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.)

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  1. I have a question which is maybe not important enough for an email, but it vexes me… how do I explain to the random warrior tank in my pug, that I am a better healer if I shield him?
    My priest is 65 now, almost completely discipline, and I am having a blast. I can quest by myself (maybe slow, but I don’t care), and I healed random groups in Slavepens and (the other one, don’t know the English name, sorry) today. But I get asked to stop shielding by warriors because they don’t get enough rage if they don’t get damage. And while I’m perfectly ready to admit that I’m a noob healer, I still think PW:S is just awesome.

    Help? 😦

  2. oh, and random flattery:
    /lavish seri + jov, you already helped me a lot.

  3. @ Agape – Shielding in 5-mans can be tricky until you get to heroics, when your tanks will begin taking enough damage that a PW:S isn’t going to affect them much except at the very beginning of the fight. They’ve also amped up tank threat enough that your tank may not have to work as hard for it as they expect. Anyway, the best advice I can give you is to watch your tank’s rage bar and see if they look rage starved (or if they start to complain). If so, less Shield and more direct heals. You could also try to explain to your tank that your heals are more effective against folks with Weakened Soul and invite them to click off the shield, but… I think the important thing is to keep the tank happy, so do what you’ve gotta do!

  4. OMG YOU ARE SO AWESOME. Thank you thank you thank you!

  5. Re: Rage Tanks and PW: Sheild

    My strongest advice from the Tank perspective is to wait to use PW:S until after the Warrior lays down their first TC+Shockwave combo or Sheild Slam. But solid rule, if you can stomach it, is don’t hit us with PW:S unless our rage is higher than 30.

  6. Hey this is A.Y. I just wanted to let you know that I specced deep discipline because 1) I really enjoyed Disc in BC and 2) I regularly group with a ret pally so I just healz.

    Disc is amazing I love it very much. Never run out of mana. Penance is SO AWESOME! The only downer is there really isn’t a viable instant AoE heal, like CoH for full holy priest. Solution: Buy the Holy Nova Glyph. Yeah, it’s amazing because when you crit on anyone using Holy Nova, that person gets Divine Aegis. So in an instance 3 ppl can get divine aegis. It’s amazing

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