Penance Priest

Discipline Priest Blog

My warlock is level 73 now, and I haven't played him in months. But he's never been anything other than affliction, even when common wisdom said that there were much better leveling specs. The slow-burn style of using damage-over-time spells to devour and destroy your target really hooked me. I still find dots thrillingly demonic; a far more insidious way to kill than the dull and obvious BAM-BAM style of shadow bolting, or other direct damage spells. Like choking instead of stabbing.

I have a dark spot inside, I'll admit. It's why my first toon was a warlock in the first place.

Ok, back on track. Nightfall is one of those talents that you either love or you think is a waste of talent points. Me, I love it. What happens is that you're doing your thing, minding your own business killing some bad guy or other, then suddenly you proc a free shadow bolt. Afterwards, you go back to doing whatever you were already doing. No fuss, no muss. You aren't building your rotations around it, and when it procs you don't lose your focus. Just bolt & back to business.

What's the point, you ask? Is this now a warlock blog? Hardly. But I wanted to bring up Nightfall in the context of our new, hot-off-the-press, still-in-development T10 set bonuses.

The two-piece goes like this: After your Pain Suppression wears off, your target has 10% increased healing received for 10 seconds. Sure, sounds good -- softens the hard edge of our badass tank-saving cooldown.

The four-piece bonus is what's making people all hot around the collar. Your Flash Heal has a 15% chance to reset the cooldown on Penance.

There are two ways to look at this random proc.

1. Facerolling your way to tank-healing victory

On one hand, you could see it as a suggestion (or a push, or a demand) to adjust our tank-healing to the faceroll rotation of Penance/Flash/Flash/Flash. Your Penance might be up again after five Flashes, or maybe the set bonus will proc and you'll restart the rotation sooner.

The math on this is ugly. (Who wants to know about mean time to success on bounded geometric distributions? I mean, other than me?) Suffice it to say, if you do the faceroll tank rotation, you'll shorten the cooldown on Penance about 1.3 seconds on average. That's not much. Your HPS will go up, but not necessarily in comparison to a more robust tank-healing system than includes shields, Greater Heal, and PoM as needed. Those spells aren't part of our set-bonus rotation.

In other words: do not use this set bonus as a playstyle-changer. The Penance/Flash rotation will not work well, I can promise you that. It just doesn't provide enough benefit to warrant such a radical adjustment to your playstyle. And if you've recently broken your four-piece T8, you'll know what I mean when I say that you do NOT want your natural healing responses dictated by a set bonus.

2. Nightfall

Ah, the pieces are falling together. You see, the way I envision the four-piece set bonus (assuming it goes live in this form) is much more like Nightfall. You'll be on your merry way, healing the tank in your favorite instance, and BAM, Penance is up! Ooh, a cookie! Omnomnom, and back to business.

This is a set bonus. A bonus. Bonus. It is not the game-changing playstyle-affecting gear-choice-dictating hell that we went through in T8. (Yes, I really hated it, despite how good the bonus was.) Everyone loves a nice little boost here and there, even a moderate boost like the T9 two-piece. And personally, I love how this proc will work as a random blast, like Nightfall. We'll see what it's like in practice, of course, but in theory, yum.


A PvP-playing friend of mine once was commenting on why he thought I loved PvE so much. One factor is that there's a bit of the gambler's thrill involved. Will my loot drop from this boss...? Will I win the roll...? You wait with bated breath. After having executed whatever skill-maneuver was needed, you rely on the luck of the dice to determine whether or not you win that coveted item.

I'm sure this neuro-psycho-chemical reaction is not unique to me. You could dumb it down to "random procs are fun!", and that's true, but I think they're a key part of the appeal of the game. And it's an area in which Blizzard has certainly excelled.

(5) Comments

  1. 10/09/2009 6:29 AM Jan

    -.-" ... if i don't use Flash Heal at all... this is probably reason to start... ?

    10/09/2009 1:35 PM Sinespe

    "(Who wants to know about mean time to success on bounded geometric distributions? I mean, other than me?)"

    I only ever learnt the basics of geometric distributions. If I learnt how to bind them, then it was incidental learning, and "mean time to success" I could probably work out how to do after getting it wrong a few times.

    But geometric distributions are one of my favourite things to come out of A-Level Maths. I love being able to do that kind of probability.

    10/10/2009 11:42 AM Dominic

    The tier 10 4 piece is mediocre. It is an unpredictable bonus that doesn't really increase healing output much. Healers need predictability. As a priest I'm going for 2 piece of tier 9 at ilevel 258 and then 2 pieces of tier 10. Both have amazing 2 piece bonuses and god-awful 4-piece bonuses.

    Flash heal is a mediocre spell that does not scale as well as a priests other tools. Its also one of the lowest hps spells in our repertoire. Priests use it begrudgingly knowing it is the main reason disc are inferior to paladins when tank healing.

    10/12/2009 3:29 AM Perfectalpha

    As expected, the set bonus' were changed because they were terrible. And even with the changes, they're still pretty bad. I can't lie.

    10/20/2009 3:08 AM Jan

    well, the bonus is changed. now the penance you cast has 20% chance that the next FHeal will reset CD on your Penance, which is probably better... so it will look like: PW:S->Penance->GH->FH(if penance procs)->Penance


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