Penance Priest

Discipline Priest Blog

I’m not a big fan of yellow sockets. They throw me for a loop. And from looking at other disc priests, it seems there’s plenty of disagreement about what to put in your yellow sockets.

Here’s what I’ve got in my yellows right now:

2 runed
1 reckless
1 luminous

And I just socketed over one potent. What gives?

Lucky for me, I’m only interested in one thing at the moment: 25-man bubble-botting discipline. Poor Dawn, having to recommend gems for all purposes, all playstyles. I have it easy!

But first, a blog post

I wrote my last post right after giving up on guilds on my server. The one guild of interest to me hadn’t responded to my app after two weeks, so I interpreted that to mean “no thanks.” Well, the day after I posted I got a tell from their recruitment officer, and 15 minutes later had a ginvite. Many thanks to my future wife for going to bat for me. (She doesn’t know it yet, shhh.) So now I’m back to raiding, doing 7/12 hard modes. Sweet!

And my move across country is pretty definite, but won’t happen for another five weeks. So I have some quality raiding time before…well, I don’t know what will happen then.

Stats for bubble bots

Wait, haven’t we covered this before?

Why yes, yes we have. I apologize if this is redundant for you. The following analysis only applies to 25-man bubble-spamming disc priests. No other healing scenario lends itself to this kind of oversimplification. Under normal circumstances, you’ll be casting 9 shields and PoM, rinse & repeat. Obviously you’ll cast the occasional Penance, or Pain Suppression, whatever. So this is not exact, but it gives a fine approximation, which is enough for our purposes.

Do not try this for holy. Do not try this for 10-man disc healing. Or for any other healing spec. Healers are not like DPS classes; we cannot be reduced to Patchwerk-style simcrafting.

Haste: Because of the way Borrowed Time works, bubble-spamming disc priests need about 150 haste rating to reach the soft cap, which is where your GCD hits its minimum of one second. You probably had this much haste the day you hit 80 and are scary past that now. Therefore haste has zero value for a bubble bot.

Crit: Power Word: Shield can’t crit. But its glyph can. So you get 20% value for crit. PoM bounces can crit, of course, but you get five bounces (at most) per nine shields. So we’ll boost the value of crit by half to 0.3. Good enough for science.

Spell power: Your shields grow by about 1.5 hit points for every point of spell power. (Yes, that’s where all of our talent points are going!) This is our super-stat for super-sized shields.

So, to sum it up:

Spell power = 1.5
Crit = 0.3
Haste = 0

And you can fill in your own stat weights for intellect & spirit.


I’ve been using Halion for the last week or so. It matches nicely with my other crit/haste gear, of which I have a ton. It also looks awesome.

The thing is, once I got it I started OOMing on every fight, 10 or 25, with or without replenishment. (That’s because I’m always casting!) Even doing my best to abuse the Rapture bug, I still popped more mana pots and begged for more innervates than I have in a long time. Thanks to Matron for indirectly kicking my butt.

So I gemmed full luminous in all my red and yellow sockets. And did not regret it one bit, despite the insane amount of conformism and peer pressure amongst disc priests to gem runed only, ever.

What’s the numeric value of luminous? It only has value if you need the mana. If you don’t, it’s obviously the wrong gem to use. In fact, last night I got a new staff, Heroic Dying Light. It has so much additional intellect, and an ungainly amount of spirit, that after using it for a few fights (including LK25) I’ve decided to drop my luminous gems for runed. So far so good. (And yes, I am still always casting!!)


There are two reasons to socket haste: First, haste is an excellent stat for 10-man tank healers. If you do both 10 and 25 seriously then reckless is a viable gem to use.

The second reason is that haste is the best yellow stat for shadow priests. Any piece of gear you share with shadow will likely have reckless in it.

For bubble-bots though, haste is useless. If those two conditions don’t apply to you, reckless is kryptonite. Don’t touch it.


Crit is also an excellent stat for 10-man tank healers. And for bubble-bots, well, it’s not terrible, but it’s still not very good. It has about 1/5 the value of spell power, which means you’d need an unreasonably good socket bonus before using a potent gem for your bubble-spam role. Bottom line: probably not.

(This article is required reading if you want to know the relationship between crit & haste for disc priests.)


As you can see, a lot depends on what you do when you’re not bubble-botting. If you have more than one job, you’ll need to prioritize your gemming towards one or the other.

And remember, gemming is a minor component of your healing!

Full-time bubble-bot: You have only two choices. Runed or luminous.

Bubble-bot / 10-man: You have three choices: Runed , luminous, or reckless. Potent is also acceptable.

Bubble-bot / Shadow: You have two choices: Runed or reckless.

Ah, the flow chart!

Blue sockets?


Exercise for the reader.

Cataclysm is coming

No matter where you stand on the changes to priests, or any other class for that matter, rest assured that Cataclysm will be a huge upheaval. We’ll have at least one more go-to spell (the return of Heal, filling the gap between Flash and Greater). We’ll have Power Word: Umbrella. And of course, Life Grip. Those are just a few key abilities, to say nothing of an entirely new way to play: how we manage mana, how the encounters are designed, how we will be affected by larger health pools, how we navigate a new set of stats on gear, etc.

If you think back to the time period before WoLK dropped — probably around summer ’08 — we had the same tingling sensation, knowing big changes were coming. This is the calm before the storm.

Other than airy rambling, what I’m saying is this: enjoy yourself. Our spec is mature, well-defined. It’s not perfect, and it’s certainly not perfectly balanced. It has come a long way, as have we. Enjoy the comfort of playing something you know and love,  knowing that change is around the corner. Almost like spring semester as a senior; let’s make the best of the time we have before the Cataclysm, when we will have to relearn, well, not quite everything, but a whole lot.

The expansion is probably six months away. And for many of you, there’s a lot to do between now and then. Not so much for me. It’s already feeling like it’s winding down.

The guild

I haz none. The group I joined in December turned out to be, how shall I say: a very bad match. I gquit after we killed the Lich King in March. There are no compelling options on my server at the moment, which leaves me in a bit of a pickle.

For now, WoW is pretty easy mode for me, since pugs still don’t usually get very far. I don’t see apping across realms to be a good idea at the moment, so I’ll hang out until the big reset this fall, and in the meantime, have fun pugging with smaller friendly guilds.

And yes, I do look forward to ten-man raiding. A lot.


Ok, because I’m in limbo, I decided to play around with my spec. Why? Because our role as discipline is polarized. In 25-man content, we do little more than bubble bot. And in 10-man content, we can’t bubble bot; there just aren’t enough bodies to bubble. Instead, we do it all. You might call it tank healing, but really, it’s man-handling the entire raid.

 So? What about it? Have a look at a spec I’m playing with. This is all in the context of the above section: I’m not doing much hard-mode content, just playing around as an overgeared, 15%-buffed mercenary priest.

I’ve dropped some talents that are borderline useless in 25s (Grace, Improved Flash Heal), filled up on my GH potential (omg 5/5 Divine Fury and 2/3 Improved Healing) and PoH potential (Holy Reach and the glyph), mainly for 10-mans.

If you’re doing hard modes, you should be ignoring me about now.

The moral of the story? If you’re overgeared for content, boosted with a 15% gimme buff, and feel like futzing around, now is the time.  I’m enjoying some creative tinkering with no particular goal in mind, and no pressure to min-max myself to perfection.

On the move

On a more personal note, I’ll be moving next month. Across the country, to a new city, where I know few people, starting a new job. So it’s definitely the end of an era for me personally. My playtime will be affected, as will my blogging. Don’t be surprised by periods of inactivity! There is less to write about nowadays, and with the move coming, my attention will be elsewhere. Once I land, the process of starting a new life will take precedence over fantasy-game escapism. Hang tight though, I’m not closing up shop.

About the name

Since I snuck into random territory, I thought this would be a good chance to introduce the original Paolo. I’ve had numerous people in-game ask me if I’m named after this-or-that Paolo from real life. (Actually, they ask me if I really AM this-or-that Paolo.) I suppose that’s the price for picking a toon name that is very common in the world-at-large. I suspect DethBludXXNite does not get the same treatment.

The inspiration for the name comes from Mary Fahl, who is one of the bestest, most beautifulest singers around. I was listening to her music a lot back when I started this guy. Her EP Lenses of Contact has a song called “Paolo,” and while it’s not her best song, the name was in the right place at the right time, and it stuck. Her earlier band, October Project, is even better.

Instead of linking “Paolo” here, I’ll give you “Breathe,” a taste of her “coming soon” DSoM tribute record. Enjoy!