Sunday, September 12, 2010

Field Report - Endgame Healing

Priest healer Zinn reporting from the frontiers of IceCrown Citadel, it's hell up here. A hell frozen over!

I will try to involve my main healing priest a little more into this blog. After all she is experiencing the hardcore parts of my wow-playing, and eventhough I'm actually not that hardcore of a player, the occasional wander into the domain of endgame raiding could be interesting.

Today I thought I'd give a little report from the frontiers. What has recently happened in the world of my main? What issues has she stumbled upon lately?

400 spellpower makes a difference

My guild, which I recently switched to to be able to enjoy some more challenging content while waiting for Cataclysm, is currently trying on LK 25hc. He's actually not been downed on my server yet, and we're horde first with 67% (alliance are at 50% or so). 67% is half way through phase 2 and we're currently struggling with getting control of the Valkyrs while trying to not perish in the Defile. Although alot of game mechanics are similar to normal mode, the added insane amount of damage make a big difference. As a disc priest my role is very, very simple in a fight like this - keep shields up on everything at all times. We actually use two disc priests for this fight since shields are so crucial for an easy handling of Infest. So if one Disc priest perishes in a fire/gets caught by a Valkyr we have one back up disc priest.

The other week when we did LK, because we do a new reset each week to gear ourselves and keep morale high, I was also on dispel duty. I don't mind at all, it is also one of the easier things to do. It does become insanely difficult however if people don't handle the Necrotic Plague well. I am trying to figure out how to show timer on NP on my grid, but so far I haven't managed to get that going. That means I have to estimate when the Plague is going to tick, and dispel accordingly. This isn't a problem if people move when they should, then I just dispel them whenever they're in the right position. If they're too slow however, I have to choose between letting them die or dispelling when they're in the wrong position. In hc both things probably lead to a wipe anyway, since it's rather important to start stacking diseases on the Shambling Horrors.

So the other priest, a friend of mine (not just a guildie), was shielding 3 out of 5 groups while I shielded 1,5 groups (not the tanks, for rapture procs). I still noticed that she had way more absorbed done than I had. More than what should be accounted for from her shielding twice as much as me, or so it felt anyway. I asked her about her gear, since she's usually a shadow priest and just steps in for healing when she's needed I haven't checked it out that much. Turns out she has about 400 spellpower more than me, but about the same gearscore. Well clearly I have done something wrong!

One thing was already obvious, since I had mained holy before I joined this guild some month ago, my gear contains way more haste than it should. I should've done something about it, but I just haven't got around to it (like I said I'm not that hardcore). And haste isn't that bad a stat for disc either! But my 850ish haste definitely was slightly overkill. I had gotten Frozen Bonespike hc on a run earlier, and was just waiting for the perfect off-hand to drop, preferrably the one from Blood Prince Council, or the one from Sindragosa (which unfortunately has spirit though). But considering there are 10 other casters waiting to get their hands on those off-hands I probably won't get one anytime soon. So I had banked my pretty Frozen Bonespike and used the Maghari Chieftain Staff (normal) instead.

That was of course were all those spellpowers were hiding. The other priest used a way better weapon than me and had like 300 more spellpower there alone. So I ransacked my bank for any off-hand to use with my Bonespike, anything at all!

And came across Scourgelords Baton hc, hooray! It does have hit, but combined with the Frozen Bonespike hc it still provides about 320 more spellpower than my Maghari Chieftain Staff (albeit 5% less haste, but I don't need that anyway). So I found those spellpowers finally.

Glyph of Renew
I rarely go holy in my new guild, since the guild leader is holy actually. Well no that's not the reason, holies are quite stackable. But I am the current disc healer of the guild and so I am disc healing! I only ever go holy when the other disc priest I just mentioned has to heal and we don't want two disc priests at the same time. I've been wanting to try out Glyph of Renew, because the debate is going high and low on whether it is a good glyph or not. In the end I figured, it's really about how you use your renew. There is no denying that renew is the basis of holy healing, together with PoM, but does that really mean that you want to shorten the length of the duration of renew? Can we really compete with resto druid cuishioning? Not really, so do we want to? Maybe, maybe... that is what I want to test, but since I get to go holy so seldom, testing is slow at the moment.

Get out of the way DBM
There are alot of nice DBM-like addons out there, and I am considering trying one of them out instead. There is nothing really wrong about DBM, but I lack some features, like the above mentioned timer for Necrotic Plague and am hoping that an addon like DeusVox might help me with that. Love uses DeusVox and keeps nagging about how much better it is, so maybe I have to give it a try. Recently I also noticed that my DBM-bars were obstructing my debuffs, which actually turned out to be really annoying. Not life threatening, but not far from. On Sindragosa for instance, I have trouble seeing when my Unstable Magic debuff runs out. Fortunately she always applies it at the same time so that I know when it will run out. But it was annoying nonetheless so my DBM bar had to travel from one side of the screen to the other. This means I still throw a glance in the wrong corner of the screen everytime I want to see a certain boss fight timer, and sometimes I think my DBM is bugging or something before I remember to look in the other direction... It's difficult to make an old dog sit as they say.

Bye bye Grace
I never get to tank heal as disc. I don't know if Blizzard ever intended for disc priests to be tank healers, but honestly they're not very good at it. Or well they're ok at it, but paladins and even shamans do it way better. People thought that disc were supposed to differ from Holy, and Holy have always been the raid healers. People thought "well disc can't do the same thing as holy but in a different way, that would just be silly". Actually that is exactly the way it works. I am always put on RH duty. So I thought, why should I talent Grace? It can only be applied to one target at the time, and I never focus on one target at a time. It really doesn't do anything for me unless I tank heal, and since I never do, I decided to place those talents into Focused Power instead. And I haven't regretted it since.

Stay tuned for more reports from the front, and tell me if there is something in particular you'd like to know!


  1. Did you notice a difference after getting more SP? Was the result as you expected?


  2. Umm no, I didn't really. But on the other hand we haven't gotten to LK since my change so I haven't had a fair chance to test it. When I get to do LK again I can compare my numbers with the other priest and see if there is a difference! I'll get back to you on that ;)