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4.3 Meta Gem Changes

An interesting change happened with Meta Gems in 4.3– one that I don’t think anyone saw coming: Ember Shadowspirit Diamond and Burning Shadowspirit Diamonds are now up for debate… Burning Shadowspirit Diamonds are no longer 54 Int and 3% Critical Damage. These meta gems now provide 54 Intellect and 3% Critical Effect.

Read that again… Critical Effect, not Critical Damage. This means heals are included in the 3% increased critical effect. Prior to this change, the only meta that had a +critical heal bonus was the Revitalizing Shadowspirit Diamond. (Which, for the most part, was dismissed as not worth it due to the increased value of Intellect over Spirit on the diamond as a basic stat– for both Holy and Disc)

Now, before you go swapping out your meta gems… evaluate the change. What does this mean for you? Well, obviously, the evaluation is going to be purely debating throughput vs regen.

On one hand you have the Ember Shadowspirit Diamond, this provides provides an increased mana pool, which in turn affects “total mana” based regen. (Replenishment, Rapture, Hymn of Hope, Shadowfiend, etc…) Additionally, you start the fight with more mana, which is mana you wouldn’t have had without the meta gem.

On the other hand you have the Burning Shadowspirit Diamond which provides you with 3% increased critical effects… pure throughput increases to your critical heals. (Disc Priests: Dont forget that this, in turn, provides increased Divine Aegis). Now the amount of the HPS increase from the meta gem is a bit tricky to evaluate, given innately different crit chances for Disc and Holy and different stat weights based on role. So for now, I’m evaluating it from a more practical sense.

I would also be remiss not to at least awknowledge the activation difference between these 2 gems. Burning requires 3 red gems, while Ember requires 2 yellow. Of course, this is a bit easier (and arguable irrelevant) given the sheer number of gem sockets on T13 gear. However, it still is something to potentially consider given the gear options you have at your disposal and how heavy you might value Intellect over Haste or Mastery (Orange gems).

The question is:  what is the give up? Let’s take a look at what the loss of mp5 of dropping the Ember for the Burning Shadowspirit Diamond. Of course, the loss of mana will be different person to person based on +% mana buffs. (Arcane Intellect, Expansive Mind,  etc…) For simplicity’s sake, lets evaluate this only assuming Rapture, 5 Min CD Shadowfiend, and Replenishment.

 Rapture assumes a 100% proc rate at the 12 second ICD. 100% uptime of Replenishment. 30% Mana Restore on a 5 Minute CD (300 Sec) Shadowfiend. 

Holy Priests would obviously ignore Rapture, making the net loss substantially less as a bulk of their mana restoration is Spirit based (Holy Concentration). Of course you could layer in Veiled Shadows, Arcane Torrent, Hymn of Hope, or even an imperfect 12 second Rapture timing… but it complicates the basic illustration being made.

We then would need to compare the loss of MP5 to the gain– is the tradeoff worth it? For simplicity’s sake, I’d rather not dive into the specific math and numbers of crit chance and its relative HPS. I’d rather evaluate this in theory and more of a practical approach:  If you are currently having mana issues, starting with the extra 2% mana and having a higher MP5 suggests that the Ember might work better for you. If you arent, you could squeeze out some additional throughput by swapping to the Burning Shadowspirit. Bigger is better! Right? … right? Maybe…

There is no “right” answer. It really depends on your playstyle and preference. Perhaps you’d rather the added cushion of the regen, or perhaps you’d rather the raw throughput increases from the critical effect. The ball is in your court. However, take a good hard look at the actual regen you are giving up by switching… think at how little that is; how little spirit that “lost mp5″ represents. Particularly if you reforged away from spirit on any gear– could you get some of that spirit back through other methods? I bet you that the HPS increase, regardless of you value crit in your spec, is going to outweigh such a small amount of regen.

Me? I’ve swapped to the Burning Shadowspirit and enjoy the increased crits. What’s your plan?

Written By: on December 1, 2011
  1. It’s also worth noting that critical strike provides throughput that’s mana neutral (unlike haste)…realizing the throughput gains don’t cost you extra mana. Therefore, the improved throughput can save you a small amount of mana simply because each critical potentially saves you a heal you may need to have cast in the absence of that critical heal. This is especially true for disc priests, where even crits that overheal can provide benefit via DA.

    It’s probably not the largest effect, but the MP5 being lost, based on your charts, is already a small effect, so it might help weight things toward the Burning Shadowspirit Diamond.

    1. Great point, thanks for sharing… though there is some ‘argument’ over if Haste isnt mana nuetral in some circles (ie. controlling overheal and spamming)– your point is a solid one.

    2. Seems like the new change would make that the best meta gem for disc. With 200% crit bonus (4.2 change from 150%), 30% DA bubble, then add an extra 3% to that.

      On a long night of raiding, that extra 3% healing *and* DA would go pretty far.

  2. Burning Shadowspirit may actually be more beneficial in the long run for Atonement priests, as well. Using the increased critical effect to the advantage of bigger Smites and Holy Fires also means bigger heals in that regard (as well as bigger DA procs from Atonement) when they do crit – not to mention slightly higher overall raid DPS.

  3. I had actually read something about this, when I was reading the resto shaman compendium @ EJ, but I wasn’t quite sure how to apply it to priests.

    It’s still too early for me to tell, with regards to how my mana is doing in Dragon Soul. I’ve done the first 4 bosses through the Raid Finder and the first 2 with my actual raid. Last night was our first night raiding and our second one will be on Sunday. Right now, I think I’m OK. I used a potion and Shadowfiend and did alright. I think I’ll play it cautious for a little while longer and then decide, but it’s tempting.

    It still seems like it screams “discipline priest” and not really “holy.” Maybe I’m not thinking big enough.

    Thanks for the write-up!

    1. Its more of a “no brainer” for Holy… since they get so little from 2% mana as all their regen is spirit based; look at the chart… remove rapture. You lose MINIMAL mp5; though you gain only on your crits. (But similar to druids, with the sheer mass of healing going out from Sanctuary, COH, POH, you’re total NUMBER of crits is fairly high). Look at your WOLs, pull out your crits only, and increase them. (and in turn it’ll increase Echo too, but for simplicity ignore Echo for now).

      It’s not a HUGE HPS increase, but the swap is outweighed by far by the minimal MP5 you’d give up.

  4. Well, this will certainly add another piece of gear to the pile my Shadow main spec can share with my Discipline off spec without losing efficacy. Good to know.

  5. Really interesting I completely missed this. I’m playing disc currently in DS (8/8 normal in 25 man first night, 1 shot everything \o/). As i’m tank healing only really as we run with a resto shaman/holy pala/holy priest/resto druid and another resto shaman or pala I will be taking this new meta for sure. Mana issues will be a thing of the past once disc gets it’s 4 set in my opinion. Even now i’ve taken to reforging most of my spirit to crit.

  6. Great write up, I’d say even the MP5 lost would be even less for discipline, since 12 second rapture procs is pretty hard to obtain 100% of the time.

    Am changing it for my holy spec for sure, need to check my disc set to see how much mana is lost.

  7. Can’t edit, but the 2% is around 5,190 mana lost for me (raid buffed, gnome & 173k mana pool, assuming 173k * 0.03)

  8. Unless I am mistaken, Atonement seems to in fact double-dip on this critical effect. The heals resulting from critical smites are slightly bigger than the damage of those smites.

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