With 4.3 comes a substantial buff to Divine Hymn– baseline. With this improvement, we probably should spend some time to discuss how to work  both of our Hymns to our advantage.

First let’s take a look at this Divine Hymn buff — In 4.2, DH was actually a HPS loss (For both Disc and Holy) when compared to YAWNPOH(POH/COH) spam. Once 4.3 drops, we’ll be turning that completely on its head.

4.2 Live Hymn:

“Heals 3 nearby lowest health friendly party or raid targets within 40 yards for 4009 every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases healing done to them by 10% for 8 sec. ”

4.3 PTR Hymn (Build 14976 – Release):

“Heals 5 nearby lowest health friendly party or raid targets within 40 yards for 4009 every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases healing done to them by 10% for 8 sec. ”

While Disc only gains a greater amount of targets hit with the heal and buff when compared to the 4.2 Hymn, this gain is much more substantial for Holy Priests. The increased impact is due to their ability to cast it multiple times in a standard encounter as well as 100% increased healing if a Holy priest is specced into Heavenly Voice. Additionally Holy gains increased throughput from Chakra: Sanctuary, and Holy’s Mastery being a guaranteed application. (Sidenote: the icon for Heavenly Voice has a rather ironic likeness to Rebecca Black— HA)

Hymns and Haste

Now, we aren’t talking up upping the tempo in a song here, nor are we talking about making some weird Hymn of Hope dubstep. (/waves glowsticks) We’re talking about the impact that Haste has on both Hymn of Hope and Divine Hymn.

By now we all should be familiar with how haste affects spells with HOTs/DOTs, but its important to understand that it also affects Channeled spells. Some spells (ie. Mind flay and Penance) cannot gain additional ticks of themselves, but can reduce the overall channel time. How do we know how much haste affects the total number of ticks? Well… here’s the formula:

ROUND (Base Spell Duration / ( Base Tick Time / (1 + Haste %)))

That said, the breakpoints for these spells are:

12.5% (5th tick)

37.5% (6th tick)

62.5% (7th tick)

87.5% (8th tick)

Woah there buddy… now before you go chasing these breakpoints, I am displaying these more on an academic level. Haste, as a general rule, is a great way to increase your output based on the fact that you’ll be doing things faster. (Faster cast times, channels, GCDs, etc).

That said, any haste beyond any of these breakpoints will simply shorten the channel time but retain the amount of any additional ticks. For example, if you had 37.4% haste, you would have only 5 ticks (Meeting the 12.5% breakpoint but not the 37.5%) however your channel will be substantially faster (actually as fast as possible without gaining an actual tick).   While having exactly 12.5% haste would keep you at the longest possible channel(8 sec), and still 5 ticks of the Hymn. The overall healing that the spell did is the same, but the HPS is higher for the shorter channel (as you are getting the same amount of healing out in a shorter period of time)— more importantly, sorter cast times free you up to move or begin casting a new spell sooner.

How should you leverage haste when you are channeling your Hymns? The easy answer is for Discipline: always cast hymns when you have Borrowed Time.  That is immediately a free 14% haste included in your channel.  Holy Priests, since they do not have a on demand Haste ability, can leverage either Haste Trinkets or Heroism/Bloodlust should they line up to be used at an appropriate time. Protip: Your tick gains and haste calculations are made at the START of the channel. So if you start a Hymn with 1 sec left on Hero/Lust, your channel is cast under those higher haste assumptions. 

To provide an example, on the PTR I have 18.34% Haste, unbuffed. As Disc I can leverage Borrowed Time and cast a Hymn with 34.90% Haste (Remember: Haste gains are multiplicative, so you just don’t add haste together). As Holy, I won’t have access to Borrowed Time, however, I could use Shard of Woe (despite its regen nerf in 4.3) and cast with 33.75% haste.  (For those curious:  Shard, Borrowed Time, and Power Infusion I landed at 82.97%. )

It should be noted, however, that the tooltips for both Divine Hymn and Hymn of Hope both state “Maximum Targets”. (4.3 PTR Divine Hymn: 20; and Hymn of Hope: 12). For several patches now, this bug has simply allowed for additional ticks to be gained. If it is ever “corrected” (a la the HW: Sanctuary 6+ targets “bug”); we should still continue to value Haste for these Hymns if anything for a decreased channel duration. (bug confirmation)

Disparity Between 10-Man and 25-Man

Purely based on the total number of targets available, a single Hymn (Hope or Divine) will have different results in 10 and 25. Taking range out of the discussion, a 10 man raid will be much more likely to “double hit” (or Triple) a single target with a Divine or Hope tick… while a 25-Man raid might have more “equitable distribution” of each tick. Further affecting our hymns, is the fact that each hymn provides a lingering buff, that makes subsequent ticks even better– and in turn making the impact of raid size disparity difficult to really gauge

Leveraging Our Hymns

How and when should we be using Hymn? Say it with me (again) know the fight. The more you know the boss encounter, the better you can plan and time your cooldowns.  This is particularly important for Holy Priests, as they can leverage their shortened cooldowns to get multiple hymns cast in a single fight. For example, in the Dragon Soul fight against Zon’ozz, a Holy Priest can time their Hymn to be available for every other round of Black Blood of Go’rath. (Depending how many ‘bounces’ you do of the shadow orb).

Of course, we should also use Divine Hymn as a “OH CRAP!” panic button when the raid takes a sudden surge in damage. (Just remember, this may adjust your cooldown rotation and your raids should be prepared to handle that)

Hymn of Hope is always a little tricky, since it can be a 8 second (non-hasted) period of pure altruism! The casting priest is not guaranteed a regen application. On Heroic Ragnaros, I have trained (or attempted to!) our Warlocks to Lifetap before I cast HoH; this helps in getting the mana to the folks that really need it. (A bit of my soul dies when I see my HoH buff sitting on a Prot Pally on Grid)

8 Second Channels are a long time to be casting a single spell… get the most out of it, and you’ll be really pushing your output to new levels.