Penance Priest

Discipline Priest Blog

The times, they are a-changing.

I actually think the times are conspiring. But you can’t mess with Bob Dylan, so “a-changing” it is. Here, friends and neighbors, is what’s up.

  • I’m now in a guild with real holy pallies. Like, two of them. They take care of tanks. Really well. I rarely bother even shielding the tanks anymore. If I have time I will, but it’s starting to feel like a waste.
  • We run with two priests: one is disc/holy, the other (me) is disc/shadow. When we’re both disc, I’m generally on raid, he’s pretending to assist the pallies.
  • Ergo: I am spending 95% of my healing time on the raid.
  • The boss tells me I’ll be doing shadow a lot more, so gear up, sonny.

Raid healing

While we’re here, allow me to teach you how to raid heal as discipline. Ready?

  1. PoM, shield, shield, shield, shield, shield, shield, shield, shield.
  2. See step 1.

I’ve been late to the progression party. Most of the last year I’ve been overgeared for the content I was in, as my previous guild moved very very slowly. I had been hearing about how discipline was falling behind on tank healing, but it wasn’t my experience. Well, now that I’m playing content at-level, and with a tag-team of power-pallies, it’s a brick wall to the face. In progression 25-man content, discipline is not a tank healer. Discipline is a raid healer. Or, as we like to say, with a smirk knowing what a lie this is, a “hybrid” healer. We are “hybrid” only if you have no more than one pally in your raid. Let’s face it though: tank healing is a long-lost dream. I miss it.

To those of you to whom this is obvious, or old news, I apologize.

Oh, one more thing, in case my raid-healing tutorial did not make it obvious. Raid healing as discipline is as boring as watching paint dry, and as challenging as tic tac toe.

I’m not having fun.

Tier gear

You did get my memo about tier 10, yes? It’s rotten, bad to the core, and should be removed from the game post-haste. If you have it already, enjoy it, but if you don’t, you should find somewhere else to spend your badges, especially if you’re a 25-man raider. (BobTurkey has some good suggestions.) If you’re a 10-man priest, the tier gear is a shade less evil.

And LOL if you think the throughput boost from the healing tier bonuses will do anything to improve our standing as tank healers.

Three pieces of T10 shadow are top-notch gear for discipline. Many of us are planning to buy shadow gear instead of healing gear for this tier. Sad. Weird. Confusing. But for those of us who are part-time shadow, it’s a mixed blessing. The shadow tier bonuses are pro.

The tipping point

I have plenty of gold, so I decided to craft the new items early. I got the pants made a few weeks ago, and made up my mind to get the boots crafted as well. They’re not perfect. Festergut’s boots are awesome, of course, but I thought I’d help myself and help my guild by moving quickly, freeing up those boots for someone else when they drop. If I replace my crafted boots later in the expansion, it’s fine; I won’t lament the lost gold.

Here’s the kicker. The healing boots are really nothing special for discipline. Too much wasted itemization on spirit. Everyone needs mana, but that’s just too much for my taste.

So I did something crazy. I made Deathfrost Boots instead.

“But wait,” you say. “Stop right there! How is the hit rating any less wasted than the spirit on the healy boots?”

Well, obviously, the hit is wasted.

For discipline.

Let’s review

I’m not enjoying discipline healing. I’ll be playing shadow half time. I’m buying a ton of shadow gear.

I’m a mediocre shadow priest. Not bad, mind you, just not great. There’s a lot of room for improvement in lots of areas. Since it has always been a neglected offspec, I never really bothered getting too serious about it. But apparently that’s going to change. I’m pretty excited about it; I love learning, I love going from good to great, and that’s what I’m planning to do.

Is discipline healing dead? No. Is it dying? It just might be.


So I got Mad Skill on 10-man last night. How exciting is this? It's very exciting, since I hadn’t even killed Anub10h before. How impressive is it? Well, not impressive at all. This late in the game, we're all geared to the teeth, mostly in 25-man stuff (including some 264s). And even though there were plenty of 232 alts in the run, the players behind the toons were very experienced in the content. Insanity was the goal, and it could very well have happened with this group, but for a few minor mistakes. Which is, after all, what Insanity is there to prove: that you can pull it off without mistakes.

I missed two full tiers of content: hard-mode Ulduar and heroic ToC. So now I'm on a new server, in a guild that's young but shit-hot, and where people are mostly just after One Light (for drakes) and Insanity (for pride, and the cloaks are damn good too). I'm getting whisked along as part of our “get to know each other” phase. It wouldn't be fair to say I'm being carried, but it wouldn't be entirely inaccurate either. I'd never seen Firefighter before, nor the Animus, nor limited-ice Anub. My experienced guildies are making it happen; I'm just following along, doing my healy thing, and snapping up long-lost achievements.

As of last week I had Iron Dwarf and Heartbreaker. Tonight I might get a drake and Starcaller. So what? Well, like I said, it's nothing to brag about at this stage, but it's still satisfying to recover from months of progression-less farming on my last server. My old guild is a fairly strong 10-man guild with enough good people to fill up the 25s. The guys in the 10-man core are progressing, and I'm happy for them, and wish them all the best in going as far as they can. I wasn’t in that 10-man core, which meant my raid time was spent farming old content (boring) or attempting 25-man hard modes for which we didn't meet the minimum dps requirements. Too easy or too hard. No one is to blame for this; it's a server issue more than a guild issue. But it basically describes the main reason I've moved on. Again, I’m not trying to dis the great people in my last guild, but I’ve had a lot of “why did you leave”s, and felt the need to clarify.

Never underestimate the Goldilocks effect: the most satisfying content is just right: it provides a challenge, but not too much, and not too little. I can't tell you how important this aspect of the game is, especially for those in management roles. Keeping your raiders happy is not about giving them loot; it’s about keeping them on this “just right” edge of progression, wherever that may be for your group. I'm convinced that my new guild will stay on the Goldilocks edge for a long time, and this is pure win. With the right amount of ever-increasing challenge, on content that gives you the right chance to succeed if you give it your all...that's when you start to flow, start to really have fun, and start to remember why you play in the first place.