For Crit’s Sake

thinkcritSo 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!



7 Responses to “For Crit’s Sake”

  1. 05/06/2009 at 1:32 PM

    I’m not a healer, so my input is neigh worthless.

    However, my wife is a Paladin Healer who stacks crit for many of the same reasons, despite so much opposition to crit heals being the way to go.

    I say, to heck with everyone else’s theories, even with evidence. Did your tank survive? Did you enjoy running through the instance/raid? Then who gives a crap what you stack as long as it worked?

    You the man, Dueg! Crit heals ftw!

  2. 2 Jack
    05/06/2009 at 3:32 PM

    I’m not a priest, nor am I running Ulduar . . . but I’m a resto druid, I keep on top of what stats are good for my role and a long time ago I got an undergrad degree in math. You make a good case that if you rely on abilities that proc off crits then crit takes on greater importance than if you have no such abilities. How much greater importance? I guess it depends on how much you rely on those abilities. And on how you heal.

    For very simple maths, consider the (unrealistic) case that you cast 100 heals for 2 points each. That’s 200 health, right? So do that with 1% crit and you average 99 heals for 2 points and 1 for 3. Woo hoo! 201 health! Do that with 1% haste and you cast 101 heals for 2 points each. That’s 202 health!!!

    Yeah, in a vaccuum, haste is better. But remember that’s an unrealistic case. I’m not talking about the specific numbers because those would scale to fit whatever numbers you actually produce. What’s unrealistic is that it does not take into account context. You don’t always chain cast all your heals on one target taking a steady stream of damage. And while the theory is that heaping on bigger heals means less need for the crits, and often crits just mean more overheal anyway, the theory isn’t a blanket truth. Sometimes you can get into a healing rhythm that recognizes how much of your tank’s bar a typical heal will fill up and therefore, how many others you can heal or how far you can move between throwing heals at the tank.

    Then consider the value of proc’d abilities . . . the issue is more complex than just numbers in a vaccuum.

    Not that I have anything against numbers. I love the math. Nor am I trying to support the yay crits! argument. I actually prefer haste. But I only have Living Seed that procs off crits and only off some spells and the spell from that set that I use most frequently already has its crit increased by Nature’s Bounty enough that I’m comfortable with where it is without the need to stack on more crit.

    But I will support an argument that it’s a subjective issue. And in my case, I want a steady stream of healing and the ability to switch targets quickly more than I want large heal spikes. Apparently, your healing Dueg, is made sufficiently more efficient by critical heals that a style which accomodates/encourages healing spikes seems smart.

    Your numbers, from your healing, can provide a nice context in which to evaluate your healing, talent spec, habits and the stats you should pursue. All together as a package. Most players, if they conscientiously evaluate how well they’re doing, their strengths & weakness as observed while actually, you know, playing their role . . . most players can figure out the same thing without doing the math.

    And, as hard as it is to believe, a lot of people actually prefer playing the game over doing math about the game.

  3. 05/06/2009 at 3:47 PM

    @ Jack: you make a point that I forgot to mention in my post about it being subjective. i am taking this 100% from a holy specced priest’s viewpoint and I did forget to mention one spell that truly makes crit a big deal for us and that’s Prayer of Mending. Basically whenever a target with this spell on them takes damage, that spell procs a heal then jumps to another target up to 5 times. However, each of those jumps has a chance to crit.

    You wouldn’t believe how awesome it is to see that spell ping ponging between the two tanks and proccing crits which then proc your talents all while you’re sitting there scratching your nose. But I agree, my man, it’s all subjective and about how you play. My opinion is that crit is king, but haste is nice.

  4. 05/06/2009 at 5:49 PM

    I am a healer and I like crit. Until about 25% unbuffed I prefer it to haste. Having said that I love my pair of haste trinkets…

    Balance…personal preference…etc.

    Gobble gobble.

  5. 05/07/2009 at 8:35 AM

    Dude, step away from ma crit gear!

    As a disc priest, I can generally get the haste I need on demand with Borrowed Time and/or Power Infusion, so crit is king for me.

    And now all you people are rolling on the crit gear as well. /shakes fist at holy priests.


  6. 05/07/2009 at 9:40 AM

    When playing my Holy Priest I make all sorts of odd sounds that can either be thought of as mating calls or drowning in my own drool when I crit.

  7. 05/07/2009 at 11:12 AM

    I prefer crit as well instead of haste. As a holy priest I try to get a balance between crit and haste (currently (unbuffed):20% crit and 250 haste). As a disc priest I tend to forget haste (pw:shield ftw) and stack up crit (40% crit buffed ftw!). For holy, I find crit extremely usefull, especially with the serendipity change I do not see a benefit in stacking haste above 300-ish. I try to go for crit as much as possible and in my latest post. I also noticed the massive amount of haste items and haste on Tier 8 (compared to tier 7). It’s crazy, in Naxx I went for more haste non-tier items because of the lack of it in the tier 7, now I’ll be going for crit on the non-tier items. Which will be needed anyways for my disc set as well. I agree with you on this post for a 100%.

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