Originally when butting heads over gearing choices with my fellow raid leader and officer assist Sky (a holy priest) I took a distinctly different path in gearing compared to his. In part I was influenced by posts like the following [Mana Regen Vs Throughput by Derevka – http://talesofapriest.com/2012/10/09/regen-vs-throughput/] and in part I was influenced by what I knew of my own play style and how the disc priest as a healing class was working out for me through the heroics before we even hit raiding.
There is a good comment over on elitist jerks that sums it up:
From jerks forums about disc priests gearing for regen(spirit) or throughput (1/2 the int):[ http://elitistjerks.com/f77/t130898-disc_priest_mists_pandaria/]
Well, as far as when to add int vs. when to add spirit, if you’re somewhere in the middle of a switch from a spirit-oriented gearing to a throughput-oriented gear setup, it seems like gems are the LAST things you change from spirit to int. Change your food and your flask first, because those are giving you 1:1 in the int vs. spirit options. There’s other options that give you better tradeoffs than 2 spirit vs. 1 int.
Disc priests, moreso than other healers, can choose to dump large amounts of additional mana into effective healing because we have the option of pre-healing, ESPECIALLY with Spirit Shell. We’re less susceptible to wasting mana as overheal due to absorb mechanics (obviously, we’re not immune, because if a shield never gets used up before it expires, it’s the same as overheal.)
I don’t know the throughput values for mastery vs. int, because it’s somewhat based on how much int and mastery you currently have, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 2 mastery ends up clearly ahead of 1 int specifically on absorb effects (not necessarily on overall throughput).
But what it came down to is that my holy priest friend stacked spirit and I myself did not. Yes completely against the flow of the healing tides, except for not conducting any actual reforging OUT of spirit I did not stack spirit at all – and instead I gemmed for straight intellect where possible and hybrid intellect+spirit or intellect+mastery where it was not, and then I reforged all haste and crit into mastery where possible. Old school style; however it wasn’t a case of not being able to move with the times as the rest of this post should demonstrate, but oh yes it looked that way to others – it was rather a case of taking the narrow road because all popular sources were pushing straight spirit gems or spirit+crit in the hybrid slots and reforging was primarily suggested for again spirit and crit.
What was the reasoning behind this decision when all research was pushing me to do otherwise?
Hum well at the time of this gearing choice I was already flasking for intellect and eating for intellect. What it came down to is that I jumped the gun and took a risk. It was this: That I was good enough at preemptive healing for absorbs and damage reductions, good enough at mana-hps efficiencies, spell selection decision making and tourniquet healing to manage well on a completely chocked mana supply. I theorized that working primarily with a holy priest (and a holy paladin and a monk) my job would be focused on the tanks with some burst preemptive aoe healing for big damage phases. I wasn’t looking to top the raid heal meters but rather to fit into a niche I envisioned in the team and utilize the strengths I knew I already had.
At this point of time (the very start of Pandarian raiding for my guild) our main tank was a guardian druid with little gear ilvl like the rest of us and oh boy was he suffering the culture shock of coming straight from creaming the heroics as top DPS on top of tanking only to become floor batter in the 10man raid environment. Yep at this point it became my job to use my disc-priest magical powers of absorption and kittens to keep him up. If I was assigned the bear as my healing focus he would often live longer. You know how in raid fights you often have that one thing that helps assure success? Well at the start of the xpac that’s what this became – we had the disc priest stick to the guardian-bear-butt like a tick and ensure that we did not wipe to ‘tank down’.
We don’t need this now, but at the time it was working for me – at least within my healing team. I was at least keeping up (of course I had to blow my mana regens on cooldown to not do so was to run dry very suddenly.)
At the very beginning of the Pandaria xpac, when our monk healer quit due to role pressure… which incidentally amused me because if anything he was excelling in the role and for some reason that seemed to be what broke him, (honestly there is a good story there about the value of personal recounts in phased fights which I will tell someday), but anyway when the monk quit I even started to slowly climb up the healing charts and eventually chew and spit them out. Three cheers for actual gear and learning that a disc priest is different from a resto shaman eh.
Woo-hoo. It doesn’t matter how much people remind you and you logically know that it’s not the HPS numbers that matter – it will still feel awesome to be on the top eh.
TBH there was even one fight with monk still present where I tested the power of preemptive shelling and attempted to wipe the floor with the monk healer (seriously being told that you are a less than ideal team member, because someone of a different (SPOILT) class is putting out 10k+ more HPS than you can, will totally burn until peeps breach the miscommunication and mend the bridges /sigh. Ego bytes ego.) Hum grain of salt included in the tale though – the lad was already losing healer heart by then and I was motivated to test the waters out of less than chivalrous reasons. It was ego inspired at least 60%. The amusing thing is I have similar output both occasions… I was doing the disc equivalent of heal sniping using absorbs I guess, and the rest of the team couldn’t heal the damage I was preventing.
Me healing Stoneguard (very early in the expansion) acting as heal support:
Me same fight only a week later post ego burn – damage reduction all the things:
But it stands that the one time I decided “screw the teamwork I’ll prevent you from contributing like my very own one man show with the power of the spirit shell” it was actually somewhat possible as a disc with the set up I had designed to take the up a lion’s share of healing onto my plate (hah in 10mN at least). Of course you have to know the fight movements and incoming damage like the back of your hand. Hum disclaimer: it was bad form really, against my usual ethos. In a heal team you actually want all your healers to be coming up with similar numbers – it’s a sign that the teamwork is good and healthy. You don’t heal in a team with a bad team attitude.
Anyway the good thing was this lead the way to me really understanding that disc healing operates on preemptive knowledge of the fight. Kinda perfect for my play style personally.
That’s not to say I am a stella example of disc healing at all. I am new to this class and if I had to pick my greatest weakness its blowing all my damage reduction/ healing increasing cooldowns and working the finer synergies of the class (I was a shaman previously… I think I had one major cooldown to manage). By finer synergies I mean having atonement healing up for a significant portion of the fight, maintain an awareness of person proc buffs and consciously using them, say utilizing my cheap proc bubbles and so on. I’ve a long list of things to work on. I never make ranked healer on WoL – well except for one Gara’jal fight but the log was bias towards me as I was the one recording in a phased fight 😛
Hum why did I eventually discard my mastery and int attachment?
So I was coping with the mana dryness, I was keeping up with our other healers… why did I change my evil ways?
Well we were being pushed into a lot of two heal fights at that time, which really did push the mana issue higher on the priority list. Hum and I read that unless spirit shell etc accounts for more than 60% of your healing perhaps it is not as effective … outside of 25man raids. My shell accounted for 30-40% of my healing at that point, so I figured I would have a look at the whole spirit side of the fence. I finally got the shards I needed for the better weapon and wrist enchants, and with that improvement I also took the time to regemmed spirit and reforged for spirit/crit. I want to see if it is better for me or worse.
NEXT STAGE TWO: Conforming – Stacking Spirit Heavily
Stay Tuned for more rambles on how that went for me :p
From the post series:
- One Disc Priest’s Stat Choices for PVE Raiding – Pandaria in review
- STAGE ONE: Cataclysm Hangover – Not stacking spirit (int>mastery>crit)
- STAGE TWO: Conforming – Stacking spirit heavily
- STAGE THREE: Being Lead Astray – That awful and short affair with haste in early patch 5.2
- STAGE FOUR: Following the Bible – Crit > Mastery >haste (with a sensible amount of spirit)