Holy Priest - Cataclysm Healing
Rescue Toaster — Sat, 12/11/2010 - 12:36
The role of healing has changed dramatically in the Cataclym expansion. Gone are
the days of blindly spamming the most powerful healing or damage
absorbing spell with utter abandon to overhealing. Healers must be
sparing of every drop of mana even during five man trash.
This guide is designed to collaborate on methodologies to assist veteran and
new holy priest healers in this crazy-damage intensive world.
- Healers are required to critically think and practice true triage in order to endure basic boss encounters
- Healers get to use more spells than 1 or 2
- Cooldowns are used all the time instead of during sparce one-shot moments
- Glyphing is really important and situation requiring consistent swaping
- The party or raid must engage in stronger teamwork orientation to mitigate
optimal damage as well as peform, individually, at their best
- Mechanics that are designed to potentially wipe are actually hazards.
While failure to execute from 1 or 2 players once or twice is sometimes
excusable multiple infractions will cause a wipe
- Always having to drink slows dungeon crawling to a true crawl
- Glyph swaping and drinks are expensive
- Mana conservation is at such a level that healers are often left with a sense of inadequacy to help their group
general idea of where to start I suggest looking here:
Instead of listing what you are to get I'll make this brief and suggest what you should avoid:
- Spirit of Redemption: Good healers should be last or next to last to die. By the time this is useful the group is preparing to wipe. The only ideal would be if the healer is too low on mana to continue and then martyrs themself to have free spell casts for 15 seconds (21 seconds glyphed). This requires the healer to be able to die and to do so near the group. While it's application seems feasible, it just seems like that additional talent point would be more often used elsewhere
- Blessed Resilience: This is a pvp talent
- Darkness (shadow): The amount of haste acquired should be sufficient from gear and gemming alone. Talent points should be focused in Veiled Shadows not just for the Shadow Fiend cooldown reduction but for the Fade cooldown reduction too
- Improoved Power Word: Shield (Discipline): You're a Holy Priest. Heal.
The one talent that priests should have is Lightwell. It's our highest hps and can be preset before a fight starts.
Binding Heal - 28% base mana : 5387 base heal : 1.5 sec
Circle of Healing - 21% base mana : 2225 base heal (5 targets; 6 glyphed) : instant
Desperate Prayer - 0 cost : 6353 base heal (only used on self ; requires talent point) : instant
Divine Hymn - 36% base mana : 4773 base heal (12 heals) : channeled
Flash Heal - 28% base mana : 6726 base heal : 1.5 sec
Greater Heal - 27% base mana : 8968 base heal : 3 sec
Heal - 9% base mana : 3363 base heal : 3 sec
Holy Nova - 15% base mana : 2182 base heal (all friendly in 10 yrds) : instant
Holy Word: Sanctuary - 44% base mana : 389 base heal every 2 sec for 18 sec : instant
Holy Word: Serenity - 8% base mana : 2800 base heal (guess) : instant
Lightwell - 30% base mana : 3426 base heal (every 2 sec for 6 sec) : 0.5 sec
Prayer of Healing - 26% base mana : 4446 base heal (party) : 2.5 sec
Prayer of Mending - 18% base mana : 3537 base heal (bounces 5 times) : instant
Renew - 21% base mana : 1457 base heal (every 3 sec for 12 sec) : instant
Healing is difficult. Among watching our mana, watching health pools of everyone, keeping an eye on boss timers, looking out for debuffs, keeping track of chakra states, and keeping ourselves alive we have a lot to do.
Healing comes down to the following processes (not in any specific order):
1.) Should I heal?
2.) What spell should I use?
3.) Should I dispel?
4.) Leap of Faith?
5.) When should I use a mana regen cooldown?
Blizzard said they wanted healers to practice triage. For those who aren't familiar with that term triage is the combat medical tactic of deciding which injured soldier lives or dies on the battlefield due to limited medical supplies. Blizzard has succeeded in implementing the need but healers may not have gotten used to the concept.
Healers need to change their mindset. In Wrath of the Lich King we were used to mechanics that both forced and allowed us to maintain groups' health topped off at all times. This cannot work in Cataclysm. Healers don't have to let someone die, but they shouldn't be afraid to see dps hovering around 50% health either.
I use every spell in my book. Some more frequent than others but they all have an uptime. This is due to a need to be flexible in healing situations and Holy Priests glorious ability to switch roles in the middle of fights with chakra states.
How to Heal
Before any fight strategically place a Lightwell. Talk to the tank and figure out where he/she will be and place between tank and dps. The range has been increased and clicking the Lightwell no longer changes focus. Make sure people know how to use it. If a player is struck for 30% or more of their base HP, the effect goes away.
Initiate chakra and prepare to enter a state (Heal for Serenity; Prayer of Healing or Prayer of Mending for Sanctuary). Your chakra state will depend on the projected damage take: Serenity is typically single target and Sanctuary is group oriented.
Note on chakra states: While Sanctuary offers massive boosts to group healing it is the most mana expensive state. This is due simply to the fact that healing multiple 100,000+ HP targets is draining. Group healing is subject the massive overhealing especially when the damage is just pooring into the group, healers will tend to use an extra group heal or two when it isn't necessary especially approaching a transition from group to single target healing requirements.
To avoid this be aware of how damage is being inflicted. If it's a steady stream of damage, then you can apply an AOE heal that adds a HoT and watch for spikes on the tank (Prayer of Healing (glyphed), Prayer of Mending, Holy Word: Sanctuary, Renew). If the damage comes as a massive pulse, then use the non HoT'ing AOE (Prayer of Healing, Holy Nova, Circle of Healing).
Prefence to healing state is given to Serenity. This is due to the inexpensiveness to maintain and the addition of a cheap-effective instant cast spell Holy Word: Serenity. This state allows the Holy Priest to recycle the life of an applied Renew on target by casting any direct healing spell (Binding Heal, Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Holy Word: Serenity).
Holy Word: Serenity doesn't refresh Chakra state currently. This seems like a bug to fix.
The premise is to cast Renew and refresh it with direct spells instead of recasting Renew in addition to directly healing. This generates mana efficiency by removing the need to cast Renew every 12 seconds.
So after placing a Lightwell, I'll first cast Renew on the tank immediately after the first hit. Depending on the nature of the opening engagement I will either cast Heal to enter Serenity or I will cast a Flash Heal if the spike damage is severe. Here're my trees for opening engagements:
Light damage : Renew -> Heal -> Holy Word: Serenity -> Heal
Heavy damage : Renew -> Flash Heal -> Heal -> Holy Word: Serenity -> Heal
Massive damage : Flash Heal -> Flash Heal -> Greater Heal -> Renew -> Heal
On all opening fights it is important to watch the initial hit. I don't pre-HoT because it causes too much problems. Even if I were able to drink before the pull chances are the HoT would simply overheal and by the time the tank took the first noticible spike of damage it would be too late to enter Serenity to save the refresh.
Holy Priests in Serenity need to maintain that Chakra state for the duration of single target damage or at least until the spell Chakra is off CD. I stronly recommend keeping the state active instead of relying on recasting Chakra to reenter because the priest may need to change during encounters. To maintain Serenity the priest must cast Heal on anyone in the group. This is good for the following reasons:
1.) Heal is among the cheapest spells
2.) Heal refreshes Renew on target if in Serenity
3.) Heal can proc Surge of Light (free instant cast Flash Heal)
4.) Heal adds 4 sec to Chakra state if in Serenity
There will be spike damage. To deal with this I use Greater Heal which can be augmented by the talent Serendipity. This talent reduces the cost of Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing by 10% and reduces cast time by 20% (with two stacks). This comes from healing using Flash Heal or Binding Heal. Updated 12/13/2010
But Flash Heal is expensive. Won't maintaining Serendipity cause me to go oom?
Yes. Maintenance of Serendipity throughout a fight is a horrible idea. I see the use as either a proc due to Surge of Light, happenstance from needing to use Binding Heal, or knowing a massive spike is about to occur. Don't attempt to hold two stacks of Serendipity for the plausibility of needing a big-fast heal "at some point." Use it when it's available.
Speaking of Binding Heal it is a tremendously good spell. It's literally a Flash Heal that heals both the target and the healer. So in circumstances where the healer and another party member takes damage, use Binding Heal. Not only is it cheaper but faster to cast a single Binding Heal than two Flash Heals or four Heals or two Heals and two Renews.
AOE healing is difficult. Some people spec into damage reducing talents, gear isn't on the same level cross the board, gems, item enchant disparities, ability to move out of fire, do all players get hit or just two or three?, debuffs, tank damage in addition to group damage, all these things make it nearly impossible to not overheal.
Some damage is constantly happening and others spike; sometimes the spiking happens fast enough that if the healer waits to cast AOE the group will wipe.