Seri sez: I <3 Penance – A rebuttal.

January 22, 2009

meditationEveryone is entitled to their opinion. I’ve repeated that to myself a lot in the last few weeks… a mantra of sorts.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is our differing opinions and points of view that make for interesting blogging.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Without challenging the status quo, there is no progress.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion… but if it’s asinine and it’s about Priests you can expect to hear from me.

A few weeks ago, a bright-eyed Discipline priest named Wistoovern stepped through World of Matticus‘ revolving guest-poster door with what he felt was a revolutionary idea clutched tightly in his hands. Because I had already read his crackpot theory over on PlusHeal, tried to communicate to him the error of his ways and been shrugged off… I didn’t read the whole thing. I was surprised that Matticus gave him a guest post spot for the topic, but I know that it generated a lot of discussion even though Matticus did take some heat for putting it out there.

Wistoovern proposes in his guest post that Penance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and that it is possible to be a perfectly viable Discipline Priest without it.

Ok, I’ll grant him that it would be possible to be a viable Discipline healer without Penance.

My counter-argument: Why the hell would I want to do that?

Penance is a great spell. Why?

  • It only costs one talent point. – Where else would you propose to put that talent point, if not in Penance? Is there something vital I’m overlooking that you just don’t have enough talent points for? Go ahead, look. I’ll wait. Better yet, just listen to me: There isn’t. You’re already sinking 50+ points into Discipline to be a viable Discipline healer, so why not invest in Penance? And don’t give me that ‘CoH was useless once upon a time’ crap, because this isn’t the same. Penance is far from useless. If you don’t believe me, keep reading.
  • It heals for about as much as a max rank Greater Heal for a fraction of the mana cost. – Rank 9 Greater Heal = 39% Base Mana for 3950-4950 healing. Rank 4 Penance = 16% Base Mana for 3 pulses of 1484-1676 healing over 2 seconds. Need I say more?
  • The first pulse is instant. – Even if you have to step out of the cast, your target still gets nearly 2k healing instantly. This is comparable to a max rank Flash Heal but cheaper. (16% vs 18% base mana)
  • Each pulse can crit. – Got Divine Aegis? Inspiration? Penance provides three chances to proc them per cast, rather than 1. I’m not a gambling woman, but I like those odds.
  • Re-stacks Grace quickly and efficiently. – If you’re tank healing, and as a Disc priest you should be, keeping Grace up is something you want to do. Penance is a great way to quickly stack Grace to 3 if it drops off.

Now, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t also discuss the cons of Penance:

  • 10 second cooldown. – Yes, Penance has a 10 second cooldown. If it didn’t, it would probably be crazily overpowered. Is there a chance that it might be on cooldown when you need it most? Sure. Sounds like a good time for Pain Suppression IMO. We have a lot of tools at our disposal, this is just one of them. (Also, it’s worth noting that the Penance cooldown is reduced to 8 seconds with 2/2 Aspiration, which any smart Disc priest has.)
  • Facing.This ‘con’ is irrelevant as of patch 3.0.8, but it used to be that you had to be facing your target to use Penance. This no longer applies, but it did when Wistoovern wrote his guest post so I thought it only fair to mention it.
  • Overhealing. – Yes, Penance can overheal. All healing spells can. I don’t believe this one is any more prone to it than any other.
  • Channeled. – Penance is a 2 second cast channeled spell. If your casting is interrupted, your target won’t get the full benefit of the spell. However, they would have received at least the first if not second pulse whereas with Flash/Greater Heal they would not receive anything until you eventually finish casting.
  • CC breaking. – If you routinely keep your shackle target as your target and heal with mouseover macros or Healbot, you could break your own cc with Penance. Um… l2focustarget.
  • Accidental pulls. – Ok, seriously… how much personal stupidity do we have to put in the ‘con’ column? Anyone can accidentally pull a mob with an offensive ability; this isn’t unique to Penance. Hell, one of our mages Blinked into Sartharion the other night and we all got a good laugh out of it while we were bolting for the exit.umbrella

To repeat: Penance is a great spell. It’s far from the only spell in your arsenal, but arguing that you don’t really need it is sort of like saying that you don’t need an umbrella in the rain. Is standing in the rain without an umbrella fatal? No, but you’ll end up pretty wet.

Still, I think the most disappointing thing in this whole debacle is that for all the discussion and debate that Wistoovern’s post sparked in comments he didn’t seem to participate in any of it. If you’re going to put yourself out there, airing a poorly-reasoned opinion in a blog with hundreds of subscribers, you’d better be willing/able to defend it. I content myself with the knowledge that he may have seen the error of his ways; the last time I checked he actually had specced into Penance. Irony, thou art sweet.




  2. Add to the reasons why it’s a great spell:

    It’s a discipline healing spell, which means if you get spell locked while casting it you can still cast another heal from the holy school.

  3. *grins* Thanks for the rebuttal! I confess, I read the original post with glazed eyes, not really seeing the point (that, and the follow-up post on Matticus as well).

    THIS makes incredibly good sense to me. Thank you!

  4. I’d be a sad panda without my pew pew lazer heal.

    You make some great points here. Who would deny themselves yet ANOTHER great healing tool? C’mon! I read that post on Matticus gave it a O.o look.

    And, again…

    pew pew lazer heal!

  5. Penance rocks, but overhealing – gah! Sometimes I ❤ Penance too much, and end up wasting the third tick of the spell.

    Its great that they took out the facing restriction, but it is kind of annoying that casting Penance on a target behind you will now turn you to face that target. Can’t they just make the swirly stream of healing curve?

    And please add to the list of awesomeness the great graphic for the spell. BAM.


  6. Ha ha, oh you silly disc priests and you’re “I are channeled, lolz” heals. CoH is obviously the supe… what? 6 seconds you say? uh… gotta go!

  7. His argument was so thin that only the least experienced of priests would potentially be affected. Kudos for pushing the point.

    However, I feel like more damage was done by Matticus in this case. His view of opinions seems to be seriously Canadian: “Every opinion is worth hearing as long as it’s an opinion.” In his own responses in the comments, he basically acknowledges that the commenters have the stronger point, and is happy that readers will get the real deal from them! A well-respected publisher like Matticus has a responsibility to his community, and in publishing wrong-headed silliness under the banner of “I didn’t do it, it’s a guest post!” he has insulted his intelligent readers and misled his less-experienced ones.

  8. Right after I PW:S I typically use a greater heal for my Borrowed Time proc, in case I need the quick pew pew of Penance really soon. But really… That’s probably the only instance that I purposefully choose another spell over Penance when it’s not on cooldown.

  9. To the above poster, Penance will benefit from the Borrowed Time haste buff but not consume it. As such, for some crazy burst HPS you can use PW:S -> Penance -> Greater Heal.

    Note that this may be considered a bug and may or may not be fixed by Blizzard in the future.

  10. To the above poster, in case you are not aware, Penance will benefit from the Borrowed Time haste buff but not consume it. As such, for some crazy burst HPS you can use PW:S -> Penance -> Greater Heal.

    Note that this may be considered a bug and may or may not be fixed by Blizzard in the future.

  11. I have yet to try this spell as I love holy too much. I do think the spell sounds interesting though and as soon as dual specs come out I’ll be giving disc a try.

    I did read the post you are talking about and I dismissed it. To me it sounded like a person trying to create reasons not to like something. I have probably at some point been guilty of doing that myself so really can’t blame the guy too much 🙂

  12. Thank god for publishers like Matticus. I enjoy reading a different opinion. Whether it was a good one or not, it gave everyone something to think about. Its was written a while back now and people are still talking about it. I disagree with the orignal poster myself, but it certainily didn’t insult this intelligent Canadian poster and for the less experienced reader, if they aren’t smart enough to read the comments after and just accept the article for truth then poo poo on them.
    The key to a good blog in my opinion is good rhetoric.

  13. I thought the key to a good blog was good snark.


  14. Wistoovern’s idea was interesting (Disc without Penance) but ultimately not a good one. Disc without Penance would be like being Holy without CoH. Sure you can do it but why intentially cripple yourself?

    Penance not comsuming Borrowed Time is also nice for a PW:S –> Penance –> Holy Fire combo when soloing.

    Gobble gobble.

  15. Holy Dodgeball is great fun. It also helps contribute to making Discipline healing actually different from holy, which is a big part of its appeal. The fact that the spell itself is incredibly good is almost a fringe benefit for me.

    It’s decent dps when I get bored with overgeared tanks, too >.>

    @Tarsus: Discipline isn’t a “school” for the purpose of interrupts, unfortunately; there’s only 6 of those: Fire, Frost, Arcane, Nature, Holy, and Shadow. Well, and Physical, but that can’t be interrupted. Which of a class’ trees/tabs a particular spell is in may be indicative of school, but doesn’t really mean anything mechanically.

    For interrupt purposes (and other game-effects dealing with school), Penance is a Holy school spell, so if you get interrupted casting a heal, you’re out penance as well as long as you’re stopped.

  16. Two days ago one of our mages also blinked into Sartharion! I never missclicked Penance so far so with your mage added (unless you misclicked) it’s 2-0 now. At least 😀

  17. @Nick – Yeah, I know the bug, but sadly I tend to forget that in the heat of the moment. Bad me. The thought of ~15k healing in < 3 seconds tickles me to no end.

  18. I miss penance 😦

    I am now THISCLOSE to respeccing deep Discipline.

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