Monday, August 16, 2010

Discipline is the ticket

Well folks, after realizing that holy priest healing is the suck, I've decided to switch to discipline and give healing one more try before hanging up my healing hat and resigning myself to a life of dps-ing.

Yesterday I made the switch and the results were... astounding!

First, here's the spec + glyphs that I have at level 75: 57/9/0.

At level 80 I plan to have something like this: 57/14/0.

I ran two random dungeons yesterday and couldn't believe how the difference between holy and discipline seemed like night and day.

The first run was impeccable. My performance was excellent even though it was my first time healing as discipline. Well, to be fair, the spells are about the same as holy with small variations.

The second run might have turned into a disaster if not for the healer, i.e. me. We almost wiped twice.

First time it happened, the tank disconnected in the middle of fighting a boss. I didn't realize what had happened but for some reason the group was taking huge amounts of damage. Two of the dps died and at that point I noticed that the tank was frozen in the same spot. The ret paladin picked up the boss and started tanking it. I healed the pally. After a while the tank reconnected and between the remaining three of us we downed the boss.

The second time it was a very close call. The tank (a different one, as the first one disconnected for good) decided to tank a group of mobs while the rest of the group was elsewhere. At one point I realized that the tank wasn't in range of my heals and she was taking damage. I located her on the minimap and raced to her location. By that time she was close to dying. I popped a quick PW: Shield on her and then blasted with Penance. That saved her life. The next minute or so was total chaos. The rest of the group followed but they aggroed another bunch of mobs so now we had to fight two groups. I was clicking and pushing buttons like mad but in the end we pulled through and no one died. I felt really proud of myself. I'm damn certain that I wouldn't have been able to heal these two situations (or at least the second one) with a holy spec.

I don't know what is about discipline, whether it is made for me, or I'm made for it, or it is simply awesome, but we seem to have hit it off on a very positive note.

I have to mention that I did practice "dry healing" on myself before jumping into the first dungeon. My biggest problem is that sometimes I forget the click-key combinations for the various spells that I have bound to Healbot. Practice makes perfect though and after these two runs I feel very confident in my abilities.

One of the things that make discipline incredible is, of course, Penance. This is (excuse the language) one fucking wicked spell. Not only is it the best oh-shit button ever (it has helped me save a whole bunch of near-dead groupies already) but I can use it to dps a little when no one requires heals and the mob/boss is almost down.

I also love that discipline is very mobile, what with PW:S, Renew, Prayer of Mending and even Penance. Who needs Circle of Healing when you can just pop bubbles on everyone who might take damage? In fact, I have already adopted the habit of putting bubbles on the melee dps and even the rest of the group in boss encounters. I call it "preventative maintenance". I've also learned to substitute Holy Nova for Circle of Healing. Although it admittedly heals for less and it has a smaller radius, it's an instant AoE heal and that's the reason why I plan to fill my 3rd glyph slot at 80 with Glyph of Holy Nova. This will make Holy Nova almost as powerful as CoH but with a smaller radius.

It seems that I have already settled on a "rotation" of sorts. I will start by putting a Prayer of Mending on the tank before he starts the fight. As soon as he starts taking damage I'll place a Renew and then monitor his health carefully. Depending on how much damage he takes I might either use a Flash Heal or a bubble. If there's a big dip in health, Penance will save the day. As I already mentioned, I also bubble the melee dps while I'm sitting idle and will refresh Prayer of Mending if needed. I've also used Penance plenty of time to save some poor dps who swallowed more damage than they could chew. Oh and I will also put a bubble on myself because I've already been in several fights that have nasty trash which try to grab you or have some sort of AoE damage.

If I seem overexcited that's maybe because I am. I had given up on healing after holy couldn't cut it for me anymore but it seems that discipline has taken the slack with aplomb. Time will tell if my new-found excitement is justified. Now I'm off to disco-heal some randoms!


Redbeard said...

Methinks that when my Shadow Priest is ready to start doing some healing, Disco might be the way to go.

Thanks for the info, Darth!

Discofux said...

After a Paladin, Shaman and Druid i rolled a priest and tbh i havent ever specced holy Disco is pure win !!!

Ravlek said...

So did you ever figure out how Disco Priests do the group-wide shield? I'm considering making a priest and I would love to know!

Darth Solo said...

@Redbeard disco's definitely the way to go. It seems so effortless in comparison to clunky holy.

@Discofux I was gonna spec disc for healing originally but some readers said that disco sucks for 5-mans and I should go holy instead. I followed their advice :)

@Ravlek I believe it's Divine Aegis proc-ing on crits from an AoE heal such as Prayer of Healing or Holy Nova, and not a group-wide version of PW:S the way I initially thought. Of course, I often put PW:S on each group member individually anyway.

Cringer said...

I struggled with remembering click-key combinations with healbot, then I tried mouseover macro healing. Never looked back.

You can see all of your abilities on buttons and I simply 'mouse over' the grid frame of the person I want to heal and hit a key. Results are I heal without even thinking about it and am able to get things off super fast. :)

anotheralt said...

It's great that you found a spec you enjoy :D

A couple of suggestions about your spec and rotation:
1. I wouldn't put any points in Divine Fury, unless you plan on using Smite a lot. Greater Heal just isn't worth it compared to PW:S, Penance and Flash Heal.
2. Your best mana regen mechanic as Discipline is Rapture - you get mana every time a bubble is fully used up. Since you can pretty much always count on the tank to take enough damage for that to happen, my suggestion is that you always start the fight by bubbling the tank and refreshing the bubble every time the debuff wears off (there are a hell of a lot of other reasons to do that, too).
3. For "oh shit" moments, one of the best "rotations" is PW:S > Penance > Flash Heal. PW:S procs Borrowed Time, Penance doesn't consume it (since it's channeled) but stacks up Grace, and the hasted Flash Heal tops it off.
4. Since I like to keep my tank bubbles up, I usually PoM the melee (unless the tank is taking enough damage that I can't keep him bubbles, and then I'll PoM the tank once the bubble wears off).

This is all my playstyle, though. As long as you can heal and have fun doing it, just keep doing whatever works. =)

Rkik said...

Pretty much concurring with what Anotheralt said.

Always have a bubble up on the tank, and refresh as soon as Weakened Soul drops off. You have a talent that lets you do 15% more healing when the target is affected by Weakened Soul.

As for the rest of the raid, if they are not taking a ton of damage and not using up your shields, don't bother shielding them. Shields cost a ton of mana, and if they aren't getting used up, you don't get that mana back.

Finally, I disagree about Divine Fury. I live having that big heal available. If you hit the tank with a PW:Shield, which will proc Borrowed Time, Greater Heal is a pretty quick heal that will go a long way towards filling up a tank's health. Ultimately, though, it's a trade-off. If you like Greater Heal, then go with it, but if you prefer Renew, then go with Improved Renew. Or whatever other Talent you find useful.

Darth Solo said...

@Cringer you know I was toying with the idea of using mouse-over macros. Now though I've gotten used to Healbot and I find it convenient enough. Who knows, I might try mouse-overs at some later date.

@anotheralt thanks for the great tips. You are right about shielding the tank. I was generally hesitant to do it because I kept hearing that it prevents rage generation in warriors/bears and paladins won't be able to generate mana because they're not getting hit. So far I've been able to do my job easily without bubbling the tank from the beginning.

@Rkik I might have to respec and put those points into Renew because I use it heavily. I hardly ever use Greater Heal because of the long cast. Maybe I should try to use it more.

Rkik said...

I don't use Greater Heal all that often either, but I do use it quite a bit more than Renew. Maybe I should be using Renew more often instead :P I do like having the Big Heal available in case Penance is on cooldown, though.

As for Shielding tanks, it doesn't affect rage generation. Actually it makes it better, because Rapture not only gives you mana, but it provides Rage/Mana/etc. to whoever you shielded when it wears off.

The only time a tank might complain is Paladin tanks that aren't using Divine Plea. Paladins have a talent that gives them mana back when healed, so if you're just shielding and not healing they can run out. In that case either tell them to use Divine Plea more often (they should be anyways) or just start healing them more if it is a real problem.

Darth Solo said...

Yeah you're right about Rapture. I forgot about that. I'm still not familiar with all the procs.

I do know about paladin tanks because I have one myself. I know the Divine Plea thing but I was thinking more along the lines of gaining mana from Blessing of Sanctuary, where you actually have to block in order to get mana. But you're right... Rapture...