4.01 is coming! (and all signs are pointing towards Tuesday, October 12th) So that means we all need to be prepared. There has been a lot of talk here at Tales as well as many other blogs regarding Specs, Glyphs and the like. I’ve decided to do a summary of what we’ve discussed here in effort to preare us all for the release of 4.01. There are 4 key things you need to understand to be prepared:

  • Tree Changes/Choices
  • Glyph Changes/Choices
  • Healing Mechanic Changes
  • Reforging

Tree and Specs

There are a fair number of changes made to each tree… if you haven’t been paying attention: surprise! Both Ava and myself did a post on the Holy and Disc trees and their specs. The Disc post is pretty much updated, however the Holy Post has had a number of PTR and Beta updates since the post went up, so I wouldn’t look to the Holy Post for gospel. (it obviously has some good discussion, but some of it has been updated) The first thing you need to remember is that these trees are optimized for Level 85, that means you’ll have some ‘incomplete’ specs. However, they should be thorough enough to continue raiding in ICC and Ruby Sanctum.

Holy: 5/31/0

There has been a number of changes in the Holy Tree since my original post. The addition of Tome of Light does provide some much needed synergistic talents in the holy tree. With Twirling Light being changed back to Surge of Light, it is a now a decent option for Holy Priests to get. On top of that, Serendipity now also provides a stacking mana cost reduction- which makes casting Greater Heal far less mana intensive.

Getting into my Level 80 spec, you’ll see that you really don’t have much option in the Holy Tree to get down to the fun stuff (Chakra and GS). The only choices you have is whether or not you want to pick up Spirit of Redemption, Lightwell, or Desperate Prayer. The build that I am going with is using Lightwell, mainly because I really want to like the spell. Spirit of Redemption, as I have stated in my previous post, doesn’t provide the 5% spirit anymore– and since you shouldn’t be dying in raids, I skipped it. Desperate Prayer is a great spell, however I would rather spend the point elsewhere and use a Warlock cookie, Surge of Light, or Binding Heal in its place.

You’ll notice at 80, you can’t cap out Mental Agility, Which affects all your instant casts (Holy Words, Renew, Chakra, etc…) With mana still being a bit of a non-issue at 80, you likely don’t need the extra 3% savings. Additionally, I did not complete Test of Faith – 2/3 is all you need to reach Guardian Spirit. Only 2/3 ToF has been long debated as “good enough” and I tend to agree with that. As I level to 85 I would strongly consider going into the Shadow Tree for Darkness and/or Veiled Shadows. The old school raider in me will be very tempted to pick up the Spell Warding effect from Inner Sanctum; but I will need to see how the raid damage feels in the raids we’ll have available to us.

Disc: 31/5/0 (Archangel) or 31/5/0 (No Archangel)
You have some flexibility in your spec here, however being only at 80 your throughput is going to be markedly reduced until you get access to the points you’ll have from 81-85. Some sacrifices will need to be made. Since mana, in Level 80 content really won’t be much of an issue, Inner Focus can be skipped. Even with the added synergy with Train of Thought, at 80 it probably isn’t necessary. (as you hit 85, you may want to revisit this, especially with 2/2 ToT)  You will also notice I skipped Mental Agility– this is primarily due to the fact that mana pools are much larger– on the PTR a single Rapture proc returns back over 300 more mana than my PW:S cost. (which, is the most common instant I will be casting).

Now, if you really don’t like the Smite/Archangel concept or build, and would rather go for more throughput and survivability— you can skip those talents. You can get Inner Focus, Inner Sanctum and Mental Agility. If I were to skip Archangel and Atonement, I would probably run a 31/5/0 build and get my Spell Warding back! I do highly encourage all Disc Priests to at least test drive Archangel.


With the Glyph System revamped, you’ll likely want to grab the glyphs you don’t use all that often just to have them ‘pre-learned’ so you can swap them in and out as you see fit. If you don’t have an Inscriptionist yourself, find a friend who is one and have them create them for you. I would expect a fairly notable increase in demand (and thus AH Price Gouging) for glyphs as 4.0 drops. (Protip if you have to, buy them pre-4.0 and wait to use/learn them after 4.0). My personal picks are:


Renew – Because who doesn’t want a 10% bonus? Even if you aren’t blanketing the raid with HoTs, your Chakra: Heal will keep it refreshed on the main tank.
Guardian Spirit – While not as good as the prior version of this glyph, you’ll likely want the cooldown reduced.
Prayer of Healing/Lightwell – this final slot really depends on 2 things. One, if you are doing a fight that cases you to cast POH often, and two, if you can train your raid to use your Lightwells. I foresee this Prime slot being the one we swap in/out depending ont he fight using Vanishing Powder.


Nothing super exciting here for Holy…. but a number of ‘maybe if the fight calls for it’ glyphs.

Circle of Healing – One additional Target. Yes. Always.

Holy Nova – This no longer provides a buff to its output, but now reduces the GCD… can be handy if you need to be doing a lot of AOE healing on the move. (HM LK in the Frostmourne room)

Mass Dispel – Since this is no longer a talent in the Disc Tree, I can see this becoming very handy. Melee and Glittering Sparks on Blood Prince Council anyone?


The usual suspects here

Levitate – it’s always fun to look cool floating outside the Dalaran Bank.

Shadowfiend – I usually have this one, just in case you summon the bugger right as the boss does a cleave or something.

Fortitude – Helpful for mid fight buffing not being so expensive because some idiot needed a battle rez.


Penance – Cooldown reduction; yes please.

Power Word: Shield – while not exciting, the added heal is handy, especially when it provides DA.

Power Word: Barrier – while situational, it really is our only “Disc Focused” 3rd option. Something tells me that if you are going to be casting PW:B, your raid is also going to be in need of heals– so why not buff those heals?


Divine Accuracy – Must have if you are going to be using Archangel. The end. (On Live, Hymn of Hope becomes this glyph, get it now!)

Mass Dispel and Holy Nova for the same reasons above.


Same as Holy. Moving on…

Healing Mechanic Changes

If you are running around in 277 ICC Gear, you’ll notice that you can spam your spells without running out of mana in most cases. Heck, you can continually cast Heal and actually net back more mana over the time you spent casting it than the spell actually costs! This is something you should /not/ get used to. Remember that Spell Ranks have been removed and as you level in Cataclysm, spell costs will increase as you level and the potency of the spell will increase. Again: Tuning was not done for level 80 raiding. Healers should use this opportunity to get used to the concept of selecting the most appropriate spell to be using in the given situation. You have your 3 core healing spells: Flash Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal. Each providing a varying level of speed, potency, and mana efficiency. You’ll need to get back in the groove of the days of downranking– and if you missed those days because you started playing a healer in Wrath, you’ll get the hang of it.

Discipline priests who have chosen an Attonement/Archangel Build, you will likely need to be ready to learn to ‘weave’ your smites in between your other heals as needed. In all likelihood you’ll want to create a Power Aura that tracks your stacks of Evangelism. Matticus did an interesting write up on Atonement/Smite Healing here for those who are seeking a bit more discussion on that build. Remember that Atonement/Archangel is knowing how to use an offensive ability as a utility to enhance our healing, and like all our tools, knowing when and how to use it is critical. Additionally, as Disc’s role is changing from Bubble Spam to something a bit more dynamic, you’ll also need to get used to casting other spells besides PW:S– use your whole arsenal. This is something that has always been a pet peeve of mine. Seeing Disc Priests with only PW:S on their logs and no POMs or Penances… the whole fight.

Holy priests, will need to get used to managing their Chakra States. Learning the fight mechanics will assist in that… if you know you’ll need to swap from Chakra: Renew to Chakra: Prayer of Healing to assist with burst AoE healing, you can prepare for that switch. Again the key to knowing when to use what spells in your arsenal becomes a key part of healing in 4.0/Cata.


Until you start seeing gear dropping with Mastery Rating on it, I probably would not waste too much time reforging for Mastery. No doubt, the added HoT and Bubble Boost are nice, however with the give up on your other stats, I would not dive too much into Mastery just yet. That being said, if you are in a situation where you feel you have too much haste, crit, or spirit… enjoy your new stats after peeling away any extra crit!

The only real exception to the ‘do what you think you need’ rule, is that Holy Priests should strongly consider reforging to be sure they have at least 1015 haste (the required amount for the extra Renew tick). I would likely pull some of the T10 Crit to haste.


4.0 and Cataclysm brings a lot of changes to the Priest Class… some of which I think are far overdue. If you are looking for another write up, Dawn over at WoW Insider did a great write up explaining in great detail all of what is available to us in 4.0. You’ll see that Dawn and I both share the same opinion on a lot of our results. I, for one, am really excited for 4.0 to drop… what are you guys looking forward to the most?

If you are looking for more of a video update, please visit our YouTube Channel, you’ll see a good deal of video on the new spells and animations (Chakra, Holy Words, Leap of Faith, etc…) as well as some video discussion about those spells and throughput.