As healers we all know the expression “Dead DPS does no DPS.”, right? Well, the same rule applies to us as healers. A dead healer can heal no one. Staying alive in a progression raiding guild is pretty much the first rule above all. Stay alive, stay alive, stay alive.
Every Dragon Soul fight has substantial raid damage — especially the Heroics. This means we’ll need to be putting out a good deal of raid healing, but it also means we need to do what we can to stay alive as long as we possibly can to heal through that damage.
Both Holy and Discipline offer some great spec choices as far as survivability talents. Keeping that in mind, lets take a look at these options– some of which are often overlooked simply because we ‘forget about them’ as well as the fact that they do not provide any direct throughput. One could argue that these talents DO provide indirect-throughput as they either keep you alive longer, or mitigate damage on yourself — in turn, this enables you to continue to heal the other members of your raid.
Desperate Prayer – (Available to Discipline and Holy Priests) This spell comes in handy for those “Oh shit” moments. 30% of your total HP (capable of critically healing) with a 2 minute CD. This spell is handy for those situations where you know a surge of damage is about to hit, and you immediately need to get your health back up. (For example: Morchock’s Stomp ability, or perhaps your HP is low and you’re about to be targeted by Hagara’s Frost Tomb? )
Bessed Resilience – (Available to Holy Priests only) With points into this talent you gain15%/30% bonus healing done on yourself for 10 seconds after being hit by non periodic damage for 10% (or more) of your total health. So many of these fights you’ll have the buff uptime for a good chunk of the fight. This is a fairly decent option for Holy Priests to help keep themselves alive during periods of high damage, as it makes all heals on you that much more potent.
Inner Sanctum – (Available to Discipline and Holy Priests). With points spec’d into this ability, we can gain 2/4/6% static spell damage mitigation when we have Inner Fire active. Since all the unavoidable damage we take is magic damage, Inner Sanctum can be a huge lifesaver, particularly since some of the damage we take is deemed “periodic” and doesn’t trigger Blessed Resilience or Focused Will.
Focused Will – (Available to Discipline Priests only) This talent provides you with 5%/10% mitigation of all damage after you suffer non-periodic damage equal (or greater to) 10% of your health, and it stacks 2 times for 8 seconds. This means you can have up to 20% damage mitigation when it is fully stacked… that is a huge amount of mitigation.
Of course you have to make choices to gain some of these talents. With the exception of Holy Priests who seek out Blessed Resilience, who arguably have no better options to pick out, these choices could be difficult. For me, as a Disc priest first on the chopping block was Mental Agility– keep in mind as Disc losing points in MA, directly affects the net cost of your PWS and thusly the “cost” for Rapture. Certain priests may also want to consider dropping Inspiration for survivability. Depending on raid make up (Another Priest? Shaman?), Healing Assignments (are you not casting Inspiration eligible heals often?), and role you simply might not be applying the buff often enough to merit those 2 talent points.
It is important to understand the differences in each of these survivability talents, and what each bring to the table as they are notably different from each other … and some do not work on certain Dragon Soul encounters. Blessed Resilience and Focused Will do not proc on periodic damage… this works extremely well for soaking Hagara’s Ice Lance, as well as proccing during her lightning storm. Unfortunately, Ultraxion’s damage is considered periodic (for whatever reason) and does not proc BR/FW.
It ultimately boils down to survivability and how necessary it becomes for your raid. The need for survivability talents is inversely related to your raid’s skill level and its familiarity with the encounter. The more your raid improves on a given encounter, and the more your raid gears up, the less necessary these talents become. In progression raiding, the longer you survive, the longer your raid and tanks survive. Each one of us has to decide where that tipping point is, and when we start valuing one over the other.
How many first kills did you stumble across the finish line with the boss picking off the raid one by one by one… leaving only a bubble’d paladin alive as he fell over? (or a Dispersed Shadow Priest!) These talents can help you extend that survivability and should be strongly considered on certain fights in Dragon Soul… particularly a number of the Heroic Encounters.