This weeks post is a guest post by Suzushiiro, from BigCrits. (see my Previous post about Stoneybaby’s project, BigCrits). Stoney warned me about this one… perhaps, too little too late! HALP!
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This is Suzushiiro, resident pro Holy/Disc Priest and comic relief character of the guild/show about the guild Big Crits, gracing this blog with my presence to teach you nubs a thing or two about Priest-ing. Today’s discussion topic is how to handle a Holy and Disc dual spec, so those of you who run shadow for their second spec might want to change the channel for the next few minutes.
You real healers still with me? Good.
I’m writing about this because in my ICC experience the choice of Holy vs. Disc hasn’t been as much of a no-brainer as I thought- there have been a few times where I’ve swapped specs after a few wipes and thought “wow, what was I thinking being that other spec for this fight?” It’s not nearly as simple as ”Holy for raid healing, Disc for tank healing and Infest.”
To start, let’s go over the major differences between the two specs:
+Stronger, spammable bubbles
+Stronger single-target hps, especially ‘burst’ hps due to PW:S and Penance
+Generally superior meter cheese-ability as spellpower/ICC buff increases
-Does not ‘stack’ very well with other Disc Priests due to Weakened Soul
+Stronger Renew, PoM, PoH, Divine Hymn
+Circle of Healing
+Body and Soul
+Guardian Spirit (especially when glyphed)
-Lightwell (okay this is just here because I felt obligated to give Holy a minus as well)
Some elaboration on the above list:
-Re: Disc and meters, while it’s true that Disc pulls ahead on meters relative to other healers as their shields absorb more due to the fact that they’re sniping more and more of everyone else’s heals before the damage happens, I’d argue that this doesn’t actually make them better at healing, just better at meters. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with meter cheesing if people dying isn’t a concern, mind you.
-While they’ll pretty much never make or break a spec choice, the difference between GS and PS is worth elaborating on. PS is nice because the survivability boost applies to the entire effect duration and doesn’t “pop” like GS does. GS is nice because it will definitely save the tank in the case of a KB (though not if there’s another KB two seconds later) or you get 58.33(repeating, of course)% of the cooldown refunded, assuming you glyph it (and honestly, what the hell else are you going to glyph?) Again, nothing in current content (aside from Dreamwalker) is something where the difference is significant, but still, it’s worth keeping in mind for the future.
-CoH is great, but its primary advantage of being smart and cross-group is more significant when there are more groups for it to heal across. When you only have one or two groups to worry about (ie 5s and 10s) that advantage becomes less of a big deal since PoH is more likely to hit everyone it needs to and it’s easier to cover everyone with bubbles. On top of that, 5s and 10s are when you usually (well, always in a 5) need to tank heal, even if it’s only the occasional emergency “oh shit pally DCd” heal, while in 25s it’s entirely possible to go an entire raid without even touching the tank (or *only* touching the tank.) So Disc definitely has a big advantage over Holy in 5s and 10s to the point where it’s only in fights with constant heavy raid damage (BQL, Sindragosa) that Holy pulls ahead.
So to summarize-
You should lean towards speccing Disc if:
-You are tank healing
-There is no Disc Priest present already
-You are receiving bribes for power infusions from your DPS casters
-You are in a 5 or 10-man
-There is some gimmick to the fight that favors PW:S (Infest)
-The fight favors strong single-target healing (especially burst single-target healing- ie “OH SHIT THE REST OF THE RAID IS OKAY BUT [dude] IS GOING TO DIE IN 2 SECONDS”)
-You want to cheese meters
-There is some mechanic that favors PS over GS
You should lean towards speccing Holy if:
-There is already a Disc Priest present
-There is a gimmick in the fight that makes Body and Soul useful (Rotface disease)
-There is a mechanic/gimmick that favors GS over PS (Dreamwalker, though only for the first Holy)
-There is a large amount of constant raid-wide damage going out
Obviously, how you weight these factors when they conflict is up to you. You should take a look at your roster and the content you’re concerned with, figure out what you’re usually going to be doing what for, and plan your gearing accordingly. My guild runs with a dedicated disc Priest, for example, which means that I’m Holy more often than not, so I optimize my gear for Holy and don’t worry too much about how sub-optimal my gear is for Disc. Were the situation
reversed I’d optimize for Disc. If I was the only healing Priest in my guild I’d go for a more middle-of-the-road set.
The strength of the healing Priest has always been their versatility. With LK giving us a second viable PvE healing tree and 3.1 giving us the ability to easily switch between the two we’re more versatile than ever, but with versatility comes the need to know when and how to use which of your wide variety of tools. So don’t be a scrub and do it wrong, because I hate it when other people make my class look bad.