended, often motivated by a lack of a full treatment of the discipline spec. That said, you will still read original Nidaba and Sinndir prose in many places.
This compendium is primarily intended for discipline and holy priests playing in raids at or near the current raiding tier. At the moment this is ICC with some treatment of ToGC. Many but not all things written here will apply to lower tiers, too. In addition, not all details will apply to 10 man content.
How to use this Guide
This guide contains reference material and theorycrafting that you can use in isolation. It also contains general guidance, tips, and personal preferences, too. Some of these are subjective by definition - there isn't an absolute truth for everything.
Each section title in this guide contains a small note in braces to indicate to which version of the game the text applies. When new patches hit, not all content can and will be verified at once, so you should tread carefully when relying on information not labeled with the current patch version.
Random Terms Used
OO5SR : Outside Of 5 Second Rule
I5SR : Inside 5 Second Rule
PoM : Prayer of Mending
PoH : Prayer of Healing
CoH : Circle of Healing
BT: Borrowed Time (talent, Discipline tree)
HC: Holy Concentration (talent, Holy tree)
HpM: Healing per Mana, a measurement of efficiency
HpS: Healing per second, a measurement of throughput
RSTS: Random Secondary Targeting System
I. Spec (3.3.5)
Q: What spec(s) should I be as a healing priest?
A: Now that dual-spec is in place, there's no excuse to not have multiple specs available to you at the push of a button. Depending on the needs of your raid this can be a dual disc/holy spec or a combination of one of them with a shadow spec. When considering a shadow offspec, be aware that becoming a good shadow priest is a serious investment of time, it's certainly one of the more difficult dps specs to play.
Cookie cutter builds for raid healing:
Discipline: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
Holy build for PoM/Renew/CoH style: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
Holy build with Serendipity: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
Note: If you don't use two holy builds, choose carefully. You may want to use a build using Renew talents as well as Serendipity, then.
Tank healing build:
Discipline: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
Q: But my Discipline spec is different from yours!?
A: There are very very few "optional" talent points in the Discipline spec. First, you will have to go deep enough in Holy to pick up Inspiration as every priest should. Secondly, you should love the bottom half of your tree, and take basically every talent in there. The only real "options" are to swap around the Spell Warding talents for 5/5 Divine Fury (if you really do use Greater Heal). If you wish, you can move the Focused Will points over to Holy and end up gaining 2 points in Improved Healing, saving a bit of mana on your Penance spell. It's not really worth it, but you can do it. You could also spec into Holy Reach, if you use PoH and/or Holy Nova a lot.
Q: But my Holy spec is different from yours?!
A: There are lots of spots you can shuffle Holy to be more useful to you. If you never, ever, ever cast Renew, then obviously points in Empowered & Improved Renew are useless to you. If you don't believe you'll ever use PW:S in a raid setting, then don't spec into Body and Soul (although the personal-only poison removal is hot for certain raid encounters). However, due to some of our lower holy tree choices you end up taking a point or two in improved renew regardless. You could swap out B & S for Lightwell and grab the lightwell glyph for 20% more healing on it. All in all, most of the holy talents are useful in some regard, aside from blessed recovery.
I. a) Holy Talents (3.3.5)
Q: Should I spec Improved Renew and Empowered Renew?
A: My choice would be to always spec 1/3 Empowered Renew, as it gives Renew the ability to crit, improving HC and inspiration uptime. 2/3 Improved Renew is also a given in most builds as you need to spend 2 points somewhere to get to tier 5 and the Gheal talents aren't overly attractive to most priests.
Now, if you want to adopt the renew healing style, then of course 3/3 Improved Renew as well as 3/3 Empowered Renew are mandatory. In that case, you can steal points from talents related to flash heal, such as Serendipity and Empowered Healing. Keep SoL, so you have instant free flash heals from your PoM, Renew and CoH crits.
Q: What's the deal with Healing Focus?
A: Reducing pushback used to be a much bigger deal than it has been in WotLK due to the mechanics changes. However, it's still relevant in a few places with heavy focused damage, and the pushback there will have an impact on your performance, especially if you don't have an active Concentration Aura in the raid. So when to use Healing Focus? Basically, watch for actual pushback to happen and steal a point or two from Divine Fury if necessary.
Q: Should I take inspiration?
A: Yes. Everyone should have Inspiration. If you don't take it, you're being selfish, in the sense of caring more about your own throughput or benefit than of the raid. Even if you are a 100% raid healer, you will still be proccing Inspiration on targets that may end up being tanks, or in tank groups (in the case of PoH). Note that Pw:S can proc Inspiration from the shield glyph, too. Proc'ing Inspiration means reducing tank damage.
Q: How good is Holy Concentration?
A: As gear levels continue to rise (namely spirit/int), Holy Concentration gets stronger. It's nowhere near as reliable, or as fun to use as it once was, but it's still there, and you should still spec into it. There's some math on this at the end of the thread. Note that there may be an exception: If you haven't adopted the renew healing style, but are instead using PoM, PoH, CoH, with flash heals almost only from SoL procs, you may decide to invest your talent points somewhere else. If you are in doubt and really want these talent points, check your WoL logs regarding HC uptime in the fights where mana matters to you.
Q: Holy Reach - yes/no?
A: It's almost mandatory for holy priests to take a single talent point in Holy Reach. Keeping in mind the spacing requirements in several fights in ICC, a second point is recommended so CoH actually hits 6 targets.
Q: Body and Soul - worth it, or not?
A: This really depends. The talent as such is amazing and has saved more than one raid. However, if you always raid with a discipline priest who is tasked to bubble-spam the raid, you may find your targets to be afflicted my weakened soul more often than not. Set up your raid frames to show weakened soul (if you haven't already done so) to get a feel for this.
Q: Blessed Resilience vs. Test of Faith?
A: Math has Test of Faith being marginally better. 3% all of the time vs. 12% on 50%- targets seems like a toss-up. The real answer was that most of the time in Ulduar, if you were healing someone, they were below 50%. Most of the incidental damage was serious: 10-14k hits. Accordingly, Test of Faith should resulted in more throughput, and especially so on people who really needed the heals. Things have changed a bit since Ulduar, though. Watch your raid frames to get a feel for how often you heal people at 50% or less. If that rarely happens, choose BR.
Q: What about removing certain GHeal talents for holy?
A: There are definitely justifications for losing Improved Healing and Empowered Healing if you don't cast enough GHeal / FH to justify keeping them in a Holy build. It certainly opens up a lot of options for getting full points into Test of Faith and Blessed Resilience, which scale heals at the end of the computation, instead of simply off spellpower. The loss of Improved Healing is basically a no-brainer assuming you don't cast many GHeals, check your overall logs on a weekly basis and if you are hardly casting GHeal just donâ€™t bother with Improved Healing.
Losing Empowered Healing is a tougher call, simply because it removes one of the best gear-stat-scaling talents we have. However, comparing an extra 20% of your spellpower applied to FH to a possible 12% extra *healing* and a guaranteed 3% extra healing to all of your spells balances out fairly quickly. There is some math on this topic at the end of the post; feel free to check it out, and convince yourself.
Q: 1 or 2 points in Surge of Light?
A: Some people swear by 1, some by 2, but it is entirely up to you. There is math regarding SoL uptime in the math section of this guide. My personal recommendation would be to start with 1/2, and change to 2/2 if SoL isn't available most of the time when you want it to.
I. Discipline Talents (3.3.5)
Q: What's with the bottom of the Discipline tree?
A: It's awesome, that's what. Tiers 7-11 are chock-full of awesome talents that are must-haves. If you want to drop any talent from the bottom part of the tree, think long and hard before you do. Divine Aegis, Grace, Pain Suppression, Aspiration, Rapture, Borrowed Time, and Penance are all must-haves. You could argue for losing Renewed Hope, but it procs the raid-wide -dmg buff, so it's entirely not worth it from any real perspective.
Basically, if you're spec'ing Disc, plan on filling out Tiers 8-11 completely, and then consider whether you really want to drop points from Tier 7.
Q: But Aspiration seems so weak?
A: Sure it does, until you realize it reduces your Penance cooldown. Then it's amazing. Combine it with the Glyph, and Penance becomes the primary focus of your rotation, instead of a long-ish cooldown.
Q: What are the must-have talents for a Discipline priest?
A: It's easier to explain what aren't must-haves. Unbreakable Will, Martyrdom, Silent Resolve, Imp Mana Burn, and Reflective Shield. To a lesser extent (especially on a fight like Yogg-Saron), Absolution. Reducing the mana cost of a spammable Dispel Magic or Abolish Disease actually helps a lot over a long fight.
Q: Is Soul Warding good?
A: Absolutely, 100%, yes, yes, yes. GCD-based PW:S is the next best thing to sex(*). Get this talent, and never let it go.
(*) My personal preferences say there are a few more things in between, but the talent is of course mandatory.
Q: Should I take Improved Healing?
A: If you are mostly raid healing, Penance is the only spell to profit. The savings on Divine Hymn are very good, but you only have one during a fight, and you should use Inner Focus for this to make it a free cast. Greater Heal isn't really used by raid healers. Now, if you are tank healing, this might more sense. In that situation, you will probably most of the time have Penance on cooldown, netting around 72 MP5 as well as 185 mana per Greater Heal cast. This is substantial, but only worth it if you do have mana problems.
Q: What's with the stuff I heard about 1/2 grace instead of 2/2?
A: That was a discussion regarding tank healing. Basically 1/2 was intended to increase the likelihood of the Grace stack to stay on your tank if you cast a flash heal to someone else. In my opinion this is now obsolete since if you really heal tanks, you won't really throw flash heals towards other targets, you will rather cast a shield, if only to keep BT for your next direct heal on the tank. So use 2/2. Regarding the original discussion, if you're interested, there's more detail and math in the 3.1 discipline compendium.
II. Mana Regeneration (3.3.5)
Priests have multiple sources of mana regeneration:
- Spirit based mana regeneration
- Rapture (discipline priests only)
- Hymn of Hope
- Innervate, Totem
Spirit based mana regeneration is always active except for the first 5s after completing a cast that used mana. Flash heals from SoL procs and casts using Inner Focus do not enter 5SR. This is the 5 second rule, and the time outside of these 5s is called OO5SR. The time within 5s is called I5SR. The meditation talent (mandatory) gives us 50% of the full spirit based mana regeneration in I5SR phase, too.
Though meditation was buffed to 50% in WotLK, spirit based mana regeneration overall has been significantly nerfed since BC. The formula for mana per 5s in WotLK is:
They also changed our Holy Concentration talent (in deep Holy) before Ulduar to only work on spirit-based regen. This forces holy priests to continue valuing spirit as a primary regeneration model, while reducing its value significantly.
What this effectively means is that priest healing styles have changed. While we can still regen mana by just standing around, OO5SR, it's significantly nerfed from previous levels. It takes full Ulduar gear before your spirit climbs to high enough levels to justify aiming for OO5SR ticks. Of course, if you have a break in the fight, by all means take advantage. It's just not going to net you the 10k mana it used to.
It also means that intellect is that much more important, since mana pool size and response to effects like Replenishment, Mana Tide Totem, Shadowfiend, and Hymn of Hope are that much more important. Also, given that priests will find it hard to stack spirit on every item without nerfing their other stats, you will inevitably end up with more raid-buffed intellect than spirit.
Q: What's with spirit based mana regeneration for discipline priests?
A: Discipline priests rely on spirit much less than holy priests, as they don't have a spellpower gain from spirit. They also don't have the Holy Concentation talent. Instead they have Rapture, which is int based. If you have to choose between spirit and mp5 on an item, check with the math section.
Q: How do I take advantage of OO5SR regen?
A: If you are Discipline, you don't want to. Disc is all about sustained throughput, and using any free GCDs you have to put extra PW:S on people likely to take damage. The preventive nature of discipline healing basically means you are always active.
If you are Holy, it really comes down to "breaks". We can't cheat the 5SR the way we used to, chaining IHC into Inner Focus into IHC again, and getting back 5k mana while casting 3 GHeals on our tank.
For discipline priests, trying to get OO5SR is even less desirable as you will run with very little spirit and at the same have things to do even during lull phases of fight.
III. Mana Regeneration: Rapture (3.3.5)
Rapture is an important part of the mana regeneration for a discipline priest. What it does is return 2.5% of your total mana each time one of your shields is fully absorbed.
The details are a bit more complex, though. Rapture can proc only once every 12s. However, if multiple shields break at exactly the same time and Rapture is not on cooldown, Rapture will proc for most (usually all) of the shields.
There are encounters where you can actively increase your chances for multiple procs. One popular example is the Lich King encounter. Shields are the ideal way to counter the Infest ability, there. However, it does make sense to not shield the tanks (except for emergencies, of course). If you shield the tanks, chances are high Rapture is on internal cooldown when Infest pops the rest of your shields, so you cannot profit from multiple rapture procs. Depending on gear, aura strength and raid type, you may need to downrank your shields for Infest, though. In 10 man normal, Infest doesn't hit hard enough to pop max rank shields from most priests.
Look for situations where you have predictable, significant raid damage on predictable targets within the raid. These are situations where you can gain extra mana by shielding intelligently. Of course, if you have absolutely no mana problems whatsoever, don't bother. If you do, additional return from multiple procs is well worth shooting for.
In Ulduar, at General Vezax, Rapture has been modified. The return on Rapture for yourself has been significantly reduced but is still active. The possibility of multiple procs however has been disabled.
IV. Mana Regeneration: the Infamous Shadowfiend (3.3.5)
If you've played priest for long, you've learned to hate our stupid mana regen pets; but hey, it's all we got! They're slow, they randomly attack the stupidest things, and they generally return a variable amount of mana that is undependable. However, with 3.3 they were being changed to avoid 90% of AoE damage in PvE but not in PvP. Combining Shadowfiend with Hymn of Hope is worthwhile if the fight allows.
Q: How do I best use the shadowfiend?
A: By combining Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope. If you are low enough in mana that you can be confident that you will get at least one of the Hymn of Hope ticks (raising your maximum mana by 20%), use Fiend, then swing directly into Hymn. The combination will net you a minimum of 53% (assuming your fiend doesn't die), and likely more like 70% given the scaling on Hymn, Replenishment ticks while you channel, the OO5SR nature of the end of the channel, and the fact that your fiend will be giving you more than 5% per hit while the buff is up on you. It almost makes sense to aim to be below 25% mana before you use your effects.
Another way to take advantage is to cast your fiend before a heroism/bloodlust (extra swings mean extra mana), though this can sometimes be tough, and not all fights allow for it.
V. Downranking and Spell Coefficients (3.3.5)
The actual spell coefficients for max rank are listed in the math section under XII. .
Q: Is downranking spells still viable?
A: Nope. Nonexistant. It's done. Dead. Finished. Kaput.
Blizzard changed mana costs of all downranked spells to be more than the maximum rank. There is no reason whatsoever to use anything but max-rank of every spell you have. This helps slightly with bar bloat, and hurts tremendously in our granularity of heals.
A notable exception for discipline priests is the Lich King encounter where you may want to downrank your Pw:S so that Infest pops your shield for multiple mana returns. The best rank depends on your raid buffed spell power and whether you run 10 or 25 man.
VI. Raiding as a Priest
VI.a) Raiding as Holy (3.3.5)
Q: What spells should I typically be using?
This is a tough question. Every fight is different. I'll try to give an idea of different roles, and how each one uses our unique spells.
Tank Healing: don't try to be a tank healer unless you absolutely have to. Blizzard gutted holy priest tank healing in 3.1, and it's a lost cause. Without IHC and the old Serendipity, we can't even hope to keep up with paladins, no less shamans or druids. Just don't heal tanks. If you want to tank heal, you can try to do this as discpline priest. Supplemental healing can be provided by tossing a renew on the tank, PoM bouncing off of them and if you have nothing better to do with a Surge of Light proc, toss it their way.
Raid Healing: Ulduar was all about BURST->lull->BURST. This is perfectly built for the new style of Holy priest healing. Your primary four tools are: Prayer of Mending, Flash Heal, Circle of Healing, and Prayer of Healing. Enter every burst phase with a 3-stack of Serendipity up, start with a hasted PoH, and then CoH. Two FH, then a final PoH+CoH, and the raid damage should be topped up. Regen a bit, then restack Serendipity and get ready for the next one.
This changed with ToC and ICC, though. There are now fewer cases where we really deal with severe damage on the whole raid that is limited to phases only. This has led to many holy priests changing their healing cycle to something like PoM, Renew, CoH, with a variable number of Renews depending on cooldowns and haste. Flash heals are mostly cast off of SoL procs. If you are new to this healing style, expect to invest some time to get good results. Blindly spamming Renew isn't going to be brilliant in most cases. You instead need to have a good feeling for the overall situation to invest your GCDs in an optimal way.
Choosing one of both healing styles is a matter of your healing composition, what the fight looks like and what your raid ultimately wants. If you run heavy on druids but lack a disc priest, that could be a good reason to still go the PoM, FH, CoH, PoH route. That said, it's pretty much an individual choice.
VI. Raiding as Discipline (3.3.5)
Contrary to early Ulduar opinions, discipline is not really a tank healing spec. Holy paladins are - by far - the best for this. Not only that, shamans and druids are better at this now, too. This even applies when you factor in all of the stuff a priest has to offer.
Let this sink in: you are not a tank healing spec.
Now that you are fully awake (and are possibly starting to protest), let's explain. Why? Well, some of the benefits of a priest are available whether the priest heals the raid or the tank. To apply pain suppression, you don't have to be the tank healer. To provide 3% absorb overall, you don't have to be the tank healer. To provide emergency support, you can offer your shield and penance even if you are not the tank healer. So, if we assume you can do all this as raid healer, too, there's little reason why you should be healing the tank, as your sustained HPS is lower. We haven't even started talking about a paladin's beacon.
That of course does not mean you cannot heal tanks. You can. And as long as tank damage isn't too high, you will do well. But you are not particularly good at this, and you should to what you are particularly good at, and that is raid healing py providing absorbtion.
There is an aspect of tank healing that you are very good at, though. I call this "tank healing support", and it's described further below.
Discipline priests are a very strong raid healing spec today, mostly due to GCD-based PW:S. The easiest way of raid healing is, well, easy: spam shields on the whole raid (giving targets actively taking damage priority), keep PoM on cooldown, use Divine Hymn in a good moment. This is how many people do it, and it works.
Read the section on Rapture, though.
Intelligent shield spamming
Instead of blindly spamming shields, you can do better by taking the overall situation into account. Basically, you want to save people from danger, make use of the heal from your glyph, and finally reduce the other healer's overheal.
- Player actively taking damage and already being low on HP (to the rescue!)
- Player with full HP and predictable heavy damage incoming (HP extender + overheal free)
- Player actively taking damage but still comfortable HP (prioritize higher if you don't see heals incoming on that target)
- Player low on HP and no predictable damage incoming (some heal from glyph + give HoTs time)
- Player with little HP loss and no predictable damage incoming (use that glyph)
- Player with full HP and no predictable damage incoming (are you sure PoM is on cd?)
Of course, some of these priorities are debatable and dependent on the encounter, so do not treat them as science. Just be aware that there is more to shield spamming than looking good on healing meters.
Fully featured raid healing
In 10 man, things differ a bit. First, you often won't have targets to shield. Second, priorities can be different because you have less backup from other healers. If your holy paladin needs to run and the tank takes serious damage, it's your job to pick up the slack. Penance, flash heals (maybe a new shield by then) until the tank is safe. Do also note that for significant sustained damage on the raid, shielding doesn't provide maximum HPS. If you can preshield because the damage is predictable, do that. But if serious raid damage hits, a sequence of Pw:S, PoH, Pw:S, PoH may be preferable for burst HPS (don't forget the PoH glyph in 10 man).
Tank Healing Support:
Especially in 25 man, tank damage can be extremely spiky. While holy paladins provide tremendous HPS, a relatively fast Holy Light is agonizingly slow compared to an instant Power Word: shield that easily delivers 10K of healing and absorb (or more). An instant shield, followed by a penance can very nicely complement a paladin's healing. Most raid leaders will probably still assign you to shield spam the raid. Just note that tank healing support is a role you fit very well, and if your raid struggles with tank deaths at some point, this is where you just might be the solution.
As stated further above, you are not a primary tank healer. However, sometimes you will heal tanks, so here' s how to do it. Note that the following doesn't match the technique from the previous guide, which was intended to provide the most throughput.
Instead, I recommend to shoot for maximum burst HPS during spikes. Your two tools for quick burst HPS are your shield and penance. Both have a cooldown regarding your tank. So in order to have them ready during a damage spike, you have to reserve them for this. So, start healing your tank with PoM and flash heal. If the tank is full, PoM on cooldown, and you have a GCD to spare, shield other raid members. Flash spam your tank. Now if a damage spike hits, shield your tank, then penance and continue with flash heal (Greater heal is an option if it's talented and you have BT up).
Get to know damage prevention abilities used by the tanking classes. It's no use wasting a valuable penance cooldown if your warrior tank has just shield walled. Be sure to have pain suppression at hand when you need it and get to know all boss abilities that maybe you're not aware of as raid healer. There are timed or pre-announced abilities on most fights that you can address specifically, and where you might invest a shield before the damage actually hits.
VI. c) Special Healing Assignments
In some encounters, there are healing tasks that require especial consideration. The following examples are not meant as fully comprehensive instructions on how to deal with these situations. Instead, they are intended to show how nonstandard healing situations require you to really think about what you are doing.
The Lich King, handling Infest
Infest is an ability used by the Lich King that puts a debuff on all raid members that causes instant damage as well as DoT damage on each target until that target is healed up to at least 90%. To minimize the number of dot ticks, targets must be healed to 90% as quickly as possible instead of just providing the maximum total healing on the raid.
Discipline priests: The best way to do this is to have as many people as possible shielded before Infest hits as Infest will be immediately removed then. As a discipline priest, also consider section III. "Mana Regeneration: Rapture" regarding the Infest ability, so that you maximize your mana return from rapture there,
Holy priests: Do not use Renew as soon as Infest is up - remember the goal is to top people up to remove the debuff, not just to provide a lot of healing. Make sure Infest is displayed in your raidframes, and concentrate on people who didn't catch a shield. If you are running with a discipline priest, just top these people up. If possible, have the disc priest shield whole groups instead of random people, so you can land a precasted PoH on an unshielded group right after Infest hits. If you do not run with a disc priest, coordinate with your other healers to make sure you don't end up just stabilizing the raid instead of removing debuffs.
In this encounter, the goal is to heal a wounded dragon up to full, starting at 50%. The key is to heal her as fast as possible as the speed with which add waves spawn increases as the fight progresses. In heroic mode, she also takes regular damage.
Holy priests: One holy priest in the raid should carry the Glyph of Guardian Spirit, to increase overall healing on the dragon. While you are not an optimal choice for healing the dragon, you can. If you are assigned to do this, make sure your buff stack does not ever fall off. The fight is won in the last 1 or 2 minutes of the fight where all dragon healers are fully buffed up and yield incredible hps. This is where you have to shine. Remember Renew is the best healing per execution time on single targets, so have it up without clipping HoT ticks. If you need to move during that phase, use this moment to help out on the raid with CoH.
Discipline priests: While you can use shields on Valithria in heroic mode, your single target throughput is still subpar. In almost all healing compositions, your ideal role is to the heal the raid and tanks, not the dragon. Help out by providing other healers with Power Infusion, do not take portals. Dispell frost bolts from tanks only, diseases from everyone.
Anub'arak, phase III healing
This is a very special healing situation. You want to minimize the amount of healing done without any raid member dying in order to reduce Anub's self healing. Whoever is assigned to heal tanks will spam heal them mercilessly as the damage is severe. Raid members affected by Penetrating Cold (PC) will require intense healing as long as PC is up. If you are assigned to do this, do not get sidetracked into other things, especially when PC targets switch. As for healing the raid, if passive healing abilities don't suffice in your raid, use very controlled healing. Do not use PoM, this heals for far too much on random targets. Downranked AoE spells (CoH, Holy Nova, PoH) are good choices.
Saurfang - Hardmode: Mark of the Fallen Champion
If you are assigned to a mark target, do nothing else. Mark damage is intense - concentrate on maximizing single target HPS. If you are a discipline priest, it may be worth it switching in more haste for this fight.
At the time you get the second mark, advise the two players to move together that PoM is able to bounce between them (if they are ranged still with a gap big enough to not get hit by the nova). This is reported to work well in 10 man.
VII. Throughput, Efficiency and Regeneration
Healers need to consider several properties of stats when considering gear (and spell choice). There are stats that just have one of these properties, and there are stats delivering on all three of them.
Throughput is a measure of how much healing you can provide in a period of time. A typical measurement unit is HpS (hitpoints per second healed), or eHpS (effective hitpoints per second healed). HpS is the raw healing, eHpS doesn't include overheal. A typical stat that only delivers throughput but nothing else (*1) is spell haste.
Efficiency is a measure of much healing you can produce per mana. A typical measurement unit is HpM (hitpoints healed per mana). Efficiency can be gained by a stat like spellpower that makes a heal larger for the same amount of mana, or by talents, glyphs, or trinkets reducing the mana cost of spells.
Regeneration is a measure of how much mana you have available in a period of time. For practical purposes, this includes the initial mana pool size, although the term regeneration doesn't really apply to that. The measurement unit is Mp5 (Mana per 5s). A typical stat that increases regeneration is Mp5.
These properties are clearly different and cannot be aggregated to provide a single measurement of the value of an item, talent or consumable. The reason is simple: if you never fully use up your mana in a fight while casting exactly the spells you want to, then additional efficiency and regeneration have a value of zero to you. If you have a longish as well as intense fight where your mana just doesn't suffice with your current gear choice, additional throughput doesn't help (*2), as you will just be out of mana faster.
There have been many attempts to provide a single measurement unit that integrates all of this, but the one thing that remains is:
It's your sole responsibility to choose the amount of regeneration and efficiency that you want or need.
Section "XI. Gearing Questions" contains information and advice to help you to do this, but remember the choice is yours only.
(*1) Actually, this is not entirely true. Unless a fight has 100% of casting, haste increases the time spent OO5SR, thus providing for more regen. However, this amount is tiny, as it only happens if a sequence of casts that profits from haste is ended by phase of not casting of more than 5s.
(*2) It can be argued that haste always has a positive effect by delivering the heals faster to people in need. For the sake of this comparison, we just ignore that.
VIII. Threat Mechanics and You (3.3.5)
With WotLK, the entire threat system was overhauled. Tanks were given many more abilities to hold threat on multiple mobs, and Blessing of Salvation was completely removed from the game. Accordingly, on 90%+ of encounters, threat will be a complete non-issue for you. On the encounters where it will matter, you will be doing AE healing while mobs spawn at random spots in the room, so tanks can't necessarily pick them up immediately. This, and only this, will be the situation where you have to care about threat. And, thankfully, we have a nifty tool to deal with it (or two if youâ€™re a night elf!):
Fade: Fade out, temporarily reducing all your threat. . Note that the threat lost from Fade is regained in full once the 10 second duration finishes, and that you continue accruing threat while Fade is up. This has been changed in WotLK to actually set you to zero threat for the duration of the buff. As such, it is very useful, and should definitely be hotkeyed.
Prefading: If you expect to temporarily pull aggro, for example if you want to refresh a shield during a pull, use fade before actually healing/shielding. Note that this is only recommended if you know a tank will get solid threat within the next seconds.
IX. Consumables (content fixed, some restructuring coming)
Oil: Nerfed, no new oils available. With WotLK, Mana Oils are no longer available. RIP.
Flask: is the best option, followed by (for regeneration). If all you want is throughput, is your only real option.
Potions: is the obvious 1-use consumable, while alchemists are spoiled with . If you want to elixir up instead of flasking, good choices include , or , or for Guardian, and , or .
Note that in WotLK, you are now limited to one per combat cycle. What this means for healers is that we get one Runic Mana per boss fight. Now, Runic is a fair bit of mana, but you only get one, so use it wisely.
X. Useful Addons and User Layout (3.3.5)
Whether you like it simplistic or complex, there are a few things every WoW interface for a healer must do:
- Show important debuffs on all raid members
- Show selected buffs on all raid members
- Show health and mana bars for all raid members
- Show aggro indicators on raid members
- Let you click-heal your two most important spells without selecting targets first
- Still leave you enough screen estate to see everything that goes on
Everything else is subject to taste and discussion. How and with which addons you do that is also entirely up to you. But you need a UI with these properties, else you restrict your potential. The list of addons in this guide is intended to give you some pointers, but that's it. The addon Grid is described in more detail.
Typical healer layout has some small variations, but is centered around the idea of having the complete raid in front of you (currently 10-25 bars+tank targets), with easily observable health totals, and some method of debuff curing.
If you're starting from scratch, the first thing you should do is:
Replace your unit frames, for example: Pitbull, Xperl, Shadowed Unit Frames (SUF)
as the base-WoW unit frames are horrid. Set these up in a convenient spot on your screen, and make sure you configure them fully to show health details and debuffs.
Second thing you should do is:
Replace your raid frames: GRID, Pitbull, sRaidFrames, Xperl and tank targets: oRA2, Pitbull
and make sure you fully configure the setup to show debuffs and buffs easily. Aggro notification is also a neat feature which can warn you of who will soon need heals.
From here, you can pick and choose which addons you'd like to use, starting with:
Custom Bar Mod: Bartender4, etc. Something to let you organize, hide, and keybind all your abilities. Setting up a hidden bar that contains your primary 10+ keybinds is a great way to free up some real estate on-screen.
and adding some raid utility:
Deadly Boss Mods, BigWigs: timers, boss warnings, aggro notifications, all sorts of handy things.
and then add some personal organization:
FuBar: extremely useful addon, with some amazing little plugins. Give it a try. One you should definitely get is RegenFu.
Quartz: infinitely useful for /stopcasting (3.3.5 note: actually no longer that useful as we rarely stopcast today)
MSBT: very useful as a visual tracker for healing and overheals, without having to watch a combat log scrolling by.
Power Auras: great tool for showing custom buffs, procs, or debuffs that you get. They can even be accompanied by a ding!
Clique: an absolute must for click-dispelling an/or healing and generally for interacting with GRID in many useful and interesting ways.
Recount: Good for quick ingame wipe diagnostics (why exactly did player X die?). If you want to see healing stats, use the RecountGuessedAbsorbs extension if you are playing disc.
If you're interested in UI design, swing by the User Interface and Addons forum and read some of the threads there.
X. Setting up GRID to be useful as a Priest: (3.3.5)
When you to go to download GRID, be aware that many of its most useful parts come as addons to GRID, and must be downloaded separately. A good list of sub-addons includes:
GridStatusRaidDebuff (must have!)
Once you have all of these downloaded and installed, load into WoW. Now, first thing you want to do is go GRID -> Frame -> Advanced -> and configure the Frame Width and Height. GRID refers to an individual in the raid as a 'Frame', so this is essentially your unit bar inside the GRID space. Configure this to a reasonable size.
Now that you have it to a good size, edit the name length by going GRID->Frame->CenterTextLength. I have mine set to 20; your mileage may vary.
Now go GRID->Frame->CenterText and set it to display what you want (I have Name listed here). Then go GRID->Frame->CenterText2 and set it to what you want (I have Health Deficit, AFK, Feign Death, and Dead listed here). This gets your text bars setup.
Now for mana/energy/rage bars. GRID->Status->ManaBars->Side (Bottom), ->Hide Non-Mana Bars (disable), and ensure ->Enable is clicked. This gives a nice blue/red/yellow bar at the bottom. You can modify its height in ->ManaBars as well, if you choose to do so.
For debuff display, go GRID->Status->Auras-> and you can then ->Add New Debuff. I use this to display things like ncinerate Flesh (Lord Jaxx), Penetrating Cold (Anub), and so on. Once you have set a debuff here, go to GRID->Frame->Center Icon and enable the Debuff you just created to have it appear in the center of the frame as a purty little icon.
GRID->Layout->Raid Layout is handy for setting it up as you'd like it. Notice that you can set default raid layouts for each type of raid: Party, Raid, Heroic Raid, etc..
GRID->GridAlert is handy for setting it up so that one someone is debuffed with something you can cleanse, it will go SPRONG (audio) and alert you to the issue.
Next, we need to make sure Clique can interact with GRID, so load up Clique, and choose "Options" at the bottom. Make sure anything labelled "Grid" is clicked on. This will let you setup mouse-click macros in Clique for dispelling, which is quite amazing, if I say so myself.
Finally, there are a couple of options you can mess with in GRID->Frame->(anything Corner) // (anything Icon) which will let you setup small icons/lights that will light up on certain circumstances. I use mine to show when people have aggro, when people have Renew ticking on them (from me), when people are missing buffs, and so on. It's quite powerful, and is the *real* reason you want to use GRID over any other raid frame.
From here, the sky is the limit. Configure!
This section was written by Nidaba once, with no changes by Sinndir as he didn't use Grid+Clique. I do, however, and use it basically in the same way as Nidaba suggested (though my Clique use is quite different). All of this still works and is still recommended. I would like to highlight the importance of addion raid debuffs. Having them shown in your Grid display is key for quick reactions.
Additional recommendations for use by discipline priests:
- configure Grid to display the debuff Weakened Soul
- configure Grid to click-shield (I use left mouse button to target, right to flash heal, ctrl+left button to shield)
XI. Gearing Questions (holy section pending)
Holy and discipline priests have quite different needs regarding gear. However, one basic rule applies to all healing priests:
Gear for regen until you no longer have mana issues, then gear for throughput.
Contrary to dps classes where you can find ideal items and stats, this generally isn't possible for healing priest. It depends on your raid (composition, quality of dps), gear level, as well as healing style how much mana you need in a given fight. As a result, we cannot give you definitive answers here, the choice of how much mana you want is yours. There are, however, rules of thumb to give you a starting point.
How to look at Gear
When you are looking at a piece of gear, and asking yourself if it is an upgrade, there a number of questions you need to ask. Firstly, how would you gem the piece? Always compare pieces to each other fully gemmed (with or without socket bonuses depending on your gemming choices). If you are unsure about how to gem, try two or three or four different combinations, and see which one seems to give the best result.
In general, comparing gear isn't as difficult as it used to as itemization in WotLK has only very few "special" items. With the exception of trinkets, all items of a gear level have very similar (if not identical) amounts of stamina, int and spellpower. Then, two out of crit, haste, spirit, mp5 are added, so most items fall into one of the following categories:
- Stamina, Int, Spellpower, MP5 + Crit or Haste
- Stamina, Int, Spellpower, Spirit + Crit or Haste
- Stamina, Int, Spellpower + Crit and Haste
As you can see, stacking int and spellpower is only possible using gemming, enchants, trinkets and consumables. For MP5, spirit, crit and haste, we have far more options. This is what makes trinkets with a healthy amount of spellpower so attractive.
Rewrite in progress
With Power Word: Shield as our signature heal and the extremely high scaling with spellpower, it's evident that our primary stat is spell power. This is the stat that you should stack.
Crit is nice for discipline priests, but if you are mostly spamming shields, the only things capable of critting are your PoM and the glyph heal from the shield, with the bulk of your healing unaffected. Discipline however has several talents affected by crit, so you still want to keep a healthy amount of crit. Basically, you will be stacking crit as soon as you have reached the amount of haste that makes sense to you (see below).
Regarding haste, you gain 6% from Enlightenment, and an additional 5% from Wrath of Air, plus 3% from Swift Retribution/Moonkin Aura, leaving you with only 4.67% or 154 haste rating to gain from gear to reach the hard GCD cap on PW:S (given Borrowed Time). This is why as a general rule you should aim for 4.67% of haste (or 154 haste rating), but think about whether you need more. Obviously, if you don't have all of the haste buffs, more haste makes sense until you hit the GcD cap.
The required values to reach the GcD while BT is active are (rounded up):
However, there's more to consider. If you are assigned to heal tanks on specific encounters or if you use PoH to a significant amount (typically in 10 man, less so in 25 man), then more haste makes sense. Read the thread http://elitistjerks....07-value_haste/ for a full discussion of haste for healing priests.
Int vs. Mp5 vs. Spirit
If you want more regeneration, opt for efficiency/regen trinkets and/or socket int. Int is by far your best stat to stack for regeneration. You can use spirit and mp5 items, but you will mostly use these because they are less wanted by dps classes.
Rules of Thumb for Discipline Priests
- Pick up haste until you are haste capped for shield spam - see table above. You can make use of more haste if you use PoH to a significant amount.
- Spellpower is the stat to stack for throughput and efficiency.
- If you need more mana, use regen trinkets, socket int if necessary.
- Quality MP5 gear is a bit better than spirit gear, but not by a lot. At around iLvl 264, spirit can match and exceed MP5 , see "XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit".
- At high gear levels, you can get away without significant amounts of MP5 and spirit on gear. Also, at high gear levels, spirit can match and exceed MP5.
XI. a) Gearing Levels for Icecrown (3.3.5)
Entering Icecrown Citadel isn't as hard as it used to. Today, you will most certainly have the majority of players in your raid already decked in ICC loot, and then there's the aura, increasing all healing and damage done by 10% at the time of this writing (will increase as time goes by). That's worth around 13 itemlevels for the whole raid. So, today, you may well get away with entry level ToC gear, where at launch time you were well advised to have at least some ToGC loot.
That said, most raid leaders will expect you to properly enchant and gem your gear, at any equipment level.
Q: Blue gems are much cheaper than the new(ish) epic gems?
A: Unless you like doing half-assed jobs splurge. Lets say you have 10 gems and you want to use haste gems for all of them the difference is 160 haste or 200 haste, 40 haste rating is worth quite a bit (as is 40 crit, and so on). Of course, using blue gems is acceptable if you are a new priest running in blue equipment. Starting with iLvl 226 equipment, you should really use epic gems.
Q: What should I be using for gems?
A: Choosing gems is the same as choosing any kind of gear. Keep in mind however, that gems are one of the few places where you can really stack stats that are important to you. If you are a discipline priest and you want to stack spell power, it doesn't make sense to socket haste, as you can choose haste over crit in many places, but you can only stat spell power in gems, trinkets and buff food.
Raid buffed stats from gems for holy priests
(Conversions and assumptions from "XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit")
Raid buffed stats from gems for discipline priests
(Conversions and assumptions from "XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit")
Considering socket bonuses
Red sockets will be populated by for all priests. Regarding yellow and blue sockets, we can either choose to activate the socket bonus or just socket . Metagems may also require us to activate certain yellow and blue sockets.
There priests who use every socket bonus following the rationale that mana regeneration is always good and they want to get the most stats from their socket. Many other priests socket for pure throughput which may lead to disregarding socket bonuses. However, especially holy priests should be aware that for some socket bonus it may not be intelligent to throw the socket bonus away. Let's look at a few examples:
vs. in for holy priests
(Conversions and assumptions from "XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit")
As you can see, a holy priest socketing 23 spell power in a blue socket with a bonus of +5 spell power will only gain 3 spell power for the price of 4.2 mp5. This is a trade I would only make if the equipment is otherwise already free from int gems and other mana stats.
Rule of thumb for Discipline priests
If you still want that quick answer regarding what to socket, here's a quick rule of thumb that will work, but may not be optimal for you:
Rule of thumb for Holy priests
If you still want that quick answer regarding what to socket, here's a quick rule of thumb. However, a general rule cannot be given with the same level of confidence as for discipline priests. I highly suggest you make your own decisions.
: the most useful, and easiest to equip, metagem. A 45-second ICD proc that restores 600 mana, and 21 intellect to gain crit and regen make this the best metagem overall.
: decent metagem, probably second choice to IED. The 2% intellect ends up giving more int after you break 1155 intellect raid-buffed, which should happen unless you roam around in blues. However, the proc on IED is worth a conservative 50 Mp5 that you do not get back from ESD, making IED significantly stronger in the long run. You can use this one at very high gearing levels to gain a bit of throughput if you can afford the mana loss, especially if you are a discipline priest.
: interesting gem. The Mp5 isn't anywhere near as strong as IED or even ESD, and the increased critical healing doesn't add that much throughput. Might be slightly superior to BED or ESD for throughput, but if so, just barely. With holy priests spamming renews and discipline priests spamming shields, this is exceedingly questionable.
: basically useless. The reduced threat is as useful as a solar-powered flashlight. Use the ESD if you really want that spellpower.
Stat breakdown for IED and ESD metagem
(Conversions and assumptions from "XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit")
XI. c) Trinkets (3.3.5)
The following table lists healing trinkets from current content as well as selected trinkets from lower tiers. This includes trinkets that are still relatively good or that are easy to get entry level trinkets for new priests.
How to use the table
- All mana gains are modeled into a separate MP5 column for disc and holy priests, so it's easy to compare. Mana gains from int or spirit are computed using the raid buffed conversion values and int/spirit baselines from this guide. You will gain less mp5 from int/spi trinkets if you gear is below the int/spi baselines assumed.
- Throughput stats are not modeled into a single number, as this depends far too much on healing style and encounter.
- The fight length assumed is: 5 minutes. On use or proc effects vary with the fight length. A will deliver far lower MP5 with 350s than with 260s.
- Some throughput trinket effects are not modeled, such as heal proc from , so examine the comments column, too.
- The table will always list heroic version where available.
- Some trinkets require more assumptions than others. obviously isn't 8*18 MP5, if only for because it takes a at least 8 seconds until the stack is up. In some fights the stack won't ever fall off, in some it will. My decision here was to just subtract a few MP5 and give a tiny uptime advantage to disc. This is a case where I just used gut feeling. It's not worth it poking into combat logs for hours to find out whether a trinket is insanely great or insanely great + 4 MP5. So, when tanking numbers from this table, be aware that some trinket effects will really vary in practice.
Good highend choices for holy:
Best highend choices for disc:
Geared discipline priests in progression content usually do not feel mana constrained. In that situation, my choice would be to maximize spellpower, resulting in:
- (item link currently shows normal version)
Best overall value is still a heroic /. Use this as replacement if you want far more regen without sacrificing too much spell power.
Good trinkets for getting started:
- - very good entry level trinket for holy and disc, but still pretty expensive on most realms.
- - pretty close to , but far cheaper on most realms.
- - easy to acquire (5 man normal) regen trinket
(old content follows, will be removed as soon as more relevant trinkets have been reevaluated)
25-man Raid Drops:
: interesting throughput trinket
: incredible regen trinket, but only take it above paladins if you are 100% Disc.
: incredible regen trinket
: highest throughput trinket available, BiS for Discipline, although arguably Eye of the Broodmother is more "balanced" if you can pick it up. Given that most priests passed Illustration, it might be worth asking for Eye; it's our turn!
: highest possible spellpower, but useless proc; really not worth wearing
: decent Disc trinket; weak for Holy
& : Poor items for us, look for something else.
: Not overly fantastic by itself (better for Pally/Shaman) but when combined withâ€¦
: Poor by itself but together you get a bonus 222 spell power and a proc heal that heals for 2269 to 2773 direct healing. Overall not bad if you wear them together. *Note: Healing proc does not scale with spellpower
: godly +int trinket; amazing regen.
: horrible for holy, decent for Disc
: really nice throughput trinket, if you can pry it out of the hands of the dps.
: amazing trinket for Holy, meh for Disc.
: again, decent for Holy, meh for Disc.
: don't even think about taking this trinket. If you want one, buy the badge option.
Badge / World-drop / 5-man Drops:
: Marked as a DPS trinket it gives spellpower and clicky crit. It is decent if you don't have other alternatives.
: A pseudo Spark of Hope giving mana back instead of taking mana off with a clicky haste buff. Depending on GCD time this can be ~28 mp5 up to a maximum of 55 mp5.
: good trinket, although arguably not the best for priests. Definitely worth getting if nothing else drops. Since badges are easy to get, grab one, and see how much you use the haste proc. If you use it, this trinket beats Forethought. If you don't, it doesn't.
XI. d) Enchants (3.3.5)
Head: ; available from Kirin Tor (revered)
or : available from Wyrmrest Accord (revered)
Shoulders: Master's Inscription of the Crag - Spell - World of Warcraft and Master's Inscription of the Storm - Spell - World of Warcraft are available for Scribes; they are the BiS options available. For non-Scribes, there are and available from the Sons of Hodir at Exalted reputation. At honored, there are and .
Darkglow Embroidery (tailor only)
Pants: (Argent Crusade (exalted) : Recipe) or (Kirin Tor (exalted): Recipe)
Editor's note: I highly recommend the runspeed enchant, use the spirit enchant only if you absolutely need that mana (and a tiny bit of spellpower for holy).
Rings: Enchant Ring - Greater Spellpower (enchanter-only)
Weapon: . If you use a stave, use .
XI. e) Glyphs (3.3.5)
Regarding glyphs, I invite you to view them - as Nidaba once suggested - as a consumable. If you see a glyph that is situationally good for a fight, just keep a stack in your bags. There's no reason to view glyphs as something that you only change every other patch.
The following is based on the premise that we have 3 major glyph slots and that we will fill these with the must-have glyphs first.
Major Glyphs for Discipline
|An absolute no brainer for any and all discipline priests. Get one.
|A must have glyph, except if you are really only spamming shields.
Options for 3rd:
|Good if you do use PoH, more useful in 10 man than in 25 man
|A mana saver that is good only if you flash heal a lot
If you want to swap out a glyph for a special encounter, drop a glyph of your choice except for the shield glyph. Regarding the penance glyph, don't forget you may be asked to - for example - heal marks at Saurfang heroic, so even if you regularly only spam bubbles, keep a few of those penance glyphs in your pocket.
Major Glyphs for Holy
|Healing 6 instead of 5 targets on a use-every-cd spell. A must have,
Options for 2nd and 3rd slot:
|This glyph is worth a discussion of its own - will be included in discussion of renew specs.
|Useful to support the other healers. You don't do tank healing, so it's now a support glyph. Have one in the raid for the Dreamwalker encounter.
|Not sensational, but renew priests who don't believe in the renew glyph may not find a better one
|A mana saver that is good only if you flash heal a lot. Note this is useless if you are spamming renew and only cast flashs off of SoL procs.
|Doesn't look exciting if you mostly use PoM, Renew, CoH.
Interesting major glyphs that you may use for specific encounters
|Still a nice glyph, but you need to get group composition and positioning right to use holy nova, so it's really situational.
|Very situational, was useful in a few places in Ulduar.
|Useful at ToGC faction champions due to the way threat works there.
|Given how many holy forms we see in raid videos, this may be a contender for 1st glyph slot for many priests.
Minor Glyphs for Discipline and Holy
Nothing sensational here, take what you like.
|Was mandatory once, but no longer is. Some people will still prefer to keep the glyph - just in case. As will I.
|If you do use fade infight, this minor glyph at least has a tangible benefit. Saves a bit of mana in fights with spawning add waves.[/TABLE]
XI. f) Set bonus discussion (3.3.5)
T9 2-Piece: Increases the healing done by your Prayer of Mending spell by 20%
There is a case to be made for keeping pieces to have this bonus on hand for fights where PoM does a lot of healing. This is especially true if you have access to ilvl 258 T9 pieces, but haven't acquired heroic T10 yet. The bonus is better for holy priests than disc priests due to the already stronger PoM and 7 second cooldown.
Note that the benefit in practice will vary a lot, depending on how much you already overheal with PoM. If your PoM usage shows 35% overheal in a fight, it's pretty obvious you won't see a PoM increase of 20% by using the T9 bonus.
T9 4-Piece: Increases the shield from your Divine Aegis and the instant healing from your Empowered Renew by 10%.
A 10% increase of a small portion of your effective healing isn't a big improvement. Check with your own logs to see how much DA (careful with WoL weirdness regarding DA after 3.3.5) and Empowered Renew heal, multiply with 0.1, and that's your bonus. If at all, disc priests with a very low quota of flash heal might be interested in keeping 4pc T9 for a while.
T10 2-Piece: Your Flash Heal has a 33% chance to cause the target to heal for 33% of the healed amount over 9 sec.
This set bonus' strength is dependent on the fact the HoT stacks/rolls (like blessed recovery/deep wounds) or re-writes itself. The HoT will heal for around 1650 health (assuming ticks at 3/6/9 seconds they will be ~550 health while crits bump it to 825 health per tick and 2500ish total). Recently we have had a forum member (Feebis) share that the HoT is a rolling one as seen in this post. You can see based on the parses that the heal over time portion is unpredictable however it is apparently affected by talents. The HoT will not tick if it gets refreshed before the 3/6/9 second marks but will get larger (Feebis had a 6700 tick in his log he posted).
Evaluation (discipline priests):
For discipline, this bonus will often be fully useless in 25 man, as current parses from heroic content show disc priests to be mostly shield spamming. Where there's no flash heal, there's no bonus. For discipline priests doing serious tank healing as well as raid healers with a significant flash heal percentage, this may be different.
Evaluation (holy priests):
A review of several current BQL and Putricide 25 man heroic parses shows an effective heal of between 1% and 2%. This is from parses with around 30% flash heal. Not a great bonus, but certainly better than T9 4pc.
T10 4-Piece: Increases the effect of Power Word: Shield by 5% and Circle of Healing by 10%.
Starting with patch 3.3.5, this bonus has changed from a very awkward mechanic to something simple and reasonable.
Evaluation (discipline priests):
Reliable 5% more absorption from our primary spell is serious. Considering Pw:S reaches 80% of total effective healing for some priests, for example on Lich King heroic, this can be up to 4% of total effective healing. This will - in combination with the increased stats - usually be worth dropping 2pc T9. If shields make up less than half of your healing, you might come to a different conclusion, though.
Note the tooltip suggests that the 4pc bonus also increases glyph healing. Testing (see http://elitistjerks....23/#post1599758) indicates that the glyph heal isn't affected, though.
Evaluation (holy priests):
Reliable 10% more healing from our use-on-cd spell is a reasonable bonus. That said, assuming a ballpark number of 25% contribution of CoH to overall healing, the bonus is 2,5% at best, and that assumes no overhealing. In reality, we'll be looking at less than 2% more effective healing.
Regarding both discipline and holy priests, it's important to note that the 4pc T10 bonus adds reliable throughput to every relevant phase of a fight. 2pc T9 can be very good statistically, but it can also get stuck temporarily on a recently shielded target. So it may contribute significantly less where you need it most - if you happen to have bad luck.
Comparison of T10 set vs. nonset pieces at ilvl 277
(supplied by tasha)
Using , , . Not counting Spiritual Guidance and buffs.
, -106 spi, +98 haste, +8 crit
, -2 spi, -8 crit, +10 haste
, -114 spi, +114 haste
, -114 crit, +98 haste, +8 spi, +5 sp
, -16 spi, +18 haste, +4 sp
, -90 spi, +8 crit, +82 haste
Let's say you want to skip T10 entirely and minimize spirit, you'll get a total of
-326 spi, +312 haste, +16 crit, +4 sp.
Discipline priests can (at ilvl 277) gain around 300 haste and a bit of crit at the cost of both 2 and 4pc T10 bonus and regen. This is fully irrelevant for shield spamming due to BT. So, for shield spam, the choice is clear: get T10 4pc. For discipline priests doing serious tank healing, getting the haste setup may be worthwhile to maximize single target throughput. However, almost all challenging tank healing is done by holy paladins today, so this is really a niche that you could address by using two sets.
Holy priests also lose around 90 spellpower (due do spiritual guidance, factoring in kings), making the trade less desirable. At the same time, losing around 360 spirit raidbuffed is regen that many holy priests will start to notice. My personal choice would be 4pc T10 for holy, but make your own based on this data and your mana situation.
XI. g) Best-in-Slot List for holy and disc (3.3.5)
I have removed the BiS list because it is outdated and people repeatedly fail to realize it's outdated although it was clearly marked as such. In red color.
There are currently no plans to supply BiS lists for holy and disc. There are reasons:
- BiS lists will be mostly populated by ilvl 277 items, and players with access to a full set of ilvl 277 items typically do not need BiS lists.
- A BiS list as such does not exist, because every player has his/her own tradeoff between throughput and regen. Thus, choices will be made on a per item basis. Use the tool Rawr to find the best item for a given slot based on your preferences and your equipment. It doesn't make sense to optimize for items you may never lay your hands on.
For those of you who are desperate for a BiS list, Frmercury has kindly compiled a proposal for disc and holy: http://elitistjerks....nd/#post1619613 . Do also read his comments regarding the holy BiS, however! There just isn't a general BiS. If the holy BiS list doesn't work for you, the blame is yours, not his.
Note: the linked BiS lists do not yet include Ruby Sanctum loot.
There are many things about Discipline and Holy healing that take math to model. The more interesting ones will be summarized here.
XII. a) Power Word: Shield formula (3.3.5)
3.3.5 testing shows the shield formula (outside of arenas and battlegrounds) to currently be:
Total Absorb = (base absorb+(0.8068+BT)*SP)*(1+ImpS)*(1+FP+TD)*(1+ICC Aura)
Glyph Heal = (base absorb+(0.8068+BT)*SP)*(1+ImpS+FP)*(1+TD)*0.2*(1+ICC Aura)
1. No systematic testing of all possible talent combinations and with several levels of spellpower has been done. It is possible that the exact formula as implemented by Blizzard is still slightly different. The results are, however, extremely close with all scenarios tested.
2. The absorb formula isn't exactly the same as the glyph heal formula. The difference is relatively small, so you can use the absorb formula for the glyph heal, too. The computed glyph heal will be a bit too high, then.
3. Currently, as of 2010-05-07, the ICC Aura is always active regarding the absorb formula (even outside of ICC). The glyph heal formula isn't affected, however. Arena and battleground not tested. As the aura continues to increase in strength, expect this bug to be fixed. Even now, 15% additional absorb everywhere is huge. Additional testing has indicated that this effect may not be active between a realm restart and the first time you enter ICC.
Example calculation with 4000 spellpower:
Total Absorb = (base absorb+(0.8068+BT)*SP)*(1+ImpS)*(1+FP+TD)*(1+ICC Aura)
Total Absorb = (2230+(0.8068+0.4)*4000)*(1.15)*(1.09)*(1.15)
Total Absorb = 10173 (8846 without 15% aura effect)
XII. Coefficients for Spells
With WotLK we get the following formulas to determine the gain our spells receive from spell power. Please note that all cast time are the BASE cast time, that is, not taking talents or haste into account:
The table below lists the spell power coefficients for important spells.
Column "SP talents":
The column "SP talents" only factors in talents that increase the effect of spell power on the spell.
Column "Full gains":
The column "full gains" includes the effects from talents and glyphs that increase the healing of spell. This column is useful if you are asking the question "If I put in X spellpower, by how much more will this spell heal"? When using this information, keep in mind that the results can still vary, for example because you may have Grace or other +healing effects on the target.
Holy talents and glyphs factored into "full gains":
- Twin Disciplines
- Improved Renew
- Spiritual Healing
- Empowered Healing
- Empowered Renew
- Divine Providence
- PoH glyph
- CoH glyph (sixth target factored in, beware if you compute per-target heal based on this coefficient)
Discipline talents and glyphs factored into "full gains":
- Twin Disciplines
- Improved Renew (!)
- Improved PW:S
- Focused Power
- Borrowed time
- PW:S glyph
- PoH glyph
Notable talents and glyphs not factored into "full gains":
- Blessed Resilience (multiply with 1.03)
- Test of Faith (increased effect on targets below 50%)
- T9/T10 set bonuses
XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit
One of the big questions many priests ask is "how much spirit / intellect should I have", with the secondary question "where is the point at which it makes sense to stop stacking one and start stacking the other". As mentioned above, each gives some side benefits that must be considered.
First, realize that regardless of Discipline or Holy, every point of spirit is effectively equal to 1.155 spirit, thanks to 5% from Enlightenment / SoR and 10% from Blessing of Kings. Disc gains an additional 0.011 spirit for every point from Enlightenment. Similarly, for a Holy priest, every point of Intellect is equal to 1.1, while for Discipline, each point is equal to 1.265, thanks to Mental Strength and Blessing of Kings. Humans gain another 3% of spirit as racial bonus.
The following sections analyze how much MP5 discipline and holy priests gain from each point of intelligence and spirit. Note that the numbers depend on quite a number of assumptions.
- Baseline Holy: 1900 Int, 1400 Spi (used as fully buffed and talented values for all computations)
- Baseline Disc: 2000 Int, 1200 Spi (used as fully buffed and talented values for all computations)
- Fight length: 5 minutes
- Average hits per shadowfiend: 11
- Time OO5SR Disc: 5%
- Time OO5SR Holy: 8%
- Holy Concentration Uptime: 50%
- Rapture procs: every 15s (average assuming fights with no potential for simultaneous procs)
The column "MP5" factors in the above assumptions, but no impact from stat scaling talents and buffs. Uses the given baselines for holy and disc.
Column "Full gains":
The column "full gains" includes the effects from talents and raid buffs that scale with int and/or spirit. This column is useful if you are asking the question "If I put in X int or spirit, by how much more MP5 will I gain"?
Note that since the same baselines for int and spirit are used for both columns, you cannot use this table to answer the question "How much MP5 do I gain from talents and buffs?"
Effect of crit from int
Each point of int gives us a tiny bit of crit, which in turn increases the uptime of Holy Concentration for holy priests. The preceding guide had the effect of this at 0.08 MP5 at Ulduar gearing levels. This is, however, very hard to model correctly and much depends on your healing style. If you look closely at the results, you can see that the exact value of this effect won't change your decision making - it just makes int a bit more desirable for holy priests.
Spirit vs. Int for Holy priests
The preceding versions of this guide did have one unfortunate error in the int vs. spirit calculations. It treated the effect from int on Holy Concentration via int giving crit in detail. However, it did not include the baseline effect from HC, which made a real difference regarding the end result. In combination with todays gearing levels, and the nerf to replenishment, we may come a different gearing conclusion.
The new end result still says that regarding regen, int is better than spirit for holy priests,
So, for a human holy priest, int still gives us 18% more regen than spirit (depending on scenario, also Hymn of Hope not included, which favors int a bit). However, we also gain spellpower from spirit due to Spiritual Guidance. Given a choice between the same amount of int and spirit, we trade 18% of regen (a bit more if not human) for spellpower from spirit.
Rule of thumb (again, only for holy priests):
If at ICC gearing levels you have the option to replace int by the same amount of spirit somewhere, my recommendation would be to do so. This will usually mean gems, as we don't have highlevel spirit trinkets.
Spirit vs. MP5
Due to Spiritual Guidance, spirit is clearly far better than MP5 for holy priests. No news here.
However, contrary to common beliefs, MP5 is no longer clearly better than spirit for discipline priests. If you look at the end results, discipline priests gain around 0.45 MP5 from 1 point of spirit in the given scenario. Since itemization lets you usually choose between 2 spirit and 1 mp5, 2 spirit gives you around 0.9 MP5.
Now, according to this, MP5 is still around 10% better than spirit (around 5% for humans). However, this result is highly sensitive to the int baseline and the assumed times OO5SR. Here are some examples how this can affect results:
Time OO5SR changed from 5% to 10% for disc: 1 spi -> 0,4941 mp5 for human disc priests
Int baseline changed from 2000 to 2200 for disc: 1 spi -> 0,4946 mp5 for human disc priests
Rule of thumb:
Don't lose any sleep over choosing MP5 vs. spirit. If you are at around ilvl 264, choose spirit over MP5, given the choice. At sub-264 levels, use MP5 if given the choice. If you want to use the item for a shadow or holy secondary spec, always use spirit.
XII. d) Surge of Light & Inspiration Proc Chance
The following is math by Sinndir that should still apply as-is. There is, however, additional material on this in the old compendium thread, for example by Tedv.
I'd like to share is the chance to get a Surge of Light proc with all of our multi-targetted spells. All you have to do is include your own crit percentage and from the base formula you can determine how much crit chance you want; or perhaps just for your own curiosity sake. Largely I want this to dispel common myths that some priests say "I get a Surge of Light proc everytime I press my CoH button"; because no, you really don't. Note: the penance example is the chance to get an inspiration proc per penance cast.
First the formula and what it means
Proc = 1 - (1 - C/2)^n. - This is for 2/2 Surge of Light
Proc = 1 - (1 - C/4)^n. - This is for 1/2 Surge of Light
Proc = Chance of SoL proc
C = Crit Percentage (where 1.0 = 100%)
n = number of chances to proc (n = 2 for Binding Heal, n = 5 for CoH, n = 6 for glyphed COH, PoH with a group that has 2 hunters n = 7!)
C = 21%
n = 2
Proc = 1 - (1 - 0.21/2)^2.
Proc = 1 - (.801)
Proc = 0.199
Or a 19.9% chance to get a SoL proc.
C = 24%
n = 3
Proc = (1 - 0.24)^3.
\Pr(0|C,n) = 1-(0.44)
\Pr(0|C,n) = 0.56
Or a 56% chance to get at least one critical heal resulting in an inspiration buff via Penance
Circle of Healing
C = 21%
n = 5
Proc = 1 - (1 - 0.21/2)^5.
Proc = 1 - (.5742)
Proc = 0.426
Or a 42.6% chance to get a SoL proc.
Example #4: Manipulating the formula to figure out what crit percentage you would need for the desired chance of getting a Surge of Light proc.
Proc = 0.75 or 75%, meaning you want your CoH to give you a 75% chance to generate a SoL proc.
C = ??? - unknown
n = 6
Proc = 1 - (1 - C/2)^n. (isolate C, gets ugly)
C = -2*[(-P+1)^1/n - 1]
C = -2*[(-0.75+1)^1/6 -1]
C = -2*[(0.25)^1/6 - 1]
C = -2*[0.7937 - 1]
C = -2 * -0.20629
C = 0.41259 or 41.3% crit needed.
XII. e) Empowered Healing vs. Blessed Resilience (yes, the PvP talent) (3.3.5, but insert your current raid buffed spell power)
Taking two examples for empowered healing (Flash Heal & Binding Heal); this is due to the very low amount of greater heal casting, personally, done in Ulduar 25 and 10-man. Each heal will be looked at with empowered healing or with blessed resilience. Calculations will be done with 3000 spell power (a very attainable goal with even just a couple ulduar upgrades). The formula used will be as follows:
Spell = [Average + (Spellpower * coefficient)]*(talent modifiers)
i) Calculations with Empowered Healing (w/ spiritual healing modifier)
Flash Heal = [2049.5 + (3000 * 0.9668)]*1.1
Flash Heal = 5445 healing average
Binding Heal = [2237.5 + (3000 *0.9668)]*1.1
Binding Heal = 5652 healing average
Greater Heal = [4300.5 + (3000 * 2.2256)]*1.1
Greater Heal = 12075 healing average
ii) Calculations with Blessed Resilience (w/ spiritual healing modifier)
Flash Heal = [2049.5 + (3000 * 0.8057)]*1.13
Flash Heal = 5047 healing average
Binding Heal = [2237.5 + (3000 *0.8057)]*1.13
Binding Heal = 4969 healing average
Greater Heal = [4300.5 + (3000 * 1.6111)]*1.13
Greater Heal = 10321 healing average
iii) Calculations with Blessed Resilience & Test of Faith (w/ spiritual healing modifier) - I found something interesting testing with Renew. If the spell is cast below 50%, the ticks (even if the health goes higher than 50%) stay with the 12% increased effectiveness.
Flash Heal = [2049.5 + (3000 * 0.8057)]*1.25
Flash Heal = 5583 healing average
Binding Heal = [2237.5 + (3000 *0.8057)]*1.25
Binding Heal = 5818 healing average
Greater Heal = [4300.5 + (3000 * 1.6111)]*1.25
Greater Heal = 11417 healing average
So those are some pretty plain numbers. If you find yourself casting greater heal more than once in a blue moon, perhaps stick with Empowered Healing. If you regularly find yourself not casting it at all during fights then a spec for better output would first put the 5 points from empowered healing to 3/3 blessed resilience and then 2/3 Test of Faith.
Justification for taking test of faith is it provides more healing to those targets who need more health.
XIV. List of changes
2010-04-14: First version under new maintainer, fixed links, some work on consumables
2010-04-15: Fixed sliver of pure ice heroic, completed Introduction, III, IV, V, VIII, XI, metagem subsection, all sections marked, separated set bonus discussion from BiS list section
2010-04-16: Rewrote set bonus discussion regarding T9 and T10, added T10 nonset comparison by tasha, added new section for glyphs
2010-04-19: Changed formatting of glyph section, finalized shadowfiend glyph, section I (not I.a) done.
2010-04-21: BiS list section "completed".
2010-04-26: Redone section "XII. Coefficients for Spells", now also includes full talents for holy and disc, fixed section "I Holy Talents", redone section "XI. a) Gearing Levels for Icecrown"
2010-04-27: Update/redone section II, III, IV. The old content from III is integrated into II and IV, the old section III is replaced by a section on Rapture. Sections VI a) and X completed.
2010-04-29: Rewrite of section "Raiding as Disc" completed, some restructuring of VI, VII, some changes to addon section, added Grace and Improved Healing stuff for disc
2010-05-03: Changed T10 4pc effect to not affect the glyph heal, Replaced cross healing section by new section "VI. c) Special Healing Assignments"
2010-05-05: New section "VII. Throughput, Efficiency and Regeneration". Added reference to Frmercury's BiS lists.
2010-05-07: Replaced section XII a) by a new section on Power Word: Shield math., XII completed.
2010-05-10: Added Saurfang to VI. c) Special Healing Assignments, edited in some feedback.
2010-05-11: Rewrote disc part of gearing questions section. Removed preface as only a few sections still need updating.
2010-05-26: Added renew style holy build and talent q/a section on renew talents
2010-06-10: Rewrote "XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit" with new theorycrafting results.
2010-06-14: Rewrote "XI. Gemming", with stats breakdown based on "XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit"
2010-06-15: "XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit": corrected fight length for shadowfiend, corrected full gains values for meditation (holy), OO5SR (holy), and HC (holy). Updated values in the gemming section accordingly. Added some documentation.
2010-06-21: Replaced 11% of haste recommendation by haste buff specific table on notice from Carnathagia. Fixed wrong sp values in section "[Runed Cardinal Ruby] vs. [Purified Dreadstone] in for holy priests" on notice from Amoenitas.
2010-06-23: Started new trinket section, some old content remains until work is completed, added 3.3.5 trinket, BiS notice 3.3.5
2010-06-25: Added more trinkets and some documentation to trinket section.
2010-07-01: Added Halion testing results from Cenion.
2010-07-08: Corrected Concentration Aura information on note from Zaroua.
2010-08-11: Fixed missing heading for section II, Cataclysm notice
2010-09-05: Added recent Halion trinket info
2010-10-06: Final edit, appended 4.x revision list
XV. Necessary changes/things still applicable for 4.x
- write new intro
- design new cookie cutters for holy and disc
- change Q/A
I.a) Holy talents
- rewrite from scratch
- B&S perhaps still valid
I. Disc talents
- rewrite, but some talent q/a still valid
II. Mana regeneration
- Research and theorycrafting to be done
- rewrite from scratch probably
III. Mana regneration: Rapture
- probably a bit of rewording
- Research to be done
- If mostly unchanged, little work.
V. Downranking and spell coefficients
- Some rewording
VI.a Raiding as Holy
VI.b Raiding as Disc
- Rewrite, but some stuff probably still usable
VI.c Special Healing Assigments
- Remove, new content when new encounters are known
VII. Throughput, efficiency and Regeneration
- Mostly ok.
VIII. Threat Mechanics and You
- Should be ok
X. Useful Addons and User Layout
- Check if all listed addons are supported for Cata
- Should be ok otherwise
X. Setting up GRID to be useful as a Priest
- Should be ok
XI. Gearing Questions
- Full rewrite
XI. a) Gearing Levels for Icecrown
- Remove, replace by Gearing for first raid tier in Cata
XI. c) Trinkets
XI. d) Enchants
XI. e) Glyphs
XI. f) Set bonus discussion
XI. g) Best-in-Slot List for holy and disc
XII. a) Power Word: Shield formula
- Research and theorycrafting to be done
XII. Coefficients for Spells
- Research and theorycrafting to be done
XII. c) Value of Intellect and Spirit
- Research and theorycrafting to be done
XII. d) Surge of Light & Inspiration Proc Chance
- Research and theorycrafting to be done
XII. e) Empowered Healing vs. Blessed Resilience (yes, the PvP talent)