Healing: Stop. Breathe. Think.

You’re healing a level 83 normal dungeon… the tank takes damage.

OMG I MUST HEAL THE TANK RIGHT NAO!

Probably not.

OMG HE IS GOING TO DIEEEEE!

Not in the next 5 seconds, no.

Stop. Think. You do have the time for this.

How about a Hot followed by an efficient heal.

MAYBE? NO! HE WILL DIEEEEEE WHILE I AM CASTING IT.

Probably not.

IT DIDN’T HEAL HIM TO FULL RIGHT AWAY!!

Hit him again with it.

THE TANK IS AT 75%! I MUST TOP HIM OFF OR HE WILL DIEEEEE!

Oh geez, no. Quit it.

OMG NOW THE RAID IS TAKING DAMAGE!

Well, how much damage?

DOES IT MATTER? IN THE NEXT GCD THEY COULD BE DEAAAAD!

Probably not. Will topping them off cause a lot of overheal?

WELL YES BUT THEY MIGHT DIEEEEE!

No, stop that. They will not die.  Leave them alone for now.

BUT BUT BUT.

Seriously.

OMG, NOBODY IS TAKING ANY DAMAGE NOW, I SHOULD PRE-HOT EVERYONE AND REFRESH STUFF AND GET READY FOR ARMAGEDDON.

No. Stop that. Put down the renew and back away from the keybinding.

I MUST CAST! I AM TWITCHY! THINGS CAN GO WRONG IN A FRACTION OF A SECOND!

Well, if you truly have nothing to do, you can cast hymn of hope to regain mana….

OMG I HAVE TIME FOR THAT?

… or DPS…

HOORAY PEW PEWPEWPEW!!!

… if you have taken the appropriate talents so that it buffs your healing in some way…

DOH!

… and it doesn’t use up the mana that you need to otherwise heal through the rest of the fight…

BUZZKILL.

Just sit there until you’re needed.

BUT THAT IS BORING.

Think about puppies and kittens, then.

OH PUPPIES AND KITTENS ARE NICE.

Hunter Alt Bringing out the Girly Side

I have gone from practical to dumb and squealy in about 30 seconds. I blame the Hunter.

Oh, it started innocently enough. I started a human hunter (the rationale being that I’m very familiar with the human starting zones and wanted to see how they had changed). I started out just keeping my starter-pet (a wolf) figuring that in the absence of knowledge about what the pets actually do, I might as well keep what I have.

Then I saw the Redridge Fox. It was so freakin cute. Don’t ask me what foxes do. Don’t ask me the relative advantages or disadvantages over a wolf. I have no clue.  I started squealing “OMG IT’S SO CUTE I MUST HAVE ONE LIKE NOW!!!” and ATT just looked at me like I was a freak.

Fortunately, I was to get the ability to tame a second pet in one level. If it had been many levels, I might have broken something.

It’s named “Box“.

I swear, I’m going to be the worst hunter on earth because I will be picking pets based on cuteness and end up with an attack bunny

I have officially lost my damn mind.

Choices in the Holy Tree or Lack Thereof

I love Holy. I do. The new playstyle is just awesome.

But… there are so many talents that I just despise.  I am not sporting two talents, Lolwell and Improved Death, that I thought I never would touch just so I could shed some equally fail talents and still get 31 points in the tree.

My Current Spec

Wowhead Link

Not a lot of wiggle room in Holy, AMIRITE?

What I dropped like a hot potato

Surge of Light. I used Heal a lot. This still procced like never.  It’s FIRED.

State of Mind.  This used to be cool when…. (1) Chakra had a 1 min cooldown and (2) your prayer of healing would refresh 4 seconds per target hit (so back up to 30 right quick). Neither of these apply anymore, so screw it, right? Chakra doesn’t have a GCD, and it has a 30 second cooldown, so it can be refreshed immediately. There’s no mana or time advantage to extending.

Blessed Resilience is, of course, a pee vee pee talent.

At 85?

A lot of this depends on ye olde disc-smite experiment, but I’m going to assume, for the sake of argument, that smite is better than the rest of the crap in the top of the disc tree and go with a smite-archangel build. Ugh. WHY?

Wowhead Link.

This is all, of course, subject to change based on EJ mathery and any changes Blizz makes to talents blah blah caveats.

Edit 12/13 (now that I’ve played some moar cata….)

1. I hate that 85 spec.  I was basing this spec on ye olde Spiritual Guidance where Dawn Moore said that holy priests would want to take archangel for mana, which I found unconventional but hey, she’s the expert in beta.  However, I’ll probably try something closer to this.

2. Since writing this, I have used Lolwell zero times.

3. Since writing this, Improved Death and my subsequent fail angel saved us from a most embarrassing wipe. I’m beginning to think this talent is quite useful, at least while we’re still learning.

4. Suzushiiro has a valid point that one point in State of Mind gives just enough wiggle room so that you can reapply chakra before it drops off completely.

Testing a Discipline Smite Build in the Name of Science

Ugh, I hate smiting. But ATT is leveling his priest as disc and is just yapping all the time about how awesome it is.

Fine. I’ll try your dumb smite spec.

The Spec

Here it is:

This spec allows me, I feel, to do smite-healing if I so desire (it includes Evangelism, Archangel, and Atonement) but it still doesn’t gimp my healing in times when I can’t work smite into the rotation. It still has all the basic elements of a strong bubble spec.

I gotta say, I tried a few versions of this and spent way too much money adjusting.

This is NOT a srs bzns dps spec. This is a spec that is for healing, with smiting augmenting my healing output.

Why I didn’t take what I didn’t take…

Now, these talents might work for you, but hopefully I’ve explained why they didn’t work for me (and trust me, I’ve tried em.)

Inner Sanctum – With any luck, I won’t be getting hit. If Inner Will proves to be awesome, I’ll have to reevaluate.

Reflective Shield – That’s pvp, yo

Strength of Soul – At first this looked awesome. If you’re main tank healing, you can use Heal to shave time off Weakened Soul, so you can re-bubble sooner. However, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and doesn’t work in practice. If I’m sweating bullets that Weakened Soul is on the tank, and watching the cooldown with anticipation so I can re-bubble the tank, chances are in that horrid situation, I’m not using Heal. I’m using Penance, Gheal, and anything else I can toss at the tank. So in practice, I’m not seeing the use for this, and I decided after trying it out to spec out of it. I’m Ok with Heal, and I use Heal, but it just doesn’t work in this situation. If this talent worked off FHeal, Gheal and/or Penance, I’d be all over it.

Train of Thought – It looked awesome to reduce the penance cooldown. However, I was casting maybe 2 Smites while Penance was on cooldown. There was just too much healing to do in-between. So I dropped this talent.

Focused Will – That’s PvP Right?

Again, I made these choices based on creating a healing spec, not a smite-dps spec and not a leveling spec.

What I currently have but could live without

Inner Focus – Right now, I live by this one because I’m a sole priest in a heal team made up of me and 2 pallies. Even when I’m in disc spec, I need to use Prayer of Healing. So I keep Inner Focus to help pump it up and lessen the mana cost.

Power Infusion – What’s not to like about moar HPS, less mana? Of course I cast it on myself!

Mental Agility – I’ll have to see how the mana stuff plays out as I level up, but I can see myself dropping one or more points out of this if something else is totally necessary.

Darkness – Maybe haste will be awesome. Maybe EJ will advise to skip that talent and get haste on gear instead. I’m keeping an open mind.

The Plan for 85

Something like this:

Again with the caveats mentioned above, depending on whether certain abilities prove to be more or less useful.

In my opinion, Inspiration is a must for single-target healing, and quite useful even for AOE healing. Unless you’re a smite-monkey thinking only of smite, I’d take it.

Surge of Light is failsauce and procs almost never.

Desperate Prayer is OK, but if you’re disc, you’ll be reaching for the bubble, not the desp prayer. If you need both, you are in serious deep doodoo.

The Glyph

You need the Glyph of Divine Accuracy (improves your hit rating for smite only), otherwise you’ll be missing a lot. Like an embarrassing amount. The dummy and I weren’t friends.

The rest of my glyphs are focused on healing. Sure, there are glyphs to pump your dps, but as mentioned above, I’m using smite primarily to boost healing, not to do srs bzns dps.

The Tracking

I just cheated and used Tales of A Priest’s POWA page. It’s far easier to import a set and fiddle with it to your liking than to create from scratch.

The Keybindings

I am using mostly Clique for smite. See, my target and focus boxes are right next to my healing boxes because I used to center wild growth around the mob, so I needed them all close together.  That way I am just click-healing, interspersing smites in there, and I don’t really have to change gears.

The Dumb Advice

Evangelism stacks: Use it or lose it. Repeat after me: use it or lose it.

Anytime the stacks are about to expire and you can’t get them back up in time, hit your fairy wings (Archangel)!  Even if it’s the end of a freakin pull and you won’t pull the next group in time. Why?  It’s free mana.  Don’t let those stacks expire. It’s a complete waste to let them expire.

Sure, Archangel has a cooldown. But it’s such a short cooldown (especially compared to its duration), and you have to build up your stack again… you will never have “this ability is not ready yet.”

Abandon the idea that you need 5 stacks of Evangelism before popping Archangel. You don’t. If you can, fabulous. But if you’re 3 stacks in and starting to have to heal more than smite, pop your fairy wings and get your partial benefits NOW. You can start building your stacks again before the wings even expire. There’s no point in getting to 5 stacks and the fight is over. Pop those fairy wings.

That's totally a pink-pigtailed gnome priest!

Side Effects (Leveling to 85)

Though, as mentioned a million times, this spec is geared toward healing and not dpsing or leveling, this spec does fairly well in the 80-85 grind. Keep in mind that I have ATT as a leveling buddy, so my role is that of mediocre dps and healer-backup. This spec is excellent for survivability (of self and leveling buddy) and sustained chain pulling (mana regen is good) and still provides reasonable DPS, though if you are leveling without a buddy, the kills might take longer than you’d like. If I were leveling as Holy, I might shoot myself.

Conclusion

Smite-heal spec is still lame as a healing spec. My dps is fail while doing intermittent smites between heals (because evangelism doesn’t gain that many stacks) and people need a lot of healing – direct healing.

Smite-heal spec is decent for leveling, but not the most awesome unless you spec more for DPS than I did. With dual spec available and cheap, I’m sure you can find a way that works for you.

I would say to do a smite spec as your disc healing spec ONLY if you can do so without missing out on core discipline talents that would allow you to chain bubble and single-target heal. Because there will be fights where you are NOT smiting, and you need to be awesome in those fights too. Right now I have a smite-heal spec that allows me to bubble-heal like normal… but if that were to change and I had to choose between pure-heal spec and a smite-heal spec, I would not choose a smite-heal spec. It’s just not powerful enough.

Good Priest, Bad Priest (Leveling comparison)

I mentioned that I was leveling a gnome priest as a means towards seeing the world changes from a character level appropriate. Well the experiment is continuing and I’ve passed the level 30 mark which means I can now dual spec for the low price of 10g. This allows me to touch on what Dana said in the comments of the last post:

Thank you so much!  I just rolled an undead priest myself ( my friends and husband insisted horde grrrrr) and was somewhat curious about dicipline.  I ended up choosing shadow because my husband was a shadow preist back in BC and he had fun with it.  I may respec if the damage isn’t too low.

Now while we can all mourn her faction and race choice, since if you have to be a dirty hordie, a Goblin priest is the only way to go, it allows me to revist the comparison of the two specs from a damage and leveling perspective.

One is straight laced and by the book, the other is a loose cannon and always in trouble with the Bishop. Together they are a bad guy's worst nightmare.

When leveling, it is important to remember you are using a different method than you might employ in a raid style boss fight. The keys to leveling is a spec that:

  1. has a good degree of survivability
  2. is capable of respectable DPS
  3. has low downtime.

Let’s stack these two specs against each other and see in the 30s which is better for leveling.

The Specs

To start off here is a link to each spec so you can see what I chose. My focus was towards PVE leveling not min maxing for PVP or running instances as a sole means of experience. Discipline relies as Smite as a main nuke with the goal to maintain a full stack of Evangelism and use Penance or Holy Fire when off cooldown. Shadow relies on applying Shadow Word Pain and Devouring Plague and using Mind Flay as filler and Mind Blast when it strikes my fancy.

Survivability

It is important to note that Shadow Priests cannot get Vampiric Embrace until level 39 at the earliest, while Discipline can start putting points into improved shields in the first tier and can have smite healing themselves with Atonement if they are close to the target by level 29. It isn’t to say that Shadow is a glass cannon, they can always shield themselves in Shadowform and if things get real bad they can always throw a big heal out. But based on my experience Discipline feels more durable at this point since it is designed to be a shield happy smite for healing spec.

Edge: Discipline

Damage Dealt

For this I was using mobs in Hinterlands while questing. I’d chain kill five or six mobs with Recount resetting after each fight. I’d then switch to the other spec and repeat the multiple mob kill test. I did this for a while. The thing that surprised me was that Discipline did just as well as Shadow. Shadow did better on slightly longer fights while Discipline did better on short kills. Discipline was more prone to higher burst damage. If you get a few crits the damage is really nice. This is largely due to Evangelism.

Evangelism is the keystone of a Smite DPS build.

Now when you have five stacks of this you are hitting for 20% on all your key DPS spells, and you are paying less mana for it. This is insanely powerful and something Discipline priests should have talented for by 21. So it seems that on the early half of the leveling curve Discipline has no significant disadvantage to  Shadow for DPS output. I have to think though that as priests get higher in level the DPS output has to cross in favor of Shadow. But as of level 35 it is still anyone’s game.

One other thing to note is that this is from the perspective of just questing. There might be a scenario where the longer fights in instances against bosses might favor shadow significantly over discipline, but since most likely a leveling priest is killing 10 X for NPC Y the fights don’t seem to last long enough for it to pan out like that.

Edge: None

Downtime

When looking at how to effectively quest you want a spec that doesn’t require you to stop and drink every third fight. Here Discipline comes out ahead again. First the mana costs of Shadow’s DoTs are pretty high compared to Smite and Penance.

Second, discipline gets:

  • 50% mana regeneration while casting
  • Evangelism stack means your key DPS spells are costing up to 30% less,
  • Archangel consumes Evangelism for extra mana
  • Power Infusion reduces casting costs

You will not notice your mana bar dipping very fast at all.

While Shadow, I found that I was stopping to drink way more and that time spent drinking is time you aren’t getting stuff done. Now this will probably be mitigated when Shadow can get Vampiric Touch at 49, but that is a long way off, and there are a lot of things to kill between now and then. The prospect of chain pulling is not daunting at all in Discipline, while Shadow will need to be a bit more measured.

Edge: Discipline

Conclusion (TL;DR)

So at 35 I find that Discipline is a better spec for questing than shadow. As I level I will periodically check back and see where it crosses over for Shadow and try to figure out why. All I know is that if Shadow never pulls away and is a clear dominant DPS spec that endgame will see some Discipline DPS due to the utility of having a DPSer who can heal without gimping themselves in a raid.

OMG CATACLYSM!

In case you’re wondering, all the authors of Murloc Parliament are snug in bed, totally asleep, because we’re not nuts1. I mean, midnight Pacific? That’s 2AM. We have jobs.

  1. Scheduled posts FTW

Clique Binding Sets and You

Today we’re going to talk about “binding sets” in Clique.  Don’t be scared.  It will be awesome!

Default

So, you notice that when you bind your clique keys normally, it just says “default.”

That’s your default binding, as in… it’s what the spell would naturally do if you just cast it (with a mouseover, because clique does that automatically).

A spell's gotta do what a spell's gotta do.

This means….

  • A healing spell is going to heal friendly targets, because that’s what it does. If you try to heal a hostile target, it will either give you an error message or heal YOU (if you have the setting checked in the Wow interface that casts a spell on yourself if you have no appropriate target.)
  • A pew pew spell is only going to work if you mouse over an enemy, and you’ll get an error message if you try to use it on a friend.
  • A multi-purpose spell like Penance will heal if you have an ally moused-over and will pew pew if you have an enemy moused-over.

Default should be appropriate for 90% of what you’re doing with clique… but let’s explore some other stuff.

Stuff That Does Not Use a Target

Have you tried to use clique with something like Holy Nova, Mass Dispel, etc – where you don’t have a target.  However, the binding won’t work unless you hover over a frame (any frame). Epic fail, right?

There’s a fix for that. Right click on the binding and select Enable/Disable Binding Sets.  At which point you will be able to select “Global bindings (no target).”

You can select it without unselecting default.  That’s totally fine.

Now you can use your binding with your mouse anywhere on the screen.

Sharing Bindings

Let’s say you want shift-click to be Flash Heal, but when you mouse over an enemy, you want shift-click to be Smite. You can do that, no problem!

Leave Flash Heal as default, and then change Smite to enemy (and unselect default).

I don’t recommend doing this with a spell that is multi-purpose, like Penance, that already has an “enemy” component. It’s doable, as discussed later, but why would you want to?

The Rest (and why I don’t use them)

Friend

Your heals should work fine in the default setting, and there’s no point in setting your heals to “friend”.

Not only is setting the heals to “friend” unnecessary in most cases, but may limit your spell abilities without you realizing it. For example, Wild Growth CAN be targeted on a mob and splash AROUND that mob. In fact, it’s the best way to make sure both the tanks in front of the mob and the melee behind the mob get hit. If you set your Wild Growth binding to “friend”, you can’t center it on the mob anymore.

If you have a multi-purpose spell like Penance or Dispel Magic, you can set it to “friend” rather than default to effectively disable the offensive capability of the spell when you mouseover a hostile target. This could ONLY possibly be useful if you are accidentally harming mind-controlled targets with your penance, but that happens so infrequently.

Out Of Combat Only

You can use out-of-combat to “share” a binding. You can bind rezes and buffs to the same bindings you use for heals in combat.

DO NOT DO THIS! Often, you do not get into combat until you cast the first heal… and you can’t cast the first heal because you are out of combat and your binding wants to rez.

Hovercast Bindings (Target Required)

I’ll be honest. I can’t get this one to work. Clique already casts on your mouseover. I thought this one might prevent you from having to use [@mouseover] in a custom clique macro, but nope, it doesn’t do that either. Steer clear.

Parliamentary Papers

Whut?  We haven’t done this in like FOREVER.  Onward!

Jasyla at Cannot be Tamed has a bunch of awesome charts comparing healing spells by class. Oh and she moved to self-hosted, so if you haven’t updated your feed or bookmark, get on it.

Psynister talks about Overlooked Changes that have occurred in the shattering.  A bunch of these were a surprise to me. (Hint: dual spec is even earlier and cheaper.)

Gauss displays Cataclysm Print Ads that are snarfle-worthy. Check them out!

Don’t think we’re missing the new cata class spec and gear guides that are coming out – they are being added (probably weekly) to the appropriate class page.

Who has 8 fingers and is part of Team Heal?

This gnome right here!

The leveling game has been redesigned. My favorite race has a new class. Time to roll an alt. Meet Walkitoff the grumpiest pint of healing you ever saw (until you meet my wife formerly known as The Cranky Healer).

So here is my initial take and rules. First off I’m taking all my cloth heirlooms and giving it to the gnome. Sorry Charlie, it may not be a “pure ” leveling experience, but I have stuff to do. I’m leveling discipline.

I see you walking around with the loot I want and I’m like SMITE YOU! Oooo-ooo-ooo.

The silver in my pocket just isn’t enough so I’m like SMITE you and SMITE her too!

It seemed like a nice blend of healing and DPS. And I’m just going where the quest givers tell me. So far that has been the Gnome starting area, general Dun Morogh, Loch Modan and starting the Wetlands now. And if I feel like it, I’ll random dungeon queue for a heal spot.  I will in all good faith attempt to complete the quests I am given not abandoning them regardless if they turn gray to me. (I’d like to note that I’ve done these zones rather recently as we leveled lowbie alts when determining if Alas’ Guild was a good fit for us.)

On the Quests

There are fewer than before. Some are new and relevant to the world changes. Some have been tweaked. For example previously you needed to kill Wendingos for hides. Now, just go kill some and come back. It speeds it up and makes the whole process take less time. Quest hubs that have two or three quests are almost always directing you to the same area so the bears you have to get bear rump from are mingled with the spiders you need to kill. Very nice for efficient and directed gameplay.

There are also generally fewer mobs in a group. Previously, the troggs you have to kill for the early Loch Modan quests were close enough together you had to overpower them some if a pull went bad. Now they are spread out so much that accidentally pulling two seems highly unlikely. The breadcrumbs leading you from one quest hub to another are pretty straightforward.

They are generally more fun than before. You feel like you are accomplishing things and making progress.

On the Zones

Everything seems to have a purpose. They do a very nice job of directing you with quests to see all of the zone. Just by doing the quests it is completely probable you will get the exploration achievement in the process of doing all your things. The changes from the shattering are also evident in sometimes subtle ways. There are caves I remember from before that were Frostmane Troll stomping grounds. But with Azeroth’s ground opening up more, the Troggs have over run that cave and now you quest through seeing all these Frostmane Troll corpses littering the ground.

The drained Loch is also pretty impressive. You see remnants of the dock, the shoreline etc. It feels like something important has changed. Other things have shifted slightly like the Orge area is further west than I remember, but it feels fine.

Lots of flight points. Perhaps one of my biggest complaints about the Old old world was having to walk everywhere as a noob before having a mount, now major quest hubs and even some minor ones have their own flight point. The Gol’Bolar Quarry Mine for instance has a flight point. It is a small thing, but it helps a lot.

On the Abilities and Skills

This is not my first priest. I have previously leveled a priest to 30, twice before losing momentum. So far, I feel you get a healthy pace of introduction to new abilities as you go. In fact, at the very beginning you don’t even have a heal, you just have smite.

By level 10, I chose discipline and it made me feel very powerful throwing penance at things’ faces. Having lots of experience as a mage and a decent amount of time playing  a lock, caster DPS feels natural to me, and through the 27 levels I’ve played so far I don’t feel gimped at all despite playing a healing class and in a healish spec.

Previously, at this point in my leveling life, I would have been shadow, because the old wisdom was “shadow to level, anything else would take too long”. I like that I feel I have a choice in what I play and not feel penalized for not going down a given path. What I am really curious about is if a Discipline spec at max level could be a viable dps spec.

On the Dungeon Finder

At level 16, I queued up to see how I’d do at healing. I ran Ragefire twice and Deadmines once. My group was 4 gnomes and a human hunter (we ran through two of them) and then the Human hunter dropped and we got a Night Elf Hunter. I didn’t find healing (and bear in mind I have heirlooms) that challenging at that level, so I figure a true beginner would probably not be a huge liability if they went healing early in the game.

Ragefire is still pretty boring, kill trash get the boss. The deadmines got a major facelift which is weird since I thought of the Old World dungeons it was one of the better ones especially at the late teens through early twenties.

The best part is that it auto prompts you that a quest is available in that instance as you go. So maybe there are some additional quests you’d pick up in Westfall I don’t know, but completely ignorant of that I still had 3 or 4 quests presented to me.

The boss fights are more complicated than before. There is a real sense that they are teaching you not to stand in the ick early on. The bosses are new, the geography is the same. And the final boss was a good choice for the redesign.

How Powerful Am I?

As of last night I have only died once through 27 levels.

And what killed me?

Freaking Deathwing. I was about to log off for the night settling into the inn and boom! Dead. I was kind of annoyed since I had the “perfect game” going til Zelmaru told me people are complaining about not getting the achievement and have tried camping in places to get it.  So then I felt like a jerk. In case you are wondering, I was in the Wetlands in the inn in the marsh up north near that crappy windmill.

Final Thoughts

I am pretty happy playing and leveling a priest. Zel says she loves Discipline but doesn’t like the idea of a smite spec (healers heal not DPS!). But I’m thinking in a raid fight where 2 healers is too few and 3 healers is too many, a smite spec priest might slide in nicely. Not topping either meter but act as a great utility player. Or in a 5 man where the toons overgear it some you could smite it up and speed stuff along.