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Survivability and Progression Raiding

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 …

Written By: on December 27, 2011

Discipline & Archangel in Dragon Soul

“Smite spam” : Before Cataclysm’s introduction to Archangel and Atonement, that phrase was often followed by “LOLOLOL Smitepriest”. Since the launch of Cataclysm, we’ve had several tiers of content to get used to Atonement Healing and Archangel.  Atonement and Archangel are now, arguably, the cornerstone of Discipline in 4.3… and in my opinion, nearly mandatory for Dragon Soul Heroic Encounters. The trick is to leverage Archangel to your advantage and not just use it haphazardly. Fully stacked, Archangel provides you with an additional 15% throughput for 18 seconds with a mere 30 second cooldown.  Despite it having a short cooldown, making it readily available throughout most of the fight, the best way for a Disc Priest to use Archangel is to know when the raid/tank damage is going to increase and demand …

Written By: on December 19, 2011

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… …

Written By: on December 1, 2011

Mists of Pandaria: Official Priest Talent Preview (Take 1)

Well, Blizzard launched their official Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator today… just in time for Thanksgiving. The question is: will we have anything to be thankful for? Cursory looks suggest that we might be in for an interesting change, based solely upon the spells we get for specific specs. I will say they put in a good amount of effort into breaking down the core spells and abilities for each of the two healing specs we have. That probably was a difficult task, as they want and need to be able to keep each of the trees viable in a PVE and PVP setting, while having enough core differences to make them feel unique. Unfortunately, there does seem to be a number of (accidental?) omissions in the first round of Talent Previews. …

Written By: on November 23, 2011

Gearing in 4.3 – Valor Points and the Token System

To fully understand the impact of the 4.3 Gearing System, you need to understand how gearing progression has developed over the years.  If you have been playing like me, since Vanilla, you remember the days when loot dropped and it was specific loot only– this included tier gear! There were no Valor Points. There were no Tier Tokens. You simply had to hope the boss dropped the item or Tier piece you needed. To make a parallel, it wasn’t dissimilar to the way the Baradin Hold bosses work today. Pure random loot drops. In fact, I remember the times when my guild (Alliance) would get Shaman Tier drops. (Remember, in Vanilla the Alliance didn’t have shaman!) The Burning Crusade came and so did our introduction to the Tier Token System. …

Written By: on November 18, 2011

Flash Heal: Healing and Sound

You hear this joke all the time: “Oh the game has sound?” or “I haven’t had game sound on in years!!”. I know a LOT of folks play the game without the sound on, and I understand that the game does have a good deal of superfluous sound effects and/or sounds that really do not contribute to your gameplay. I have to admit that there is a certain amount of satisfaction hearing your Prayer of Healing go off, or the BWONG of a Prayer of Mending bounce, or the thwump, thwump, thwump of Penance… but does it really provide added benefit to your performance? No, probably not. Does it add to the immersion aspect of the game? Yep! However, the biggest benefit that audio cues can provide healers is likely boss mods and …

Written By: on November 15, 2011

4.3 Hymns, Leverage, and Haste

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 …

Written By: on November 10, 2011

The Rise, Fall, & Rise of Disc Tank Healing

Today, I really want to take a look at the history of Disc Tank Healing, why it works, how it works, and how to Disc Tank Heal. Ever since 4.2 dropped, Disc Tank Healing has become a very powerful tool for many guilds and as a result, they are using Disc as a primary tank healer. This isn’t the first time we have seen this… Discipline Tank Healing was something that had a good run (albeit brief) in Wrath of the Lich King. We saw this in Naxx 2.0 and Ulduar, it wasn’t until Trial of the Crusader and ICC that this started falling off. Why did Disc Tank Healing fall off towards the end of WOTLK? Scaling for one – Disc simply didn’t have the throughput that Holy Pallies …

Written By: on November 3, 2011

Priest Healing FirelandsTier 12 - A Recap and Lookback

I’ve always been a supporter of looking back at previous teirs and figuring out what we can learn form that. (Not too dissimilar from what George Santayana said in his work The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”) With that said, this post is similarly inspired by Vixsin’s post “Resto Shaman Lessons from Tier 12″. In this post, lets go over each of the seven bosses in Firelands (Normal and Heroic) and recap some of the mechanics and how our toolkit worked well (or not) for the fight. Knowing our weaknesses and strengths will be critical in knowing how to approach Dragon Soul in 4.3. Firelands was a very tricky tier for us priests, but ultimately we fared very well. Tier Mechanic & Toolkit …

Written By: on October 31, 2011

Tales of a Priest is Back

I’m like Cher, or Madonna, or Brett Favre… or some other relevant reference that either continues to come out of retirement or who just keeps on going! (Yes, I do want credit for having both a Cher and a sports reference in the same statement) Why? Honestly… it is because of the readers who have either stayed in touch with me, or who have reached out to me over these last 8 months and have asked questions, engaged me in conversation, or simply said they missed ToaP! I missed the involvement with the community. I mean that in a way that is on a deeper level than a forum thread, or a Twitter conversation. There is still more that I want to say and more opinions that I want to share with …

Written By: on October 27, 2011