Monday, January 3, 2011

Field Report - On Divine Touch and other holy talents

Sorry for all the holy talk fellow disc priest healers. I'm just in a holy phase right now! I did play disc the last 6 months before Cata so I am enjoying some holy healing now. It'll pass. I've been thinking about various talents again, and made some interesting discoveries! Or so I think anyway.

Divine Touch
I did a couple of respecs to try this talent out. Interestingly enough I haven't seen anyone put this talent into question. Well it might be understandable. It used to be awesome. But that was back when we spammed Renews like we had no other skill. As soon as I had decided to remove Rapid Renewal I started gazing at Divine Touch. If we don't feel like we need RR, why do we need DT?

Divine Touch reads - Your Renew will instantly heal for 10% of the total periodic effect (2tp).

Three things have changed that in my eyes makes this a very weak talent in Cataclysm.
  1. We don't use Renew even remotely as much as we did back in Wrath. I basically only keep it up on tanks
  2. Renew is mostly refreshed with Heals, which further lowers the amount of recasts.
  3. The heal by Divine Touch is pathetically small when put into comparison to the amount of hp that people have today. Anyone raiding has over 100k hp. My Divine Touch heals for approximately 1,5k. So...yeah.

Let's discuss these;
  1. Maybe I'm just not using Renew enough? Do the rest of you healers throw renew everywhere? In raids I usually keep it up on the tanks and refresh it with Heal (unless I happen to be in the wrong stance). When some dps takes damage I rarely throw a renew on them. Either I heal them up with a Heal, tell them to use Lightwell, or use a CoH or PoH if several people are damaged (which usually is the case when dps take damage).
  2. In heroics this is how I mainly heal. Renew on tank, refresh with Heal pretty much throughout the instance. You'd think that refreshing renew would reproc Divine Touch, and that would make the talent alot better, but alas! Extensive testing showed that that is not the case. When refreshing Renew with Heal Divine Touch will not proc again. Which means that if you're skilled and manage to keep Renew up on your target throughout a fight, you will only have one single proc of Divine Touch.
  3. And that makes the question about the amount Divine Touch is healing very interesting. It is true that most of our heals are small in comparison to the amount of hp people have today. This is intended, and nothing wrong with that (I like it actually). Even my Greater Heal feels pretty much like a piss in the ocean. But 1,5k is just insanely small. I have saved plenty of screens from my raid healing various bosses, and Divine Touch doesn't make it above 5% of my total healing on any of those. That is really weak for two talent points if you ask me.

Divine Touch is a relic from the old days of healing. We've happily run along with it. Apparently not even Blizzard could foresee how weak this talent would be in our current healing style. They'd probably have to change it to 50% of total before I'd be much interested as it is now. The only reason I can see for having this talent right now is to proc trinkets that only procs from direct heals, like Darkmoon Card: Tsunami. But since a CoH will give a full stack anyway that sounds fairly unecessary.

State of Mind

I've seen some priest saying that this is an unecessary talent, since it doesn't actually add anything to our healing. I wanted to test this. It is true that State of Mind doesn't give us more healing throughput. Chakra has a 30 second duration, 30 second cooldown and no gcd, which means it can be re-activated as soon as it drops off. But that's not entirely true. Chakra is not recastable in cast. If you like me prefer to be in Chakra: Serenity, there will be a gap of ~2,5 sec where you will have to reactivate you chakra, in which you will be stance less. Does this matter? Well if you in those 2,5 sec really need to use Holy Word: Serenity then yes. Does this happen often? No probably not, but the gap exists, question is if we want it to. Chakra: Sanctuary can be activated by an instant cast, unless it is on cooldown. So what State of Mind brings is a little maneuverability. Alot of holy priests feel like Chakra already is a rather clunky spell. I think it's working fine actually, but I can definitely understand where the critique is coming from. Chakra is something we have to use, unlike Atonement which is more of a bonus when disc healing. Choosing the right stance for the right situation does make a difference.

I've tried playing without State of Mind for a couple of instances and it works well enough. But I like not having to think about re-applying my chakra stance every 30 seconds actually. Question is if it would suffice with just 1 tp (2 sec) or if we'd prefer 2 tp? Will 1 tp do much enough of a difference to help out with what we want, namely to prolong the stance enough for easier use? It might.

Blessed Resilience
Some questions have been raised as to the effectiviness of this talent. It is true it has become alot better than it was back in Wrath. Earlier I've said that it's a good talent, but not better than the alternatives. Now that I have changed footing regarding Divine Touch, or maybe rather realized that it doesn't do much at all, I have to look at BR as an alternative. To get far enough down the tree we have to pick either BR or Spirit of Redemption. Which one would be more effective? I'd say BR. Eventhough BR has the flaw of being individual, just as Desperate Prayer, it does work throughout the fight. SoR benefits the raid, but only upon death which is to be avoided in any case. BR prevents us from ever needing SoR in fact!

And all this together?
One problem arises when we try to make a talent tree out of all this. If we want to remove Divine Touch from our talents, we have to pick Desperate Prayer instead. DP isn't a great talent either, but I honestly think it's more useful than Divine Touch has proven to be. As long as you remember to use it, it has saved me from a pinch. We shouldn't need these kind of talents, so I've played without it plenty of times and that has worked well too. But this is still a handy skill to have.

As mentioned it also means we have to pick BR. Question is if we want one or two points into BR? The last point can either be put into 2 tp State of Mind, or 1 tp Veiled Shadows. Definitely not easy choices. Alot of people think that Veiled Shadows is a great talent, I don't agree. For most heroics I rarely have to use my Shadowfiend anyway. In raids I rarely get to cast it twice even with lowered cooldown. If I had lowered cd to 4 minutes I might be able to get it back towards the end if I use it from start. Alot of bosses have 6 minute enrage timer so a fight doesn't take much longer than that. But I usually only need mana the last 15% of the fight, so I only have to use my shadowfiend once anyway. So if we don't put that last tp into Veiled Shadows, would it be better in BR or State of Mind? I'm not sure. I'll try out two tp in BR and one in State of Mind for now and see how it goes.
This is how I'm currently specced.

Oh and another thing
I noticed a really interesting thing when doing a heroic the other day. Maybe you all know about this already, and I'm just the last to figure it out. In that case, feel free to point fingers and snicker. I bet most pvping holy priests (if they exist) have noticed this already.

I was standing too close to a mob that interrupts and accidentally got my holy spells locked. Bummer I thought. Or was it? For some reason I could still use my Holy Word. This had to be tested! I duelled Love who bashed my spells, and lo and behold, my Holy Words are un-lockable. For some reason they don't count as holy spells. This goes for both Holy Word: Sanctuary and Serenity. At first I tried to find some explanation. Maybe the fact that it has a cooldown? No, CoH is still locked out eventhough it has a cooldown. Maybe because it is instant? No, yet again that would apply to CoH as well.

I don't know if this is a bug or intended, but enjoy it while you can!


  1. I’m running without Divine Touch and RR at the moment, exactly because I do not feel that I'm benefiting from these talents nearly enough. I can’t afford to spam Renews on heroic 5mans anymore, the only person getting it frequently these days is the MT. And you hardly refresh it there thanks to heal-Chakra, so basically these 3 points are wasted.

    I haven't entered raids yet, so I might change my mind again there. but until then I will use these talent points for things like maxing Darkness and Twin Disciples (I also like to use talents like LW, SoR or DP).

    I'm similarly overwhelmed by SoL, despite heal being my most-used spell by now. I am going to hold off though until the incoming class changes that GC announced, since they're gonna add the proc to all our direct healing spells there.

  2. @Syl
    No your healing won't change much in raids (at least mine hasn't). More Prayer of Healings and Mendings, but that's about it. Yeah, still disappointed with Sol, unfortunately if we want to remove RR and DT (which I have now, and it works very well) we have to go for DP, SoL or SoR.