Parity Problems, A Priest’s Lament

Pictured: A run of the mill healing priest

Pictured: A run of the mill healing priest

So lately there’s been some mumbling and grumbling going on concerning the new tier 8 healing priest set.  The problem is not the look of it (though some people aren’t too happy about the rogue look), but more to do with the new bonuses we get from having multiple pieces.  I’ll review them real quick:

  • 2P Bonus — Increases the critical heal chance of your Prayer of Healing by 10%.
  • 4P Bonus — Casting Power Word: Shield also grants you 250 spell power for 5 sec.
  • Both of these are somewhat “meh” to begin with, but when viewed through the eyes of holy spec, even more so.  The PoH bonus is weak because as a holy priest, you’re more likely to use CoH with PoH being a back up.  Even with the changes to Serendipity, this will only give an extra incentive to cast PoH if you have it glyphed and even then I’d choose my spots to cast it carefully.  This is more of a “shrug” sort of bonus for both specs, something that’s nice to have, but you wouldn’t exactly miss it if it was gone.

    However, it’s the 4 piece bonus that really highlights one of the issues a lot of priests are beginning to have concerning Blizzard’s recent major changes to the priest class.  The problem here is that this tier bonus is obviously aimed at Discipline spec priests.  Even though it’s kind of lame (I mean, c’mon, 5 seconds, Blizzard?  That’s like kissing your cousin), it’s something a disc priest wouldn’t mind having in their arsenal for the occasional boost.  However, as almost every holy spec priest I’ve read over the last few days has pointed out, if you’re running with a disc priest in your raid, you’re probably not casting power word: shield because you don’t want to cut part of what makes a disc priest so damn discy.

    But here’s the problem: The stats on the gear are very very nice for holy spec.  Not BiS (tier armor almost never is) but damn close in all cases and something that anyone wearing only Naxx gear will jump at the chance to pick up.  However, the stats are only mildly interesting for disc priests, who are not looking to stack the spirit heavy pieces that are part of the tier 8 armor set.  This essentially means that both specs have a reason to find these attractive and a reason to turn their nose up at them.

    Look, Blizz… can I call you Blizz?  Blizz, you’ve done a fantastic job turning the discipline priest into a true PvE healing class.  You did such a good job, in fact, that you’ve actually made it into a wholly different type of healer, pretty much a completely different class.  The style, mindset, major spells, important stats, hell, even the importance of secondary stats are completely different than that of a holy healer.  They cast different heals at different times, basing their job performance on what buffs are up when and how much damage they help the tank avoid.  They chortle condescendingly when we suggest spirit is fantastic and reach for that extra helping of int instead, and that’s actually pretty awesome.  It’s also your fault, Blizz.

    You created a system that rewards the disc priest by how much mana they have and how fast they can cast their spells, turning them into haste hungry int mutants terrorizing the countryside.  Though you’re set to change their major form of mana regen with the rapture nerf, it’s still based on a percentage of total mana, meaning any smart disc priest will forgo spirit in favor of extra int and straight mp5 where they can get it.

    Holy priests on the other hand love them some spirit.  When you’re pushing 1,000 spirit (and top geared priests will), you don’t really give a crap about mp5 because you don’t need to.  You have enough mana regen that your i5sr amount should be equivalent to someone stacking mp5 instead of spirit.  The only difference is that your spirit also adds a straight sp bonus, making it one hella sexy stats for us.  I’m talking stilettos here, people.

    So we come to the crux of my argument: Why are you trying to please both sides, Blizz?  Why do you have to make a single healing set for the priest class?  I understand that we’re the only class that has two specific healing specs, but you’ve changed them to the point where they might as well be a dps and healing spec because they’re so wildly different.  Classes with three distinct specs such as shamans and paladins get three distinct tier sets, but we’re forced to put up with tier bonuses optimal for disc and disc is forced to put up with stats optimal for holy.

    Back in BC this argument would not have been really necessary because it could be argued that the PvP set was the disc set.  But with a switch in priorities for the spec and the rise of Blizz’s “bring the player, not the class” philosophy, that idea’s gone right out the window.  There are also changes in the mix to make disc into an even more attractive raiding class which will ensure more than a few holy priests picking it up as a secondary spec instead of dps.  Because of this, you’re going to see a lot of priests passing up tier gear in favor of items that don’t have spirit slathered all over them.  Holy priests will still take them, but the idea of losing the tier bonus won’t really give them pause.  This idea of forcing the needs of two fundamentally different specs into a single set devalues the gear for both specs.

    Let me close with this.  Blizzard, you have turned the priest into three different classes, two of which are healing classes.  However, they’re not the same type of healing classes.  They’re like Resto Shamans and Druids when it comes to what they want in stats.  They do a lot of the same things and have the same end result, but what they value when they’re looking for gear is wildly different.  You wouldn’t expect them to seek out the same type of gear stats-wise, yet you seem to think that priests will quietly do just that because we’re united under a common class name.  You divided us, and we’re happy for it, but the time has come to finish the job.  Acknowledge that we’re just too different to be happy with the same gear for both specs.  Otherwise, you probably won’t get much healing in the next Naxx run.



    12 Responses to “Parity Problems, A Priest’s Lament”

    1. 03/26/2009 at 6:03 PM

      You make a very good case for the addition of a Disc-focused flavor of Priest tier armor. On the one hand, pure DPS classes don’t really get different flavors of their tier armor even though they have 3 different DPS trees, but on the other hand, Disc and Holy really do crave wildly different stats, really only agreeing when it comes to spell power.

      By itself, I don’t think the 4-piece bonus being a lot better for Disc than for Holy is that big a deal, since gear set bonuses have always been iffy, and many of them have favored one tree over another even for pure DPS classes. But it does seem to put a spotlight on the difference of what Holy and Disc want in a piece of armor.

    2. 03/26/2009 at 7:31 PM

      I’d love to know what Discipline priests you’ve been talking to; when I suggest that Haste > Crit, I get comments like “do you even actually raid, noob?”.

      I agree that these bonuses aren’t fabulous. The problem, I think, is that Blizzard is still assigning synergy bonuses based on the assumption that the tier gear is best-in-slot. When it was, the set bonuses were little rewards for being patient enough to put together the set. Now that there’s relatively-easily-attainable gear with better stats, the set bonuses have to be factored into gear choices, and the recent bonuses are lackluster at best.

      (That said, with the change to Power Word: Shield, the 5-second spellpower buff is going to be great for Discipline priests, since we’re pretty much going to be cycling between PW:S, Penance, and Flash Heal anyway to stay inside the Borrowed Time window.)

    3. 03/27/2009 at 8:37 AM

      What I’m still confused about is the role of spirit. They boosted the gains from Meditation to 50%. That 50% of your regeneration while casting is still calculated from spirit right? So would a disc priest be doing themselves a disservice by completely ignoring spirit?

      I completely agree that the 4 pc. bonus seems geared toward disc priests, because they’ll be casting PW:Shield a lot next patch. And they need help in the healing throughput area, so I have no beef with Blizzard wanting to give them additional throughput via SP, though I don’t know if +250 for 5 secs is really going to help all that much 😦

    4. 03/27/2009 at 9:44 AM

      “haste hungry int mutants” lulz

      Seriously though, crit, imho, is a better stat than haste because crit improves our throughput more so than haste. Unfortunately haste will no longer mean better regen after 3.1, but because of Divine Aegis our crits “heal” for 195% of normal instead of 150%. I will, therefore, agree that Int and spell power are king stats for disc. Int is regen, mana, throughput, and crit all rolled into one.

    5. 03/27/2009 at 1:40 PM

      @Wik: I agree with the idea that pure DPS could also use a little splitting of their tier gear, but they’re certianly not hungering for it like priests are. Plus the tier bonuses are pretty much just as helpful (ie, not at all) for one spec as it is for another.

      @CA: I’m not a fan of stacking haste, but I think it is a useful secondary stat for both specs. I truly believe it has a chance to shine with disc though, allowing them to spread grace buffs around a little easier.

      @Daria: It’s not that Disc priests would be doing themselves a disservice by picking up spirit gear, in fact they might even get more mp5 within the 5sr by stacking spirit after the change goes through with Meditation. It’s more about item level budgeting. Mp5 is worth a quarter of Spirit when it comes to item budgeting, so an item without spirit but an equivalent amount of mp5 should have higher bonuses when it comes to int and crit/haste than one with spirit

      @Myssidia: I agree that crit is better and I consider it a priotity over haste when itemizing. However, I truly believe haste is more attractive to the Disc priest thanks to the fact that their regular spell casts leave a buff behind. Being able to cast more means more mitigation on the raid as a whole. That will change in 3.1 though.

    6. 6 Discfun
      10/19/2009 at 3:16 PM

      Most people seem to be misunformed on what disc are looking for in gear in comparison to Holy. Too many priest undervalue the value of spirit in their gear if they are disc spec. Fact is that after naxx25 i haven’t seen much cloth that has mp5 on it, most cloth has spirit instead of mp5 or haste instead of the mp5. These are the three most common stats combination seen in ToC 10 and 25. Haste+Spirit+SP, Haste+Crit+SP, and Spirit+Crit+SP. I tend to favor Spirit+Crit+SP (eventhough i dont got out of may to get it and my current weapon is the dagger of ToC10 that has haste+Crit+SP) because i am a tank healer not a raid healer that bubbles everyone and gets mana back in that form. the MP5 given by spirit is descent for disc is not ideal and dont recommend gemming for it ever, some few exceptions can be made if the socket bonus outweights the gem you ideall like to use ( never use 20spirit gems thats just fail, 12sp 10 spirit is the only thing vaguely acceptable). Be wary that if Blizz concludes that dumping all spirit from ur gear in disc spec is an exploit the will quickly nerf it or change it to bubble returning mana back based on % of your spirit based ( Blizz are aholes and this can happen).

    7. 7 Discfun
      10/19/2009 at 3:21 PM

      BTW i found that my favorite gemming method is 12SP-10int. 12sp+10intx2 > 23SPx1 +20 intx1. I’ve seen disc priest gem all int to increase their mana pool an hence be paladins and also seen disc priest gem all SP to try to make themselves feel better with a higher HPS. I like 12sp+10int because if the middle of the road gem, thats what priest are they are not paladins or Holy priest they are in between them both. The spells make look and feel priestly but the method that they are deliver is all paladin straight forward huge abosords filled with crits everywhere.

    8. 8 Discfun
      10/19/2009 at 3:22 PM

      Note: Paladins dont have absorbs but have huge Holy Light Crits: hence the comparison between them both.

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