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#960029 Nov 25, 2008 at 05:56 PM
Grand Master
7 Posts
Healing Priests and Raiding

This is a rewrite of the previous priest compendium (, which drew from two previous threads that are linked there. It is concerned primarily with healing priests, whether Discipline or Holy in spec. Shadow priests may find something interesting in the thread, but you (should?) have your own thread for specifics. If you think there's something that deserves to be put into the original post, toss me a PM and I'll happily edit it in. Note that you can send PMs by left-clicking my name on the left box of this thread, above my Avatar.

Disclaimer: I raid as holy. I always have, and I probably always will. This gives me a noticeable bias toward holy, and holy specs. Don't let this discourage you from Discipline at all. It's just not my style. There will hopefully be a new thread focused entirely toward Discipline healing in the very near future.

Random Terms Used
OO5SR : Outside Of 5 Second Rule
I5SR : Inside 5 Second Rule
PoM : Prayer of Mending
PoH : Prayer of Healing
CoH : Circle of Healing6
RSTS: Random Secondary Targetting System
IHC: Improved Holy Concentration (talent, Holy tree)
HpM: Healing per Mana, a measurement of efficiency

I. Spec
Q: What spec should I be as a healing priest?
A: This is much more complicated to answer than in TBC. With WotLK, Discipline has been made a (mostly) viable raiding spec, and with that comes a number of subspecs which are viable and/or possible. I will detail the two primary specs here, and below are some discussion points about the talents you can switch around to get a customized feel.

The first spec is 57/14/0, a heavy Discipline spec. You could argue for an extra 4 points into Holy to pick up Improved Healing, but it would come at the expense of points in other, interesting things. You are primarily a tank healer with this spec, with powerful Shields to throw around to help mitigate raid damage. Your efficiency in AoE heals is horrible, so try to let other people handle that. If you go deep Disc, you should not value Spirit highly at all, as its only value for you is the direct conversion to regen through Meditation. Without Spiritual Guidance and Spirit of Redemption, it is much less valuable than to a holy-spec priest. Argument could be made for gearing like a paladin, valuing Mp5, crit, and haste much higher than spirit.

The second spec is 14/57/0, a heavy Holy spec. Again, you could argue for a possible 6 points moved into Disc to pick up Mental Agility, but you do lose a reasonable amount of throughput to gain that mana reduction talent. You are an excellent raid healer, with a number of effective tools for topping people up. Additionally, you are a strong tank healer with IHC, and have excellent mana regen capacity. If you go deep Holy, you should value spirit higher than if you were Disc, since Spiritual Guidance and Spirit of Redemption increase the value of each point you gain on gear.

Q: Is Lightwell worth a talent point?
A: Even with the buffs, it's still not a tremendously strong talent. You can easily pick it up at the expense of a point in Divine Providence or Test of Faith if you are deep-holy spec, but it's up to you if you think you will use it enough to be worthwhile.

Q: Should I take SoR?
A: As a holy-spec priest, yes. Absolutely. As a Disc-spec priest, there just isn't enough points to go that deep. Skip it.

Q: Should I take inspiration?
A: Yes. There is almost no situation where you can justify losing Inspiration. If you are Disc, you need it because you are primarily a tank healer. If you are holy, you need it because you are a good tank healer, and will often be asked to fill that role. Unless you live in a world where you never, ever, ever heal tanks, take Inspiration. It's not an optional talent, any more than Imp PW:F is.

It should be noted that multiple priests/shamans on the same target will overlap Ancestral Fortitude / Inspiration, reducing personal benefit from the talent. However, the overlap will contribute together toward an extremely high overall up-time, possibly even as much as 95% on tank & spank fights. +25% AC to a fully kitted tank is an extremely significant mitigation boost, and should not be skipped. Besides, what else would you pick up with those talent points? Holy doesn't really have many options, and Disc has even less.

Q: How good is Improved Holy Concentration?
A: Once you get Naxx.10-level gear and begin seeing raid-buffed crit rates above 20%, it's extremely powerful. With 6/6 in HC+IHC, 20% crit converts to a 9% chance to gain the IHC buff. This means that approximately 2/11 of your direct healing spells will be hasted by 30%, and 1/11 of the same will be completely free. Additionally, by the end of Naxx.25, it is possible to break 30% raid-buffed crit, which continues scaling the benefit this talent provides.

Q: Holy Reach - yes/no?
A: It's really not necessary now that CoH is smart-targeted and raid-wide. You can take it if you wish, but you will sacrifice throughput or regen talents to get it (usually Test of Faith is dropped to 1/3). Alternatively, you can drop 2/3 from Improved Renew to pick it up, since Renew is much less useful in WotLK, at least until extremely high gear levels.

Q: Mental Agility vs Divine Providence?
A: MA effects all instant cast spells: CoH, PoM, Renew, PW:S. Divine Providence effects the cooldown on PoM, and the throughput (and thus HpM) of CoH, Binding Heal, PoH, and PoM. I'm ignoring the benefits to Holy Nova and Divine Hymn because they really aren't important spells for a serious raid healer. Overall, Divine Providence offers more bang for your buck in terms of 5 talent points. However, in terms of pure efficiency, MA wins. Reducing the mana cost of spells is always a higher HpM gain than increasing the healing done by those spells. A 10% reduction in mana cost is a 1.1% gain over a 10% increase in healing done, in terms of HpM calculations (1.11 vs 1.10).

Q: What talents are low priority, or useless now? (for PvE)
A: Silent Resolve. Blessed Recovery. Focused Will. Blessed Resilience. Reflective Shield. Searing Light. Unbreakable Will. Improved Divine Spirit. Improved Mana Burn. Martyrdom.

To a lesser extent, Improved Renew, Spell Warding, Healing Focus, and Lightwell should be first on the chopping block if you're looking to drop talent points out of a tree.

Q: What's with Surge of Light?
A: SoL is awesome. It's a new "must have" talent for holy priests. With our crit climbing to unheard of levels, you can easily get a SoL proc on every single CoH you cast. For raid healing, it's amazing to be able to cast a 6-target 2k-per-target CoH, then get an instant cast mana-free 4k heal on whoever is lowest. The only down-side to it is that it's still on the GCD, so you have to watch your timers carefully in the midst of CoH spam in order to get it off effectively without losing too much time. A good aura mod (like PowerAuras) can help immeasureably in this regard.

Q: What are the must-have talents for a Discipline priest?
A: Rapture, Grace, Divine Aegis and Penance. To a lesser extent, Borrowed Time and Renewed Hope build nicely together with Improved PW:S and Twin Disciplines to provide for high-absorption shields that give secondary benefits. Enlightenment is also a remarkably nice talent to have, easily being the most valuable talent in the entire tree in terms of gear replacement (gaining 5% haste and 5% spirit is a *tremendous* amount of ilvl points saved, to be put into something more interesting, like crit).

Q: What are the must-have talents for a Holy priest?
A: IHC, Serendipity, Guardian Spirit, and obviously Spiritual Healing. Guardian Spirit is remarkably good for a 51-point talent; you have to spend a lot of points to get it, but its usefulness cannot be overstated. Serendipity is holy's equivalence to Rapture, and is again a tremendous talent, and IHC has to be seen to be appreciated. The haste and mana return benefits are extremely strong.

Note: Meditation is still required for both specs. It's stupid, but Blizzard has stated they are aware of the problem, and we may get the monkey off our backs sometime next spring. Think positive thoughts.

II. Regeneration
WotLK makes yet another sweeping overhaul to the regeneration model. In 2.4, we all became used to the regen formula of:

5 * 0.0093271 * Spirit * Square_root ( Intellect )which made spirit very valuable, and intellect slightly so. Not only was the coefficient lowered as we leveled to 80 (as expected), but Blizzard made the decision to lower the coefficient yet further in an attempt to remove our ability to 'regen infinitely'. Accordingly, the formula at 80 is:

5 * 0.005575 * Spirit * Square_root ( Intellect )an overall reduction of ~40%. This actually makes intellect as valuable as spirit overall, due to the Replenishment changes.

Replenishment, a talented ability available to ret paladins, survival hunters, and shadow priests, procs a 15 second buff on up to 10 people that restores 0.25% of their total mana every second for the duration of the buff. If you have 20,000 mana raid-buffed, this works out to 250 Mp5. Taking talents into consideration, a Discipline priest gains 0.237 Mp5 for every point of intellect, while a Holy priest gains 0.206 Mp5. As mentioned above, Holy also gains a percent of crit for every 150 intellect, while Disc gains the same percent for every 132.

Thus: (ignoring gains in mana pool size)
Discipline: 132 intellect = 1% crit, 31.3 Mp5
Holy: 150 intellect = 1% crit, 30.9 Mp5

Discipline: 132 spirit = 40 Mp5
Holy: 150 spirit = 46 Mp5 + 43 spellpower

So obviously spirit is still comparable to intellect in a 1:1 comparison of pure regen, ignoring the regen gains available through crit. However, the gap is much, much smaller than it once was, and there is nothing wrong with stacking intellect and spirit in equal amounts as you gear up. My eventual ballpark is to have 1200 intellect and 1400 spirit, a reasonable increase from Sunwell, where I ran 700 intellect and 930 spirit.

See the end of this post (Section X b.) for a discussion of how much regen intellect actually works out to be. The combination of mana pool size, shadowfiend mana returns, and intellect to crit conversions ends up making intellect stronger 1:1 for regen than spirit. The throughput gains (for Holy) aren't as high, but for Disc, there's little-to-no reason to stack spirit or even care about spirit at all.

Q: How do I take advantage of OO5SR regen?
A: If you are Discipline, you probably don't want to. Disc doesn't have as many 'big heals' as Holy, due to the scaling nature of Spiritual Healing and Empowered Healing, so you are more likely to be casting often. Additionally, keeping Grace up requires casting a spell every 8 seconds at maximum, so getting an OO5SR tick will be a rare thing. This contributes to the rationale that Disc priests should avoid stacking spirit to the extent that Holy priests will.

If you are holy, use Inner Focus, IHC, and Surge of Light to easily 'cheat' the 5SR. Stacking spirit makes more sense in this case, especially since Spiritual Guidance is still a powerful scaling factor.

III. Cheating the 5 Second Rule
Priest OO5SR regen is all about cheating the 5 second rule. Blizzard's 5 second rule is currently set so that upon completion of a spell which costs mana (the critical factor), you enter a 5 second period (I5SR) where you regenerate mana at a reduced rate. This rate is dependent on your talent choices (Meditation = 30% regen I5SR), but every priest will have this, so it's a moot point.

Given that priests gain so much regeneration from spirit, the typical difference between a regen tick I5SR and OO5SR is approximately 2x. It can range from 2x on the low-end (Mp5-heavy gear) to 3x on the high-end (spirit-heavy gear). In any case, a tick OO5SR is worth a minimum of 2x I5SR.

So how do we cheat the rule?

Firstly, Inner Focus is a guaranteed way to exit the 5SR, since it makes your next cast "free" of mana, and hence does not trigger the rule. Typical sequence is something like:
top up your tank target
wait 2 seconds
hit Inner Focus
start /stopcasting GH:9 until heal is actually needed
start a new heal -- when it lands, you re-enter the 5SR

You can do exactly the same thing with Improved Holy Concentration, which should be somewhat easy to do given that ~ 1/11 casts will proc IHC now. Stopcasting is still valuable in WotLK!

There are a couple of useful trinkets that help contribute to this type of play. One is the old-but-good [Earring of Soulful Meditation], which is unfortunately eclipsed in WotLK by the lack of spellpower. However, there is a direct replacement, available from Gothik in Naxx.10, called [Spirit-World Glass].

V b. Taking Advantage of Shadowfiend:
If you've played priest for long, you've learned to hate our stupid mana regen pets. They're slow, they randomly attack the stupidest things, and they generally return a variable amount of mana that is undependable. Despite this, they're the only game in town, so we're stuck with them.

If you are using your shadowfiend in an environment which has constant AE damage (example: Felmyst), you may want to macro in a /target Shadowfiend, /cast Power Word: Shield, as the shield, while costing mana, can often save the life of your Shadowfiend and restore 2-3 more ticks of mana to you.

Note that the shadowfiend mechanic has been changed in WotLK to restore a set percentage (4%) of your total mana per hit. This means your theoretical restored mana from a shadowfiend is ~ 40%. Since the fiend is affected by Windfury Totem, you will actually get ~ 12 hits, but with a typical miss percentage. Checking logs, so far it appears that 11 to 14 hits is completely reasonable, so anywhere from a low of 40% to a high of 60%.

IV. Downranking and Spell Coefficients
Q: Is downranking spells still viable?
A: Nope. Nonexistant. It's done. Dead. Finished. Kaput.

Blizzard changed mana costs of all downranked spells to be the same as the maximum rank. There is no reason whatsoever to use anything but max-rank of every spell you have. This helps slightly with bar bloat, and hurts tremendously in our granularity of heals.

VI. Raiding as a Holy Priest
Q: What spells should I typically be using?
This is a tough question. Every fight is different. I'll try to give an idea of different roles, and how each one uses our unique spells.

Tank Healing: Renew, GH:9, PoM, Flash:11, and occasionally PW:S. Basically, keep a GH in the pipe all the time and bounce a PoM off your tank every cooldown. Occasionally set up a regen nap by using PW:S+PoM, with cast-cancelled GH:9 following. If you are on the move, hit the tank with PW:S and PoM to smooth out damage as you run -- instant casts are what make us better than paladins for some healing duties: use them.

Raid Healing: predictable damage can be healed, assuming the group is setup properly, with PoH and CoH. Be aware that CoH is less HPS than PoH, and if you *really* need to heal up a group, CoH may not be fast enough. If the damage is periodic, and you know you'll have 10 seconds before anyone will take damage again, use Flash Heal (with the Glyph). Flash Heal is actually (assuming you top someone up and proc Serendipity) more efficient than Renew in WotLK, and gets the healing done much sooner.

If you are clearing trash, and there is a lot of random AE damage coming your way (examples: RoF from Fearbringers in BT, poison volley from Lurkers in SSC, etc.), use whatever you have to in order to keep the raid alive. Trash (except for HS) is an example of a time when HpS is far more important than HpM. It's extremely rare to run out of mana on a 3-minute trash pull, so screw efficiency -- heal the raid. Keep people alive.

V. Raiding as a Disc Priest
Q: What spells should I typically be using?
This is a tough question. Every fight is different. I'll try to give an idea of different roles, and how each one uses our unique spells.

Tank Healing: PW:S, Penance, Flash Heal, PoM and occasionally Greater Heal. Penance on the cooldown keeps up Grace, and the rest is details. Always keep a Weakened Soul debuff on your tank if you took Renewed Hope to keep your crit rates high. Try to be efficient, as Rapture is based on the amount healed, not the total amount of the spell (i.e. overheal). <more on this later>

Raid Healing: predictable damage can be healed, assuming the group is setup properly, with PoH, Flash Heal, and PW:S. If you can cast PW:S on people you know will take the full amount of absorption soon, it's actually close to mana-free. This can be an effective way to help with raid healing, although the internal cooldown on PW:S limits the practicality.

<add more Disc details>

VI. How to Cross Heal Effectively
This is roughly an extension of the above paragraph on Raid Healing. Basically, there are two situations where a priest will be cross-healing a raid during a boss fight.

Situation 1: predictable incoming damage, along with some random variability. Examples: Morogrim Tidewalker, High Warlord Naj'entus, Anetheron, Felmyst.

The keys with this fight is *not* to go nuts and spam heals like a madman, aiming desperately to get everyone in range of you topped up Right Now. You need to know the total amount of incoming damage, and be perfectly aware of what can happen that will take someone at 20% life to 0% life. You also *must* know your responsibilities, and not stray outside them too much -- part of your job is preserving enough mana to heal the entire fight.

For example, if you spam heals like mad on Naj'entus, using inefficient spells, you will go OOM in about ... 90 seconds. The fight is roughly 5-6 minutes long. Your assigned people will die about 120 seconds in, because you screwed up and went OOM.

Know what the incoming damage is, and know what else can happen. On Morogrim, the key is mostly to get everyone above 6500 HP as quickly as possible, and rely on the Watery Grave healers to catch graved people and top them up. You're just trying to keep them from being so low that they can't be caught up. On Naj'entus, you know that splashes are coming for 3500+ damage, and that initial impact from a spine + first tick is about 6000 damage. First priority: get everyone above 4k HP. Second priority: everyone above 6.5k HP. Third priority: top them all the way up.

First priorities are situations where you use anything you have. Timing a PoH for just after the Naj'entus shield is actually a great way to conserve some mana while healing for a ton (2500 x 5, talented, results in approx. 15 HpM, while also being very time effective). As a comparison, if you used a FH on each of those people, it would take you 2.5x longer to heal them up, and would actually cost 2x as much mana.

Always balance a heal with the question : do I have to top this person up right now, or do I have 5 seconds, or do I have 15 seconds? On Morogrim, most of the time, you can afford to use Renew, which is extremely efficient. It's also a GCD for 7.5k+ healing.

And the rest is experience. Learn to feel the rhythm of the fight, and know where the incoming damage spikes are. If you see a tank spike, and you're on raid healing, feel free to use a GCD to help out the tank healers, assuming you can afford the mana and the time. Saving a tank is not a wrong thing to do. Just never screw up your own responsibilities because you were spending too much time worrying about other people's jobs. If you're on cross-healing, trust the tank healers (most of the time). Let them do their jobs, and you do yours.

One final note: watch the other healers. Most of the time, a tank healer cannot afford the time to stop and heal themselves up. It is incredibly helpful for you to Renew a healer in passing, if it saves them 2.0+ seconds where they would have had to stop healing a tank to heal themselves, and possibly lost the tank in the process.

Situation 2: large incoming damage, but focused on a small subset of the raid population. Examples include Bloodboil, Hydross, Solarian, Illhoof, etc..

You know there is incoming damage, you know roughly how much it will be, but the target is RSTS. Frost Tombs on Hydross are an example. Solarian's Arcane Missiles is another. In this situation, it's almost always (excepting Bloodboil as an obvious counter-example) focused on one single person at a time, but that person is taking a tremendous amount of damage. A 100% frost tomb will kill 30-40% of the raid straight-out. They just don't have enough stamina to survive it.

In a situation like this, healing the person is highest priority. If you time it right, and you are in the right place, use efficient (but appropriately sized) heals. Catching a Frost Tomb @ 100% and landing a GH:9 on that person when you started the cast early enough is just fine. But if you're late, burn inefficient spells in order to save the person. If you're on the run, and see someone get Tombed, a PoM might be enough to save them. Or a PW:S. If you're assisting others in healing an AM target, PW:S on a target you got to late might be enough to save them until the FoL lands.

Situations like this are a balance between making sure people survive, and doing your best to use efficiency. Often, saving lives >> efficiency. Just be aware of fights like this, and do whatever you can to save mana here and there.

On Hydross, heal up Frost Tombs fast, and then take 0-50% of Nature off. No-one will die or even come close to dying from a 25% nature DoT. This is your time to get some burst regen. Use it.

For Bloodboil, CoH is amazing. I can easily heal two groups by myself, provided people stay within 35 yards of one another, and with the help of a good restoration shaman, 3 groups is well within reach. 2 CoH priests is actual ideal for this setup, but work with whatever your raid has available.

VII. Threat Mechanics and You
With WotLK, the entire threat system was overhauled. Tanks were given many more abilities to hold threat on multiple mobs, and Blessing of Salvation was completely removed from the game. Accordingly, on 90% of encounters, threat will be a complete non-issue for you. On the encounters where it will matter, you will be doing AE healing while mobs spawn at random spots in the room, so tanks can't necessarily pick them up immediately. This, and only this, will be the situation where you have to care about threat. And, thankfully, we have a nifty tool to deal with it:

Fade: Fade out, temporarily reducing all your threat. . Note that the threat lost from Fade is regained in full once the 10 second duration finishes, and that you continue accruing threat while Fade is up. This has been changed in WotLK to actually set you to zero threat for the duration of the buff. As such, it is very useful, and should definitely be hotkeyed.

Prayer of Mending: when Prayer of Mending procs (i.e. dmg taken, PoM charge gets used up), the threat from the healing done is attributed directly to the person who cast the PoM. This is a direct change from TBC, when the threat was attributed to the person on whom the PoM proc'd. Don't use PoM on pulls unless you also Fade at the same time, or you'll get smushed. To reiterate: PoM no longer gives threat to other people. Be careful.

Note: at the moment (3.0.2), PoM procs are granting 0 threat ... to anyone. I consider this a bug; some people seem to think that contrary to blue posts, PoM is just going to be threatless from here on. Check it after each patch to make sure.

VIII. Consumables
Food: [Cuttlesteak], [Spiced Wyrm Burger], [Tender Shoveltusk Steak] or [Mighty Rhino Dogs]. Likely you'll just click on the Great Feast that one of your cooking buddies drops before the boss, getting a spellpower buff.

Oil: Nerfed, no new oils available
Flask: [Flask of Distilled Wisdom] is the best option, followed by [Flask of Pure Mojo].
Potions: [Runic Mana Potion] is the obvious 1-use consumable. If you want to elixir up instead of flasking, good choices include [Elixir of Mighty Thoughts], [Elixir of Mighty Mageblood] or [Elixir of Spirit] for Guardian, and [Elixir of Deadly Strikes], [Guru's Elixir] or [Spellpower Elixir].

Note that in WotLK, potion 'sickness' has been implemented, which limits your use of a consumable potion (Haste Potion, Runic Mana Potion, etc) to one per combat cycle. What this means for healers is that we get *one* Runic Mana per boss fight. Now, Runic is a fair bit of mana, but you only get one, so use it wisely.

IX. Useful Addons and User Layout
Typical healer layout has some small variations, but is centered around the idea of having the complete raid in front of you (currently 25 bars+tank targets), with easily observable health totals, and some method of debuff curing.

If you're starting from scratch, the first thing you should do is:
Replace your unit frames: ag_UF or Pitbull
as the base-WoW unit frames are horrid. Set these up in a convenient spot on your screen, and make sure you configure them fully to show health details and debuffs.

Second thing you should do is:
Replace your raid frames: GRID, Pitbull, sRaidFrames and tank targets: oRA2, Pitbull
and make sure you fully configure the setup to show debuffs and buffs easily. Aggro notification is also a neat feature which can warn you of who will soon need heals.

From here, you can pick and choose which addons you'd like to use, starting with:
Custom Bar Mod: Bartender4, etc. Something to let you organize, hide, and keybind all your abilities. Setting up a hidden bar that contains your primary 10+ keybinds is a great way to free up some real estate on-screen.
and adding some raid utility:
Omen/Threat-1.0: useful to tell when the tank is going to lose a mob which will subsequently eat me for lunch.
Deadly Boss Mods, BigWigs: timers, boss warnings, aggro notifications, all sorts of handy things.
and then add some personal organization:
ArkInventory, AllInOne: bag mods to help organize your crap. ArkInventory is especially good because it allows for custom rule-sets which divide up your stuff into little categories (like consumables, potions, dps gear, etc).
Prat: organize your chat tabs in an efficient way, and add some fun features.
FuBar: extremely useful addon, with some amazing little plugins. Give it a try. One you should definitely get is RegenFu.
Quartz: infinitely useful for /stopcasting. Definitely recommended.
SCT: very useful as a visual tracker for healing and overheals, without having to watch a combat log scrolling by. Alternative from Ace is Parrot
Clique: an absolute must for click-dispelling and generally for interacting with GRID in many useful and interesting ways. I personally use ALT+LClick and ALT+RClick as Dispel Magic and Abolish Disease respectively. It saves a lot of time.

If you're interested in UI design, swing by the User Interface and Addons forum and read some of the threads there.

IX b. Setting up GRID to be useful as a Priest:
When you to go to download GRID, be aware that many of its most useful parts come as addons to GRID, and must be downloaded separately. My list of sub-addons includes:
(to go to see all possibilities)

Once you have all of these downloaded and installed, load into WoW. Now, first thing you want to do is go GRID -> Frame -> Advanced -> and configure the Frame Width and Height. GRID refers to an individual in the raid as a 'Frame', so this is essentially your unit bar inside the GRID space. Configure this to a reasonable size.

Now that you have it to a good size, edit the name length by going GRID->Frame->CenterTextLength. I have mine set to 20; your mileage may vary.

Now go GRID->Frame->CenterText and set it to display what you want (I have Name listed here). Then go GRID->Frame->CenterText2 and set it to what you want (I have Health Deficit, AFK, Feign Death, and Dead listed here). This gets your text bars setup.

Now for mana/energy/rage bars. GRID->Status->ManaBars->Side (Bottom), ->Hide Non-Mana Bars (disable), and ensure ->Enable is clicked. This gives a nice blue/red/yellow bar at the bottom. You can modify its height in ->ManaBars as well, if you choose to do so.

For debuff display, go GRID->Status->Auras-> and you can then ->Add New Debuff. I use this to display things like Burn (Brutallus), Encapsulate (Felmyst), Bloodboil (Bloodboil), and so on. Once you have set a debuff here, go to GRID->Frame->Center Icon and enable the Debuff you just created to have it appear in the center of the frame as a purty little icon.

GRID->Layout->Raid Layout is handy for setting it up as you'd like it; I personally use By Raid (25)+Pets.

GRID->GridAlert is handy for setting it up so that one someone is debuffed with something you can cleanse, it will go SPRONG (audio) and alert you to the issue.

Next, we need to make sure Clique can interact with GRID, so load up Clique, and choose "Options" at the bottom. Make sure anything labelled "Grid" is clicked on. This will let you setup mouse-click macros in Clique for dispelling, which is quite amazing, if I say so myself.

Finally, there are a couple of options you can mess with in GRID->Frame->(anything Corner) // (anything Icon) which will let you setup small icons/lights that will light up on certain circumstances. I use mine to show when people have aggro, when people have Renew ticking on them (from me), when people are missing buffs, and so on. It's quite powerful, and is the *real* reason you want to use GRID over any other raid frame.

From here, the sky is the limit. Configure!

X. Gearing Questions
Going into WotLK, spirit has been lessened in value by a strong amount with the leveling coefficient nerf, and intellect has been boosted to extremely high levels by the changes of all regen mechanics to a %-mana pool system. More on that later.

When you are looking at a piece of gear, and asking yourself if it is an upgrade, there a number of questions you need to ask. Firstly, how would you gem the piece? Always compare pieces to each other fully gemmed (with or without socket bonuses depending on your gemming choices). If you are unsure about how to gem, try two or three or four different combinations, and see which one seems to give the best result.

The following stats are of value to healing priests: stamina (minor), intellect (major), spirit (medium), haste (medium-to-major), crit (major), spellpower (major) and Mp5 (medium). For the first time since 2.3, priests should consider items without spirit on them, as our benefits have been nerfed extensively.

Regarding spirit specifically, Disc priests should evaluate spirit on an item at a ratio of 5 spirit = 2 Mp5. At 1000 intellect, and an assumed 80% I5SR time, 2.4 spirit grants 1 Mp5 under Meditation. That is the only benefit you gain from spirit, excepting possible OO5SR "regen naps", which will happen less for Disc than for Holy, due to the nature of the healing. So if you see a nice item which has stam/int/spi+spellpower/crit, you can easily compare that item to something which has stam/int+spellpower/Mp5/crit. If there is more Mp5 than 2*spirit/5, then it is a stronger item for you.

For haste, there are some nice cutoffs to reach. If you can hit 20% haste, it lowers the cast-time of a GHeal (without any procs/talents) to 2.08 seconds. For a Disc priest, you gain 5% from Enlightenment, and an additional 5% from Wrath of Air, leaving you with only 10% to gain from gear. For a holy priest, you don't have Enlightenment, so you should consider picking up slightly more haste. Alternatively, you can count the IHC procs as a portion of your haste, and accept the slightly higher cast time on your non-proc'd heals.

Regarding crit, the sky really is the limit. There is very little reason to stop stacking crit at any level. You will gain 5% from talents (Holy Spec), and Disc can count roughly 4% more from Renewed Hope (since your tank should have Weakened Soul up almost all the time). Additionally, no 25-man raid would be complete without a moonkin in WotLK, so you can assume an additional 5% from that. Given that we will be running over 1000 intellect raid-buffed, that will grant us ~ 6% more, so there is no reason for any priest to be under 20% crit raid-buffed. In fact, once you finish your gearing (and pick up items which have crit on them), you should be pushing 25%+, which is an extremely nice situation to be in.

Intellect is incredibly valuable now. It converts to crit at a rate of 150:1 (with BoK) [for holy] and at a rate of 132:1 (with BoK+MS) [for Disc]. Additionally, almost all regen mechanics (external) are now based off percentages of your final mana, so the more you have, the better they work. Replenishment @ 20k mana is worth 250 Mp5, as compared to 190 Mp5 @ 15k. Your shadowfiend now restores mana based on a percentage of your overall mana bar, and Mana Tide totem continues its practice of doing the same.

Rules of Thumb
Stack haste up to 10%. Think hard about whether you need more than that, given raid buffs and talents.
Pick up as much intellect as you can. It's always valuable.
Spellpower is always good.
For holy, 9 spirit = 4 Mp5, ignoring spellpower gains entirely. Given spellpower gains, a 2:1 ratio is acceptable.
For disc, 5 spirit = 2 Mp5, with no spellpower gains. Convert cleanly, and make your decision.
Crit is always valuable, although less so once you break 25% raid-buffed (diminishing returns on ilvl points spent).

Rough goals for the end of Naxx.25 are to have 2600 spellpower, 25% crit, and 10% haste, along with ~ 500 Mp5 I5SR. Assume full raid buffs when factoring in your progression toward the goal.

X b. Gemming
Q: Will I still be using epic gems?
A: No, the common-quality gems exceed the TBC-level epic gems, and the rare-quality ones absolutely destroy them. There are currently no epic gems available in WotLK, although that will eventually change.

Q: What should I be using for gems?
A: Whatever works given the above rule of thumb. Spirit/Int gems are valuable, as are pure Int gems. Spellpower is always a logical choice, and the mixtures available of spellpower/int and spellpower/haste make mixing and matching your gems trivial to accomplish. So long as your gems involve crit, spellpower, intellect, spirit, and Mp5, there is really no wrong answer.

Q: What specific gems are there?
A: There are well over 100 specific gem cuts available, but I'll list the most commonly used (for priests) ones:
[Runed Scarlet Ruby]
[Sparkling Sky Sapphire]
[Brilliant Autumn's Glow]
[Quick Autumn's Glow]
[Smooth Autumn's Glow]
[Royal Twilight Opal]
[Purified Twilight Opal]
[Seer's Forest Emerald]
[Misty Forest Emerald]
[Intricate Forest Emerald]
[Reckless Monarch Topaz]
[Potent Monarch Topaz]
[Luminous Monarch Topaz]

[Insightful Earthsiege Diamond]: the most useful, and easiest to equip, metagem. A 45-second ICD proc that restores 600 mana, and 21 intellect to gain crit and regen make this the best metagem available.
[Bracing Earthsiege Diamond]: basically useless. 25 spellpower is meaningless compared to the 2000+ we will have raid-buffed, and the reduced threat is as useful as a solar-powered flashlight.
[Ember Skyflare Diamond]: decent metagem, probably second choice to IED. The 2% intellect ends up giving more int after you break 1155 intellect raid-buffed, which happens early in Naxx.25. However, the proc on IED is worth a conservative 50 Mp5 that you do not get back from ESD, making IED significantly stronger in the long run.
[Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond]: interesting gem. The Mp5 isn't anywhere near as strong as IED or even ESD, and the increased critical healing doesn't add that much throughput. Might be slightly superior to BED or ESD for throughput, but if so, just barely.

X c. Trinkets

Profession-Based Options:

[Item not found!]: still an excellent trinket, the rare-quality version will be rapidly eclipsed by raid drops. Once the epic recipe comes along, we'll have to re-evaluate. [not in Wowhead yet, hence the broken link]

[Figurine - Sapphire Owl]: an excellent JC trinket, definitely worth wearing for a period at the start of the expansion.

25-man Raid Drops:
[Soul of the Dead]: definitely a possibility; need to play with one to find out ICD, etc
[Illustration of the Dragon Soul]: more of a dps caster trinket, pass to them
[Forethought Talisman]: very nice trinket, worth thinking about; high competition
[Living Ice Crystals]: decent Disc trinket; weak for Holy

10-man Raid Drops:

[Spirit-World Glass]: amazing trinket for Holy, meh for Disc.
[Majestic Dragon Figurine]: again, decent for Holy, meh for Disc.
[Je'Tze's Bell]: awesome trinket, unfortunately, it's a World Drop BoP. Good luck finding one. Wreath (from Fusion) got one in his very first heroic at 80, and I hate him for it (dropped off a trash mob).
[Embrace of the Spider]: don't even think about taking this trinket. If you want one, buy the badge option.

Badge / World-drop / 5-man Drops:

[Futuresight Rune]: quest reward from the final quest in Dragonblight, it's a nice replacement for Earring of Soulful Meditation
[Tome of Arcane Phenomena]: drop from The Oculus
[Soul Preserver]: drop from Old Stratholme
[Talisman of Troll Divinity]: drop from heroic Drek'tharon keep
[Spark of Life]: heroic Halls of Stone
[Forge Ember]: heroic Halls of Stone
[The Egg of Mortal Essence]: don't waste your badges on this unless you really can't get anything else to drop; the proc is largely wasted as a healer unless you're chain-casting, in which case you're already using your own procs.

X d. Enchants

Head: [Arcanum of Burning Mysteries]; available from Kirin Tor (revered)
or [Arcanum of Blissful Mending]: available from Wyrmrest Accord (revered)

Shoulders: [Item not found!] and [Item not found!] are available for Scribes; they are the BiS options available. For non-Scribes, there are [Greater Inscription of the Crag] and [Greater Inscription of the Storm ] available from the Sons of Hodir at Exalted reputation. At honored, there are [Lesser Inscription of the Crag] and [Lesser Inscription of the Storm ].

Cloak: [Scroll of Enchant Cloak - Wisdom]
Darkglow Embroidery (tailor only)

Chest: [Scroll of Enchant Chest - Powerful Stats]

Bracers: [Scroll of Enchant Bracer - Superior Spellpower] or [Scroll of Enchant Bracers - Exceptional Intellect]

Gloves: [Scroll of Enchant Gloves - Exceptional Spellpower]

Pants: [Brilliant Spellthread] (Argent Crusade (exalted) : Recipe) or [Sapphire Spellthread] (Kirin Tor (exalted): Recipe)

Boots: [Scroll of Enchant Boots - Tuskarr's Vitality] or [Scroll of Enchant Boots - Greater Spirit]

Rings: Enchant Ring - Greater Spellpower (enchanter-only)

Weapon: [Scroll of Enchant Weapon - Mighty Spellpower] or [Scroll of Enchant Weapon - Exceptional Intellect] or [Scroll of Enchant Weapon - Exceptional Spirit]

XI. Math

There are many things about Discipline and Holy healing that take math to model. The more interesting ones will be summarized here (taken from the WotLK thread and from previous iterations of this thread.

XI a. Empowered Healing
Empowered Healing reads Your Greater Heal spell gains an additional 40% of your bonus healing effects. This means 40% of your spellpower is applied to the healing of GHeal (and 20% to Flash Heal, as a secondary benefit).

The final formula for computing benefit to a Greater Heal from Empowered Healing with Cast Time coefficients:

[ Base_Healing_Range + HSE * 3.0/3.5 + 0.40 * spellpower]Also, be aware that Spiritual Healing and 4-piece T6 bonus are both multiplicative at the end of the process listed above.

XI b. Value of Intellect and Spirit
One of the big questions many priests ask is "how much spirit / intellect should I have", with the secondary question "where is the point at which it makes sense to stop stacking one and start stacking the other". As mentioned above, each gives some side benefits that must be considered.

First, realize that regardless of Discipline or Holy, every point of spirit is effective equal to 1.155 spirit, thanks to 5% from Enlightenment / SoR and 10% from Blessing of Kings. Similarly, for a Holy priest, every point of Intellect is equal to 1.1, while for Discipline, each point is equal to 1.265, thanks to Mental Strength and Blessing of Kings.

Now, the conversion numbers are as follows:
1% crit = 166.67 intellect
1 intellect = 0.1875 Mp5 (Replenishment)
1 intellect = 0.208 Mp5 (6 minute fight, mana pool size)
1 intellect = 0.083 Mp5 (6 minute fight, shadowfiend)
1 intellect = 0.114 Mp5 (Holy, 6 minute fight, IHC procs from crit, split 50/50 Flash and GHeal)
1 intellect = 0.017 Mp5 (Disc, 6 minute fight, Divine Aegis absorb crits procing Rapture)
1 intellect = 0.194 Mp5 (Meditation, 1000 spirit assumed, 80% I5SR)
1 spirit = 0.388 Mp5 (Meditation, 1000 intellect assumed, 80% I5SR)
1 spirit = 0.25 spellpower (Holy, Spiritual Guidance)

Since 1 intellect = 1 spirit (effectively) for ilvl points spent, we really have no loss in gaining one versus the other. The exception to this rule is in considering gear that has no spirit on it, as those items are in much much higher demand, especially by dps casters (for cloth items) and by all casters and healers (for necks, rings, and trinkets, along with weapons). You will find it much easier to pick up spirit items than non-spirit, simply because of that competition. Thus, I am going to assume that any item you grab is a spirit+int item, just for sake of argument. When this is true, the minimum gearing you will be at, fully raid-buffed (25-man), in ilvl 186+ rare or epic pieces, will be 1000 intellect + 1000 spirit. This is, of course, assuming full enchants, and all raid buffs possible, along with consumables. So use 1000/1000 as our starting point.

Now, here's the hard part. How do we model crit rating as a regen mechanic? For holy priests, 45% of our crits result in a completely free spell. Of course, we can assume that this spell will always be GHeal, but that's going to unfairly weight things in favor of crit, since even one absolutely free GHeal is a tremendous amount of mana. For disc priests, every critical heal leaves a Divine Aegis shield on the target, and relative to the amount absorbed, mana is returned through Rapture. So in both cases, crit = regen. The question is, how much, and how heavily does this weight Intellect in our computations?

Holy Crit
Every percent to crit grants 0.45% chance to proc IHC. Best case, we cast ~ 42 Binding Heals per minute, which grants us 84 chances to gain IHC. Worst case, let's ballpark and say we only cast 10 GHeals, no FHs and no Binding Heals over a minute. Thus each percent to crit grants us a ballpark of 0.21 IHC procs per minute, or roughly 1.3 procs per boss fight (6 minute length).

Since Serendipity cannot proc off IHC heals (unfortunately nerfed), our mana return from these 1.3 free casts can be maximized by using it on Greater Heal, which gives us a mana savings of ~ 1054. Thus we can approximate each point of intellect as 1/167th of 1370 mana, or 8.2 mana, which works out to 0.114 Mp5.

Disc Crit
Every percent to crit grants a 30% of heal shield through Divine Aegis. 2.5% of maximum mana is granted back to the healer as mana return, assuming full absorption. Let's go "best case" and assume that all shields are used fully (full absorption), so every single time you crit, you get back 2.5% of your maximum mana. Disc is going to have higher number of total casts than Holy due to Penance, so let's ballpark it at 40 casts per minute, i.e. 40 chances to crit and proc a Divine Aegis shield which is then absorbed and returns mana.

Theorycrafting has found that mana return from Rapture is ~

0.01035*max mana/basemana*amount healedwhich I am going to assume, for the moment, applies to the absorption amount as well. In that case, with base mana being ~ 3875, and 20k max mana, a 1500-point Divine Aegis shield would restore 84 mana. You will get (from 1% crit) 2.4 of these shields per fight, or 2.8 Mp5. Now, divide this again by 167, and get 0.017 Mp5 per point of intellect.

XI c. Spell Coefficients
Holy (14/57/0):
Talents that matter: Twin Disciplines, Improved Renew, Spiritual Healing, Empowered Healing, Divine Providence. CoH. Ignoring Test of Faith.

Prayer of Mending:
Flash Heal:
Greater Heal:
Circle of Healing:
Prayer of Healing:
Power Word: Shield:

Disc (57/14/0): (5/5 Holy Spec, no Imp Renew)
Talents that matter: Twin Disciplines, Focused Power, Grace, Imp PW:S, Borrowed Time. Penance.

Prayer of Mending:
Flash Heal:
Greater Heal:
Prayer of Healing:
Power Word: Shield:
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