Archive for the 'The Talented Mr. Dueg' Category


Serendipity – The New Sexy

serendipity2Last night 3.1 finally made it’s long awaited debut and there we much ballyhoo and yelling of voices and good times were had.  Dual specs were a go and Ulduar was available for raiding when it wasn’t crashing the entire server thanks to a million and one guilds trying to run it.  Thanks to extensive changes in talents, everyone was refunded talent points for free and allowed to respec their main talent sets.  As a holy priest, I was quite excited to see the new changes available and to test them in a real raid fight.  Though I was only able to test them in a couple of fights against Razorscale (and I died every fight except the last, sigh) before the servers crashed, I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

Though I’ll be taking a look at all the new talents or revisions, I must say that my favorite new talent has to be Serendipity.  The new version of this talent will haste either your Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing by 12% each time you cast Binding or Flash Heal, stacking up to three times.  Basically this will haste your Greater Heal to the point where it casts as fast as Flash Heal, making it extremely attractive during heavy raid damage fights.  I also found myself doing what Blizzard wanted us to do and actually spell weaving during fights last night.  I kept an eye on my buff section and when I was at three stacks, would hit a GHeal or PoH depending on what was necessary at that moment.

With this talent combined with it’s new ability to target other groups, Prayer of Healing has now become an extremely viable option during raiding.  Before it used to be that PoH took way too long to cast in a fast and brutal fight and since it only worked on your own group was very situational.  Now that you can cut a third off the casting time and cast it on groups your not currently sitting in, the spell has moved up my bar and sits next to Circle of Healing as my new second major AoE heal spell.  I’m also considering glyphing it in order to up it’s heal ratio, but I’m not 100% set on that yet since CoH glyph is pretty much mandatory and FHeal glyph has become twice as important with Serendipity.  My only option would be to trade out my Renew glyph.  However, I’m not completely sure I want to do that, which brings me to the second new talent I’m reviewing, Empowered Renew.

This new talent adds 15% bonus healing effects to your renew spell and will immediately heal the target for 15% of it’s periodic effect.  Combine this with Improved Renew at the top of the tree and with the glyph effect of shortening the overall time but raising the periodic effect and I was seeing some huge tics on Renew, upwards of 2,000 to 2,300.  Of course, this isn’t going to give you a huge upfront heal, but it is free extra healing which is most definitely worthwhile.  I know a lot of priests are on the fence regarding this talent, but quite frankly I use renew all the time.  It may not be up to snuff compared to all the options druids have, but it’s still our most mana efficient heal and even more so now with this new talent.  Usually when I’m raid healing I’ll throw it out on people who are taking sustained damage such as tanks or off tanks.  It certainly doesn’t hurt to have it.

Finally I’ll take a look at the third biggest change to our talent line up, the new version of Holy Concentration.  I am totally in love with this new version which states that after you crit with Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal or Renew, you gain a 50% bonus to mp5 contributed from your spirit stat.  I wasn’t able to really watch the numbers last night, but after testing this morning, this translated to close to an extra 150 mp5 within the five second rule for me.  Combine this with about a 30 to 35% crit bonus when raid buffed and this talent should be proccing very often.  Keep in mind I have 1,076 spirit now with the new ability to buff myself (thank you Blizzard, Dueg loves your face), but the point is that this is a HUGE bonus to our mp5 after Blizzard nerfed the spirit contribution outside the 5 second rule.  Unfortunately I couldn’t really test it too much last night since the servers crashed before I had a chance to go into a sustained fight without dying halfway through it.  By the way, when fighting Razorscale, don’t stand still for very long, fire hurts.  -_-

Now of course this is all with limited testing, but I’m going to say that I get a very good vibe from the new talent shake ups Blizz had for the Holy Tree.  I think they made improvements where needed and trimmed some fat from the tree itself.  I truly believe that these changes will help to really solidify Holy priests as premiere raid healers.  So how about you?  Are you satisfied with changes to your talent tree of choice?  Did you even get to test it last night with all the server issues that were going on?  Drop me a comment and lemme know!



Bring the Player, not the Discipline Priest

Yesterday I was surfing the interwebs like a good little WoW addict and went on over mmo-champion to check the latest on the blue tracker.  After scrolling down to the priest info (as if there was any other kind), I came across this juicy little tidbit here:

Will raids want Disc priests? We are honestly not too worried about that. We’d estimate about half of the healing priests we’ve watched in Ulduar are Disc, at least for the guilds that are making boss kills. Consider, that when you have a tank with 45,000 health and a boss is hitting for 25,000 health (which is not the kind of thing we did in Naxx, but is in Ulduar), none of the healing you can do will let that tank survive two hits in a row. But Power Word: Shield will.

Bit I don't WANNA go Disc!

But I don't WANNA go Disc!

Blizzard… what the hell?  You’ve been touting this “bring the player, not the class” attitude for a few months now, slowly homogenizing the holy priest to the point where we’re pretty much interchangeable with druids, and shamans are even slightly better than us at AoE heals.  I love my class and my spec, but I don’t hold any illusions about the idea that we’re indispensable in raids or better than any other class in certain aspects.  I’m fine with all of that.

However, on the flip side of the coin, Blizzard has been going to great lengths to make disc priests a viable and attractive component for any raid and 3.1 will see that increase even further.  Disc priests will now be able to cast crazy huge shields left and right and at the same time will be able to give not just one person, but the entire raid a 3% damage mitigation boost.  Blizzard says they don’t want any one type of healer to be more attractive than another, and certainly a disc priest is not mandatory, but with these changes, guilds are going to be actively seeking at least one regular disc priest for raids.  Holy?  Not so much.

Now don’t get me wrong, as a priest I like the idea that this statement is pretty much saying that Power Word: Shield is going to become an almost mandatory spell in raids, but it is a sort of hypocrisy on Blizzard’s part.  Here they’ve been stating that they don’t want you to have to look at what type of healers you have, but then one of the devs is pretty much saying that they’re designing content with a priest only spell specifically in mind.  But it goes even further when you look at the fact that PW:S really is more of a disc priest’s specialty.  Holy priests don’t have or want talents boosting this spell.  Hell’s bells, the only time I even cast this spell as a holy priest is when I’m on MT healing which happens maybe once a month.

So basically what this tells me is that priests will be mandatory as raiders in 3.1 for at least one fight.  Win.  However, it also says that disc priests will be the optimal version of priests as they are specifically planning encounters based wholly on damage mitigation or else your raid will wipe.  Lose.  They’ve also stated in the past that they will not be planning encounters with the idea that players can freely switch specs in between boss fights.  I guess that idea only applies to disc priests.  Fact is, almost no holy priest is going to want MT duties over raid duties.  It’s a job we can do, but not one we’re going to excel at over a disc priest thanks to our lack of mitigation talents.  If a priest wants to heal the MT, he’s most likely to go disc for that job.

So here’s my problem with this statement:  It’s assuming that healing priests don’t care what kind of healer they are.  I care, buddy, I care big time.  As I’ve stated before, disc spec is fun, it’s interesting and Penance is, hands down, one of the coolest spells I’ve ever cast before, but I don’t want to be a discipline priest for raiding.  I’ll take it as my second spec because I don’t really care much for dpsing, but I’m hoping to use it as little as possible, really.  I like CoH and seeing 6 little blobs of numbers pop up from a group of people.  I enjoy seeing little wings pop up from someone when I cast Guardian Spirit on them.  I enjoy being holy while raiding.

Now perhaps this was just a throw-away statement by a dev that he wasn’t really thinking about when he made, but it serves to highlight what I feel is an alarming trend concerning priest heals.  In BC, disc priests were considered the PvP healing version of the class, which was kind of lame, but whatever.  However, with WotLK, Blizzard has gone such great lengths to make disc priests a raiding class that they have made them more of a necessity in certain situation than holy priests.  If Blizzard wants the idea to be that people are bringing the player, then why would they make a situation where I’m pretty much forced to switch specs in order to effectively heal for my raid?  That statement tells me that in 3.1, disc priests will actually be better than holy priests in some situations, thus relegating holy as a lesser tree since it isn’t any more or less attractive than other healers.

Look, maybe I’m overreacting and reading too much into this one statement and I will say that it’s not like I’m going to have disc as my main spec from now on to make sure I get into raids.  But my point is that if disc and holy priests are separate classes (and believe me when I say that I truly think they are), then creating these types of encounters will force one of two things:  Guilds actively passing up a holy priest in favor of a disc priest or forcing a holy or even shadow priest to switch to disc for those particular encounters.  Blizzard has stated that they’re actively trying to avoid these situations when it comes to other classes, but that seems to be forgotten when it comes to the priest class as if we don’t care what spec we are.  Blizzrd, I’m a Holy Priest and I want my Circle of Healing, is that so wrong?



Dr StrangeDueg or: How I Learned to Stop Failing and Love the Win Sauce

As has been established, I regularly read other people’s blogs here on the interwebs in order to keep abreast of changes to the priest class and generally see what my friends are up to in their own gaming lives.  As I’ve been reading though, I’ve noticed a somewhat disconcerting trend of bad priestswho seem to enter the end game with little to no knowledge of how to raid with their class.  This just makes Dueg mad.

However, it also got me to thinking about the fact that here I’ve been, blah blahing about priest this and priest that and leaving novel length comments on other sites, but I’ve never actually explained my healing methods.  Now I’m not saying that I’m the best or that any strats I have will automatically make you the best priest there is out there.  But I can say that I’m usually in the top 3 for healing meters (if you put stock in those sort of things) and that I feel like I have a very firm grasp on the concept of my class.  And so, I will now enlighten you with the Tao of Dueg.

I stole this from the internet

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?  Now, if you’re reading this and play WoW regularly, I’m going to assume you’re literate, which is good.  But if you need to read this because you fail, then you’re not using your powers to their maximum potential, which is bad.  When you reach the end game, things change and old tactics fall to the way side when you enter a raid instance.  Spamming heals won’t work, you have to look at the full array of your spells and judge when and where each one needs to be cast.  By taking maybe a half hour before raid time and glancing through strats, you can see how others have accomplished these fights and get a better understanding of how things should work.  If you stumble half blind into a raid casting spells all willy nilly with no idea of what you’re doing, you’re most likely hurting the raid and frustrating others.  This can lead to drama, gkicks, burning buildings, the collapse of world governments and various other disasters.  It’s true, I’ve seen it happen.

However, the transition from reading strats to actually implementing them in the game can be a little rough when you’re just starting out.  Usually they won’t cover specific classes or just give you a generilizations as to what you can expect when you actually do the encounter.  This can lead to uncertainty regarding which spells are best for what situations and may lead to tunnel vision and a sense of confusion.  I know I felt like I was failing all over the place when I first stepped into end game content.  Unsure of which spells to cast and when, I ignored some of the more useful spells in favor of what I was used to using in dungeons, making things rougher than they need to be.

So let’s look at some of the spells holy priests have at their disposal and my philosophy on each one of them, shall we?

Renew– Basic, simple, clean and straightforward, this spell is something you want to toss up on someone who’s taken a little bit of damage or on someone who took a whack or two but is no longer in trouble.  It’s your most mana efficient spell but also your least powerful.  Due for a very sexy upgrade in the holy tree for 3.1, you’ll probably want to start using this as an instant cast mini heal.  This is also one spell people won’t mind you using to snipe heals with.  I usually toss it up on the MT during boss fights if I’m not occupied elsewhere.

Flash Heal / Greater Heal– These are your standard straight heals and should be used with an eye to efficiency.  Flash heal will be the one you want to use more often when on raid healing duty.  I like to refer to this as my gunslinger spell because I usually target someone cast, move to the next, cast and so on and so on.  Regardless of the talents that give you free and instant casts, this spell should still be glyphed.  Flash heal is our least mana efficient spell, but a 10% discount makes it much more worthwhile.  Disc is due to get a further mana cut in 3.1 possibly making it one of the more mana efficient spells.  Greater Heal is more something you’ll want to cast when tank healing as it’s longer cast time and bigger oomph will make it a more wasteful spell when on raid duty.

Prayer of Mending– This is your bread spell right here, cast early, cast often and then forget about it till the cooldown is up.  This is my other favorite heal sniping spell.  I like to throw it up on the tank just to get it moving among the raid.  The jumps have a chance to crit which can proc all your crit loving talents, making it twice as important to have up as often as possible.

Circle of Healing– This is your butter spell, the big enchilada, the definitive holy priest spell.  I’m going to go on record right now as saying that the 6 second cooldown actually helped to make this spell better than it was.  Aside from getting rid of priests who thought they could get away with just spamming this spell, it forces you to really think about where to apply it.  Since it’s raidwide and smart now, you want to pop it on someone who’s in the middle of a group of people taking damage, such as melee during a whirlwind or ranged if there’s an AoE effect hitting the raid.  It can even be an emergency instant cast spell, but your better off saving the cooldown for something important.  Due for a 40% bonus to healing effects in 3.1, giving this spell even more rich creamery goodness.

Power Word: Shield– Not so useful for a holy priest.  Toss it on the MT every once in a while if there’s no disc priest present or if you can spare the time.  Other than that it’s only useful if you see a mob hauling ass for a squishie and want to give them that much of an extra buffer.

Binding Heal – Cast this only if you’ve taken damage and want to top yourself off.  Other than that it’s a waste of mana and you’re better off using Flash Heal instead.

Prayer of Healing– Currently not so useful in a raid environment.  This spell only works on the priest’s group, costs a pantload of mana and has a monster cast time, all of which make it wildy inefficient.  Use this spell selectively and only when you’re sure you can get away with it.  It will change in 3.1 to be castable on other groups as long as you have on of the members targeted which will change this into a much more powerful raid healing spell.  Till then, ask your raid leader to stagger priests through the groups for maximum benefit.

Desperate Prayer – Self only instant heal, one of our “oh shit” buttons.  Usually used after casting fade.

Holy Nova– Weak spell, AoE heals and damage.  Heals only works in your own group but pretty mana inefficient.  They are lowering the cost in 3.1 so this one may become a replacement for Prayer of Healing.

Abolish Disease / Dispel / Mass Dispel– Abolish disease tries to cure two diseases and leaves behind a buff that ticks three more times over 20 seconds, trying to cure two diseases every tick.  The dispels remove magic effects with the normal one being single target instant cast and the mass version being a large AoE circle you target manually with a very short cast time.  Now, this next sentence I can’t stress enough as I’ve seen some people saying their priests aren’t doing this, so let me use as many emphasis indicators as I can to get my point across:  CAST THESE SPELLS WHEN THEY’RE NEEDED EVEN IF OTHERS IN THE RAID CAN DO THE SAME.  It doesn’t matter if there’s a paladin or a druid or a shaman who can do it easier or faster or better, that doesn’t give you an excuse to slack off.  If you have these spells your raid expects you to cast them when necessary and if two or more people are casting them then that’s even better because then the effects are removed even quicker.  The mana cost is negligible for all these spells so the only excuse for not casting them is that you’re lazy.  Lazy people equal wipes in raids.

Guardian Spirit– The mack daddy of the holy tree, this spell casts a protective buff that ups the target’s healing received by 40% for 10 seconds and will automatically heal them to 50% health if they take a killing blow, though this dispels the buff.  Some people use this spell as an occasional healing buff for their target and others will save it for an emergency.  I’m more of the emergency school of thought and usually won’t pop this spell unless we’re in a boss fight.  However, if you want to use it as an occasional buff, that’s cool, just make sure you time it so you have it available for boss fights.

Finally, let me talk a little bit about raidittude.  Raidittude is the way that you approach raids and the others you work with.  The reason that guilds are so much more popular than just random PuGing is because you can see how others in your guild react in situations and adjust yourself accordingly.  What’s great about the way the game is tooled is that we can very easily conform our raiding style to fit what’s necessary from a guild perspective.  As an individual you need to be prepared for criticism and suggestions, whether from your officers or just from a friend or even some random guildie.

You also need to be ready to grow and change your own personal style because if your raidittude is causing cracks to form or regularly at odds with everyone else around you and your thought is always, “Well those guys just don’t know how to play my class,” then the fact might be that YOU don’t know how to play your class.  I’m not advocating taking abuse or simply nodding and smiling and do whatever they tell you, but don’t take an automatic defensive stance just because people are trying to help you become a better raider.  Be willing to try new styles for certain situations or else you may not find yourself guilded for very long.

Part of this is also being prepared for the raid itself.  It’s not just the idea of reading strats and knowing your class’ spells and abilities, but also what you personally bring with you.  Consumables are mandatory in my guild and I am a-ok with that because I would bring them even if they weren’t.  If you have a flask or an elixir, you better bring it and be prepared to use it.  Don’t rely on someone else to drop a feast either, bring your own food for buffs because there’s simply no reason not to.  Gold is easy to farm or you could even power level cooking so you save out in the long run.  You don’t have to provide for others, but make sure others don’t have to provide for you.

Oh, and a final note: Yes, I know that last night I announced I would be Discipline Dueg for a little while at least, but I had already half written this post by that point and besides, I do what I want around here.



So it’s come to this…

So tonight we made another run at Sarth 3D and once more a discipline priest was requested. I volunteered again and made the trek back to Silvermoon for a quick respeccing job. We got a few good attempts in and I’m definitely starting to really get a feel for the discipline style, even in such a hectic fight.

However, about halfway through the attempts, a thought struck me.  So I says to myself, “Self, why should you respec back to holy if you’re probably going to be respeccing for the next Sarth fight anyways?”  As I’ve said before, a guild relationship should be a two way street with the player willing to give back what he gets out.  So I decided on my own that I would stay disc for the immediate future until either we recruit a disc priest or we down Sarth 3D, whichever comes first.  Trust me, I will not be staying disc because I do still prefer holy healing, but if it’s what’s needed, then it’s what I’ll do… for now.  After Sarth 3D though, I’m going back to holy till dual specs and you can bet cash money on that.

Oh, and one final bit of news:





Disciplined Ramblings of a Holy Man

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.

Like mother's sweet embrace.

Like mother's sweet embrace.

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.



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.



An Open Letter to Blizzard

Hi, Blizzard, do you know me?  You might, you take 15 dollars from my bank account every month, so I might seem interesting to you.  In exchange you provide me with this game, one that I enjoy immensely, please don’t doubt, and provide excellent support and customer service.  I’m certainly not here to complain about that, no sir-e-bob.  However…

Well, let me roll back a little, I’m a priest, one of the healing classes in the game.  You see, I’m a giver: health, my time, buffs, gold even, if I can afford it, and I certainly do enjoy giving.  It’s for this reason that I’m somewhat hesitant to write you this letter, but a breaking point has been reached!  I can no longer sit idly by while myself and my holy brethren are forced to endure the shame and ridicule that you so regularly heap upon us.  No, Blizzard, I ask… no, I demand that something be done and that this travesty against all priest-kind be addressed forthwith!

I am, of course, talking about Spirit of Redemption.  Now don’t get me wrong, the talent itself is fantastic.  The mechanics work great and it’s prevented a wipe more often than I like to admit.  The subtle Star Wars reference in the buff description (You have become more powerful than anyone can possibly imagine) makes for grade A humor and allows for jokes amongst the guild.  Also, people with their infinite creativity have come up with humorous new names for it: Improved Death, Priest PvP Form, LoLAngel.  All that stuff is fantastic.  No, Blizzard, I am writing to you to make one request, and a small one at that:  

Stop making me look like an asshole during raids.



Let me just say, I’m alright with dyeing during raids.  It’s gonna happen and I’ve consigned myself to regular 40 to 50 gold repair bills (at least I’m not a tank, right?).  I’m just not sure why you have decided to place the equivalent of the Vegas strip over my lifeless corpse.  I pay my monthly subscription just like everyone else and yet I am forced to endure the shame of raid wide, immediate knowledge of my demise.  Each time I die in the raid, I also die, just a little, right in my heart as well.  “Dueg down!” they all cry, because they all know!

So perhaps you can look into this and make it just slightly less obvious is all I’m saying.  Perhaps I can turn into a nice, unassuming, invisible wisp that shushes people when they call out my death? Or maybe I just grow a set of wings with the option to mute Chatty Cathies on vent?  Either way, Blizzard, the time has come to let myself, and all priests everywhere, have their dignity back.  Is it really so much to ask?



Hybrid Theory

Talents, talents, talents.  Unless you’re this joker, you gotta have talents, right?  And if you’re a priest (and why wouldn’t you be?) you’re going to have a choice between three trees: Discipline, which is your mitigation tree, Holy, which is the healing tree and Shadow, your DPS tree.  But what does all this lumber mean?  Which is the best?  How do you decide?

Well, as anyone who’s reading this site should know, I went the way of the Holy spec for raiding.  But Holy Dueg was not always so holy, oh no, gentle jerkwads, at one point I was Discipline Dueg, and trust me when I say that I swung a pretty mean ruler on knuckles of those who would not pay attention… I’m watching you Merkowski.  At the time discipline was considered “weak like capitalist pig” and was thought to be confined strictly to a PvP healing spec.  I wanted to believe… no, I NEEDED to believe that disc could be a viable PvE spec.  So I leveled all the way to 60 on a wave of disc loving and it worked… for a time.

You see, once you hit BC you really need to start specializing in order to handle some of the content.  The problem with disc is that it specialized you in the wrong direction by dumping healing talents in order to up survivability (aka, making you PvP viable).  I wanted to heal though, I felt the urge in my veins and could no longer deny the fact that I belonged in the back of the group throwing heals like it’s no big deal…s.  But I didn’t want to completely abandon the disc tree that I had touted for so long, so I did the only option I had left.  I went Hybrid.

RAWRK!  Polly shouldn't be!

RAWRK! Polly shouldn't be!

Of course, I’m not the only one who went this route, Anea over at Holy Discipline (ever get the feeling you’re being stalked?) actually took a hybrid spec into end game raids and seems to be all out of gum at the moment.  I’m not here to talk about her spec though, I’m here to argue the case for mine and I’ll do so starting…

Now.  The idea behind my spec was that it’s designed to squeeze the maximum amount of benefit from your gear, namely the Int and Spi stats.  It forgoes specialized talents such as Power Infusion in order to draw more directly from your stats.  Though holy is the lesser of the trees used here, it’s really the backbone of this spec because of Spiritual Guidance.  The addition of Spiritual Healing along with Improved Healing and Renew will also help you to see bigger numbers pop above your group members heads.  So in other words, you’re going to be gearing like you’re holy.

Now over to the Discipline side of things.  Of course, you have your standard fall backs.  Meditation, Improved PW:F, Twin Discipines, all that good stuff.  However, you also get to have all the mana effeciency bonuses thrown in with Divine Spirit and Enlightenment to give you some extra oomph for your spirit friendly talents in the holy tree.  Rapture mixed with Mental Strength  is really going to make your blue bar sing and you’ll definately feel like an azure god when you see that bar hold steady near 90% mana most of the time.

This spec will also make renew one of your sexiest spells with a 34% bonus to it thanks to your various talents.  Add the additional spellpower and glyph bonuses if you do it right and you should start seeing huge ticks on this one (I can’t give you numbers as I’m not specced this way anymore, but I remember being pretty happy back when I was).  You also automatically get an additional 10% spirit bonus on your items coupled with the 25% bonus to SP with that.  I guarantee you’ll see a huge difference on your stats (at 80 and geared out in all dungeon blues, I lost about 200 Spellpower and over 1000 mana when I switched).

Now if I had it all to do over again, I would probably shake some things up with the discipline side.  First off, I would remove those three points from Silent Resolve.  By the time you reach end game you shouldn’t be having threat problems if your group knows what they’re doing.  I see now that Improved Inner Fire is more important, so I’d put two of those points in there and place the third in Improved PW:S because without all three points still in the disc tree you’ll get locked out at a lower level.  So my revised spec for the level 80 raider/dungeon diver would like this.

Now some of you might wonder why I switched if I like this build so much.  Well, my guild requested a second Circle of Healing / Guardian Spirit priest when I joined and you should try to fill what roles your guild needs, so here I am.  Trust me when I say I really love my Holy spec and am not going to switch back anytime soon (I’d have to change the name of my blog).  However, should you ever hear a quiet sigh and see a slight sparkle at the corner of my eye when someone casts a shield… well, you’ll know why.


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