So anyone who was following me over the holiday weekend knows that our guild finally got a disc priest to join our regular team of healing hawtness. With pew pews here and laserz there, she wielded the light like a pro and we were finally able to down Mimi 25 as a guild (suck it, you mechano-chump). However, before the raid, I, being the diligent raider that I am, did some research into what to expect as a holy priest when running with one of our more throughput challenged cousins.
Throughout my research, one major point kept popping up over and over again, hammering home a tip that it seems disc priests are desperate for holy priests to know: Don’t bubble people. This tip makes sense to me. Disc priests are the undisputed masters of damage mitigation and PW:S is a bread and butter spell for them. It also leaves behind a debuff that prevents the person from being re-bubbled for 15 seconds, regardless of who cast the original bubble. This can cause issues.
You see, if someone has a choice of which shield they’re going to take, they want the one that’s going to mitigate upwards of 6,000 damage (as some disc priest bubbles are known to do). A holy priest’s shield, on the other hand, has no talent boosts and is a fairly minimal mitigator for damage, usually gone from half a single melee hit of even the trash mobs. A disc priest also relies heavily on their shield being destroyed in order to regen mana during fights thanks to some talent retooling for 3.1. So the basic rule of thumb is that holy should only bubble themselves in emergencies and leave the mitigation to the pros.
However, all this sort of highlighted a point for me that, though I sort of realized it beforehand, it had never really been brought home until I started doing this little side research. Fact is, even before we had a disc priest, I almost never cast my PW:S anyways. As holy, especially in Ulduar, the spell is almost useless and at best will buy you less than half a second’s worth of time. It used to be that you could rely on PW:S to hold off damage during emergencies if you had no instant spells ready and the tank just needed that extra couple of seconds for a big heal to land.
But not anymore, really. With even the trash in Ulduar being fr srs, our shield is gone almost before we even cast it with minimal benefit to whoever receives it. This fact relegates it to almost being a non-spell for us and with the rise of other spells in an arsenal, such as Prayer of Healing, our version of shield has lost even more capital than it had, which wasn’t much to begin with. Though the spell is still sitting on my hotbar, I don’t think I’ve purposefully cast it more than once or twice since 3.1 landed, even with the lack of disc goodness that we now have. It simply wasn’t worth the time or effort to do so.
Nowadays, Holy spec is all about healing muscle, pumping out those big heals and dropping AoE bombs like it ain’t no thang. On the other hand, Discipline spec is more sleek and aerodynamic, designed to stave off damage and keep people alive as long as humanly possible. When you look at the purpose of the two specs, you can see why holy would leave their shield out in the rain more often. You see, when confronted with raid wide damage, our concern is not how to slow it, but how to reverse it. We want to see big green blobs of number pop up over the raid, not shiny bubbles popping up left and right. We don’t care how much damage you take as long as it’s not one or two shotting you.
Now don’t get me wrong, PW:S is a real whizz-bang of a spell in it’s own right. On the extremely rare occasions where I run five mans, I do actually use the spell a lot more regularly as it has it’s places in those sort of instances. I also do use it in emergency situations, popping it on myself when I need to worry about other raiders and need a quick stop-gag for damage. But for the most part, the spell sits on my hotbar, collecting dust and looking at me forlornly while asking in a high-pitched, chipmunk voice why I don’t love it anymore. It’s not you, shield, it’s me. I’m just no good for you, anymore. I’ve been ruined by Circle of Healing’s siren song. But don’t worry, shield, because someone loves you, and that someone is a disc priest.