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Making the Switch to Disc

March 16, 2009


I’ve been having a blast on my Holy Priest lately.  During the leveling journey from 70-80, I did little else than grind instances.  By the end of the trip, I felt very comfortable with my rotation/abilities/ohcrap buttons.  (Except Divine Hymn, but that will be a noobtacular post for another day!)  Yesterday, I successfully healed VoA10, OS25, VoA25, and a Timed CoS run for the drake and all went much better than I could’ve imagined…especially the timed run, man I am still SO geeked about that!!

I had signed up for a chance to try my hand at healing Naxx and after talking to my guild’s Main Healer, decided to try a Discipline spec when raiding with him.  Our other raid healer is usually a Resto Druid and it seemed that a Holy Priest, Disc Priest, and Tree would work out really well together.  The Resto Druid and CoH Holy Priest are great with raid-wide heals and topping people off and a Disc Priest’s bread and butter – where they really shine – is healing a single target (Or two when you have an OT) as well (or better in some cases) than a Healadin.  I still have some work to do on my gear and stats, but overall – I like what I’m seeing.  18k mana, 18k health, 1900 SP, 16.5% holy crit, 10% haste.  I’d love to have better mana regen as I can’t really sustain myself when the crap hits the fan in a five man.  Pulled way too many?  I can keep you alive (and myself a lot better than when I was Holy) but the DPS better be on par or I’m not going to last.  I had some serious mana issues last night during Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle – namely during that hellacious gauntlet event.  By the time Skadi would land, I would be OOM.  My mana regens pretty quickly when I’m outside of the FSR, but for a fight like that – the poor DPS warrior (Sorry K!) went down several times on the first whirlwind when I was struggling to keep the tank up.  I’ve noticed that Disc Priests are really lacking with their AOE heals (they should be – that’s what Holy Priests do) but it was hard for me to break the habit of going for the instant CoH to give myself enough time to cast Prayer of Healing if needed.  Disc requires FAST reactions…if you hesitate too long, your tank is dead/dps is dead/you’re dead.  Of course, last night I was hesitating because I don’t know the spec yet or the abilities.  I can read about it until my eyes bleed, but I just gotta get in there and try it out to learn.  I did successfully heal Heroic Azjol’Nerub right before the H UP group…so I’m not totally UBER SUCK, lol.

I will say that after doing some quests to make some money, I was very impressed at how fast things were dying.  Also, the few Horde I came across surely regretted encroaching on my territory because I put them down without any major problems.  Sure, I’m level 80 and the few Horde that wanted to pick a fight with a Priest out by her lonesome questing were 78-80, but an HK is still an HK – especially on a build that I’m not familiar with, lol.

I’ve always wanted to try Disc because of my healing style – I like moving around, I like short quick casts, I like using the shield when I can get away with it, etc.  I also remember the first time I was healed by Prayer of Mending/Penance combo and I felt assaulted by heals because of the graphics and what they do to your character and it made me laugh…I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of doing that to other people!

I decided to go with this build.

So far I have a few thoughts (keep in mind that I haven’t even been Disc for a full 24 hours!) that I want to keep track of to see if I improve/answer my own questions, etc.

Mana Regen Issues: Gear Problem or User Error.  I’m inclined to believe that it’s User Error and I’m not playing the spec correctly.  Will research this a bit and hopefully with time, I will get as comfy with Disc as I was with Holy.
-AOE Heals: Prayer of Healing is TOO slow sometimes.  Especially when the whole group gets sprayed with a debuff I can’t remove like Poison.  Some of the poisons in Heroics eat though health so fast, it’s hard to keep someone up even when you’re spam healing them with Flashes.
-Penance: Gotta train myself to go for this button more often.  It’s so fun to use!
-Pain Suppression: Excellent for the last 20% of a boss’s health when they like to go all red and super angry.  Hopefully this will be a reflexive choice soon.
-Power Infusion: O.M.G.  I love this spell.  You should see how fast my little Draenei booty can toss out the flash heals when this is active.  It’s insane!
-Love the bubble graphic people get after crit heals.

So far, I’m not very happy with Disc for 5 man Heroic healing.  I’m hoping that my first foray into Naxx isn’t a debacle because of this spec, but if it is – I’ll be respecing right after, lol.  And I also hope that it’s just User Error and that with time, I’ll come to like it.

It’s good to be in a guild that lets you try things out.  🙂

Update:  I’ve already switched back to Holy.  After three separate epic failures trying to heal Heroics (ok, not really epic failures as we got them all done, but after numerous wipes which I perceive to be an epic failure on my end) I decided Disc is NOT for me for small groups right now.  It still remains to be seen if it will work for raiding for me.  🙂  The time to test this will be when dual specs are available.  It’s too expensive to reglyph/regem/respec back and forth testing things out.

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7 comments

  1. Long time ago since my last comment, but I’m still arround reading your Blog. As you might know I also play a healing priest. I’m currently specced deep into holy. This is a quite good spec for a lot of AoE healing! Which currently is much more fun then healing single targets in raids. Single target healing in raids means spamming the heal button all the time and not doing anything else. There is no chance to run Oom with all the buffs in the raids.

    On the other hand Blizzard noticed that healing won’t go oom anymore. Even when they keep spamming the healing buttons all the time and generate a overhealing percentage of 60-70%. So that is why there comes a huge mana regen nerf in patch 3.1. For priests it means that you will get 40% less mana regen from spirit. So in this case it would be better if you start collecting as many mp5 gear if possible from heroics and dungeons. That is the stat that will regen the priests mana!

    Anyway good luck on your healing adventure!


  2. Discipline really sounds like being a holy paladin. Which is why I’m leveling a priest right now (to be holy 70-80 so I can heal instances).


  3. @Willel: Discipline will be great for healing 5 man instances once patch 3.1 is out. With the group shield and cheaper flash heals and ofcourse penance it is pretty easy to keep your group up.


  4. I’ve been playing my priest disc since LK came out. I’m always slow to 80 with my first two 80s just hitting this week, including the priest.

    I like disc much more than I liked holy. With holy I felt very bored healing and disc now seems much more my style and much more fun, more buttons, etc.

    But disc currently does have some need for improvement and they are making some of those in patch 3.1 which I’m very excited for. The first is that Divine Aegis will now stack. This means when I crit twice in a row or more they won’t overwrite the previous Divine Aegis instead just add to the shield. Yay! The bonuses to flash heal will be nice as well.

    You are right though, disc is very weak in group healing. It is critical that the DPS not rely on getting heals and play smart. I would ask “Did the fury warrior even attempt to get out of the Whirlwind? Or did they stand there waiting on some sort of heal?” When I play my DPS toons I expect no heals. I feel this makes me a smarter DPS player because I know what a healer is giong through and thinking, and that their primary focus should be one target, the tank. Disc is tank healing. So it truly does require smart DPS to be successful in 5-mans.

    Also if you find yourself short on mana, disc has three answers, one is shadowfiend, which all have, the other is focused will for the mana free cast (best used before Prayer of Healing) and then self cast power infusion for 20% reduced mana costs. I know these aren’t end alls.

    Disc is very different from Holy and it will take time to adjust to the play style. Disc is catching up and next patch will be even a more viable PvE healer.


  5. One more note on Prayer of Healing, with talents you get a 25% haste on your next spell after a PW:Shield, if you can anticipate AOE damage or have time to time it out casting PW:Shield on the tank followed by Prayer of Healing will take that 3 second cast down to 2.25 seconds (plus any other haste you have), this makes the PoH heals much more “acceptable”. But it’s really about timing then and I realize sometimes you don’t have time.



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