27 August 2009

Going holy

I've decided to switch my secondary spec to a holy raiding build, ditching my beloved discipline.

I really have grown quite attached to the pew pew of pennance and the site of raiders running round in my little hamster bubbles, and I think I will miss my shields terribly, especially in 5-mans. But I've healed enough on my resto shammy to know it's a crutch I can live without.

I still believe a discipline priest brings a lot to a raid, I just don't think my guild requires one, particularly from an offspec healer. There just aren't enough fights in current raid design to justify a single-target focus for me. With so many excellent main healers in our guild, I'm only ever going to be there to provide raid support, and flash heal spam just doesn't cut it.

I think I probably have enough offspec gear to make the switch now, although it's very low on haste and will probably need regemming. And I might have to plug a few gaps with some entry-level gear. I'm going to try Wynthea's holy build, which emphasises aoe healing, instant flash heals and powerful renews.

But I don't really know how you heal as holy, so would really appreciate your advice. How do you know from looking at grid where to drop your circle of healing, how do you keep track of all the procs and buffs in holy, how do you manage your mana, and how do you pump out big single target healing when it's needed?

Any hints and tips much appreciated!


kyrilean said...

CoH is more of a sight type spell or at least knowing where the groups are. To be honest, sometimes I just cast it and hope it catches enough people which is easier once the entire raid has taken some damage. Also the mana cost compared to other spells isn't much greater so it's often worth it just to use anyway.

Otherwise it's Renew all tanks and others as I can or as necessary. Cast Flash Heal and the occasional Greater Heal, but hopefully you're not doing much of that.

Hymn of Hope for mana and of course you still have your shadow beastie.

I still haven't found a great way to watch procs. PowerAuras is supposed to work, but it's been hit or miss for me.

Having never done Disc, I can't honestly say, but having played a pally healer (single-target) I really like Holy priesting and think you might too. :D

Shy said...

Funny, how people keep saying that disc is single target healing.

I always have at least 1 disc priest assigned to raid heal on most fights.

Bubbles everywhere and the raid survives a whole lot better.

Ho Ho said...

Disc + druid on raid is incredibly overpowered combination. In our 25-mans we always have 1-2 of each on raid healing and both are at roughyl similar throughput. We have had exactly zero holy priests since 3.1 came as nobody saw them as particularly useful vs disc.

Mike said...

I'm a fan of heavy renews running on tanks at all times. I usually just fire off CoH wherever and let the game sort it out these days. You'll also notice PoM is up a lot more often so for fights like Hodir, that thing is king.

I found mana to be a much greater issue as holy. As long as you're not too spammy you probably won't have a ton of issues. Just remember the mana regen cooldowns. Oh, and I always put holy priests in with the mana-tide-liscious resto shaman. I find disc don't need the extra mana, but holy eats it up.

There was a time when lining up big Greater Heals (and canceling them if not needed) was key for FSR. That still helps, but I don't usually bother anymore.

Oh, and I use Power Auras for all the procs. Free heals rule. I've gotten them all to work with some messing with it. However, I will say that often times it takes a few interface reloads to get things to show up properly.

Anonymous said...

There's a really nice post of some Power Aura imports on the PlusHeal forums. I've used a few of them and they work fine.
There is also a nice post on mmo-champ that breaks down holy spells - http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=66296.0

Anonymous said...

Personally I use Power Auras to track Surge of Light proc along with a buff timer for it. This increased my use of these from about 30-40% to about 95%.

I also glyphed Guardian Spirit and used Power Auras to track when this was available for use.

Lastly I ended up not tracking Serendipity buffs as I found this to be fairly useless information, but I don't use Greater Heal at all.

Buboe said...

I've jusgone the other way at the behest of the RL, and am struggling.
IMO, holy in a raid heal role is superior. I use renew, PoM and flash heals until I get the 3 stacks of serendipity, then shoot off a glyphed PoH. CoH whenever there is raid damage and it's off cooldown.
Mana is an issue for holy, unlike disc, as there is no rapture mechanic for holy, but the ToC trinket and the right meta can help a lot.

Ho Ho said...

"IMO, holy in a raid heal role is superior"

I've heard it being said so many times I can't count but so far noone could give any proof of it. In my guild in the heavy aoe fights druids and disc priests generally are at top on throughput. Of course that's with counting absorbs. Rarely are they significantly below others.

E.g XT normal: http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-uVugAIkgmIwLzWrN/sum/healingDone/?s=3219&e=3559
XT hardmode: http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-rzK670YSOjp1kuQg/sum/healingDone/?s=2129&e=2747
Ignis: http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-uVugAIkgmIwLzWrN/sum/healingDone/?s=1823&e=2101
Bunch of 10-man firefighter tries (our new recruit was holy there): http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-GWEcCeEVtj1bj1Yo/sum/healingDone/?enc=bosses&boss=33412
Bunch of 10-man Algalon tries (same day as firefighter, that priest went disc as it seemed more useful): http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-GWEcCeEVtj1bj1Yo/sum/healingDone/?enc=bosses&boss=32871

I'm not saying holy sucks, I'm saying disc is very viable as raid healer and especially in situations with constant aoe and/or predictable burst aoe. I'd love to see some reports from skilled holy priests, preferably paired with discs/druids and other healers.

Merlot said...

I didn't set out to start a disc v holy war, this is just about my personal experience. You can't theorycraft healing in the way you can dps, there's no single best way to do it. The requirements vary infinitely depending on your group's tactics, their awareness, the raid makeup, gear and skills - and of course, your fellow healers. This last point is the biggest factor of all, I think. No two healers will play the same, which means every combination of healing classes and players will approach a fight in a unique way.

So I have no doubt there are excellent raid-healing disc priests out there, but I'm not one of them. My evaluation of my own performance is that I'm not contributing enough where it's most needed, even accounting for shield spam. This is mostly based on 25-man experiences. I think I'd probably stay disc in 10-mans. Rightly or wrongly, I find it a much stronger spec in smaller groups.

Merlot said...

PS If I'm shit as holy too, I'll come back to disc :)

Anonymous said...

Outside of PoM and a talent-hasted PoH, I never considered Disc a "raid heal" spec, but with no cooldown on PWS it's more a matter of preventing a good deal of raid-wide damage. When I heal as Disc, as long as PWS is on the tank and Pennance is on CD, I shield as many people as I can get before having to Pennance again and refresh PoM/PWS. I leave the actual raid "healing" parts to the Druid/Shaman in the raid.

It's personal preference I guess.

I'm glad you made this post Merlot because I was just thinking of switching my healing offspec from Disc to Holy and wasn't sure where to begin. The links provided in the comments were definitely helpful.


AShadowPriest said...

I definitely made a much better raid healer than single-target.

Shield spamming was DEFINITELY the way to go. Combine that with an occasional Penance+renew on a tank and PoM bouncing around constantly, and I could keep people alive quite well.

ambient said...

Such an interesting topic to me...you are not the first person I've seen have some angst about going holy instead of disc "for the group". I don't know if us spriests just transition more easily to disc, and aren't open to considering holy right away? Maybe I'm transferring there, but that's certainly true for me. :)

I'm a spriest who finally activated my disc secondary spec two months ago, and found my calling. I <3 the bubbles and the mana pool and killing piles of Culling of Strath zombies with a single Holy Nova on the run. While it seems that disc would have a great "support the raid AND tanks" synergy with other healers in 25-mans, sprinkling that many bubbles blows through my mana at ridiculous speed. (Speaking as someone with the ToC trinket, Soul of the Dead, Insightful meta, and stacked int gems — I usually have mana falling out my ears.) Somehow bubbling the raid doesn't work as well as I'd expect...I'm much more effective and efficient on the tanks.

Which, sadly, is why I understand people like you going holy. *shakes fist at her failures to raid heal in disc*

Kantor said...

I find that Surge of Light is the only proc that I really want to track as holy, and use Mik's Scrolling Battle Text with an audio cue (Short Circuit) for each time it triggers.

Then, when I hear the zppt! sound I know I have a free Flash waiting to go!

Anonymous said...

Holy will definatly show better on recount over discipline mainly cause recount does not calculate the absorbed damaged by shields. There is an addon for recount that guesses at that amount. Disc shields are lifesavers in raids. They provide a buffer between taking damage to when a heal gets on the player. It also lets your healers not have to be panicky about healing someone. We raid with at least 1 Disc priest and he usually main tank healer for us.

Erinys said...

I'm often our only healing priest and as such I swop from holy to disc on a fight to fight basis. On things like Freya +3, mass shield spam works wonders, same with Vezax hardmode. In fact most of the time I'm disc, I'm not assigned to tank healing at all, its raid wide damage prevention. Have to say I prefer holy though because I find disc a bit too much one button spam.
For proc watching, I use event alert.
However I think both are viable raid healing methods and certainly some fights suit one over the other. Our parse logger has been slacking recently, but I think on Freya +3 for example, I've hit 4k hps plus as both holy and disc. However we have less casualties when I do the fight as disc because the shields really help especially on the low health clothies.

@valkyrierisen said...

Disc priests that want to know how powerful they really are with those bubbles should open up a private World of Logs account and use loggerhead to get a solid raid performance of their healing. WoL assumes those bubbles actually shield damage, so if you're not wasting them you'll see just how strong you are. Screw recount.

I've almost always raid healed, probably because my main is a resto shaman, but between shields, renews, and POM with the nice haste buffs on my flash of lights, I could really feel like a worthy raid healer on the disc priest, and that's saying something with chain heal in the back of my mind always!

@valkyrierisen said...

I do wish we could leave a Grace behind on multiple targets though..

SolidState said...

My advice is, if you're going Holy, don't stack too much haste. There's nothing more sad than an OOM healer and as a Holy, having lots of haste just means you'll be OOM that much quicker ;p

As Disc I would stack crit over haste. By a huge margin :)