So for some time now there’s been a raging debate regarding the effect of the secondary stats of crit and haste within the priest community. There has been much screaming and yelling of loud voices as people swear by one stat or the other. My fellow blogger etherjammer has made many a post arguing the benefits of haste and doing all the head turning math to back it up. Except for the occasional blurb in my posts, however, I have been mostly quiet on this subject, refusing to enter into what I was sure would be somewhat of a touchy subject.
Well, I can be silent no more! The time has come to force my opinion upon the masses until they cry for mercy, which they shall not get! You see, what set this off was last night I was doing a 10 man Ulduar run wherein Lady Maye’s Sapphire Ring dropped from the Assembly of Iron. I immediately started salivating when I saw the stats and spellpower boost, but cried a little when I saw that this ring contained haste instead of crit on it. The high amount of spirit makes this feel like a healy ring and I would’ve been a fool to pass it up (which is why I’m wearing it now), but I found it odd that even in the face of such an obvious upgrade, I would hesitate.
Fact is, as a Holy Priest, I love crit. I love it when my crit percentage soars above 30% during raids and get all gooey inside when I see a big ol’ 18k+ heal on my target. However, it’s not just all about numbers. As holy spec, I have three separate talents that proc off of my critical heals, making me more efficient as a healer. There’s Inspiration, which leaves behind a 25% armor boost to whoever receives a critical hit, which is especially important on tanks. Then there’s Surge of Light, which has a 50% chance to proc on each crit and gives me a free Flash Heal or Smite. And finally there’s Holy Concentration which gives me a 50% bonus to mp5 every time I crit. This last one is the major one really, with priests hoping to have it up almost 100% of the time during fights.
Beyond even the talent specialization, there’s the idea that if you crit a Greater Heal on a tank who’s almost dead, you can pretty much bring them back to about 50 to 60 percent health, buying time for other healers to get him to full. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve breathed a sigh of relief when I saw a heal crit in that sort of situation and what I thought might be dangerously close to a wipe turned into a successful encounter. Fact is, crit is important to the holy priest and you want a lot of it as it makes you more mana efficient and will help to boost damage mitigation for your tanks.
It seems though that Blizzard somewhat disagrees with my crit loving ways though and that is evident by the sheer amount of haste and spirit heavy gear in Ulduar. Whereas before it was difficult to build a full haste gear without giving up stats and ilevel, this time around haste is everywhere and crit is somewhat of an endangered species. They even made it so our tier gear has more haste than crit if you get the complete set, though people do usually mix and match. However, if you look through the 25 man loot table for priests, you’ll find 9 crit items, 15 haste items and 2 with both (I didn’t count anything with just hit on it). This means that if you want to stack crit, you’ll have to settle for some inferior items from Ulduar 10, but if you want to stack haste, you’re gold.
But don’t take my love of crit as a hatred of haste. Haste is a useful stat to be sure and if you haven’t read etherjammer’s posts on the subject, I certainly recommend you do so. Though you might want to skip to the end of the more intensive math parts like I did since that stuff makes me go cross eyed after a while. I may disagree with his philosophy of haste as a stat you want to stack, but I respect his opinion and see much merit in his arguments regardless. Haste does benefit classes beyond just the simple idea of casting spells faster. It will help to lower your global cooldowns and, of course, faster heals mean more heals mean more alive raiders. He’s even written up a post detailing the numbers a Discipline Priests needs in order to lower their global cooldown to just one second, making you into a sleek and powerful healing machine.
Let me close with this: I love crit. I think it’s the best secondary stat for a holy specced priest to have and I suspect i’m not the only one. However, haste has it’s place on our stats page as well. I would never turn down an obvious upgrade just because it had haste over crit, but like I said earlier, it will cause me to pause and wonder if I’m making the right choice. But what about you? Let the debate begin and let me know what you think and what sort of items you’ll be stacking as you begin to work on Ulduar. Will you be laughing as huge numbers pop over your companions head? Or will you be all over the place, casting a new heal before the old one’s even done? Or maybe you believe in balance and will try to spread the love among crit and haste equally? There’s the comment section, lemme know!