Posts Tagged ‘speccing’

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Jov sez: It’s Tuesday?

September 8, 2009

So, yeah.  I’m a complete noob, holidays throwing me off, thinking I had one more day to get my post out.  Well, yeah, I don’t.  Curse you three-day weekends and your screwing with my internal calendar!

So, because I spent most of last week baking (getting bread+1 achievements IRL) and this weekend…  kinda not thinking about anything, you all are getting a recycled PM.

Yes, the P in PM stands for private.  I ain’t telling you who it’s to, or giving any specifics or the like.  Let’s just say that a couple weeks ago, I was asked in-game for some advice on prepping and cleaning up in hopes of apping to a raiding guild in the future as a holy priest.  And we’ve not had one of those for a while, so you’re getting MY take.

First off– Hai!  And welcome to Jov’s Guide to Getting Ready to App to a Raid Guild 101.  You might want to take a peek at Seri/Qiani’s guide here, too.  I hope I don’t make your eyes glaze over with my tl;dr.

Secondly– What I mentioned earlier still applies: this applies to 25-mans, so keep in mind the stuff I’m saying is in regards to that.  If what you have works for 5/10s, that’s awesome and totally not what this is about. ;)

Third– Where do you usually go for information?  Elitist Jerks?  WoW forums?  Other healers?  I’m just gonna toss something into the mix, in case you’ve not seen it before:  PlusHeal is a all-healer forum full of good information for people at all levels of progression and all classes.  Caveat: I am a mod there.  But the Priest section is particularly active, and there’s a lot of good information to be had.

Okay, on to the nitty gritty.  Based on what you told me earlier (you like AOE healing) I’m going to first point you at (armory link redacted) (a/n: I don’t want to send everyone over to oogle someone else’s armory without warning).  She’s a good bit ahead of you on the gear curve, but she’s someone who’s got the same “job” you would have as a holy priest.  I’m not asking you to mimic her exactly, by any means, I’m only using her as an example of things like stat priorities and talents/glyphs.

So, what’s important to a holy priest?  Essentially, your job as a holy priest is going to get as much strong AOE healing out as quick as possible, and have the mana pool/regen to support it. What does that mean specifically?  You want to boost your PoH, CoH, and ProM as much as possible, since you’ll essentially be using CoH and ProM every cooldown.  You’ll use a good bit of Flash, both as a filler spell, and as a way to boost your PoH, and avoid using too much renew and shields.

This is considered the cookie cutter Holy Raid Healing build/glyphing.  There’s definitely some room for wiggle room, but a lot of the talents are simply too good to pass up.

Must-have talents in the Discipline tree:
Twin Disciplines, Improved Inner Fire, Improved Fortitude, Meditation
Optional talents for the Discipline tree:
Inner Focus
Must-have talents in the Holy tree:
Holy Specialization, Divine Fury, Inspiration, Holy Reach, Healing Prayers, Spirit of Redemption, Spiritual Guidance, Surge of Light, Spiritual Healing, Holy Concentration, Serendipity, Circle of Healing, Divine Providence, Guardian Spirit
Optional talents for the Holy tree:
Healing Focus, Improved Renew, Improved Healing, Blessed Resilience, Empowered Healing, Empowered Renew (1/3), Test of Faith

So, I’m telling you to avoid too much renew, but I’m including renew talents in the cookie-cutter spec… What’s up with that?  Well, Improved Renew is really filler, just as a way to get down a tier.  1/3 Empowered Renew, however…  *grin*  Empowered Renew…  doesn’t really do much.  But what it DOES is allow you to take advantage of another talent (there’s a lot of that in the holy tree).  The tiny little boost you get from Empowered Renew is tiny, but it’s a tiny instant heal.  This means it can crit, and in critting, can proc Surge of Light, giving you a free Flash or Smite.  What’s so great about that?  Even if it’s free, that Flash triggers your first hit of Serendipity.  What’s Serendipity good for?  PoH! (Or Greater, I suppose, but you’ll likely not be using that much)  A 3-stack (so 3 casts of Flash, be they free from Surge of Light, or regular casts) gives you 12% off the cast time of PoH, which is a reduction of 1/3 second.  May not sound like much, but it’s that much faster you can be doing something else.

So moving on from there, what should you be aiming for as far as stats go?  There are only four things you care about as a holy priest:  Spellpower, Crit, Haste, and Regen.

Spellpower is your most direct and obvious throughput stat. Want to heal more? add more spellpower.  Hitting 2k is really your first priority as a holy priest. Spellpower is affected by your spirit using the talent Spiritual Guidance, giving you 25% of your spirit as spellpower (which is itself modified by Spirit of Redemption, which gives you a flat 5% increase to spirit)

Next up, Regen, specifically the in-combat kind.  Your next priority should be getting that up to the 250-300 mark.  Holy in general is a mana-hog spec, so more regen is never a bad thing.  How do you get there?  The talent Meditation gives you 50% of your OOC regen (based on spirit) as in-combat regen.  Spirit cannot be ignored (also, see Spellpower note above) however, in a 25-man raid environment, your primary regen stat is going to be Intellect. (Wait, what?!)  If you’re a numbers cruncher and enjoy that sort of thing, there’s a thread devoted to it on PlusHeal (Priest Regen for Dummies), which was written prior to 3.2 and the replenishment changes, but the final word is still on page 2:

Updated. As an optimal ‘balance’ between spirit and intellect, I now promote 1000 spirit + 1300 intellect raidbuffed for lower levels or 1300 spirit + 1500 intellect raidbuffed for higher levels. As before, this is not ‘exact’. One can easily take more intellect or less, depending on flavor, without feeling a big hit in the regen.

It must be noted, however, that stacking more intellect is fine but requires better use of manaregen cooldowns such as the fiend and hymn of hope. Spirit is a little less demanding but requires a tid bit of crit to work. MP5 is now a strong regen stat and even outperforms spirit up to high gear levels! However, the SP bonus from spirit may make spirit a more favorable stat. Spirit still gives more bang for your buck but not in regen only. For disc priests, intellect > mp5 reigns supreme for all reasonable gear levels. Spirit isn’t bad for high end Disc raiders but weaker than mp5.

Finally, there’s the balancing act between crit and hasteCrit nets you free heals through Surge of Light (which can proc off any of your heals if you use 1/3 Empowered Renew) and spirit-based Regen through Holy Concentration.  Haste lets you pump out more heals faster.  For the most part, which you favor is a matter of personal preference.  Generally speaking, you’ll want to aim for 10% haste, 18-20% holy crit as unbuffed minimums before you start focusing on either one.

And before I close this here, a general note on gemming practices.  You’ll want to use gems which deal with the stats mentioned above for the most part.  Your (only) options are:

Red: Runed (red, spellpower), Purified (purple, spellpower/spirit), Luminous (orange, spellpower/int), Potent (orange, spellpower/crit), Reckless (orange, spellpower/haste)
Yellow: Brilliant (yellow, intellect), Quick (yellow, haste), Smooth (yellow, crit),  Luminous (orange, spellpower/int), Potent (orange, spellpower/crit), Reckless (orange, spellpower/haste), Intricate (green, haste/spirit), Misty (crit/spirit), Seer’s (int/spirit)
Blue: Purified (purple, spellpower/spirit), Intricate (green, haste/spirit), Misty (crit/spirit), Seer’s (int/spirit)
Meta: Insightful Earthsiege

My personal preference is Red : Runed or Luminous, Yellow : Brilliant, Blue : Seer’s.  Again, however, that’s personal preference, since gems are the quickest way to make up any stats that you may be missing.

Also, I didn’t touch much on your current gear/spec specifically, since I wanted this to be more of a general guide than me picking you apart.  If you would like me to go over where you are currently with a fine-toothed comb and give you specific gear lists, etc, I’d be happy to do that as well.  Just let me know.

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Jov sez: In Defense of Wacky Specs

May 26, 2009

Last week, one of my priesties (Hai Mira!*) sent me a PM asking for my feedback on some talent changes she was considering.  As anyone who’s read this blog knows, I’m pretty damned opinionated as to how to properly spec.  However, I do also try to keep a (somewhat) open mind to things which might make sense based on current needs, either of the player or of the content.  I’m also willing to give a good bit more thought to something that comes from someone I trust to not be a total mouthbreather, but that’s neither here nor there.

Essentially the gist comes to this:  My little priestie (Hai Mira!**) has been doing research, reading blogs, keeping up on her talents (exactly like I like them to do) and approached me with the thought of using a build first proposed by Derevka a couple weeks ago.  She gave me the build, made certain I had a link to the post, and (re-)explained the reasoning behind the various talents.  Essentially she (HAI MIRA!***) did everything right to break through my consistant knee-jerk reaction to some of the talents she proposes to take/skip and take on faith that she’s experimenting with a plan.

That’s not to say I immediately agreed with her.  Anyone asking my opinion directly is going to get it. The reply I sent back goes like this:

Personally, I’ve never liked Spell Warding, for the reasons you mention. I’ve seen people argue taking it when faced with constant raid-wide unavoidable damage (it was very big in SWP), it seemed very much “drop in the bucket”y vs Greater Heal. Of course, with the death of downranking, I can also understand not wanting to sacrifice points in something which improves a spell you rarely use.

I’ll totally trust your judgment re: GHeal usage vs hope of taking the edge off certain spell effects for better survivability. That’s a personal call.

Re: Healing Focus. I’m just snagging a random WWS to take a look at your spell useage here. (5/7 Ulduar is what I clicked on). Pushback doesn’t matter on your instants (CoH, renew, ProM, etc, which was ~70% of your healing done for the night) but will help with Flash, Greater, and PoH (~30% of your healing done). Again, I know that your spell selection is going to vary by fight.

Summing up my thoughts on the proposed spec change:
1) Spell Warding is very little bang for 5 talent points. It can help on some fights, but I’m personally biased against taking talents which are so very situational, generally speaking.
2) How much are you facing pushback in a given week?
3) If you are needing a greater heal, is the lack of reduced cast time going to hurt? What about the loss of the mana reduction?
4) I understand the logic behind the changes, I only wonder at the applicability.
5) I wouldn’t make the changes myself. However, I fully acknowledge that I am not you, my style is not yours, and my biases are my own. I’m very pro- trying stuff out to see what works. My main issue (which you’ve already resolved) is just following something weird you dug up somewhere and try as the hot new thing without actually giving it thought. I know that doesn’t apply, so consider this the green light. I very much look forward to how this works for you.

See? I can totally be open-minded.

When it comes down to it, some amount of healing is still based on personal style.  If I trust you through reading or personal experience enough to know you know what you’re doing, I’m very capable of acknowledging that some tweaks might not necessarily improve your throughput, but might help you out in other ways.

This is also not the only spec discussion going on in-guild at the moment, as I’m privy to a bit of a disagreement between two people I trust highly in knowing what they’re talking about.  I think it’s somewhat resolved, with a “try both of the specs for a week and give them a fair shot” plan in the works.  I just hope that one can forget the mathbook and the other can give cookie cutter an open mind long enough for the test to be fair.  But we’ll see.

In other news, AXIOM IS STILL RECRUITING! We’re particularly wanting a tree and a holy priest! Trees will get plenty of fertilizer from the streams of BS in guild chat and vent!  Priests!  You’ll get a kick-ass priest crew.  You’ll also down bosses.  Axiom needs YOU!

* Didn’t know I was gonna do this in a post, didja?

** Bet you wish you didn’t say something when I was racking my brain for this week’s post, huh?

*** You’re really gonna kill me, now, aren’t you?

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Jov sez: How2Priest (part 2)

April 14, 2009

Okay, you’ve decided on priest, moreover, you’ve decided on leveling with a non-standard (read: non-shadow) spec.  Good job!  Lemme just recap a bit :

Part 1 included links to suggested specs for soloing

Earlier, I posted a general guide to speccing, which is great if you’re going the LFG route.

So you’ve got your priest, you’ve got your spec plan, now what?

Spells

As can be expected, a lot of our spells involve healing.  Priests are the jack-of-all-trades healers, meaning we’ve a huge toolkit with approximately 1500 ways of healing.  But when out in the wilds of Northrend (or STV, for that matter) we’re not going to heal stuff to death, we’ve got damage capabilities as well (don’t laugh, we can totally do damage.)

1-29

You’ve got quite the overwhelming repertoire when starting out.  While the damage spells you learn early on (Smite, Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, etc) stay with you until the end of time, heals sometimes have expiration dates.  In short, once you hit lv 20 and get Flash Heal, take Lesser Heal off your bar and retire it to the old heals home. It served you well, but Flash is in all ways better/stronger/cheaper.

You also have the longer-cast larger heal with Heal, but to be perfectly honest, during the levels covered in this bracket, you can probably do just fine using nothing but Flash.

As far as damaging during these levels, your best tools aren’t really your damage spells at all; they’re Shield and Wand. Wands are stupidly OP in the beginning, to the point where it’s probably as effective to bubble and wand stuff from full as it is to cast at it, at least through the teens.  Otherwise, some general good guidelines would be to remember that Holy Fire is an opener, both due to the cast time and the DoT component.  Don’t worry about SW:P or Devouring Plague unless you’re certain you’ll get most of the ticks in (or if you’re tab-dot AOEing).  That’s… pretty much it.  These levels are really only slowed by the speed of running.

30-59

Congratulations!  You have a mount!  You’ve also got a lot of new spells which will see you finishing up your toolkit and finally retiring the last lingering spells of your noob-ness.  First off is Prayer of Healing.  Ignoring the small-heal component of Holy Nova, this is your first real big piece of group healing.  At this point, however, I’m going to advise you not put it on your bars. Prayer of Healing really needs 3 targets needing half their health pool to make it efficient, and with the wonders of PUGging, if you’re in a party where that many are needing that much, the tank doesn’t have good control and you’ll just pull healing aggro and die.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s simply a choice between their repair bill and yours.    There are places where it’s useful, yes, but it mainly just means the group is struggling until you hit mid-40s at the earliest.

Speaking of 40s, lv 40 is also where you do a bit of retiring.  Once you get Greater Heal, standard Heal goes the way of Lesser Heal.  It does.  I promise.  All those people who tell you Heal is viable at end-game did End Game back when BWL was hot shit.  Retire it, mourn it, miss it, but get rid of it.

DPS… has changed a bit, though you’re not looking at anything new.  Wands are now a finisher when you’re running low on mana, or something you use when bored in instances now.  All those spells you’ve had since the last bracket are the spells you’ll (still) be using now.

60-70

Ahh, Outlands.  You get more new spells in these 10 levels than you have in a clump since you rolled.  I’m talking about Hymn of Hope, Binding Heal, Shadow Fiend, and Prayer of Mending.  They also range from “not totally useless” to “this spell is the best thing ever” which isn’t actually too bad considering.

Hymn is, without a doubt, the weakest spell of the bunch.  If you’ve got the time to channel, you get some mana back, though I personally consider it most effective for getting o5sr and getting some serious ticks of spirit regen.  But it’s something.  Related, Shadow Fiend is also situationally useful (and useless).  The mana you get back is nothing to sneeze at, though your shadow puppy has some truly idiotic AI.  It works best on single-boss fights with no AOE abilities, and no CC to worry about.  And make certain you hit “attack” a few times, so it doesn’t just decide to chill out beside you.

And going from the meh to the awesome, both Binding Heal and Prayer of Mending are the shiznit.  I personally know I’m not in the habit of using Binding as much as I ought, but that’s mainly due to my imperfections in the class.  Binding should be used WHENEVER you’ve taken damage as well; and ProM should be going off every cooldown, especially in a raid environment.  They are seriously that good.

71-80

After all the new toys in the previous bracket, this one is kinda a let-down.  Mind Sear and Divine Hymn.  Divine Hymn currently echoes the other Hymn in it’s utility.  There are places where it’s okay, but it’s never going to be the best tool for the job, and has a long cooldown to boot.  Patch 3.1 sees it changing to a much stronger heal, though still facing a 10 minute cooldown.  I don’t know about anyone else, but with a cooldown that long, and the very situational need of it’s use, I know I’m probably going to continue to essentially never use it.

Mind Sear, however, is an awesome spell, and one a long time coming.  As is probably obvious by it’s name, it’s a DPS spell, but more than that, it’s an actual AOE.  Shadow Priests now have something more useful on trash than tab-SW:P’ing.

Talents

Of course, many of the class-defining tools require certain expenditures in talents to accomplish.  Yes, I’m talking about spells like Penance and Circle of Healing.  These are covered in my general spec guide linked above.  Regardless, if you don’t have one of the spells I just mentioned, you need to have the other.  Otherwise, don’t even bother.

Summing Up

Our bread and butter healing spells are Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Prayer of Mending (every cooldown), Prayer of Healing, Penance (every cooldown, if specced) and Circle of Healing (situational, if specced). Renew is useful pre-80, though the jury is still out whether the effort to re-balance for 3.1 is going to work.  Also, don’t be afraid to Shield (if you’re Disc) and ignore what the warrior is telling you about rage.  What miniscule amount that might have been true before, it’s being fixed in 3.1 anyway, so tell them to shut up and l2read patch notes.  Guardian Spirit also is a situationally useful lifesaver.  Those are what you’ll be working with as a healing priest, and you can probably safely remove most of the rest of the stuff from your bars, or at least tuck them away and hide them.

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Jov sez: How2Priest (part 1, the noob years)

March 31, 2009

This isn’t going to be the most thorough guide out there, but in the past week, we’ve gotten many requests here at Snarkcraft HQ requesting a bit of basic priest-fu, ranging from leveling to raiding (seriously, multiple emails… you all sharing a brain or something?) so I’m gonna take the next few weeks to provide an overview.

This week: the noob years.  Rolling and leveling.

Okay, so after stumbling upon our blog and becoming faithful readers, you say to yourself “Self… Priesting is awesome-pants.  I totally want in on that.  What should I do now?”  Fear not, for Jov has answers and will steer you right.

First, you need to consider faction and playstyle.  I’m horde, but I’m a reroll and played Alliance from 05 to 08, and make no secret of my total infatuation with the draenei.  I don’t really have faction pride.  Play what makes you happy, where your friends want to play, or where you can send yourself bags and heirloom shoulders.  Related, determine how are you going to level.  Are you going to solo quest?  Whore yourself in LFG?  Do you have a buddy you don’t leave home without?  Take a moment to plan exactly what you want from the class, because that will affect how best to go from here.

If you choose to solo quest…

First, I’m gonna come out and say it.  Shadow is totally viable for healing most instances, and is also much faster when it comes to questing out in the world.  The advantage holy* (defined from here forward as “healy”) priests usually have is in mana regen and/or stronger heals.  That isn’t an issue, however, until Outlands at the very earliest, so feel free to go straight to shadowform before jumping over to Discipline and picking up Meditation and going back for more shadowy goodness.  Or badness, depending on perspective.  (Think about something 13/0/31-ish in the mid-50s.  Note: getting to Meditation happens however in the second tier…  you don’t get the spellpower boost from Inner Fire (and want the boost to improved) until 71.)  That will be more than enough to see you through until you’re closer to thinking about a “final spec.”

However, much as you can heal as shadow, you can definitely level as holy or discipline, bearing in mind it’s just going to be a bit slower to do so.  For those of you going the mainly solo-route, I’m still going to advise sticking your first 5 talent points in shadow to snag spirit tap (and improved spirit tap), then jumping into Discipline to get Meditation as quickly as possible.  The name of the game here is reducing downtime, since kill time will be a bit longer.  But that’s alright, with Meditation and Spirit Tap working together, you’ll be a regen machine and rarely need water.

Once you hit lv 18, with it’s regen hijinks, you can pick your path:  Discipline, or Holy.  You won’t see much difference between the two while questing, nor will you really be running into the differences between the healing styles until closer to Outlands when you can pick up Circle of Healing or really become a bubble-priest.  Discipline will want to pick talents which boost their spellpower and shields, and Holy will want to snag reduced cast time, more spellpower, and chance for free spells.  Remember to respec at 71 for Improved Inner Fire if you’re not using it already!

Example Disc Soloing Build (live)
Example Disc Soloing Build (3.1 PTR)
Example Holy Soloing Build (live)
Example Holy Soloing Build (3.1)

If you choose to LFG…

… by which I mean “don’t quest, just instance level,” most of what I said above applies.  Spirit Tap and some of the damage talents will decrease in utility, as you’ll mainly be using them when the party is going well or to duel outside Orgrimmar while waiting on a summon.  There’s actually little to no reason to avoid going straight for one of the specs I outlined a few weeks ago, just remember to start in Discipline for Meditation, either way.  You’ll be a healing machine, just maybe a bit slow if you try to kill anything yourself.

If you choose to Healbot your friends…

It’s kinda a combination of the two.  Depending on who you’re running around with, you might not find Spirit Tap all that useful *grumble lousy hunters grumble* but you’ll probably find yourself smiting pretty frequently.  It really depends on your group or what you’re doing.  If you’re wanting to have fun smiting around, spec more for damage.  If you’re just wanting to tag along and heal when needed, spec for healing.  (Hey, I don’t judge.  I first started playing Priest because it enabled me to auto-follow Tarsus’ first character, not get lost, not understand WASD controls, loot and heal occasionally.  Even to this day, several years and many characters later, I STILL prefer to follow Tarsus as I have serious issues deciphering some quest descriptions.)

Next week: Jov discusses what makes healy priests unique: spells, glyphs, and talents.

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Jov sez: Your lousy spec

March 17, 2009

I’m putting my supposed-to-go-up-last-week-but-I-didn’t-finish on the back burner yet again due to the veritable shit storm of commentary from Seri’s post a couple weeks ago, the simple post screenshotting a spec which we’re STILL getting responses to.  (And also because the put-off post is still not finished.)

So, it’s a lousy spec.  Most of the priests who actually research their class (or think hard about it) can spot the 10 or 20 things that really need improvement before being proclaimed a viable spec.  The ones who REALLY enjoy the math aspect of the game can take it one step further, pulling out calculators and spreadsheets to illustrate exactly WHY it’s wrong, and specifically how much gimping you’re doing to yourself by your inability to research.  (And for the person who points out there are shit specs on wowwiki, it’s true, but one source does NOT count as “research” by any definition.  Armory or inspect someone in a raid guild, ask around where to get other information, read the effing tooltips.)

But!  All that aside, there’s a bigger question that was raised by Nihonga in comments:  “Does he get the job done with this spec?”  Seri answered assuming the commenter was simply being a smart ass, I gave the more blunt answer that current content could be healed with 0 points in holy OR discipline, so it’s not entirely a fair assessment.

But what if it is?  If content is such that currently it can be done without paying the slightest attention to theorycraft or talent trees, does that then imply that they don’t matter?

The short answer is no, the longer answer is sometimes.

The obvious problem with going into any situation with a bad spec is the fact you’re not doing as well as you could.  A respec may not by definition make you a better healer, but will make some heals stronger, some faster, and give you some more tricks for maintaining your mana.  It makes your job easier.  Back in the dark ages pre-Wrath when TBC, Illidan, and Sunwell were the Big Things, Wynthea over at World of Matticus made a post which could be essentially described as the rallying call of the non-bad.  “Myth: It Doesn’t Really Matter As Long as the Boss Dies” I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and give a blow by blow of her argument, but to sum up, it posited that HOW a boss goes down is actually more important than just the fact that he does.

Does a bad spec get the job done?  Presumably, or they wouldn’t be on the team.  But the more important question as to how well that happens is totally untouched.

So why do I answer with sometimes?  Well, it really goes back to the raid group as a whole.  If you’re in a group that doesn’t care (that believes that only the boss dying matters) then theorycraft really doesn’t matter beyond a certain point (do you have the health/mana/regen/defense to survive the encounter, and if you don’t, do you know enough to know what needs tweaking to change that answer to a yes?

If your answer to that is yes, then if you’re clearing content, your lousy spec does not, in fact, matter.  It just makes the rest of us twitch.  (And, no, you cannot join my guild.)

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Jov sez: How to Spec Your Priest

February 3, 2009

noAs you all have probably noticed from my “It Came From The Meeting Stone” screenshots, not being a tard when standing at the trainer clicking the little talent buttons is important to me.  And since there seem to be some people determined to be creative, original, or just entirely avoid min/maxing for who knows WHAT reason…  I’m gonna make a handy little post.  And more than that, I’m going to macro it with a /t %t “Hey, it may have escaped your notice, but your spec is bad.  I don’t see how you can be anything but a drain on your raid with a spec that special.  Please check out the guide at {here} and thank me later.”

Okay, first of all, there are two types of priest: Holy (*buffs nails*) and Discipline (… meh).  Okay, there’s the replenishment bot in the corner, but we don’t care about them.  Their purpose is just to fill our neverending mana pool.  But on to the basics.

First, you’ve two options for spec, with some wiggle room allowed in each.

Discipline (54/13/0 — points remaining: 4)
Holy (14/54/0 — points remaining: 3)

snowflakeYou do NOT have the option to try and pick a little of column one and a little of column two. Doing so does not make you a tender and unique snowflake.  It makes you spend a respec fee to not do it wrong.

Breakdown:

Must haves — Both specs
Twin Disciplines : Superior choice to Unbreakable Will; more spellpower is good.
Improved Fort : Unfortunately, we need it.
Improved Inner Fire : Starting at lv 71, Inner Fire gives a spellpower boost.  Improved improves it.  Better choice than Silent Resolve.
Inner Focus : A free spell (with bonus improved chance to crit).  Good for getting time out of the 5 second rule.
Meditation : Our primary regen talent.
Holy Specialization : Crit is very important to several of our talents.  This is a free 5%.
Divine Fury : Reduced cast time to smite, holy fire, flash and greater.  Superior to Spell Warding.
Inspiration : If there’s any chance you’re going to be having a heal land on a tank, you want this maxed.

Must haves — Discipline Spec
Improved PW Shield : You’ll be shielding a lot; improve it.
Mental Agility : Reduced mana cost on instants, good for all the shielding you’ll be doing.
Mental Strength : More mana, better results from Replenishment, required for Power Infusion.
Focused Power : Increases Spellpower
Enlightenment : Improved stats plus haste
Power Infusion : Not just for mages ;)
Renewed Hope : Improved crit meshes well with Divine Aegis
*Grace : (see Situational section below)
Rapture : Mana regen talent
Aspiration : Primarily for the reduced cooldown of Penance
Divine Aegis : Good with Renewed Hope.  Again, shields are vital.
Pain Suppression : Good “oh shit” button
Borrowed Time : Haste and more shield improvement
Penance : Penance and Shield are the two main “bread and butter” spells of the discipline spec.  Don’t spec Discipline without this talent.

Suggested Use of Leftover Points — Discipline Spec
Desperate Prayer, Improved Renew, Divine Spirit — Regular DS is the strongest of these, but they all work.
Situational: If you don’t run with Shammies, feel free to go IDS.  If you don’t have a protadin, get *Grace.

Skip — Discipline Spec
Improved Divine Spirit : Does not stack with Flametongue Totem.  If there are shammies in the raid, chances are this is a wasted point.
Reflective Shield : Only reflects damage done to you when you are shielded.  Does not reflect damage when anyone else is shielded.
*Grace : Damage Reduction does not stack with Blessing of Sanctuary, though the boost to +heal does.

Must haves — Holy Spec
Improved Renew : Better option than the alternatives
Improved Healing : Reduced mana cost of heals
Holy Reach OR Desperate Prayer : Either of these is as good as the other.  Holy Reach will increase the spread of CoH and Holy Nova.  Desperate Prayer will heal you (personally, I think you’re better off with Binding Heal, but to each his own).  They’re both primarily a means to jump down a tier.
Spirit of Redemption : 5% spirit increase, plus improved death.
Spiritual Guidance : Spellpower increased by 25% total spirit.  Spirit is still mandatory for holy priests.
Surge of Light : 50% Chance on crit to get a free flash/smite.  Good for downtime when no one needs a heal, good for getting time out of the 5 second rule when paired with Inner Focus.
Spiritual Healing : Improves healing spells
Holy Concentration : Clearcasting
Empowered Healing : Improves Greater, Binding and Flash heals
Serendipity : Mana regen talent
Imp Holy Concentration : You get a reduced cast time for Greater, Flash, and Binding, plus improved chance to proc Clearcasting
Circle of Healing : 6 second cooldown or not, this is still a valuable part of a holy priest’s arsenal, and a useful group heal.
Divine Providence : Improves healing done by all spells not Greater/Flash and reduces the cooldown of ProM.
Guardian Spirit : Good “oh shit!” button that also increases all healing done to the target.

Suggested Use of Leftover Points — Holy Spec
Healing Prayers, Test of Faith, Desperate Prayer/Holy Reach — all solid choices.

Skip — Holy Spec
Healing Focus : Changes to pushback mechanics make this talent somewhat lackluster compared to others, so skip it.

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Snarkcraft Mailbag: 11/12/08

November 12, 2008

It’s that time again, kids. What time, you say? Time for another peek into the World of Snarkcraft Mailbag! I know you’re excited, but try to pace yourself… especially if you’re going to the Midnight Launch tonight. You’ll need your strength for the all-night WotLK marathon!

A.Y. writes:

So I have a level 70 priest (<name redacted> on Dark Iron). I stopped playing for about 4 months and now that I’m back everything is different. I’ve been reading your blog about disc healing. I leveled disc and have ALWAYS been a disc healer, but coming back from not playing into the world of new talents and nerfs, I have no idea what to spec. Right now I’m holy because I heard disc isn’t good anymore, which made me sad.

What build would you recommend for Disc PvE healer?

Seri sez:

Lies! Vicious, vicious lies. Discipline is more viable in PVE than ever before!

With Wrath going live tomorrow, your first priority is probably going to be leveling. If you’re going to be doing a fair amount of soloing with occasional instancing, I recommend you go with a Disc/Holy hybrid spec and Smite/Holy Fire with impunity. If you’re going to be grouping/instancing and you like Discipline, go deep Discipline and shield/heal your party while they do most of the grunt work.

When it comes to your spec at 80, you need to ask yourself (and maybe your raid leader): Am I a tank healer or a raid healer? Discipline priests make great tank healers but gimpy raid healers, so you’re going to be better off going Holy if you’re not part of the tank healing team. For 5-man content, either one should work just fine. Go with what you’re most comfortable with.

Make no mistake, Discipline healing does come with a learning curve now. Fortunately for you, I covered this recently so you should be able to get up to speed fairly quickly! Both of the specs I’ve suggested here are just that: Suggestions. You can wiggle the points around a bit, and Jov has a few things to say about specific talents and when you may or may not want to take them. Read on!

Jov sez:

I ain’t gonna lie, I keep talking about trying out the toys in the Discipline tree, but I’m a holy-healer through and through. All that being said, I’m going to recommend a 55/5/0 build as a solid lv 70 build for a raid environment. I know there’s a point missing, and that’s really intended to be something you can stick wherever you want depending on your group makeup. This isn’t intended to be a “leveling build” (I’ll get to that in a few minutes) but the build that will give you the most bang for your healing buck and emphasizing Disc’s shield shenannigans, without talents that will be overwritten by others in the group. (For an awesome and complete list of buffs, what they overwrite, and what overwrites them, check out Dwarf Priest’s Raid Stacking 101.)

First off, you’ll notice I picked up regular Divine Spirit, but not the improved version. If you go anywhere with a shammy, and they drop a Flametongue Totem (which is pretty common for resto and elemental shammies to drop) your Improved Divine Spirit is now two wasted talent points… er… I mean two free points you can now spend elsewhere! So spend ‘em elsewhere.

Second, starting at lv 71, Inner Fire grants bonus spellpower, making the improved talent much more attractive. It’s vastly more useful than reduced threat (not that tanks have problems with threat now, anyway.)

Third, Enlightenment is taking the spot of Divine Fury from the holy tree. Not only does it reduce cast time of all your spells (as opposed to only a few with Divine Fury) it increases your Spirit and Stamina as well. It’s like a two-fer. Good with a bonus side of awesome.

Next, skip Reflective Shield. We were all (read: Seri) very disappointed to learn that either through bug our stealth-nerf, the damage reflection component only reflects damage done TO YOU. If you shield anyone else, it’s just a shield. Very meh for 3 talents, and the only “shield” talent I’m advising you (strongly) to skip.

Finally, if you’re raiding with a prot pally, skip Grace. We’re back to that stacking thing again, Grace is awesome, but Sanctuary is much better and overwrites it. Put those points elsewhere.

However, with Wrath opening up tomorrow (or tonight if I can get it installed and patched quickly enough!) most of this is going to be pretty moot for you. For leveling, I’m going to suggest 31/25/5, moving to 38/28/5 at 80. This build isn’t interested in which buffs overwrite others, it’s simply a means to maximize your damage while minimizing your downtime. (At lv 80 if you immediately jump into raiding, look at 55/16, continuing the earlier Discipline raiding build. The important bit is to get Inspiration, finishing out Divine Fury is optional, you can just as easily go back and snag a couple toys from Discipline.)

Have a question or topic request for World of Snarkcraft? E-mail us!

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Special Edition: Recommended Healing Specs for 3.0

October 14, 2008

Note to all you guys still clicking through after the release of Wrath:

We know you’re there, we see you, this is STILL one of the most popular hits for our blog.  If you’re here looking for spec advice, go to this post instead.  This was made for the days pre-Wrath release, not intended for level 80 raiders.  Follow the link for shiny updated content.

Although your beloved snark mavens usually see eye to eye, sometimes we just don’t! Read on to find out what we think about healing spec options for 3.0. The final choice is, of course, yours but don’t say we didn’t give you any options!

Jov sez: Don’t rock the boat!

I know I’ve stated on many many many occasions that trying out weird specs and figuring out what your spells do is a Good Thing ™, however… If you are currently a member of an active raiding group, now is not the time to go crazy. Things are going to be changing left and right, and keeping your spec as similar as you can to standard can act as a good control while things settle. Try things out on your own time, you have a responsibility to your fellow raiders to not take this opportunity to pick a spec that blows up in their faces.

IMP DS 23/38 redux

I’m going to advocate only the smallest tweak from the current standard cookie cutter IDS build: 23/38. It’s got one throwaway point in Discipline (the one point I put in Unbreakable Will could go anywhere) and the Holy tree is more of the same. Note: With the changes to pushback mechanics, Healing Focus are dump points at the moment, and as such, I chose to dump them. I used Desperate Prayer to jump down a tier. The main change I’m going to advocate is 3/3 Serendipity over 3/5 Empowered Healing. With the death of downranking, you’re going to be facing larger Greater numbers than you’re used to, so losing a bit of Empowered isn’t going to make such a big deal. However, while relearning, getting 25% mana back on the inevitiable overheal IS.

New CoH 14/47

There is no Mental Agility in this build, which makes me sad. CoH is going to be more of a mana hog spec than it is currently: 14/47. Again, I’m changing some things from the standard in hopes of gaining more opportunity for regen while things settle. Most notably, dropping ranks in Empowered Healing again for Serendipity, Improved Holy Concentration and 1/2 in each Healing Prayers and Surge of Light (depending on your usual rotations, the last two could easily be 2/2 in one and dropping the other entirely.) Again, Healing Focus is not part of this spec, and unlike my previous preferred CoH spec, Holy Specialization is maxed. This spec is designed to take advantage of as much of regen in deep holy as possible.

Seri sez: ZOMG new toys and my birthday’s not until next month!

To hell with the naysayers that decry it as irresponsible; I’m totally going to field test the hell out of these bad boys. Why wait until 80 for those 51 point talents when I have 61 perfectly good talent points to spend today?

The Rebirth of Discipline: 56/5/0

First, let’s talk Discipline. I have none, obviously, but I’m talking about talents here. The Discipline tree has long been the redheaded stepchild of our family, but with 3.0 it is looking to become an extremely viable single target healing spec.

Are you tired of being an IDS monkey? You know what I’m talking about… the poor sap that drew the short straw and had to sink 23 points in Disc for the betterment of the raid? It’s time to strut your stuff… try this: 56/5/0

The new and improved Disc tree is all about preventative healing and, to a certain extent, mitigation. Your critical heals will shield the target for a percentage of your heals, and Penance becomes your ‘go to’ spell despite the 10 second cooldown. Use Power Word: Shield and Renew liberally and throw around a few Flash Heals and Greater Heals between Penance casts.

It’s going to take some getting used to, but the important thing here is to use more spells and keep shielding (it returns you mana!). Don’t just stand around stopcasting Greater Heal, you have way more utility than that! Also, don’t forget… Power Infusion isn’t just for DPS.

Alternately, you might consider a variation: 56/5/0

Same number of points, slightly different distribution. In this variant, I reduced points spent in Enlightenment and Grace (hey, 50/50 are still good odds) to pick up 3/3 Reflective Shield. It seemed like a good idea at the time, especially since you’re going to be shielding a lot. Who doesn’t like threatless damage? (Lolnova haters aside.)

Update: Upon reflection, you’ll get more bang for your buck by going with Enlightenment rather than Divine Fury, so I revised my suggestions after initially posting this.

Holy4Life: 7/54/0

Ok, on to Holy. This is going to be my particular playground of choice, and I’m considering a big drink from the Holy fountain: 7/54/0

I know what you’re thinking… no Inner Focus? Honestly, I haven’t been using it that much anyway as of late. Plus, there’s SO much in Holy to play with and with this spec I imagine myself simply glowing with inner radiance just looking for an outlet.

This has the potential for being a powerful raid healing spec, but it’s not for the faint of heart because giving up Meditation could hurt. I would venture to say that it needs some pretty strong gear to back it up at 70. CoH is as much of a mana hog as ever but it’s also more powerful than ever, receiving a boost from talents and crossing party lines to heal whoever in the vicinity of the target needs healing the most.

Like Jov, I opted for Serendipity over Empowered Healing. It just seems like the best choice, given the options available. I also decided to leave Lightwell out of this build, but you could always shuffle a point into it if you want. The way I figure, our raiders are going to be too busy trying to re-learn their own specs, spells and rotations to also remember that Lightwell doesn’t suck anymore. I will probably pick it up again at 80.

Don’t forget to watch for Surge of Light procs! I bet you’ll see a lot of them when you start throwing CoH around, and it’s not just for Smite anymore.

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Seri snarks: Spec Wrecks

October 9, 2008

I’ve never considered myself to be a speccist (defined as someone who believes in one true way to spec for a given class/role) but maybe I’m starting to get a bit pickier as I age. These days I find myself getting more and more snarky when I encounter questionable spec choices. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the specs I love… to hate.

Warning: Not for the faint of heart! Read at your own risk, particularly if you have a weak stomach.

Wreck #1: The Weekend Warrior – 19/42/0

Can’t decide if you prefer to raid or PVP? Spec for both! Eschew pesky things like Inspiration and Imp. Fortitude… surely some other priest will pick up the slack.

Wreck #2: Tri-Specced to Useless – 21/20/19

I think it was Jov that first coined the phrase ‘Tri-Specced to Useless’ unless she stole it from someone else and passed it off as her own witticism (really, I wouldn’t put it past her). Although it was originally coined with Druids in mind (and you KNOW the sort of druids I’m talking about), it applies equally well here. Congratulations, you have chosen a spec that might allow you to solo dailies without being remotely viable for anything else.

Wreck #3: I Am Holy, Lawl: 0/61/0

It’s been a long time since I saw this beauty… thankfully. I can only imagine that this is dreamed up by the same sort of brainiac that puts 61 points in Protection to be a tank. Although 61 points in Resto makes for an awesome (if helpless) Druid, the same cannot be said for Priests. Walking around with this spec is like having a bright pink blinking neon sign reading ‘Dumbass’ over your head. I’m convinced that’s what my tooltip should tell me when I mouseover someone with this spec, rather than something so innocuous as “Holy.”

…hey, that’s not a bad idea. WTB add-on coder!

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