You mus haf Dishiprin!

So last night started like any other raid night.  We walked through Naxx, making Abom wing our bitch until we had enough to make an attempt at Sarth with 3 Drakes.  So steadily we all start streaming over there, landing and zoning in, taking our places in front of the dragon and adds.  That’s when a question was asked, one that filled my heart with dread and froze the blood in my veins: “So which one of our priests is going disc for this fight?”

You see, one of the problems with Sarth 3D is that, as long as Shadron is up, everyone in the raid takes double fire damage and, as long as Vesperon is up, everyone’s health is reduced by 25%.  For both of these reasons, Pain Suppression becomes an extremely attractive spell, especially mixed with the damage mitigation talents of Discipline spec.  So after a quick discussion it was decided that since I was the only priest who had leveled with a discipline build and was therefore at least halfway familiar with the tree, I would be the one to respec.  And so it was that with a heavy heart, Holy Dueg once more became Discipline Dueg.

I was so young and foolish and all the cool priests were doing it!

But all the cool priests are doing it!

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not panning Discipline spec.  It’s a good healing spec and I believe actually turns the priest into almost a different class of healer, built on the same spells but with a wholly different style.  However, I am a holy healer at heart and was feeling more than a little nervous about learning a completely new style while taking on the hardest encounter currently in the game.

Let me give you a quick idea of what I’m dealing with if you’re not familiar with Sarth 3D:  Imagine an encounter where you have to deal with about 10 adds, 2 mini bosses and one major boss at any one time.  You need six healers and two off tanks, all of whom need to be standing in either one of two spots about every 30 seconds which switches randomly and only gives you about 5 second warnings or they can move somewhere else where they take a lot of damage where they’re standing.  Oh, and the main boss can randomly one shot the tank every 15 to 30 seconds.  Oh, and also, some of the mobs enrage and need to be pacified or they’ll kill one of your off tanks very quickly.  Oh, and another thing, at certain points half your raid has to peel off and go into another reality to slay a mini mini boss and you need healers to go with them.  Oh, and finally, at one point the dps takes 1,000 damage every time they deal damage themselves.  Now multiply whatever you’re imagining by about ten, and that’s Sarth 3D.  

So yes, I was a little nervous and I ended up failing spectacularly on flame walls the first two attempts while trying to figure out my new positioning methods.  I was so unfamiliar with Disc spec that when the LolAngel didn’t come up right away I just clicked release spirit in confusion.  No, not my proudest moment in a raid.  About the third time though I was getting it down and was able to survive to the end of the wipe consistently, which is pretty much all you can ask for with Sarth 3D attempts.  We later moved back to Naxx and wiped up Plague wing with me remaining Disc the whole time.

So here are my thoughts on the spec:  I don’t like it.  Let me explain before the bubble peeps start passing out the pitchforks.  As I’ve said before, I find the spec somewhat weak when it comes to raid environments.  They specialize in damage mitigation, which is excellent for tank healing, and I could definitely see it last night.  But they don’t offer too much in the way of healing throughput.  In a place where the tank will be taking huge damage spikes, you can certainly rely on a disc priest to get the job done, but it takes more of a focus on heal rotation and the ability to foresee the spikes.  Blizzard is trying to fix this with some of the changes in 3.1 so far with enticements to cast your heals, but either way, Disc is definitely being cemented as the single target healer of the future.

Now I’ll admit that I haven’t really had time to test the spec thoroughly and will probably have a better grasp of it after tonight (they’ve requested I stay disc for another shot), but my initial thoughts are that it’s incomplete.  It’s too much about mana regeneration and mitigation, leaving behind a weakened comparable healing ability.  Perhaps if I had geared a little more for disc instead of still having my holy gear, I would’ve seen a little bit of a difference, but I feel like I’m beginning to understand the concept of the spec and that is what I’m not feeling.  Perhaps I’m just afraid of change or maybe I miss seeing six little green blobs of numbers pop up from a crowd, but either way, I’ll be speccing back after the raid tonight.  However, I will say that Penance is probably the most fun spell I’ve ever cast.  Pew pew, laserz, lol.



11 Responses to “You mus haf Dishiprin!”

  1. 03/02/2009 at 11:55 AM

    Lasers = win.

    It even says “pew pew lazers” on my fridge (thank you, Icanhascheezburger magnets!).

    And yes, you’d probably see a difference with the “proper” gear-disc priests gear like a paladin, only squishy. Spirit? What’s spirit? Int! Moar crit!

    It does take a particular mind set to enjoy though. Kind of like…er…everything.

    I love being a single target healer who CAN heal more than one target if I NEED to. /hugs PoH

  2. 03/02/2009 at 11:58 AM

    Having played a lot of different healing classes in a lot of different MMOs, the Discipline Priest does feel like a very different animal. Mitigating damage is quite different than healing damage, and you’re right — a disc priest therefore really needs to know the who/what/when/where/how of incoming damage and respond with the right spell on the right person at the right time. Cooldowns on penance (and until 3.1 on PW:S), weakened soul debuffs, etc — it’s definitely a different playstyle than rolling lifeblooms, or lolchainhealing, or the like.

    I don’t really worry about the healing throughput of the disc priest, merely because in an “oh shit” moment, I can churn out some spectacularly powerful healing and shielding. The changes to allow Divine Aegis to stack are going to make Penance, already arguably the most powerful single-target heal in the game, even more godly.

    If you are judging a Disc Priest on throughput though, we probably will come up short because our talents aren’t really about bigger heals, but rather about endurance (unending mana) and survivability (shields, bubbles, etc).

  3. 3 Jov
    03/02/2009 at 12:17 PM


    I’ve always done 3D with 0 discipline priests. Pallies Hand of Sacrifice and Priests use Guardian Spirit. It works fine.

  4. 03/02/2009 at 1:28 PM

    @Amber: True, they are changing up baseline priest abilities to give Disc priests more oomph for raid wide healing. I still haven’t been able to snag a raid on the PTR though so I’m not sure how much they’re being asked to do that sort of stuff now. Also, I’d have to say that while I may give it a negative review, I did enjoy trying to heal with a new style, that was a ton of fun

    @Khaeli: True, I really didn’t complete my thought on throughput. The point of a disc priest is that by reducing incoming damage, you shouldn’t have to have a higher throughput. But some situations are going to call for extra healing muscle and in those, disc priests drop down the desirability level.

    @Jov: Yeah, out of our core of 4 pallies none showed up, so we picked up one app pallie, but they didn’t really want to rely on an app for something so important. They asked me to spec Disc because the tank in particular requested it and I didn’t have a problem with it. Gotta do what you gotta do.

  5. 03/02/2009 at 1:44 PM

    Your tale of woe sounded like my complaining about going holy to raid heal when we had extra Disc show up to our Sarth. It really is a completely different fight.
    Tips for if you wind up on Disc duty again, on non PS breaths timing a bubble for just before and a pennance during the breath saves alot of heart attacks 😉

  6. 03/03/2009 at 6:18 AM

    Discipline is my priest healing tree of choice but just now you need high crit for it to be excellant.

    I think the upcoming changes to the tree with imp flash heal etc it will be amazing.

    Imp flash heal 3/3 with flash heal glyph and Penance being self castable will make the tree = WIN in my eyes.

  7. 03/03/2009 at 7:45 AM

    We always have a disc priest around for Sartharion 3D (because 2/4 healing priests are disc). Btw a question, what will you be using with dual-spec then? Holy-Disc? Holy-Shadow? Or a pvp spec?

  8. 8 Anea
    03/03/2009 at 7:58 AM

    You know, I would have been worried too. But I’m kind of jealous that I didn’t have someone asking me to respec, since that would have given me a chance to try it out properly. I specced Discipline back when Penance came out ’cause I wanted a laser too, but I specced back to my hybrid build quickly ’cause I had mana regen issues (not in small part because I’m sure I didn’t know how to gear properly) and I’ve always wanted to go back and give it a shot but haven’t had any “good” reason to yet.

  9. 9 Vesserion
    03/03/2009 at 10:29 AM

    Dueg – Yeah, sometimes the damage spikes are more than you can handle with Disc throughput being what it is. Gearing for Disc, and keying up the right spell sequence will help alot, but you may also want/need to coordinate with your tank more than you are used to. Knowing your tank’s ‘oh shit’ buttons, and when to call for them can make a big difference.

    Once my tankadin and I figured this out, the really tough encounters for a Disc priest got easier to handle.

    Improving your tank / healer synergy requires that your tank also adjust to your new spec, which is alot to ask on a Sarth 3d run.

    Your raid may be better off with you spec’d holy imo. Disc is not a spec most tank / healer teams can excel at right out of the box.


  10. 10 MellaDrama
    03/03/2009 at 4:08 PM

    i’m sorry! i’ll go disc next time ;_;

  11. 03/03/2009 at 6:59 PM

    @Drama: Aw, no worries, I have nothing but ❤ for my fellow priesties and I did actually enjoy myself. If I had the choice though, I would’ve rather become familiar with disc in H VH or something though, lol.

    @Suicidal: Funny you asked that, this little experiment has convinced me to go disc as my off spec after the next patch.

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