Penance Priest

Discipline Priest Blog

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.

PP: Wow.

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 –

PP: Mana.

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 –

PP: Intellect.

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 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.

(22) Comments

  1. 11/02/2009 2:08 PM Jan

    hehe, are you a schizophrenic or something? :D

    well... for most people nowadays its harder to get 4/5 T8 than T9, because almost noone does Ulduar, the LOL-difficulty of ToCr is much more popular and you can get all pieces just from Emblems.

    i dont know, i have about 27.5k mana, more than 3200 spell power, more than 43% crit and more than 10% haste (everything raidbuffed) i do not have any mana problems at all (excluding 25 Beasts HC, sometimes i even beg for innervate, also excluding Patchwerk with one tank and three healers 15man - half-alt-run) i havent been 25 Val'kyr HC yet, but normal mode is pretty easy to live with the mana i have.

    11/02/2009 2:12 PM Jan

    PS. Does PW: S count as direct heal? if so, then the Set of trinkets from onyxia would be nice as hell as well... :D this one

    11/02/2009 6:44 PM Nymarie

    So amused by this. Lol I actually plan on getting Solace after any of the other healers who need it get it. For switching out in fights where I need the extra regen. What's funny is now that I'm a troll I actually have to watch my mana. I can't just Arcane Torrent every 2 min and keep my mana pool up.

    11/03/2009 12:40 PM Sinespe


    11/03/2009 12:56 PM Paolo

    @Sin: Explain or I will delete you and your comment.

    11/03/2009 1:29 PM Nymarie

    Ooooh he will delete YOU.

    11/03/2009 3:56 PM Matron

    Mary approves this message

    11/03/2009 4:02 PM Paolo

    @Matron: Lol, thank you. I only did this because you didn't! (Or you didn't make it public at least.)

    11/03/2009 4:19 PM Matron

    Every time I tried to write a response it pushed 3000 words, nobody wants to read that =P Perhaps I should have suggested an interview like the one you have here. I have yet to be able to translate my thoughts into a concise blog post.

    I'm not sure if you've been reading my plusheal posts, but it seems like you might have pulled the best parts of some of those and kept it relatively tiny, informative, and somewhat entertaining (considering the subject matter is rather dry)

    Cheers for being a good sport and looking to understand an opposing viewpoint, hopefully your readers benefit.

    11/03/2009 7:23 PM Vellvette
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    11/03/2009 7:29 PM Vellvette
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    11/03/2009 8:53 PM Sinespe

    @Paolo: I'm not re-gearing *again*. At least, not for one fight. Maybe you crazy 25-manners see some use in it all. I just don't have *that* much to shield. (Oh, and I'm awesome. There is that, too.)

    11/04/2009 3:07 AM Han

    well Paolo, that was just disturbing and enlightening at the same time ;).

    11/04/2009 9:15 AM Deth

    @ Velvette
    Yes if you want to be a raid healer go Holy, this article is about using a disc priest as a raid MITIGATOR. I have to say it mirrors perfectly my experience on the Valkys fight where I have taken this role and without fail mitigated in excess of 6K damage per second (plus an extra 3K or so HPS, mostly POM's and backing up the tank healers with penance/flash heals). Yes leave it the "raid" healers to refill them green bars, but disc has a niche in preventing widespread damage and instantly saving low hp targets. I mostly play as my guilds MT healer, but relish these these high aoe fights where disc is quite honestly over powered (shhh, don't tell blizz). ;)

    11/04/2009 11:02 AM Nymarie

    You honestly think that Discipline is only good for tank heals? Learn your spec a little better before you get high and mighty and start telling people they're wrong.

    My healing assignment is generally as the support healer. This means that I'm usually raid healing. Bubbles, ProM, Flash heals, Penances, everything. I utilize almost every single spell in my toolbox.

    11/04/2009 11:37 AM Paolo

    @Han: I am framing your response.

    @Sin: It's not about 10 or 25. It's just about refraining from sharding your gear too soon. I'm finding myself using my int gear more than I had thought. It's making me consider regemming full Luminous on my tank gear, heavens to betsy. But yeah, with only 10 folks to shield, you might not need to go as far as I have.

    @Vel: I don't know how you missed the joke. Also, the link in the first line of the post will take you to my article on tank healing, which is my main role. There you will find enough DA-loving to satisfy you. Heck, check the archives on the left for the first post I ever wrote. Also, if you look around, you will find that top guilds are actually using disc priests more as raid *mitigators* (thanks Deth) than as tank healers. I'm not at that level of progression, which is why I'm a bit late to the party. But you might be surprised at quite how popular, useful, and powerful this role is for discipline.

    11/04/2009 4:03 PM The Don

    Paolo, as a quite newly minted 80(less than a month) Im very glad I stumbled upon your blog after Dwarf Priest closed her doors. You've helped alot in making an intelligent(key word) transition from shadow running to Disc raiding. I'm currently devouring priest blogs trying to figure out what pieces to pursue on on my main Daxius on Quel'dorei now that I've reached the 200 tier and what tips and tricks for doing the Disco I can pick up.

    As a new Disco I have to confess that this post got a little confusing till I figured out you were discussing raid wide mitigation and not MT healing. Is there any way to get a listing or post detailing all the gear sets you've put forward and what their purposes are?

    A post of disc healing roles with the strengths and weaknesses of each along with recommending stat focus/gear set would be internet cookie worthy!

    11/05/2009 7:23 AM Han


    @The Don
    Check out for more info on disc priests. I believe Paolo also posts here (and me).

    11/05/2009 9:57 AM The Don

    @Han Many thanks! Can't believe I forgot to try there after devouring for 79 lvs >_<

    11/07/2009 10:26 AM Paolo

    Ok, this is a tough one. Velvette has deleted her comments. I believe she understood the critiques people gave her, and repealed the comments as part of the learning process. In other words, I respect her deletion.

    However, those comments were germane to the conversation here, and represented a view that many disc priests hold. In fact, it's basically a view that I held until recently, so her comments were, in a way, the exact motivation for me to write this article in the first place. So I am reposting excerpts from her comments below, minus her toon & server name (which she specifically offered for armorying). Rather than posting the comments in their entirety (hello vague copyright laws!), I'll take the safe and respectful road of excerpting only those parts that clarify the posts responding to her.

    It's a delicate line, I realize.


    My comment to the person you had the interview with is that while disc priests are known for their uber PW:S, that's not all they are known for. While your interviewee has the bonus from t8/8.5 with the spellpower boost, he is missing out on the bonus from t9/9.5 - boost for Divine Aegis (DA). If the disc priest is tank healing only, s/he is only capable of "shield spamming" when Weakend Soul (WS) is down.

    Speaking of DA, why isn't this talked about a whole lot? We have PW:S, yes, but we have DA as well, which is another shield and counts towards our absorbs!

    When raid buffed, my mana pool sits at 29k. I haven't checked my regen in awhile mainly because.. well.. I never have a problem with mana in 25m... I agree that gemming for int is bad for disc priests.

    P.S. Even with the changes to PoH, anyone who thinks that a disc priest should raid heal is out of their mind... If you want to raid heal, you should go holy.

    11/09/2009 9:01 AM Jan

    well... easy... just do this:
    take your mana regen while in FSR - according to armory (or while raid buffed)
    Add trinkets and/or Meta-gem (Solace=128Mp5, Meta gem chance on return mana on spellcast =~75Mp5...)

    and add following: take your mana-pool (while raid buffed or not) multiply it by (0.029) (=2.9%)

    then you get your mana regen per five seconds, including Replenishment (99% uptime), Rapture (every 14 seconds) and Shadowfiend (every 5 minutes)

    not counting:
    HoH(yours and from others)
    shadowfiend when HoH/Bloodlust/Heroism(more mana)
    mana tide totems
    Rapture bugging (when your PW:Ss get absorbed more at one time (e.g. Icehowl) you get Rapture mana-restore from both of them)
    starting mana-pool

    11/24/2009 4:40 PM Karlus

    Nice post mate, we have a Disc priest in the raid that is a mana whore. 33k raid buffed. I started up an argument about the fact that he is only at around 2k SP, it turned into a flame session shortly after (typical me?).

    I think in the majority of tank healing fights, you only need enough mana to allow that PW:S every 15 seconds to return equal to or more than 666 mana via rapture. Flash and Penance are low on the old mana spending side of things. As for regen, Solace is a great regen trinket for any disc priest, but i still run with Soul of the Dead for regen and trhoughput via crit. its a fantastic trinket if you don'thave acess to Solace, Spark or Pandora's Plea.



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