Saturday, December 25, 2010

Healing Priest Tier 11 Set Bonuses

When I first checked out the new tier 11 (Mercurial Vestments) for healing priest they didn't have the set bonuses ready so I focused on the visuals. It got thumbs down from me. I actually think it might look slightly better on my goblin than it did on my undead, but I still think it could've been alot better.

For some reason it took me until just the other day before I checked the set bonuses, and even then it was merely by chance. I wanted to see if I was getting close to being able to buy anything with my valor points (which I wasn't), and Love recommended I save my points for the tier. I agree the tier looks good, but expensive. It'll take at least a week of daily heroics before I can afford my first piece, probably more. And then I glanced down on the set bonuses. Hmm, I haven't seen these before. So are they any good?

My inital impression was a good one. It finally seems like they've managed to give us set bonuses that are good, without being so op that we don't ever want to switch that tier for something else. I really didn't like tier 10, and never used any of those set bonuses. Overall going with off sets was the better choice. But this time the tier might actually be worth having. I also noticed that disc, yet again, falls in grace when compared to holy. Let's take a look.

2 set;
Increases the critical strike chance of your Heal spell by 5%.

Heal is the bread and butter of any healing priests arsenal right now. Both disc and holy have some good synergies going which include using Heal, but that doesn't mean they'll use Heal equally much. First of all, holy uses it more than disc. Holy has Chakra:Serenity, which give your direct healing spells, including heal, an extra 10% crit and refreshes renew. Most priests have also Surge of Light, which procs from Heal (no holy priest will smite). Whenever there isn't intense aoe going around, you'll be spamming heal as holy. Disc on the other hand only has Strength of Soul to benefit from heal, unless you count Grace, which most disc priests will use Penance to stack up anyway. And many disc priests don't even use Strength of Soul, since it counteracts Renewed Hope. Also, if I understood anything about disc, they prefer to use Greater Heals together with Train of Thought. So although Heal is supposed to be the core spell of both specs, which can be seen in this set bonus, reality says something else. This is a set bonus that favors holy healing at the moment.

4 set;
Each time your Penance spell heals a target with Weakened Soul you gain 540 Spirit for 10 sec, and being in a Chakra state grants you 540 Spirit for the duration of the Chakra.

This on the other hand, clearly favors holy. Let's compare the two prerequisities for getting our 540 spirit.
  • As disc you'll get 540 spirit for 10 seconds when healing someone affected by Weakened Soul with Penance. This means you have to use two spells on one specific target to get a 10 second buff.
  • As holy you'll get 540 spirit as long as you're in a chakra stance. Even if we assume that doesn't include just having the buff up but not active, which I think won't count, it still means you'll get a 30 second buff for healing anyone with either Heal, Prayer of Healing or Prayer of Mending.
Acquiring the buff will be alot easier as holy, and it stays on longer.
And here is an even funnier (?) thing. Penance has a 10 second cooldown, when glyphed. This means you have to use your Penance exactly every cooldown to keep the buff up. Chakra on the other hand can be maintained indefinitely, keeping the spirit buff up undefinitely. Not only that, the cooldown on Chakra is as long as its duration, while the stance can be prolonged by throwing a Heal/PoH/PoM, so by throwing one heal every 30 seconds (two if you count the activation heal) you can make sure to never clip your spirit buff as holy. So not only will it be easier to get the buff as holy, it will be alot easier to maintain. The buff is as good for holy as it is for disc (actually it is probably even a little better for disc, since they have more mana issues and can use spirit more at the moment), but holy wins out alot in simplicity. Keeping the buff 100% throughout the fight will be simple as holy, but rather tricky as disc.

Overall I like the set bonuses, but they're not balanced between the specs at the moment. In a way it does point at a general issue with disc right now - it is as good as holy in many ways, but it being alot less intuitive and alot more tricky will scare alot of people away. Unfortunately it seems like Blizzard is taking this even to the tier bonuses.

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