Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Power Infusion is Better than Heroism

Although I've been reviewing talents, I hadn't intended to review Power Infusion. It seems like a straightforward spell, a good buy for one point, and I've never seen a Disc priest without it. But lately I've seen some discussion on it, specifically whether it was worth casting on yourself or a DPS. Someone even said it was nothing to write home about! Because of this, I wanted to share some thoughts.

Before I justify the claim that PI is better than Heroism, here's the obligatory basics. Power Infusion speeds up casting and decreases the cost of spells. It provides a noticeable 20% increase in casting speed for 15 seconds, and saves some mana too. It is similar to Heroism/Bloodlust (with which its speed does not stack). It also doesn't stack with Arcane Power for mages.

Give it Away, or Keep it?

So PI gives haste and saves mana. No caster can argue with that. But how best to use it, casting it on a DPS, or saving it for oneself?

First, let's look at ourselves. When it comes to spell haste, Disc priests are often swimming in it. We'll often have Borrowed Time active for half of our spellcasts or more. And when it comes to mana, Rapture is usually ticking regularly. Now there are certainly times when predictable burst healing is needed, and casting PI on oneself can help. It is also very nice for General Vezax, for example. But more often than not, it can be superfluous on a Disc priest.

So, let's look at dropping it on a DPS. They'd probably enjoy some haste, they love Heroism after all! Comparing the two, we see that PI gives only 2/3 of the casting speed bonus, and for 15 seconds instead of 40. So one cast of PI on a DPS is about (2/3)*(15/40) as good as Heroism, that is, 25% as good (not counting the mana savings, since DPS rarely go OOM in an ideal world).

However, PI has a nice short cooldown. In fact, with Aspiration, it's just 96 seconds. This means you can easily cast PI on a given DPS four or five times during your average fight. If we add that up, now we're talking 100-125% of the bonus of a Heroism. That's right, for one lucky DPS, Power Infusion is better than Heroism. Or put another way, your DPS of choice gets two Heroisms per boss. Hax!

The Fine Print

Now, although PI can help a given DPS's performance more than Heroism, there are some limitations. Heroism is easy for DPS to make use of, since it's often called for by a raid leader at a set time, during a solid burn phase. It also comes with graphical and sound cues and lasts 40 seconds, so it's easy for DPS to stack other trinkets and procs with it.

Power Infusion, on the other hand, will be up for four or five separate 15-second periods, and the timing is controlled by a priest who may be frantically healing. So here's some ideas to help people make the most of PI:

  • Pick a class that can benefit from the haste, like a mage or warlock.
  • Pick a player that can handle stacking cooldowns and procs for max damage.
  • Ideally, pick a player who knows in advance that your PI is coming.
  • Use PI during burst damage phases, or at least times when your DPS player can focus on casting.
  • But also use PI early and often, to get the most out of it.
  • Don't use it during phases when Heroism is usually called for. Try to stagger it with Heroism.
  • Use a macro to tell someone that you PI'd them. My macro is below.

Power Infusion Macro

Here is what I use to buff people, and tell them I did so. It casts PI (if in range and available) and whispers the target. It is 255 characters; I lengthened it because when it just said "You have [Power Infusion]," occasionally I would get a reply like "No, I didn't spec for it." Now my macro is a little more descriptive. (I would attach a "DPS for Dummies" book if I could!)

#show Power Infusion
/script local u,p="target","Power Infusion";if IsSpellInRange(p,u)==1 and GetSpellCooldown(p)==0 then SendChatMessage("You have "..GetSpellLink(p).." for 20 secs! Enjoy the haste!","WHISPER",nil,UnitName(u)) end
/cast Power Infusion

Something to Write Home About

So, overall, I am a big fan of PI. Back when it was the top-tier Disc talent I developed a "meh" feeling about it, since there's not much synergy with Disc (or with healing in general), but since then I have come to see its power. Blizzard keeps saying they won't give Heroism to another class, but really they've already given us a single-person version. Just find a smart DPS player to routinely PI, and pretty soon you will be receiving pleading tells to stay Disc instead of swapping to Holy or Shadow for any fights!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Talent Review: Body and Soul

Here's another quickie talent review: Body and Soul

I suspect a lot of people, like me, looked at this talent, said "That's cute," and moved on. It's not exactly a reason to spec into Holy, and when you hold it up against the nice passives deep in holy that can improve all healing by 1 or 2 percent, it's easy to think of it as a gimmicky talent.

And it is gimmicky. But it is also made of pure fun and win.

Body and Soul is basically an on-demand Sprint. With Blink's cooldown. Castable on anyone. This gives a lot of mobility whenever you or a party member needs it.

At first when I saw Body and Soul, I thought it would be pretty fun for flag running in BG's, maybe in raids for catching up with a stray tank or fleeing DPSer. But it turns out there are TONS of uses for this baby:
  • Helping tanks get to mobs (from Violet Hold to Yogg's guardians)
  • Helping tanks kite (Gluth's zombies or even Vezax)
  • Helping people get out of AOE
  • Fleeing Kologarn's eye beams
  • Avoiding Mimiron's Laser Barrage
  • Dancing for Heigan
The list goes on: basically anytime anyone needs to be somewhere else NOW, this talent can be a big help. And since most of those times involve avoiding damage, having the movement be attached to a PW:Shield is great!

And the cool thing is, people notice this buff. Hit someone with Power Infusion and they might not even notice it. Hit them with Pain Suppression and they might ask what the shiny bubble is. But hit them with this, and they will immediately notice it, and often (literally) leap for joy. I first used Body and Soul in a heroic and within minutes, I had a tank asking for it on every pull (and to get to the bank faster in Dalaran, but that's another story). With good communication, this could help a tank position mobs faster than ever before.

Now, that said, raiders have gotten by at 100% speed (or slightly more with boot-enchants of the running fast) for years now, so Body and Soul is clearly not essential. Could you get more throughput out of investing talent points elsewhere in Holy? Probably. But you will not have nearly as much fun as with spammable shield-sprint. And sometimes having the right person in the right place can save a raid as surely as any heal can.

A word of warning, though. If you spec into Body and Soul long enough for your tanks or raidmates to become accustomed to it, be prepared to hear about it if you ever respec. You may prefer Disc healing or whatever, but your friends will value their ability to run around like maniacs at 160% speed. =)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Talent Review: Improved Flash Heal

I'm trying to get back into posting, so here's another installment of my talent reviews. This time a Disc talent: Improved Flash Heal.

Originally I thought Improved Flash Heal was almost mandatory. Back in the day Flash Heal was our workhorse, and so doing anything to improve it was a given.

Later on, after thinking about it and reading a post about the talent, I decided it wasn't so hot. Mana comes a lot easier nowadays, and 10% crit on a spell we don't use as much as we used to isn't that exciting.

But now, I think I have a more balanced view. There are pros and cons to this talent.

  • Cheaper Flash Heal. Who doesn't like Flash Heal?
  • More crit, when you need it most (low health target).
  • More crit also equals more Divine Aegises. Aegisi? Aegooses?

  • Only affects Flash Heal. Who casts Flash Heal?
  • Mana conservation not that big a deal for Disc priests.
  • Crit effect only applies to low health targets.
  • Unlike Test of Faith;s steady healing boost, this crit plays a RNG game with a low health target.

The pros may all seem to be heavily qualified by the cons, but let's look at an example situation where this talent shines: General Vezax. For Vezax, you need to conserve every last scrap of mana. And you need to focus on healing a single target, which means you're pretty much just casting shield, penance, and flash (in that priority order). With 3.2's longer Penance cooldown, you'll be casting flashes now and again, so you may as well get them cheaper. And you sure want to keep Inspiration up on the tank, so the extra crit doesn't hurt when it comes into play.

And the real test of any talent is, what else could you be getting with your talent points. In this tier of the Disc tree, you're basically comparing it to Focused Will. This used to be a PvP talent, but it now also increases your crit. Overall, I'd probably recommend going for Focused Will first (I am a crit fiend), but there are enough points to invest in both. At the very least, you can drop one point in Improved Flash Heal: the first point gives slightly more crit than the following points.

An interesting talent choice overall. Not the best talent for Disc priests (though I'm sure Holy would kill for it), but not bad either. And for times when mana may be tight, and single-target healing crucial, it's a solid choice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Return of Onyxia

I don't usually post about WoW news, since so many other blogs and sites do a great job of it. But I had to post about Onyxia's announced return.

This is awesome news. I've been raiding on my priest since 15-man Stratholme was "progression content," and there has never been another fight like Onyxia's Lair. I'm sure nostalgia is part of it, but I think anyone who raided Onyxia in her native environment would agree that there's something special about her.

Everything about Onyxia's Lair was special. Preparing to raid there was a month-long guild field trip. Everyone needed to complete a long wide-ranging quest chain. You needed to travel far and wide (Winterspring anyone?). You needed to head into Blackrock Depths* multiple times. You needed to talk to the world's diplomats. You needed to confront a dragon in Stormwind, in the presence of great heroes, in one of the best scripted events in the game. And then, each week you and your guildies could all hop on a ship and sail off to Theramore, and then swim to the broodmother's lair.**

Once you got there, you got to see an awesome encounter. After getting past the warders, of course... I remember wiping to those guys more than once.

Phase 1 was straightforward. One brave soul tanks Onyxia. With their back to the wall, since she would bat them away like a cat swipes at a ball of yarn. Everyone else starts attacking her, and healing up any damage. Sounds like a tank and spank, but this was before threat meters, before stats like spell power, and before half the classes were half as viable as they are now. This was where we learned now-basic lessons like "Standing in front of a dragon is bad" and "Standing behind a dragon is bad" and of course "Pulling threat causes Onyxia's fire breath hit quite a few more people than it strictly needs to."

And for healers, all we had back then was Flash Heal (a mana hog), Greater Heal (with a frightening 3.5 second cast time), Renew (only one allowed on each player by the way), and Shield. Our top tier talents to help save the tank's life from this fire-breathing monster? Divine Spirit (single target buff), and Holy Nova (with 30 second cooldown). The strategy of the day was to spend all one's mana on Flash and Greater, then stand idle to regain mana while someone else stepped in.

But phase 1 was still pretty easy. Remember, there were 40 of us. But then she decides to take off (sometimes after eating an offtank or rogue). Then, phase 2: always an adventure. How long would she stay up there? Would she fly around a lot, or stay still and pelt us with fireballs? How many times would the hunters not look where they were going and get too close to the dragon whelps, who would proceed to eat us? And let us never forget the dreaded Deep Breath. Also known as, "Your raid is not a winner. Your consolation prize is a fiery death. Thanks for playing, come back next time."

Eventually Onyxia would tire of raining destruction on us from above. She would land, and be walked back to the tanking spot (sometimes after eating an offtank or rogue). Phase 3 was like phase 1, but with the added bonus of burning streams of lava all over, and a periodic raid-wide fear. Hmm... fear, plus nearby caves full of whelplings... it's almost like she planned it this way. Luckily, we overpowered Dwarves were there to save the day with Fear Ward (then a 10-minute buff, 30-second cooldown, only known to Dwarves).

And finally, if the stars aligned, and damage and healing were good, and the raid could avoid eating tail swipes and pulling the whelps, the broodmother Onyxia could be slain. An incredible accomplishment the first time for a guild, given all the prep time, and equally as satisfying each additional time. At least unless you found out she didn't have your tier 2 hat again.

I just can't write about Onyxia without waxing eloquent. It always struck me as a cool encounter, dripping with lore, strategy, fantasy, danger, and rich rewards. It's why we went there every week. It's why we ran Jailbreak 20 more times to attune initiates and alts so we could keep going there.

Just something about going into a cave shaped like the maw of a giant dragon, to confront a leader of the black dragonflight. Being tasked by the Alliance's finest to slay the dragon. Charging recklessly into her lair, where she lay waiting. Standing next to her, seeing her maul the tank repeatedly, hoping she wouldn't notice your side of the cave. Watching her take off and soar above us. Watching everyone launch their spells and arrows at her in the air. You don't get more Warcrafty than that, nor more high-fantasy.

Onyxia's lair has always been my favorite raid encounter. If Blizzard treats the old girl right for the upcoming anniversary, we're all in for a treat. And in the meantime, I'd encourage everyone to stop by the broodmother's lair. It's a very fun fight, even 3-manning it now at 80. You don't need a minipet and a mount and a new hat to enjoy this classic raid encounter.

Long live the queen!

*For newer players, to get a picture of BRD, start with Old Kingdom. Multiply it by ten. Ten times the twisty turns, ten times the little sub-zones with unique mobs, ten times the obscure quests, ten times the bosses. Make all of these sub-areas connect over and under and through each other, yet make it so you need to go through half the instance to get to any one thing you need. Then make every major quest chain in the game run through it at some point. Yeah, we spent a lot of time in BRD.

**After you did the quest chain and BRD runs 40 more times, for everyone else in the guild.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tournament Limmerick

I can't just post a haiku about anything, I have to come up with limmericks too. I think it might be a genetic condition.

A Blood Elf champ I had to surmount
But her lance-work I couldn't discount
So I winked at my steed
(a loaned Elekk, pay heed)
And it sat on her chickenhawk mount

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Patch 3.2 haiku

Trial of the Champ trash
Wall of Text crits you to death
Wake me when it's done

Champion's Trial runs:
Easier to heal when you
Unequip your lance

Penance cooldown nerf:
"That spell is not yet ready"
Want my two secs back

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Complete Idiot's Guide to Discipline Priest Spells

I thought I would put together a basic guide on, "How to cast spells as a Disc priest." It can be counter-intuitive at first, having all these cooldowns on healing spells. So here's the basics:

1: Cast Power Word: Shield on the Tank

This may be obvious, as Disc talents practically beg you to shield people, but I have seen lots of Disc Priests who seem hesitant to shield the tank. I feel this is like a Fire mage not casting fire spells.

Let's be clear: Power Word: Shield is your first, last, best line of defense. You spent 11 talent points and a glyph on it (at least I hope you did), so use it! When you shield a tank, in addition to the 5-7k of absorption it adds, and the topoff heal from the glyph, you also give the raid a damage reduction buff and mega-haste your next heal. You want to shield the tank every time you get. You want their soul to be weakened permanently. These are Good Things (TM).

Some people might save shields for emergencies. This is silly: with Disc's talents you are far better reaping the great benefits from shields, and using Penance for emergencies. More on that later.

2: Cast Power Word: Shield on Everyone Else

So you're shielding the tank every 15.00001 seconds, what else? Well, you took Soul Warding to remove shield's cooldown, right? (Please say yes!) So cast shield on everything that moves! As Disc you can toss out a shield once a second, and with Ulduar's raid damage, this is very useful mitigation.

Check some wow meter parses if you like, but believe me, nearly all shields will get used. And with good situational awareness, you can shield those who pull aggro or eat random damage, saving them when no other healer can. And regardless, Rapture and Borrowed Time mean it's almost never a bad time to cast a shield. Throw at least one out in between shielding your tank, it will only help.

3: Cast Penance on Cooldown

Honestly, you could spend all your time shielding, and do pretty well, but you have other juicy talents to exploit make use of! Penance is an insanely efficient heal, and it heals a lot right away, so it's great to use on your tank.

In some cases it can be good to save Penance for damage spikes, but I recommend casting it on cooldown. With its short cooldown (You have reduced the cooldown, haven't you?), you can cast it often to keep them nice and full on health, and every time it crits it will add up nice Divine Aegis bubbles which will further smooth out damage.

It's nice to rotate spells so that after a shield, you cast Penance and then Flash or Greater. Penance benefits from Borrowed Time but doesn't consume it, so this way you get two lightning-fast heals.

4: Cast Prayer of Mending on Cooldown

So shield, Penance, what else... PoM! Disc doesn't have many talents to boost Prayer of Mending, but due to Ulduar's raid damage, in most fights PoM will be extremely useful regardless. So after a shield/Penance/heal cycle, toss PoM on a tank if it's available. It will always heal the tank, and bounce wherever it's needed. Many times it will bounce several times, which is free healing, and of course each bounce can crit and leave another small Divine Aegis bubble! We like bubbles!

Think of it this way: You shield a tank, Penance them to full and probably leave an aegis on them, then give them a PoM buffer. By the time a boss eats through all that mitigation and healing, your cooldowns will be up again and you'll be ready to do it again! And if the PoM goes on its merry way healing melee and other tanks, we're sure not complaining.


It can take time to get used to the Disc play style. Having all your major heals on cooldowns, and having one of them be channeled, is a new experience for a healer. But I feel the above guidelines are a good way to get your feet wet, to learn to use and love Disc's spells. If you need a concluding blurb to summarize all the above, it's this: The Disc tree makes Power Word: Shield and Penance into ridiculously powerful and efficient spells. The proper play style boils down to abusing using these spells for all they're worth!

Now go try it out, and don't rest until everyone in your raid is encased in a shiny golden bubble of safety.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Healing with Grace

I know I have been reviewing Holy Talents, but I wanted to insert a post on the Disc talent Grace. This talent is designed to increase our single-target healing capability, without giving us all the permanent +healing modifiers that Holy has.

The way it works is a little clumsy, and Blizzard has admitted they feel it's an awkward mechanic. But it does serve to increase our tank healing by 9% for just two talent points. (Or one point, if you don't mind the stack dropping occasionally due to the RNG). This is a big boost... of course with the caveat that if you heal anyone else, you'll lose the bonus until you cast a few more heals.

Or will you? The Grace stack is only refreshed (and moved to a new target if applicable) on casting a direct heal. That is, Flash, Greater, or Penance. It's not refreshed by shields, HoTs, or group heals. This means we are free to cast PW:Shield, Renew, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, and even Binding Heal on anyone we like without losing our Grace stack. This is a surprising amount of versatility given the initial impression of the talent's limitations.

Penance and Shield are a disc priest's meat and potatoes. Given that Grace works the way it does, Penance can be cast on a tank on cooldown, and Shield can be used on the tank every 15 seconds and on anyone else whenever else you like, while still maximizing Grace usage. Furthermore, a Prayer of Mending can be launched off every 10 seconds or so, bouncing across the raid (and creating little Divine Aegis shields too) without affecting the Grace stack, yet still benefiting from it when it bounces back to the tank.

Using this technique, you can heal multiple people while still getting full use out of Grace on your main ward. You can reserve Penance (and Flash in some cases) for the MT, but also help out an OT by keeping them shielded (with Glyph!) and Renew'd. If the OT needs a direct heal, you can even cast Binding Heal (which is as powerful and fast as Flash) without losing Grace on the MT.

Now, all of this advice is only relevant for some fights. In any easy fight, you probably won't need Grace, so you can Penance anyone who's low. And certainly in a hard fight, keeping your tank up takes priority to throwing out heals (especially expensive ones like Binding) to others. But I feel it's good to know how to finesse Grace, to keep up its bonus, while still healing someone who needs it in an emergency. A 9% bonus on one person may seem like a drop in the bucket, but we've all had times where a tank had 500 health for a few perilous seconds, and next time it might just be the bonus from Grace that gave him or her those 500 hit points to begin with.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Talent Review: Serendipity

A lot of people were excited to see Serendipity when it was first unveiled. It seemed to be Blizzard's answer to mixing up healer rotations, to let healers do things besides spamming one heal. But does it accomplish its purpose?

Serendipity builds up a stacking haste buff when you cast Flash and Binding Heals, that will speed up your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing up to 36%. That's a lot of haste; it basically will speed up the GHeal or PoH up to Flash Heal speed. Naturally, this will only be useful if you'll have reason to cast Flash Heals as well as use a big heal nuke from time to time. It's not like the old Improved Holy Concentration which let you simply spam GH and end up hasting a bunch of them.

So where is Serendipity powerful? For tank healing, it does not seem especially useful. One could throw in Flashes when a tank is mostly topped off, to provide a periodic haste buff to GH, which of course is never a bad thing. But where this talent really shines is in conjunction with PoH and Ulduar's raid damage. Prayer of Healing is very powerful targeted group heal. With even 1 or 2 points in Serendipity, a priest can "charge up" their PoH in advance, in preparation of an upcoming Tympanic Tantrum or other burst of AOE. This allows the PoH to land much sooner after damage hits, which also gives all healers more breathing room to top the raid up afterwards.

Serendipity has great synergy with Surge of Light. When assigned to raid healing, there is not always occasion to cast Flash Heals, especially when movement is necessary. But with SoL (proccing off CoH and PoM), there is almost always an opportunity to cast an instant Flash and refresh the Serendipity stack before it expires.

I feel that Serendipity is a useful talent in any environment with raid-wide AOE. It provides a good insurance policy, so that with a little planning, a large heal can be at one's fingertips at a moment's notice. In this way it can serve a role like Borrowed Time does for Disc priests.

The only thing I feel is missing is a good AddOn to track Serendipity's status, since you may wish to see the umber of stacks (to estimate PoH's current cast time), as well as the remaining buff duration (to know when to refresh it, if it will be needed soon).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Talent Review: Test of Faith

I thought I might do some quick posts reviewing Holy talent choices. As I said in my post on 3.1's viable talent specs, I feel the Disc tree really offers a best path, but the Holy tree offers a number of different options for talenting.

Test of Faith

This interesting talent increases your healing by 4/8/12% on targets below 50% health. 12% is a large bonus for 3 points, but is the 50% health requirement a good thing or a bad thing?

I think there's two ways to look at this talent. One the one hand, you could say Test of Faith is a bad talent if people are doing what they're supposed to, because if they don't stand in the fire or botch their abilities, they will rarely be below half health. On the other hand, you might say Test of Faith kicks in when you need it most, when people are in dire need of healing. And should you really pick your talents to help when everything is going fine, or to help you most when the raid needs all the healing it can get?

I think that both arguments are valid, but that there are two extenuating factors. First is that many of us are learning new bosses and new hard modes in Ulduar. This means that everyone is still learning where to stand, what to click, and how to avoid damage. People will be taking more damage as guilds learn encounters, so Test of Faith can be a good safety net. Also, there is a lot of raid damage in Ulduar, much of it nontrivial. Ignis's Flame Jets and Kologarn's Shockwave are two examples of raid-wide abilities that will bring many people below 50% health. Test of Faith can add a lot of oomph to the CoH's, PoH's, and PoM's that will be flying around.

Of course, the decision to invest in any talent comes down to what else the points could be spent on. This may be a number of other Holy talents but for me, I was comparing it to Blessed Resilience, which gives a flat 1% boost to all healing per point. Test of Faith gives 4 times the bonus per point, so you could look at total throughput and ask if Test of Faith will proc on your heals at least 25% of the time. If so, then it will affect your bottom line more than Blessed Resilience. Of course, the times Test of Faith procs are times when people need healing most, and when heals are least likely to overheal. So even if it only procs on 15-20% of your heals, perhaps it is still better overall.

Although I was skeptical of this talent early on, I have decided to use it. The +12% healing is a strong bonus, and given all the damage flying around in Ulduar, and the fact that our smart heals (CoH, PoM, DH) seek out injured players, it seems a good investment to me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Razorscale: graceful swan or lame duck?

Razorscale, skybound
Now she descends gracefully
To melt our faces

Dark Rune adds pop up
Like gophers on a golf course
Let's play Whack-A-Mole!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An ode to Ignis the Furnace Master

Ignis is a mean Furnace Master
And you must be aware, as a caster
Casting through Flame Jet
Could cause you regret
Resulting in fiery disaster!

The off-tanks get all of the fun
As they pick up their adds on the run
If it's one of their lot
To ride the Slag Pot
The raid'll be roasted, well-done!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PW:Shield in the news

A few weeks ago I wondered if Power Word: Shield was overpowered, what with all the stacking bonuses it gets in the Disc tree. My reason for saying it might be "too good" was really just wondering if it made sense to base so much of Disc's benefits on one situational spell. It'd be like if 20 talent points in Holy affected Renew.

This week, others are noticing and pointing out how good PW:Shield is. Matt Low (of World of Matticus) posted on WoWInsider about how Disc can use preemptive shields as AOE mitigation. Disc has come a long way if what was once a panic button spell can now be used to pre-shield whole chunks of the raid against upcoming damage. Matt makes a good point that, thanks to Soul Warding making PW:Shield cheap and quickly recastable, this is a very viable strategy. I honestly think that in some encounters, you could do more "effective healing" this way than through Penance and Flash Heal.

There was also a post this week on the WoW forums, by a paladin who was comparing Disc's shielding to pally offerings. Most of the replies were critical of the analysis, but I think the paladin had some good points. Fully talented PW:Shield is a big instant-cast low-cost "heal" that also comes with an energize effect and a haste buff. Plus, frequent pre-shielding (as the WoWInsider post discussed) is clearly helpful in many places in Ulduar. I think Disc as a spec, and Shield as a spell, are very unique and powerful.

The Blizzard reply began, "Power Word: Shield is a really useful tool for Disc priests in particular. We want them using it." It's fortunate that Ghostcrawler said this, instead of, say, "We think Shield is a little too good and we're looking at scaling it back!" I do still wonder if Disc has a little too much invested in one spell, but on the balancing side, Weakened Soul keeps it from monopolizing our repertoire. And I do have to say, now that I've tried it, that the Glyph of Penance does give us a very attractive alternative spell to cast every six seconds!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Flame Leviathan: a bird's eye view

The catapult my friend commandeered;
He said "I need one volunteer!"
I said "I'll ride with you,
But what's this button do?
And why's my seat say "Ammunition goes here?'"

I've decided to write some poetry about each encounter in Ulduar as I come to them. So far it's been going well; you could say we've been flying through the instance! Whatever happened to "Nobody tosses a dwarf?!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Viable talent specs in 3.1

Many people have already posted on talent specs for 3.1. I wanted to post my own thoughts sooner. Hopefully these thoughts will remain relevant throughout 3.1, so the post isn't immediately out of date!

As priests, we have a few options for our two specs. We can use either or both specs for healing, DPSing, or PvPing. I think it really comes down to personal preference and guild situation whether one chooses to have 2 healing specs, or a healing spec and a PvP spec, or a raid healing spec and a trash DPSing spec, etc. I think I will start out like many priests and pick up a disc and a holy spec for starters, at least until the healers in my guild stabilize and I have a better idea of what's needed.

Here are what I think are the viable/best specs:

Deep Discipline PvE Healing (57/14/0)

In my opinion this is the logical best Disc spec. You get all the goodies, skip the PvP stuff, and get enough in Holy for Inspiration (and Desperate Prayer, a favorite of mine as a Dwarf!) You could make a case for putting 4 more in Holy to pick up Improved Healing, perhaps taking points from Focused Will or Improved Flash Heal, but I don't think it'd be worth it, with Penance's cheap cost. It depends on the frequency of casting Greater Heal as Disc.

Deep Holy PvE Healing (14/51/0 + 6)

This is the skeleton of most deep Holy builds, I think, covering all the essentials and leaving 6 points to place where you like. Circle of Healing and all the talents that help it, the staples Holy Concentration and Surge of Light, and all the passive healing boosts for big throughput. With the remaining points you can choose to also have a better Renew in your arsenal, the passive Test of Faith for healing where it counts, Serendipity for faster Greater Heals, or better efficiency from Mental Agility in Disc. You could shave a few more points off of say blessed Resilience or others too, depending on taste.

Holy/Disc PvE Healing (21/60/0)

I cooked up this odd spec, squeezing the Disc talent Soul Warding into a CoH build, and I'm not sure if it's any good. I thought of it because I think PW:Shield is underused by Holy priests as well as Disc ones, and Soul Warding would let you through out a couple of shields in between CoH cooldowns. Without Disc's massive shield buffs, it may not be worth it, but it could be interesting for dangerous trash packs, or perhaps for some gimmick encounter.

Holy/Disc DPS

The idea of a LolSmite spec has a soft spot for me, and with dual specs you can always get a wacky spec for your off spec. Surge of Smite is probably not going to top a raid damage meter but it can do decent DPS if you're looking for something fun to try. For more info I have to recommend Xel's new smite DPS blog.

Shadow DPS

Of course, Shadow is the traditional DPS spec, and comes with excellent trash-pack APE damage in Mind Sear, so it can be a good secondary spec for clearing trash. WoW Insider had a great post on shadow specs the other day.

PvP Healing or DPS

I'm afraid I haven't kept up with PvP in WotLK, and I don't want to post a PvP spec without any experience. I would imagine that deep Disc is the preferred arena spec for its enhanced survivability and shielding, but that deep Holy has potential especially in battlegrounds. The new talent Body and Soul seems very nice for the BG involving flags and quick travel.

Hopefully this spec advice is sound and helpful. Time will tell, as we advance through Ulduar, which specs are best for the encounters there. Have fun choosing a spec and switching between specs!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The difference between Holy and Discipline


If you should perish,
You'll be reborn, phoenix-like:
Guardian Spirit


If you're hurting bad,
I'll say, "Suck it up and deal."
That's Pain Suppression

Monday, April 6, 2009

Is Power Word: Shield TOO good?

PW:Shield has historically been a good, well-balanced spell. It's an instant-cast shield, but you can also think of it as a front-loaded heal, or an extension to tank hit points, both of which are naturally very good. No other healer has a spell like it. It even has a cool echoing sound effect when people whack you while you are shielded! And yet the spell is balanced, by its cooldown and Weakened Soul, and untalented it's not as mana efficient as a heal.

It's been a spell that has always been very powerful, even back in WoW and TBC, and I think it has always been underappreciated and underused. Disc priests now understand its strength thanks to all of its new bells and whistles, but I think it's worth using as Holy too.

And if PW:Shield is good in 3.0, it will be amazing in 3.1! For Disc priests in 3.1, shields also cost 30% less mana, have no cooldown, energize the target with mana/rage/etc, and shielding anyone also reduces all incoming raid damage by 3%. This is in addition to how they are already stronger than normal shields, return mana when they are consumed, grant spell haste when cast, and with a glyph they even heal a bit. Don't forget the upcoming tier 8 set bonus, which grants 250 spell power each time you cast a shield. Not many spells have this many features!

So what prevents PW:Shield from being ridiculously overpowered? Once the 4-second cooldown is gone, only Weakened Soul will prevent it from being spammed. Weakened Soul makes using shield as a regular heal impractical, and means it will still only play a small role in tank healing.

I am not sure if this a healthy way for the Disc tree to work, with PW:Shield so insanely good, but with a harsh limit on how often you can use it to heal a tank (which is Disc's "specialty"). It seems a little odd to spend a dozen talent points on a spell, when perhaps it will only mitigate 1/8th of a boss's attacks. Is it unusual to have a spell so transformed by recent improvements, but have its balancing debuff unchanged since WoW's release?

An interesting side effect of all this is that PW:Shield is actually looking pretty good as a raid heal. A talented and glyphed shield costs very little and absorbs a whole lot (and heals 20% of that amount too). With no cooldown, and with Borrowed Time hasting each cast's global cooldown, it could mitigate a lot of raid damage from AOE or adds.

So, is PW:Shield too good? It depends on the encounter, and on how it's used, and on how Weakened Soul comes into play. We will see how well it does in 3.1. Perhaps the mechanic of Weakened Soul will be changed to let us shield tanks more often, or perhaps it will be kept as-is, to remind us that we're not just tank healers. In any case, PW:Shield and Penance will definitely remain Disc's signature spells, and all the shield buffs and the new Penance glyph should provide for some interesting options for Disc priests.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Priestly blogroll

I have a collection of links to some great priest blogs on my sidebar, and I'm gradually expanding the list. I've been exploring and finding more blogs, and reading a ton of great posts on healing, raiding, UI mods, you name it.

But blogger Bob Turkey recently posted a blogroll of more than two dozen great priestly blogs in his WoW blog, and I wanted to point to his list. It contains all the ones I've linked to and more, a smorgasbord of excellent blogs. I will definitely be checking out those on the list I don't already follow, and recommend that other interested healers do the same!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A break from haiku... time for limmericks!

A druid, I met, from Darnassus
We spoke while we healed up Naxxramas
"You heal great as a tree,"
said I unto he,
"But when hit, do you bleed out molasses?"

Resto shamans are really quite slick
Their Chain Heal's a nice magic trick
But think of their plight
When after each fight
They must go back and play Pick-up Sticks!

A pally, with shield and a blade
Caused me to ask, while dismayed,
"Why, when we slew Noth
Did you roll on that cloth?"
"Oh, that was a fashion upgrade!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

7 buffs you need to know about

One thing I think is important for a healer UI is to let you see important buffs. In general I think displaying relevant information is one of the essential features of AddOns, but in particular I think a healer benefits from having an accurate view of the raid's status. This view naturally would include debuffs, as we often need to dispel them or heal people affected by them. But I feel another important part of that view is the display of certain types of buffs:

1. HoTs: Naturally you want to see who has your HoTs active. You may also want to see when people are covered by HoTs, so you know there is some healing coverage there. GridStatusHots provides a great display of these.

2. Shields: Disc priests will want to see who has PW:Shield active, but all healers can benefit from this: seeing a shield lets you know there's less need for immediate heals. An active shield is like a few thousand extra temporary hit points, so you want to see shields to get a proper view of everyone's health.

3. Immunities: Spells like Iceblock and paladin bubbles can be good to see, so that there is no need to focus healing on a target that won't need it.

4. Mitigation buffs: It's very helpful to see when a tank pops Shield Wall, Icebound Fortitude, Last Stand, or a similar skill. It shows that the tank will be taking less damage, and it indirectly conveys info on what kind of damage the tank expects in the near future, and on the condition of the encounter.

5. Lesser mitigation buffs: Things like Shield Wall greatly affect healing, but there are also lesser mitigation effects. Grace, Inspiration/Ancestral Fortitude, and Blessing of Sanctuary all can reduce damage by a few percent: not really vital to know about, since their presence probably won't change your healing decisions, but nice to see. Divine Aegis may fit in here too, as a typically smaller shield spell.

6. Reactive healing buffs: Prayer of Mending and Earth Shield should definitely be tracked by priests and shamans. MendWatch and other mods track these for the purposes of knowing when to recast them, but it's also good to have these display on your unit frames, so you know who can safely take a hit from an add or AOE without losing HP right away.

7. Back from the Dead spells: Spirit of Redemption and Shadow of Death allow players to keep playing even after they die. Most unit frames will show these players as still alive and kicking, even though they are living on "borrowed time." Naturally you want to know which raid members won't be with you much longer!

Other buffs can also be useful to see, from boosters like Arcane Power, to regen spells like Innervate, to encounter-specific spells. They range in important from vital to know, to mere convenience. But I think overall, any healer can benefit from thinking about how seeing some of these buffs will help them.

A rep to remember

The Sons of Hodir
Giants in the snow, with names

Thrusting Hodir's Spear?
Blowing Hodir's Horn? Really?
Who's this Hodir perv?

Do these silly quests
Or buy Ulduar Relics...
Cha-ching! Exalted!

Farewell Hodir's Sons
Hope to see you again soon!
(When my shoulders drop)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Angel Dwarf form!

I just uploaded a header image that I've been playing around with for this blog. Hopefully it is pleasing to the eye!

I chose the Spirit of Redemption form (or as it is more correctly know, Angel Dwarf form) for the header image because it's the closest thing we have to the long-wished-for Holyform. And it is a pretty good form. I had my doubts when it was first implemented, when it was snarkily referred to as "Improved Death." I even tested it on the PTR back then, respeccing and getting myself killed by a boar so I could try it out (and then spending 15 seconds realizing I probably should have tested it somewhere I could actually heal someone).

But I came to love Spirit of Redemption over the years. Obviously it shined most in PvP, where in battleground skirmishes I often was relieved when I died, since now I could heal people without those pesky CC's, stuns, and interrupts. When the glyph of SoR was announced I was excited and I used it for some time, managing to keep Angel Dwarf form going for 45 seconds to a minute, before the glyph was nerfed.

It's true that the spell only comes into play if something goes wrong and you die, but it has nevertheless allowed me to get in a lot of last-minute healing, and pull out some victories in heroics and arenas that otherwise would have been full wipes. And now that I'm disc specced I do miss it. Some day, probably when dual specs arrive, I will become an Angel Dwarf again!

Priests: we heal more after death than most classes do all day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The importance of sound

Every so often, someone will say they play WoW with the sound off, and listen to music or TV while they play. I don't really get this... I can do that while I'm mindlessly playing an alt, but I really need sound while raiding or doing heroics.

Part of it is that sound adds a subconscious level of immersion. Playing with the sound off just feels detached to me. Plus it's rather hard to focus on a raid while Mythbusters is on TV! But I also feel that sound is an important part of the user interface, and I think that its use should be encouraged and enhanced, and not muted.

There are many built-in sound cues in the game. You can hear a sound effect when you get clearcasting, or when your attack is parried, or when your Prayer of Mending bounces. These are a good start towards building situational awareness, but like the rest of the default user interface, leaves something to be desired. Plus there's the fact that all the ambient sound from players near you and the world all combine into a cacophony of spell effects and grunts and clangs of steel!

So, we extend the role of sound, just as we extend the default UI. Our mods can play sound effects. This is ideal because we can choose which events to single out with an auditory notice, and we can pick any sound effect we like to go with each. Blizzard created a lot of great sound effects, but sometimes there's a subtle sound effect for what is actually a very important event, like a void zone spawning under your feet! When we configure mods to play our own sounds, we can pick distinct and memorable sound effects to go with important procs or debuffs.

A well-known recent example is how Deadly Boss Mods yells "Run away little girl!" when Sartharion summons a lava wall. Interesting that they chose to play a (very recognizable) sound clip when this happens, in addition to showing a timer bar. On the other end of the mod spectrum we have Comix, a mod that plays the old Batman "POW!" sound effects when you crit. Silly yes, but very evocative, and it also plays other sound effects when you get important buffs, and sings "Extra life!!" when you get a battle rez. If the author added funny sound clips for getting Grobbulus's disease, or the different charges on Thaddius, perhaps it would be a required raiding mod!

A personal example is that when learning Sarth 2D and 3D, I had trouble avoiding the Shadow Fissure void zones. With 2 drakes up, between the extra healing demand, the fire walls, and the adds, it seemed I often forgot to look at my character to see if I was standing in a zone. So what I did is write a mod that plays a silly sound effect each time a Shadow Fissure is cast. Once I had this enabled, I was able to make the association: hear sound, look down to see if I'm in a fissure. It has been a great help; I still get healer's tunnel vision at times, but now I have auditory cues for fire walls and void zones.

I think these example show how sound can be used effectively in mods. Sounds are transient, but powerful. Sounds can act as an interrupt, an alarm. This is why fire alarms use sound, why ambulances use sirens, and it's also why someone calling an important event on Ventrilo is often far better than everyone having one more timer bar in their already-cluttered UI's. We are visual creatures, but a full raid UI is already overtaxing on the eyes. Best to use sound as much as we can, to let the ears help us parse information. To only use sound effects for ambience is to miss their power in alerting us to important events.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Twice shy... for now

Bad pugs, like sponges,
Soak up all my healing spells,
And my will to live

The tank has full health
Yet the DPS is dead
Let the tank tank please

Enlightened, we flee
Never to pug that again
'til we need more rep

Oldie but goodie

All the talk of new talents in 3.1 (they finally admitted that we'd all get talent resets in 3.1, as if it was at all in doubt) has got me thinking about how far our talent trees have come.

And that got me thinking back to the best Priest parody talent tree ever. The trees are from way back at level 70, but they still ring true to me.

That set of talent trees is another of the reasons I named this blog Holyform (although "Focused Focus of Focusing" was a strong contender!). They still crack me up every time!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Does Discipline make more use of AddOns?

I recently respecced Discipline for healing, from Holy. I had been holy for some time and it's taken time to get into the Disc swing of things. I had to get used to cooldown-based healing, and I have since set up a few more mods to help with this.

It got me wondering, does healing as Disc encourage more extensive use of mods, or even require using more mods?

Here are some mod features I think any Priest would want:

  • Good raid frames (goes without saying)
  • Out-of-range indicator
  • Incoming heals indicator
  • Indicator for who has my Renew, and how long is remaining
  • Indicator for who has Power Word: Shield (and Weakened Soul)
  • Indicators for missing buffs
  • Indicators for dispellable debuffs
  • Cooldown timer on Prayer of Mending

There's other things you might like, but I feel these are all pretty important. Now, what else would a Holy Priest want?

  • Notice of Surge of Light procs
  • Notice of Holy Concentration procs
  • Notice of Improved Holy Concentration charges left

Those are all things I had when specced Holy. I also might recommend a Guardian Spirit cooldown monitor, especially with the new glyph of GS, which lowers the cooldown. Without the glyph though, it has a long enough cooldown where you're likely to keep it available until there's truly a panic-button moment.

So what would a Disc Priest like to see?

  • Weakend Soul indicator, now extra important!
  • Indicator for Grace stacks (and maybe time remaining)
  • Indicator for Divine Aegis?
  • Cooldown for Power Infusion
  • Cooldown for Pain Suppression
  • Cooldown for Penance
  • Cooldown for Power Word: Shield

Naturally a Disc Priest will be more cooldown-based, being centered around Penance and Shield. To maximize the benefit of these spells can lead to a kind of rotation-like healing, for which you need to be able to see your spell cooldowns. And with Aspiration, PI and PS come down to reasonable cooldowns too, which you may want reminders of.

So, does Disc require more mods? Maybe, maybe not. An attentive player could get by with the default UI's cooldown rings and a good sense of timing. ButI certainly find that having some help from AddOns, with good custom status indicators in Grid and a good cooldown mod, can be a real aid in using the right spells at the right time.

In any case, Blizzard has created a very interesting healing mechanic with Disc's cooldown- and shielding-based playstyle, and I am enjoying learning it, and trying to optimize my playstyle given the new tools I have.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Addition to my last post

I forgot to add a haiku to my last post :)

They gave all fear ward
Desperate prayer, chastise...
Those jealous non-dwarves!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dwarf racial awesomeness

In addition to healing and AddOns, another thing I take seriously is being a Dwarf. Back in the day, being a Dwarf priest was the "correct" choice for Alliance PvE healing. I mean WAY back in the day, when paladins and druids were off-healers, and when there weren't any Alliance shamans. But I was always proud of my Dwarfdom... especially when Desperate Prayer saved me from lava packs and when we needed Fear Ward for Magmadar.

Over time, the game has become more and more balanced. Druids and pallies have multiple raid roles, both factions have shamans, and every priest has Fear Ward. Overall this is a great trend: every class should be equally viable. But hand in hand with this has come a continual decrease in our Dwarfiness! You see, we Dwarves are so awesome, that they've had to share our overpowered Dwarf nature with the other races.

Fear Ward was the big deal at first, and was eventually given to all priests (at the same time boss fears became much less of a big deal). We also lost Chastise, which was Fear Ward's replacement. I don't mind that since anyone could see it was silly we got it in the first place (Hey, let's take away one OP Alliance priest racial, nerf it and give it to everyone, and then in its place let's give Dwarves and Draenei a RANGED INSTANT-CAST STUN/INCAPACITATE. That'll be fair!)

Recently Desperate Prayer, my favorite lifesaver, was changed into a holy talent. I'll miss the Dwarven smugness that always came with using this ability to save myself from some AoE, but at least it's on a shorter cooldown now.

So what are we Dwarves left with, with all Priest racial spells gone? We'll always have Stoneform. Not much, but great in PvP and for bosses that use poisons. Except that all priests are getting access to this too, with a new holy talent in 3.1 that will allow Abolish Disease to remove poisons when cast on yourself. Maybe Blizzard hoped to sneak this in with all the other changes, but I see what's going on:

All the other races are so jealous, that they even want our race abilities. They (correctly) recognize how awesome we Dwarves are, and want a piece of the action. It's okay, it's understandable. Not everyone can be so tall in power despite being short in stature!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Also, haiku!

I'll post haiku too
As many as the snowflakes
or Gnomes in Ironforge

This is my belief:
DPS is a science
But healing, an art

Priest from Ironforge
Who's never short on healing
Is that a Dwarf joke

AddOn Theory

I also wanted to make an early post on the key points of a good UI. I believe being a good healer and having a good UI are strongly linked. It's true that anyone who cares a lot about their class/role will want to tweak their UI for it, but I think healers have a special need for lots of information, and easy ways to act on it.

In fact, that sums up what I think are the two key points of a great UI:
1) Provide information
2) Allow action

This is because everything we do in the game comes down to observing the game world, making decisions, and then carrying them out. And since ideally the decisions should be made by the player (at least the non-trivial ones), that leaves the two areas of providing information, and enabling action, as the functions of a good UI. Good AddOns should help us gather information efficiently, and carry out our desired actions more effectively. This leaves us more time for the crucial decisions themselves.

When it comes to displaying information, there are two issues. First, is all the information you need available? And second, is it displayed in a useful manner? So first of all, does your UI show healing, damage, HP, mana, buffs and debuffs, and everything else you'd want to see? And secondly, is the UI set up so that you can effectively access and use all that information? If we could parse an unlimited amount of info, we could just read our combat logs as they fly by. But we have a limited amount of focus, and so a good UI needs to display relevant information, quickly and succinctly, in a way that's easy to understand.

For example, a good UI should show you if you get a clearcasting proc. Knowing that you can cast a big spell for free is useful information that could affect your spell selection. Now, you could turn on buff notifications in FCT/SCT so you can see that you gained clearcasting. But in combat, will you be able to watch all those buff names fly by, while watching health bars? Perhaps a better idea is to have a mod that pops up a graphic when you get procs you care about. Or plays a sound effect that you can associate with clearcasting. This way the information is there, in a way you can easily observe even while doing other things.

The other side of the UI is how it lets you take action. Once you've made a decision (hopefully quickly and correctly thanks to good information displays), you want to be able to carry it out with a thought. You don't want a multi-step process in order to cast a heal or important buff. You'd like each important action to be achievable through a direct, quick, easy action. Healing or shielding someone or buffing them in combat should only require a click, or a keypress, not a lot of mouse movement to find them, target them, select a spell, and cast it. This is why Emergency Stop switches are large red buttons as opposed to combination locks.

The best example of this for healers is a click-to-cast mod: it's easy to save somebody when you can just click their health bar. But this also applies to making sure all your important spells are assigned to clicks or bound to keys, setting up macros for important tasks, using mods or macros to activate trinkets as opposed to clicking them in your character sheet, and so on.

Overall, in my opinion, the goal of a good UI is for it to display all of the information you need, succinctly, quickly, and parsably, and to allow you to act on that info directly, quickly, easily, and completely.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Healing Theory

Since this blog will definitely have a focus on healing, I wanted to post an introduction to some of my thoughts on healing. I will post more entries on individual points as time goes on but I wanted to come up with an outline of sorts on what I think are the keys to being a good healer.

The basic key of being a healer is wanting to help other people stay alive. This goes without saying. But how?

A good healer should want to know what's going on. Who is tanking what? What kind of damage will they take? What kind of AOE or debuffs are flying around? A healer should want to know what happens in each phase, so they can heal effectively.

A good healer should also want to know everything they can that will affect their healing. Who was just hit with that deadly spell? Who has aggro? What debuffs does the MT have? How long until the boss's next ability? If there's something that will affect the raid, the healer should want a way to know when it's happening. This is where mods come in to being a good healer, but I will post more on that later.

A good healer should want to know their toolbox of spells and abilities. They should not rely on one smart-spell or spam all their spells with abandon. They should want to know which of their spells is most efficient, which has the most throughput, which is best for spike damage, how the spells scale with spell power/crit/haste, and which spells are best for unique encounters. A good healer should also consciously manage their mana, being proactive with regen cooldowns, and properly balancing throughput and longevity with their gear choices and spell usage.

A good healer should want to protect anyone in their care. If they are assigned to heal player X, then they should want to do whatever they can to keep player X alive. It should almost be a matter of pride: whatever went wrong on that last attempt, player X didn't die. If there is another player who seems to need healing, a good healer should want them protected too.

A good healer should be a cooperative participant in a healing team. They should be eager to see that all the tanks (or players with special roles in an encounter) are covered by the team, especially in a way that best utilizes all the different healing classes' abilities. They should come to know the other healers too, getting familiar with their skill sets and spell preferences, so as to better work with them.

A good healer should trust their teammates, but also be interested in keeping an eye on the raid as a whole (to the degree allowed by their assignment), and should be ready to help out with a shield or quick heal on anyone who needs it. If someone dies and it was preventable, they should get upset, and if it happens more than once, they should be thinking about how to avoid the problem in the future.

A good healer should also be willing to expand their abilities. They should take it as an interesting challenge when they have to heal a tank as well as shackle an add, dodge an AOE, do a dance, mana burn a boss, or whatever. They should be willing to learn new skills, DPS a boss if it'll help, use a bandage in a tight situation, and do anything they can to help the raid.

This is not a comprehensive list, but I think it covers most of the things I feel strongly about. These are the points I take seriously as a healer, and so they will form the basis for many of my thoughts in this blog.


As this is a new blog, I figure the first post should be an introductory one.

I am a WoW player, a raider, a healer, and a mod author. I hope for this blog to be a place for me to record some of my thoughts (read: ramblings) on these topics.

As a WoW player, I play a Dwarf Priest, and have been a healer since the closed beta. I started on Whisperwind with my wife and friends; we are now on Azuremyst. We are raiders primarily: my wife is a tank, I am a healer, and our friends are various DPS classes. I am happy with and somewhat proud of my choice to play as a Dwarf Priest (the "correct" race for healing!).

As a mod author, I publish AddOns under the name Wikwocket. I have written a few mods mostly for myself and my friends, but some others have found them useful. AnnoyingBuffReminder and CCBreakWarner are useful mods that people seem to like. I am also the author of CasterWeaponSwapper, which for a time was popular among some hardcore top-end healing raiders, but which has fallen into disuse as Blizzard has discouraged in-combat weapon swapping (and not offered competitive proc-based enchants for casters).

This blog is called Holyform because I thought naming it after a cool Priest spell would be memorable, but I couldn't choose one. So why not use the one they never gave us! I hope the blog develops into something interesting and fun, and just maybe is of interest to anyone besides me. Time will tell!