OK so I was wrong. I’m referring to this post a couple of weeks back.
For those too lazy to go and read it basically it was saying that I found Holy spec to be more useful than Discipline in 25 man raiding (Ulduar). Not just better, but better to such an extent that I couldn’t find a use for even the first Discipline speced priest in a 25 man raid (forget attempting to argue for two).
The stuff I wrote about in that post is still mostly correct, but I was making the mistake of coming at it from the Holy point-of-view. Glyphed Guardian Spirit is more useful than Pain Suppression. Circle of Healing is far more useful than PoH in 25 man raids, because of its smart healing ability. But this is missing the point of Discipline priesting.
My misconception came about from a couple of angles. The first one was ‘hero syndrome’. I have no idea if its a real syndrome, or what its real name is, but i’m talking about the heal mind-set where a healer starts to believe they personally have to make the difference. Every time someone takes significant damage the healer with hero syndrome believes they are the one that must fix the problem. They personally have to make the green bar go up. It’s easy enough to understand, especially in progression type fights where raiders are being pushed to do more than just go through the motions. Many healers get into a ‘flow’ where they heal almost instinctively, using their main spells. It becomes a kind of hypnotic rhythm. I know DPS rotations also sometimes result in the ‘flow’ too but that’s another topic.
Thankfully the ‘hero syndrome’ is easily broken. Die. Especially on the non-progression content, death of the healer usually results in the raid surviving just as well without the healer. Other healers cover for the dead one, etc, etc. The hero then hopefully realises that perhaps they don’t have to single heal the entire raid.
In my case it wasn’t my death in raid that broke my hero syndrome it was forcing myself to stay Discipline spec for an entire raid. That is stay Discipline even if I thought i’d be more effective as Holy. The outcome of this was that the raids green bars still went up just fine, even when it wasn’t me casting that Circle of Healing, etc.
The second angle was me stepping up my aggression when shielding to 110%. Penance is a great single target heal, etc, etc, but if your a Discipline priest in 25 man raids, its all about Power Word: Shield. PW:S is your reason to be in that raid. This partially followed on from the hero syndrome above, but in Discipline spec I wasn’t pushing the envelope enough. I was healing my tank fine and healing with raid damage a bit, but for the raid damage I was too focused on making green bars go up. Any healer can do that 🙂 What I started doing was using every single spare global cool down to shield the raid.
What I discovered was something amazing (well I was amazed). I could prevent the need to raid heal entire groups! For example on Kologarn, when your tank assignment is topped up and shielded, start shielding the healers group. When he casts “Oblivion!” or whatever that spell is really called, which he does very regularly, that’s one less group that needs healing. If I get a lucky run on eye beams and tank damage I can actually shield two entire groups. Thats 60k+ effective healing when he does his AoE. Same for Auriaya’s sonic cone attack and same for Frozen Blows on Hodir, although Hodir allows a smaller window for pre-shielding. I’ve started playing a mini-game where I see if its actually possible to go /OOM without dying during a fight. (So far I haven’t managed to do it)
Apparently this raid shielding also does wonders for your numbers on the healing meters. I suppose its kind of like the ultimate heal sniping. That is ‘healing’ the damage by prevention/mitigation before it actually impacts the health bar.
So, yeah, I stand corrected, don’t hate your Discipline speced priests in 25 man raids, just challenge them to shield more. 🙂