Dear Blizzard:

Thank you for putting in a 51-point talent in the Discipline tree that has the punch of a Greater Heal and the PEW-PEW! ability of a laser beam.  Nothing makes me feel better than to shoot healing lasers at my main tank.  He’s kind of a jerk sometimes, so knowing that I’m hating him without hurting him in a raid makes me feel better about myself.  Next time, you should make a heal that looks like you’re firing a cannon at someone.  It could be “The Penance 9000”.

Love, Kitts.

Please note that this is all opinion, this is not fact, and it’s based on my own experiences with this spec.  By no means is this the best way to do things, but to me it seems to work just fine!

The Discipline spec has overtaken the part of my heart that dances with glee everytime I get to do my favorite job: the healins’.  Now, it’s no Holy spec, where it’s your job to seriously keep up your raid nowadays instead of main tank heal (although Holy can still do this— I am envious of those 15k Greater Heal crits).  I think, however, my favorite part of this spec is the involvement of Power Word: Shield, a mostly unused spell by myself in the past.  And here’s why— when a mob strikes the shield, the amount absorbed is turned into up to 2.5% of your maximum mana.  That’s right— 2.5%!  I know, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but in some fights where you can throw multiple shields, you can actually make up the mana cost from spamming your shield.  Of course, this shouldn’t overtake your main job of healing “x”, but I firmly believe tanks take less damage than they used to.

The main stay of this spec is a combination of several things: the talent “Rapture”, “Divine Aegis”, “Grace”, “Renewed Hope” and “Penance”.  Here’s a small description of each:

  • Rapture“Causes you to gain up to X% (2.5% with all 5 points into it, .05% per talent point) of your maximum mana each time you heal withFlash Heal, Greater Heal, or Penance, or damage is absorbed by your Power Word: Shield or Divine Aegis. Increasing the amount healed or absorbed increases the mana gained.”

(Note: Remember, this is only the amount you HEAL.  Spamming heals will not gain you mana, but hurt you in the long run.  This doesn’t mean you should just wait for damage, but keep up a rotation that will enable you to gain mana back AND “spam” heals.)

  • Divine Aegis – “Critical heals provide a protective shield on the target, absorbing a percentage (30% of the critical heal; 10% per talent point) of the amount healed.”
  • Grace – “Your Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Penance spells have a chance (50% with 1 talent point, 100% with 2) to bless the target with Grace, reducing damage done to the target by 1% and increasing all healing received from the Priest by 2%. This effect stacks up to 3 times. Effect lasts 8 seconds.”
  • Renewed Hope – Increases the critical strike chance (2%/4%) of your Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Penance spells on targets afflicted by the Weakened Soul effect.
  • Penance – Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing Holy damage (288) to an enemy, or healing (1484 to 1676) to an ally every 1 sec for 2 sec.

Now, why do these talents make this build?  In my opinion, you should be using these spells in order to maintain some of the better efficient healing:

  • Power Word: Shield – The 45 to 50 point talent called “Borrowed Time”, which I did not mention above, increases the amount absorbed by your PW:S.  Coupled with the second tier talent that increases the amount it absorbs, it’s solid talent due to the effect of Rapture.  The secondary effect of “Borrowed Time” will also increase your spell haste by 25% for your next spell and this is great if you need to jump into a Greater Heal or a Prayer of Healing, as well as a Flash Heal.  Either way, this spell will help maintain your MP5 if you spam it on people you know who will take damage (like those crazy mages), or who is offtanking.  Of course, you want to use this on your MT as well because of another talent, “Renewed Hope” as it will increase the chance of you critting on that tank by 2 or 4%… but watch out!  This spell can and will pull aggro if your tank tends to “shoot first, ask questions later” as it will do an amount of aggro based on half of the absorption amount.
  • Penance – At first glance, this spell seems really strange.  A spell that can hurt that can also heal?  Crazy— unless you ask your favorite Death Knight, but honestly, he or she doesn’t use Death Coil on his ghoul often… but I digress.  This spell is way more useful than Greater Heal.  Its mana cost is about half of your Greater Heal’s highest rank, and will do almost the same amount if you combine all three of its highest ticks (1676 times 3 = 5028 in comparison to 4621 healed by GH rank 9).  However, Penance’s coefficient to heals is quite lower than Greater Heal because of its channeled nature.  The reason why Penance is still better is because of its capability to crit up to 3 times.  These crits not only proc your “Divine Aegis”, but will stack “Grace”, and if your tank is taking a lot of damage, you will gain a good deal of mana back.
  • Prayer of Mending – This spell will not only crit and proc a “Divine Aegis”, but will bounce around multiple times (6, if you’re lucky to have 2 pieces of T7) and is quite helpful overall.  It will, unfortunately, place threat onto you now instead of the tank, but it shouldn’t kill you (unless your tank is not on top of it).
  • Flash Heal – Most of my WWS ends up with having much more Flash Heal than any spell right now, and it’s not being used on the tank… it’s getting used on your raid that normally tends to take more damage than your tank.  If you’re getting a full heal benefit and getting 200 something mana back, this is great.  Once again, don’t spam this spell.  Not the most mana efficient!
  • Renew – Always remember to put this up, but personally, I forget.  I’m a terrible priest!  I don’t put points into the improved version… I’ll put my spec up towards the end.
  • Prayer of Healing – Your best group healing choice.  It’s really your only one.  It can crit, which procs “Divine Aegis”.  It’s great on Loatheb if you time it properly!
  • Greater Heal – Only used when my Penance is down, and I tend to use stopcasting on this one.  It’s crazy expensive unless you get a full heal and that is rare because of druid HoTs, bacon (tasty bacon) of light.  I use this on 25-man Patchwerk as if you crit with this, your “Divine Aegis” is all about it (tasty 4-5k bubble on top of PW:S…. oh baby).

There is one more factor involved in all of this, and it’s the debate of stat selection.  Discipline spec relies on high mana pools, high crit chance, and somewhat high haste.  We want a high mana pool because Rapture is based on the amount of mana you have.  The more mana you have, the more that 2.5% really is.  The higher crit you have, the better chance you proc your Divine Aegis, not to mention if you do crit and your tank is taking some hard damage, you will get better mana regen.  Finally, haste.  The faster your Penance is, the quicker you can get to PW:S and other spells.  The last thing you want to do is slowly channel Penance and watch your tank drop slowly but surely.

Why not spirit, or why is spirit not a huge factor?  Remember that Holy specced priests get more bang for their buck, as they will be picking up Spiritual Guidance, which does increase their damage and healing by 25% of their spirit.  Spirit was also nerfed with Wrath of the Lich King, meaning that pre-WotLK we got huge amounts of MP5 from spirit regardless, and intellect lessened the amount of spirit needed to get to a good amount of MP5.  Now, spirit and intellect ARE BOTH EQUALS in the equation.  It means you can pick up intellect and still get good MP5!  We also cannot forget as a discipline spec, intellect will increase mana pools and chances to crit.  Also, there is a lot of great gear on it with Spell Power, Crit Rating, and MP5… we want this.

In general, you want to aim for as much spell power as you can… but 25% spell crit and 10% spell haste are the limits before you start getting diminishing returns on those ratings.  We get 5% from Holy Specialization, and if you raid with a boomkin, you can get another 10%!

You can check my priest spec here.  I’m currently 58/13/0.  The 13 points in holy are Holy Specialization (crit increase), Divine Fury (reduces cast time on some spells), and Inspiration (increases armor by 25% on crit, and NO PRIEST SHOULD NOT HAVE THIS SPELL).  I don’t put points anywhere else because I want to grab talents in discipline that are helpful and mostly “ohcrap” buttons.

Anyway, thank you for reading.  I hope this encourages priests to go do something different, to stop hitting CoH and pick up a Penance 9000 and blast the heck out of your tanks with TLC (and heals)!

Sometime soon, I’ll write about Naxx 25!