Rarely has a change aggravated me as much as this one does. I’ve seen other classes get all worked up when a desirable set bonus gets ‘reworked’ into something less desirable, but I’ve always viewed that frustration from a distance.

Unfortunately, not this time.

To review, the current T10 4 pc set bonus looks like this:

Your Circle of Healing and Penance spells have a 20% chance to cause your next Flash Heal cast within 6 sec to reset the cooldown on your Circle of Healing and Penance spells.

According to the latest patch notes, it’s being changed to this:

Priest Tier-10 4-Piece Healing Set Bonus: Redesigned. This bonus now increases the effectiveness of the caster’s Power Word: Shield and Renew spells by 5%. (source)

I’ve been hearing mixed reactions from the priest community regarding this change, but I’m pretty sure the change itself was a direct result of a large pool of priests complaining about the T10 bonus without even understanding how amazing it is. The aggravating part is the people who don’t like the current version seem to have the same common line of thought: “The bonus didn’t seem worth it, so I didn’t get it”.

Wait, what? You’re complaining about something you have no first hand experience with? I’ll be the first to admit – when I first heard about the set bonus, I also thought it would suck. I got out my favorite stolen pen & my ratty notebook, and I did the math…yup, it seems it sucks. But that’s the problem with theory crafting – it’s all theory until applied.  So before blasting how awful it was, Derevka & I put our badges where our mouths were, & tried it out.

Holy Shit (Pun intended). Derevka acquired T10 before I did and wrote a post about singing its praises for holy here. In a nutshell, the increase in his healing output was far and away above any expectations. I, in my infinite procrastination, hadn’t gotten around to posting about the Disc applications, but my findings were similar – it was amazing. I can understand how many priests that take a casual approach to raiding and don’t tend to push content or heroic raiding might find it worthless – they don’t get much of an opportunity or a need for this.  But as a healer that downed LK 25 a few weeks ago, and has been pushing hard modes ever since, this set bonus is amazing and the numbers are in the logs.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten 3,4,5 even 6 procs of this in a row….and when your tank is taking 50K hits on heroic  Saurfang, the raid is taking massive damage on Heroic Princes, or even getting rocked on Normal Mode Lich King, you tend to appreciate that.

I continually see comments that all discs are good for are raid bubble spamming and are mediocre tank healers, and that’s so far from the truth it’s not even funny. I think a lot of that misconception comes from the damn recount meters & inability to understand how disc works – but that’s a post for next week. When you look at your WoL logs & see how much damage a disc priest mitigated in addition to the healing, you tend to change that line of thought.

Regardless, even “bubble spammers” benefit from this bonus, although not as much as tank healers. A raid healing disc priest relies on shielding the raid – but that is NOT all you do.  We utilize a ‘weaving’ technique – many ICC fights and ESPECIALLY hard mode ICC fights have intense raid damage. If you’re just bubbling, you’re not working to your full potential.  Use your flash as filler to top people off, dump your penance on someone who needs it (and they WILL need it) and spread your DA love around without simply relying on the shield glyph for that.

So why the hate towards the current set bonus? Well, as I mentioned, lack of understanding and first hand knowledge contributed to a lot of it. It’s also more simple to understand – flat 5% bonus SOUNDS better than a 20% chance at something, even though the math reveals otherwise – trying to understand how the current proc works without some basic mathematical knowledge &/or trying it out for ones self can confuse people. Another part that I can acknowledge is that it can be an a difficult  proc to use. I had to make a Power Auras code to make sure I noticed when this procced – otherwise I’m pretty sure I would miss it. I’m not sure I agree with the idea you need an external mod to fully utilize something – it’s a non issue to me, but to others, it could be a big issue and seem more trouble than it’s worth.  Another complaint I have is I wish it reset the GCD of the CoH/Penance after you apply the flash heal. It’s awkward and results in a lot of clipping & button mashing.

However, those issues are minor as a trade off for such an amazing bonus. It almost makes me wonder that if people had an easier time acquiring access to the bonus, and had a chance to use it themselves, would they change their mind? Maybe blizz should shitcan our lackluster 2 piece bonus for this rather than eliminate it all together?

Perhaps I wouldn’t be so depressed if the new bonus wasn’t so shitty.  Again, without getting into the math here (if you would like more info the formulas & how to use them, let me know) at current 25 man raid buffed spellpower levels this translates into a whopping 450  increase to our shields, on average. 450. Hey, maybe that’s worth something if end game was current 5 man heroics, but in ICC/TOGC, a trash mob’s fart is more than that.  With Aoe Damage that can approach 4 digit ticks and tanks getting hit for 30,40,50K a pop in 25 man heroics….it’s worthless. Make it more than 5% please.

The renew is slightly better HOWEVER – as disc, you are not using renew much. An occasional filler, but that’s about it. It’s slightly better for the renew holy spec, but again, let’s squash some misinformation that I see : Renew is not a staple of most raiding holy priests outside of a ‘renew’ spec, and definitely not of  disc priests. A renew spec also pales in comparison to a decent druid, and in most ICC raids, the ability  for a holy priest to let loose with massive amounts of healing in a fraction of the time that renews do is the selling point. Many progression raiders I know favor flash over renew as holy, even just for the selling point of a serendipity stack. So this also pales in comparison to the huge output a string of CoHs offered from our current set bonus.

It’s pretty apparent we feel that this is a huge nerf to our set bonus. It’s currently an amazing bonus, & the new one is extremely lackluster, boring, and no where near as beneficial. I really think that if many of the naysayers had tried it for themselves, they would think differently. I refused to try cauliflower as a kid – my mother would yell “How do you know you hate it if you haven’t tried it?” Saying “I just know” didn’t work well with her, and it doesn’t work well with me on most things either. I’ve since found out I really like cauliflower, but I’ll be damned if I admit that to her.