After struggling through a couple of normals and getting a taste at what seems to be the new style of healing, I am considering more and more to remove my Evangelism-Archangel-Atonement (EAA) combo alltogether. As it is now I just don't use it in instances at all. The reason is simple, I don't use it for dps because that would be a tremendous waste of mana. Even with Archangel, I use up more mana smiting than I gain from the Evangelism buff. The reason to smite would be because it is a fairly good heal - if only I could rely on it. It is better than Heal in that it is faster and heals for slightly more. Even with Archangel it is more expensive though. Archangel reduces the cost on a Smite by about 500 mana, through mana return, which still puts it above Heal. Considering the speed and slightly bigger healing it might be worth it. But in tight situations I can't count on it to actually heal the people I want to heal enough to want to use it. Its biggest flaw is the range. I can for the love of god not understand why Blizzard have limited its healing range to 15 yards. It's not awfully bad, but it has to be at least 30, preferrably 40 yards before I feel like it even begins to be usable in an instance. Right now there are plenty of situations where the tank, or any melee, is too far away from the center of the mob to get the heal. And even more situations where the target is ranged or for some other reason too far away from the tank for it to be useful. As long as these problems exist smite won't cut it for healing. The second problem is that I can't choose the target it is healing. It always goes for whoever is the lowest on health, which might sound like what I'd like to heal as well, but that is definitely not always the case and any healer knows this. You could have targets low on health intentionally like on Patchwerk, or just want to heal another target you know will take a big blow instead of one that has slightly less health but still is safer. Removing this combo would also make Train of Thought less valuable.
And I am increasingly more often going holy for instance healing instead. Hots are just very, very good when it comes to instance healing right now. As a disc I have a good way of reducing raid damage, but no good way of getting them back up again. I have always relied on the rest of my healing team to do that job! That's not what I am supposed to do! I'm just there to buy the rest of the healers some time before their hots and heals can do their job. But suddenly I have to not only reduce damage, but also heal people, and I feel like disc is lacking. I refuse to use renew, it's a waste of mana with its pathetic ticking (about 1,5k). So after shielding them I have to start using Heals or Greater Heals. And when you've got 5 people below 50% hp, dying quickly, those heals seem very lacking. My best aoe heal is Prayer of Healing which not only will oom me, but requires for everyone to stand fairly close together. Comparing that to keeping hots on everyone, Circle of Healing, Lightwell and Sanctuary for really tight situations and you've got the reason for why I prefer holy at the moment. Actually I'll oom either way, but at least the tools to do the job are there. And I actually oom less when holy! Never thought I'd say that.
When I did an instance yesterday the tank was kind enough to tell me that it seemed like priests were the only healers right now that oomed after every fight. That made me happy, not. He had apparently mained priest in Wrath, so it wasn't just random trash talking. And when watching Love healing, on his offspec with way less good gear than mine, I noticed that he had way less issues both with mana and keeping people alive. So either I suck or something is seriously wrong with priest healing right now. I hope it's just me actually, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case.
Instead I have in desperation started to looking at talents like Strength of Soul. I haven't used it so far because quite frankly it was useless in wrath. Back then Heal was a basically worthless spell. And like I've been saying, it's still not good, but perhaps something we will just have to learn to use. With more haste and more spellpower I can at least sense some potential in this skill. And if I start healing with Heal (the most boring spellname in WoW btw?), a talent like Strength of Soul suddenly becomes more usable. Even if it counteracts Renewed Hope. Apparently we're supposed to throw alot of shields, and we get some mana back from doing it. So place a shield, spam Heal and place a new shield, rinse and repeat. Problem is right now that I don't want to remove my EAA combo until I've finished questing, since it at least makes killing stuff somewhat bareable as a healer. This means I won't have a chance to test my new spec out until I've dinged 85, so I can't say whether it's a good or bad idea just yet. So far it's just a thought.
I still enjoy healing, and I don't mind things being challenging per se. But they have to be challenging for the right reasons. And no one wants to be the only class who's struggling. I don't think druid/paladin/shaman healing is a walk in the park either, we've all had to adjust pretty much. But I wonder if any class is struggling as much to find its healing identity as disc priests are right now. And maybe priests overall. I will give disc another chance, but for now it seems like holy has the upper hand. On the other hand I have seen priests that have gone the other way, so maybe it just shows that priests overall are in a tight place right now, or that priests are wimpy.
Oh, and please remove the sound from Chakra, it's driving me crazy.