Lament of my Disc Priest

WoW_Priest_IconI have played a rogue for so long that I’m embarrassed to tell people my time /played.  I can do the Mutilate attack rotation in my sleep.  I could count out the cooldown timers with my eyes closed.

But healing seems to be eluding me.  I’ve tried healing on my Disc priest.  Unfortunately, I cannot seem to hold up my end of the healing in raids.

Yesterday we went to Naxx 10 on an alt run.  Most of us were undergeared, but we knew the fights.  We didn’t have any healing assignments since we all knew what to expect.  My healing skills are pretty weak and during the run I was well, well below the Naxx-25-geared holy pally in every measure of healing.  I installed the Recount Guessed Absorbs add-on so I could add in my shields to my total healing.  Even with that, I was still far, far behind the pally – less than half of his total healing and HPS.

I rationalized it – saying to myself that Disc priests are mainly single-target healers and since we were busy sniping heals around the raid I couldn’t show my true healing power.

We got to Gluth.  I was assigned to the two tanks in the front of the room.  Finally, a true main tank healing assignment that is perfect for a Disc priest.

And I failed.  I could not keep the tanks up.  Looking at Recount for the fight, my healing output was under 900 HPS.  I was mainly rotating Flash Heals and Penance, and it simply wasn’t enough.

After the raid I compared notes with the pally healer.  When he needs a big heal he tosses a Holy Light that lands for 10k or more.  Wow!  My best heal, Penance, hits 3x for about 1.6k each for a total of 4.8k (non-crit).  What’s up with that?  Not only that, but his spell crit is at 48%!  Mine is less than half of that!

My priest is not that well geared – mostly Naxx 10 epics (iLvL 200) with a  few blues scattered around and the odd iLvL 213 mixed in there as well.  He has just a hair under 2k spellpower when fully raid buffed.  I think that the problem is his crit rating.  Right now he has only 21% crit, and more crit would mean more Divine Aegis procs as well as bigger heals and higher HPS.

I decided to browse around WWS and look at the performance of other Disc priests on the Gluth fight.  The first obstacle was simply finding a Disc priest.  I’d click on a raid, see a priest healing, click on the priest, and find he was Holy.  Again and again and again.  It took me a half hour of searching to find a Disc priest healing the Gluth fight.  When I did find it, I saw that their spells were hitting harder than mine.  By a lot.

So I need to figure this out, or change to Holy, or drop this character.  It would seem that the solution would be more spellpower to make my heals hit harder, yet other priests with comparable gear are getting much higher HPS.  Maybe I need to sacrifice spellpower for crit rating.  I’ve looked around the internet and haven’t found any obvious help.  If anyone has any good Disc priest resources to suggest I’d appreciate it.

20 Responses to “Lament of my Disc Priest”

  1. 1 Tar
    July 9, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Since I the expansion came out I have down lvls 70-80 as a Holy Paladin right beside my boyfriend who has done his as a Holy Priest. When our gear was relatively the same before the patches came out, he could out heal me with his eyes closed. There was no contest and I was too afraid to enter into a heroic without him because my heals were nothing compared to the way he could keep the whole party alive without effort.

    Once we were 80 and began to raid, the two of us could dominate any heal recount chart, but he was still always #1. His spell power was *way* over the 2k mark when he was buffed.

    But then…

    The patches started coming out…slowly ticking away everything he had worked for and achieved as a healer. His SP barely reaches 2k with buffs…he is reduced to AOE heals when needed which pushed him to dual spec DPS if he wanted to keep his raid spot…All the while my heals grow more powerful, my burst heals do a base 10.5-11k and holy shock can do 5k-10k depending on crits. His mana regen was so insane before the nerfs that he virtually never ran out of mana and now his mp5 is comparable to mine.

    If his heart wasn’t broken enough by all of this…in 3.2 Prayer of healing takes a SP % bonus cut…breaking what little heals he had left. He has since replaced his main until a time when priest are worth something again because if he is going to DPS, he’d rather play something else.

  2. July 9, 2009 at 9:41 am

    That sounds very strange. My disc priest is level 78, and my Penance ticks always hit for more than 2000 each (DrDamage shows 6600 on the tooltip for total estimate healing). I know it sounds silly, but check to make sure you’re using the right ranks of your spells?

    Aaaactually, now that I think about it, did you level with dual specs? Maybe my recent post will help… http://www.thealtoholic.com/2009/06/30/problems-with-dual-specs-and-action-bars/

  3. 3 Saniel
    July 9, 2009 at 10:00 am

    There’s one other thing you have to take into consideration before beating yourself up too much.

    Yes, you’re probably a tad undergeared to be the sole tank healer on Gluth. Even in 10-man. But lets not forget that both our tanks last night were alts and neither of them are spectacularly geared for their role, either.

    Yeah, they rocked Plague. But Abomb > Plague by no small margin.

    3 of the 10 toons in there were overgeared. The rest were right at the appropriate place, if not a little below. All things considered, for the amount of time we were in there, we didn’t do too badly.

  4. July 9, 2009 at 10:21 am

    For Gluth, we put our Disc priest on the zombie chow kiter. Shields reduce the stacks of that hideous buff the kiter takes. Granted, a good kiter shouldn’t be getting hit a lot, but meh.

    I’m leveling a disc priest, it’s fun. Don’t give up. 🙂

    Here are a few links (possibly outdated in regards to patch information) that may be helpful?


  5. July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I’m holy / disc specced but prefer Holy and haven’t really tried Disc in raids. If I did I would read and devour this… http://bobturkey.wordpress.com/priestly-resources/

    Seph xx

  6. 6 Porf
    July 9, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Don’t give up. I play a disc priest as my main, and I definitely don’t have any trouble with HPS or any other aspect. Group/raid healing can be a challenge as you don’t have the CoH abilities that a holy priest has, but I still find it very, very effective.

    I heal either the MT or OT in Uld all the time, and have no issue healing Naxx with just 1 other healer. It’s def a spec that can work.

    Buffed, I usually run about 2300-2500 sp, with a crit rate ~30%. Crit is important, but haste is very important as well.

    My penance ticks for ~4500 a pop if I crit, so combined with PoM, a shield, and a flash heal, you can burst heal very well.

    Don’t get upset by the healing meters. I used to run on the absolute top of the list in holy, and I’m way down there now that I’m disc. They aren’t that useful.

    If your tank is dying, then it’s clearly an issue, but I’d say it’s prob gear related. Just keep trying. Before you blame yourself, check the tank’s mitigation too. Sometimes it’s the combination of the two.

    If you need spec tips or to see how I’m geared/gemmed, just lookup Stonemaul/Porfidio.


  7. July 9, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    My recommendation would be to go here, http://www.worldofmatticus.com/, and poke around a bit. I think there is a link to plus heal there too, which is a good site.

    I do not play a disc priest myself, but I know that a disc priest is a lot different than most healers because they use their shield to mitigate damage in addition to healing after the fact. As a result, I would not expect the amount of healing done to be as high as another healing class.

  8. July 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Dinear (and co),

    Rotating FH and Penance is seems to be a fairly common starting point for new disc priests. I’d suggest you have a casting priority something like this instead PW:S > Penance > Prayer of Mending > Flash Heal. PW:S is the true weapon of Disc and a tool no other class has. That is it prevents damage rather than healing it. Maintain them on your tanks. Even cast them on raiders who take damage to give the raid healers time to make ‘green bars go up’.

    Penance ticks look a bit low even for Naxx 10 geared to me. I would have expected non crit ticks more like 2k. For Naxx 10 you’re looking at something like 1500 SP, 15-18% crit and 10% haste unbuffed. If you need more throughput when tank healing don’t forget to maintain Renew on the tank also.

    Any disc priest will be hard pressed to out-heal a paly unless there is a fair amount of raid damage and you are using either Prayer of Healing and/or a lot of PW:S on the raid. Especially if you are not using many PW:S. Pallies excell at healing a small number of targets and can do so for a long time. If you are keen on topping meters raid healing as Holy spec is a much easier way to do it.

    If you want to dabble in priest healing Holy spec is also a bit less complex, just make sure you have a decent addon to remind you about Surge of Light procs.

    Gobble gobble.

    PS @Seph – thanks

  9. July 9, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Hang in there!

    Disc takes a lot of getting used to…crit and SP are two of the stats that I stack on my Disc Priest. The rotation mentioned above PW:S > Penance > Prayer of Mending > Flash Heal. PW:S sounds a lot like mine. Also, don’t be afraid to use Power Infusion (on yourself if you need more/faster healing output) and Pain Suppression on your target for a healing break.

    Good luck!

  10. July 10, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Thanks for all the great advice!

    We went back to Naxx today and it went much better. I made PoM a higher priority and kept more Renews up.

    I use Classtimers to track buffs, and for some reason it doesn’t track Grace, Divine Aegis, or Weakened Soul. I manually added those bars and that was a HUGE help. I use Penance more to stack Grace than even for it’s heals.

    I also re-gemmed to get more crit. I’m not looking to top any meters. I just want to make sure I am pulling my weight in raids. I’ll keep working at it.

  11. 11 Megree
    July 10, 2009 at 9:22 am

    This post is also useful I thought, its from the Lowered Expectations blog.


  12. 12 Kaninchen
    July 11, 2009 at 7:15 am

    I’m genuinely curious to see your Armory. I sit at around 2K spellpower self-buffed (Inner Fire), 25% crit unbuffed (actually, my throughput is pretty lousy at the moment), and my Penance usually crits between 4-5K fully raid-buffed.

    Make absolutely sure that PW:S (and, consequently, Weakened Soul) is always up. That debuff improves your crit chance. You should use PoM on every cooldown, as well. My rotation is PW:S, PoM, Penance, Flash Heal until Penance cooldown is up, rinse and repeat.

    And as far as good resources, http://snarkcraft.wordpress.com/ is my numero uno favorite.

  13. 13 KMFPriest
    July 11, 2009 at 9:52 am

    I have been following this post closely as my priest recently dual specced disc and I keep seeing that everyone uses PW:S in their spell rotations for tank and I was curious…do you shield any and all tanks including warriors and bears? I was always told that the golden rule for healing rage users was no shield. Help!

  14. 14 Duclama
    July 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    My wife is having the same “I must really suck” thing going on, especially when she looks at Recount or our logs on WorldOfLogs.com or WWS.

    She looks at the paladin who is our other 10-man healer and is extremely depressed.

    Do yourself a favor – look at your paladin co-healer’s spell breakdowns.
    Then look at his top 3 used spells. WIth me? Good.

    Now, look at his Overheal Percentage for those.
    Ridiculous, no? It’s just how paladins have to heal, nothing for it, but it really skews the stats.

    Now, tell me what YOUR Overheal Percentage is on PW:S. I’ll wait, go check.
    What? You don’t have paladin-like overheal with that? No, of course not. It’s mitigation!

    Disc Priest just work differently. Is your raid leader happy with your performance? Is your healing leader happy with your performance? Are your tanks happy with your performance?
    If you can answer yes to those, screw the meters.

    Let me know if you want to try to get in touch with my wife. Maybe, at worst, you guys can commiserate.

  15. July 12, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I guess in my post I may have come across as a meter reader. That’s not true. I never expected to have comparable numbers to the paladin for many, many reasons, including the fact that he has vastly better gear AND that he is experienced in healing.

    @Dudama, no I wasn’t happy with my performance, and neither was the raid leader (although he never said anything to me – he didn’t have to). Not because of the meters. But because when I was assigned to solo-heal the tank on Gluth I couldn’t do it. I only used the meters to look at my healing throughput to try and find the reason for my poor performance.

    I know that Disc priests work differently. That’s a major reason I specced to Disc in the first place. Still, I clearly wasn’t doing something right.

    Since then, thanks to great input from the commenters here, my healing has improved noticeably in the past two days. I healed a successful kill of Sartharion yesterday, which was very exciting. I plan to play more on this toon now in hopes of improving further.

  16. July 12, 2009 at 11:50 am

    @KMFPriest – in a recent patch, PW:S was changed so that it provides rage to the tank when it is used up or dispelled. My tanks have no rage trouble from PW:S, and I use it liberally.

  17. 17 Duclama
    July 12, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    @Dinaer – I see. Losing a tank during a boss is a bigger problem then. Even though our raid group is downing bosses, making progression kills, getting new speed records on older bosses, my wife still has a bit of insecurity, especially when we’re working on a new boss.

    So yeah, losing the tank means you still need work. Once you get past that, meters, especially in the hands of others, can be a dangerous and frustrating thing.

    Grats on the improvement, though!

  18. 18 Alex
    July 13, 2009 at 5:19 am

    As others have said, it’s possible you were not using the maximum rank of Penance or that when you measured your Penance hits for 1.6k, the tank had the stacking mortal strike debuffs from Gluth. Even in blues your Penance should be ticking for well over 2k each time.

  19. July 16, 2009 at 12:56 am

    I have to thank you for writing this post – it was the final incentive I needed to put my disc priest to some use (1000 honor kills worth of PvP so far this week, and I also successfully healed 17/18ths of VH, which was mostly quite enjoyable).

  20. 20 Zethlarr
    July 21, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Sounds to me like you were using rank 1 of Penance if it was hitting for that low per tick 🙂

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