Being the head of our order has taught me many things.
First of all, we like green. A lot.
But when it comes to flames, we’re not choosy. Orange is fine. Yellow is fine. Red is fine. Basically, if it’s flame, we’re copacetic.
We’re also very fond of ostentatious displays of power.
And, for whatever reason, we’re very fond of candles, clustered, in odd random places around the landscape.
Did I mention we liked candles? Oh, yeah, got that covered. Also big ugly books. Always a crowd pleaser in a room full of warlocks.
Did I mention we like green? We do! A lot!
And we’re also frugal. Never spend money on a training dummy when you can use a spare demon instead. Demons are the ultimate renewable resource. Kill one, and it’ll come back later, only angrier.
I also learned that whoever designed the Warlock Order Hall was not a warlock. Multilevel, burning, smelly, and hard to navigate. Must have been designed by demons and liberated by warlocks.
Well, at least it isn’t that multilevel maze of twisty passages that the Mages have. Guess we got that going for us.
It never ceases to amaze me at how much it bugs me that people lump Disco and Holy together in the same bag. Even “professional” bloggers have that problem.
I can only assume that that’s a viewpoint that originated back in WotLK when Disco was viewed as the poor girl’s healing spec that people rolled so they didn’t die while questing, or something stupid like that.
I mean, look at our spell book and something should jump out at you. Are you looking at it? Did the thing jump out at you? No? Let me help: we have more spells in common with Shadow than Holy. Ain’t that a hoot? Sure, it’s a close thing, and you have to ignore the talents for it to really jump out, but even Disco talents bias towards Shadow more than Holy, slightly.
I’m not drawing any conclusions from that other than the misguided practice of lumping Holy and Discipline should stop and go home. NOW. I mean, we don’t even heal things the same way, any more.
Our shared workspace, the Netherlight Temple, is pretty nice, though, and so far it’s proven to be the most efficient of the order halls I’ve seen. One big room, everything’s in easy walking distance, no smegging multi-level mazes to negotiate or hellish terraces to ride around on your hellsteed, just a nice big work area arranged sensibly.
And while Shadow, Holy, and Discipline may be three completely different sorts of people, we can all agree to that and work together harmoniously – even if Disco doesn’t get its special room off to the side like the others do. C’este la vie, as Grimm is known to say – must be Dwarvish for “balls” or something.
Unlike the Hunters that Grimm was talking about, we priests seem to have a pretty good cross section of the leading lights (or shadows) of the priestly ways.
I was delighted and surprised to see that Moira, queen of the Dark Iron (it says that right on the tin!) was lending a hand in a leadership position. I am somewhat surprised she isn’t keeping a closer eye on her kin back in Ironforge, but maybe her pop inspired her to do more than sit on her stony throne. I wonder who she got to babysit little Dagran? I see another kid with parent issues if she keeps this up. Why is it so hard to be a mother and a queen and a practitioner of the dark arts, for crying out loud? Did anyone give Varian crap for that? I think not.
But before I met Moira, I met this lady, who was last seen married off to the Lord of the Black Dragonflight, though that was fortunately never consummated or even formalized, since “Daval Prestor” conveniently disappeared shortly after the battle of Grim Batol. We’re still not sure where she’s been hanging out since then, but fortunately she avoided her father’s fate.
And yes, when you are introduced for the first time, she looks at you and sighs, “Yes, THAT Menethil” before giving you the rundown of the Disco priest amenities of Netherlight Temple. It occurs to me that that sigh might also be because she probably ran the show before this upstart Elf came along and shook things up. But she turns around pretty quick and gets quite enthusiastic about our work. She’s been a stout ally and I’m glad she’s with us. Sorry about that kingdom, though. That’s gotta suck.
Really not sure how many famous Hunters there are out there, but I can count the ones I know on one hand. There’s Sylvanas, who now works for the opposition party, there’s her sister Alleria, missing in action, there’s Rexxar, who we’ve met recently on Draenor, there’s Flintlocke, who’s more associated with the engineering arm of the world these days. I’m sure there are others, but when reading the annals of our history, it’s those priests and paladins and mages that hog all the glory, apparently.
You might say the Lodge of the Hidden Path was well-named.
That being said, we’re tasked with filling our ranks with famous members of our chosen profession, which means a Hunter Road Trip or two.
Well, Rexxar wasn’t actually that far away. Just over the hill from the Lodge, in fact. I’m not saying that he was being obvious or anything, but if your goal is to go Native and live off the land, camping out in you’re parent’s back yard is hardly “roughing it”. I’m sure the Lodge just nodded and smiled so as to humor him.
Hilaire, on the other hand, is one of those outright obscure cases that really did get a bit off the beaten path. I guess someone thinks she’s famous, but that someone is probably from The Broken Isles. Not much about her ever made it down Dun Morough way.
I can’t say I am surprised. You really can’t hold a high standard up to an organization that is putting me in charge of things. It has the tangy scent of desperation about it.
I recently had a few errands to run for Archmage Khadgar (not dropping names or anything) and one of them took me to The Exodar to visit my old friend Velen – well, this Velen isn’t so much my friend as someone that my actual friend Velen resembles a lot (only older). Look, it’s complicated, okay?
Anyway, when I got there, Velen was kinda busy and didn’t have a lot of time to chat or take selfies, but you know that doesn’t stop a Dwarf with determination. Here, he was doing something like preserving the very lives of every living soul in The Exodar while Demons charged the magical shield he was maintaining with his very life’s essence. Asked him to smile, honestly, guess that’s the best he could do.
Pitched in to help out, kinda grumpy about it since you know, he couldn’t be arsed to even look at the camera, but he did seem kinda put out at all the demons, and, well, no big fan of demons myself. So eventually I cheered up a bit at the sight of all those demons getting blown to bits courtesy of my new best friend Titanstrike and some old friends like Bumbles the Angry Bear. Many demons littering the floor, but the Exodar sanitation crew is pretty reliable to get those fel stains out of even the most obscure crevasses.
Of course, Velen had to be a big wet blanket at the end, something about how this invading demon general reminded him of his dead son or something like that, then he went all emo and told me to go tell Khadgar that “The Light is Dead.” Really, Vel? Gee, maybe I’ll go stick my head in Nomi’s kitchen while I’m at it. At least I’ll get quality burns out of that.
Seriously, your younger counterpart went with a lot more class than that.
What, too soon?
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.
After six weeks, I’ve got a bit of a handle on Inscription as it stands. It’s definitely not the old profession we used to have. But is it better, worse, or indeterminate?
Here are the bullet points.
- Glyphs are no longer permanent. If someone wants to re-use a glyph after purging it out, they’ll have to buy it again.
- Glyphs no longer provide necessary improvements to your skills or talents – all they do is change appearances. That’s it. They have no real purpose, and anyone eschewing them will perform exactly the same as they would if they were fully loaded.
- Older glyphs cost all of three Roseate Pigments, the “common” pigment of Legion.
- New glyphs, or NuGlyphs as I like to call them, cost varying amount of Roseate and Sallow Pigments – Sallow being the “uncommon” pigment of Legion.
- Pigment drops vary vastly between different herbs.
- Roseate Pigment is the Palmetto Bug of Legion herbalism. You can’t get rid of it, and it’s everywhere.
So first I’ll address the yield rate of the different herbs. Observe:
- The first thing I will point out is that Roseate and Sallow yields vary widely between different herbs, and an herb that yields a lot of Roseate may be crappy for Sallow.
- Sallow Pigment is the real limiting factor for NuGlyphs.
- Secondly, from a strictly Herbalist perspective, and with the previous in mind, Dreamleaf is the way to go for glyphing. At a .23 yield, it’s a couple of hundredths ahead of even Starlight Rose.
- Roseate pigment yield isn’t really much of a factor.
- Dreamleaf yield rates do not reflect the addition of Nightmare Pods. These pods can yield a lot of Sallow pigments, and are the after effects of Dreamleaf milling. So Dreamleaf may have a higher effective yield of Sallow than the chart reflects. I will be working on gathering more info on this statistic at some point, but off the cuff it seems like it’s almost a 50% boost.
- I have more data on some herbs than other. Which brings me to …
- I have zero data on Felwort. Do I look like I’m gonna spend that kind of money on something so expensive to get data that nobody in their right mind would use? No matter how good the yields you get from this bonny jewel, it’ll always be better to sell it on the AH. Oh, all right, some day when I’m fat and buttery I’ll prolly blow a few Gs on a stack. But today is not that day.
Regardless, strictly for herbalists, Dreamleaf appears to be the clear winner.
But for Scribes, maybe not.
Let’s be clear: most Scribes are going to burn a lot more herbage daily than they can gather in a day. So that means they’re going to have to buy herbs from someone – either the AH or private channels, it matters not at all. Coin is coin. And that takes us to the more complex level of this equation.
Here you see three data tables. On the upper right is a breakdown of the prices for all but one of the herbs. To the left of the prices is a breakdown of the general price for each pigment as based on the yield rates of each herb.
The data are clear. Regardless of their inferior yield rate, Aethril’s much lower cost produces a much lower cost per pigment. Looking at the table to the left, you can see a calculation of price per glyph by class. As I said, mat requirements for each class varies. For example, Paladin and Priest only require 2 Sallow pigments, while Warlock requires 15.
The final table in this image is a little selector that changes the “Sallow” and “Roseate” values for the table on the left based on what herb you choose. Easy enough … right now, at this point in the game, on my connected realm, Aethril is the clear choice for purchasing off the AH.
Vantus Very Little
A word on Vantus Runes … I have no data. These runes require you to have defeated a boss before you can get the recipe, and I have not raided even a bit. Given that Jas is hogging all the glory, I imagine I probably never will without running LFR – which I look forward to as much as my next tax audit.
For the Profit
So, what is happening in terms of profitability? Before this expansion, Inscription was my cash cow. Slower at times than other, but still a steady source of income.
Now, it’s hard to say. I’ve suffered a massive loss of cash getting ramped up – at least 300,000 – but the treasury is starting to grow once again. Having said that, the sell rate is starting to fall off. So I’m not sure I can draw any solid conclusions yet.
There are around 20-30 glyph techniques – recipes, basically – that are drops out there in the world, making your ability to perform somewhat random. If you get some good luck in drops, you’ll be able to produce product that few others can. If you get bad luck, your stock will be limited.
Not saying we have a trend here, but from level 100 to 109, I’ve gotten exactly two – two – technique drops.
Gonna throw a little shade, here. Most other professions, you have “ranks” for items that you can produce. The higher the rank, the fewer mats required to create the item. These ranks come from various sources, such as drops in the world, world quests, experience, and so forth.
Guess which profession doesn’t have this mechanic?
If you guessed Inscription, you get a no-prize. Our recipes cost the same no matter what. There is no potential for improvement no matter how many of the darned things you make. I am not exactly pleased about this.
As I watch this profession for further trends, I have to wonder where we’re going with it. I see exactly zero motivation for people to buy my wares, and have to wonder which profession will be next to be hit by this sort of nerf. Enchanting? Alchemy? Hard to say.
I hope it swings the other way. That the person that thought that this was a great idea gets transferred to Diablo and never comes back. That we see a return of Inscription as a profession of great interest in the next expansion.
But I have a hard time thinking that Blizz is going to go back now that they’ve taken the first step on the voyage of “making professions fun again.” Which seems to be a euphemism for “make stuff for yourself, but not so much any one else.”
You know, “Fun.”
Maybe you’ve seen this quest …
The critters in question look like this …
And they run like the dickens when you get close …
So why can’t priests use their natural talents for this quest?
I mean, seems like it would be a nice nod of we got to use Psychic Scream to just gather up a bunch of them and be done. Consider it a Priest Perk.
Is that too much to ask?
Disco priesting has always carried with it two trademarks.
First, that we shielded, well, everything. Even bosses.
Second, that we flung a Frisbee around like it was going out of style. It put the “Disc” in “Disco.”
So sit down, mah healaz, ‘cause they’ve shaken that up a bit.
You see, Legion healing for Disco priests is nothing like any of that. It’s a whole new ball game.
And I kinda like it.
First, let’s get the fundamentals down.
- Keep Atonement up on all friendlies
- Damage hostiles
- Toss a shield on something important when required.
- Burn cooldowns.
That simple formula is the heart of the new Disco spec. While we have a couple of shielding spells, the heart and soul of the new Disco is all about Atonement healing, which means keeping the Atonement buff up on your party / raid members, and then beating the snot out of anything that cons red and has aggro on the tank.
I kid you not, it’s that simple.
As an experienced Disco healer, you no doubt have a few addons and macros constructed to help you do your job. Just delete them. Or reset them. You need to rebuild from the ground up. Renew is gone, two expansions back. Shields are gone, other than PW: Shield and PW: Barrier. All the direct heals are now the purview of the Holy priest. AOE heals, other than the lame-o Halo, as well.
I guarantee, no matter what healer addon you are using, you’re gonna need to reconfigure it so massively that you might as well scratch the config now. Same for Weak Auras, other than some cooldowns. Those you can keep, or adjust, whatevs. Just configure WA to let you know when key cooldowns are available, such as Mindbender and Pain Suppression.
Weapon of Choice
I have to admit to a certain Grid2 bias. I have tried, and used, Vuhdo. It works great as a healing addon in Legion, and it is largely unchanged from its past incarnations. In a way, it’s the same as it was in WotLK, with the only substantial changes being in the addition of support for new spells, buffs, and debuffs as they occurred in the game. But it’s a bit more than I want from a healer addon.
Grid2 does require the addition of Clique to match the functionality of Vuhdo that we’re using, but I’m content with it since it’s a lot more focused on the job at hand.
Anyway, it is with great relief that I see that Grid2 is getting updated. Though – as of now – it still lacks direct support for Legion (1). Still, it is possible to configure Grid2 to work in the four areas of vital interest to a Disco priest.
- PW: Shield – this is already supported directly. Create an icon that shows if the target is shielded. Showing the cooldown is extremely helpful as well.
- Atonement – this is the Big Kahuna. You want an icon that shows if the unit has Atonement up, and a countdown is also useful. You will need to add tracking for Atonement yourself, Grid2 does not have it built in yet, but does support user-added spells and abilities. See below for details on that. This will assist you in supporting your goal: always having an Atonement icon visible on all of the team members you are supposed to keep alive.
- Debuffs – These are already supported in Grid2 as well. Purify only works for Magic and Disease types of spells, so configure an icon in one corner to show if those are active on the character. If you’re assigned decurse duty among the priests, or if it’s your group, you’ll be expected to do something about it if that little ol’ icon lights up.
- I also add an around-the-frame outline to indicate who has Aggro. Grid offers a few ways to track aggro, including ‘banzai’ and regular flavors. You can read a bit more about it here (miss you, Zel!). It’s especially important to know if someone suddenly inherits the aggro since you may need to react to that with a shield or something.
- And finally, I usually have an indicator to show who I currently have targeted. Always helpful.
A lot of people go the route of also having a Weakened Soul indicator, so they don’t waste time trying to shield a target that still has the debuff. Myself, I just use WeakAuras to show an indicator when PW: Shield is available and castable on the target, since I’m watching for other auras anyway.
Time to Atone
With that in mind, the main thing during non-critical phases is to keep Atonement up to keep a steady stream of healing coming in on each of your party.
- PW: Shield is the most benign method of applying Atonement, but it has the same cooldown as Atonement, so you will have to find another way for the other team members.
- Rapture lets you lay down shields without cooldown for a limited amount of time, and it has a long cooldown, so once you burn that (and do so wisely), you’ll need other ways.
- Plea is your next go-to for Atonement up to five or so applications, at which point it is a real mana hog.
- Subsequently, Shadow Mend takes a bit longer and applies a bigger heal, but at less cost than Plea with five or more Atonements up. Shadow Mend brings its own issues since it also does damage to the recipient. Therefore, it is imperative that if you use Shadow Mend to apply Atonement, you then have to make Atonement work hard for you by laying down some damage.
Beat ’em Up
Always remember: in all ways, Atonement without DPS is USELESS. DPS without Atonement is futile.
Shadow Word: Pain (or its talented counterpart, Schism), will let you dot up a bunch of mobs if you’re fighting a group, all which applies healing to Atonement-buffed targets. You want to use it on the main boss, at least, because it will enhance both Atonement healing and damage.
An addon that might help with dotting up groups is Enemy Grid, which will give you a Grid(2)-like presentation of mobs to dot up. Note, I have not yet determined whether this is more hazardous than tab-targeting, so proceed with caution. But the theory is that when the tank pulls a group, this will let you quickly get some dots rolling. Mouseover Schism FTW.
Atonement healing crits come from critical damage, so every time you do a DPS crit, you will do a heal crit as well on any party member with Atonement applied. Make a note of that.
About that Grid2 Atonement thing
Here’s how to add an Atonement indicator to Grid2.
First, create a new “AOE Heals” status of “Atonement” …
Then, create a new Buff “status” called “Atonement” … (this step may not be necessary so feel free to skip it and/or play with it.)
Then, create a new indicator called “Atonement” and tie it to that status.
And then tie it to some sort of indicator. I tied mine to the top left position, as an icon, but feel free to try variations that make you hum show tunes in a happy manner.
I know a lot of people have said that Disco healing Ain’t All Dat. I am not yet advanced enough to say for sure in that area, but I am observant enough to know that the new Disco is a different beast. What was once an option (smiteyHealz) is now mandatory if you want to tread the Disco path. It is complex, it is not easy, but once we hit raiding, it might just prove to be a real useful addition to the healing team’s toolbox.
The important thing is to remember that Atonement is the center of the Disco healing universe now, and that means you have to maximize DPS as well. You’re not playing by Holy’s rules any more. Your focus isn’t mainly the health of your charges, it’s the health of your charges five seconds from now. Think ahead, keep your buffs up, and remain calm. You got this.
I do admit at this moment that I am having a hard time getting comfortable with it. It feels clumsy, inelegant, frantic, right on the edge of failing at any given time. It’s hard to say whether that is the spec or my incompetence. It will take many dungeon runs – and many deaths of my charges – for me to be able to say for sure.
May the Light watch over us all.
(1) – I note that Grid (the original) is also still being updated, so if Grid2 ever gets abandoned, I’ll check that out. A bit more work, but much more in my wheelhouse.
Anyone that uses my poor excuse of an addon, HerbYield, to gather stats on pigment yields when milling, be of good cheer – I’ve updated it for Legion.
I mean, really, don’t view the source code. It’s ugly. Unless you wanna make fun of me, but I will quickly point out that it’s LUA, so you already have a lot of ammunition to start with. Not my choice.
ANYHOO. If you’re not familiar with this tool, what it does is watch as you mill herbs, and tally up how many of each kind of pigment each herb yields up. This will allow you to make more intelligent decisions when farming or buying herbs to process.
Having said that, some notes:
- In Legion you can also get some tertiary yields, such as Yseralline Seeds and Nightmare Pods, which can lead to further yields. I thought about accounting for them as well, but decided against until I find a compelling reason to do so. Out of scope for what I need this tool to do.
- While Nightmare Pods do yield up pigments, I’m again not sure if that’s in scope for the scale of operations I typically carry out. I have some thought son how to manage it if I decided to, however.
As always, this comes as is and if it blows up your WoW, I’m sorry but that’s as far as I’ll go other than maybe try to fix it.
If that’s a bit scary, then just watch this space for a report of findings after I gather a few thousand samples. See you in a month or two, in that case.
Version 7.00.03.02 is up, which fixes a bug that would occur under high latency situations. Which is a stupid thing for this sort of addon.