Spiritual Guidance: Disciplinary action reworked for patch 5.2

Spiritual Guidance Disciplinary action reworked for patch 52

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Greetings my brothers and sisters!

It has been too long since I've donned my healing robes. I've been predominantly shadow this whole expansion. I will be spiritually guiding you this week at Dawn's request and we are getting ever closer to a patch 5.2 drop. With the PvP season ending soon, you can bet your trinkets that a release is imminent. The final stages of patch development are winding down. Most of the new abilities or talent changes have been overhauled. Now it's all about tuning and numbers. There's been some fundamental patch changes recently since the last time the PTR changes were reviewed.

To summarize:

How Divine Aegis works

There are now two components to Divine Aegis.

First, Divine Aegis causes critical healing spells to apply an absorb on the target for 100% of the amount healed (instead of healing for twice as much).

Let's say you critically heal a player for 100k. In addition to the heal, they now gain a 100k shield. Realistically, that 100k shield is going to actually be higher based on your discipline mastery. In current raid settings, as long as players are taking damage from something, discipline is going to be unbelieveably strong. However, Dawn did bring up a good point that there's going to be some serious potential healing lost to orphan shields.

Orphan shield: A shield placed on a target who receives healing but does not incur any damage thereafter. This results in a "wasted" shield.

The second component is that Power Word: Shield now has a chance equal to the priest's critical strike chance for the shield to absorb twice as much damage. If your shield crits, it absorbs double.

That change is in addition to the mana cost buffs.

Mana costs of Power Word: Shield before and after

5.1: 18300 mana
5.2: 13725 mana

Get back into the habit of casting Power Word: Shield more frequently. I have mine bound to "1".

Discipline Mastery

The mastery for discipline priests has also changed slightly. On live, it increases the potency of all damage absorption spells by 20% (and goes up from there). After the patch, it will increase the power of damage absorption spells by 12.8% andall healing by 6.4%.

Why were these changes made?

I may as well just let Ghostcrawler explain the logic in the decisions behind Divine Aegis and the discipline mastery.

PTR Class and Set Bonus Issues Part II

Recall that the main problems we are trying to fix for Disc in PvE are that they are overpowered and relying too much on Prayer of Healing spam, especially in 25s. We made some changes to Divine Aegis, but we're not happy with them. Because of the interaction with crit and mastery, we worry Disc will be too crit-dependent and won't be strong enough when they fail to crit. On top of that, we're worried that it will be too easy to push Disc priests into loving mastery and hating crit or loving crit and hating mastery. To try and address all of those problems, old and new, we are trying a few different things:

1) Divine Aegis now works differently. It causes any critical heal to proc a bubble for 100% of the heal instead of doubling the heal. In other words, a crit for Holy is a 200% heal. A crit for Disc is a 100% heal + a 100% bubble. The bubble however benefits from mastery, so it's more likely a 100% heal + a 130% bubble.
2) Power Word: Shield can now crit for Discipline.
3) Mastery now boosts shields by 1.6% per point (down from 2.5% per point) but now also increases all healing by 0.8% per point.

What we hope this does:

- Keeps the kit of Divine Aegis making crits do something special.
- Makes Disc still awesome at bubbles, but not quite so weak at heals. (Holy will cast bigger heals than Disc, but not 50% higher.)
- Makes Prayer of Healing good for periods of restoring damage, but makes Power Word: Shield better for periods of preventing damage. (Inner Focus to force Divine Aegis and Spirit Shell also help with preventing damage).
- Making crit a good stat, because it benefits most of the toolbox (including PW:S) and causing Divine Aegis bubbles, but also keeping mastery a good stat, because the bubbles are large, and even when you don't get a bubble, it will still help your heal.

On Power Word: Solace

Power Word: Solace has been replaced by Solace & Insanity. For holy and discipline priests, Power Word: Solace completely replaces Holy Fire. It deals damage and interacts with spells in the same way as Holy Fire. However, Atonement does not activate off of it. Not only that, Solace is instant, free, and restores 1% of your maximum mana on each cast. Damage dealt by Power Word: Solace also heals a friendly player that's close by for 100% of the damage dealt (but only 50% if it's the casting priest).

Power Word: Solace vs Mindbender

So what's the consensus on Solace? I worked with Dawn on this one. If you're casting it every moment it's available, you get 6% of your mana back per minute. Factor in the Shadowfiend and that's 3% per swing. You're looking at around 8-9 swings every 3 minutes.

With Mindbender, it's about 1.46% mana returned per swing with around 10-11 swings per cast on a 1 minute cooldown.

Every 3 minutes, you'll be getting back 45% mana back with Power Word: Solace and 48.18% with Mindbender.

We're giving the decision to Mindbender on which talent is the better bang for the (mana) buck. That being said though, I think Solace will have a place in certain areas like clearing out heroic dungeons or select challenge modes.

The last major change is that Power Infusion has been buffed (mainly for shadow). Priest damage is increased by 10%5% (along with the current bonuses). Does that mean we might see a modifier where all healing will be increased by 10%? Probably not since it already helps healing priests with the mana reduction. It'd be nice to dream, though.

Other minor healing changes

  • Body and Soul is being reverted back to a 4 second duration.

  • Holy Fire will be instant cast.

  • Penance's base cooldown reduced from 10 seconds to 9 seconds.

  • Tier 14 - 4 piece cooldown for Penance is being changed. It now reduces the cooldown by 3 seconds instead of 4 seconds (Tier 14 is nerfed and Penance is buffed resulting in similar end results).

Wait, what about the shadow players?

Shadow priests will see some additional buffs:

There were concerns about shadow's burst potency in PvP but those have largely been addressed in previous updates. These changes are to help bring up their damage up in PvE situations.

With respect to all of the changes though, I'm quite delighted to see that we're heading back toward the direction of discipline priests in early Cataclysm and late Wrath of the Lich King. Mind you, we're not heading down the road of complete and utter shield spam the way it was during those periods. But at least it's not going to be the Prayer of Healing spam coupled with Spirit Shell method as it is currently.

Are you fine folks delighted about the direction discipline is taking with regards to Divine Aegis and the mastery changes? What about Power Word: Solace? Do you see a situation in which you would select that over the other talents in that row?

Come to Spiritual Guidance for the inside line on current healing gear and trinkets, as well as advice for healing in Dragon Soul. Newcomer to the priest class? Look into leveling a healing priest, and consult our guides to Discipline Priest 101 and Holy Priest 101.