My producer just informed me that we have a guest in the studio for today’s blog. I’ll be interviewing someone who would like to discuss my post on stats for discipline priests. To be frank, I’m a bit surprised it’s taken this long to find someone to rebut that post, since I fully expected that it would generate more heat than it did.
Would you like to introduce yourself to my readers?
Paolo: Hello, my name is Paolo, and I’m a discipline priest. I want to say that I’m a big fan of your blog. Your post on stats agitated me a bit, so I wanted to offer an alternate take. Other than that though, kudos on some great work.
Penance Priest: Um, did you say Paolo?
Paolo: Yes, why?
PP: Oh, nothing. Please, tell us a bit more about yourself and your thoughts on stats for disc priests.
Paolo: Well – and I’ll cut right to the chase here – your stance on intellect is just wrong. You don’t know what you’re talking about when you say that intellect is bad.
PP: I never said that.
Paolo: Indeed you did. Not only did you say, and I quote, “Intellect is usually bad,” but the consistent message in your post was that it is a second-class citizen, or “special-purpose” stat, as you called it.
PP: It usually is the wrong stat for people to take. As I described, many discipline priests are using intellect for the wrong reasons, or just blindly, for no good reason at all. However, I did indicate that there are good reasons to stack intellect. I just didn’t cover them in depth. I made it clear that I’m primarily a tank healer, and as such, I usually have more mana than I know what to do with; ergo, intellect gets the short end of the stick when it comes to gems.
Paolo: Tell me: on a fight like twins, what’s your role?
PP: Well that’s an interesting example, simply because it’s basically a raid-damage fight. But I’ll play along. A tank healer like me would be stupid to relegate himself to tank duties only. So I usually float on that fight, doing raid healing more than anything.
Paolo: I’ll admit, I chose it as an example of a fight that forces you to bubble-spam. There’s really very little use for Penance, is there? It’s PoM and bubbles for the most part, not much else. So yes, I’m forcing you to discuss your role as a raid healer.
PP: There isn’t a single shield that doesn’t get 100% used up on twins. Same with PoM, all charges consumed, guaranteed. The constant ticking of the AoE effect will certainly make quick work of the shields.
Paolo: So what’s your HPS on that fight?
PP: I really don’t know.
Paolo: I knew you would say that, given how much you hate meters. But let’s do some simple math, and for now, we’ll ignore the passive HPS included with Renewed Hope. I’d ask you how much your shield will absorb, but I’m guessing you don’t know that either. So let’s just say your shield absorbs about 8000 and your PoM will hit for about 4000 each bounce. With Borrowed Time up (and it will be up almost 100% of the time), your GCD will be down to 1 second. So you’re probably shield-spamming about that often, maybe a bit less. And PoM is getting you 5 hits every 10-second cooldown. Maybe you slack a bit with PoM, and only cast it every 15 seconds. Let’s give you 10 shields and 5 PoM hits every 15 seconds, for a net theoretical HPS of about 6600.
Paolo: I chose this somewhat extreme example to make a point. And my numbers may be off a bit for sure. But the point is that a shield-spamming disc priest is potentially an HPS machine, and not only on this fight. The only problem is –
Paolo: That’s right. Shield-spamming is a mana drain. If you did nothing but chain-cast shields, you’d last about a minute and a half. Which means –
Paolo: You really are as smart as they say. In order to make shield spamming possible, you need to increase the size of your mana pool and boost your regen. Of course, if you regem for intellect, each shield will be smaller since you’re not stacking spell power. But if you’re OOM, you’re shields get smaller still…like, zero. Should we go over the math of how much smaller your shields will be without your spell power gems?
PP: Well let’s see. I’m currently at 2600 spell power unbuffed, of which 275 or so is from gems. So I’d lose 10% of the shield strength relative to what I can do now.
Paolo: Yes, even less, because your spell power will be well over the 3000 mark with consumables and raid buffs. And we could take it one step further. You could revisit your old friend Tier 8. We all have a love/hate relationship with that set bonus, but I’m sure we can agree that it is perfect for shield spam. What I’ve done is regemmed my Tier 8 gear with intellect, and kept my new Tier 9 gear gemmed as it is for tank healing. There’s a lot less haste and crit than there is on my new stuff, but between all the int gems and the full-time 250 spell power bonus, you have a gearset designed for the job.
PP: Interesting idea. When T9 was released, there was a massive amount of discussion as to when disc priests would abandon their T8 gear, because the four-piece bonus is so compelling. You’re saying T8 might be viable even now?
Paolo: Perhaps…I’m using the T8 gear largely because I followed your gearup model during 3.2, which was of course aimed at tank healers. So my main set now is full of crit and haste, both of which are mostly useless for shield spam. If I had been planning for a shield-spam kit from the beginning, my gear choices certainly would have been different.
PP: Alright then, tell us more about the gearing choices you’re making, other than the Tier 8 set. Which, if I understand you correctly, you’re using for two reasons: the delicious set bonus, and the fact that you now have a second set of gear that you can re-gem with intellect. You also seem to say that the Tier 8 gear is not necessarily optimal, just the best you currently have for the job.
Paolo: That’s correct. I’m also using Spark of Hope, which is one of the best mana-conservation trinkets there is, and of course Solace. For shield spam, I’ll also equip Rapture, since I’ll get more benefit from the spirit on that staff than I will from the haste on Enlightenment. Remember, shield-spammers are very much subject to the 5% haste cap, which you discussed in your original post. So it’s important for me to be shedding haste for this gear set.
PP: What’s your mana pool like? Your regen?
Paolo: It’s enough to last through a spam fight like Twins without even a trace of worry. It almost feels like the infinite-mana heyday before they toned down the mana returns from Rapture. I’m now sitting at what is still a fairly modest 25k mana (unbuffed) and 650/350 regen. Spell power is at 2350 unbuffed, but remember that I get a near-constant 250 spell power boost, which brings me up to the same amount that you’re getting from your newer gear. If I remember correctly, your mana is more like 23k unbuffed, and 350/200 regen or thereabouts.
PP: How the hell do you know about my regen?
Paolo: You’d be surprised what I know about you. Would you like to talk about the rotten tanking job you did on Ignis last night?
PP: No I wouldn’t. I do have one last question though. What about the Tier 9 two-piece bonus? Wouldn’t that be as good or better for a raid-healing disc priest than the Tier 8 four-piece?
Paolo: Oh, absolutely. First off, I don’t have the two-piece bonus yet (as you well know). But more importantly, all the other pieces in my main gearset have been selected according to your tank-healing guidelines: slathered in haste and crit, which is just wrong for raid healing. So there’s nothing bad about T9 and other newer gear for a discipline raid healer...in fact, it’s really great. I’m only using T8 for the regemming option, as we discussed, and to enable me to have different gear available for tank healing and raid healing.
PP: You’ve said several times that haste and crit are bad for a raid-healing disc priest. Can you elaborate?
Paolo: Sure. When you’re spamming shields, you are constantly benefitting from the haste effect of Borrowed Time. As you discussed in your original post, it takes only 5% haste, or around 150 haste rating, to reach the haste cap. When you hit the cap, your GCD is limited to 1 second. So for a raid healer, any haste over 5% is literally a waste. And crit does not affect the strength of your shields. The glyph can now crit, but the glyph is still only 20% of the size of your shield to begin with, so it makes crit a very low-priority stat for boosting your throughput. PoM ticks can still crit though, but overall, the throughput of a raid-healing disc priest is most directly tied to spell power. By a longshot.
PP: Well thank you very much for joining me today!
Paolo: I’m always with you man.