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Discipline Changes

The impact of the changes to Discipline Priest’s abilities will vary depending on where you’re at in the content. I can speak only for Heroics and entry-level raiding at this point in time. Healers further into progression may notice other effects and, ultimately, how they use the abilities will determine how Discipline is balanced in the future.

Levitateduration increased to 10 minutes.
Deepsea fishing has just become immensely less annoying.

Penancemana cost has been increased by 7%, but healing increased by 20%.
In general, Discipline priests seem to have more stable mana pools than other healers right now.  Chipping away at that stability is fine if my heals are stronger for it.

Graceno longer limited to one target at a time.
This is the change that I’ve been waiting for as a Discipline priest. I’m extremely happy to see it implemented and look forward to the freedom and utility it gives me in raiding and balancing multiple targets.

Strength of Soul: now occurs when the priest casts Inner Focus on oneself. In addition, causes the priest to become immune to silence, interrupt, and dispel effects for 2/4 seconds after using Inner Focus.
Huh. I still don’t know what I think of this talent. They’re going somewhere with it, but I’m not yet sure what the overall philosophy is behind it.

Prayer of Healing: effectiveness has been reduced by 15%.Divine Aegis: Critical effects from Prayer of Healing now award a bonus amount in addition to the default, always-proc Divine Aegis effect.

Taken together, these changes are acceptable. I’m not a fan of any reduction to PoH because, as a Discipline priest, it’s my only recourse for reliable AoE healing. But I’m also aware that it isn’t my Heroic/entry-level healing that caused the change. When I’m in later content, I should be strong enough to sustain heals regardless. More importantly, my fellow healers will be stronger by then as well and less of the burden will be placed on me to support them. The DA component of the change is very welcome. It’s also more important than ever to time your PoH carefully so that the DA is actually consumed.

Power Word: Shieldmana cost has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.

The boost to Power Word: Shield is significant and is immediately becoming a source of contention among healers. Our shields are now powerful and Mastery plays a stronger role in our stat weights. It’s a considerable upgrade from the wimpy state of shields when Cataclysm was released. The first question that comes to mind for many is the issue of bubble spamming. It’s difficult to tell if it’s viable or sustainable yet. Logs do not accurately record absorbs and so the surge of opinions is speculative at best.

What we do know is that Blizzard doesn’t like it. If it becomes an issue, there will be inevitable modifications to Power Word: Shield’s strength, cooldown, or to our mana resources that force us to curtail our use of it and only utilize a shield when it’s actually the right spell to use. The best practice is to not treat Power Word: Shield like an exploit. Use it when it is appropriate, rely on other abilities when a Shield isn’t the best option, and heal effectively and intelligently.

Overall, I’m pleased with the changes. I could feel the difference. Through gear and being careful with my healing, I’d already gotten past the frustration of feeling that I simply couldn’t keep up. Getting a boost helped me feel like I was on more even footing with my healing counterparts. I don’t mind working smart and paying attention in order to fulfill my role. But the amount of effort required should be equal among the players.


Patch 4.0.6 is Live

The most recent patch to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is now 4.0.6.

For Discipline priests, it’s a meaningful patch and there are some reassuring changes that have come with it. Be prepared for hotfixes in the future as Blizzard tries to balance our abilities, but the attention is appreciated.

Relevant Patch Changes:

  • The duration of Levitate has been increased to 10 minutes, up from 2.
  • The mana cost of Power Word: Fortitude has been reduced by approximately 68%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
  • The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
  • The mana cost of Renew has been reduced by 24%.
  • The mana cost of Shadow Protection has been reduced by approximately 65%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
  • Mind Control now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
  • Mind Sear can now be channeled on friendly targets in addition to enemy targets. In addition, Mind Sear’s damage has been increased by roughly 15%.
  • Prayer of Healing effectiveness has been reduced by 15%.

See patch notes for complete listing.

Also relevant for the gearing Discipline priest are two item changes:

Mandala of Stirring Patterns now increases Intellect instead of mastery rating and is a very appealing trinket from Baradin’s Wardens reputation/Tol Barad commendations.

Vibrant Alchemist Stone has been added to the game and is excellent for alchemists.

Next up:

Evaluation of the changes and list of current resources for Discipline priests. Please let me know of any blogs/websites you are currently using and recommend including.

Dusting off Soulwarding

The blog name sort of amuses now that I find myself only speccing 1/2 Soulwarding, the long-time iconic talent of the Discipline priest tree. Times change, but then they change again.

I’m cleaning up the appearance and organization of Soulwarding, and then I intend to supply current and relevant material for Discipline priests who are finding themselves with the short stick on priest healing and trying to make the most of it. Discipline is different, but it’s still enjoyable, and it’s quirks will be smoothed out in time.

Most importantly, I’ll try to provide some insight into healing and encounter strategies to make our jobs easier as healers. I will be focusing on normal and Heroic dungeon encounters for the time being.

Please note that all posts prior to January 2010 are out-of-date and may not contain information relevant to current gameplay. Ensure that you are looking up information from post-Cataclysm launch and live Patch 4.0.3 and beyond. For reference, the current PTR patch is 4.0.6.

Being a Good WoW Neighbor

….means not keying your neighbor’s car just because they have a Horde decal in the window. But the thought did briefly cross my mind.

With a constant influx of expansion news, sort of like a battering ram, a lot of folks are trickling off and suspending their accounts until there are new and shiny things to play with. It leaves those that linger feeling a little sour. But it’s also drawing new people in, bringing old players back, and encouraging current players to try out alts on different servers. It’s the lull where players can do things they wouldn’t normally try.

Emmet has been spending quite a bit of time in Goldshire mingling with low level alts and first-timers. He’s a bit of a Mister Moneybags right now and sitting on a pile of gold that he has nothing to spend on. We’re holding out for the expansion and, if nothing piques our interest there, then Domni gets a new mammoth! In the meantime, he’s donating to charities. He’s looking to fund A.R.M.S. Tournaments and RP events on the server. He tends to make generous donations to low level characters who engage him in conversation.

The response has been very positive. Who wouldn’t be grateful when someone just walks up and hands you a week’s earnings? The donation scales based on player level, need, and cause. A level 20 player will ride out 20g for a long time.

Sometimes it isn’t gold that he offers. If he’s just hanging out, he’ll give groups rides on his traveling tundra mammoth and help them through rough territory.

No matter what, whoever runs into him when he’s in a gracious mood is going to be helped and their experience with Twisting Nether will have improved because of the interaction.

I picked up the torch last night when I dusted off my paladin and smashed level 44 mobs for a few hours. A few runs through Maraudon in the dungeon finder and I realized that my tank was from Twisting Nether as well. We started talking and I discovered that he was new to the server and had started from scratch. I rarely play my alt, but I’ve had a bit of gold sitting on her for a while now. Needless to say, her pockets are now a bit lighter, and there’s a new player that has a rosy view of TN. I even directed him over to the TN Gazette, with silent prayers that the trolls were dormant for the day and he would actually find a few good people and discussions.

When I have free time, I like to perch on the fenceposts in starting zones and interact with new arrivals. I try to encourage roleplaying so that they see it right from the start. In slightly higher zones, I’ll usually reward a player that interacts positively with my character with a bag or a little bit of gold. It’s quirky, but it’s a surprising bit of fun to meet strangers and just be a part of Azeroth.

Being a good WoW neighbor doesn’t mean just handing out hard-earned gold or standing around in your passenger mount waiting for someone to ask for a lift. It just means keeping your head up while you’re in the community and reaching out to those who seem new. A little encouragement now will go a long way in the months to come and it’s something that every player remembers, no matter how long they are in the game.

With your day-to-day actions, you are forming the foundation for your server community. Make sure you’re doing something positive.