Spiritual Guidance: Healing priests in patch 4.3

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

Like a sperm whale (or a bowl of petunias), patch 4.3 might be hitting live servers this week. Whichever it is, it's going to be a big one, so I figured I'd piece together a small guide for holy and discipline priests that recaps, follows up, and aggregates tons of stuff you might have forgotten or completely missed about the patch.

I'll also be addressing that little talent calculator that popped in for a visit in the middle of last week and wiped its feet all over my clean carpet.

A reminder on what's changing

Just in case you forgot what's going down for priests when the patch lands, here are the patch notes as I would write them.

  • Divine Hymn is getting a baseline buff. It will now affect five targets instead of three.

  • Atonement will now take the size of an enemy target into account so players can receive healing while in melee range of a creature, even if that creature is far bigger than the numerical reach of Atonement. Think massive bosses like Ala'kir and Ragnaros.

  • The delay between a holy priest's death and the time when he can start casting spells as the Spirit of Redemption should be less noticeable.

  • The talent State of Mind is being removed, which means priests will now need to work a lot harder to make Billy Joel jokes.

  • The talent Heavenly Voice will be replacing State of Mind, reducing the cooldown of Divine Hymn by 2.5/5 minutes and increasing the spell's healing done by 50/100%. We'll also be getting a creepy new icon of a singing draenei to go with it.

  • The healing bonus granted by Guardian Spirit has been increased to 60% from 40%.

  • Holy Word: Serenity had its cooldown reduced to 10 seconds, down from 15 seconds. No word on whether the duration effect will work, though.

  • The Glyph of Circle of Healing will now also increase the mana cost of the spell by 20% to pay for the extra healing done by the spell. The developers basically don't want you using Circle of Healing to heal two people and a pet anymore.

Follow-up to tier 13 set bonuses

The last time I discussed tier 13 set bonuses for discipline and holy priests was the beginning of October. Things weren't quite set in stone then, so I want to revisit the bonuses and look at them as they appeared in the latest PTR build.

  • Two-piece After using Power Infusion or Divine Hymn, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for 23 seconds.

  • Four-piece Your Power Word: Shield has a 10% chance to absorb 100% additional damage and increase the mana granted by Rapture by 100%, and the duration of your Holy Word abilities is increased by 33%.

As you can see, the developers went ahead and gave the 23-second duration to both specs, regardless of the slight inconsistency in bonus time it creates (due to the channeling time of Divine Hymn). The developers also knocked up the duration bonus on Holy word abilities to 33%, which means Holy Word: Serenity will now last just shy of 8 seconds and Holy Word: Sanctuary will clock in at about 24 seconds.

Looking at these bonuses as they currently stand, I'm going to go ahead and continue to recommend that you try to get your set bonuses, but if you can't get them, don't get too stressed about it. As the developers' mantra goes, none of these bonuses are supposed to be game-breaking, and these may be some of the least game-breaking bonuses I've seen in recent memory. Mathematically, they might match up to some previous bonuses, but this is the first time I've seen every single bonus have little to no impact on how you play. They are truly fire-and-forget by simply improving stuff you're already going to be doing or casting. You don't have to tailor your spell usage or adjust when you cast this or that. Just keep doing what you always do and the bonuses will just be there, subtly improving a duration here or a spell cost there.

As a final thought, did anyone test to see whether or not disc priests get the two-piece bonus after using Divine Hymn? First person who has the answer gets a cookie.

Patch 4.3 resources for priests

Patch 4.3 is so massive that I don't think it's possible to cover all the content everyone could want in one post. Thus, in addition to my follow-ups and reminders, I've put together a small list of resources.




If you can think of another guide that you think should be in here, please let me know so I can add it to the mix.

The calamity of the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator

As some of you may know, Blizzard published a preview of the class talent calculators for Mists of Pandaria last week. Many priests around the world were mortified by the preview, which seemed to indicate many core healing spells would become exclusive to certain specs. Renew and Binding Heal were listed as being holy-only, while shadow priests were stripped of almost all their healing spells. Prayer of Healing was completely absent.

Blizzard developers released a statement not long after the preview explaining that some spells were missing due to glitches, and in regards to everything else, the game was still in pre-alpha development. The developers stated they were largely looking for feedback on the changes and that nothing was set in stone.

For this reason, I'm not going to make any comment on the calculators just yet. Without knowing what was intentional and what wasn't, I think there would be too much speculation and not enough substance.

Spiritual Guidance has the inside line on pre-raid, valor point and raid gear for patch 4.3. Newcomer to the priest class? Look into leveling a healing priest, plus our guides to Discipline Priest 101 and Holy Priest 101.