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.


  1. o.O

    That holy build doesn’t have Meditation, noob.

    /flail and panic

  2. I am so very tempted to go all the way 51 in Holy, but I’m afraid of running out of Mana. Perhaps I’ll try it out after awhile if I find mana not to be an issue. For now I’m going with a spec similar to Jov’s CoH spec. I will not be dropping points out Empowered Healing however. Instead I’m skipping Imp. Holy Concentration. I do badly want this talent, but I chose to skip it for now. I am also putting 2 points into Surge of Light and none in Holy Prayers.

    I had honestly never even considered dropping points from Empowered Healing, I guess I’ll have to think on it.

    Oh and nice specs both of you…ty for posting them up 🙂

  3. @ Jov – To quote myself: “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.”

    @ Ayslin – Chicken. 😉

  4. LOL! Yup! 😀

  5. Interesting post. While I’m tempted to try Seri’s Rebirth of Discipline build, I’m worried about how well I’ll be able to heal with it, because I’m missing a lot more from the holy tree than I am currently using (more or less the IDS Redux) but I’m also tempted to go for it since Discipline is what I’ve been doing for so long.

    Unsure priest is unsure.

  6. @ Karine – Try it. I spec’d into it tonight (used the uber-shield variant) because we needed IDS so I figured… why not? It was a lot of fun. I learned that Disc is more than a single target healer, it’s what I will forevermore call the ‘oh shit healer’. That’s what we always called the ceiling handle in our car as a kid (when the grown-ups weren’t around)… the ‘oh shit bar’. Anyway, I digress. Disc seems to be great for emergency healing when someone takes a spike. Penance is insanely fun, the only criticism I have for it is that it sucks that you must be facing your target to cast it. All the other healing spells in our arsenal are unidirectional.

  7. I went deep holy because I can not say no to pretty wings. They are fun and I am in love with them. I like to wear them in Stormwind and show off.

    Anyway, did a heroic UB run last night, and we breezed through it. The pally tank was chainpulling, we didn’t get out of combat from the first pull until that little bridge with those two naga. And we only stopped then because the mage started crying (wuss). Of course, having a ret pally helped, but still, it was amazing.

  8. “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.”

    Gol-durn heaylers is jumpin in on muh turritoreh! Dag nabbit.

  9. Well, we had our first raid since 3.0 last night and all I can say is… wow. I think the Resto Shaman was the only one with complaints about mana, everyone else was flush the whole night. Neither the deep Disc priest nor the deep Holy priests broke a sweat. Heck, we proximity pulled a robot in SWP during a trash pull (*cough* twice *cough*) and even though we lost half our healers in the ensuing chaos I still ended the fight with well over 50% mana. How awesome is that? I fear we’re in for a shock at 80, as I don’t expect it will be this easy, but it sure feels like someone flipped the “easy mode” switch. I’m sure the 30% health nerf was a factor too. Quicker fights = less healing needed.

  10. Well maybe I’ll go ahead and try out that deep Holy spec. Doesn’t matter tonight as I’ll be healing Kara tonight on my Druid, but probably this weekend.

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