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Disc at 80 at 4.0 and a Bunch of Other Numbers

(Note: This is based off PTR build v4.0.1.13033)

Hey kids! It’s me! Ava! Remember me? You do? Shit. I still don’t have a beta key, so all you’re going to get from me is PTR scraps. And if you’re looking for awesome videos of me talking, like Derevka does- sorry, won’t happen. I’m usually too drunk for you to understand what I’m saying, and talking into a mic requires me putting down my beer glass.

So today’s musing is Disc at level 80 when 4.0 hits – what to do, what to spec, what to freak out about…kidding, kidding. This is the WoW community – you should freak out about everything!

33/3 Disc spec with Smite capabilities at 4.0

Let’s start with the 33/3 build, and the one I’m planning on starting with. With the changes to Archangel and Atonement, I really get the feeling that these are not simply “DPS Disc” options. I really feel as if this is intended to be part of our healing arsenal, and turns healing on it’s head. It’s more interactive. It has more strategy. And it has the potential to really make things interesting. My only hesitation is I don’t think we’ll be able to get the full potential at 80, and it might turn people off.

I really got a nice “weaving” feel, using flash/heal with smite, penance and shields. The higher my Evangelism stacks, the harder my smites hit. The harder those hit, the more  healing Atonement hits for. The higher Evangelism stacks dictates how much healing bonus and mana return I receive when activating Archangel...and neither are minor. Smiting also utilizes Train of Thought in this spec, and allows for more penance usage. Rotating Heal in utilizes Strength of Soul. And our defining talent, Power Word:Barrier, is going to provide some amazing uses.

Some notes on the 33/3 Spec

I see a need for a power aura code to let me know when 5 sec remain on Archangel. Since each stack of evangelism lasts for 15 seconds, and is refreshed upon application, I think it’s possible (in theory) to have 5 stacks ready for every 30 second AA cooldown. I say “in theory”, because we all know there’s no script for healing, and situations will arise where it’s not feasible to utilize this technique, much less maintain the application.

Mental Agility: not needed at 80 – I can’t cast faster than my mana was regenerated. Like everything in this post, it’s use and application most likely changes at 85, however.

Atonement – I’m still up in the air on this. The mechanics behave similar to the Abacus trinket, and the random selection of the target makes me hesitant. In a perfect world, it will hit the tank when I smite….but I have yet to find a perfect world (it would probably be made of booze). Currently my smites hit for around 6K unbuffed (non crit) which at 3/3 equates to a 7200 heal. It doesn’t seem that much currently, but the scaling at 85 could change all that. I was unable to validate it’s usefulness in a raid setting at 80,unfortunately. This is subject to change if I can convince enough guildies on the PTR, or I can find 9/24 other people that have a family tree that forks, and test it out more. Regardless, it’s still a free heal, and there’s not much else to do with the talent points, unless you prefer to put them in Mental agility. See my thoughts on Train of Thought for more applications. I’ll keep an eye on it.

Are Archangels supposed to be this pretty?

Inner Sanctum -No longer increases our spell power gain – now reduces spell damage, like our old spell warding talent. Unlike spell warding, I don’t think this will be needed at 80 after 4.0, but 5 years of raiding sets off my nerd sense, and tells me it will probably be a ‘must have” for progression raiding. At in the fact we get Inner Will at 83 (the speed buff) and I’m willing to bet on it. But at 80 in 4.0? Pass.

Inner focus is not taken with this spec, but I would take it if I dropped atonement. I’ve never considered this a “must have” talent, and my opinion hasn’t changed.

Strength of Souls - I’m guessing a “must have” for tank healing at 85, and if tank avoidance & damage “spikiness” go live the way it is now, a must have at 80. It also looks like the effect is repeatable (ie every application of heal knocks off 4 seconds) – if that’s intentional, I see some great uses, and not just for tank healing. For the bubble spamming robots, it’s a possible way to encourage moving away from being one-button-wonders, and using it as a way to speed up reapplication of PW:S as needed.

Train of thought – the value I see in this (at 80, mind you) is the reduction of the penance cooldown. I would probably like it more if it reset the cooldown all together (like our original 4pc t10), and this has little to no value it you are not using a Evang/AA approach like this. Each application appears to remove one second, and could prove very interesting using a weaving cycle of smite & flash/gheal/heal to build Evangelism stacks for Archangel while relying on atonement to fill in on some healing.

Focus Will – note that this no longer gives Crit. It seems to be a purely PVP talent not, thus I didn’t take it. Duh.

I rounded out with 3/3 Divine Fury. This spec revolves around the use of Heal and Smite – reducing the cast time by a 1/2 sec is important.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

One thing you will notice at 80 with the current build is Flash Heal still hits considerable harder than Heal. Don’t be worried – remember, the mechanics are based around level 85. Because of that, I will probably still be relying heavily on Flash Heal & the only use Heal has to me AT LEVEL 80 is for Strength of Soul. So if you find that mechanic is not important to you at 80, spend the two points in 2/3 Empowered Healing for a 31/5 build. But I really recommend trying the new mechanics out before writing them off, and remember to re-evaluate as we get closer to 85.

What If I don’t WANT to use the Smite mechanics?

31/5 No smite talents, 4.0

Why wouldn’t you? Don’t be afraid to try! If you’re going to be stubborn about it, you could do a variation of the 31/5 spec, dropping Evangelism, Archangel, Atonement & Train of Thought, replacing them with 3/3 Mental Agility, 2/3 Inner Sanctum & Inner focus (or 3/3 mental agility) and 2/3 empowered healing. I understand wanting to stick within a certain familiar comfort zone of healing, and taking baby steps in learning how to use Heal & Gheal all over again with the new mechanics, but I think ignoring the smite mechanics entirely could potentially be cutting off a huge part of your arsenal.

Don’t be scared of new things – we’ve always asked to have healing made more interesting, and here’s an option to accomplish that – don’t ignore it! It may play out that the smite mechanics aren’t worth the risk or are too situational to be of use – we’ll have to see, experiment & give feedback. But I’m hoping that won’t be the case, and it will come down to knowing how and when to use them.  This is the time to experiment, and the jury is still out on what’s viable. So again – don’t be afraid to try.

OMGOMGOMGOMG What about GLYPHS AT 80!!!???

Based on what I know is available, I’ll pick the following. This is subject to change before the the final 4.0 release. Thanks to Nahmanides for reminding me to mention that as of 4.0, once you learn a glyph, you never need to relearn it, and you can switch between them at will (out of combat, of course).

Prime: The 2 must haves still seem to be Glyph of Penance and Glyph of Power Word:Shield. The third seems situational depending on fight and raid makeup. Grab a Glyph of Flash Heals, Glyph of Prayer of Healing and Glyph of Power Word Barrier and experiment in your raid fights.

Major: My two “Must Haves” with the 33/3 Smite build are currently Glyph of Divine Accuracy (obvious reasons) and Glyph of Mass Dispel (remember we can’t talent the cast time reduction now!). The third is a crap shoot currently – I might stick with Holy Nova despite its changes, but I’ll probably carry a Glyph of Dispel Magic, and maybe even a glyph of Fade for leveling with PuG tanks *shudder* (note: If you need Glyph of Fade during raids – get new tanks)

Minor: Your call, as these are usually a matter of convenience. I take Fort for the mana reduction in case I need to rebuff someone mid raid due to battle rez, soulstone, ankh, etc. Shadow Protection for the duration increase, and Levitate so I don’t have to carry feathers. Fiend is an option, but he’s not so stupid anymore, and doesn’t die very often.

What about Gear & Gems?!! OHSHITOHSHIT….

Relax. I was all prepared to completely re-gem and re-gear when I hit the PTR because of the mana mechanics. I loaded up with uncut gems, and extra 264/277 tokens to experiment with and…..I didn’t need it. Using my current “Live” Disc gear (read: minimal Spirit) I couldn’t cast faster than I regained mana. The only time I could burn thru mana was when the Holy Nova bug was still active (And BOY! Did I learn some great new words playing with THAT in the PTR battlegrounds!!) – even spamming gheal couldn’t dent it.

Now that doesn’t mean that’s how it will be going Live, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated as things change. And it most certainly will be different at 85.

As always, keep reading Tales of a Priest as we explore this and other mechanics throughout beta and Cata. And I just wanted to show you the ridiculous tabard I have to walk around with in our beta guild, thanks to Derevka.

Written By: on September 28, 2010
  1. Thanks for the update on disc Ava, I’ve been checking the site every day for the post on disc builds. Tbh the thought of dpsing while I heal makes me cringe and I was planning on leaving it out of my spec but your post looks promising, just reading the talents didn’t give me a very clear idea but this helps.

    WTB you a beta key as well so we can hear how this functions in raids.

    Again thanks for the post keep up the great job :)

  2. You might want to add that when you use a glyph in 4.0, you “learn” it permanently on that character, and never need the glyph again. You can simply switch between all glyphs you know out of combat! The wording of your post seemed to imply otherwise.

  3. @Bellanorra

    You’re welcome! I was really hesitant at first regarding DPS in healing, but the more I played with it, the more I really saw some neat potential. I think this could be the most interesting “toy” we’ve ever gotten.

    @Nahmanides (I’m NOT pronouncing that!)

    You’re right – I totally forgot to mention that. I’ll edit now! Thank you!

  4. So like, Isnt it a bit unfair that the disc doesnt have good major glyph choices because they’re all in the prime catagory?

    I mean like compare it to holy.

    (Yes this was a total QQ, deal with it.)

    1. No, I totally agree with you. I spent the whole time on the PTR thinking I was missing something. Scoured MMO-C, Wowhead….nope, we just have crap to pick from. But beta isn’t over yet….cross your fingers.

      1. i don’t know if the glyph was not yet available on PTR when you wrote the article (and i only just read it)

        glyph of smite seems to be pretty nice for atonement disco (Your Smite spell inflicts an additional 20% damage against targets afflicted by Holy Fire.)

  5. No no no. Having a heal where you don’t know where it will go just isn’t going to be the main way disc plays. Just a fun toy to play with some other time. It’s just more viable than say, for Holy or for some other healing class.

    Disc smiting is an option, not the only way to play.

    1. Yes. yes. yes. You’re absolutely right – it IS an option and NOT the only way to play (if I implied that in my post, I apologize – what sounds one way in my head, sounds different to someone else. I’ll try to change the wording). But what you just said is pretty much exactly what I said in that entire post. It’s an option to explore. It might be big. It might fall on its ass. I most certainly will not base the validity of the entire spec on the application of atonement either – I explained the thoughts on that. That’s why I explored all those spec options (especially the new toys in detail), and encouraged people to explore as well. Nothing is set in stone, and nothing has a door closed on it. Yet.

      But I’m just not willing to dismiss the entire spec as ‘a fun toy’ either, based on what Derevka and I have seen. Not yet, anyways. I might have a different option in the next few builds or after actual raiding with it. I just remember similar reactions when many of us explored disc as a viable healer before the release of wrath. So before saying ‘No’, let’s say – “let’s see”. :D

    2. I agree. The new “smitey six” will either be very effective and although it is “optional” it could also be the preferred PVE spec, or it will be an utter failure and something we resort to only for leveling, PVP or solo play.

  6. I agree with Ava on this one too. I’ve done a number of heroics on the Beta realms as Atonement Disc; which obviously isnt a /raid/ test of the spec, it seems to be working fairly well. I could just be liking it due to the fact that I’ve been enjoying getting ‘shiny wings’. But so far I do find it fun… how much of that fun is b/c I like the spec, or fun in the sense that its ‘something different’… I don’t know.

    Until we get to stress test it in a true raiding environment I don’t want to shut the door on it. The Atonement conversion is hella handy, if it lands on a tank. The RNG on ‘a nearby target’ is a bit nebulous… but I still kind of like it. But just because I like something doesn’t mean it will be an ‘appropriate’ raid spec.

    Jury is still out for me, but I am hopeful… but then again, it might purely be that its shiny and new and “something different”.

  7. Just seems soo awkward…Smite 5 times, sacrifice a glyph slot, a bunch of utility talents for things like Inner Sanctum, hit evangelism, and for all that work what do you get? A slightly better version of a spell you already have – heal. It may or may not actually hit your intended target.

    What’s more, its not like serendipity, you really can’t use evangelism at less than 5 stacks or you really won’t get the same cost/benefit ratio that makes the playstyle worthwhile in the first place.

    I’m definitely going to be stubborn about this – the whole thing just sounds *wrong*. I find the new triage paradigm will be interesting enough by itself, this smiting just sound so awkward.

    I’m not afraid to try it but this is just not what I signed up for as a healer. Even on live, I’d rather sit there than try to help DPS in a PVE environment, unless its something like XT’s heart or something.

  8. It does seen awkward. When I first heard about it, I thought it was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. It still seems wrong. I’m supposed to HEAL, FFS.

    But I love when things get switched up! Trying it out and getting a feel for it made it much less awkward. Now, does that mean it will be viable at 85, or even 80 with the scaling factors? I don’t know. I don’t think we’ll be smiting anywhere near as much as we’ll be healing…but it adds an interesting & potentially powerful tool if we use it correctly. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

    I’m not a fan of playing DPS myself – my alts are all healers (and the ones that aren’t a source of amusement for people). So I try to think of it less like DPSing, and more as a utility to make me more effective. And if it sucks ass, we can ignore it outright ….or I dust off my holy set.

  9. Ava,

    Two things, casting Smite reduces the cooldown on Penance by .5 secs now in the latest build, down from 1 sec.

    Also, I’m a little confused why you don’t like Inner Focus? Did you notice that it has a 45 sec cooldown now, and that casting GH reduces the cooldown of IF by 5 seconds?

    I think it is going to be quite powerful and I plan to macro Inner Fire to both PoH and GH for free powerful heals every 45 seconds or less. :)

    My beginning spec will be just like yours but I will have Inner Focus, and only one point in SoS instead of two. :)

  10. Is it .5? I could have sworn I double checked it. Bah! I’ll edit when I get home. It doesn’t affect my reasonings though.

    It’s not that I don’t LIKE IF – it’s that I don’t NEED IF. I actually have it built into my Live spec. But when it comes down to builds & spec options, it’s usually one of the things you can afford to lose. If atonement doesn’t cut the mustard at 80, I may drop it for this. The reduced cooldown is nice, but still not a ‘must have’ – just like desperate prayer.

    1. Yes, they changed it with build 13033, it makes sense because after 5 smites and popping Archangel, Penance would be off cooldown. :)

      I see what you are saying about IF at 80, my strat though when 4.0 goes live is to start practicing how I will be playing in Cataclysm and especially at 85 which will involve liberal use of Inner Focus. :)

      1. Ah, yes – seems this was updated again since I wrote this Tuesday. Atonement is now two ranks instead of 3, they switched the tiers of soul warding and borrowed time…and I have 39 talent points. Incoming new fix! Such is the nature of test realms – obsolete before you finish the article!

        As much as I would love to mimic healing at 85 realistically with scaling the way it is, what we do at 80 will not resemble what we do at 85. Current 4.0 Scaling puts heal faaar behind Flash heal, & while gheal hits slightly more, it’s much larger cast time still is undesirable. By the time you hit 83, these begin to reverse drastically. Not to mention missing certain talents and points…it would be like trying to mimic healing at 80 when we were still 70. Something to think about if you still have content to tackle before Cata.

        As I said, I currently have IF macroed in as well….but if I have to dump it to try and emulate the mechanics the best I can while leveling, it’s the first to go. Leveling/dungoen specs never resemble the final product, so I don’t sweat it. :)

        Oh and your “smitey six” term as you call it? Love it. I may have to borrow that.

  11. Thanks Ava, I’ve been looking forward to some perspective on Disc, and particularly Disc at 80. I like that we’re not quite having mana problems at 80 and I think I’ll stick with Disc right into the start of Cata just because the Smite mechanics look fun. I think Holy is going to edge out Disc for raid utility personally, but there’s a lot we don’t know about how these specs will scale so I’ll have to reserve judgment until then.

    I think Inner Focus will play a nice part though in dungeons in particular. Its got a much lower CD now and it now benefits at 100% reduction with GHeal. Could be interesting, though perhaps a bit less than I’m imagining once we get rid of the five second rule.

    Note though, your screenshots appear to be from a previous patch. Borrowed Time is in tier 4 and a few things have been changed around.

  12. Holy is definitely a force. I’ve always enjoyed it, and looking to be even more so.

    IF does look good, and will probably find it’s way in at 85. But for evaluation at 80, I still don’t consider it a must have.

    These screenshots were current as of Tuesday 9/28. And have been updated again since! Note they are the public ptr – not beta.

  13. Finally a new post and it was a joy to read it and Derevka looks cute. Keep up the good work.

  14. Horrible tabard!

    Or, as my guild likes to say, “Get mad, nerd!” ;)

  15. Yes!! Thank you for the Disc post. This has calmed my anxieties of the ominous 4.0! For a while I thought maybe ToaP had forgotten about it’s Disco-Followers ^.^
    Look forward to reading more!

  16. Ava,

    I think I could get behind this more if it was more like serendipity: you only had to stack up to 3, and you could weave other spells under a stacking self buff (not sure if this is actually the mechanic now, so correct me if I’m wrong). You could then have a bit more freedom to weave smites in. I still don’t see how in the world of massive health that smiting is at all desirable. Just leave the damage to the DPS we’ve got enough on our hands in the new healing paradigm.

    It will be great for soloing though. I may even level as Disc.

  17. @Joe

    After seeing your description, we may have to change our actually tabard to that….although I hate to give up me beer tankards.


    Not forgotten! I’ve just been extremely busy the past few weeks, and with Halloween coming, even more so. Oh – and no beta key.


    You CAN weave! Each stack it applies lasts 15 seconds, refreshes when you add another. I would shield, smite, cast heals, smite, cast more etc and launch AA. You don’t have to sit and smite 5 times in a row.

    As far as the actually damage of smite – it might not be an inconsequential amount of damage. If each application of evangelicalism increases the damage by 2/4% – that adds up. However, I really don’t think we’re intended to be meter topping, raid tipping DPS. I think of it as a utility, a tool -a way to stack for a more powerful AA, reduce the penance cooldown with ToT and, hopefully with better scaling, a hard hitting atonement.

    I like the options it adds. I’ll be somewhat disappointed if it doesn’t work out.

  18. Yeah, I did not forget about our Disco readers! It just is the fact that Holy had gotten a lot more attention/love in Beta. And not until the last couple of weeks Disc started getting some more polish. I didn’t want to put something up on disc that would chage 24 hours after going up. (Ironically, my Holy post was just that… requiring major changes a day later. )

    Add that to Ava whining that I was writing all the posts. (LOL). You know how she can be with deadlines! /hides

    I’m not sure if I’ll be Disc or Holy in 4.0 cata. We’ll see.

  19. @Ava

    Good to hear.

    All of that stuff just still doesn’t sound worth it to me, though. I could go through all of that…or I could just cast heal for slightly less benefit and a whole lot fewer GCDs.

  20. Ava, feel free to use that term “Smitey Six” all you like. In case some of you have not seen this, here is a great video of a disc priest healing a level 85 heroic. You can see the mana issues he had, and I could tell he has Inner Focus (bottom right action bars) and has it macroed to GH.

    Very cool video though that demonstrates this new disc healing playstyle.

  21. Ava, sad news. I just realized we can’t call it “Smitey Six” anymore since they decreased the points in Atonement from three to two. Smitey Five just doesn’t have the same ring to it. :(

    1. oh I have no doubt we have to manage mana at 85 – at 80 however, I’m not worried about it. I’m more worried about the new mechaincs than working in IF. I’m sure it will find it’s way in at 85.

      How about…..Cinco de Smite?

      Yeah…I’m drunk again.

  22. Atonement was nerfed since to 40/80% instead of 60/120%. so the statement “Currently my smites hit for around 6K unbuffed (non crit) which at 3/3 equates to a 7200 heal” would now rather result in a 4800 heal at 2/2 Atonement. Quite some difference.

  23. Great shame that Atonement has taken a Nerf to 40/80%. On the PTR I managed to Smite, Holy Nova [great on trash] and POM my way thru Forge of Souls heroic yesterday as Disc, luckily all the dps were melee !

    I was seeing some heals from Atonement ranging from 4k to 7k and most were procing DA which is a nice bonus.

    With this latest nerf though I fear it will make it a much less viable way of healing, especially as we have been nerfed on Borrowed Time as well which only adds insult to injury with casting the bigger slower [too slow]GH.

  24. Yes, the Atonement nerf hurts a lot, and frankly if Atonement doesn’t hit for more than a heal, it is no longer worth having. As it is, it is pretty risky, the nerf makes it too big of a gamble and the “Cinco de Smite” (love it Ava!) talents not worth taking until we outgear the encounters again. :(

    I’ll be playing with holy and shadow for a while. Maybe we’ll wake up in a few days to find this latest nerf was just a bad dream.

  25. Yes, those values are a hit. But to be honest – it wasn’t really impressive before, hence why I was on the fence.

    However – just because it looks extremely unattractive at 80 does not mean it’s worthless. I think people are getting too hung up on that. The scaling between 80 & 85 is very disproportionate, and while it’s not looking attractive at 80, plan on numerous posts regarding 85 performance.

    Because I’m more interested in the mechanics than actual scaling at 80, I’ll probably run a few raids with dual disc specs with & without this. However, if you still have content you’re working on, I would probably skip it at 80 for the time being.

    And this may change tomorrow. :P I hate beta evaluations…I have to do work. Work gives me a rash.

  26. Mmmmhmmm…

    I gave it some thoughts.

    My conclusion, from a Disc point of view, and from a raider-up-until-Cata-launch point of view, is that Heroic Halion will be rocking our world left and right and upside down, regardless of us farming him for 12 weeks now. He… will be… a pain.

    I am going to have to stick to a non-Smite build for Halion, that is for sure. My healing / absorbing qualities are far too essential, and I hardly see myself doing some lolsmite with a cutter chasing me, while my tank is getting 5 foot long dragon claws shoved down his throat all the way to his rectum.

    For Cataclysm, I would hope I’d get to play a Smite build. It simply looks far too entertaining, and anyone avoiding that spec will certainly be missing out on a big chunk of fun.

    Additionally, this weaving mechanism (not only weaving spells, but also weaving roles) will teach and train Discipline priests to gain a better awareness and a larger comprehension of encounters.

    I cant wait! (:

  27. Atonement is tweaked again. Now up to 50/100%.

  28. On PTR im finding using Power Infusion on myself for Smile is helping to build up the 5 stacks quickly to then pop Archangel for the extra healing. Id be happier if PI cooldown wasnt 3 minutes.
    Anyone been on PTR today and can confirm if they have ‘lost’ some mana ? I have gone from 51k to 44k today…..

  29. Yes Paris. I noticed the same thing. Last Thursday I had 55K mana, and in the same gear yesterday I had only 48K. The only stats that changed were my mana, crit % and spellpower….all three tied to Intellect so it makes me wonder if there is a bug with our tree’s passive, or if people other than disc priests noticed a mana difference?

    I didn’t think to do this yesterday, but I know I made some holy priest spell videos using that same gear set and I’ll have to see if the mana number as holy is the same as what I now how for disc. If so, that would confirm my suspicion.

    Divine Aegis is behaving differently, not sure if it is a bug or just an undocumented change but it only stacks to 20% of the health of the priest on the PTR.

    I made a short video demonstrating Atonement yesterday and I found it interesting that it seemed to go to a druid even in bear from with more hitpoints than me. It only went to me when he moved outside of the 8 yard range from my target. Pretty cool if you ask me. :)

    I have vuhdo set up to rank players by HPs top to bottom and you can see that he has less HPs when he drops to kitty form yet Atonement still went to him. There is one Smite cast at the end where I was at the tail end of the cast, and the cat ran in right as the Smite hit and he was the one that got healed. That is also nice for when our tanks and melee are moving around a little.

    1. That’s a great video!! Thanks for posting it!

      I just was bombed at work, so I havent had time to look into the DA issue (or log on period). I should have some time this weekend, but feel free to post any findings you here for everyone to look at!

  30. I havent played around on the PTR or beta I must admit but why oh why are you speccing that way?

    At lvl 80 the mana efficiency is so silly that it doesnt matter what you cast since you can afford it.

    But considering your speccs,
    Smite/DPS specc: If your going to spam smite to replace Heal, why on earth are you taking
    Strength of Soul? (Why do you need to reduce the time inbetween shields? And you specced for smite, then smite damnit!)
    Soul Warding? (Soul Warding is pretty much #2 useless talent in the tree, #1 being Reflective Shields, since you wont be unless something really unnecessary happens, cast 2 shields in a row)
    No Inner Focus? (Train of Thought strongest benefit is that it reduces IF cd per GH, and its also a free PoH or GH inbetween Smites when you cant keep up)

    And for your healing discipline specc get Train of Thought instead of Soul Warding, and I guess its the strongest only healing speccs possible

    1. As i said numerous times, the mechanics are important to test. I never said smiting REPLACES heal. Not ever. Nor should it. The smite mechanics are a tool to use to increase our healing potential – not replace any heals or make us DPS.

      As far as Stregth of Soul – I think you’re confused on what SoS is. It reduces the the duration of the Weakened Soul debuff. Why WOULDN’T you want to reduce the cooldown of WS, especially if you’re tank healing? I argued that the scaling value of heal is weak at 80, thus you could counter argue if this talent is worth it…at 80. But the point here was the workings & mechanics of the new talents and spells – your individual situation will dictate if it’s worth taking at 80.

      And Soul Warding IS 100% absolutely NOT useless to a disc priest – of any playstyle. THAT is the talent that reduces the coolddown of your PW:S ability. Using a disc priest for raid coverage would be impossible without this talent, or even quick targets/self targets when tank healing for BT. This is a must have talent. I don’t even want to THINK about H LK without this! Hell – I don’t want to think about crippling a disc priest without it!

      As also explained here (and by your own reasoning in your second sentence!) IF has never been a ‘must have”. although I do currently work it into my spec now (pre 4.0) it’s mainly filler. In post 4.0 applications, mana is even less of an issues – a “free” PoH doesn’t make or break anything if I can’t burn mana faster than I regen it. And Gheal still isn’t at a scaling that is worth casting at 80 – which is why I discussed its usage in the post and resulting mechanic applications. I also mentioned it will probably find it’s way back in at 85 because mana WILL be strained then- look for more posts on specing for dungeons and raids at 85 soon after cata release!

      And as also discussed, train of thought has no use (at 80) if you are not utilizing the smite spec – obviously because you won’t be smiting to reduce your penance cooldown, but also because, at 80, it doesn’t have much benefit for the IF application, as explained above.

      The specs are not intended for you if you still have progression content – as explained. It’s a way to test and play with the new mechanics in a raid environment. Our spell scaling at 80 does not let us fully utilize the new mechanics in a way that is beneficial until we are 85.

      I really suggest getting on the PTR and experimenting for yourself. Or just wait a week – it’s coming soon!! :)

    2. “Soul Warding? (Soul Warding is pretty much #2 useless talent in the tree, #1 being Reflective Shields, since you wont be unless something really unnecessary happens, cast 2 shields in a row)”

      This doesn’t even make sense to me and makes me about as sad as the Disc priest that thought you could only shield one target at a time. :-(

      Mitgation via bubbles is one of Discipline’s biggest strengths… if you aren’t using your bubbles, you’re hurting your raid. :-( For Infest on LK, you don’t have TIME to wait between bubbles if you want to be able to keep a handle on the raid’s damage.

      1. We need to find a happy medium with bubble spammin and actual healing, im enjoying a mix of this on PTR. I can still bubble the raid and Smite to build up stacks to push out some nice healing, and regen mana.

        If we go for a smite spec the bubble botting should be just as viable as it is now so long as you are using Archangel on cooldown for the mana regen.

        For me bubbleing is what disc is about but knowing we have the ability if used correctly [archangel] to heal more is good.

        I dont suppose we will master this art until we have run the new cata raids a few times and can predict when bad things are gonna happen.

        With Inner Focus – i think its a must have for disc, freebie spells and increased crit every 45 secs ? yes plz, I have mine bound to a few spells so im pretty much using it whenever its off cd. Bound to FH/GH/PoH/DH.

        1. yes! That’s a great way to put it – a happy medium! Smite is not intended to replace actual healing and I think this is where people are getting confused. We’re not saying “hey you’re now DPS” or “Smite to heal” – it’s another tool in your arsenal we need to learn how and when to use. We’ve screamed and yelled that disc priests are not one button shield monkeys for this whole expansion, and I think the reality of that is scaring people. This isn’t scary – this is FUN!

          I’m still going to disagree the IF (currently, mind you) is not a must have. And even at 4.0 80, it’s still not – and that’s what we’re talking about here. Crit levels at this stage are beyond sufficient to not warrant it, and mana is almost a non factor. But that’s my preference – certainly there’s nothing wrong with taking it if you find value in it.

          Now when Cata is Live, we start the grind to 85 & start talking about specs for leveling, dungeons and entry raids – you’re correct. Then it’s useful, based on what we’ve seen and experienced in beta. But we’re not quite there yet! This post was purely “What is this new stuff & what do I do with it while waiting for Cata?”

          1. Situational tool, indeed. But if I find out I could spare those points elsewhere, where they would be less situational, than by all means, Smite wont be on my bars.

            Dont get me wrong, I’m not part of the dark conspiracy who thinks Smite builds are the devil. I have been using Smite more and more in ICC recently, including (and oddly enough, very frequently) on Heroic Lich King, in order to familiarize myself with the concept. But that’s farmed content we do with our eyes closed.

            I’m still fairly sure I’ll pick a conventional build (no Smite synergy) for level 80, and quite possibly in Cata as well. If I ever find out I’m in dire need of mana, I might pick Archangel. But I wont be in dire need of mana. We just gotta switch our minds back to a Sunwell mode. Shadowfiend, macroed, to precise moments during the fight. Hymns of Hope, stacked, using priests’ communication. MANA POTIONS, this one consumable that’s been a myth in WotlK. A smart priest will have plenty of tools to regain mana.

            I’m pretty much rambling at this point. Breakfast time!

        2. Just wanted to point out a change Inner Focus, it no longer applies to Divine Hymn (sad day I know) so don’t forget to modify your macros when 4.0.1 hits. :)

          1. Oh…what they give with one hand they take with the other !!

  31. I’m struggling with SoS. I just don’t think it’s going to be that useful. Hear me out. It’s a great concept, but as a Disc priest, I don’t think Heal is going to get that much use. The reason for that is Atonement. Smite has a shorter cast time than Heal and it heals for about the same amount.

    With Smite’s being essentially with with Archangel, Smite seems the better choice in any instance where you would cast a heal.

    Heal I think I would use on someone other than a tank, but then again, a reduced WS debuff on someone other than a tank isn’t as big of a deal. Also, a Renew would probably be a better choice over Heal anyway.

    So my build my have only one point in SoS, but two in ToT. If they changed SoS in apply to Greater Heal in addition to just Heal then we have a valuable talent.

    With the recent reduction of the mana cost of GH it is now about three times as much mana, but heals for three times as much and has the same cast time. If your tank needs some serious healing, I’m going with Greater Heal and not Heal for about the same HPM but much higher HPS.

    Not to mention a Borrowed Time, Inner Focused Greater Heal will be very sexy. Sorry for derailing Ava. :D

    1. I agree Heal just sucks imo. If we are tank healing why would we even cast Heal on the Tank, by the time we have cast it[cause it takes so long] – a GH would have been better…its a weak heal and SoS would be awesome if it applied to GH or even FH.
      With the DA procs from Smite/FH/GH/PoM and even PoH the DA’s will more than make up for not putting a Shield on the tank, as DA’s refresh.
      Id rather keep renew ticking on the tank than use Heal, and youd probably get a lot more from Renew.

      and yes Forums would be awesome lo !

      1. You know, you’re right. I actually started down this train of thought writing this, and never developed the thought.

        The idea of the 3 direct heals SHOULD be Flash (small heal, small cast, least mana) Heal (med heal, cast and mana cost) and Gheal (largest heal for biggest cast & mana exchange).

        I don’t want to bag on the concept too much – I understand the idea is to bring heal back into the arsenal and teach use to use all our tools. Without experiencing the applications in end game at 80/85, I don’t know how the scaling will work. It might end up the efficiency of using gheal over heal is lacking…sort of a Flash heal vs gheal situation we have now. Once we factor in sp/haste gains, the mana cost of gheal might actually be the weakness, and heal may be preferred.

        There’s just too many “What ifs” to rule one or the other out, but I totally see your point – I think at 80 with these issues, we’ll struggle to find a use for it.

        I’ll do an updated post after I’ve visited H halion/HLK etc with the new specs. I’ve also tucked it away to visit the Gheal/Heal comparison at 85.

        These are some great points and discussion! <3 you guys!

  32. WTB an “edit” button. LOL

    In the second paragraph I meant to type with Smite’s being essentially FREE with Archangel. :)

  33. By all means – derail away! Some great thoughts & discussion here!

    I almost wish we installed forums…..hmmmmm…..

    1. My new kitten has one single fear. Tea satchels.


      Which spec would grant the best mana regeneration / conservation, assuming the encounter offers the best disposition to maximise the effectiveness of the spec?

      - A Smite build, relying on Archangel to regain mana?
      - A non Smite build, easily able to pick up Mental Agility, as well as relying on ToT for Inner Focus mana conservation.

  34. Thank you Ava, for doing this. It’s very refreshing to have a place to discuss disc priest issues besides the flaming and trolling nature of the WoW forums. <3

    By the way, I have posted my concerns about the DA issue (capping at 20% of the priest's health), and a request to get Greater Heal added to SoS in addition to Heal. I posted it in three places on the WoW forums…Cataclysm, Healing, and Test Realm.

    I personally just want to see a Blizzard response on whether this is really how they are going to make DA work in the future. I cannot find one since mention of them changing DA like this.

  35. I was healing in Halls of Reflection heroic on PTR yesterday – managed to smite>Atonement & PoM all the way thru it as Atonement was healing everyone in melee range…. This made me think it would be nice once Blizz comb thru the bugs that Atonement would be most useful if it did heal more than 1 target, from a raid healing perspective.
    At the monet our raid healing tools are Shield spam [which Blizz dont want us to do as much] PoH and Nova..and I dont fancy spamming Nova.
    Im really missing the 7k mana that dissapreared last week too – its meant a loss of around 600sp – which means smaller heals. Just feeling a lot weaker.
    But, one thing i have found use for is my Muradins Spyglass Trinket. The stacking spellpower works well with Smite spam :)

  36. As a main Shadow Priest who has (and loves) her Discipline offspec, I’m really liking the idea of DPSing to heal with Atonement.

    The only problems with it so far, to me, are the fact that it can hit people I would rather it not, and also that in dungeons on Beta I have found very little opportunity to use it at all. It’s possibly due to being grouped with people who were standing in crap they shouldn’t have been, but honestly, I was spam-healing so much to (vainly) try and keep them up that I couldn’t see what they were doing. All I could focus on were the steadily-dropping health bars. Not being able to use my Smite mechanic to regen mana with Archangel, as well as too much random damage flying around to have time to channel Hymn of Hope, left me running out of mana insanely quickly. Maybe it’s different with people I know well, whose playstyles I know, but… on Beta, I’m losing hope for the idea of Smite-healing ’cause I just don’t have time to. :(

  37. You guys are great – some amazing discussions and some great topic ideas for me to look into in further detail.

    Thank you so much! <3 you all (except Derevka – he’s a douche)

  38. The smite glyph was available, but I don’t put much value in it.

    The smite mechanics we’re discussing are not intended to make us viable dps, and I suppose this glyph would be good for a disc dps build. However, taking into consideration cast times & GCDs, when you weight in the numbers of the healing gained by utilizing the glyph/holy fire/smite combo against the healing you could have done without it, it’s not very attractive.

  39. How exciting, 4.0.1 is almost here. I thought I would share my basic PVE raiding disc priest spec that I will adopt tomorrow.

    While I agree with Ava and Derevka that IF is not really “needed” at 80, I want to start using the new healing style and start breaking the Wotlk patterns/habits early. So, I’ll be healing a lot with Atonement, and using BT+ IF+ GH to catch up the tank when needed.

    Of course there are some glyphs that can be switched in and out based on the encounter, these will be the ones I will generally run with.

    My initial thought on mastery is that since the spellpower coefficient is so low on PW:S mastery seems like it might be stronger at level 80 than it will be at level 85. Not positive though, and this is something I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the numbers on soon.

    Exciting times ahead for sure! :)

  40. Nice one Aliahna, that was the exact same build I intend to use too. I like that you have included the Renew Glyph. Us Discoing priests shouldnt shy away from Renew like we have been. It is a viable filler spell and its not a bad thing to keep it ticking on the tanks, just wish it procced DA on the crits lol but we cant have it all unfortunately….or maby..
    On PTR I reforged some items loosing some spirit in favour of mastery – mp5 turned to spirit on PTR so it wasnt like i was ‘loosing’ much. On some items i added haste.
    I think my mastery is around 457 and haste 770 the unbuffed PW:S was around 8559 Absorbtion so not too bad.
    Im actually looking forward to seeing myself on the DPS meters lol

    1. As of live, my renews DO proc DA on crits.

  41. Agreed on the Renew glyph, I’ve always kept Renew ticking on the tanks, and now that it can crit, with our high levels of crit especially, it will be even nicer.

    PoH will be nice on some fights as well, and I generally can’t see taking the Barrier glyph, I’m going to leave the heavy raid damage healing to my holy priest brothers and sisters, and my second cousins, resto druids and shaman. :)

    My initial goal will be to have about 30-32% crit, haste at about 25%, spell power as high as I can get, and about 14% mastery. With that level of mastery my shields should be around 8,500 like yours which is similar to where they are unbuffed on live today. Anything smaller will just feel wrong. :)

  42. Agree about the Barrier Glyph – for now at least. I reckon Holy Nova [Glyphed] Spam in the bubble will suffice for fast heals – plus Holy Nova crits like crazy !
    Im yet to try a 25man run using Holy Nova to actually Heal the Raid – the multiple DA procs is gonna pretty nice to see.
    Forgot to mention on my last post about gems. Im mostly gemmed pure Intellect – but have about 6 which are Intel/Haste Gems which are quite nice. Have to say though – it feels strange gemming Haste lol. Thank god I have the Hyperspeed Accelerators on my Hands for a nice boost every minute.

  43. Yeah Paris, I anticipate using a few SP + Haste gems to get to my desired stats as well. I forsee reforging my excess crit to mastery, and swapping some +20 int gems for the int/haste gems.

    Note to self: Purchase a few more Ametrine gems tonight. :D

    1. I actually run a high haste set – very little intellect gems at this point. I also agree with you about the renew glyph – I usually kept one rolling the tank. It shouljd be real nice now.

      I will also keep my holy nova glyph equipped ( I found it great in FM room on H LK – and now it’s even better).

      I will still be equipping a Barrier glyph in one of my disc specs (have to blow away holy for now and leave that to Derevka) I can see numerous uses for it, and I would like some logs on it.

      Remember to snag a hymn of hope glyph tonight – it turns into the Glyph of Divine Accuracy on the PTR, so you wont have to run around looking to have it made.

      I will be raiding all week H ICC (with LK) and H Halion and will have logs and actual numbers and findings for next’s weeks Disc at Live 4.0 pre 80

      And again, thank ALL of you for some of the most amazing discussion I’ve seen here. I look forward to more of it. <3

      1. Avalonna what spec and glyphs do you plan on using on Hrc LK?

        1. For Prime, I see value in PW: barrier for p3, plus the Pw:s and Penance.

          For Major, I always used a Holy Nova for the frostmourne room, and its a billion time better now. Since we can’t talent for mass dispell cast reduction, I snagged that too. I also plan to use the smite mechanics, so Divine accuracy is a must.

          Minors stayed the same: Levitate, fiend, and fort.

  44. Ava, I like your glyph choices. Would you mind sharing your combat logs from this week with us? I’m going to be making some as well.

    Here is my armory link to show my spec and glyph choices:

    Please let me know if you have any comments. What you can’t see from the character page is the mastery though, I have just under 13% and my PW: Shield, with just my own Inner Fire up it is almost 11K. I don’t like where my haste is at the moment, but it is high enough to get a 1.2 sec Flash Heal without BT up so I guess it’s not that bad, but I would rather be where you are with haste at about 25%. :(

    1. P.S. In the heroic random I ran last night Atonement was my second highest healing spell! Go-go Smite priests! LOL

    2. My armory isn’t updating, but I think I have the levels where I’m in my sweet spots.

      I should be able to get a log – I plan on having a post next week for disc raiding. I’ve been having health issues again this week, so if it’s not from me, it will be form Derevka

  45. P.S.S. Anyone else think that this may be our new BiS trinket?

    1. I was just talking to someone about that lol – gonna snag it!

  46. Atonement broken for me today :( no heals from it at all…was fine yesterday but today almost wiped the 5 man as i was so busy smiting i didnt realise ppl were almost dieing lol !
    Renew DA Bubbles <3 awesome….im a happy bunny.
    24% haste with 2 points in Darkness. 15% mastery. :) )
    10718 PW:S max DA: 7068.

    1. My atonement was fine part of today then halfway through a dungeon just nothing but we just had a server restart and it seems to have been hotfixed, glad to know it wasn’t just me.

      1. hmmm no restarts here on Ghostlands EU yet so still broken.. also my DA isnt stacking as high either now..

        1. It was broken last night for me, which REALLY pissed me off. It had worked so well in 5 mans, then the server crashed, and it wasn’t registering in ICC. Checked with a few people in other guilds, and they had the same results.

          I don’t think the ICC buff is affecting our shields correctly either, but I haven’t had the time to sit and compare logs.

          Hopefully when I log on later, it’s fixed.

  47. Same with everyone else, Atonement was broken last night but worked the night before.:(

    Something was definitely wrong with PW: Shield last night. It was not scaling correctly, and definitely didn’t seem to be affected by the ICC buff. I took some screenshots of my stats in ICC last night so I could do some math and figure out what was going on. All I know is that fully raid buffed my shields went from just under 11k solo to about 11.6k fully 25 man raid buffed with food and flask. That didn’t seem right at all. We raid again tonight but hopefully tomorrow night or this weekend I’ll have time to figure out what is going on.

  48. Anyone else notice that you can get more ticks from Divine Hymn now? I guess haste is affecting it as well which is very nice. :D

    I got 18 ticks last night on Festergut:

  49. My atonement broke between Putricide and Sindragosa tonight :( was working fine on PP then I had three heals from it total on a heroic Sindra kill. /sigh

  50. Atonement seems ok today but im also getting random DA procs from Holy Fire…

  51. Ava, what are you hearing about our shields and other absorbs negatively affecting Vengeance for the tanks? Apparently it’s becoming quite a hot topic on the tanking and healing forums.

  52. Since the small patch a few days ago has anyone noticed different combat log numbers on your shields? Mine appear to have gone down quite a bit and I have actually reforged for more mastery.

    1. The difference I’m seeing was on combat log shield not in raid (I wasn’t very clear sorry) and my guild is working on HLK progression and I am the bubblebot sadly :( For all other fights I am helping tank heal since we only raid with one holy paladin.

      1. Sounds exactly like what I do. I’ll take a look.

  53. @Bellanorra

    The overall values were intended to be lower, but the ICC buff was not calculating our shields correctly. Icc is clear for us, and I can’t try a ten man now, so I’m not sure if it’s fixed. Atonement has been fixed, thank god. And I can’t confirm, but does it seem like it hits the lowest health target?

    I’m at a toss up on Mastery for H LK. It seemed that the mastery addition would have been useful for the infest, but that was with the incorrect buff translation. Point for point, reforging for haste would be more beneficial if you are not doing H LK. Unless all you’re doing is shield spamming, but now’s the time to break that habit. I’ll have a Haste And You for Disc post next week.

    No, I haven’t heard anything. I’ve been sort of laid up all week being sick and pathetic. I’ll definitely look into it for you and get back to you.

  54. Shields have been fixed – generally 2.5k ish lower than what we have been used to. Apparently we all had the 30% ICC buff wether we were in ICC or not.

  55. Ava, I am so sorry to hear that you have been ill…I sure hope you start feeling better soon.

    Don’t worry too much about the vengeance issue, despite some very vocal tanks in the tanking and healing wow forums, it looks like it is not the HUGE issue these guys were making it out to be. Yes, while our shields do appear to slow down the stacking of Vengeance it only really does so to a small degree. The general consensus of my tanks is that it’s to a huge deal but I will wait to shield them for a second or two regardless.

    I found a blue post from GC and it appears to be a bug anyway. Our shields are not supposed to affect Vengeance.

    Read the one from Ghostcrawler on 8/9/10 at 15:47:22, beginning of the second paragraph.

  56. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am pretty discouraged with what I have seen with healers coming out of the 85 raid testing videos. Holy Paladins are killing everyone with their AoE and single target healing.

    It’s so funny because on the healing forums there are so many paladins complaining….it worked though, they keep getting buffed and they are like healing God’s again in Cataclysm. Most of the raids don’t even have a disc priest in them, and if they do, it appears to be as a tank healer.

    What are your thoughts?

    1. I’m really not discouraged. In 2 weeks alone we’ve see so many tweaks & nerfs, until we actually get to a live, level 85 end game and can experience it, I’m going to refrain from comment.

      I really don’t mind being a tank healer as disc – I’ve pretty much done it most of this expansion. But all I can do is speculate on roles, and I hate to do that. Obviously, we’ll be pretty vocal when we get to end game, but I’m not going to get excited. Yet.

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