L2Discipline: How About Them Stats?

Gear—the first thing you should know about gear is that it has these things called “stats” on them. These stats determine your gear selection, limit your choices, and help you figure out what’s an upgrade and what’s not. (That’s right, it doesn’t matter how pretty the color of that robe is, or how shiny those shoes are!)


As a Priest, especially one who heals, the main stats you worry about are spellpower, intellect, spirit, stamina, haste, crit, and mp5. Agility, strength, and anything else I didn’t mention (such as hit and armor penetration) need not apply.


Without much explanation, it’s easy to tell what this stat does for you. The more spellpower you have, the more healing your healing spells will do and the more damage your damage spells will do. But what’s interesting about spellpower and the Discipline Priest is that it also increases the amount of damage absorbed by Power Word: Shield thanks to this lovely talent called Borrowed Time. It is also the only stat that does this, so it’s very important as shields are a big part of what being a Discipline Priest is all about. There’s also no such thing as too much spellpower.

Another thing to note about spellpower: Currently every single healing class/spec besides a Disc Priest gets a spellpower boost from a base stat such as intellect (in the case of Holy Paladins and Resto Shaman) and spirit (in the case of Holy Priests and Resto Druids). Thus, we only get spellpower from spellpower.


It makes you smarter! No, not really… sometimes, I wish it did. What intellect really does is increases your mana pool and also gives you a bit of crit and mp5, all of which are essential. The bigger your mana pool, the more spells you can cast and the larger your mana returns will be from Rapture and Replenishment. Currently intellect is slotted as the best stat to stack for mana regeneration—However, there can be such a thing as having too much intellect. The majority of the time, this is not a stat you really need to worry about since all cloth caster gear has intellect on it. If a piece of gear has more intellect on it than what you are currently wearing but less of everything else it is not an upgrade. There are many more factors that determine what is an upgrade and what isn’t than just how much intellect it has.

Stacking intellect is not a bad thing, but it has it’s consequences. You’ll be sacrificing other stats such as spellpower, haste, and crit in order to do so. In my opinion, it isn’t the best idea especially since it doesn’t give you spellpower. I’ll give you an example. Compare my spellpower, haste and crit to my friend Matticus. Currently we’re both raiding ToCr/ToGCr on 25-man every week and are wearing gear from those places. However, Matt uses trinkets that have intellect on them whereas I have one with intellect and one with spellpower. Matt also gems solely for intellect whereas I go with intellect/spellpower depending on what color the socket is. (More on gemming in the next article if you’re wondering what I put in blue sockets.) Here’s how our numbers factor out:

  Intellect/Mana Pool Spellpower
Lilitharien 1653/28378 2535
Matticus 1808/30703 2167

As you can see, Matticus has 155 more intellect (for ~2,300 more mana) than me but lacks about 370 spellpower. Sure, he’s able to cast more spells than me… but if you really think about it 2,300 mana is not that much of a difference. Most spells cost between 500-1,000 mana. That means he’s only able to cast between 2-5 spells more than me in any given fight (if there were 0 mana regen, of course, because I like simple math) Even so, his healing spells are not hitting for as much as mine are and his shields are absorbing less.

Spirit vs MP5

The great debate. Should you focus on one or the other or use both? Which is better? Which gives more regen? Well, I’m going to tell you this: For you, they’re pretty much the same. Spirit is a stat that increases your mana regen, and MP5 is just a raw mana regen number. Because we don’t get spellpower from spirit like Holy Priests do it isn’t as important a stat and it doesn’t really matter if you tank a piece of gear with MP5 instead. All of the current cloth caster gear has spirit on it, the only things you’re going to see with MP5 are trinkets, rings, neck pieces, and weapons/off-hands. Thus those are the only items you’ll even have to worry about this debate for.

While spirit is not equal to MP5 it comes very close. In order to get the most out of spirit, you have to have a ratio of it to intellect. Zusterke has a table and a calculating tool to help you figure stuff like that out. Spirit also has the benefit of stacking with buffs like Blessing of Kings. However, I have found that even fully raid-buffed my regen values from spirit have been slightly lower than the MP5 found on similar gear (based on numbers produced by the addon RatingBuster in my comparison tooltips). If you find yourself in a situation where you have two pieces of gear with the exact same stats as eachother except that one has spirit and one has MP5, I would choose the MP5. I would also gem for MP5 over gemming for spirit for the hybrid colors green and purple. (So, int/mp5 green gem instead of int/spirit.)

Haste vs Crit

The second great debate, and for this there’s no real right answer besides “it depends on your play style.” Both haste and crit are amazing stats to have as a Discipline Priest, and while you can choose to focus mainly on one I wouldn’t recommend it. Your best bet is to have a good amount of both, evenly dispersing your gear between the two.

Haste increases your casting speed and lowers the global cooldown (GCD). While the GCD can never become lower than 1 second your spellcasts can. So, if you find yourself with a Flash Heal that casts faster than 1 second (with Borrowed Time) you are not saving yourself any more time by stacking haste. It’s also good to remember that you will already have a base 6% haste due to the Enlightenment talent (which does not show up on your character pane in the haste tooltip). A good number to aim to keep your haste at is at least 10%, so 4% from gear. Currently I have a total of 15% haste with talents and gear and my Flash Heal takes ~1.2 seconds to cast without Borrowed Time. (With it it’s a little under a second, something like .942 seconds.)

Crit increases your chance to cast a critical heal which will heal for 150% of your spell instead of 100%. Crit also does one key amazing, amazing thing for Discipline Priests: It procs Divine Aegis. Thus the more crit you have, the more chances you have to proc DA shields and the more damage that will be absorbed. Unlike haste there’s really no such thing as too much crit. For T7 I aimed to keep my crit between 20-25% and in T8/9 between 25-30% for healing spells. (Which is 15-20% and 20-25% from gear, respectively.) Obviously raid-buffed these numbers will be higher.

Next up in L2Disc: How to make your gear choices, including enchants and gems.

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , + Categorized as Discipline Priest, Discipline Priest, L2Discipline


  1. This is a good post! :) In general, I agree with your analysis.

    I know it’s an introductory post, but there are a couple other things I’d like to point out:

    (here’s hoping that lists work here!)

    * It’s true that SP increases how much your spells heal for, but not on a 1-to-1 basis. Each spell has a spellpower coefficient that dictates how much benefit they get from your spellpower. For instance, Power Word: Shield gains about 80.7% of your spellpower; each tick of Penance gains about 53.6%.
    * Intellect isn’t just about increasing your mana pool; it also influences your spell critical strike chance and the amount of mana you get back from Spirit-based regeneration. Every ~167 Intellect gives you 1% spell crit; the relationship of Intellect to Spirit-based regen is more complicated, but suffice it to say that the more Intellect you have, the better Spirit is.
    * Your instinct about Spirit gear giving less regen than MP5 gear is spot-on; MP5 is cheaper in an item’s stat budget than the amount of Spirit needed to get that much non-casting regen. (Remember, at best we get 50% of our Spirit-based regen while we’re casting.)
    * I tend to recommend that Discipline priests gear to 433 haste rating; because haste is multiplicative (instead of [haste from gear] + [Enlightenment] + [Borrowed Time], it’s [haste from gear] x [Enlightenment] x [Borrowed Time]), that’s just enough to get the GCD to 1 second while Borrowed Time is up.

    That may be more complex than you wanted to get in this post, but from experience it’s easy to overlook small details when you’re writing a post, so I wanted to make sure this stuff was said. :)


  2. Sadly, lists do not work. ;_; You may assume a bullet before “It’s true”, “Intellect isn’t”, “Your instinct”, and “I tend”. >_>


  3. @Chris Yes, that is way more complex than I intended. The L2Disc series is aimed at priests who are fairly new, or just haven’t tried Discipline yet. I didn’t want it to be over complicated. In my experience, from when I first started out, reading anything that was based on equations and numbers and all that lovely math stuff just went over my head—I didn’t get it. I do now, of course, since I’ve been playing for a while now but to someone who is new or hasn’t tried something yet it won’t make any sense. It also comes off as really arrogant to me. If someone is looking for arrogant theorycraft, their best bet is Elitist Jerks, not here.

    I did mention that Intellect gives MP5 and crit rating as well as a larger mana pool. I also mentioned about Spirit and it’s link to Intellect and referenced Zusterke for further explanation (he’s way more mathy than I am). Also never said that SP was a 1-to-1 basis on any spells.

    As for haste—is that 433 including the 197 (6%) you get from talents or not?

    (And, yes, lists don’t work in comments. I stuck asterisks where you would have had bullet points. :P)

    But, thank you for pointing all those little details out. I’m sure anyone who reads this will also take note of your comment. :)


  4. Understood. I’m truly sorry that I came off as arrogant. I didn’t mean to; in fact, that’s why I actively avoid Elitist Jerks.

    I missed your comments on Intellect/crit/mp5 and Spirit/Intellect. I blame the early morning.

    433 haste is the character-sheet value – without the 6% from talents.

    Again, sorry for rubbing you the wrong way.


  5. @Chris Oh, no! You didn’t rub me the wrong way, I’m just saying that that’s how I don’t want to come off on this blog. :) I read EJ very sparingly, only for the essentials.

    And yes, early morning sucks. D: (Especially if, like me, you’ve yet to go to sleep.)


  6. I second this. Great post!

    I’m not doing any ToC25 heroic yet (starting soon) and my stats are:

    Spellpower 2410 and intellect 1355. I follow socket colours but gem towards spell power then intellect

    Gobble gobble.


  7. @BobTurkey: Yep that’s what I do, too. Except for blue sockets.


  8. For happy dual speccing priests I’d reccomend spirit over mp5 if you’re blending your gear sets together, since holy and shadow (to a lesser extent) both find it more useful than mp5…

    …yes? I think so…

    …hi, my name is Amber and I’m a fail Disc/Shadow priest. :D


  9. @Lyrandre: True, if you have gear that you know you’re going to be using for both specs it would benefit you to choose spirit over MP5. But keep in mind the benefit would only be showing in your offspec, so I’m still of the opinion that your main spec should be as optimal as possible.


  10. This is a great series of posts. I am leveling Shadow and looking to heal as Disc when I hit 80. I’m very much looking forward to reading your next installment.


  11. @Ellanelia: Thank you! Should be up by the end of the week. :D


  12. I’m loving this series! I’m also glad to see that I’m doing it right, to a degree. xD Must get over crit addiction, I think I’m up to 24% Holy crit.
    Matojo´s last blog ..A Mild Detour: Matojo Has No Patience for Stupid My ComLuv Profile


  13. Great series so far. I’m a dual specced holy/shadow priest who’s recently become “Disc-curious,” and switched my shadow spec to disc this morning. Your posts have been very helpful, thanks much.


  14. @Matojo: Nothing wrong with crit! Just remember haste is tasty too.

    @Jbs: I like that, “Disc-curious.” Glad you find my posts helpful!


  15. Great series i am loving all the attention disc is getting now (we deserve it :P)

    @Jbs: I agree with Lilitharien that Disc-curious is awesome but i think that Matticus has the best one with ambi-spec-tirous. (pardon the spelling)

    ~ Oh you thought you could kill me? Thats cute.


  16. Very nice post, I myself are a disc priest in all forms of content and any info old or new is good info.


  17. Nice write-ups; I’m leveling a Disc Priest myself using only the Dungeon Finder and I have to say, it’s pretty fun so far. I was wondering though, do you have plans to continue these posts (i.e. the enchants/gems/gear post you mentioned)? They’d be a big help for when/if I hit 80.


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