Posts Tagged ‘priest’


Zusterke on Inspiration

January 12, 2010

Zusterke strikes again!  This time, he delves into numbers to discuss that basic Priest talent: Inspiration.



Inspiration is a welcome tool, whether you’re making art or healing the tank. Most combat parsers check the uptime of this buff, showing the value of this talent. Sadly logs do not tell us how inspiration evolves with respect to crit and how we can manipulate our healing to work with inspiration. That needs to worked out differently, with pretty colors and graphics.

Inspiration uptime

“Theory”! Ha! Scared you, didn’t I? Due to heavy reader loss last time I wrote a guest post, I promised I’d stop aiming my theory at the readers and put the loaded math down. Still, for sake of completion I present the formula for inspiration uptime. The credit for this formula goes to Dagma at PlusHeal for he taught me both formula and its proof. The faint of hearth are invited to close their eyes for a second, it will not be pretty.

Math for buff duration uptime

Hits denotes the amount of (inspiration able) heals within the buff’s duration that we cast on the target. C denotes critical strike chance.

You may open your eyes again. We have 2 things that effect our chance to proc inspiration: critical strike chance and the amount of spells we cast on the target. This pretty rainbow below shows us by how much. Sadly, there is no pot of gold at the bottom end of this rainbow, only rotten potatoes for that’s where our inspiration ends.

Inspiration Uptime

Each line corresponds to an amount of heals on our target. Crit quickly boosts our inspiration uptime and as little as 20% gives a good uptime for spammy scenarios. For 25% crit we obtain 90% uptime when healing the target 8 times or more within 15 seconds. That’s easy with FHeal and/or penance, our tankhealing tools. Higher crit gives better uptimes, but the benefit from crit diminishes. The difference between 30% and 35% crit is only noticable if we heal the target less frequently. Beyond 35%, the benefit of crit is very low.

A grain of salt for these potatoes

I love theor.. eh.. rainbows but it isn’t 100% reliable. Critical heals are still random. The numbers above give ‘expected values’ but in practice your buff time could differ a little. Still, the more crit we have, the more reliable our inspiration becomes.

Another factor that effects our outcome is how you heal. The formula assumes that our heals are equally spread over time. In-game, this is rarely the case. This could influence your uptime both in a positive and negative sense. While the numbers above remain good indications, they are not 100% on the spot.

Counting on Inspiration

Tankhealers are seldom confronted with this question… but support healers or OT healers might: how often do you need to heal your target to proc inspiration? The answer for pessimists is “infinitely many times”. For all optimists out there, we can work out your chance to proc inspiration depending on how often you heal the target. *crushes door* Here’s theory! While I would enjoy a reign of math terror, you are spared another formula. The chance to proc inspiration, depending crit and your number of attempts, can be calculated with exactly the same formula as above. Consequently, the same rainbow shows you how reliable your chances are to proc inspiration and we can draw the same conclusions.

Inspiration and Surge of Light

Inspiration and Surge of Light

Surge of Light offers a free flash heal, but one that cannot crit. For our global inspiration uptime, it could be noted that SoL has a negative impact. But if we check the graph above, we can see that 1 heal less does not greatly affect our uptime. What’s more: in tankhealing scenarios it is likely to be a proc from a critheal on our tank. It would thus be the same heal that resets the inspiration timer and we should have about 15s time to ‘use’ that FHeal and cast more spells on our tank.

While I doubt the lack of inspiration or the gain of SoL has ever caused a wipe, there is a small risk that SoL procs from PoM or CoH that crits on a player, other than your target. In the (inconceivable) case that this proc would hinder your healing, a holy priest could use Binding Heal on the target as work around. But I have rarely been in a position where this would make a difference.

TLDR, aka the conclusion

For inspiration we note that 20% crit is sufficient to provide a reliable inspiration uptime in a tankheal scenario. More crit is welcome as it gives more freedom of how often we need to heal the tank but there is a diminishing return. At 30% crit, this diminishing return becomes strong and beyond 35% crit it weighs heavily. These numbers are raidbuffed. They should be taken with a grain of salt, so adding or dropping 1% won’t make a tremendous difference. If I remember correctly Jov always promoted 20% crit as minimum for holy priests. I guess I just added a piece of the proof she’s right. (and I’ll probably never hear the end of it) [You just said my two favorite words:  Jov’s right.  Of course you’ll never hear the end of it!  -ed.]


Tea with Zusterke part 3: Conclusions

June 4, 2009

A few weeks ago, we ran the idea of having Zusterke (of PlusHeal fame) do a post outlining the actual math part of regen to answer all of your priesty questions. Thankfully, since the Snark Mavens do very little in the way of hardcore mathcraft, he said yes. This is the final part of his results.

Some Considerations for Holy Spirits


We’ve seen that the optimal ratio turns around 600 spirit for 1300 intellect. But we have also seen that we can easily take 200 spirit or intellect more and keep a fairly balanced score. This gives us some room to tailor our regen stats to our likings, without risking a severe penalty in our regen. So let us examine the factors that impact our balance:

  • Lowered FSR: Some fights have phases and breaks in the healing. This can increase the value of spirit notably (say, 800 spi v 1400 int).
  • Higher FSR: hard fights can be very demanding and rip away that chance on a regen break, decreasing the value of spirit and changing the ratio a few points in favor of intellect. But such fights also diminish your chance on a hymn of hope or it can make relying on Replenishment, shadowfiend etc more risky. In short: our balance favors more intellect but a healthy spirit basis becomes ever more important.
  • Higher Crit: if you like a lot of crit, then you may score higher uptimes for holy concentration. This can easily up your HC time by 20% and really give spirit a push.
  • Single target spam: if you spam a lot more single target heals, you will have more chance to proc holy concentration and up your spirit regen notably.
  • Raid synergy: some raiding guilds really try to min max their raid groups. This means you really rely on some of your manabar based regen effects!
  • Hymn of Hope + Shadowfiend: if you have the chance to use both together, do it! The 20% increase of your max mana effectively increases the performance of your shadowfiend by 20%. This tips the balance a bit in favor of intellect. But a fight that can allows such a break is likely to have a lowered FSR time.
  • Shadowfiend + Bloodlust/Heroism: Bloodlust increases the haste of your fiend, giving more hits and thus more mana. This is a superb way to make your intellect count!
  • Hymn of Hope + Replenishment: the increase of yout max mana increases the effect of your Replenishment. This favors stacking a bit more intellect.
  • Spirit as backbone: when problems come your way, spirit will be your savior. When your group is sub optimal, your cooldowns got burned too early (or messed up!), or the guy providing replenishment bubble hearthstone’s out of Patchwerk, your intellect based regen drops like a stone. Intellect gives great synergy with the group, but that makes the group its lifelink. Having a healthy base of spirit can back you up under those odd circumstances.

There are probably a dozen more considerations that could manipulate the balance between intellect and spirit but I think I summed most of them here. Feel free to comment on more ideas!


It’s been a long post but I think we’ve reached some interesting conclusions for both the holy and discipline priest.

Discipline priests still gain the most out of intellect. In fact, it is unlikely that spirit will ever catch up with intellect as regen stat. Still, spirit beats mp5 for discipline priests with more than 1.1K intellect, which is definitely an eye opener for some!

Holy priests can still stack spirit and intellect with to a 6:13 or 8:13 ratio in favor of intellect and do just fine. Having more spirit will provide a great backbone in your regen model (and SP bonus!), but having more intellect will do great in min maxed raids. In fact, the optimal ratio has a couple of hundred points of leeway. With the current itemization in 3.1, I recommend going for intellect+spirit gear and gemming for intellect whenever you need more regen! I’m still a big fan of a healthy spirit basis, but intellect is definitely our biggest regen stat for now.

Whew! Y’all still there?  Thank you all for your patience in this really awesome discussion.  And again, huge thanks to Zusterke for putting it together for us.  I hope this was helpful to all of you (I know I learned a lot!)  And remember: if you’d like to continue discussion on this, consider heading to PlusHeal and opening it up to the community at large!


Tea with Zusterke part 2: Versus

June 3, 2009

A few weeks ago, we ran the idea of having Zusterke (of PlusHeal fame) do a post outlining the actual math part of regen to answer all of your priesty questions.  Thankfully, since the Snark Mavens do very little in the way of hardcore mathcraft, he said yes.  This is part 2 of his results.

MP5 vs Intellect

Round 1: Disc priests
It is quite easy to prove that intellect is better than mp5 for disc priests. If we take into account the stat cost of mp5, then we need to compare 1 intellect with 0.4 mp5. We have seen that our manabar regeneration alone provides more mp5 per point of intellect, so intellect clearly wins.

Round 2: Holy priests.
For holy priests, we only got 0.3403 mp5 per point intellect from manabar based regen. So, Intellect is 0.0597 mp5 short to beat the stat mp5. This is where the contribution of intellect in our spirit regen kicks in:intvsmp5So, we need a minimum amount of spirit to support our intellect. This condition is very easy: for 1000 intellect, we only need 308 base spirit or 324 spirit unbuffed. It is fairly safe to assume a holy priest will have that amount of spirit and thus intellect beats mp5.

MP5 vs Spirit

When we inspected the value of spirit in our regen model, we found it evolves with intellect. When comparing spirit to mp5, the evident question we will bump in is not “if” spirit will beat mp5 but “how much intellect” is needed.

brainzRound 1: Disc priest
It has been debated many times whether Disc priests should take spirit or MP5. We know that the value of spirit scales with intellect, and so it is reasonable to assume that spirit may outscale mp5. Let’s check when that happens:spivsmp5disc

Round 2: holy priest
The value of spirit is not limited to its regen for holy priests, thanks to spiritual guidance. Still, it remains primarily a regen stat. We compare 1 spirit with 0.4 mp5:spivsmp5h2Given 1065 intellect unbuffed, spirit can beat mp5 when raidbuffed. Starting raiders without sufficient intellect on their gear may find mp5 slightly more performant at first, but spirit will gradually outscale mp5 by the time they leave naxx 10m and the spellpower bonus from spirit makes the stat preferable quite early in the content.


Intellect vs. Spirit

With the introduction of manabar based regen in WotLK, intellect climbed to one of the most potent regeneration stats. For disc priests it was considered the most favorable regen stat, while holies tried to balance it with a fair amount of spirit. With the changes in 3.1, spirit regen lost some ground and manabar regen gained some. Let’s see how the balance evolved.balance

Round 1: Disc Priest
For disc priests, we ‘guess’ that intellect still outscores spirit and we try to prove it. We compare their values:spivsintdDoes this make sense? Like… any sense? It does! Basically this comparison tells us that we can stack a boatload of intellect before spirit catches up. For example, with 0 spirit, the optimal value for intellect is 2025! Well, intellect clearly wins this one!

Round 2: Holy Priest
For holy priests, the balance between intellect and spirit was far more delicate in 3.0 than for Disc priests. Typically a 1:1 ratio was considered optimal. For 3.1 we relate the value of intellect by the value of spirit. If it is above 100%, intellect is more valuable than spirit and if it’s below 100% then spirit is more valuable than intellect:spivsinth

At this point, the formula doesn’t seem to make much sense.. at least it doesn’t to me. But we can put it in a spreadsheet and work out the ratio for various stat levels:holy-spiKeep in mind that these are basestats and thus spirit should be a tad higher. Still, it’s quite clear that spirit has lost some considerable ground to intellect! That is, for 20% HC Uptime, 90% FSR and no specific synergy with your manabar regen abilities. Do check that other ratio’s, with some more spirit or some intellect also score quite well as optimal (less than 10% difference).

Stay tuned tomorrow for the final part of this guide. Zusterke will wrap everything up and give those tl;dr math-haters out there the bottom line.


Tea with Zusterke part 1: The Groundwork

June 2, 2009

A few weeks ago, we ran the idea of having Zusterke (of PlusHeal fame) do a post outlining the actual math part of regen to answer all of your priesty questions.  Thankfully, since the Snark Mavens do very little in the way of hardcore mathcraft, he said yes.  This is part 1 of his results.

Stat Wars

There are two challenges about theorycrafting. The first part is the theorycrafting: how to examine and calculate what you need. The second part, is translating it into human language. I found that part 2 is often more challenging and requires more patience than part 1. When Joveta kindly asked me if I would give a shot at explaining our regen model in human language, I accepted the challenge. I leave it to the faithful readers of to judge whether I succeeded.

theorycraftThe regeneration model of WoW has seen a lot of changes with patch 3.1: spirit/intellect regeneration was nerfed outside the five second rule, the shadowfiend is buffed, Rapture and Holy Concentration have changed. The regeneration model is so complex it almost obscures the effectiveness of our regeneration stats and leaves us guessing how to gear. Unfortunately there is no straight answer as circumstances and gear level have a great impact on our regeneration model. So, I’ll try to tackle some of these problems and provide a more detailed answer.

Manabar Regen

WotLK introduced several abilities that grant us a fixed % of our maximum mana over a period of time. Some of these have changed in patch 3.1 so we’ll go over them one by one.

Replenishment is now available for frost mages and destro locks. This makes the availability of Replenishment more reliable and ever more important to take into account.

The regeneration offered by Replenishment remains the same. It offers 0.25% of your manabar every second, which is 1.25% of your manabar every 5 seconds. But it is optimistic to consider it fully effective the whole time. At plusheal, we observed that the effect of Replenishment does not work 100% because refreshing buffs or missed refreshes can diminish the amount of ticks you get. You can easily verify this in any WWS parse (see image).

replenishmentHaving checked dozens of WWS parses, it seems Replenishment ticks 75-95% of the time (see screenie). I consider 85% an average which yields me: 85%*1.25% = 1.0625% of my manabar as mana every five seconds.

The shadowfiend was buffed in patch 3.1. It now delivers 5% of your maximum mana per attack, rather than 4% per hit. It can total to 60% of your manabar over 5 minutes which is equivalent to 1% of your maximum mana per 5 secs.

Hymn of Hope
Hymn of Hope changed a lot in. While it is still a channeled spell, it choses 3 targets randomly every 2 seconds. The spell is quite situational and unreliable when used. Therefore, I will not use its regen in this theorycraft.

Mana Tide Totem
The mana tide totem yields 6% mana every 3 seconds for 12 seconds. With a 5 minute cooldown, this gives about 0.4% of your maximum mana every 5 seconds. In my guild we tend to give this totem to dps, rather than healers, and I’ve read from several players that I’m no exception. I will not include it in this theorycraft, but for those who are interested in it: it yields 0.06 mp5 per point of intellect.

Rapture is a fundamental regen talent for any Disc priest. It can yield 2.5% of your mana, every 12 seconds, when a shield is absorbed. However, timing this shield consumption is hard to control. Let’s add a few seconds as safety line and assume it procs every 15 seconds on average. This corresponds to shield spamming the main tank who will absorb his shields anyway. In this case, we get 2.5% every 15 seconds or 0.8333% of your maximum mana every 5 seconds.

Our maximum mana can be calculated as follows:maxmanaWe can calculate the percentage of maximum mana per 5 seconds we get for both Disc and Holy priest. We can use that percent to calculate how much mp5 per point of intellect we get from manabar based regen but here we must take into account the bonus on intellect accordingly: Mental Strength for Disc and Blessing of Kings for both Disc and Holy. We get:manabarregen

Spirit Regen

Our spirit/intellect regen changed a lot in patch 3.1. The base regen of spirit and intellect was nerfed by 40% but our regen while casting from meditation was increased to 50%. As a net result, we get the exact same amount of regen while casting but notice a considerable nerf in our mana regen while not casting.

To make matters more complex, Holy priests now get Holy Concentration: a regen buff that depends on crit. The uptime of Holy Concentration can vary wildly depending on playstyle and healing assignment so I won’t go into details about it for now. Perhaps this may interest some in another guest post, if fate, Seri and Jovi will be so kind. For now, I recommend to check your WWS parses to see what uptimes you obtain from Holy Concentration.regen2

SenseThese values probably like an odd mix of Thalassian and Chinese so let’s simplify them. We assume 90% time spent inside the five second rule and for holy priests we add 20% Holy Concentration uptime (see image). This is a bit pessimistic but it’s better to play safe. Holy priests tend to have a notably higher mana consumption when raidhealing and most raidhealing spells do not trigger holy concentration.holyconcentrationTaking into account buffs from talents and Blessing of Kings, we get:valueholy


These formula’s do not reveal immediately the value of intellect or spirit. But it does reveal an important property of both:

  • Spirit evolves with the amount of (/square root of) intellect you have.
  • Intellect evolves with the ratio it has with spirit.
  • Stay tuned tomorrow for a special Wednesday Snarkcraft. Zusterke will cover the Int vs Spirit debate. Thanks for reading and a special thanks to Zusterke for putting this thing together!


    Jov sez: Do as I say…

    November 4, 2008

    Becoming the perfect Priest is more of a process than an event, and everyone (even yours truly!) is still a work in progress.  Shocking as it may seem, my perfection is still largely theoretical, as I choose to illustrate now with a few points.

    1.  I’m a lazy item enhancer.  Seriously, Seri wouldn’t approve my application.  Sure, I gem my gear, enchant my weapons…  I’m all for useful bonuses.  Cloaks, however, are totally not worth it.  If it’s not a Resist cloak enchanted with the necessary resist bonus (Fire for Rags, Nature for AQ40, and more recently Shadow for Mother) I just don’t do it.  (I know, I know, Subtlety.  But have you SEEN the threat gen of tanks since 3.0?  2% less threat on my part is totally not worth the farming up of 8 Primal Shadow the enchant needs.  So nyeh.)

    2.  My rarely-played, mostly-retired Alliance priest (and my resto druid, for that matter) still has mp5 gems in her gear.  Yep!  Me, the first one in the parade screaming against the use of Royal gems still has them lurking in the back of her closet.  This is related to the point above, I don’t have money on that side of the fence anymore (as I sent most of it over when I rerolled) and the urge to do dailies to improve gear on characters I play once a month is…  not really there, actually.  New gems in new gear (if applicable) will be fixed, however.  Promise.

    3.  Healer Tunnel Vision: I has it.  My UI was designed to keep my chat frames, Grid frames, and all the information I need as close to “together” as possible.  This is because I know the more different places I need to look for information I have, the more likely something is going to be totally missed (like the whispers for Fear Ward rotation on Archi… oops.)  I may not be standing in the fire, but only because my eyes are locked to the bottom 1/3 of my screen.

    4.  In the spirit of tracking improvements, I flash healed my way through Molten Core before I learned what downranking was.  (This was before Flash was good for anyone but pallies, fyi.)  My knowledge of my class consisted entirely of “I read the tooltips on my spells and talents” through 6 months of pre-TBC raiding.  A few friends eventually took me under their wing, and introduced me to a whole new world of not-sucking.

    5.  For the longest time, I did no actual research on my class.  I’d read the stickie’d priest posts on the official class forums, but felt for the most part that they were entirely filled with whining and emo.  I avoided them, and got my information by waiting patiently for my friends to tell me what I needed to know.  Eventually, I found out they were getting their information from a site called Elitist Jerks and gave it a poke.

    6.  Also related to the above, I had no idea that WoW Blogs existed before ~6 months ago.  Yes, another blindingly obvious possibility that I didn’t even think of until someone (in this case, Seri) pointed ’em out to me.  (I also never followed blogs in general before then because I had no idea about rss and feed readers.  Yes, I’m totally participating in this century, why do you ask?)

    So there’s me: practically perfect in every way or a totally clueless noob who needs to unplug?  You decide (but don’t tell me… my ego is a precious and fragile thing.)


    Jov sez: 3.0.2 — The New Game

    October 21, 2008

    So, it’s been a week since the big patch; things seem so different, don’t they?  They do because WoW is a very different game at current.  Regardless of level of progression, it’s very noticeable that things are a lot easier.  My caveat to what I’m about to start talking about goes here:  I’m not in a guild that had “beaten the game” before the patch.  My e-peen is big for all the old-fashioned reasons, not for any that involve Muru pre-nerf.  My credentials are those of a solidly mid-progression raider.  The changes made to raid environments directly benefit me, and my impressions are colored by that.

    Okay, so, all that done with… what are my impressions?

    • I need a nerf.  Seriously.  I’m OP.
    • 2-hour BT clears are a good thing.
    • So are raid-wide buffs.
    • Who’s that at the top of the WWS by a huge margin?  Oh, right, that would be me…
    • Carelessness can still get you wiped… sometimes.
    • I don’t know what some priests are doing that they think they’ve been nerfed.
    • The changes are awesome for getting past “stuck” issues with bosses.
    • The Line Boss is the new Elevator Boss.
    • Blizz is totally rewarding me for bad-priesting and it is awesome.

    Okay, okay…  My impressions you all might actually care about:

    • While I remain unconvinced that GS is worth dropping Meditation for at this stage of the game, I’ve seen it can be done, and can be done well.  That being said, you’ll pry Meditation from my cold, dead fingers.
    • As a 14/47 spec (differing from my suggested due to misspent points from server lag… I just decided to stick with it and try it out), I could do nothing to run myself out of mana.  I spent all of BT face-rolling CoH, with a smite or flash thrown out when I got a Surge proc.  My mana went nowhere, and I used 3 biscuits all night.
    • BT feels much more like what it is for us: the instance we farm to get gear for people so we can go do the actual raiding in Sunwell.  Being able to clear it in 2 hours is like a gift of 2 free hours we can spend elsewhere.  It also helps with a lot of the frustration of “Here we are again, just like last week, another Wednesday down the drain.”  People were relaxed, laughing, having fun and not taking things so seriously.  There’s time to actually work on the bosses we need to work on, even with our 3-day schedule.
    • We couldn’t get Kalec down pre-nerf.  There were some heartbreakingly-close attempts, but with raid comp availability, we spent a lot of time mindlessly throwing ourselves at him.  We wiped so much, we forgot how to do anything but wipe, attempts always felt doomed from the start. We downed him the same day as the 2-hour BT clear, with minimal raid deaths, on our second attempt.  There was much happy screaming in vent.

    There are a lot of complaints out there now about Blizzard dumbing down the game with these systems of nerfs.  People who beat the game before 3.0.2 feel somewhat insulted that Blizzard is discounting their hard work in making things accessible to everyone.  People who’ve been working through content feel a letdown that Blizzard suddenly made things too easy, taking away all sense of accomplishment.

    I have one thing to say to both of those camps:  QQ.  If you downed KJ before Tuesday, you have the pride in knowing that you beat the game, you’re awesome, and that all the rest of us out there needed the nerf to do what you could do with out.  If you’re upset that suddenly Kael or Archi or Illidan are easy, you should have gotten them down before the patch.  If you couldn’t, you’re the person the change was designed to help.

    And to both as well: if you don’t like it, hang up your DKP and stop.  Everything is going to reset in three weeks, anyway.  Then, we can all move on to Naxx, which Matt assures us isn’t so easy.  That, at least, should make everyone happy.


    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.


    Jov sez: Aargh Numbers! (pt 1: Spell Edition)

    September 30, 2008

    Apologies in advance, this is going to be a bit wall’o’texty, as well as not laid out terribly like I would usually assume a blog post would.  (Meaning no, I’m not gonna add pictures and yes, it’s going to stay essentially just a list.  Matt, I know you taught me better.  You can start crying when I let you know that this is just the first posts of several on this subject which are going to follow the same format.)  I’m just trying to consolidate exactly how the patch is going to affect me as a lv 70 raider.  As such, I’m not going to cover DPS spells or the shadow tree (yet).  I’m not doing this for levelling specs.  Nor am I going to delve into the new stuff at the bottom of holy and disc.  I’m just trying to track the current changes.

    As a note:  Priest base mana @ 70 is 2620Spellpower conversion is *.53 (so 2000 healing now = 1060 spellpower).  Learn those numbers.  Love them.  Live them.

    Spells: Discipline

    Prayer of Fortitude R3

    Now: Costs 1800 mana, 1 sacred candle.  Increases stamina by 79 for 1 hour.  Affects 1 party.
    3.0: Costs 69% base mana (1808 mana), 1 sacred candle.  Increases stamina by 70 for 1 hour.  Affects party and raid.
    Result: Minimal mana cost increase is more than offset by the fact you only need to hit the button once.  Also, gone are the days of carrying aroud 80 candles to every raid as a “just in case”.  Overall saves time, mana, and reagent costs.  This is a huge buff.

    Prayer of Spirit R2

    Now: Costs 1800 mana, 1 sacred candle.  Increases spirit by 50 for 1 hour.  Affects 1 party.
    3.0: Costs 69% base mana (1808 mana), 1 sacred candle.  Increases spirit by 50 for 1 hour.  Affects party.
    Result: At the time of writing this, PoS is showing that it still only affects party.  I’m uncertain if it will change to match PoF’s raid-wide buff (if it does, it will be welcome), but even still, an 8 mana increase in the cost means this is essentially unchanged.

    Dispel Magic R2

    Now: Costs 14% base mana (367 mana).  Dispels 2 magic effects from one individual.
    3.0: Costs 14% base mana (367 mana).  Dispels 2 magic effects from one individual.
    Result: This is completely unchanged.

    Mass Dispel

    Now: Costs 33% base mana (865 mana).  Dispels 1 magic effect from up to 10 friendly and 10 unfriendly targets.
    3.0: Costs 33% base mana (865 mana).  Dispels 1 magic effect from up to 10 friendly and 10 unfriendly targets.
    Result: This is completely unchanged.

    Power World Shield R12

    Now: Costs 600 mana.  Absorbs 1265 damage.  Lasts 30 seconds, Weakened Soul lasts 15 seconds.
    3.0: Costs 23% base mana (603 mana).  Absorbs 1265 damage.  Lasts 30 seconds, Weakened Soul lasts 15 seconds.
    Result: Increase in mana cost by 3, but this is essentially unchanged.

    Spells: Holy

    Renew R12

    Now: Costs 450 mana.  Heals 1110 over 15 seconds.
    3.0: Costs 17% base mana (446 mana).  Heals 1110 over 15 seconds.
    Result: Decrease in mana cost by 4, but this is essentially unchanged.

    Circle of Healing R5

    Now: Costs 450 mana.  Heals target and target’s party (15 yd radius) for 409-451.
    3.0: Costs 21% base mana (550 mana).  Heals target and 4 friendly party/raid members (15 yd radius, 5 healed in total) for 409-451.
    Result: At the time of writing this, there is no cooldown showing for CoH, so I’m uncertain if the 6 second cooldown is going back in.  CoH is being made a “smart spell.”  Even with a 100 mana increase, this is a buff, provided you are using it correctly.  If you’re not, it’s a retard-check. Using this spell wisely will enable you to guarantee 5-hits, whereas current CoH considers itself good if you can get 3.  The increase in cost is not negligible, however, and the criteria for using CoH is going to need to adjust to compensate.

    Resurrection R6

    Now: Costs 60% base mana (1572 mana).  Brings friendly player back from the dead with 1100 health, 1150 mana.  Cannot be cast in combat.
    3.0: Costs 60% base mana (1572 mana).  Brings friendly player back from the dead with 1100 health, 1150 mana.  Cannot be cast in combat.
    Result:  This is completely unchanged.

    Prayer of Mending R1

    Now: Costs 390 mana.  Places a heal on the target which heals them for 800 when they take damage, then jumps to another party/raid member.  Will jump 5 times, lasts 30 seconds per jump.  Heal (and aggro) is considered done by target healed, not the priest.
    3.0: Costs 15% base mana (393 mana).  Places a heal on the target which heals them for 800 when they take damage, then jumps to another party/raid member.  Will jump 5 times, lasts 30 seconds per jump.  Heal (and aggro) is considered done by the priest.
    Result: This spell has changed drastically, not in the effect, but in the mechanic.  However, since the spell itself only increased in cost by 3, I hesitate to call it a nerf.  This is no longer the spell to use in aggro-sensitive moments, or as a way to get quick burst threat to the tank when starting a pull.  On the other hand, priests have been whining since the spell came out that it should credit to the healer as far as meters go, so it’s hard to blame Blizz for giving us what we asked for.  The jury is out on this one, kids…  I have no idea if this is an overall nerf or a non-issue, it’s too different.

    Prayer of Healing R6

    Now: Costs 1255 mana.  Heals party 1246-1316.
    3.0: Costs 48% base mana (1258 mana).  Heals 1246-1316.
    Result: Increase in mana cost by 3, this is essentially unchanged.

    Greater Heal R7

    Now: Costs 825 mana.  Heals target 2396-2784.
    3.0: Costs 32% base mana (839 mana).  Heals target 2396-2784.
    Result: As must be stated here, this is a nerf less for the 14 mana cost increase than for the death of downranking. Taken on it’s own, it’s almost a retard-check in the same way the change to CoH is.  You need to learn stopcasting, rhythm healing, and re-learn proper spell selection.  You can no longer drinking bird a lower rank of GHeal and get by.  Play smarter.

    Flash Heal R9

    Now: Costs 470 mana.  Heals target 1101-1279.
    3.0: Costs 18% base mana (472 mana).  Heals target 1101-1279.
    Result: Increase in mana cost by 2, this is essentially unchanged.

    Binding Heal R1

    Now: Costs 705 mana.  Heals self and target 1042-1338.  Low-threat.
    3.0: Costs 27% base mana (708 mana).  Heals self and target 1042-1338.  Low threat.
    Result: Increase in mana cost by 3, this is essentially unchanged.

    Spells: Shadow

    Prayer of Shadow Protection R2

    Now: Costs 1620 mana, 1 sacred candle.  Increases Shadow Resist by 70 for 20 min.  Affects party.
    3.0: Costs 62% base mana (1625 mana), 1 sacred candle.  Increases Shadow Resist by 70 for 20 min.  Affects party.
    Result: As with Prayer of Spirit, at the time of this post, this is not showing Fort’s change to a raid-wide buff either.  I’m uncertain if that’s going to happen.  However, with an increase in 5 mana cost, this is essentially unchanged.

    Shadow Fiend R1

    Now: Costs 6% base mana (158 mana).  Lasts 15 seconds.
    3.0: Costs 6% base mana (158 mana).  Lasts 15 seconds.
    Result:  This is completely unchanged.


    Now: Costs 330 mana.  Reduces threat by 1500 for 10 seconds.  When effect ends, all threat (including threat acquired while faded) returns.
    3.0: Costs 15% base mana (393 mana).  Reduces all threat for 10 seconds.  When effect ends, all threat (including threat acquired while faded) returns.
    Result: This spell has also changed a lot.  On the one hand, a 63 mana cost increase is pretty hefty, on the other, this looks to actually be the “get out of jail free” card it has always almost been up until now.  The main complaint priests always had in regards to this spell was that the threat reduction was most of the time not enough to actually get your threat back down, plus coupled with the temporary nature of the reduction, it was very much a useless talent.  It’s still only a temporary aggro dump, but it is a full 10-second aggro dump.  The spell now works as intended, dropping you to the rock bottom of the threat table, and enabling the tank to work to keep you there.  This is an overall buff.

    Final thoughts

    There’s a lot I didn’t really have space to touch on in this post.  The talent changes are going to need an entirely separate post (or two!) of their own, as is any hope of messing with DPS.  I know I also totally didn’t touch on coefficients (mainly because I need to do more research on how exactly spellpower is going to scale with talents and healing numbers).   But with the patch looming on the horizon, I wanted to at least start getting stuff out there.  My current thoughts:  While there aren’t a lot of changes to mana cost in the spells I typically use in-raid, there’s a bit of a worry in my mind that I’m going to be nickle-and-dime’d to death with the changes that are there.  Spell costs almost across the board are higher, usually only in the 1-10 range, but a couple (CoH and Fade) are enough more to potentially feel it.  Granted, the spells themselves are also much better, but even small increases in mana cost add up over time.  I’m not good enough at divination to make sweeping statements as to how these little changes are going to affect me in practice.  But they’re here for me to keep in mind when the time comes.


    Seri sez: Shadow for the Holy CL (Pre-3.0)

    September 25, 2008

    At one time, I had 10 Priests under my purview. Although there have been a few casualties, we are still legion; the Priest class is the largest in our guild and it’s my job to evaluate both the Holy and Shadow Priests. I’ve always been Holy, so when I took on a class lead role I knew I had my work cut out for me. Fortunately for you, you can now benefit from all of my hard work. By following these guidelines, you can whip those Shadow Priests into shape… or at least find out what sort of shenanigans they’ve been getting away with.

    Reviewing Gear

    Reviewing any character is a multi-step process. I like to start with their armory profile. Have a gander at their gear, and determine if it is appropriate for the level of content that you’re running. has a great gear list that you can use to see if they are missing easily obtainable upgrades, but be warned that a lot of the “best” gear is haste gear, and Shadow Priests shouldn’t start stacking haste until they are up around 1400 Shadow Damage fully buffed.

    Spell Damage: T6 Shadow Priests should have at minimum 1100-1200 Shadow Damage–more if you’ve been deep in T6 content for a while.

    Hit Rating: Shadow Priests hit cap at 76 Hit Rating, with 5/5 Shadow Focus (more about that later).

    Enchants: Make sure they have an enchant for all enchantable slots (helm, shoulders, cloak, chest, wrist, gloves, pants, boots, weapon) including rings if they are an enchanter. They should have spell power for bracers, gloves and weapon, though Soulfrost is also good to see. Chest can be +6 Stats or Mp5. I require Subtlety and Boar’s Speed for my Shadow Priests, but your policies may vary.

    Gems: Spell damage, spell damage, spell damage. Shadow Priests can and should ignore set bonuses as needed to socket as much spell damage as possible. Gem choices may vary a little bit depending on stamina/haste needs, but if you see anything wacky like Spell Penetration or Spell Crit wield your clue-by-four with impunity.

    Reviewing Spec

    Next, tab over to their talent sheet. There isn’t a heck of a lot to look for here, because if you opened up your Shadow tree and face rolled on your keyboard you would be bound to get most of your points in useful talents. It’s not uncommon to see Shadow Priests sink 50+ talent points in Shadow. However, an optimal raid spec will be a little leaner to make room for a dozen or so points in Discipline. Things to look for:

    PvP Talents: Make sure the Shadow Priest isn’t raiding with a PvP build, which will be characterized by things like Imp Psychic Scream, Silence and Shadow Resilience.

    Inner Focus/Meditation: Remember I mentioned that Discipline tree? Inner Focus is a must-have. Meditation is a Seri recommendation, because every little bit helps for those endurance fights.

    Vampiric Embrace: Completely optional for raiding. VE generates a ton of threat, making it only situationally useful. If your Shadow Priests are putting points in VE and Imp VE, make sure they’re not neglecting something else.

    Shadow Weaving: 5/5 is not necessary. 4/5 will keep it up pretty reliably, and if you routinely stack your raid with more than one Shadow Priest they could even potentially reduce it to 3/5. This buff doesn’t stack (not in every sense anyway); the Shadow Priests share a debuff slot and can refresh each others’ debuffs.

    Shadow Focus: With 5/5 Shadow Focus, a Shadow Priest only needs 76 Hit Rating. This makes it ridiculously easy for Shadow Priests to hit cap. Often, Shadow Priests will end up with a surplus of Hit Rating and can reduce the # of points spent on Shadow Focus.

    Spell Hit Caps (courtesty of

    * 76 hit is the cap with 5/5 Shadow Focus
    * 101 hit before you can go to 4/5 Shadow Focus
    * 126 hit before you can go to 3/5 Shadow Focus
    * 152 hit before you can go to 2/5 Shadow Focus
    * 177 hit before you can go to 1/5 Shadow Focus
    * 202 hit before you can go to 0/5 Shadow Focus

    Reviewing WWS

    If you are a serious raider, you’re probably already familiar with WowWebStats. If not, well, this section might not make a lot of sense but hopefully you can follow along. WWS reports are a bloated with information, and either adored or reviled by raiders. While I enjoy digging around in WWS to look at stats, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. WWS takes a lot of flak for creating unnecessary competition between raiders, but for me it’s a great tool for performance evaluation. The trick is knowing what to look at and what to not care about.

    Forget Trash: When reviewing your Shadow Priests, drill down to individual bosses. While it might be useful to take a quick glance at the trash stats, trash is not optimal for performance tracking for casters–especially casters that rely on DoTs for a lot of their damage.

    Don’t Forget Mobility: A lot of boss fights are about mobility, and the more time folks spend repositioning themselves the less time they spend DPSing. Pick low mobility fights as your ‘benchmark’ fights when looking for raw DPS numbers.

    Spell Rotation: Shadow Priest spell rotation is done by priority rather than casting things in a set order. The idea is to keep Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch up at all times, Mind Blast whenever the cooldown is up, Shadow Word: Death whenever it’s safe and otherwise Mind Flay. Ideally, the SP should be using a DoT timer and refreshing SWP & VT right as they wear off. Because VT has a shorter duration than SWP, it should be refreshed whenever it needs refreshing rather than waiting until SWP wears off. When looking at an individual Priest’s stats, look for the ‘Dots’ field for SWP and VT. These numbers should be the same if not close to the same. If there are significantly fewer VT ticks than SWP ticks, that means they are refreshing both DoTs at the same time rather than independently. Bad SP, no biscuit!

    Calculating DoT Uptime: DoT Uptime is defined as ‘the amount of time DoTs are kept up’. This isn’t something you’ll want to do after every raid for every boss, but I like to spot check folks here and there–sort of like a pop quiz for Shadow Priests. The formula is pretty simple (it’d have to be, because I suck at math):

    DoT Uptime % = (# dot ticks * 3) / fight-duration-in-seconds * 100

    So, let’s say a fight is 4 minutes long and during that 4 minutes a SP had 80 ticks of SWP:

    80 * 3 = 240
    240 / 240 = 1
    1 *100 = 100%

    There you have it. 80 ticks of SWP in a 240 second (4 minute) fight is 100% DoT uptime. That’s pretty optimistic though, let’s take a real world (such that it is) example:

    These screenshots are taken from an actual WWS report, for a Teron Gorefiend fight. This particular priest died during the fight, but was present for 97%. We’ll use the amount of time she was alive for our calculations… after all, we can’t really hold her accountable for keeping DoTs up after she died. As you can see from the first picture, she was alive for 3 minutes and 47 seconds, which is 227 seconds according to my calculator widget. Next, look for the SWP ticks on the ‘dots’ column of the damage out breakdown: 71. Plugging it in:

    71 * 3 = 213
    213 / 227 = .938(ish)
    .938 * 100 = 93.8%

    So, for this Gorefiend attempt this Shadow Priest’s DoT Uptime was 93%… I should give her a cookie. I love to see DoT Uptime over 90% but anywhere in the mid-80’s is acceptable for mobility fights (which Gorefiend is not).

    What else can WWS tell you? All sorts of things. Just looking at the above images, you can see that our guinea pig’s DPS for that fight was 1264 and that her VT/SWP ratio was pretty close. If anything, I’d suspect that she was waiting for VT to wear off before re-casting. Since VT has a casting time, you can start casting it before VT actually wears off (without clipping the last tick) as long as you’re watching the dot timer. WWS will also show you buffs gained, so you can tell whether someone was using a flask, how often they used buff food, mana potions, their Shadowfiend and more.

    Personal Observation

    Last but not least: the often underestimated personal observation stage of the review process. Does the SP show up for raids on time and stocked with all the consumables and reagents that they need? Do they help with buffing Fortitude and Shadow Protection as needed? Are they dying a lot, and if so is it because of threat issues or poor situational awareness? Are they following instructions? Going AFK frequently? Zoning out on trash? Managing their mana/cooldowns well? Set them as your focus target for an hour or so if needed to keep an eye on them.

    Final Thoughts

    Even though we Holy Priests are healing specialists, that doesn’t mean that we have to be ignorant about how the ‘other half’ lives. My studies of Shadow Priest tactics/gear have made me a stronger player in general, not to mention a stronger Class Lead.

    Looking ahead, there are significant changes coming in patch 3.0 that will affect Shadow Priest spec, rotation & gear needs. I’ve been keeping an eye on these developments, and once things stabilize I’ll post a new guide for 3.0.