Penance Priest

Discipline Priest Blog

Healing as Discipline in 3.1, in Ulduar, is nothing like healing in T7 content. With spammable shields, and fewer “omg tanks-gonna-die!” boss fights, my normal rotation looks very different than it used to:

Shield tank
Penance tank
PoM tank
Shield dps
Shield dps
Penance tank
Shield dps
(Two beats)
Shield dps

That’s the basics, or something like that anyway. That doesn’t include the tanks-gonna-die phases, or AoE phases, and there is of course plenty of variation on that basic theme. But what’s missing from the rotation above? Why, Flash Heal, of course.

One more note on the rotation: I’ve always been able to do raid-heal support, even in T7. Even as a tank healer, I have plenty of GCDs available to help on raid heals. In the past, that usually meant tossing Flash Heals out on the raid when I could, to ensure that I had my PW:Shield cooldown up when I needed it. With the changes to Grace in 3.1, tossing out Flash Heals on the raid is a Very Bad Thing™, as it reassigns Grace to the FH target. So any raid-heal support comes in the form of bubbles. (And Prayer of Healing, but that’s another story.)

Flash Heal now makes up about 6% of my overall healing. So it is with excitement and trepidation that I have abandoned a traditional 57/14 spec for a 55/16 spec. (Am I late to the party?)

Here is my shiny new spec.

By the way, the points in Holy remain a somewhat unresolved issue, open to playstyle preference. Since Greater Heal makes up 0.0% of my heals, Divine Fury is a capital waste, and I’ve been spec’d into Spell Warding for a while now. The extra 2 points that I removed from Improved Flash Heal have gone into Healing Focus, which is more than welcome in the AoE world of Ulduar. Healing Focus has become a viable throughput talent in Ulduar.

I’ve kept one point in Improved Flash Heal until I can find a better use for it. The crit bonus is ok, but my raid-buffed crit is about 40% nowadays, so it’s no longer that exciting. And mana cost reduction? Also a non-issue. I finally removed my Flash Heal glyph, which had been glued to my glyph pane since day one. (That slot now hosts Prayer of Healing, as that spell now makes up an embarrassingly high proportion of my healing output.)

Is anyone else moving away from this “cookie-cutter” talent?

(13) Comments

  1. 6/14/2009 6:10 PM Matthew

    I also find myself not using Flash Heal al that much. Granted, I'm not in Ulduar like...pretty much everyone else, but I usually open with PW:S, throw PoM on the tank, and then see what happens. The rest is a combination of Shield, Renew, Penance, PoM, and PoH, depending on what's going on. I'm more apt to use Binding Heal than Flash Heal.

    I think I'll be a copycat :) With my points in Imp. Renew, just to say I'm different ;) "What? Penance Priest's spec? No, no...see those points in Renew? I totally made this up."



    6/14/2009 7:31 PM Ben

    Finally a convert (not that I can take any credit for it)! Thats what I've been telling people for ages. As Disc you just don't use that much FH and the glyph is a waste of space. Glyph of PoH is much more useful.

    I've actually got my FH macroed in a castsquence under Penance, which, with a 6s CD means even elss FH.

    (/castsquence rest=6 Penance, Flash Heal, Fleash Heal, Flash Heal, Flash Heal)

    I solo as Disc so i've still got Divine Fury (for smite/holy fire), but in my holy spec i've taken Spell Warding over it and healing focus also.

    Gobble gobble.

    6/14/2009 10:09 PM Leon

    Why don't you place that point in Holy Reach?
    like this:

    6/15/2009 3:52 AM Han

    Definitely something to try :). I've been running with PoH glyph instead of FH for some time now, and I never look back. The spec change might just be what I need.

    6/15/2009 5:30 AM Paolo

    @Ben: I too solo as disc (but not very much). When I do, Borrowed Time is enough haste for me: Shield/Penance/HFire/MBlast/SWDeath, with maybe a Nova or 2 if needed.

    @Leon: Nice suggestion. I'll think about this for sure. It's still only a single point, and 3 yards of extra range on PoH, but worth consideration.

    @Han: I had glyph of PoH for a while before we got glyph of Penance in 3.1. But the Flash Heal glyph had been unquestioned, which is a great way to miss opportunities. And in a way, that's the point of this post -- questioning things that have become "assumed" knowledge, giving ourselves a chance to come unstuck (and we all get stuck!).

    6/16/2009 2:48 PM saifulnizam

    @Leon: I was thinking as more or less the same except -1 points from grace to lessen the chance of Grace since I'm usually force to Flash Heal the raid once in a while.

    my current build:

    6/17/2009 1:11 AM Tsark

    Given that my focus is 10man raids, I still Flash Heal - not enough to warrant a glyph (I never used that particular glyph, as mana has yet to be a problem), but certainly enough to spec into improving it. I sacrificed Focused Will - which really means sacrificing the crit, because the focused will effect is, imho, a pvp thing: if I get crit in a raid, there likely won't be anything left of me to heal...

    The Holy points - I still prefer Imp Renew over healing focus, even in Ulduar. Also, I haven't maxed Spell Warding, only got enough points (3) to fill up the level. My final two points are in Healing Focus - although I did say mana is not an issue, I still like to have a 10% reduction on the spell I use most often (and on the most expensive spell in my arsenal, Divine Hymn....)

    6/19/2009 1:48 AM Tsark

    Ugh - with 3.2 Penance gets an increased 2 secs cooldown, so I have the impression we will use FHeal more and more.....

    6/23/2009 1:02 PM Paolo

    @Tsark: Ugh indeed. Yes, FH will return to the rotation, and almost certainly GH and its required talent, Divine Fury. Perhaps even Improved Healing will become fashionable as well?

    @Han, Leon, & others: My build is not designed around PoH as a primary spell. It simply removes a wasted talent and glyph slot and uses them in the most natural place, which happens to be PoH. I don't consider this to be the "AoE Disc build" -- just a way to make use of some free points for more throughput. I suppose one could build a PoH-focused disc build, but that would be an exercise in OOMpriesting.

    6/24/2009 2:22 AM saifulnizam

    I'm not sure how the drop in SP coefficient will affect PoH-focused priest. It used to be very "reliable" now.

    6/30/2009 8:59 AM Tsark

    @Paolo - I doubt we will get to use GHeal: Holy has a lot more talents to make GHeal interested, while we would be stuck with (barely) Divine Fury and Imp Healing. I think the idea is really to force us to use FHeal in our rotation, and let us rely on FHeal (and Penance and Shield) while Holy relies on GHeal (and CoH and Renew)

    @Saifulnizan - I don't think things will change much: Disc priests will still need to AoE heal in Ulduar, and we will still have the fastest PoH (thank you, Borrowed Time). I do admit, however, that things were getting a bit disgusting: the combination of 2pc T8 and Inner Focus was making me see altogether too many PoH with five crits, which of course meant 5 aegis, and then the glyph....

    8/09/2009 12:08 PM Gren

    Is it just me then? As long as I have no mana worries (And I rarely do these days) I'll just merrily fling flash heals at my tank to help keep an Aegis cusion and with the goal of always and forever having Inspiration up on my tank (or tanks) If it's a fight where I know a fair bit of widespread damage is incoming, I'll shield the DPS, but I usually just let the shammies play with them.

    Am I doing it all horribly horribly wrong?

    8/10/2009 12:06 PM Paolo

    Nope, not doing it wrong. Wrong would be not using Penance or not using shields (both of which I actually see happening...gotta love pugs on failservers).

    The FH vs. GH debate rages on, and I think the answer is very unstable at the moment. It's dependent on your playstyle, gear level, and progression level. And even then, "right" answers are harder to come by than ever.


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