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Healing Cataclysm Heroics – Holy or Disc.

December 14, 2010

For many priests right now, this seems to be the big decision. The answer is simpleplay the spec you prefer and enjoy more! However I will outline the strength and weaknesses of both in case you would enjoy the most powerful the most.

An updated Guide for experienced Priests looking at healing Rise HC’s and Raids can be found HERE.

Discipline – Guide to Disc!Guide to Priest Healing!

StrengthsDiscipline excels at mitigation and damage reduction, it reigns supreme in encounters with predictable or consistent damage.

  • Power Word: Shield mitigates damage – quite a lot on the tank with Strength of Soul and Heal – and regenerates mana from Rapture. It also causes Renewed Hope and Weakened Soul for -3% dmg and +10% crit respectively.
  • +15% Intellect boosts your mana pool, spell-power and crit – very good scaling.
  • Divine Aegis makes Prayer of Healing (GLYPH IT!) a very potent group heal/shield. If you know group damage is incoming, use it to soften the blow and to top anyone off. No healing should be wasted as people should be kept at 70 – 80%.
  • Inner Focus gives you big free GHeals on the tank when you need them most – and Train of Thought makes it more efficient to cast occasionally.
  • Evangelism/Atonement/Archangel may not be the best use of talents, but it has it’s uses. I’d skip it but thats a personal thing more than anything.
  • Penance/Grace make your tank healing abilities pretty strong, giving you bigger Heals on the one who THEORETICALLY needs them most (in practice it’s the Rogue or Warlock (UGH)).

WeaknessesDiscipline will never have the raw power of Holy, and can struggle with heavy, random AoE.

  • Inherently smaller heals mean that without Grace stacks you will need to cast more spells to heal someone up.
  • While Power Word: Barrier is strong it’s just not Guardian Spirit.
  • Reliant on more expensive Greater Heal and cooldown (Penance) for healing heavy tank damage.
  • Reliant on crit rating to proc Divine Aegis – current low gear levels can render this talent virtually useless.
  • Weaker AoE healing even with Divine Aegis on Prayer of Healing meaning you will need more Prayers to get everyone up after AoE – costing a lot of mana.

Holy – Guide to Holy!Guide to Priest Healing!

StrengthsHoly is all about pure, raw, healing power. Versatility is the name of the game with Holy, you can adapt to any situation – and excel at it.

  • A very potent and scalable mastery. Can easily reach 20 – 30% additional healing with current gear levels – making every heal more efficient.
  • +15% Healing means you’re spells are inherently stronger. Not quite the scaling of Discipline but makes you more efficient with bigger heals.
  • +20% regen from spirit is uttterly amazing and means you can get truly absurd amounts of mana regen.
  • Prayer of Healing (GLYPH IT!) and Circle of Healing make for extreme AoE healing. Using CoH then PoH will heal the group for significant amounts and can trivialise most AoE damage. Heavy AoE fight? Pop Chakra: Sanctuary, cast Holy Word: Sanctuary, CoH then PoH and it won’t seem so bad.
  • Powerful, efficient tank healing from Chakra: Serenity. Extra crit on your single target spells and they renew the rather expensive Renew. The Holy Word is very cheap and a moderate amount – and don’t underestimate the buff. Holy Word: Serenity, Flash Heal then Greater Heal is a HUGE heal-spike which will save your tank from almost any situation.
  • Guardian Spirit – enough said.
  • Body and Soul makes kiting a dream and means you can get in range fast if the tank is knocked back or moves too far.
  • Test of Faith means you’re even more potent when you need it most.
  • Serendipity makes Flash Heal and Binding Heal much more efficient and means PoH and GHeal are faster and cheaper.
  • Under used for it’s poor scaling- but AWESOME at current gearing levels, Surge of Light gives you free Flash Heals and Serendipity procs.

WeaknessesHoly is expensive and requires virtually perfect execution – picking the wrong Chakra or healing spell can cause a wipe.

  • Slow heals can be a killer – the lack of Borrowed Time can hurt.
  • Lower mitigation theanDiscipline forces you to heal more.
  • Requires virtually every green number to be effective to be efficient and not to go OOM.
  • Reliant on mana cooldowns.

Overall it’s a very personal choice. I was Discipline in Wrath and I’m not overly sure why. I REALLY enjoyed it but I always thought of trying holy. I had no gear for it though so it was awful. I didn’t have the haste or spirit to make it work – now I do. I don’t need the haste really, triage makes it less important – I like that a lot. I love the holy mastery, even the name. I’m going to be a Holy Priest for the foreseeable future unless my guild needs a Disco. We’re planning to run Holy Paladin, Resto Shaman and Priest – those two will have the tanks covered, I’m pretty sure, at least I hope they have. I’m awful at tank healing – I’m scatterbrained and much better at shooting heals off in every direction than on one/two people (I know that makes about as much sense as Lightwell used to – but like Lightwell it’s secretly imba!). Priest Healing is a strict but potent mistress, learn to love it. Pick a spec and fly with it. Play what you enjoy. Ultimately you’re a Priest, you could even heal as Shadow. Healing is what we do. (Though we are DANGEROUS as dps- muahahahaha).

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2011 5:39 pm

    I recently decided to make my off-spec Holy instead of Shadow, reasoning I’ll get more use out of it in the long run. Now, I’m a Healer with a capital H, but I’m a versatile healer. I just need to learn in what situations Holy would prevail over Disc. And yeah, learn how2Holy, for which your blog is most helpful. Chakra doesn’t look as intimidating as I thought it was, for one.

    I’m wondering what to do about my gear though. For *now*, I’ll have to make do with the Disc gear I have and maybe downgrade or reforge pieces I’m no longer using for Disc to get more haste and less crit. At the moment, I overall have more Crit and Mastery than I do haste, which is not as bad for Disc (I think), but Holy appearantly needs the haste big time, after Int and Spirit.

    • January 15, 2011 6:48 pm

      Holy excels when things get messy. It can go from 0-100 much faster than virtually any other healer because or Chakra, Serendipity, Guardian Spirit and Divine Hymn. It’s got nowhere near the single target prowess of Discipline but it’s probably the best raid healing spec right now.

      I’ve written a post about stat priorites here – but basically haste is (In my opinion) something you only need enough of to compensate yourself. I have 1.48% haste right now which most Holy Priests would say is fail, however – I have +25% healing from Mastery and 3k combat regen (up to 6k in a fight with procs averagind at 4k) I don’t ever need a heal faster than Holy Word: Serendipity (Instant but CD) or Flash Heal. I do, however, need big heals. I can raid heal very, very efficiently and keep everyone alive in a crisis without going oom. I normally outlast all other healers even when I’m having to Flash Heal and Greater Heal. Why? My heals hit hard and my mana pool can take it. Soon Surge of light is being changed to proc from FH and GH too. This will make me even MORE efficient (im considering reforging spirit into haste or more mastery). Spirit is you’re number one best friend for Holy. Mastery vs Haste is up to you :)

  2. Joey Roy permalink
    March 22, 2011 12:52 pm

    HOLY SHIZZ this was useful. Thank You!

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