Penance Priest

Discipline Priest Blog

I know you’re not a voyeur. Or competitive at all. That’s ok, I won’t judge you for it.

But you still probably check people out. Hey, someone’s gear says a lot about them, doesn’t it? It’s just a little, well, embarrassing to get caught inspecting someone. Or as soon as you click on them, you see that they’ve been targeting you. I’d prefer to just inspect people on the D/L. It requires just one mod and one macro, and no one will ever know you’re looking.

The Mod

Examiner is a replacement window for the inspection pane. It has lots of super features, including a cache (so you can see how someone looked last time you inspected them, even when they’re not nearby), a stat summary (it will add up all the hit rating, crit rating, etc, just from gear, not talents), and can retrieve achievements (though I keep this turned off…too much information for my tastes).

Those are all great features, but the real reason we need this mod for stealth inspection is because its window persists. I’ll explain in a moment.

The Macro

Here’s a simple macro that will open the inspection window on your mouseover target. No need to target them, just hover over their toon or raid frame. This is the core of our stealth operation. Ready?

/script InspectUnit("mouseover")

That’s all. A one-line macro to open up an inspection window on your mouseover target. The only problem is that as soon as you wiggle your mouse away from the target, the inspection window will disappear. So you can’t mouse over their gear…very frustrating.

This is why we need Examiner. Its window persists. Which means the window will stay open even if you move your mouse off the target -- it won’t disappear until you specifically close it. Voila!

Summing Up

Installing your stealth inspector is a simple two-step process. First, install Examiner. Second, bind the macro above to any key. That’s it. It’s almost too easy.

Bonus Addons

The first bonus addon is called oGlow. It’s the reason you see colored rings around everything in the Examiner window. It will put these rings (indicating item quality, of course) on every item in your bags as well, or in loot windows…basically anywhere you see an item icon. Makes it very easy to quickly see if someone’s epic’d out, or in mixed greens & blues.

The second addon is TipTac. It’s a tooltip replacement window, and it’s not directly related to our stealth inspection operation. It has a lot of great features that I won’t detail here. The one relevant feature is that if you hover over a toon, it will show you who that toon is targeting. So it’s a bit of stealth…you can tell if someone is targeting you without needing to target them.

Voyeur? Me? Never!

Unless you've been hiding under a fragment of Val'anyr for the last month, you'll know that disc priests are the all the rage in arenas right now. FotM even. We got some huge buffs in 3.1 that increased our survivability in PvP tremendously. If you have enough resilience, it's actually fun to PvP as a priest nowadays.

I've done a ton of BGs, but until recently I didn't have good enough gear (or skills, I'll admit it) to even consider venturing into arenas. And now that I do, I found it very difficult to find out the right way to get started. How do you gear up? What sort of talents? Trinkets? Comps? Should I focus on crit or regen? In order to figure out how to best spend my honor points, I decided to consult the experts. The winning priests. And instead of trying to convince you that I actually know what I'm doing, I'm going to show you what they are doing.

I looked at 10 of the top priests in the 2s bracket (as listed on Arena Junkies). I looked at what gear choices they made, what talent choices, gems, professions, enchants. It's called a meta-analysis — instead of doing my own field research, I collated the results of the research that others did. You won't find me saying "here's the perfect/correct PvP build," because there is none. But you will find out what the pros are doing, what they find works.

YMMV, of course. What works in the 2700 bracket of 2s may be irrelevant in the entry-level 5s team you just started. And what works for someone with years of experience in arenas might not work for someone who's never PvP'd before. So everything here comes with a ton of salt. In fact, this is just a snapshot of what are certainly 10 works in progress. Some of these folks have probably already changed their builds or gems to adjust to changing circumstances.

Just to emphasize, this is not my opinion. My opinion doesn't count, since I don't have enough experience to act as any sort of authority. So unfortunately, I'm not the right person to ask "why?".

(By the way, I started this research for a thread on Wowhead. There's a lively discussion happening over there; check it out.)

I hope this sets you off on the right foot! Enjoy arenas, fellow priests, 'cause this is our time.

The Priests

I've linked talent specs here as well. A summary of specific talent points is below.

Bilian (Talents)
Shatoria (Talents)
Arterian (Talents)
Tkizze (Talents)
Felyn (Talents)
Ychytakaseto (Talents)
Sketched (Talents)
Butteslol (Talents)
Evleh (Talents)
Quuz (Talents)

The Comps

Seven partner with rogues. Two with ret pallies. One with a feral druid.

The Gear

Ok, here's where things get interesting! I haven't tallied every single piece of gear. But I was particularly interested in several gear choices:

  • Main hand weapon
  • Trinkets
  • Gems (especially meta gems)
  • Set pieces

Main hand weapon

Eight are using Torch of Holy Fire, one is using Deadly Gladiator's Gavel, one is using the Soulblade.


9 Medallions (one human, of course)

For the second trinket, interesting choices were made between defense, offense, or regen.

Defense: 4 Battlemaster's Bravery
Offense: 1 Platinum Disks of Sorcery, 1 Forethought Talisman
Pure Regen: 1 Spark of Hope, 1 Spirit World Glass
Hybrid Regen: 2 Living Ice Crystals, 1 Je'tze's Bell


Meta gems leaned heavily towards regen.

6 Insightful Earthsiege
2 Tireless Skyflare
2 Powerful Earthsiege

For other gems, here is the total number of points allocated to each stat:

+834 Resilience
+603 Stamina
+317 Spell power
+120 Hit rating
+40 Spell penetration
+18 MP5
+16 Haste

Set pieces

Every priest had 5 set pieces, mostly Deadly of course. I did not consider offset pieces (cloak, rings, etc) for this analysis.

Of the 50 total pieces, 48 were Mooncloth (spirit), 2 were Satin (crit). The satin pieces were on two different priests, so all 10 of them had the 4-piece set bonus.


For now, I just looked at the enchant choices on chest and bracers:

7 Resilience
2 Health
1 Stats

7 Spellpower
3 Stamina


Of the relevant professions, 6 were engineers (for nitro boosts and hyperspeed accelerators), 4 were enchanters (for rings), and 3 were jewelcrafters (for uber-gems).


All 10 priests were disc/holy, anything from 57/14 to 60/11. Rather than list every single talent, what I've decided to do was present only those talents which are confusing or debatable, and see what our experts chose. You won't see Penance listed below; that's a given. But Absolution? Here you'll see that 16 points out of a total of 30 were chosen. Since it's a 3-point talent, if every priest took it in full you'd see 30/30. The 16 points means that it was not universally considered required. Some took 2 points, some 3 points, and some zero. I haven't correlated anything here, so this just gives you a sense of how essential each talent is considered, nothing more.

If you wanted to look at a "template" build, look at Shator. It's a good place to start.


Silent Resolve - 30/30
Improved Fort - 11/20
Martyrdom - 6/20

Meditation - 30/30
Inner Focus - 10/10

Absolution - 16/30
Mental Agility - 30/30
Improved Mana Burn - 20/20

Reflective Shield - 18/20
Focused Power - 20/20
Enlightenment - 20/30

Focused Will - 30/30
Power Infusion - 10/10
Improved Flash Heal - 3/30

Renewed Hope - 16/20
Divine Aegis - 15/30
Grace - 19/20

Healing Focus - 19/20
Improved Renew - 21/30
Holy Specialization - 20/50

Spell Warding - 8/40
Divine Fury - 40/40

Desperate Prayer - 10/10
Blessed Recovery - 2/30


10 Penance
6 Inner Fire
5 Pain Suppression
3 Shield
3 Renew
2 Dispel Magic
1 Smite

Base Stats

Median: 1362
Range: 1312 - 1493 (wide)
Notes: Median health was 20480, which includes (for some folks) a +hp chest enchant that doesn't show in the stamina value.

Median: 737
Range: 729 - 762 (narrow)
Notes: Median mana pool was 14638. Other than one person who stacked int, all priests had int values within about 15 of each other.

Median: 624
Range: 561 - 742 (wide)
Notes: Median regen (out of 5sr) was 315.

Bonus Heals
Median: 1891
Range: 1799 - 2069 (moderate)
Notes: The priest who stacked int also stacked heals; she is the high value in both stats, and the lowest value in regen and stam.

Hit Rating
Median: 118
Range: 90 - 122 (narrow)

Median: 48
Range: 0 - 110 (moderate)
Notes: Turns out the Torch of Holy Fire, the best weapon in the game (pre-Ulduar), has exactly 48 haste. Hmm. Only two priests had other haste pieces or gems above the amount on the Torch, so this stat was definitely not a priority for our panel.

Median: 58
Range: 0 - 109 (moderate)
Notes: If you consider how much crit a PvE disc priest will stack (in the neighborhood of 700 crit rating), the numbers here are so close to zero we might as well just call them a wash. Another non-priority stat.

Resilience (did you think I forgot?)
Median: 919
Range: 802 - 1115 (wide)
Notes: The lowest and highest values are both extreme outliers. If we remove those two from consideration, the range is actually very narrow: 905 - 928 for all the remaining priests.

EDIT: The nerf to the glyph of Penance, which was the spark that initiated the post below, has been repealed. Yay! I'm leaving this post up, however, because I remain amazed at how quickly so many priests started QQing in a way that seemed quite over the top. No doubt other nerfs are coming our way, sooner or later, so this is fundamentally a plea to remain calm :)

This is our moment, fellow discipline priests.  The nerf bat has arrived, and will be sharing its sting with us soon. The devs giveth, and the devs taketh away. How will we deal with it? This will be a rite of passage for us all. It’s initiation time for discipline. Call it our bar mitzvah.

Disc Priest 3.0

All was fresh and new. The world alight with possibilities. Undiscovered treasures built into our very nature. Slowly we found the Way to Be. We had dynamism, creativity, fluidity. Like the blossoming of flowers in spring, the endless joy of the New washed over us. And yea we sang.

Our singing was multilayered, complex, spontaneous. Bouncing between the perfectly timed Penance, a shield now and again, Flashes, Mending, a touch of Renew…plus the joy of giving (Power Infusing our mages) and of saving (Pain Suppressing our tanks). So much to do! And what fun doing it!

Disc Priest 3.1

The changes were few but significant. Spammable shields. Targetable Prayer of Healing. A lower cooldown on Penance.  Our rotations changed; how we responded to situations was altered more significantly that we might have thought.  Rapture was nerfed, of course, but that was a passive change, and did not affect play style significantly. There were plenty of other changes, including the way Grace and Renewed Hope work, but these were the big ones.

Now our play, while even more powerful, lost some of its pizzazz. All shields and Penance. More shields. And Penance. Oh, and some uber AoE heals…Prayer of Healing getting its due, and Divine Hymn saving the day more than once. But for the most part, what had been a challenging and creative interweaving of multiple cooldowns became a spamfest.

Our PvP viability shot through the roof. Self-castable Penance, and of course the lower cooldown. Glyph of Pain Suppression let us survive the loving attention we got from rogues.  Before anyone realized quite what had happened, discipline priests were on top of PvP healing once more. Interest in arenas surged.

Disc Priest 3.1.2

Our beloved Glyph of Penance…gone. Poof. Back to the original 8-second cooldown. A veritable eternity between casts! Plus the mana cost of shield is going up. Woe is us!

Like it or not – and I think I know which side we all fall on – this is the nerf bat. The touch that stings.

This is our initiation. Every other class & spec has been on the Blizzard rollercoaster, up and down, back up, back down. The discipline priest is a new creation, and this is our first significant nerf. (No, the nerf to Rapture does not count. Sorry.) And from the way I hear disc priests talking about it, you’d think the game was just about over.

The 2-second Glyph of Penance was, let’s all agree, a total win. How much did you pay for yours? 50g? 200g? 300g? We all wanted it desperately because we knew how over-the-top awesome it was. And guess what…Blizzard figured that out too.

Buck up, people. It’s not that bad. We healed just fine with the 8-second cooldown on Penance.  No, more than fine. We did so damn well that people started blogging (!) and writing web sites all about the joy and strength of our spec. In fact, it was (in my opinion) a much more satisfying challenge, having to bob and weave through cooldowns, rather than spamming two spells with a few extras tossed in for good measure.

You could say that this is a nerf designed to bring PvP priests back down to earth, with PvE priests the innocent casualties. This is how [mages/warlocks/ret pallies, heck you name it] sound when they are given a cookie that then gets taken away. Yes, we had a bite out of a tasty cookie. Mmmm, good. Now it’s back to business, and we will thrive once more. Not barely, but magnanimously.

Let me remind you: discipline priests rock.