Eight Weeks a Priest
On the ass end of normals, I was starting to think that Disco wasn’t going to cut it in raiding. Oh, our lovely GM was going to roll with her Holy priest so we’d be able to supplement each other (her with the frisbee, me with the shield), but I still felt massively overwhelmed. Then, I started running world quests and took a break from instances for a couple of weeks, and something weird happened.
I didn’t suck in my first Heroic.
Gear ain’t all dat
Props where due, and gear be true, but I think I also learned a few things on the way to my first Heroic. First and foremost,
Shields are, by and large, a dangerous distraction and you should probably not worry about them. You have more important things to cast.
Thing One: Atonement
Or, you can cast Plea on each of your posse, as long as your posse be numbered five and no more. More than five, and the mana costs start to soar. Shadow Mend then becomes more efficient in mana alone, but may I point out, if I may, the 1.5-ish second cast time (haste modifiers notwithstanding). Your call, but beyond the 5, you might stick with Plea or you might not. My respectful suggestion: experiment.
Thing Two: Rotation
The big thing here seems to be to have Atonement up and cooking and then to clobber the bad guys to generate healing for all Atonement-wearers. There are a couple of approaches I have found effective.
First, if facing multiple baddies, then your job is to [a] get Atonement up on all your toons, and then [b] hit as many of the baddies with Purge the Wicked (you did take that talent, right? Fine. Use Shadow Word: Pain. But you better have a damned good reason for this poor choice in talents) to get the DoTs pushing the HoTs onto your posse. At some point, switch back to re-applying Atonement (Plea) then repeat the whole sequence.
Alternatively, and I do mean secondly, if facing a single target, then after you lay down your Atonements (Plea), you refresh Purge the Wicked (or the lesser thing), then lay down one to three damage abilities, depending on your cooldowns.
In my personal experience, this is how it works out.
In any of the above sequences, if Mindbender comes online (you did take that talent, I hope?) then you fire it off immediately. Between it and Purge the Wicked, that’s your entire HoT strategy, kapich?
Thing Three: Exceptions
I have found the above to be pretty effective except in the case of squishy tanks. When you have a squishy tank, your best bet is to bail and let a Holy priest take over. But if that is not an option, then lay into the shields (just for looks and buffs, really) and blow Shadow Mend on the tank like it was your own life depending on it. Don’t forget to keep your DoTs up even then, because they will apply additional healing to El SquishAlot even as you pause to take a shot (as the Disco Priest drinking game involves taking a shot any time a squishy tank pulls more than a tank made of bricks would pull).
Shadow Mend looks very, very inviting during crisis points, and I strongly urge its use whenever things go south, but the key to Disco is to avoid those OhShit! moments as much as possible.
Thing Four: Antici-
Old!Disco was all about Mitigation. New!Disco is all about Anticipation. You have to front-load your posse with Atonement, get those DoTs ticking as soon as possible and in as many quantities, as possible, and then keep everything rolling.
Disco of the past was all about prevention. Disco of the day is all about preparation. It isn’t about mitigating the enemy’s blows. It’s about having the healing for those blows in place before they happen.
I have yet to heal a raid in anger (LFR doesn’t count) but past experience seems to indicate that what I am learning in Heroics will carry forward into Mythic and Real Raiding. Everything I’m working out right now is core to the spec. All those abilities I am weeding out will no doubt have use in corner cases as we go forward, but in a very fundamental way, Disco healing is reduced to around a half dozen abilities applied in the right sequence.
- Keep Atonement up on the posse using Plea
- DPS the enemy during the Atonement cooldown
- React to heavy damage with extra direct heals
- Use shield if desperate, but don’t count on it being very useful.
- Always keep someone with more aggro than you alive.
- Refresh Atonement just before it expires (Weak Auras is an excellent aid).
A moment of silence, but it appears that the Enemy Grid addon encountered an insurmountable compatibility issue, and no longer can be the target of key presses. You might as well uninstall it and learn to use nameplates more effectively.
Going to Blizzcon? See you in Cali!
In the morning, wheels up at 8 AM and me and Missus Grimm are on our way to Anaheim for my first ever (and probably only) Blizzcon. I’m both /excite and /nervous. What if I can’t find my twitter friends? What if I do and they hate me? All the usual introvertish traits come out to dance. Fortunately, my sweetie is the perfect wingman. I’m sure we’ll have a blast. If you’re going, look for the short round dude with the graying goatee. Even if it’s not me, I’m sure he’ll appreciate the shout-out.