So if you checked in with me yesterday you know that I was asked to switch my spec to Discipline for a couple of raid nights. The reason for this is we were doing Sarth 3D and the main tank wanted to have the boost to damage mitigation and have Pain Suppressionas a back up for one shot breaths. I’ve always been of the philosophy that if your guild needs you to fill a role and you have the ability, you should do so because in the long run it benefits you just as much as it does the guild. Be a team player says Dueg.
So after spending the evening healing it up bubble style, I wrote a post yesterday somewhat panning the spec. My exact feelings were summed up pretty much in four words: I don’t like it. Now admittedly I had only had one difficult fight and a couple of breezy boss fights to become used to the style. Last night we went back into Naxx and finished off Sapph and KT then went and smacked around Sarth with 2 drakes because of a lack of a full raid group. Afterwards I scurried back to Silvermoon, spoke to my friendly priest trainer, and once more slipped on the garb of the holy priest.
However, as my cursor floated over the text box confirming my desire to drop my talents, I felt a slight hesitation. A small voice floating in my ears, sounding suspiciously like Lyrandre, whispered to me, “pew pew, laserz.” But I would not be swayed, for I was Holy Dueg at heart and so I would become once more, and so I did.
Why the hesitation, you might ask? Shouldn’t I have been ready to switch back and immediately run to the shower, trying to scrub the dirt off even though I knew it was my very soul that had been filthied? Well, gentle jerkwads, after two nights of raiding as discipline spec and seeing for myself what all the spells and talents and style were about, I have had a change of heart regarding my original opinion. My love for Holy spec hasn’t softened, but I now understand why disc is such a viable one.
You see, priests are a unique class in the game in that we’re the only one that gets two specific PvE healing trees. Blizzard has done an excellent job with this by slowly evolving the disc tree to the point where it creates a different type of healer than your standard holy priest. I would even go so far as to say that as of WotLK, Blizzard has actually introduced a new healing class to the game. I’ve seen people actively asking for a disc priest for certain encounters which gives a clue to the mindset of people who aren’t priests regarding the changes.
Of course, this has caused both specs to become somewhat pigeon holed as is often the case involved in poorly understood classes. It would be very easy to say “Disc priests are single target healers and Holy priests are raid healers,” and to a certain extent you can get away with that generalization. But though these specs are specialized for those roles, they can just as easily fill the part of the other.
However, all that aside, I’m actually writing this post in order to update my opinions on the discipline priest as I feel I was somewhat incomplete in my boohooing yesterday. Now as far as WoW goes for me, healing is my game. I enjoy it immensely even when I don’t (no, I won’t explain that) and I have no want to level an alt to the point where I can raid with someone other than Dueg. Maybe I’ll burn out eventually, but I leveled as a healer and raided as a healer and I’m feeling cool as a cucumber about it right now, so we’ll see.
But the last couple of nights I was able to step into a different sort of role and therefore a different style of healer for raiding. I requested and was assigned as a main tank healer for both Naxx fights so I could test out the disc spec in it’s natural habitat. So after much observation and one shotting of big bad baddies, I feel like I have a firm grasp on the spec, the concept behind it. I also feel I can confidently step forward and give you my revised opinion on the spec: I don’t not like it.
I found the damage mitigation aspect of it quite fun. By keeping stacks of Grace up on the target, I could actually see the difference in the amount of incoming damage. This laid to rest my worries about the throughput of the class. Yes, you will on average see about 1,000 less health on your heals, but you shouldn’t need as much muscle when actually healing. With my target almost always taking 3% less damage mixed in with shields and Divine Aegis procs, I had a lot fewer oh shit moments where I had to spam a heal in order to get my target out of the woods. However, this didn’t mean I had to stay tunnel vision on the tank. During KT when we had two off tanks along with the regular one, I stood within range of all three and tried to keep everyone grace stacked and shielded as often as possible. This was the most fun I had as disc.
The mana regen aspect, though, is seriously ungodly. Last night I don’t think I ever dropped below 80% mana the entire night even when firmly entrenched within the 5sr for minutes at a time. I hate to say this, but it’s actually a good thing that they’re nerfing Raptureotherwise you’d see a lot of priests switching over just for the regen aspect of it. Any class the doesn’t have to worry about mana will have an advantage over a class that does and Blizzard has seemed to realize this. The way it stands now though makes it necessary for them to gain a boatload of mana because they have to be casting pretty regularly in order to keep their mitigation talents up at all times. With an increase to the length of the mitigation talent and a nerf to rapture’s returns though, you should see a few more disc priests putting on their dancing shoes after 3.1.
In closing I’ll say that Disc is a fun spec and wholly different from it’s counterpart. The main difference other than spells and talents though, is that disc is more of a preparedness spec and holy is more reactionary. Disc’s concept is to make sure you have as many buffs up as possible in order to avoid the highest amount of incoming damage. Because of the lack of throughput you can’t really sit back and let the damage come as it will, you have to prevent it. Holy is more whack a mole style though. You cast when people need it and make sure that everybody’s health is full. You have to be quick on your feet but if you’re fast enough you can almost always keep your target alive through sheer healing muscle. One final thought though: Penance = Best. Spell. Ever.