4.0.1 has been out for a couple weeks now, and by now you’ve all had a chance to play with the new toys and spells we now have available. Then add in that we’ve all suffered through the “ZOMG MY ADDONS DON’T WORK ANYMORE!!”… I wanted to take a moment to sit back and really download what we’ve experienced as well as share some tips and tricks I’ve found handy from raiding as Holy in the 4.0.1 environment. Originally, I was planning on covering both spec’s in a single post… but there simply was too much information to cover! So, Avalonna will be covering the Disc point of view in the next couple of weeks.
First and foremost, I strongly encourage you to read the 4.0.1 Primer that was posted the day before the patch hit. That will give you a good starting point before you jump into the finer details of healing post 4.0.1.
I am a huge fanboy of Power Auras — there, I said it! Now that we’ve cleared the air, I wanted to share some Power Aura codes I’ve created. To go hand in hand with that, I wanted to let everyone know about a new page I have added to the site which will house all the Power Auras that Avalonna and I find handy for Priests; I will also be adding sub pages at a later date for Boss-Specific Auras but I will hold off on that until we start seeing some Cata bosses.
This first one is probably the most basic, but I like to have a “Heads up Display” with notification that my Holy Word: Chastise is off cooldown and I can reuse it reagless which Chakra state I am in. I have similar ones for POM, COH, and Serendipity.
Version:4.4; b:0.8824; g:0.9098; icon:Spell_Holy_Chastise; buffname:Holy Word; x:183; groupany:false; unitn:Only for raid/group.; bufftype:7; texture:13; alpha:0.7; owntex:true; sound:58; stacksOperator:=; exact:true; PowerType:0; combat:true; size:0.18; y:-32; texmode:2
Overall our healing strategy, as holy, is pretty much the same: weave your spells in, watch your CDs and procs, burst AOE as needed. We have some new toys we need to get used to using, and using appropriately- this means using Chakra correctly, as well as learning to use Holy Nova, Lightwell (if spec’d) and yes… Greater Heal. Remember, healing at 80 will be different than healing at 85… however learning to use your full arsenal of spells now will make 85 Healing all the more easy of a transition.
Protip: Since Holy Nova (currently) is raidwide, and not limited on the number of people hit (just the total amount healed), you can use this in conjunction with Glowing Twilight Scale to buff your entire raid VERY quickly. (sometimes in one GCD… /cackle)
I’ve changed my holy spec (5/31/0) a bit since playing and raiding in a 4.0.1 world. Right now I am skipping Surge of Light. Don’t get me wrong, I like the concept of casting my efficient heal (Heal) and in return I have a chance to proc a free Flash Heal, and by proxy the Serendipity stack— however, right now I am not casting Heal often (if at all). Heal simply doesn’t cut it in a Level 80 world, we do not have the scaling nor mana issues to warrant using it with any real regularity. I am casting Flash Heal in situations, at level 85, would be appropriate for Heal.
These are tricky. Right now, Chakra is subject to a 60 second cooldown. Which leaves many Priests stuck in the mindset of “oh shit, I don’t want to be in the wrong state!!” The latest build that Blizzard has talked about is going to be changing Chakra to a 30 second cooldown. This reduction does help us swap states a bit easier, however, I am still against seeing Chakra with CD. Using druids as an example: they can use Efflorescence via Swiftmend in 1 GCD, while Priests have to activate Chakra, Cast POH, then HW:Sanctuary. I’d be a lot happier with a much shorter CD (say, 10 seconds) – enabling us TRUE versatility that Blizzard is trying to give us.
On live, the best way to manage the states is to know your encounter. I’ll say that again: know your encounter. If you know that you are going to be entering an encounter phase that lends itself well to Chakra: POH instead of Chakra: Renew— prepare for that ahead of time and you’ll be able to use your states and Holy Words to the best of your abilities.
With the current mana situation, and the scaling of other spells and mana costs, there is very little need to use Chakra: Heal. You can usually cast Flash Heal, and while it is more expensive, many priest’s mana situation is not of concern at level 80. If you happen to get into a situation where you are running low on mana, you can switch to this state, and keep Renew up on your tank(s) while spamming Heal… you’ll likely net back more mana than the heal cost before you finish casting it through your innate regen and other sources. Once you reach 85, this will be your ‘tank healing state’.
This is probably the state I am in most frequently. The reduced GCD is exceptionally handy and a 2nd HoT is always welcome on the MT. On top of the fact that my renews are beefier in this state than out, it is really easy to keep this state extended. You can cast your other heals, and easily extend it back via State of Mind. For those of us who were used to casting a lot of renews, and ‘weaved’ in our POMs, COHs, and other heals will find yourself in your comfort zone here.
Who doesn’t like putting big golden void zones of healing goodness on the ground? Certainly not me! I really like this state, even beyond the aesthetic. Certain fights really lend themselves to a buffed AOE healing mechanic as well as a ground-based heal. Phase 3 – HM Sindragosa comes to mind. Drop your Sanctuary on the ground where the group is standing and you’re golden– all the while you can hide behind a Ice Tomb while bombing groups with POH and COH.
Haste, Crit, and that Goofy Thing Called Mastery
Now lets go into breaking down these 3 stats and figure out what is “the right amount of haste, crit and mastery” you should have at 80. (Hint: a lot of this is really reliant to your personal comfort levels and what role you are playing in your raid!)
Holy priests still love their haste, not only because it reduces your cast time and GCD of your instants (See Also- Chakra: Renew) but also because your HoTs scale with Haste. You’ll want at least 1015 Haste at level 80 to be sure you are getting your two additional ticks from Renew. If you can’t get that high you should at least be aware of the breakpoints. Renew’s breakpoints are 12.5% and 37.5% Haste. 12.5% grants you an additional tick, and 37.5% grants you an additional one after that. In between those two points, haste still is valuable but just more valuable to your spells with long cast times (ie. POH) If you are at 37.4%– I would consider reforging/regemming for that bit of extra haste to get the next tick.
While valuable, it is of less value for Holy Priests than Disc, since we do not have Divine Aegis in our spec– on top of that Surge of Light has changed from a chance on crit to a flat out chance on Heal. However, Inspiration has changed, and can proc off of nearly all of our heals. As a healer, you never want to underestimate the power of Inspiration. Priest Theorycrafting Extraordinaire, Zusterke, did a great post/write up at PlusHeal regarding crit. The short version is that, Holy Priests will easily be able to have a reliable uptime of Inspiration on the MT with ~25% crit rating.
While crit is more important to Holy Priests who will be tank healing, it still is a major player in our stats– if anything just for Inspiration.
Certainly a very confusing stat. My take on it is pretty simple– don’t worry about it until you start seeing gear with Mastery on it. Right now, for Holy, the lingering heal is a nice to have, but nothing you should really rely on. This is even magnified since we are healing iin a world where mana is still a non-issue and you rarely see tanks <100% HP for more than a second or so. This means that the Mastery HoT won’t provide much additional throughput.
That doesn’t mean you do not want to reforge for Mastery. Go ahead, give it a spin but I would reccommend only reforging for Mastery if you feel you are too heavy on Spirit and have no mana issues at all, or if you are sitting too high on unneeded crit. The added mastery at that point is just gravy.
Protip: Holy’s Mastery is borderline OP for healing Dreamwalker… Time to turn the tables! Holy Priests probably the best choice for Valithria in 4.0.x
Since we have free talent points in upper tiers to get down to the good stuff, many priests have picked up Lightwell. I picked it up… and I really do want to like Lightwell. I really do. However, the only people who seem to have any healing done by lightwell are either: a) me b) Other players who have a priest/priest-alt c) other healers. I would love to see a bit more diversity in the people using it… the heal is provides as well as the low low mana cost is amazing. I’ll have a Lightwell post probably in the next few weeks. Keep remembering to put it out pre-pull in locations that you know people will be able to use it and see it— if people see them out more, and are used to seeing them, I bet we’ll see usage increase.
Overall, I am really pleased with how priest healing feels in 4.0.x – I like the flow I like the concept of Chakra and how I can switch to a better ‘stance’ based on what the fight demands. HOWEVER, I do think we do have some throughput and numerical turning that must to be done for priests to be as competitive and as viable as we should be. (eg. Improve the healing done by our Holy Words, Spell Coefficients seem a bit low on our direct heals— not to mention the scaling issues at 85 on our AOEs). I expect some tuning to priest healing as we hit 85 and in 85 specific encounters… for now at 80 we should continue to be fine, provided we can get used to the changes we’ve been given.