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3.1 Priest Specs – What are You Doing?

Well, it seems that 3.1 is imminent. Coupling the fact that the PTR realms are slowing down, the patches on the PTR are getting smaller and smaller (the last patch was teeny) with the fact that the downloader seems to be finished, we may will have it as early as next week (4/14). However with the move of Noblegarden, it does confuse me. My bet is 4/21.

All classes will have their Talent Points refunded, which means its time to respect. And for most of us: Dual Specs. While some of us will be going Healing/Shadow as our specs, I do think a good many priests will be going Holy/Disc, giving them the ability to swap specs mid raid to adapt to whatever healing assignment they are given.

Derevka’s 3.1 Disc Spec – 57/14/0

With this spec I am able to get all the goodies that I want to in the Disc tree, while still being able to go deep enough into the holy tree to get Inspiration.

  • Soul Warding is worth it just for the Mana reduction, the cooldown removal is just gravy
  • Mental Strength – More intellect = more crit and more mana. More mana means more mana restoration from replenishment, Shadowfiend, and Hymn. Int is king in 3.1
  • Improved Flash Heal – This talent when combined with the Glyph of Flash Heal makes this spell our bread and butter.
  • Focused Will – Formerly the PVP Stepchild, is now a 3% critical chance increase.That’s 3% more crit than you had before, which allows for different gear itemization. Perhaps introduce some more haste from your holy set?
  • Focused Power – Stronger heals is really the reason to take this. Faster Mass Dispel isn’t the selling point.
  • Rapture – While not nearly as strong as the prior version, the ability to restore mana/rage/RP/energy to our targets is always a welcomed addition.
  • Grace - While the mechanics on this ability is a little weird, and Blue has already stated it might need to be corrected, a buff to healing is still a buff.
  • Renewed Hope – Pretty much a raidwide Blessing of Sanctuary: yes please!
  • Pain Suppression – Oh $#*(& Button for the tank or overzealous DPS.
  • Power Infusion – WTS 20% Haste buff pst. Buffing your high DPS players means the fight is over sooner, just remember it doesn’t stack with Heroism/Bloodlust. Keep an eye on Omen too, you don’t want to waste it if they are threat capped.
  • Aspiration - Reduced Cooldowns means your spells are ready sooner, always a winner.
  • Borrowed Time – Faster heals when you need them most AND more potent sheilds, a must have.
  • Penance - Fast, big heals ftw.

Crit is still a Disc Priest’s friend, however haste will become more important now that your baseline crit will be higher.

Glyph of Flash Heal – a MUST have, no questions, the end.
Glyph of Penance – another MUST for a Disc priest, it brings the cooldown to 6 seconds (with Aspiration). The hard part of this glyph is finding it on your server once 3.1 hits. Pray for lots of scribes in your guild!
Glyph of Power Word: Shield – not a spectacular glyph, but as Disc and considering how often you’ll be casting PW:S, it is really your only other option.

Derevka’s 3.1 Holy Spec – 14/57/0
I’m going to skip a lot of the talent explanations on this spec as some of them are too obvious to require clarification. (Spiritual Healing, Spiritual Guidance, etc…)

  • Improved Renew – for the most part a semi-optional talent for deep holy specs pre-3.1, however with Empowered Renew, this is a very strong talent. Glyphed, your renews will rival druid HoTs.
  • Holy Reach – With Hymn, COH, and ProH being affected and considering the SIZE of most of the Ulduar boss rooms… a good talent.
  • Healing Prayers – Since Prayer of Healing is now targetable, having a 20% mana cost reduction really makes this spell quite potent. I’m banking that this spell will likely see a nerf.
  • Surge of Light – 50% chance for a free, instant flash heal? Of course! (PowerAuras is fantastic for managing these procs).
  • Holy Concentration – now is a blanket increase to your regen on crit. It makes it a bit easier to manage, since you no longer have to actively change the way you heal when it procs.
  • Serendipity - Haste improvements on ProH and GHeal initially didn’t impress me, however on the PTR i found it VERY handy; especially for a targeted ProH.
  • Empowered Renew – Very powerful spell, will take most priests a little while to get used to bringing this spell into their arsenal correctly, but it is quite handy.
  • Divine Providence – 10% bonus to our AOE heals, and nearly worth it alone for ProM cooldown.
  • Guardian Spirit – Win.

Glyph of Circle of Healing – an extra target, smart healed? Um, yes.
Glyph of Flash Heal – efficiency FTW, especially since deciding if GHeal or Flash Heal is needed.
Glyph of Renew – Provided you get into casting Empowered Renew more often, a stronger per tick heal will be very beneficial.
Glyph of Prayer of Healing – If we wind up using this quite a bit more for AOE damage, this glyph will be quite powerful.

We have lots of changes to many of our talents, however, I don’t think there will be a lot of strategic changes to the way we heal. There will, of course, be a little bit of a mana conservation learning curve, but I don’t foresee major changes to the WAY we heal. Disc will still be all about keeping shields up and using Penance on every CD. Holy will still be a high HPS strategy, using Flash Heal and GHeal when big damage comes in (Serendipity will make that even easier).

The biggest changes to strategy will be Holy using Renew/Empowered Renew correctly and Disc using PW:S to restore mana and keep up Renewed Hope.

Here are some Tips for Pre-3.1, so you will be ready to head into Ulduar full steam ahead!

  • Stock up on Glyphs and Inks. You’ll need to reglyph your second spec, and prices will increase
  • Befriend a Scribe and pray for lucky procs for their Northrend Inscription Research. (read: Penance glyph)
  • Stock up on gems if you think with your new spec you’ll need/want to regem. Prices will go up.
  • Be ready to need mana potions, with the regen nerf you may be chugging these more often.
  • Get your guild ready, strategies, specs, and logistics. (ie. Flame Leviathan, the first Ulduar boss, uses the Vehicle Interface. Your vehicle’s HP is based on your average gear iLvl. Stop sharding stuff off KT!)

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Written By: on April 6, 2009
  1. I agree with your talent evaluations; good writeup!

    I haven’t been on the PTR myself, but I think Soul Warding and Glyph of Power Word: Shield will be very powerful together. Letting you shield anyone on demand could be good for saving key people. And if you are shielding someone, odds are they’ve taken some damage, which kind of makes the glyph equivalent to, “Increases your shields by 20%,” which is very nice.

  2. Biggest change to healing I see is Holy using a lot more Renew.

    Trying to avoid the 5 second rule is much more difficult and less useful than pre-3.1.

    While Renew remains in the Holy Concentration talent and is critable it will be in the best interest of Holy priests to maintain Renew on a couple of targets for continous 50% extra regen. To this end I think the Glyph of Renew is actually a bad thing now.

    Both trees will find crit rating more valuable than previously up to about 20-25% unbuffed.

    Interesting observation re:Glyph of Penance. Will have to sound out guildies adn perhaps supply some herbs to help them.

    At this point I doubt i’ll bet aknig Glyph of FH as a Disc priest. With a 6s Penance CD, more incentive to PW:S and others spells such as PoM and PoH. I’m expecting to cast FH even less than pre-3.1. I’m planning on taking Glyphs of PW:S, Penance and PoH.

    Gobble gobble.

  3. I didnt try the PTR , i still cannot visualise how our mana regen is going to be nerfed. The Rapture talent seems to be totally useless in 3.1 imo. Since you can only restore 2.5% when the shield is absorbed every 12sec. Maybe i am too used to the way Rapture works currently.

  4. Nice post! Some interesting talents you chose, especially in the holy tree, I don’t know if I’d agree on the Disc. About renew, maby I’m the only priest out there currently, but renew is in my top 3 healing spells used about 80% of the raids. Maby I should reroll druid heh?

  5. @bobturkey – Remember that renew itself doesn’t crit, just the initial heal at the front. So the impact of the glyph is really only relevant to the duration not Holy Concentration.

    Regarding Flash Heal, I still think that Disc priests will be casting this spell quite often, especially if the target already has Weakened Soul, and you want to stack up to your 10k Aegis. I see us “weaving” flash heal in between PWS and Penance.

    @Sengkangboy – Remember, that Rapture returns 2.5% of your total mana, so it scales fairly well as your mana pool grows, and will outpace the PWS cost(so eventually you’ll be able to just put it up on yourself for just pure regen reasons). Putting a shield up on two tanks on certain encounters(if you need 2) will be returning 5% (2.5% x 2) of your total mana every 15-20 seconds essentially. Or with only 1 tank 2.5% every 15 seconds.

    ***Keep the conversation coming***

  6. Also, Bob, there is a really good post over at MMO Champ

    About keeping Uptime on Holy Concentration. Shouldn't be too hard provided you have balance of haste/crit.

    Crit %/Cast Frequency/HC Uptime

    20% / 1.2 sec: => 77.41% uptime
    25% / 1.2 sec: => 83.31% uptime
    30% / 1.2 sec: => 90.72% uptime
    35% / 1.2 sec: => 94.34% uptime

    20% / 2.5 sec: => 51.04% uptime
    25% / 2.5 sec: => 60.17% uptime
    30% / 2.5 sec: => 68.06% uptime
    35% / 2.5 sec: => 74.80% uptime

    20% / 4.0 sec: => 36.00% uptime
    25% / 4.0 sec: => 43.75% uptime
    30% / 4.0 sec: => 51.00% uptime
    35% / 4.0 sec: => 57.75% uptime

  7. I like your holy spec. I made a post on my own blog yesterday trying to reason out a holy spec and have been toying with the idea of skipping Test of Faith as well.

    It is good to get a viewpoint from someone who has actually tested on the PTR, as I haven’t and I’m not sure how my style of play is going to change.

  8. I agree mostly with your holy spec – I’m still torn on ToF or HR – if it’s raid healing concentration (and as 25 man holy, most likely will be), you would think HR…but, on the other hand, just because a target is out of my reach (and if he’s doing it right, he shouldn’t be) he can probably be taken care of by someone else. There’s lots of heavy periodic and splash damage that I’ve seen, and I’m not sure I want to give up the extra healing bonus when it’s really needed.

    My dual specs wont be 2 different trees, but probably 2 versions of holy – heavy raid healing and single target concentration healing (still playing with that…something to think about)…if I can get a few more pieces that would be better for Disc I will probably forgo that. I even have another spec I might utilize for Hodir/heavy mobility fights….I need more specs. Sorry I’m rambling.

    Oh, and the serendipity changes coupled with the targetable PoH is pure sex.

    Don’t you love wasting company time on Teh Internetz?


  9. Ava- you are right, HR is a tough one for me, but I really am banking on ProH being a huge OP spell… for now. ToF is interesting since the change from live to PTR. The selling point of Crit is lost for me now.

  10. Bummer. So can anyone link anything regarding Renew critting in 3.1?

  11. Nice discipline spec Derevka, great minds must think alike =P.

    I just stumbled on here seeing what fellow priests have to say and boy am I glad, keep up the good work! You may have a new regular here!

    Currently with pre-3.1, the reason I almost never renew as a disc priest, is it eats my mana, because it does not proc with rapture. In 3.1 i forsee a more possible use for it, but I am thinking, even still 6 sec on penance PW:S and a flash heal (with casting and mana use reduced) i wont have time to renew ^_^

  12. My comment is regarding Meditation in the Disc tree. My (limited) understanding of the 3.1 changes says it’s going to be very hard to get out into the 5-second rule; is that where Meditation applies? Meditation says “Allows 17% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting”. It looks like that talent takes a severe hit, but I haven’t spent any PTR time to test it out. Anyone care to comment — is Meditation still worth taking for either Holy or Disc?

  13. @Brian

    I would not give up Meditation for anything. That 17% is your mana regen while under the effects of the 5 second rule. That means regenrating mana while you are casting PoH for example. Imagine not having any mana regen at all while casting and for 5 secs after a cast.

  14. I have a question about gemming. I plan to dual Disc/Holy and was wondering how I should gem. For right now I am planning to use the same set of gear for both which happens to be former holy gear. Is there a way to gem my gear that it will benefit both specs?

  15. Brian, 17% is for a single talent point. You get 50% with 3 talent points. Since spirit regen is now 60% of what it used to be, 50% of 60% is 30%, which is just what Meditation used to be.

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