This is an old draft from 2010-03-25 which I'm pushing out without checking it too much. Things have changed since then.
This is going to be a collection of random thoughts on various Priest-related things. Nothing too organized.
I started levelling as disc but I ended up going shadow because it was recommended. It is indeed much more effective. I did this before the new Looking For Group system was implemented, and I levelled solo primarily. To grasp how much soloing I did, I do believe I was exalted with all Alliance factions somewhere around the level 40-50 mark.
Now that the new LFG is out, it may well be more effective to level healer to get into the queue better. DO. NOT. HEAL. SHADOW. You damned lazy off-spec healers piss me off almost as much as off-spec tanks. It's fine at the 15-20 range, but past that it gets more and more insulting to see this kind of thing.
I've also noticed that LFG isn't particularly beneficial to healers at low levels, so it may not matter if you go shadow or not.
Don't go deep into the shadow tree. You don't actually need Dispersion for levelling unless you're really that impatient. Hell, you don't even need it for raiding. I have no idea why it's there in the first place. It's worthless.
It's quite possible to level as discipline. However, I don't know what it's like without good gear. With good gear it's quite doable to be disc and go AoE grinding or questing or whatever you like. However, it does end up sapping quite a lot of mana compared to shadow.
In no particular order..
Pain Suppression ∞
Unless a specific boss fight calls for its use at a specific time, and you are told to hold pain suppression and use it when called for, use this whenever your intuition tells you to. Do not hold onto this ability and worry about the cooldown. It is by far more valuable for you to be tossing it at a character which feels too vulnerable to you then to wait for a situation when you "really" need it.
I also like to toss pain suppression at a tank when they're taking lots of scary damage. I might help heal the tank, but much of the time I'll switch out to heal dps. This is especially true in heroics. I'll explain the reasoning later.
Binding Heal ∞
This is an exceptionally useful spell. Use it! It's also a good idea to get your other casters informed about binding heal, so that they don't waste their efforts trying to heal you when they don't really need to.
This is like a paladin's beacon of light, with the beacon put on yourself.
Flash Heal ∞
Your bread and butter
Greater Heal ∞
NEVER use this.
For me, penance sucks because it's channelled. It gives me the false "instant cast" impression. If it were a big heal with a three second cast then I could more easily think three seconds ahead. I've had many people die and wipes happen because I'll turn to use penance and the first tick doesn't connect in time.
The disc mindset is so fixed on instant-cast global cooldown-based spells than weaving in a spell which doesn't have instant results can be really problematic.
Mind you, this doesn't mean I don't cast penance whenever I can. Because it ticks three times there are three separate chances to crit and proc ((a damage reduction bubble)), I sometimes cast it when it's not "really needed" just to give that buff.
Prayer of Mending ∞
Use this as often as your comfortable with your mana pool. When I had crappy gear I simply couldn't afford the mana cost. With more regen or a bigger pool, there is no reason to have a prayer of mending bouncing around whenever I remember to cast it. It's smart at what it targets, and smart spells are exceptionally valuable.
Power Infusion ∞
Other caster buff..
This is great for a mage, but they seem to already have an ability that it conflicts with. If in doubt, toss it on an spriest, balance druid or warlock.
Discipline priests have some unusual issues to deal with, very few of which anyone seems to know and talk about.
Raid healing vs single-target healing ∞
I've already talked about how Discipline is usually far more effective at raid healing, in L2Disc - An overview of Discipline Priest raiding.
I'm going to bitch the next time I hear something like "heal the melee". This is largely impossible to do without an addon grouping all of them in raid frames for me. That used to be possible with a previous frames addon I used, but it's now impossible. Yes I can tell classes at a glance. No it's not really possible for me to do that and also try to prioritize them when I have 25 blocks of constantly-changing information to deal with.
No I cannot interact with the playing field and target characters out there. You'd be mad to think that. The best the melee will get from me is a Prayer of Mending thrown on the tank. Go and get a Shaman to heal the melee. I do still notice small green bars and I shield them and sometimes "make them go up".
Further Reading ∞
There's plenty out there.
BobTurkey's WoW Blog is quite good, and (at least for 3.2) he has some nice guides too:
- TankSpot's Guide to the Discipline Priest: Part 1, Part 2.
- Plusheal.com Forum
- Miss Medicina
There are even some little guides which are still quite useful: