L2Discipline 4.0: Planting Your New Talent Tree
I am pleased to introduce to you the Cataclysmic version of my L2Discipline series from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion: L2Discipline 4.0! With all the changes that have occurred over the past few months while WoW and blogging was taking a cozy backseat to my day job, I figured it was best to start this guide over from scratch! Which means going back to the basics with an extensive talent breakdown:
Step 1: Choose Discipline
The talent trees in Cataclysm now require you to choose your specialization off the bat and you must spend 31 talent points (enough to get to and take the last talent) in that tree before moving on to talents in other trees (such as Holy). By choosing Discipline you get access to Penance, Meditation, and our mastery: Shield Discipline.
Step 2: Choose Talents in Discipline
Improved Power Word: Shield (2/2): Definite must-have for Discipline Priesting, your overall goal in your WoW life will be to get your shields to absorb as much damage as possible.
Twin Disciplines (3/3): This talent now applies to all your healing spells (not just instant ones like it did in Wrath), so it’s another must-have. As an added bonus it also buffs your damage spells.
Mental Agility (#/3): This talent applies to a plethora of spells that are in your arsenal including Power Word: Shield, your bread and butter spell. I believe this type of talent is very important right now because of how stressed mana management is in this expansion. So, you have a bit of a choice here: You can either spend 2-3 points in this or you can put 2 points in a later talent called Train of Thought, which I will explain below in it’s appropriate tier, and 1 point in this or you can spend 3 points here and 2 in Train of Thought and skip the Surge of Light talent in the Holy Tree. For a fresh priest at 85, I would put 3 points in this talent since mana management is so important and skip over Surge of Light for now. Later on, when you have better gear and are less worried about your mana, I would respec and put those 2 points back in Surge of Light and use that 1 extra point in Empowered Healing or Desperate Prayer or you could keep it in this talent.
Evangelism (2/2): This talent, and the one it unlocks, is what’s going to be the key to your mana management in Cataclysm as a Discipline Priest. After casting Smite each time you add a stack of the Evangelism buff on yourself which will increase the damage done by Smite, Holy Fire, and Penance by 4% and reduce the mana cost of those spells by 6%. This buff stacks up to 5. The only downside to this buff is that, in my experience while testing it, it only stacks if the Smite is not resisted by the target—meaning it has to hit your target and do damage to count towards your stack.
Archangel (1/1): This talent requires both points in Evangelism to unlock. If you took those points in Evangelism, this next talent is a must-have. After your Evangelism buff has stacked to 5 (or as close to 5 as you can get it to stack in clinch situations), you can hit Archangel and gain back your mana. Archangel will give you back 1% of your total mana instantly and increases your healing done by 3% for each stack of Evangelism that you had. So at 5 stacks of Evangelism your healing is increased by 15%! The effect lasts for 18 seconds and has a 30 second cooldown. Plus, it gives your character pretty angel wings! …and who wouldn’t want that?
Inner Sanctum (0/3): This talent reads more useful in PVP than in PVE to me. Skip for now.
Soul Warding (2/2): Another must-have talent! It will make your Power Word: Shield spell spamable again.
Renewed Hope (2/2): This talent has changed a lot since Wrath! It no longer gives your raid a damage-reducing buff. Instead it increases the critical chance of Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Heal, and Penance spells by 10% on targets afflicted by Weakened Soul or blessed by your Grace effect. In other words, all your direct healing spells are buffed by 10% on anyone you’ve shielded!
Power Infusion (1/1): Whether you use it on yourself for a quick haste and mana-saving buff or on your fellow raid members (caster DPS will LOVE you), this spell is useful and well worth a single talent point.
Atonement (2/2): This is the third, and final, smite-related spell in your talent tree. While spamming Smite to gain Evangelism stacks you’re not doing very much healing, are you? Nope. And that’s kinda deviating from your job description isn’t it? Yep. Well, Atonement is here to solve that problem for you! Whenever your smite does damage to a target (and remember it must do so to gain a stack of Evangelism anyway) you can heal a party or raid member within 15 yards of that target equal to 100% of the damage dealt! With this talent, Smite seems to be the new go-to spammable spell between PW:S, Penance, PoM, and Renew. [Please note that this is not an excuse to forget the other spells, such as Heal, in your spellbook! Though Atonement is a smart heal (which means it'll heal who ever has the lowest percentage health in the range of the spell) and it can be unpredictable at times. If you need to heal a specific target (such as tank or off-tank), even if they are in the range of the target you're smiting, stop smiting and HEAL them!]
Inner Focus (0/1): This talent has also changed quite a bit since Wrath. I used to use it in paring with Divine Hymn to make the expensive spell free and increase the crit chance of it’s healing ticks. However, this talent now only works with a few spells—Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing. While you can macro this talent to one of those spells to get the most use out of it or save it for an “OH SHI—I’m out of mana!” moment, I don’t think it’s worth worrying about right now.
Rapture (3/3): This is your main method of getting back mana throughout an encounter. At 80 in T10 gear my Rapture awards me back more mana than my Power Word: Shield costs to cast, and I assume this will only improve at 85 with stat increases on gear.
Borrowed Time (2/2): 14% spell haste for my next spell after casting Power Word: Shield? Yes, please! Never anything wrong with some extra, free haste. Remember that this buff is not eaten up by instant-cast or channeled spells, like Renew and Penance. My usual rotation to get the most out of Borrowed Time is Shield, Penance, Renew, then any other healing spell.
Reflective Shield (0/2): Useful while leveling/soloing and in PVP, but I would skip this talent for any raid- or party-healing spec.
Strengthened Soul (2/2): A handy talent, especially for tank healing, you can reduce the cooldown of Weakened Soul on any target by 4 seconds with each cast of your heal spell. This will help you get your shields up again faster.
Divine Aegis (3/3): The awesome shiny, golden bubbles that this site is named after! Definitely an essential talent to max out, Divine Aegis procs shields on critical heals which absorb 30% of the amount healed. The talent was also recently changed to proc on all heals from Prayer of Healing, giving Discipline a group-wide shield and replacing the old use/purpose of Power Word: Barrier.
Pain Suppression (1/1): Essential tank-saving cooldown! You should take this in all specs.
Train of Thought (2/2): This talent, despite being half focused on Inner Focus which we skipped, is actually really useful for our Smite mechanics. It gives you 100% chance to reduce the cooldown of Penance when casting Smite.
Focused Will (0/2): PVP talent, skip for PVE.
Grace (2/2): While this can only be on one target at a time, it’s handy for tank-healing, or in situations where someone has taken a ton of damage and is near death, as it will increase your healing on a specific target. It will stack to 3 with each tick of Penance, so one cast of Penance will give you a full stack of Grace. The blessing lasts for 15 seconds, which is plenty of time to get your chosen target to full health again. To get the most out of this talent, cast PW:S and Penance on your chosen target first, and continue healing with other spells afterward.
Power Word: Barrier (1/1): Originally this talent was meant to be our group-sheild, but because of scaling problems Blizzard has changed it to a group-wide damage-reducing buff. Any party or raid member who stands in the bubble while it’s up (10 seconds) will have their incoming damage reduced by 30%. Pretty considerable when you think about fights with a lot of AoE damage at a certain time in the encounter, like the XT boss in Ulduar had during Tantrums.
Step 3: Choose Talents in Holy
With your remaining 10 points at level 85, you can choose some talents in Holy or you can select some talents in Discipline that we skipped over earlier.
Improved Renew (0/2): While I use Renew as a buffer spell on tanks, it’s not something I spam on the whole raid since it’s mana inefficient. Therefore I’ve chosen to skip over this talent. If you use Renew more, you can feel free to take this as it may be more useful to you.
Empowered Healing (2/3): Increase the healing done by all your single-target direct-healing spells (not including Penance)? Not a bad talent, but not essential to max out since it doesn’t effect Penance or Power Word: Shield. You can also choose to put these two points in Renew if you really want to, but I don’t use Renew enough to justify it.
Divine Fury (3/3): In the last expansion, I skipped over this talent because it didn’t effect the spells that I used most often. With the Smite mechanics added into Discipline and the changes to our healing spells this talent is now much, much more viable. Take it!
Desperate Prayer (0/1): I’ve had this spell save my ass loads of times in Wrath, but I’m not taking it in Cataclysm in favor of maxing out Mental Agility.
Surge of Light ([0 or 2]/2): More Smite mechanics! This will give you a 6% chance when you cast Smite (and also Heal) to make your next Flash Heal an instant cast and cost no mana! However, as a fresh priest at 85 I would suggest skipping this talent for now and respeccing into it at a later date when you have better gear and less issue with mana management.
Inspiration (2/2): Must-have ability for all priest healers. No excuses!
The talent tree I walked you through in this post is 34/7/0 with the Smite mechanics available to Discipline for a priest just hitting level 85. After ample ample gearing, I would suggest respeccing to 32/9/0 or 31/10/0.
If you prefer to skip the Smite mechanics available to you, I would suggest an alternate tree of 31/10/0 or 31/7/3 without Smite mechanic talents. However I still advise that you at least try out the Smite mechanics before you snub them.
I regret that I can’t guide you on a tree for PVP because that is not my area of expertise, so if you have suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for upcoming L2Disc 4.0 posts. In the next post I plan to discuss glyph choices.
This post is up-to-date as of patch 4.0.1 Last edited Dec 12, 2010.
Tagged as 4.0.1, breakdown, Cataclysm, Discipline Priest, Spec, Talent Spec, Talent Tree, Talents + Categorized as Discipline Priest, Discipline Priest, L2Discipline